Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Anti Inflammatory Plants

Spanish Needles

Inflammation is a dynamic process that is elicited in response to mechanical injuries, burns, microbial infections, and other noxious stimuli that may threaten the well-being of the host. This process involves changes in blood flow, increased vascular permeability, destruction of tissues via the activation and migration of leucocytes with synthesis of reactive oxygen derivatives (oxidative burst), and the synthesis of local inflammatory mediators, such as prostaglandins (PGs), leukotrienes, and platelet-activating factors induced by phospholipase A2, cyclooxygenases (COXs), and lipoxygenases. Arachidonic acid is a key biological intermediate that is converted in to a large number of eicosanoids with potent biological activities. The two major pathways of arachidonic acid metabolism are the COX pathway, which results in the formation of both PGs and thromboxanes, and the 5-lipoxygenase pathway, which is responsible for the formation of leukotrienes and 5S-hydroxy-6E, 8Z, 11Z,...

Complementary therapies

Dong quai is a perennial plant native to southwest China, commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. It has not been found to be superior to placebo for menopausal symptoms in one randomized trial. Interaction with warfarin and photosensitization has been reported due to the presence of coumarins.

Medicinal Hamamelidaceae

The family Hamamelidaceae consists of 26 genera and about 100 species of shrubs or tress known to contain tannins and iridoids. The leaves are alternate, simple, and often palmately lobed. The flowers are small and appear in spikes. The fruits are woody, capsular, and scepticidal. In Western medicine, the dried leaves of Hamamelis virginiana (hamamelis, British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1963), yielding not less that 20 of alcohol (45 )-soluble extractive, have been used as astringents for the treatment of hemorrhoids. Hamamelis water (British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1969) made from the stems has been used as a cooling application to sprains and bruises and as a styptic remedy. It is also used in cosmetics and as active ingredient of eye lotions.

Madagascar Periwinkle

(Catheranthus roseus) This is an important plant, which has been used in cancer research, particularly with regard to leukemia in children. But apart from that, it brings good luck to a house in Haiti, where it is used for hypertension (F Huxley), as it also is in Chinese medicine (Chinese medicinal herbs of Hong Kong. Vol 3). It was noted during medical research that a side effect of its use was euphoria and hallucinations. When this became generally known, there was an outbreak of Catheranthus smoking in Miami, where it grows like a weed. But the side effects of smoking it are pretty severe (Emboden. 1979).

Genome Organization and Molecular Biology

In contrast to similarity in size of RNA1, RNA2 is more variable in both size and nucleotide sequence. However, in all instances the 5'-proximal gene encodes the coat protein. The coat protein of TRV strain TCM is over 90 similar to the coat protein of known isolates of PEBV at the amino acid sequence level. Likewise, coat protein genes of TRV strains PLB, PSG and PpK20 share over 90 homology, whereas the similarity between coat proteins of TCM and PLB is about 40 . The PRV coat protein cistron has only 40 homology with coat proteins of both TCM and PLB.

Cucumber

Medicinally speaking, this is a cooling plant, excellent good for a hot stomach and hot liver, as Culpeper put it. But Thomas Hill, in 1577, really did produce a marvel when he wrote that if an infant being sick of the Ague, and sucking still of the breast be laid on the bed made of Cucumbers to sleep . he shall immediately be delivered of the same, for while he sleepeth, all the feverous heat passeth in the Cucumbers Even Gerard did not go that far, though he acknowledged that cucumber helpeth the chest and lungs that are inflamed. He was alive, too, to the use to which cucumber could be put in clarifying the skin (a use-re-discovered in modern times). He was able to indulge his humour, as he went on to say the fruit cut in pieces or chopped as herbes to the pot, and boiled in a small pipkin with a piece of mutton, being made into potage with Ote-meale . doth perfectly cure all manner of sauce flegme and copper faces, red and shining fierie red noses (as red as red roses) with...

