Tag Archives: Traditional Tibetan medicine

Dodder (Cuscuta europaea)

 

Botanical Name :Cuscuta Europaea
Family: Convolvulaceae
Genus:     Cuscuta
Species: C. europaea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Solanales

Synonyms:  Beggarweed. Hellweed. Strangle Tare. Scaldweed. Devil’s Guts.

Common Names:Dodder, Greater dodder or European dodder, Cuscuta europaea

Habitat :Cuscuta Europaea is native to  Europe. Now it can be found in Japan, Kashmir; N Africa, W Asia (including Pakistan), Europe, occasionally in North and South America.It grows in Open grassy localities, streamsides and hilly areas at elevations of 800 – 3,100 metres in China.

Description:
Cuscuta Europaea is an annual herbaceous plant.It is in flower from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs).
click to see the pictures
The long thin stems are yellowish or reddish. They have an inflorescence that is produced laterally along the stems, the flowers are arranged in compact glomerules with few to many flowers. The pedicels are up to 1.5 mm long. The 1.5 mm calyx is cup-shaped with 4 or 5 sepals that are triangular-ovate in shape. The 2.5-3 mm corolla is pink, with 4 or sometime 5 lobes. The corolla remains after anthesis and is often reflexed. The stamens are inserted below sinus and the filaments are longer than the anthers. The anthers are ovate-circular with very thin scales. The ovary is subglobose with 2 styles. The stigmas are divergent or curved. The 3 mm wide, rounded seed capsule, is capped by the withered corolla. Each capsule often has 4, pale brown, elliptic, seeds that are 1 mm long.

Cultivation:
This is a parasitic species that is devoid of leaves, roots or chlorophyll and so is totally dependant upon its host. A climbing plant, it must be grown close to a host plant around which it will twine itself and which it will penetrate with suckers in order to obtain nutriment. It Britain it is found most commonly growing on the roots of stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) and hops (Humulus lupulus), whilst in China it is found mainly on plants in the families Composite, Leguminosae and Chenopodiaceae, though it can also be found on many other herbaceous plants.

Propagation:
The seeds germinate in the ground in the normal manner and throw up thready stems, which climb up adjoining plants and send out from their inner surfaces a number of small vesicles, which attach themselves to the bark of the plant on which they are twining. As soon as the young Dodder stems have firmly fixed themselves, the root from which they have at first drawn part of their nourishment withers away, and the Dodder, entirely losing its connection with the ground, lives completely on the sap of its ‘host,’ and participates of its nature.

Medicinal Uses:
The entire plant is used in Tibetan medicine, where it is considered to have a bitter, acrid and sweet taste with a heating potency. It is aphrodisiac, renal and a hepatic tonic, being used to increase semen, to treat pain in the wrist and limbs, vaginal/seminal discharge, polyuria, tinnitus and blurred vision.

It was not only considered useful in jaundice but also in sciatica and scorbutic complaints. Gathered fresh and applied externally after being bruised, the plant has been found efficacious in dispersing scrofulous tumours. The whole plant, of whatever species, is very bitter, and an infusion acts as a brisk purge.

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/Cuscuta_europaea
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Cuscuta+europaea
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/d/dodder16.html

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Rubia cordifolia

Botanical Name :Rubia cordifolia
Family: Rubiaceae
Tribe: Rubieae
Genus: Rubia
Species: R. cordifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Name:Common Madder or Indian Madder,Madderwort, Lukelangafu, Lukera Batuzi,( Manjistha in Sanskrit, Marathi, Kannada and Bengali, Majith in Hindi and Gujarati, Tamaralli in Telugu, Manditti in Tamil.)

