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Journal: Journal of ethnopharmacology

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Ginger, Zingiber officinale Roscoe, is a common spice and also a widely used medicinal plant in ancient China. Ginger is an ingredient of Ge-Gen-Tang (Kakkon-to; GGT). GGT has been proved to have antiviral activity against human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV). However, it is unknown whether ginger is effective against HRSV.

Concepts: Cell, Organism, Respiratory system, Human respiratory syncytial virus, Ginger, Zingiberaceae, Spice, Zingiber

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In particular five polypore species, i.e. Laetiporus sulphureus, Fomes fomentarius, Fomitopsis pinicola, Piptoporus betulinus, and Laricifomes officinalis have been widely used in central European folk medicines for the treatment of various diseases, e.g. dysmenorrhea, hemorrhoids, bladder disorders, pyretic diseases, treatment of coughs, cancer, and rheumatism. Prehistoric artefacts going back to over 5,000 years underline the long tradition of using polypores for various applications ranging from food or tinder material to medicinal-spiritual uses as witnessed by two polypore species found among items of Ötzi, the Iceman.

Concepts: Medicine, Fungus, Fomitopsidaceae, Fomes fomentarius, Ötzi the Iceman, Polypore, Laetiporus, Amadou

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ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Although no known medicinal use for Pittosporum undulatum Vent. (Pittosporaceae) has been recorded, anecdotal evidence suggests that Australian Aboriginal people used P. angustifolium Lodd., G.Lodd. & W.Lodd. topically for eczema, pruritis or to induce lactation in mothers following child-birth and internally for coughs, colds or cramps. AIMS OF THE STUDY: Essential oil composition and bioactivity as well as differential solvent extract antimicrobial activity from P. angustifolium is investigated here firstly, to partially describe the composition of volatiles released in traditional applications of P. angustifolium for colds or as a lactagogue, and secondly to investigate antibacterial activity related to topical applications. Essential oils were also investigated from P. undulatum Vent., firstly to enhance essential oil data produced in previous studies, and secondly as a comparison to P. angustifolium. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Essential oils were hydrodistilled from fruit and leaves of both species using a modified approach to lessen the negative (frothing) effect of saponins. This was achieved by floating pumice or pearlite obsidian over the mixture to crush the suds formed while boiling. Essential oil extracts were analysed using GC-MS, quantified using GC-FID then screened for antimicrobial activity using a micro-titre plate broth dilution assay (MIC). Using dichloromethane, methanol, hexane and H(2)O as solvents, extracts were produced from leaves and fruit of P. angustifolium and screened for antimicrobial activity and qualitative phytochemical character. RESULTS: Although the essential oil from leaves and fruit of P. undulatum demonstrated some component variation, the essential oil from fruits of P. angustifolium had major constituents that strongly varied according to the geographical location of collection, suggesting the existence of at least two chemotypes; one with high abundance of acetic acid decyl ester. This chemotype had high antimicrobial activity whilst the other chemotype had only moderate antimicrobial activity against the three microbial species investigated here. This result may support the occurrence of geographical specificity with regard to ethnopharmacological use. Antimicrobial activity screening of the solvent extracts from P. angustifolium revealed the leaves to be superior to fruit, with water being the most suitable extraction solvent. CONCLUSION: To the best of our knowledge, this study constitutes the first time essential oils, and solvent extracts from the fruits of P. angustifolium, have been examined employing comprehensive chemical and biological analysis. The essential oil composition presented in this paper, includes components with structural similarity as chemosemiotic compounds involved in mother-infant identification, which may have significance with regard to traditional applications as a lactagogue.

Concepts: Water, Ethanol, Petroleum, Acetic acid, Solvent, Essential oil, Oil, Indigenous Australians

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Mucuna pruriens Linn. (M. pruriens) is a leguminous plant that has been recognized as an herbal medicine for improving fertility and related disorders in the Indian traditional system of medicine, however without proper scientific validations.