Ginseng

The true ginseng, from northern China, is now rare because of the extensive use of the root in Chinese medicine. The forked root was treated like the human form (like mandrake, in fact it would seem that the whole of the mandrake legend spread to China, and became attached to ginseng) (G E Smith) (see MANDRAKE). It was used as a universal panacea indeed Panax, the name of the genus, has the same derivation as panacea, i.e., heal-all (W A R Thompson. 1976). The name All-heal is even recorded in English (Hal-liwell). Ginseng, the name, is Chinese Jin-chen, which means man-like (W A R Thompson. 1976), and it was because of this supposed resemblance that the doctrine of signatures worked, that is to say that the plant healed all parts of the body. The more closely the root resembled the human form, the more valuable it was considered, and well-formed roots were worth their weight in gold (Schery) - as an aphrodisiac (Simons). It was the Dutch who brought the root to Europe, in 1610, and...

Great Burnet

(Sanguisorba officinalis) By tradition, a stauncher of blood, perhaps from the colour of its flowers, which are of a dark crimson (the generic name, Sanguisorba, comes from Latin sanguis, blood). Burnet is a singular good herb for wounds . it stauncheth bleeding and therefore it was named Sanguisorba, as well inwardly taken as outwardly applied (Gerard), in other words, surface wounds as well as internal haemorrhages. The plant was actually called Bloodwort (Clair), or Burnet Bloodwort (Prior). An interesting fact, whether this use is from flower colour or not, is that it is taken in Chinese medicine for haemorrhages, too (Geng Junying), as well as for dysentery and other ailments. The leaves of Sweet Basil and Burnet steeped in boiling water make a cooling face wash (H N Webster).

Royleanolic acid

Extract of the plant inhibited the proliferation of HepG2 cells cultured in vitro and caused apoptotosis (51). Chor et al. investigated the effects of a number of Chinese medicinal herbs on cellular proliferation and apoptosis of a rat hepatic stellate cell line, HSC-T6, and found that Salvia miltiorrhiza has antiproliferative and pro-apoptotic activities (52). The active principle involved here might be a diterpene of the tanshi-none type because tanshinone IIA, from Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge, is cytotoxic against various human carcinoma cell lines cultured in vitro accompanied by an increase in intracellular calcium. This triggers the release of cytochrome c, thus causing a loss of the mitochondrial membrane potential, which results in the subsequent activation of caspases, hence apoptosis (53).

Mugwort

Only betony seems to have a longer list of ailments for which it is prescribed. Only a few of the important uses can be discussed here. Chinese medicine uses it extensively, and recognizes several forms in commercial use, including a cautery use that is additional to that which forms part of normal acupuncture treatment. One of the best-known pieces of folklore in this country involving mugwort is the Clyde legend that as the funeral procession of a young woman who had died of consumption was passing along the high road, a mermaid surfaced, and said

Childbirth

The shoots of HOLLYHOCK, too, have been used in Chinese medicine to make labour easy (F P Smith). Sudeten women used to put LADY'S BEDSTRAW in their beds to make childbirth easier and safer, and since women who have just had a child are susceptible to attack by demons, they would not go out unless they had some lady's bedstraw with them in their shoes (Grigson. 1955).

Pyrrosia

Historically, herbal remedies and medicinal properties associated with this genus date back some 5000 years and are remarkable and extensive in Asian cultures. They included multipurpose cures for many ailments. Compounds, especially from Pyrrosia lingua and P. sheareri, are still offered in contemporary Chinese medicine as remedies for assorted ills from bronchial infections and asthma to serious kidney and urinary tract disorders.

Medicinal Rutaceae

Western medicine has been using the essential oil of several species of Rutaceae as flavoring ingredient. The essential oil of C. sinensis (orange oil, Oleum aurantii, British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1963) has been used as a flavoring agent and in perfumery. Berg-amot oil (Oleum bergamottae, British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1949) from Citrus bergamia has been used in perfumery in preparations for the hair (cologne spirit or Spiritus coloniensis), lemon oil (Oleum limonis, British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1963) from C. limon, Citrus limonia, and Citrus medica is carminative and used as a flavoring agent, and the dry peel of C. aurantium (Aurantii cortex siccatus, British Pharmacopoeia, 1963) has been used as a flavoring agent and for its bitter and carminative properties. The oil of Ruta graveolens L. (common rue, herb of grace) has been has been used to stop spasms, promote menses, and produce skin irritation (rue, British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1934).

