Thursday, December 10, 2009

Azadirachta indica

Azadirachta indica is found every where in India especially in semi-arid conditions. The people of India for has used Neem safely and effectively from last so many years. In fact the people of India called this tree as “The Village Pharmacy”. Modern western medicine is finally discovering what the ancient Indians have known for thousands of years: that the neem tree has superb pharmaceutical and pesticide controlling qualities. The azadirachton compound in neem has been recognized as an effective insecticide that is biologically selective, not harming the useful pest-predators but keeping almost 250 harmful ones at bay.

Common Name
Neem (नीम)
Botanical name: Azadirachta indica
Latin name: Melia azaderach
English name : Margosa tree, Indian Lilac, Paradise Tree, Arishta, Nimba, Minbaka, Neem, Nimba, Limba, Limbado, Leemgo, Bukhain, Drekh, Nim, Kondavepa, Bevu, Hebbevu, Kakopholo, Limbo, Nimo


Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Order: Sapindales
Family: Meliaceae
Genus: Azadirachta
Species: indica

Neem Plant
The neem tree, Azadirachta indica, is a tropical evergreen with a wide adaptability. Native to India and Burma, it has been transplanted to Africa, the Middle East, South America and Australia for its medicinal value. It is especially suited to semi-arid conditions and thrives even in the poorest soil with rainfalls as little as 18 inches per year and temperatures up to 50° C . It may grow up to 50 feet tall and live for 200 years.
Its blossoms are small, white flowers with a very sweet, jasmine-like scent. Its edible fruit is about 3/4 of an inch long, with white kernels. The pinnate leaves have a very bitter taste and a garlic-like smell.

Raw Neem parts used are:
Neem Leaves, Seeds, Bark, Fruit, Flower, Twig, Root, Kernel and gum which is a by product obtained as a result of certain metabolic mechanism of plants and trees. The Neem bark, due to some internal activity discharges a clear, bright and brown-colored gum. Neem Gum is used in Cosmetic Industry, Paper Industry, Pharmaceutical Industry, Textile Industry, Personal Hygiene Industry, Food Industry etc.

Chemical Compounds in Neem
The scientists feel that there are many more compounds yet to be identified in neem. Other than sodium, potassium, salts, it contains chloriphill, calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamine, vitamin C, carotene, and oxalic acid. The chemicals compounds found in neem extract are:
Nimbin, Nimbidin, Ninbidol, Gedunin, Sodium nimbinate, Quercetin, Salannin, Azadirachtin,

The highest concentrations of the active ingredients are found in the seed and oil, however these are also found in lesser amounts in the bark and the leaves.

Therapeutic value
neem plays a traditional role in the treatment of urinary disorders, skin disease, diabetes, fungi infections and viral diseases. Neem hair treatment clears scalp infections and dandruff and stimulates both the growth and texture of the hair and rids the scalp of nits, dry itchy scalp and excessive oiliness. The anti bacterial property of neem is used to manufacture neem gel which maintains the oral hygiene and helps prevent periodontal diseases.In Africa the tree is used as a shade tree and as a source of fuelwood. In the Sahel countries, neem as been used for halting the spread of the Sahara desert. In many developing countries the wood is used in making fence post, poles for house construction, and furniture. Neem oil doesn’t kill pests outright, It affects their physiologic processes so that they no longer eat, mate or mature.

Withania somnifera

Withania somnifera commonly known as Ashwagandha, grows as a stout shrub that reaches a height of 170 cm. Like the tomato or other plants of the family Solanaceae, it bears yellow flowers and berry shaped, red colored fruit. Ashwagandha grows prolifically in India, Nepal, Pakistan, and in other parts of Indian subcontinent. It is commercially cultivated in different parts of the world for its medicinal value and its potential towards ayurveda. Ashwagandha in Sanskrit means “horse’s smell”, probably originating from the odour of its root which resembles that of sweaty horse. The species name somnifera means “sleep-making” in Latin, indicating that to it are attributed sedating properties, but it has been also used for sexual vitality and as an aphrodisiac.

Botany of the Plant:
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Withania
Species: somnifera

Common Names: Ashwagandha, Winter Cherry, Ashgandh, Achuvagandi, Amikkira-gadday, Amkulang-kalang, Amukkira-kilzhangu, Amukran-kizhangu, Asagandha, Asana, Asgandh, Asundha, Asvagandhi, Fatarfoda, Hirimaddina-gadday, Hirre-gadday, Penneroo-gadda, Pevette, Sogade-beru

Parts Used: Root and leaf are the main part used for extraction of different alkaloids.