Habitat :Rubia cordifolia  grows throughout tropical India ascending to an altitude of 300m

Description:
It can grow to 1.5 m in height. The evergreen leaves are 5–10 cm long and 2–3 cm broad, produced in whorls of 4-7 starlike around the central stem. It climbs with tiny hooks at the leaves and stems. The flowers are small (3–5 mm across), with five pale yellow petals, in dense racemes, and appear from June to August, followed by small (4–6 mm diameter) red to black berries. The roots can be over 1 m long, up to 12 mm thick. It prefers loamy soils with a constant level of moisture. Madders are used as food plants for the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Hummingbird hawk moth. It is one of the active ingredients of cystone formulation of Himalaya healthcare.

Click to see the picture

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Medicinal Uses:
The roots are alterative, anodyne, antiphlogistic, antitussive, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, styptic, tonic and vulnerary. They are used to lower the blood pressure. The roots are used internally in the treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding, internal and external haemorrhage, bronchitis, rheumatism, stones in the kidney, bladder and gall and dysentery . The stems are used as they are considered to have a bitter taste and a cooling potency. They are used in the treatment of blood disorders and spreading fever of kidneys and intestines. A valuable red dye is obtained from the root and stems. Roots are made into paste for application into ulcers, inflammations and skin troubles. A decoction of leaves and stem is used as a vermifuge

The roots have an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, S. epidermidis, Pneumococci etc. They are used to lower the blood pressure. The roots are used internally in the treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding, internal and external hemorrhage, bronchitis, rheumatism, stones in the kidney, bladder and gall bladder, dysentery etc. The stems are used in Tibetan medicine, where they are considered to have a bitter taste and a cooling potency. They are used in the treatment of blood disorders and spreading fever of kidneys and intestines.  This is one of the most reliable alterative blood-purifying herbs in the Chinese pharmacopeia.  It cools, detoxifies, and dissolves obstructions in the blood, particularly in the female reproductive system.  Its deobstruent properties extend to tumors, kidney stones and liver clots, all of which it helps dissolve and eliminate.  It’s an excellent choice for any condition that causes or is caused by blood and liver toxicity.

Rubia cordifolia was an economically important source of a red pigment in many regions of Asia, Europe and Africa. It was extensively cultivated from antiquity until the mid nineteenth century. The plant’s roots contain an organic compound called Alizarin, that gives its red colour to a textile dye known as Rose madder. It was also used as a colourant , especially for paint, that is referred to as Madder lake. The substance was also derived other species; Rubia tinctorum, also widely cultivated, and the Asiatic species Rubia argyi (H. Léveillé & Vaniot) H. Hara ex Lauener (synonym = Rubia akane Nakai[1], based on the Japanese Aka = red, and ne = root). The invention of a synthesized duplicate, an anthracene compound called alizarin, greatly reduced demand for the natural derivative.

The roots of Rubia cordifolia are also the source of a medicine used in Ayurveda, this is commonly known in Ayurvedic Sanskrit as Manjistha (or Manjista or Manjishta) and the commercial product in Hindi as Manjith.

It is known as btsod  in Traditional Tibetan Medicine where it is used to treat blood disorders; spread heat , excess heat in the lungs, kidneys, and intestines; reduce swelling; and is a component of the three reds ), a subcompound included in many Tibetan preparations in order to remove excess heat in the blood.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is known as qiàn cao gen

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/Rubia_cordifolia
http://www.motherherbs.com/rubia-cordifolia.html
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm
http://www.asianflora.com/Rubiaceae/Rubia-cordifolia.htm

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Cordyceps sinensis

Botanical Name : Cordyceps sinensis
Family: Clavicipitaceae
Genus: Cordyceps
Kingdom: Fungi
Subkingdom: Dikarya
Phylum: Ascomycota
Subphylum: Pezizomycotina
Class: Sordariomycetes
Subclass: Hypocreomycetidae
Order: Hypocreales

Common Names: Winter Worm-Summer Grass,caterpillar fungus (English), dong zhong chang cao, dongchongxiacao,  semitake (Japan), zhongcao,  and chongcao (China).The fungus is known in Tibetan as yartsa gunbu or yatsa gunbu.

