Antioxidant and antifungal activity of Verbena officinalis L. leaves.

September 22, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

The following provides evidence that Verbena officinalis would be an excellent herb to use for skin conditions.

The scavenging activity against DPPH (1,1-diphenil-2-picrylhydrazyl) radical and the antifungal effect against chloroform, ethyl acetate and 50% methanolic extracts of Verbena officinalis leaves were investigated. The activity of different fractions of 50% methanolic extract and some isolated compounds were also investigated. The results suggest that 50% methanolic extract and caffeoyl derivatives could potentially be considered as excellent and readily available sources of natural antifungal and antioxidant compounds.

Cancer and metastasis: prevention and treatment by green tea.

September 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

The following study gives information of the positive effects of green tea in the prevention of cancer.

Metastasis is the most deadly aspect of cancer and results from several interconnected processes including cell proliferation, angiogenesis, cell adhesion, migration, and invasion into the surrounding tissue. The appearance of metastases in organs distant from the primary tumor is the most destructive feature of cancer. Metastasis remains the principal cause of the deaths of cancer patients despite decades of research aimed at restricting tumor growth. Therefore, inhibition of metastasis is one of the most important issues in cancer research. Several in vitro, in vivo, and epidemiological studies have reported that the consumption of green tea may decrease cancer risk. (-)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate, major component of green tea, has been shown to inhibit tumor invasion and angiogenesis which are essential for tumor growth and metastasis. This article summarizes the effect of green tea and its major polyphenolic compounds on cancer and metastasis against most commonly diagnosed cancer sites.

Melissa officinalis oil affects infectivity of enveloped herpesviruses.

September 6, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

The following article shows the importance of lemon balm in the treatment of the herpes simplex virus, (HSV).

Extracts and essential oils of medicinal plants are increasingly of interest as novel drugs of antimicrobial and antiviral agents, since herpes simplex virus (HSV) might develop resistance to commonly used antiviral agents. Melissa officinalis essential oil was phytochemically examined by GC-MS analysis, its main constituents were identified as monoterpenaldehydes citral a, citral b and citronellal. The antiviral effect of lemon balm oil, the essential oil of Melissa officinalis, on herpes simplex virus was examined. The inhibitory activity against herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1)and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) was tested in vitro on monkey kidney cells using a plaque reduction assay. The 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of balm oil for herpes simplex virus plaque formation was determined at high dilutions of 0.0004% and 0.00008% for HSV-1 and HSV-2, respectively. At noncytotoxic concentrations of the oil,plaque formation was significantly reduced by 98.8% for HSV-1 and 97.2% for HSV-2, higher concentrations of lemon balm oil abolished viral infectivity nearly completely. In order to determine the mode of antiviral action of this essential oil, time-on-addition assays were performed. Both herpesviruses were significantly inhibited by pretreatment with balm oil prior to infection of cells. These results indicate that Melissa oil affected the virus before adsorption, but not after penetration into the host cell, thus lemon balm oil is capable of exerting a direct antiviral effect on herpesviruses. Considering the lipophilic nature of lemon balm essential oil, which enables it to penetrate the skin, and a high selectivity index, Melissa officinalis oil might be suitable for topical treatment of herpetic infections.

Medicinal properties of neem leaves: a review.

August 24, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

The following review gives information on the neem plant.  Neem has a wide variety of medicinal usages as the article points out.

Azadirachta indica, commonly known as neem, has attracted worldwide prominence in recent years, owing to its wide range of medicinal properties. Neem has been extensively used in Ayurveda, Unani and Homoeopathic medicine and has become a cynosure of modern medicine. Neem elaborates a vast array of biologically active compounds that are chemically diverse and structurally complex. More than 140 compounds have been isolated from different parts of neem. All parts of the neem tree- leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, roots and bark have been used traditionally for the treatment of inflammation, infections, fever, skin diseases and dental disorders. The medicinal utilities have been described especially for neem leaf. Neem leaf and its constituents have been demonstrated to exhibit immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, antihyperglycaemic, antiulcer, antimalarial, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic properties. This review summarises the wide range of pharmacological activities of neem leaf.

nvestigation of the tuber constituents of maca (Lepidium meyenii Walp.).

