Tag Archives: Alternative

Phytotherapy

Phytotherapy is the study of the use of extracts of natural origin as medicines or health-promoting agents. Phytotherapy medicines differ from plant-derived medicines in standard pharmacology. Where standard pharmacology isolates an active compound from a given plant, phytotherapy aims to preserve the complexity of substances from a given plant with relatively less processing.

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Phytotherapy is distinct from homeopathy and anthroposophic medicine, and avoids mixing plant and synthetic bioactive substances. Traditional phytotherapy is a synonym for herbalism and regarded as alternative medicine by much of Western medicine.

Phytotherapy is a synergistic approach to health-care, combining the best of science, medicine and nature into a personalised, holistic natural medicine solution for you and your family.

Phytotherapists are medically trained to diagnose and treat a broad range of diseases.It also incorporates disease prevention, diet and nutrition, compounding and dispensing of herbal medicines and herb-drug interactions.

Modern phytotherapy, following the scientific method, can be considered the study on the effects and clinical use of herbal medicines.

Phytotherapy is a synergistic approach to health-care, combining the best of science, medicine and nature into a personalised, holistic natural medicine solution for modern human beings.

Although the medicinal and biological effects of many plant constituents such as alkaloids (morphine, atropine etc.) have been proven through clinical studies, there is always a debate about the efficacy and the place of phytotherapy in medical therapies.

But the herbal medicine has been used and trusted globally for thousands of years as a highly effective and safe method of treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that over 80% of the world’s population currently depends on herbal medicine for its primary healthcare.

There are no pre-made formulae in Phytotherapy. Each patient is a unique individual and therefore each patient will have a personalised prescription made up just for them. The aim is to treat the whole person-holistically- and to take into account as many factors contributing to the condition as possible. At subsequent consultations your progress will be monitored and assessed. The prescription may be adjusted as needed.

One of the main aims of Phytotherapy is disease prevention and promotion of long-term health. These aims are achieved by treating and rebalancing the individual patient as a whole.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytotherapy
http://www.tammioflynn.com/phytotherapy-herbal-medicine/what-is-phytotherapy/

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Ravensara aromatica

Botanical Name : Ravensara aromatica
Family: Lauraceae
Genus: Ravensara
Species: R. aromatica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Laurales

Synonimes:Rosa damascena

Common Names:clove nutmeg,Ravensara Oil , ravensare, havozo, hazomanitra

Habitat :Ravensara aromatica is native to  Madagascar.

Description:
Ravensara aromatica is a n evergreen tree of about  20 meters high with several buttress roots at the base.The bark is deep rich redish brown and  is very aromatic( similar to eucalyptus.) with small green elliptical leaves. (click to see )

click to see the pictures

The essential oil of R. aromatica is used as a fragrance material in the perfumery industry, and as an antiseptic, anti-viral, antibacterial, expectorant, anti-infective in natural and folk medicine.

Common Uses: Ravensara Essential Oil may assist with respiratory problems, colds and flu, canker and cold sores, cuts, wounds, burns, anti-biotic, liver, lung infections, flu, sinusitis, viral hepatitis, cholera, infectious mononucleosis, insomnia, and muscle fatigue. It is also viewed as an excellent treatment for athlete’s foot.

Chemical Constituents:Terpenic Oxide(70%):1,8cineol.
Terpenic alchol:Alpha terpineol (10%)
Terpenes:Alpha pinene,beta pinene (20%)
Methyl chasvicol

Medicinal Uses:
Nerve/Back Pain
Properties: * Antibacterial * Antifungal * Antiperspirant/Deodorants * AntiViral
Parts Used: Essential oil from leaves and bark

Essential oil made from the leaves of Ravensara aromatica is referred to as aromatic ravensare, to distinguish it from oil distilled from the bark, havozo. The oils have a faint, aniseed, or licorice odor that is slightly herbaceous.

The essential oil is referred to as “the oil that heals” and is is obtained by steam distillation from the leaf. It’s fresh scent is smooth, slightly spicy, and earthy

The oil  is used as antiviral,antifungal,energizer and nerve tonic.

Precautions: It is not to be used on pregnent nursing women  and children.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravensara_aromatica
http://www.bulkapothecary.com/product/essential-oils/ravensara-wild-essential-oil/?gclid=CPvQtICV1bgCFSVgMgodk2oACQ
http://www.sunrosearomatics.com/catalog/shop/shopexd.asp?id=937
http://www.globinmed.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=82354:ravensara

Sceletium tortuosum

Botanical Name :Sceletium tortuosum
Family: Aizoaceae
Subfamily: Mesembryanthemoideae
Genus: Sceletium
Species: S. tortuosum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Common Name :  Kanna, Channa, Kougoed (Kauwgoed,/ ‘kougoed’, prepared from ‘fermenting’ S. tortuosum) – which literally means, ‘chew(able) things’ or ‘something to chew’.