Habitat : Cordyceps sinensis grows wild at altitudes above 3000 meters in the mountainous regions of China. Cordyceps sinensis, first recorded as yartsa gunbu in Tibet in the 15th Century.

Edible Uses:
Cordyceps sinensis is a parasitic fungus often mistakenly referred to as a mushroom. Though in the western world cordyceps is most often taken in the form of an extract, it’s use as a food source in China dates back many millenia. It was cooked into soups, with poultry, and with meat, and was only consumed by the wealthy and among members of the Chinese Imperial Palace.

Description :
Caterpillar fungi are the result of a parasitic relationship between the fungus and the larva of the ghost moth genus Thitarodes, several species of which live on the Tibetan Plateau (Tibet, Qinghai, West-Sichuan, SW-Gansu & NW Yunnan, all in China, and the Himalayas India, Nepal, Bhutan). The fungus germinates in living organisms (in some cases the larvae), kills and mummifies the insect, and then the fungus grows from the body of the insect.
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One of the unique qualities of this parasitic fungus is it’s host organism. Most fungus and mushrooms grow out of decomposing plant matter. But cordyceps sinensis is parasitic to the larvae of moths, especially bat moths.

Once the insect has been colonized, it’s insides are filled with mycelium and the fruiting body (stroma) grows out, usually through the head of the host organism. Throughout this process, the outward form of the caterpillar is retained.

It is known as yarsha gumba in Nepal. The Latin etymology describes cord as club, ceps as head, and sinensis as Chinese. Cordyceps sinensis, known in English commonly as caterpillar fungus, is considered a medicinal mushroom in oriental medicines, such as Traditional Chinese medicines and Traditional Tibetan medicine.

Medicinal Uses:
Cordyceps has been used for about 2000 years in the Far East.  It was virtually unknown to the Western part of the world until the Chinese women’s track team broke records in 1993 and was found to be part of their dietary supplements.  It is prized as a male sexual elixir and often appears in tonic formulas, particularly herbal liquors.  It is comparable in cost to good ginseng, and like many tonic herbs, it can be cooked and consumed together with tonic foods.  Traditional sources suggest stewing a male duck with this herb stuffed into its cavities.

Some of the specific actions are: It is very effective in tonifying arrhythmia with an efficacy up to 94%. When the product was applied to 200 different ailments, no toxic side effect was detected;   It helps strengthen the immune system of tumor patients who have received radiotherapy, chemotherapy or an operation. It is remarkable for stabilizing the hemogram, increasing the blood cells and protein for producing blood plasma, and for eliminating the ill effects after various therapies. Furthermore, the product is a synergist for reinforcing the efficacy of radiotherapy.  It provides remarkable benefits for various Climatic Age Illness, Impotence, Emission, Neurasthenia, Rheumatoid arthritis, Cirrhosis, flabby waist and knee.  It is also effective in lowering the lipoproteinemia level, and in preventing Arterio-Sclerosis, Coronary heart disease as well as certain other diseases related to blood vessels of the brain.  It helps stimulate the immune system of the elderly and strengthen their resistance to illness. Frequent dosage can prevent senile disorders.  One of the reasons for aging is due to the insufficient secretion of sexual hormones. Cordyceps sinensis is, in this regard, a hormone stimulator. Morever, the aging effect is to a large extent attributed to the rise of active monoamine oxidize enzyme inside the body and Cordyceps Sinensis can effectively inhibit the rising of such enzyme. Thus, it is an anti-aging medicine which helps regenerate the organic functioning of humans.  After a three-week dose, patients with the aforesaid symptoms would feel promising improvement. In general, this product is a tonic good for bodily nourishment and for stimulating brain activity.  Long-term administration can reinforce the body against foreign attacks, improve the organic functioning, strengthen the immune system and in turn help bring longevity.