Concepts: DNA, Bacteria, Evolution, Adenosine triphosphate, Eukaryote, Mitochondrion, Legume, Mucuna pruriens

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ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: While scorpionism is not a serious public health problem in Spain, traditional Spanish knowledge has retained a large number of plant-based and animal-based remedies for scorpion stings. Additionally, this arthropod plays an important role in the treatment of its own sting and has become a significant therapeutic resource in the treatment of several human pathologies. These remedies are distributed across a large number of references. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A thorough review of Spanish literature has been conducted in the fields of folklore, ethnography, ethnomedicine, ethnobotany, ethnozoology, social anthropology and medical anthropology from the early twentieth century to the present. Automated searches in national and international databases have been performed. RESULTS: The results include more than 110 traditional remedies for scorpion stings. Forty- eight remedies are based on the use of 29 vascular plants in 19 different botanical families. This listing of useful plants is broader than that provided by other researchers studying neighboring areas. Seventeen remedies based on the use of nine animal species, including humans, are also reported. Remedies have also been documented involving mud and water, while other remedies indicate the use of scorpions (crushed and applied directly). Many remedies emphasize the topical use of “scorpion oil” (i.e., oil from fried scorpions). Two remedies are based on the maceration of scorpions in alcohol. In most cases, topical remedies are applied locally on the affected area. There is also some use of magical remedies as well. The scorpion has also been used as a major component in 22 Spanish remedies and healing rituals associated with 17 human pathologies. CONCLUSIONS: The present study demonstrates the importance of the scorpion in Spanish folk medicine. In general, the remedies evaluated mix magic and empiricism. The data we obtained may represent relevant background knowledge for studies aimed at developing and applying new therapeutic remedies for scorpion stings and other human pathologies. The data also invites further research to determine the validity of these folk remedies.

Concepts: Medicine, Arthropod, Anthropology, 20th century, Cultural anthropology, Scorpion, Traditional medicine, Social anthropology

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ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Zataria multiflora Boiss. (ZM) is a thyme-like plant belonging to the Lamiaceae family that grows wild only in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. This plant with the vernacular name of Avishan-e-Shirazi (Shirazi thyme) in Iran is a valuable medicinal and condimental plant. It has several traditional uses as an antiseptic, carminative, stimulant, diaphoretic, diuretic, anesthetic, anti-spasmodic and analgesic. AIM OF THE STUDY: This paper reviews the ethnopharmacology, pharmacology, toxicology, modern pharmaceutical uses and phytochemistry of Zataria multiflora, and highlights the gaps in our knowledge deserving further research. METHODS: All relevant databases were searched for the terms “Zataria”, “Zataria multiflora”, “Shirazi thyme” and “Iranian thyme” without limitation up to 24th October 2012. Information on Zataria multiflora was collected via electronic search using Pubmed, Scopus, Web of Science and SID (for articles in Persian language), and local books on ethnopharmacology. RESULTS: ZM has played an important role in Iranian traditional medicine. In light of the modern pharmacological and clinical investigations, ZM is a valuable medicinal and condimental plant that has anti-microbial, antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic and anti-nociceptive properties. The oil of ZM contains high percentages of oxygenated monoterpenes, in particular thymol and carvacrol, and exhibits excellent anti-microbial properties. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, antimicrobial property appears to be the most interesting studied biological effect of ZM. The lack of a comprehensive phytochemical analysis of ZM is an important limitation that can be noted regarding most of the previous studies.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Lamiaceae, Iran, Persian language, Afghanistan, Pharmacognosy, Thymol

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Ethnopharmacological relevance: This study aimed to document traditional uses of medicinal plants in the Marmaris district of south-west Anatolia and to compare this information with our current knowledge of plant medicine in Turkey and the Mediterranean countries. Materials and methods: We collected the information through semi-structured interviews with 98 informants (51 men, 47 women). In addition, the relative importance value of species was determined and informant consensus factor (FIC) was calculated for the medicinal plants included in the study. RESULTS: We report the medicinal uses of 64 plant species belonging to 35 families, including the uses of 9 essential oils. Most of the medicinal plants used in the Marmaris district belong to the families Lamiaceae (13 species) and Asteraceae (4 species). The most commonly used plant species are Salvia fruticosa, Origanum onites, Lavandula stoechas, Mentha pulegium and Satureja thymbra. For the purposes of making essential oils, Salvia fruticosa is the plant species most commonly used. Two of the plants we report on (Liquidambar orientalis, Phlomis lycia) are endemic to Turkey and the East Agean Islands. Sideritis libanotica subsp. linearis is endemic to Turkey, Lebanon and Syria. Thymus cilicicus is endemic to Turkey, East Agean Islands, Lebanon and Syria. For six plant species (Narcissus tazetta, Lagenaria siceraria, Hypericum montbrettii, Phlomis grandiflora var. grandiflora, Polygonum bellardii, Crataegus aronia var. aronia) we report new different ethnobotanical uses not previously reported in Turkey. CONCLUSIONS: Some plants are used for medicinal purposes both in Marmaris and in other parts of Turkey and in the Mediterranean countries, either for the same or for different purposes. This paper helps preserve valuable information that may otherwise be lost to future generations.

