Classical Herbal Drugs of Abuse 1931 Cannabis and Tetrahydrocannabinol

Cannabis is derived from Cannabis sativa, an herbaceous annual plant. The species C. sativa can be divided into the following subspecies and varieties C. sativa var. sativa, C. sativa var. spontanea, C. sativa spp. indica, C. sativa var. indica, and C. sativa var. kafiristanica 6, 7 . The plant is highly recognizable the leaves are typically separated into five or more serrated leaflets. The stem of the plant is extremely fibrous and is therefore a popular source of fabric fiber. Cannabis is...

Human Hepatitis B Virus HBV

The Hepadnaviridae family is formed by a group of highly species-specific viruses that share the presence of an endogenous DNA polymerase with reverse transcrip-tase activity 123-125 and whose genome in the mature virions is formed by a circular partially double-stranded DNA (pdsDNA) in which both strands are held together by hydrogen bonding between the 5' ends of the two strands 126 . One member of this family, the human hepatitis B virus (HBV), is characterized by its high hepatotropism....

Novel Leads from Herbal Drugs for Neurodegenerative Diseases

Abstract This article summarizes the salient features of new therapeutic leads from herbal sources for various types of neurodegenerative diseases. Efforts made in using existing knowledge on several popular medicinal plants, particularly those utilized in the Indian traditional medicinal and Ayurvedic system discussed in light of recent research. A few promising plants such as Asparagus racemosus, Bacopa monnieri, Centella asiatica, and Mucuna pruriens are worth exploring for drug development...

Medicinal Plants A Renewable Resource for Novel Leads and Drugs

Abstract Present-day drug development is strongly focused on finding active compounds on well-defined targets using high throughput screening approaches. Unfortunately it seems that this approach is becoming less and less successful, as in most cases already good compounds are on the market, and the rapidly rising costs of drug development will make it increasingly difficult to make an economically competitive novel drug for any major disease. In other words, the reductionist approach presently...

Vitamin E Metabolic Modulation in Plants

Guo Juan1, Gongshe Liu1, Chen Shuangyan1 and Amina A. Aly2 Abstract Tocopherols, the lipid-soluble antioxidants known collectively as vitamin E, are synthesized only by photosynthetic organisms. These compounds play vital roles in human nutrition and health. During the past decade, the genes involved in the vitamin E synthesis pathway in plants have been isolated. Therefore, it is becoming important to manipulate these vitamin E synthesis genes to improve vitamin E content for human needs by...

Vitamin E Structure

Vitamin E consists of a mixture of tocopherols and tocotrienols (Fig. 18.1), and all are derivatives of 6-chromanol with an aliphatic side chain. The four tocopherol Fig. 18.1 Tocopherol and tocotrienol structures Fig. 18.1 Tocopherol and tocotrienol structures homologs (a-, P-, y-, and 5-) have a fully saturated C16 phytol side chain 15 , whereas tocotrienols (a-, P-, y-, and 5-) have a similar isoprenoid chain containing three double bonds 16 . Individual tocopherols are named according to...

Ginseng and Copulatory Behavior Animal Studies

Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolius have both been shown to enhance male copulatory behavior in laboratory studies (Table 4.1) 18-20 . Copulatory behavior can be examined in male rodents by placing them with sexually receptive female conspecifics and measuring the following parameters mount latency time from introduction of the female until the first mount with pelvic thrusting intromission latency time from introduction of the female until first mount with pelvic thrusting and vaginal...

Panax ginseng

Meyer (Araliaceae), usually 4 to 6 years after cultivation, has been used as a general tonic or adaptogen and is frequently featured in TEM prescriptions. Many studies have validated the empirical usage of ginseng over thousands of years for gi-invigorating and cardiovascular effects in TEM. The main active components of P. ginseng are ginsenosides, which have been shown to have a variety of beneficial effects, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and...

Vitamin E Biosynthetic Pathway in Plants

Vitamin E biosynthetic pathway in plants was elucidated over 30 years ago. The tocopherols are exclusively synthesized in photosynthetic organisms including higher plants significant amounts are found in all green tissues but predominantly occur in seeds 114 . In plants, tocopherol biosynthesis takes place in the plastid, and the enzymes are associated with the plastidial envelop 40, 41 . Figure 18.2 shows the vitamin E biosynthetic pathway in plants 111 . Homogentisic acid (HGA) and...

Conclusion

The therapeutic potential of herbs has been well recognized by various indigenous systems of medicine. Besides their therapeutic use, herbs are disease preventors and also used as cosmetics, dietary supplements and for reducing obesity. The priority of developed countries is different from that of developing countries in relation to medicinal plants. Developed countries are looking for leads to develop drugs from medicinal plants, while developing countries would like to have cheap herbal...

Herbs Commonly Used during Pregnancy

The use of herbal products during pregnancy could be due to pre-existing conditions or to symptoms problems related to the new physiological state such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, fatigue, depression, urinary tract infections and itching. Ginger, a well-known remedy for gestational sickness, is used for its antiemetic properties related to local gastrointestinal, anticholinergic and antihistaminic actions 25 . Some authors demonstrated significant improvements in the severity of both...