Improved insulin sensitivity due to cordyceps has been demonstrated in both normal rats and humans. These effects are presumably mediated by the polysaccharide fraction of cordyceps, and multiple polysaccharides from cordyceps which reduce blood sugar in diabetic mice have been identified. It should be noted that cordyceps should be used with caution by those with low blood sugar.

You may click to learn more about Cordyceps sinensis….(1)…..     (2)……..(3)

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/Cordyceps
http://cordyceps-sinensis.org/
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://image.made-in-china.com/2f0j00eBNEcqZWMoVM/Cordyceps-Sinensis-Extract.jpg
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://img.tootoo.com/mytootoo/upload/26/268381/product/268381_5672087b5fa1a314dea41c74c864315e.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.tootoo.com/buy-cordyceps_sinensis/&h=368&w=400&sz=47&tbnid=W7YCTkV9OdYkUM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=98&zoom=1&docid=BV0Il1lxUj0HhM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=D9MST8KeDqeYiQLtk-GoDQ&ved=0CHQQ9QEwCA&dur=3285

Rhododendron aureum

 

Botanical Name : Rhododendron aureum
Family: Ericaceae
Subfamily: Ericoideae
Tribe: Rhodoreae
Genus: Rhododendron
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms : R. chrysanthum. Pall.

Common Mane :Rosebay, Yellow-flowered rhododendron,Snow rose.

Habitat :
Rhododendron aureum is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea. It grows on the thickets in high mountain areas, both alpine and sub-alpine. Grasslands or liverwort-mosses strata in the alpine region at elevations of 1000 – 2500 metres.

Description:
It is a small evergreen  compact or prostrate shrub.This is a small bush, with the stem from 1 to 1 1/2 feet high, spreading, very much branched, often almost hidden among moss, from which the tips only of its shoots are protruded. The leaves are alternate, of the texture of a laurel leaf, ovate, somewhat acute, tapering into the stalk, reticulated and very rough above, and paler and smoother underneath. The flowers are large, showy, nodding, and borne on clustered, terminal, loose peduncles, emerging from among large downy scales. Corolla campanulate, 5-cleft, with rounded segments, of which the three upper are rather the largest, and streaked with livid dots next the tube, the lower unspotted. Stamens 10, unequal, and deflexed; the anthers oblong, incumbent, and without appendages, opening by two terminal pores. Capsule ovate, rather angular, 5-celled, 5-valved, and septicidal; seeds numerous and minute (L.). It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

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Cultivation:
Succeeds in a most humus-rich lime-free soils except those of a dry arid nature or those that are heavy or claye. Prefers a peaty or well-drained sandy loam. Succeeds in sun or shade, the warmer the climate the more shade a plant requires. A pH between 4.5 and 5.5 is ideal. Succeeds in a woodland though, because of its surface-rooting habit[200], it does not compete well with surface-rooting trees. Plants need to be kept well weeded, they dislike other plants growing over or into their root system, in particular they grow badly with ground cover plants, herbaceous plants and heathers. Plants form a root ball and are very tolerant of being transplanted, even when quite large, so long as the root ball is kept intact. Closely related to R. caucasicum. This species is very rare and difficult to cultivate. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn and given artificial light. Alternatively sow the seed in a lightly shaded part of the warm greenhouse in late winter or in a cold greenhouse in April. Surface-sow the seed and do not allow the compost to become dry. Pot up the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a greenhouse for at least the first winter. Layering in late July. Takes 15 – 24 months. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame. Difficult.

Medicinal Uses:
It has been much used in folk medicine in Siberia for the treatment of rheumatism, gout, and urinary tract infections.  It has been used in homeopathic medicine in the treatment of urinary calculi and inflammation of the prostate gland. Caution should be exercised when using the flowers because they are toxic. Hemostatic, they are used in the treatment of spreading pus and blood in the thoracic region, especially the lungs.  Much used in Siberia as a remedy for rheumatism. Also useful in gout and syphilis.  The flowers are used in Tibetan medicine, they are said to have a bitter taste and a neutral potency. Caution should be exercised when using the flowers because they are toxic. Hemostatic, they are used in the treatment of spreading pus and blood in the thoracic region, especially the lungs.