Concepts: Species, Mediterranean Sea, Shrub, Lamiaceae, Medicinal plants, Essential oil, Anatolia, Lavender

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ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Taraxacumcoreanum Nakaiis a dandelion native to Korea and is widely consumed as an edible and medicinal herb. The aerial part of T. coreanum (TC) has been used therapeutically as a diuretic and anti-inflammatory agent, but its mechanism of action has not yet been evaluated. AIM OF THE STUDY: To investigate the anti-inflammatory potential of a TCchloroform fraction(TCC) and its mechanisms of action in vitro and in vivo. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Isolated mouse peritoneal macrophages were stimulated in vitro with interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the presence or absence of TCC. The anti-inflammatory effects of TCC were assessed by measuring nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) production, as well as expression of inducible NO synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), IκBα, phospho-IKK, mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), and signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT1). The effects of TCC were tested in vivo by measuring cytokine production and survival in a mouse model of lethal septic shock. And the standard compounds of TC were analyzed by HPLC using a C18 column. RESULTS: Treatment of primary macrophages with TCC in vitro significantly inhibited all of the inflammatory parameters measured, including LPS-induced NO and PGE(2) production, iNOS and COX-2 expression, IκBα degradation, IKK phosphorylation, and MAPK and STAT1 activation. In a mouse model of LPS-induced septic shock, TCC inhibited the production of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL-6, and increased survival by 83%.Standard compounds (gallic acid, syringic acid) of TC were qualified by HPLC analysis. CONCLUSIONS: TCC possesses potent anti-inflammatory activity in vitro and in vivo, which occurs at least partly through inhibition of proinflammatory signaling and mediator release. These results strongly support the therapeutic potential of TCC as an anti-inflammatory agent in vivo.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Signal transduction, Anti-inflammatory, Nitric oxide, Mitogen-activated protein kinase, Tumor necrosis factor-alpha, Nitric oxide synthase

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The rhizome of Polygonum cuspidatum SIEB. et ZUCC. (Polygonaceae, PC), a widely used Chinese medicine, is commonly prescribed for the treatments of amenorrhea, arthralgia, jaundice, abscess, scald and bruises.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Resveratrol, Ming Dynasty, Fallopia, Polygonaceae, Tang Dynasty

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ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn. is regarded useful for peptic ulcer in traditional systems of medicine in India. AIM OF THE STUDY: Helicobacter pylori has been considered as one of the causative factors for peptic ulcer. Aim of the present study was to evaluate the anti-H. pylori action of GutGard(®), a flavonoid rich extract of G. glabra and further to elucidate the possible mechanisms of its anti-H. pylori action. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Agar dilution and microbroth dilution methods were used to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration of GutGard(®) against H. pylori. Protein synthesis, DNA gyrase, dihydrofolate reductase assays and anti-adhesion assay in human gastric mucosal cell line were performed to understand the mechanisms of anti-H. pylori activity of GutGard(®). RESULTS: GutGard(®) exhibited anti-H. pylori activity in both agar dilution and microbroth dilution methods. Glabridin, the major flavonoid present in GutGard(®) exhibited superior activity against H. pylori while glycyrrhizin did not show activity even at 250µg/ml concentration. In protein synthesis assay, GutGard(®) showed a significant time dependent inhibition as witnessed by the reduction in (35)S methionine incorporation into H. pylori ATCC 700392 strain. Additionally, GutGard(®) showed a potent inhibitory effect on DNA gyrase and dihydrofolate reductase with IC(50) value of 4.40μg/ml and 3.33μg/ml respectively. However, the extract did not show significant inhibition on the adhesion of H. pylori to human gastric mucosal cell line at the tested concentrations. CONCLUSION: The present study shows that, GutGard(®) acts against H. pylori possibly by inhibiting protein synthesis, DNA gyrase and dihydrofolate reductase.

Concepts: DNA, Bacteria, Gastroenterology, Stomach, Helicobacter pylori, Peptic ulcer, Helicobacter, Urease