Ginseng and Male Sexual Behavior

Ferraro Abstract Ginseng is widely used in Asian countries as a tonic to promote and maintain good health and as a constituent in herbal medicines used to treat various diseases, including liver dysfunction, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease, atherosclerosis, cancer, postmenopausal symptoms, and impotence. Very few controlled clinical studies have been performed to validate the medicinal use of ginseng or its constituents in humans. However, laboratory studies,...

Physiology of an Erection

Impotence, or erectile dysfunction, can be defined as the persistent inability to develop and or maintain an erection adequate for sexual intercourse. Vascular diseases, including atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol, can cause restricted blood flow to the penis and may account for approximately 70 of physically related causes of erectile dysfunction 11 . The arterial blood supply to the penis is mainly provided by the internal pudendal artery, which branches into...

Safety Data

Most herbal products have not been subjected to rigorous clinical trials, and there remains a dearth of knowledge concerning how children are affected by these substances. Paediatric subjects are physiologically more vulnerable to certain adverse effects of herbs than adults. For example, some herbs such as senna and aloe are known cathartics and some herbal teas contain powerful diuretic compounds these actions may cause dehydration and electrolyte disturbances quickly in an infant or young...

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been in practice for more than 200 years and includes acupuncture, massage (tuina), breathing exercise (qi gong) and dietary therapy. TCM has been an integral part of China's healthcare system along with conventional Western medicine. TCM products were safe and effective for the treatment of many human diseases before Western medicine was introduced in China. Famous texts in TCM include the Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic (Hung Di Nei Jing 200 BCE to 100...

Introduction to Ginseng

Ginseng most commonly refers to the plant Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer (Asian ginseng) or Panax quinquefolius L. (North American ginseng). Ginseng is widely used in Asian countries as a tonic to promote and maintain good health, and as a constituent in herbal medicines used to treat various diseases, including liver dysfunction, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease, atherosclerosis, cancer, postmenopausal symptoms, and impotence 1-8 . Elsewhere, ginseng supplements are marketed as a natural...

Coca and Cocaine

Drugs Chemicals Structure Collection

Coca is a plant from the genus Erythroxylum and is native to northwestern South America. For the purposes of a plant of abuse, coca leaves are used. Cocaine is the most important psychoactive alkaloid in the plant. The chemical structure of cocaine (2) is shown in Fig. 19.1. The leaves contain up to 2 cocaine in a dried state 6 . Although the genus Erythroxylum includes several hundred species, only E. coca and E. novogratense contain significant amounts of cocaine 6 . Trace amounts of cocaine...

Natural Products in Cancer Chemoprevention and Chemotherapy

Abstract Medicinal plants are an important source of diverse chemical compounds that have been used for the past several centuries in the treatment of cancer. About 25 of drugs in the modern pharmacopoeia are derived from plants, including several anticancer drugs currently in clinical use such as vincristine, vinblastine, pacli-taxel, podophyllotoxin, camptothecin and combretastatin. These natural products, their derivatives and analogues based on these drugs constitute an arsenal against...

Horny Goat Weed

Horny goat weed (Epimedium brevicornum) is also known as Yin Yan Huo and has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat disorders such as dementia, fatigue, ED and arthralgia 31 . It is derived from a leafy plant that is native to Asia and the Mediterranean. According to Chinese folk legend, horny goat weed's use for ED started after a Chinese goat herder noticed increased sexual activity in his flock after they ingested horny goat weed. In one study testing the oestrogenic...

Safety and Efficacy of Phytomedicines in Cancer Prevention and Treatment

Giuseppina Benoni and Laura Cuzzolin Abstract In this review we discuss some aspects of herbal use either to prevent cancer or to treat the disease or the side effects of chemotherapy. The most powerful reasons, for cancer patients, to use phytomedicines are related to the wish to leave no option untried and to the dissatisfaction with mainstream oncology treatments. In the review, herbs commonly used in cancer and their mechanism of action are referred. Moreover, clinical trials about the use...

Alkaloids

Around 12,000 alkaloids of various types have been known to occur in all land plants, including more than 150 families. The important families are Apocynaceae, Papaveraceae, Fabaceae, Ranunculaceae, Rubiaceae, Rutaceae, Solanaceae, and less common lower plants and fungi (ergot alkaloids). In plants, alkaloids generally exist as salts of organic acids like acetic, oxalic, citric, malic, lactic, tartaric, tannic and other acids. Some weak basic alkaloids (such as nicotine) occur freely in nature....

Tradition

In the 8th century Yuthog Yongten Gonpo compiled the four main standard texts, known as gso rig rgyud bzhi (medical tantras), which still form the basis of the Tibetan medicinal system called Sowa Rigpa. In later centuries Tibetan Medicine spread to China, Mongolia and Russia, where the Siberian physician Sultim Badma founded what was probably the first Tibetan pharmacy and practice in Europe 68 . In the 1960s one of his descendants, Wlodzimierz Badmajeff, ran a pharmacy and practice in Poland...

