Tag Archives: ethnopharmacology

Assessment of Anticancer & Antimalarial Properties of Apocynaceae Used in Traditional Medicine

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Wong SK, Lim YY, Abdullah NR, Nordin FJ.
Assessment of antiproliferative and antiplasmodial activities of five selected Apocynaceae species.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011 Jan 14;11:3.

Read free full text at BioMed Central.

Investigators at Monash University Sunway Campus (Selangor, Malaysia) assessed leaf extracts of five selected species of the Apocynaceae family for antiproliferative and antiplasmodial activities. The plants – which are used by traditional medicine practitioners to treat gastrointestinal ailments, fever, malaria, pain and diabetes, among other conditions – included Alstonia angustiloba (Pulai tree), Calotropis gigantea (Calotropis gigantea), Dyera costulata (jelutong), Kopsia fruticosa (shrub vinca, pink kopsia, kopsia merah, pink gardenia) and Vallaris glabra (bread flower).

The authors found that leaf extracts of C. gigantea and V. glabra inhibited the growth of all six cancer cell lines studied, showing “great promise as potential candidates for anticancer drugs.” In addition, V. glabra displayed effective activity against Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly of the Plasmodium species that cause malaria in humans.

Read free full text at BioMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Evaluation of antibacterial & anticancer activities of South African medicinal plants

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Bisi-Johnson MA, Obi CL, Hattori T, et al.
Evaluation of the antibacterial and anticancer activities of some South African medicinal plants.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011 Feb 17;11:14.

Free full text via BioMed Central.

Investigators from Walter Sisulu University, South Africa, evaluated antibacterial and anticancer activity of six medicinal plants used in the treatment of diarrhea stomach disorders: Eucomis autumnalis (autumn pineapple flower, autumn pineapple lily), Cyathula uncinulata (bohome, burweed, globe cyathula, klits, maime, rondeklits, tchimate, wolbossie), Hypoxis latifolia (broad-leaved hypoxis, igudu, ilabatheka, ilabetheka, ingcobo, inkomfe, yellow star), Lantana camara (Spanish flag, West Indian lantana, LAVA), Aloe arborescens (Krantz aloe, candelabra aloe) and Aloe striatula (hardy aloe, coral aloe).

The results indicated that E. autumnalis had a profound cytotoxic effect, and the investigators called for caution in its use. However, they found that the antibacterial activities and non-cytotoxic effects of A. arborescens and A. striatula validates their continuous usage in ethnomedicine.

Free full text via BioMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Medicinal Plants Used by Sabaots of Mt. Elgon, Kenya

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Okello SV, Nyunja RO, Netondo GW, Onyango JC.
Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used by Sabaots of Mt. Elgon Kenya.
Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2009 Oct 15;7(1):1-10
Free full text via PubMed Central

Researchers from Maseno University conducted an ethnobotanical study of medicinal plant species used to manage human ailments by the Sabaot people in Kopsiro Division, Mt. Elgon District, Kenya. The study documented 107 plants reported to be of medicinal value in a forest region that is in danger of being completely destroyed.

From the conclusion:

“Traditional medicine in Kopsiro division offers cheap, accessible and convenient remedy that suits the traditional lifestyle of the local community in comparison to the conventional medicine. Most medicinal plant species reported in this study were found to be under threat and this calls for urgent conservation measures so as to maximize the sustainable use of these vital resources in the study area.”

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

A Primer on Ayurvedic Pharmaceutics

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Savrikar SS, Ravishankar B.
Bhaishajya Kalpanaa – the Ayurvedic pharmaceutics – an overview.
Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2010 Apr 3;7(3):174-84. Review.
PubMed PMID: 21461144

The authors, from Gujarat Ayurved University, present an overview of Bhaishajya Kalpanaa, the sub-discipline of Ayurvedic medicine devoted to drug formulations. They cover the historical background, basic principles, methods of preparation, and major influences on the activity of the compounds.

Drawing from the Ayurvedic Formulary of India (current version available online via the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India), the authors detail 21 drug formulations, 16 are mainly plant-based and the rest mineral- and metal-based.

