The use of medicinal plants in the world, and especially in South Africa, contributes significantly to primary health care. This paper presents the findings of an initial survey of plants used for the treatment of wounds in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Ethnomedical information gathered from surveys at clinics, hospitals as well as interviews with traditional healers and rural dwellers has revealed that Grewia occidentalis, Polystichum pungens, Cheilanthes viridis and Malva parvifolia are the most commonly used plants for the treatment of wounds in the province. The methanol extracts of G. occidentalis, P. pungens and C. viridis showed significant inhibition against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, while the acetone extract of P. pungens inhibited the gram-positive bacteria only. Extracts from M. parvifolia did not show any antibacterial activity at 5.0 mg/ml. Generally, the antibacterial property of the plants appears to have justified their use for the treatment of wounds, which are contaminated through bacterial infection, in the province.
Justicia spicigera is a plant species used for the Teenak (Huesteca Potosina) and Mayan (Yucatan peninsula) indigenous for the empirical treatment of diabetes, infections and as stimulant.
To evaluate the cytotoxicity, antioxidant and antidiabetic properties of J. spicigera.
The effects of ethanolic extracts of J. spicigera (JSE) on the glucose uptake in insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant murine 3T3-F442A and human subcutaneous adipocytes was evaluated. The antioxidant activities of the extract of JSE was determined by ABTS and DPPH methods. Additionally, it was evaluated the antidiabetic properties of JSE on T2DM model.
JSE stimulated 2-NBDG uptake by insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant human and murine adipocytes in a concentration-dependent manner with higher potency than rosiglitazone 1mM. JSE showed antioxidant effects in vitro and induced glucose lowering effects in normoglycemic and STZ-induced diabetic rats.
The antidiabetic effects of administration of J. spicigera are related to the stimulation of glucose uptake in both insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant murine and human adipocytes and this evidence justify its empirical use in Traditional Medicine. In addition, J. spicigera exerts glucose lowering effects in normoglycemic and STZ-induced diabetic rats.
Lonicera caerulea is a species of bush native to the Kamchatka Peninsula (Russian Far East) whose berries have been extensively studied due to their potential high antioxidant activity. The aim of our work was to investigate the in vivo effects of the antioxidant action of Lonicera caerulea berry extracts on the dynamics of experimentally-induced tumors. Our data showed that aqueous Lonicera caerulaea extracts reduced the tumor volume when administered continuously during the tumor growth and development stages, but augmented the tumor growth when the administration of extracts started three weeks before tumor grafting. Prolonged administration of Lonicera caerulaea berry extracts induced the antioxidant defense mechanism in the tumor tissues, while surprisingly amplifying the peripheral oxidative stress.
Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa L.), Ranunculaceae, thrives in temperate climates east of the Mississippi River in the USA. It is economically important to the Appalachian region where it is wild harvested, but it has resisted most efforts at deliberate cultivation. Black cohosh has been used for many centuries both in Europe and in the US (by indigenous people and subsequent Caucasian medical practitioners), most notably for indications of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menstrual pain and cramping.
To highlight black cohosh as an example in which disregard for the ethnobotanical and ethnopharmacologic usages of a plant has perhaps hindered modern scientific attempts to understand the mechanism of action of its bioactive phytochemicals, and ascribe cause to effect.
Research on its mode of action has historically focused on its presumed hormonal (phytoestrogenic) activity, but very recent work suggests that it may in fact be acting as an antinociceptive agent. Re-examination of some of the writings of 19th and 20th century physicians and folk literature suggests that this mode of action may have been overlooked in modern experimentalists' in vitro and animal studies and in the very few well conducted human trials to date.
The common folk perception of this plant as a "remedy for female problems" may thus require revision, as it may possess more general analgesic properties. In the broader context, ethnopharmacologic indications for other herbal remedies must be revisited in light of the explosion in understanding of mechanisms of action of small molecule effectors of which actein and cimicifugoside (from black cohosh) are only two examples.