Great Plantain

Gerard listed many ailments to be treated with Great Plantain (of all the plantains the greatest is the best ). Among them, fluxes, issues, rheumes, and rottennesse, and for the bloudy flux, which is dysentery, and it is still used in Chinese herbal medicine for that complaint (Chinese medicinal herbs of Hong Kong), and plantain tea is still being recommended for diarrhoea (A W Hatfield). Jaundice is another ailment to be cured with plantain in modern times, but which had already appeared in a much earlier age. The treatment was known in folk medicine, in this case, in Cambridgeshire (Porter. 1969), but undoubtedly over a much wider area as well. The tea is still used for complaints as different as piles and asthma (A W Hatfield), and bronchitis can also be treated in this way. A leaf poultice was used for corns and ulcers (Vickery. 1995), and boils too (Stout), but that is a very old recipe - Reliquae Antiquae has take the rotes of red nettilles and playntayne, and stamp them wele in...

Coughs

An Alabama cough medicine is shaggy hickory (SHAGBARK HICKORY) the bark boiled in water, strained off and sweetened. A teaspoonful every few hours is the dose (R B Browne). But the best-known of all the cough cures is that provided by COLTSFOOT, either in the form of a tea, or a piece of coltsfoot rock, to chew, or as coltsfoot wine (M Evans). And it can be smoked, like tobacco. Bechion, the plant in Dioscorides taken to be coltsfoot, was smoked against a dry cough, and it is still smoked in all herbal tobaccos (Grigson. 1955), as it is also in Chinese medicine (F P Smith), for asthma, even lung cancer (Perry & Metzger). Gypsies smoke the dried leaves as beneficial for asthma and bronchitis, and the tea is also taken for coughs (Vesey-Fitzgerald). Cornish miners used to smoke it as a precaution against lung diseases (Deane & Shaw). A sweet paste, called p t de guimauve, used to be prepared by French druggists, from MARSH MALLOW, for coughs and sore throats (M Evans).

Caper Spurge

(Euphorbia lathyris) The fruits are quite often used green as a caper substitute (Browning), hence the common name, but it can be dangerous to eat them, poisonous as they are. It is the purging quality that most spurges have that causes trouble, and they have been known to be fatal (Salisbury. 1964). Goats are quite liable to eat quantities of it - then, it is said, their milk had the poisonous properties of the plant (Long. 1924). The toxin is in the milky latex, causing blistering and ulceration on the skin. Ingestion causes severe abdominal pain and nausea, leading to vomiting and diarrhoea, and possibly internal haemorrhage, though death is unlikely (Jordan). Nevertheless, the seeds are emetic and laxative, and some herbals have even recommended them for rheumatism (Schauenberg & Paris), though that sounds rather dangerous. In Chinese medicine, the flowers, seeds and leaves are all prescribed for diarrheoa (F P Smith), but it seems to have been most widely used, if the...

Cancer

The bark of SPURGE LAUREL (Daphne laureola) was used in the treatment of cancer (Grigson. 1955), though this was only a cottage remedy, and there seems no record of how it was done, nor whether it was really cancer (and not canker) that was being treated. The use of MISTLETOE for a tumour seems to be quite genuine. The juice is applied on the tumour as a well-known form of treatment (Thomson. 1976). The rhizomes of ZEDOARY (Curcuma zedoaria), a close relative of Turmeric, have been used in Chinese medicine to treat cervical cancer (Chinese medicinal herbs of Hong Kong. 1978), and another remedy, for cancer of the stomach, in Chinese medicine, is the use of MELONS, in some way (F P Smith). COLTSFOOT is well-known as a treatment for chest complaints, from coughs to asthma, and it seems that the smoked leaves have been used in Chinese medicine for treating lung cancer. (Perry & Metzger). The Cherokee Indians of North America used a preparation of BLOODROOT for treating breast cancer....

Goatweed

A decoction of the leaves and young stems is used in Chinese medicine for common colds, and eczema (Chinese medicinal herbs of Hong Kong vol 1). There is yet another tradition in Africa, to treat a child who cries too often for no known cause, especially at night. Stress is put on the requirement that the plant should be collected at night, especially when witchcraft is suspected. The procedure is described as follows the plant is found during the day, and in the dead of night the collector approaches the plant and chews 9 or 7 seeds (for male or female respectively) of Melegueta Pepper (Aframomum melegueta). The chewed grains are spat on the plant while the appropriate incantations are recited. After that the plant is plucked, taken home and warmed over a fire before the juice is expressed. Palm oil is added to this, and the two mixed together are used to rub the child all over the body (Sofowora).