Habitat :Sceletium tortuosum is native to Southern Africa.

Description:
Sceletium tortuosum is a succulent groundcover which produces showy white flowers with threadlike petals. Its fermented roots and leaves were chewed by the Hotentot tribe of S. Africa as a vision-inducing entheogen and inebriant. The plant contains mesembrine, though the pharmacology of kanna is not fully understood.
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For hundreds of years the Hottentots of Southern Africa used Sceletium Tortuosum as a mood enhancer, relaxant and empathogen. Dr Nigel Gericke, who is spearheading research into Sceletium tortuosum in South Africa, believes that “Sceletium is one of the most ancient of mind-altering substances, and it is likely to have had a profound influence on the evolution of human consciousness.”

Sceletium tortuosum (Mesembryanthemaceae]) is a succulent, which is also known as Kanna, Channa, Kougoed (Kauwgoed,/ ‘kougoed’, prepared from ‘fermenting’ S. tortuosum) – which literally means, ‘chew(able) things’ or ‘something to chew’. The plant has been used by South African pastoralists and hunter-gatherers as a mood-altering substance from prehistoric times.[citation needed] The first known written account of the plant’s use was in 1662 by Jan van Riebeeck. The traditionally prepared dried Sceletium was often chewed and the saliva swallowed, but it has also been made into gel caps, teas and tinctures. It has also been used as a snuff and smoked.

Dr Nigel Gericke, who is spearheading research into Sceletium tortuosum in South Africa, believes that “Sceletium is one of the most ancient of mind-altering substances, and it is likely to have had a profound influence on the evolution of human consciousness.”

Cultivation:
Kanna is best planted in Spring/Summer and harvested in mid-Autumn.[citation needed] It can be used as a herbal smoke, pill or one can chew the leaves to feel its effects. It can be harvested whether or not the flowers themselves have appeared yet.

Chemical constituents:
Mesembrine, one of the five known psychoactive compounds in Sceletium tortuosum.  click to see
S. tortuosum has been reported to possess significant mood-elevation and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties.

The alkaloids contained in S. tortuosum believed to possess psychoactivity include: mesembrine, mesembrenone, mesembrenol and tortuosamine. Mesembrine is a major alkaloid present in Sceletium tortuosum.

S. tortuosum contains about 1–1.5% total alkaloids. There is about 0.3% mesembrine in the leaves and 0.86% in the leaves, stems, and flowers of the plant

Medicinal Uses:
Sceletium has been reported to cause elevated mood and decreases anxiety, stress and tension. It has also been used as an appetite suppressant by shepherds walking long distances in arid areas. In intoxicating doses, it can cause euphoria, initially with stimulation and later with sedation. Having such properties Sceletium is classified as an empathogen type herb. High doses have been shown to produce distinct inebriation and stimulation often followed by sedation. The plant is not hallucinogenic, contrary to some literature on the subject, and no adverse effects have been documented. Kanna is considered by many to potentiate (enhance the effects) of other psychoactive herbal material, such as cannabis.

Historically Sceletium tortuosum was eaten/chewed, smoked or used as snuff producing euphoria and alertness which gently fade into relaxation. If chewed in sufficient quantity Sceletium has a mild aneasthetic effect in the mouth, much like kava, and is used by the San tribes if you are about to have a tooth extracted, or in minute doses, for children with colic. A tea made from Sceletium (Kanna) is sometimes used to wean alcoholics off alcohol.

Known Hazards:
Little is known about the interactions of S. tortuosum, although it should not be combined with other SSRIs, MAOIs, or cardiac medications. Headache in conjunction with alcohol have been noted with kanna use. Some reports suggest a synergy with cannabis.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sceletium_tortuosum
http://www.erowid.org/plants/kanna/
http://www.herbalfire.com/kanna-sceletium-tortuosum.html

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Eleutherococcus senticosus

Botanical Name : Eleutherococcus senticosus
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Eleutherococcus
Species: E. senticosus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Common Name :E. senticosus ,Siberian Ginseng or eleuthero

Habitat ; Eleutherococcus senticosus is native to  E. Asia – China, Japan, Siberia.  It grows in the mixed and coniferous mountain forests, forming small undergrowth or groups in thickets and edges. Sometimes found in oak groves at the foot of cliffs, very rarely in high forest riparian woodland.

Description:
Eleutherococcus senticosus  is a deciduous shrub growing to 2m at a slow rate. It is hardy to zone 3. It flowers in July in most habitats. The flowers are hermaphroditic and are pollinated by insects.

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Cultivation:
Prefers a light warm open loamy humus-rich soil and a position sheltered from north and east winds. Prefers a well-drained soil and full sun. (A surprising report, this species is a woodland plant and we would expect it to prefer shade) Tolerates urban pollution and poor soils. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c if they are sheltered from cold winds. A highly polymorphic species. Siberian ginseng is cultivated as a medicinal plant in Russia and China.
Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. It can be slow to germinate. Stored seed requires 6 months warm followed by 3 months cold stratification and can be very slow to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse for at least the first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of ripe wood of the current season’s growth, 15 – 30cm long in a cold frame. Root cuttings in late winter. Division of suckers in the dormant season

Edible Uses: Tea….Young leaves and buds – cooked. The dried leaves are used as a tea substitute.