August 16, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Science

The information below gives us information on the currently popular herb, Lepidium meyennii, Maca.

Lepidium meyenii, known in South America as maca, has received attention worldwide as a powerful energizer that improves physical and mental conditions and increases fertility. Because of these reports, we investigated the secondary metabolites of the tuber of maca. The methanol extract of the tuber of maca contained, in addition to free sugars and amino acids, the following: uridine, malic acid and its benzoyl derivative, and the glucosinolates, glucotropaeolin and m-methoxyglucotropaeolin. Because glucosinolates and their derived products have received increasing attention due to their biological activities, the occurrence of glucosinolate degradation products in the hexane extract was also investigated, and benzylisothiocyanate and its m-methoxy derivative were isolated. The two glucosinolates were semiquantified by HPLC, and benzylisothiocyanate was semiquantified by GC/MS. The methanol extract of maca tuber also contained (1R,3S)-1-methyltetrahydro-beta-carboline-3-carboxylic acid, a molecule which is reported to exert many activities on the central nervous system.

Ocimum sanctum Linn. (Holy Basil) ethanolic leaf extract protects against 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced genotoxicity, oxidative stress, and imbalance in xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes.

August 6, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Science

The following information clearly states the effectiveness of Holy Basil in reducing the extent of lipid and protein oxidation and up-regulating antioxidant defenses.

The present study was designed to evaluate the protective effects of ethanolic Ocimum sanctum leaf extract against 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced genotoxicity, oxidative stress, and imbalance in xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes. Four different concentrations of ethanolic O. sanctum leaf extract (100, 200, 300, and 400 mg/kg of body weight) were administered to Wistar rats by intragastric intubation for five consecutive days followed by intraperitoneal injection of DMBA (35 mg/kg of body weight) 90 minutes after the final dose of the extract. Administration of DMBA increased bone marrow micronuclei, phase I enzymes, lipid peroxidation, and protein carbonyl formation. This was accompanied by a significant decrease in the activities of phase II detoxification enzymes and antioxidants in the liver, erythrocytes, and bone marrow. Pretreatment with ethanolic O. sanctum leaf extract at a concentration of 300 mg/kg of body weight significantly reduced micronuclei formation and phase I enzymes as well as lipid and protein oxidation with enhanced antioxidant and phase II enzyme activities. The results of the present study suggest that ethanolic O. sanctum leaf extract inhibits DMBA-induced genotoxicity and oxidative stress by modulating xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes, reducing the extent of lipid and protein oxidation and up-regulating antioxidant defenses.

Flaxseed oil reduces the growth of human breast tumors (MCF-7) at high levels of circulating estrogen.

July 16, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

Flax seed should be considered as a healthy addition to ones diet.  The following article shows its possible benefits in the prevention of breast cancer.

Flaxseed (FS) has been shown to attenuate mammary tumorigenesis, possibly due to its high alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)-rich oil (FSO) content. This study determined the effect of FSO on the growth of estrogen receptor-positive human breast tumors (MCF-7) in ovariectomized athymic mice at high premenopausal-like estrogen (E2) levels. Mice with established MCF-7 tumors were fed basal diet (control) or basal diet supplemented with FSO (40 g/kg) for 8 wks. Compared with control, FSO reduced tumor size (33%, p<0.05) and tumor cell proliferation (38%, p<0.05) and increased apoptosis (110%, p<0.001). FSO also reduced human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (79%, p<0.05) and epidermal growth factor receptor (57%, p=0.057) expression, which then may have led to a reduction in Akt (54%, p<0.05) and phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) to phosphorylated MAPK (pMAPK, 28%, p<0.05). Insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor, MAPK and phosphorylated Akt were not affected. FSO increased (p<0.001) serum ALA, eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid and, in vitro, ALA reduced MCF-7 cell proliferation (33%, p<0.001). Thus, FSO regressed estrogen receptor-positive human breast tumorigenesis at high E2 levels via downregulation of the growth factor mediated pathway, likely through its ALA content, and may explain the anti-tumorigenicity of FS.

Inhibitory effects of rosemary extracts, carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid on the growth of various human cancer cell lines.

July 7, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

Rosaemary is a very useful herb for many conditions.  The following article shows us the importance of this herb in the prevention of cancer.