Greater Celandine

The legends connected with this plant and with lesser celandine explain its use, from the earliest times (in ancient Chinese medicine, for instance), as a specific for sore or weak eyes (Grigson. 1974). It continued into Anglo-Saxon times, when it was prescribed for dimness of eyes and soreness and obstruction . (Cockayne). The orange latex of celandine is very irritant, but after drying or heating the acrid property is much reduced or destroyed. In this state it has been used successfully since time immemorial to remove films or spots from the cornea (M L Cameron). A medieval Jewish work recommended the sap for spots in the eye, and for cataracts (Trachtenberg). The prescriptions carried on into Gerard's time. He said that the juice of the herbe is good to sharpen the sight, for it clenseth and consumeth away slimie things that cleave about the back of the eye, and hinder the sight.

Jujube

Up into lozenges, and were widely exported such lozenges are still called jujubes (Mitton). This plum is an excellent Pectoral, and opens the Body It expectorates tough Flegme, and is good against Coughs, Colds, Hoarseness, Shortness of Breath, Wheezings, Roughness in the Throat and Wind-Pipe, Pleurisies (Pomet). The seeds are used in Chinese medicine to give sleep, and also to benefit the nervous system (R Hyatt).

Leprosy

Dioscorides asserted that the leaves of ELM, beaten small with vinegar, and soe applied are good for the leprosie (Apuleius Madaurensis). Wesley, too, associated elm with a leprosy cure, but it was the bark he prescribed. The leaves of PHYSIC NUT are used, externally, in Chinese medicine, to make an ointment to treat skin diseases, even leprosy (Chinese medicinal herbs of Hong Kong. Vol 3 1987). In southern India, the dried root of SCARLET LEADWORT (Plumbago indica) used to be highly regarded as a leprosy (and syphilis) cure (P A Simpson).

Jaundice

Of them that have the yellow jaundice, and it will help them, was Lupton's advice. The yellow juice of RED POPPY is the reason for its use in Chinese medicine for the complaint (F P Smith), and the same applies to the yellow latex of MEXICAN POPPY (Argemone mexicana) (See also DOCTRINE OF SIGNATURES). WORMWOOD was prescribed in the old herbals for jaundice. It is possible that this is also doctrine of signatures (it has yellow flowers), but it does not seem all that likely. But the most obvious example is that of TURMERIC, with its yellow dye, and not only in the Pacific islands, but in West Africa (Harley), and even in Britain (Thornton, New family herbal, 1810 Turmeric, when taken internally, tinges the urine a deep yellow colour, and acts as a gentle stimulant. It has been celebrated in diseases of the liver, jaundice, etc.,). SAFFLOWER, the yellow dyestuff, is used in the Philippines to treat it (Perry & Metzger). A root infusion of TREE CELANDINE (Bocconia frutescens) has been...

Knotgrass

In Chinese medicine, the juice is used in skin diseases, and for piles (F P Smith), and also for bladder complaints (Geng Junying). A French charm for corns is to put a piece of knotgrass in a pocket on the same side as the corn, and say Que mon cors s'en aille a l'aide de cette herbe (Sebillot).

Hypertension

GARLIC In Alabama domestic medicine, garlic is taken, cooked, preferably fried, to reduce blood pressure (Browne). Actually it is still prescribed, chopped finely in milk, for arteriosclerosis, as well as for hypertension (Fluck). Like true garlic, wild garlic, or RAMSONS, as it is generally known, has been used for hypertension, either by eating the fresh leaves, or by drinking a tea made from the dried leaves (Fluck). Actually, all the Alliums can be used to reduce blood pressure, including SHALLOTS, and particularly ONIONS (Schauenberg & Paris). MADAGASCAR PERIWINKLE (Catheranthus roseus) is used in Haiti to bring down blood pressure (F Huxley), and that is one of its uses in Chinese medicine, too. (W A R Thomson. 1976). ARNICA, in minute doses, has also been prescribed (Wickham). WATERMELON is said in Americe to be good for the condition, the treatment being to drink a tea made from the seeds (R B Browne). SHEPHERD'S PURSE has been adopted in Chinese medicine to treat...