Anxiety

Anxiety may be attenuated via actions of y-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the major inhibitory neurotransmitter. Several flavonoids, including quercetin from red wine, bind to the benzodiazepine GABAA receptor 28 . Since EGCG is structurally related to these compounds, it may also exert effects via this receptor. At low concentrations, it enhances benzodiazepine's activity on GABAA-receptor-mediated currents in Xenopus oocytes and partially reverses the effects of P-carboline, a negative...

Bacopa monniera Wettst

Bacopa monniera Wettst. (Scrophulariaceae), known by the common name 'brahmi', has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for almost 3000 years as a nerve tonic and to improve intellect and memory 128 . Various investigations have attempted to substantiate and identify a scientific basis for the reputed effects. A number of in vivo studies have shown B. monniera extracts to improve cognitive function 128-130 . The mode of action to explain these effects has yet to be fully elucidated. Some studies...

Artemisinin A Versatile Weapon from Traditional Chinese Medicine

Abstract Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) commands a unique position among all traditional medicines because of its 5000 years of tradition. Our own interest in natural products from TCM was triggered in the 1990s by sesquiterpene lactones of the artemisinin type from Artemisia annua L. The first description of the Chinese herb Artemisia annua L. (qinghao, Sweet wormwood) dates back to 168 B.C.E. Artemisinin (qinghaosu) was identified in 1972 as the active antimalarial constituent of...

Ancient Systems of Medicine 231 Traditional Indian Medicine

The word Ayurveda is derived from 'Ayur', meaning life, and 'veda', meaning knowledge. Ayurveda means the science of life. It is an ancient system of health care and longevity. Ayurveda takes a holistic view of human beings, their health and illness. It aims at positive health, which has been defined as a well-balanced metabolism coupled with a healthy state of being. Disease, according to Ayurveda, can arise from the body and or mind due to external factors or intrinsic causes. Ayurvedic...

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo is among the oldest living species of trees and is therefore often referred to as a 'living fossil'. The name biloba means two lobes and refers to the unique two-lobed leaves its culinary and medicinal uses can be traced back for centuries. It is one of the best-selling herbal drugs in Europe and the tree is known to survive only in China. It is believed that China produces approx. 63,000 kg of dried ginkgo seeds each year 18, 19 . Ginkgo is believed to increase blood flow to the penis,...

Cnidium officinale Ligusticum chuanxiong

The rhizome of Cnidium officinale Makino (umbelliferae) is one of the important traditional medicines used for the treatment of female genital inflammatory diseases. C. officinale contains a variety of volatile phthalide derivatives that have been shown to have pharmacological activities including sedative, antianemia, antifungal, smooth muscle relaxing, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anticomplement activities. Falcarindiol (1,9-Heptadecadiene-4, 6-diyne-3, 8-diol), which was isolated from...

Historical Background of Herbal Drugs of Abuse

The use of psychoactive plants for mind-altering purposes has a long tradition. Archaeological evidence shows the use of psychoactive plants by humans for many thousands of years, often in a highly ritualized and ceremonial context 3 . The earliest archaeological evidence of a potential psychoactive plant in a cultural context is from a Neanderthal burial site in northern Iraq. Large quantities of pollen of different plants including Ephedra spp. have been found in the soil surrounding a male...

Introduction

Erectile dysfunction ED is defined as 'the inability to achieve an erection sufficient for intercourse to the mutual satisfaction of both partners' 1 . The exact prevalence of ED is unknown. This is largely due to variations in the definition of ED and because many publications focus on select population groups. However, it is estimated that ED affects 15 to 30 million men worldwide 2 . According to the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey NAMCS , for every 1,000 men in the United States,...

References

Jain SK 1991 Dictionary of Indian Folk Medicine and Ethnobotany. Deep Publication, New Delhi 2. Fransworth NR 1990 The role of ethnopharmacology in drug development. In Bioactive Compounds from Plants. Wiley, Chichester Ciba Foundation Symposium , p 2 3. Ramawat KG, Sonie KC, Sharma MC 2004 Therapeutic potential of medicinal plants. In Ramawat KG ed Biotechnology Medicinal Plants. Science Publishers, Enfield, CT, p 1 4. Ramawat KG, Goyal S 2008 Indian herbal drugs scenario in global...

Convolvulus pleuricaulis

Convolvulus pleuricaulis is used in traditional systems of medicine in the treatment of anxiety, neurosis, insanity, and epilepsy, and also as a brain tonic. The whole plant is one of the most important medhya rasayana drugs in Ayurveda. It improves balance and vitiation in kapha-vata-pitta doshas physiological functions , and the herb is astringent and bitter. C. pleuricaulis is used traditionally to treat nervous debility, insomnia, fatigue, low energy levels, and as a brain tonic,...

Taxol

Taxol, a diterpene, is the latest antineoplastic drug of natural origin. Between 1960 and 1982, NCI evaluated 3500 plant samples primarily against mouse leukaemia cell lines L1210 and P388. Taxol was the outcome of that programme and got approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of refractory ovarian cancer in 1992 and metastatic breast cancer in 1994 77 . Taxol was first obtained from T. brevifolia bark contains 0.01 to 0.03 taxol during the 1960s and subsequently...