The leaves of Rosmarinus officinalis harvested from three different locations of Turkey were extracted by both methanolic and supercritical CO(2) extraction. Subsequently, six extracts and the active compounds, carnosic acid, and rosmarinic acid were applied to various human cancer cell lines including NCI-H82 (human, small cell lung, carcinoma), DU-145 (human, prostate, carcinoma), Hep-3B (human, black, liver, carcinoma, hepatocellular), K-562 (human chronic myeloid leukemia), MCF-7 (human, breast, adenocarcinoma), PC-3 (human, prostate, adenocarcinoma) and MDA-MB-231 (human, breast, adenocarcinoma) by MTT assay. Supercritical CO(2) extracts had superior antiproliferative effect compared to the soxhlet extracts. Although the extracts exhibited various cytotoxic effects against different cell lines, comparatively low IC(50) values ranging between 12.50 and 47.55 microg/ml were attained against K-562, being the most sensitive cell line. Moreover, carnosic acid caused the lowest cell viability with values ranging from 13 to 30 % at a concentration of 19 muM after 48 h of treatments, resulting in superior antiproliferative effect. Rosemary extract is a potential candidate to be included in the anti-cancer diet with pre-determined doses avoiding toxicity.

Acupuncture for treatment of insomnia: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials

June 21, 2010 by  
Filed under All, Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

The following review article shows that acupuncture is useful in the treatment of insomnia.

BACKGROUND: Acupuncture is commonly used in treating insomnia in China, and clinical studies have shown that acupuncture may have a beneficial effect on insomnia compared with Western medication. METHODS: We included randomized controlled trials on acupuncture for insomnia. We searched PubMed, the Cochrane Library (2008 Issue 3), China Network Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Chinese Scientific Journal Database (VIP), and Wan Fang Database. All searches ended in December 2008. Two authors extracted data and assessed the trials’ quality independently. RevMan 5.0.17 software was used for data analysis with effect estimate presented as relative risk (RR) and mean difference (MD) with a 95% confidence interval (CI). RESULTS: Forty-six (46) randomized trials involving 3811 patients were included, and the methodological quality of trials was generally fair in terms of randomization, blinding, and intention-to-treat analysis. Meta-analyses showed a beneficial effect of acupuncture compared with no treatment (MD -3.28, 95% CI -6.10 to -0.46, p = 0.02; 4 trials) and real acupressure compared with sham acupressure (MD -2.94, 95% CI -5.77 to -0.11, p = 0.04; 2 trials) on total scores of Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Acupuncture was superior to medications regarding the number of patients with total sleep duration increased for >3 hours (RR 1.53, 95% CI 1.24-1.88, p < 0.0001). However, there was no difference between acupuncture and medications in average sleep duration (MD -0.06, 95% CI -0.30-0.18, p = 0.63). Acupuncture plus medications showed better effect than medications alone on total sleep duration (MD 1.09, 95% CI 0.56-1.61, p < 0.0001). Similarly, acupuncture plus herbs was significantly better than herbs alone on increase of sleep rates (RR 1.67, 95% CI 1.12-2.50, p = 0.01). There were no serious adverse effects with related to acupuncture treatment in the included trials. CONCLUSIONS: Acupuncture appears to be effective in treatment of insomnia. However, further large, rigorous designed trials are warranted.

Wound healing activity of flower extract of Calendula officinalis.

June 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Herbs, Natural Healthcare, Science

The following study shows the importance of Calendula as a potent wound healing agent.  Calendula may be used internally as well as externally for help with the healing of wounds.

The effects of oral and topical application of Calendula officinalis flower extract on excision wounds made in rats were checked. The parameters assessed were the days needed for re-epithelization and percentage of wound closure. The hydroxy proline and hexosamine content in the granuloma tissue of the wound was also measured. The percentage of wound closure was 90.0% in the extract-treated group, whereas the control group showed only 51.1% on the eighth day of wounding (p < .01). The days needed for re-epithelization were 17.7 for the control animals; extract treatment at a dose of 20 or 100 mg/kg b.wt reduced the period to 14 and 13 days, respectively. A significant increase was observed in the hydroxy proline and hexosamine content in the extract-treated group compared with the untreated animals. The data indicate potent wound healing activity ofC. officinalis extract.

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