Free full text is available via PubMed. Clinical trials related to Ayurvedic medicine can be found at ClinicalTrials.gov.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Folk Medicines Used to Treat Malaria in Calabria

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Tagarelli G, Tagarelli A, Piro A.
Folk medicine used to heal malaria in Calabria (southern Italy).
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2010 Sep 18;6:27.
PubMed PMID: 20849654; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2949813. [Free full text via PubMed Central.]

Researchers at Istituto di Scienze Neurologiche-CNR identified folk medical cures that were used by the Calabrian people for the treatment of malaria, as evidenced in writings produced between the 19th and 20th centuries.

The authors identify 53 plants used by Calabrian people to treat malaria, and note that some of these plants are still currently used in Calabrian folk medicine to treat various diseases.

From the Discussion:

“The methodology based on the analysis of historical sources regarding Calabrian folk medicine remedies for the prophylaxis and treatment of malaria, if not compared with similar studies, can be considered a case study where the ordinary methodologies of ethno-medical-biological research are combined with the methodologies pertaining to historical-anthropological sciences. In addition, this is part of a debate regarding the association between ethnobotany and ethnopharmacology and other disciplines, to improve our understanding of the human usage of plants.”

Free full text is available via PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Ethnopharmacological Knowledge among Migrants in Diadema, São Paulo

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Garcia D, Domingues MV, Rodrigues E.
Ethnopharmacological survey among migrants living in the Southeast Atlantic Forest of Diadema, São Paulo, Brazil.
J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2010 Oct 29;6:29.
PubMed PMID: 21034478; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2987905. [Free full text via PubMed Central.]

Noting that an understanding of how people of diverse cultural backgrounds have traditionally used plants and animals as medicinal substances during displacements is one of the most important objectives of ethnopharmacological studies, biologists at the Universidade Federal de São Paulo interviewed five migrants who described knowledge about 12 animals and 85 plants used medicinally in their places of origin. The five interviewees migrated from northeast and southeast Brazil and established themselves in Diadema in the 1940s.

From the Background:

“Cultural mixing mediated by the migration of people around the world has generated increasing interest in recent years within the field of ethnopharmacology. Medicinal plants have been used by human societies throughout history, also across geographical barriers. The continuous use of certain plants and animals for medicinal purposes over time reflects their potential therapeutic value. Such substances become even more promising when they are persistently used by migrating human groups despite the considerable distances travelled and the consequent exposure to different cultures and vegetal resources.”

Seven plants [Impatiens hawkeri W. Bull., [Artemisia camphorata Vill.], Equisetum arvensis L. [sic – Equisetum arvense?], Senna pendula (Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.) H.S. Irwin & Barneby, Zea mays L., Fevillea passiflora Vell. and Croton fuscescens Spreng)] and two animals (Atta sexdens and Periplaneta americana) showed maintenance of use among migrants during their displacement in Brazilian territory and have not yet been studied by pharmacologists.

The authors acknowledge that their work raises significant issues related to property rights, as the dynamic use of natural resources presents particularly varied influences: “The interviewed migrants had passed through several Brazilian cities and were exposed to distinct vegetation and cultures. In this migration, they have passed on and incorporated knowledge in an intensive exchange where formulas and uses are mixed and re-invented as a result of contact between cultures.”

Free full text available via PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Hot chilis to cool cancer

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Oyagbemi AA, Saba AB, Azeez OI. Capsaicin: a novel chemopreventive molecule and its underlying molecular mechanisms of action. Indian J Cancer. 2010 Jan-Mar;47(1):53-8 [open access]

Researchers at the University of Ibadan undertook a review of the literature on the plant genus Capsicum (Solanaceae), a principal ingredient of hot red and chili peppers, as a cancer-suppressing agent.

From the conclusion:

“The use of phytochemicals present in fruits and vegetable has gained worldwide acceptance as a novel source of chemopreventive agents against cancer cells. These non-nutrient phytochemicals either block or reverse multistage carcinogenesis. Capsaicin, a pungent ingredient present in chili pepper has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiproliferative and anti-cancer potentials. Capsaicin has chemopreventive effect against a wide of chronic inflammatory diseases, including cancer. Other potential benefits of capsaicin should be explored with the aim of brightening our understanding of the molecular mechanism associated with its anti-cancer activities.”

Chilis!

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.