Measles

A Wiltshire name for MARIGOLDS is Measles-flowers it is said that children were warned that picking garden marigolds would give them measles (Dartnell & Goddard). The reason for the name, though, is likely to be just the opposite, for nearby, in Dorset, marigold tea and cider was given as a medicine (Dacombe), and in Scotland, too, though without the cider (Simpkins), there is a record from Suffolk, too (V G Hatfield. 1994). The marigold, it was said, helped to bring out the rash, which was what RED DEADNETTLE roots were reckoned to do, when boiled in milk for the children to drink (Vickery. 1995) (that was an Irish remedy), or CORIANDER, which is used in Chinese herbal medicine for that purpose (Geng Junying).

Coriander

The seeds are still known to herbalists as an efficient indigestion remedy. A few seeds chewed before a meal always help (Conway), and they would be chewed to sweeten the breath, too (G B Foster). The whole plant is used in Chinese herbal medicine in the early stages of measles, to bring the rash out (Geng Junying). The juice, blown up the nostrils, was used to stop a nosebleed, and when mixed with violets, it was used to sober up a drunk (F J Anderson). The Anglo-Saxon version of Apuleius claimed an extraordinary use for coriander seeds. In translation, it reads in order that a wife may quickly bring forth, take seed eleven grains or thirteen, knit them with a thread on a clean linen cloth let then a person take them who is a person of maidenhood, a boy or a maiden, and hold this at the left thigh, near the natura, and as all parturition be done, remove away the leechdom, lest part of the inwards follow thereafter (Cockayne). So, according to Apuleius, it helps women in childbirth,...

Butter Bean

The principle of the counter-irritant made the medicinal use of buttercups possible. Chinese medicine certainly used it as such (F P Smith). Thornton's remedy for rheumatism must come under that heading -he recommended pounding the leaves and applying it as a poultice, when it produces a vesication like a blister. Gerard recognized the idea, and in a burst of humour offered this Many do use to tie a little of the herbe stamped with salt unto any of the fingers, against the pain in the teeth which medicine seldome faileth for it causeth greater paine in the finger than was in the tooth

Turmeric

Elsewhere, though, the yellow colour has a different meaning. On Tikopia, turmeric is daubed over mother and child soon after birth, as a mark of attention, or even of honour. It is used to single out individuals who are at the moment of special interest and importance (Firth). Yellow is a colour sacred to the gods in Samoa, so the gathering and processing of the roots became a religious ceremony, with its prescribed rites. Turmeric powder is used as a medicine, as well as a dye. Mixed with oil, it is rubbed on inflamed parts, especially over recent tattooing, to soothe the pain. It was used in Samoa as a dusting powder for babies (Buck). In the Marquesas it is used as an insect repellent, and in Java it is the commonest laxative in use (Geertz). But the best known use in medicine is pure doctrine of signatures, for it is very comonly prescribed for jaundice, and a long way from Polynesia, too. The Mano, of Liberia, for example, use it in this way. The patient has to drink daily a...

Dysentery

A root infusion of the African tree CATCHTHORN (Zizyphus abyssinica) is taken for dysentery. There is a lot of tannin in the bark, so that is probably the reason for this treatment (Palgrave & Palgrave). Maoris set great store in HEBE, particularly Hebe salicifolia, for curing diarrhoea and dysentery, so much so that the young leaf tips, the astringent part used, were collected and sent out to Maori troops in the Middle East during World War II (C Macdonald). GREAT BURNET root is used in Chinese medicine for the complaint (Geng Junying), as well as for haemorrhages and other conditions.

Sandalwood

(Santalum album) A fragrant oil, called Oil of Santal, is distilled from the heartwood for use in perfumery and cosmetics. The paste that can be got by rubbing the wood on a stone with a little water is used for painting the body after bathing, and is also used for making caste marks, especially in south India (Pandey). The Chinese make joss sticks from the wood (Usher), and incense from the sawdust, mixed with swine's dung( ) (Moldenke & Moldenke). The oil is used for the treatment of urinary complaints and sexually transmitted diseases, and heartwood is sliced and used in Chinese medicine for abdominal and chest pains, i.e., angina (Geng Junying). In Indian mythology, it is described as surrounded by snakes, but it is a sacred tree, and the devotees of Vishnu apply a paste made from it on their foreheads. Hindu funeral pyres are made from it if the family is rich enough to afford such a luxury (Upadhyaya).

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine

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