The Carrier, an Athapaskan-speaking people of northcentral British Columbia, occupy the sub-boreal spruce forests of the central interior. This report, which is based on field study, documents some traditional and contemporary knowledge of the medicinal use of plants by the Carrier people. Important medicinal plants include: Abies lasiocarpa, Alnus incana, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Artemisia frigida, Fragaria virginiana, Juniperus communis, Picea glauca, Pinus contorta, Populus tremuloides, Rubus idaeus and Shepherdia canadensis.
Rhodiola rosea is a medicinal plant used by the indigenous Inuit people of Nunavik and Nunatsiavut, Eastern Canada, as a mental and physical rejuvenating agent. This traditional use led to the present investigation of R. rosea in the context of anxiety disorders. An alcohol extract of R. rosea roots was characterized phytochemically and orally administered for three consecutive days to Sprague-Dawley rats at 8 mg/kg, 25 mg/kg, and 75 mg/kg body weight. The rats were subjected to three behavioral paradigms of anxiety, including the elevated plus maze, social interaction, and contextual conditioned emotional response tests. Rhodiola rosea showed dose-dependent anxiolytic activity in the elevated plus maze and conditioned emotional response tests, with moderate effects in the higher-anxiety SI test. The active dose varied according to the anxiety test. In order to elucidate a mechanism, the extract was further tested in an in vitro GABAA-benzodiazepine receptor-binding assay, where it demonstrated low activity. This study provides the first comparative assessment of the anxiolytic activity of Nunavik R. rosea in several behaviour models and suggests that anxiolytic effects may be primarily mediated via pathways other than the GABAA-benzodiazepine site of the GABAA receptor.
The bark and leaves of Eucommia ulmoides Oliv (Eucommiaceae) and "Siberian ginseng" (Ezoukogi in Japanese) prepared from the root bark or stem bark of Eleutherococcus senticosus Maxim (Acanthopanax senticosus Harms) have been used as tonic and anti-stress drug. The extracts of Eucommia showed anti-hypertensive, anti-complementary, anti-oxidative, and anti-gastric ulcer effects, and promoting collagen synthesis, accelating granuloma formation, and other pharmacological effects. The Siberian ginseng exhibited anti-fatigue, anti-stress, immuno-enhancing effect, CNS activity, and anti-depressive effect. By now, 40, 28, and 10 compounds have been isolated from Eucommia ulmoides bark, Eucommia ulmoides leaves, and Siberian ginseng, respectively, and their structures were elucidated. Their pharmacological activities were mainly due to lignans and iridoid glycosides.
Antrodia camphorata is a Chinese herb indigenous to Taiwan. Previous reports demonstrated that it could induce apoptosis in some cancer cells. The purpose of this study was to investigate the apoptotic effect of the crude extract of A. camphorata in cervical cancer cells. Two human cervical cancer cell lines, HeLa and C-33A, were treated with extract of A. camphorata (10-1000 µg/mL). We found that A. camphorata extract was cytotoxic to both cervical cancer cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner as examined by MTT assay. Treatment with A. camphorata extract at 400 µg/mL induced a 2.3- and 4.4-fold increase in oligonucleosome formation from the cleaved chromosomal DNA in HeLa and C-33A cells, respectively. A. camphorata extract also activated caspase-3, -8, and -9 activities and increased the cytosolic level of cytochrome c in both cell lines as the dosage increased. Furthermore, A. camphorata extract increased expressions of Bak, Bad and Bim, while decreasing expressions of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL of the Bcl-2 family proteins in HeLa and C-33A cells. The expression of IAP proteins, XIAP and survivin, was also decreased in both cervical cancer cells after treatment with A. camphorata. Our in vitro study suggests that A. camphorata is cytotoxic to cervical cancer cells through both extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic mechanisms. It could be used as a novel phytotherapeutic agent or auxiliary therapy in the treatment of cervical cancer.