Chemical Constituents: The main constituents of ashwagandha are alkaloids and steroidal lactones. Among the various alkaloids, withanine is the main constituent. The other alkaloids are somniferine, somnine, somniferinine, withananine, pseudo-withanine, tropine, pseudo-tropine, 3-a-gloyloxytropane, choline, cuscohygrine, isopelletierine, anaferine and anahydrine. Two acyl steryl glucoside viz. sitoindoside VII and sitoindoside VIII have been isolated from root. The leaves contain steroidal lactones, which are commonly called withanolides.

Therapeutic value: Fruits, leaves and seeds of the Indian medicinal plant Withania somnifera have been traditionally used for the Ayurvedic system as aphrodisiacs, diuretics and for treating memory loss. In Ayurveda, ashwaganda is considered a rasayana herb. This herb is also considered an adaptogen that works to normalize physiological function, working on the HPA Axis and the neuro endocrine system. The Japanese patent applications are related to the use of the herb as a skin ointment and for promoting reproductive fertility. The U.S. based company Natreon has also obtained a patent for an Ashwagandha extract. Seven American and four Japanese firms have filed for grant of patents on formulations containing extracts of the herb Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is reported to have anti-carcinogenic effects in animal and cell cultures by decreasing the expression of nuclear factor-kappaB, suppressing intercellular tumor necrosis factor, and potentiating apoptotic signaling in cancerous cell lines.
Some botanists refer ashwagandha as Indian ginseng, since it is used in ayurvedic medicine in a way similar to that ginseng is used in traditional chinese medicine. In Ayurveda, the fresh roots are sometimes boiled in milk, prior to drying, in order to leach out undesirable constituents. The berries are used as a substitute for rennet, to coagulate milk in cheese making.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Aloe vera: A succulant in the form of Doctor

Occurance: Aloe vera, also known as the medicinal aloe, is a succulent plant that probably originated in Northern Africa. Aloe vera grows in arid climates and is widely distributed in Africa and other arid areas. The lack of natural populations of the species has led some botanists to suggest that Aloe vera may be of hybrid origin. The species is frequently cited as being used in herbal medicine.

Distribution: The species of Aloe vera has been widely cultivated throughout the world. The species was introduced to China, India, Pakistan and various parts of southern Europe in the 17th century. The species is found to occur in temperate and tropical regions of Australia, Barbados, Belize, Nigeria, Paraguay and the US. The species is popular with modern gardeners as a putatively medicinal plant and due to its interesting flowers, form and succulence.

Botany of the Aloe vera:

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Asparagales

Family: Asphodelaceae

Genus: Aloe

Species: vera

Phytology: Aloe vera is a stemless or very short-stemmed succulent plant growing to 60–100 cm tall, spreading by offsets. The leaves are thick and fleshy, green to grey-green, with some varieties showing white flecks on the upper and lower stem surfaces. The margin of the leaf is serrated and has small white teeth. The flowers are produced in summer on a spike up to 90 cm tall, each flower pendulous, with a yellow tubular corolla 2–3 cm long. Aloe vera forms arbuscular mycorrhiza, a form of symbiotic relationship that allows the plant better access to mineral nutrients in soil.

Biological Active Compounds: Aloe vera leaves contain a range of biologically active compounds, the best studied being acetylated mannans, polymannans, anthraquinone C-glycosides, anthrones and anthraquinones and various lectins.

Therapeutic value: Aloe vera has a long association with herbal medicine, although it is not known when its medical applications were first discovered. Aloe vera is non-toxic, with no known side effects, provided the aloin has been removed by processing. However, the species is used widely in the traditional herbal medicine of China, Japan, Russia, South Africa, the United States, Jamaica and India.

The alternative medicine industries regularly make claims regarding the soothing, moisturizing and healing properties of Aloe vera. Aloe vera gel is used as an ingredient in commercially available lotion, yogurt, beverages and some desserts. Aloe vera juice is used in case of heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome. Other uses for extracts of Aloe vera include the dilution of semen for the artificial fertilization of sheep, use as fresh food preservative, and use in water conservation in small farms. In addition to topical use in wound or burn healing, internal intake of Aloe vera has been linked with improved blood glucose levels in diabetics and with lower blood lipids in hyperlipidaemic patients. Preliminary studies have suggested oral Aloe vera gel may reduce symptoms and inflammation in patients with ulcerative colitis. Topical application of Aloe vera may be effective for genital herpes and psoriasis. Aloe vera extracts have antibacterial and antifungal activities.