Chemical constituents:
The major constituents of E. senticosus are ciwujianoside A-E, eleutheroside B (syringin), eleutherosides A-M, friedelin, and isofraxidin

Medicinal Uses:
E. senticosus is an adaptogen that has a wide range of health benefits attributed to its use. Currently, most of the research to support the medicinal use of E. senticosus is in Russian or Korean. E. senticosus contains eleutherosides, triterpenoid saponins that are lipophilic and that can fit into hormone receptors.  Extracts of E. senticosus have been shown to have a variety of biological effects in vitro or in animal models:

*Increased endurance/anti-fatigue
memory/learning improvement

*Anti-inflammatory

*Immunogenic

Chinese herbology, Eleutherococcus senticosis is used to treat bone marrow suppression caused by chemotherapy or radiation, angina, hypercholesterolemia, and neurasthenia with headache, insomnia, and poor appetite.

Eleutherococcus senticosus has been shown to have significant antidepressant-like effects in rats

There has been much research into Siberian ginseng in Russia since the 1950s, although the exact method by which it stimulates stamina and resistance to stress is not yet understood.  Siberian ginseng seems to have a general tonic effect on the body, in particular on the adrenal glands, helping the body to withstand heat, cold, infection, other physical stresses and radiation.  It has even been given to astronauts to counter the effects of weightlessness.  Athletes have experienced as much as a 9% improvement in stamina when taking Siberian ginseng.  Siberian ginseng is given to improve mental resilience, for example, during exams, and to reduce the effects of physical stress, for example during athletic training.  Siberian ginseng is most effective in the treatment of prolonged exhaustion and debility, resulting from overwork and long-term stress.  The herb also stimulates immune resistance and can be taken in convalescence to aid recovery from chronic illness.  As a general tonic, Siberian ginseng helps both to prevent infection and to maintain well-being.  It is also used in treatments for impotence.  Eleuthero root happens to be anti-yeast and immune supportive.

Interactions and side effects:
*People with medicated high blood pressure should consult their doctor before taking E. senticosus because it may reduce their need for medication.

*E. senticosus will enhance the effectiveness of mycin class antibiotics.

*E. senticosus, when purchased from non-GMP sources, has occasionally been adulterated with Periploca graeca, which can potentiate digoxin or similar drugs; however, this is not an interaction of E. senticosus

Known Hazards :  Caution if high blood pressure. Avoid coffee. 6 weeks maximum use. Avoid during pregnancy. Unsuitable for children. High doses may cause drowsiness, anxiety, irritability, mastalgia and uterine bleeding. Possible blood pressure increases and irregular heart beats. Effects of antidiabetic drugs, sedatives and anticoagulants may be potentiated.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://people.tribe.net/chachicorrigan/blog/c393b499-e8cc-4589-a27f-12ebf5d50217
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleutherococcus_senticosus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm
http://www.imagejuicy.com/images/plants/e/eleutherococcus/1/

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Eleutherococcus+senticosus

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Ligustrum lucidum

Botanical Name : Ligustrum lucidum
Family: Oleaceae
Genus: Ligustrum
Species: L. lucidum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names : Glossy Privet, Chinese Privet or Broad-leaf Privet

Habitat :Native to  the southern half of China, Korea, and Japan

Description;
It is the largest species in the genus, growing as a tree up to 25 m tall. The leaves are opposite, glossy dark green, 6-17 cm long and 3-8 cm broad.

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Form: large shrub or single-stemmed tree, open, less dense than L. japonicum

Seasonality: evergreen

Size: 3-12ft, spread varies with training; taller if trained as tree

Leaves: simple, opposite, ovate to lancolate, 3-6in long, end point curves backwards; when held up to light leaf margin is transparent

Flowers: perfect, creamy white, in pyramidal clusters; blooms later than L. japonicum

Fruit: terminal, smaller than pea, blue-black, poisonous

Stems/Trunks: gray

Medicinal Uses:
Was first mentioned in traditional Chinese medicine in a text that was probably written before AD1000.  The plant increases the white blood cell count and in recent years it has been increasingly used to prevent bone marrow loss in cancer chemotherapy patients and it has potential in the treatment of AIDS.  Chinese research has also shown good results in the treatment of respiratory tract infections, hypertension, Parkinson’s disease and hepatitis.  Acts as a tonic for the kidneys and liver.

Other Uses:
The plant is often used as an ornamental tree, sometimes as a cultivar.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://ag.arizona.edu/pima/gardening/aridplants/Ligustrum_lucidum.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ligustrum_lucidum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_OPQ.htm

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