Known Hazards:  Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where many members have poisonous leaves. The pollen of many if not all species of rhododendrons is also probably toxic, being said to cause intoxication when eaten in large quantities.

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://www.rosebay.org/chapterweb/specaur.htm
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rhododendron_aureum_Georgi.jpg
http://www.henriettesherbal.com/eclectic/kings/rhododendron.html
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Rhododendron_aureum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm?Voucher2=Connect+to+Internet

Aconitum balfourii

Botanical Name :Aconitum balfourii
Family :Ranunculaceae
Subfamily :Trollioideae
Genus :Aconitum
Tribe :Delphinieae
Order :Ranunculales
Synonyms :A.atrox
Common Name :Vatsnabha, Monk’s hood, Midhavis, Meetha-tellia, Banwa.

Habitat: E. Asia – Himalayas from Nepal to Tibet at an elevation of 2200 – 4000 metres. Found in the upper subalpine areas in open positions on rocky slopes.This species has a restricted global distribution occuring in the Himalayan region across India and Nepal between an altitude range of 3000-4000 m. Within India, it has been recorded in Uttar Pradesh (Garhwal and Kumaon range).

click to see the map of it’s availability


Description:

Herbs perennial or annual , sometimes subshrubs or herbaceous or woody vines . Leaves basal and cauline, alternate, rarely opposite or whorled , simple or variously compound , palmately nerved, rarely penninerved , with or without stipules. Inflorescence a simple or compound monochasium, dichasium, simple or compound raceme, or flowers solitary. Flowers bisexual , sometimes unisexual , actinomorphic , rarely zygomorphic, hypogynous. Sepals 3–6 or more, free , petaloid or sepaloid , imbricate or sometimes valvate in bud. Petals present or absent, 2–8 or more, free, usually with nectaries. Stamens numerous , rarely few, free; filaments linear or filiform ; anthers latrorse , introrse , or extrorse ; sometimes some sterile stamens becoming staminodes. Carpels numerous or few, rarely 1, free, rarely connate to various degrees ; ovary with 1 to many ovules. Fruit follicles or achenes, rarely capsules or berries . Seeds small, with abundant endosperm and minute embryo.

click to see the pictures…....(01)......(1).……..(2)..…….…(3).……….(4).….…..

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:Aconitum balfourii     hrives in most soils and in the light shade of trees. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist soil in sun or semi-shade. Prefers a calcareous soil. Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits and deer. Grows well in open woodlands. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby species, especially legumes.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can be stratified and sown in spring but will then be slow to germinate. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division – best done in spring but it can also be done in autumn. Another report says that division is best carried out in the autumn or late winter because the plants come into growth very early in the year

Medicinal Uses:
Analgesic;  AntiinflammatoryAntirheumaticVermifuge. Used in Ayurveda, Folk, Tibetian, Unani and Sidha

The tuber is used in Tibetan medicine where it is considered to have an acrid and sweet taste with a heating potency – it is also very poisonous. The root is analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic and vermifuge. It dries up serous fluids and is used in the treatment of all types of pain and inflammation from gout or arthritis, all disorders due to worms or micro-organisms, amnesia, loss of bodily heat, leprosy and paralysis.

Known Hazards : The whole plant is highly toxic – simple skin contact has caused numbness in some people.

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://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Aconitum%20balfourii
http://envis.frlht.org/junclist.php?txtbtname=Drosera+indica+L.&gesp=44%7CAconitum+balfourii+STAPF&emailid=&Join=Join
http://envis.frlht.org.in/junclist.php?txtbtname=&gesp=52%7CAconitum+heterophyllum+WALL.+EX+ROYLE
http://zipcodezoo.com/Plants/A/Aconitum_reclinatum/

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