Herbs

herbs gallery

Acacia Nilotica

Definition/Short Discription: 

The Acacia or Babul Tree is an average size tree that is common to India and Africa. It is quite easily distinguishable by the dark brown or black, longitudinally fissured bark. It belongs to the plant family, Mimosaceae. The leaves are bipinnately compound and 5-10 cm. long. The plant has a good defensive mechanism in its V-shaped thorns that are white or light gray in color. The globose flowers are yellow and the pods are light gray in color. The pods, 7.5-15 cm. long are compressed and constricted at the sutures between the seeds, which range from 8-12 in a single pod.

Medicinal Use:

1. Burns
2. Wounds
3. Anaemia
4. Stained teeth
5. Blood dysentery
6. Gum diseases, loose teeth, and ulcers in the mouth
7. Cough
8. Eczema.
9. Cough, diabetes, excessive urination, impotency, and throat infection
10. Conjunctivitis and sore eyes

How to Use:

1. To take care of burns, mix the gum that oozes from the tree with equal quantities of powdered turmeric (Curcuma domestica) and coconut oil (Cocos nucifera) and apply.

2. For superficial wounds, boil some crushed bark in water and use the decoction for washing the wounds. Grind the tender leaves of the tree into a very fine paste. Apply over the wounds. You could also dust the wounds with some finely powdered bark.

3. For cases of anemia, fry one teaspoon each of the gum from the tree along with sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) and purslane (Portulaca oleracea) in an adequate quantity of olive oil or gingilee oil for 10 minutes. Remove and soak in 1-cup of rose-water for one hour. Use one teaspoon three times a day.

4. To remove the yellow stains from your teeth, grind the following items into a fine powder and brush the teeth regularly with it: 5-7 tablespoons of the charred bark of Acacia, two tablespoons of Aluminum sulfate or Alum and one tablespoon of Sodium chloride or common salt.

5. For dysentery, soak a teaspoon of pounded roots in a tumbler containing water for 3-4 hours. Make it warm and drink this water frequently.

6. To take care of gum diseases, loose teeth, and ulcers in the mouth, boil half a handful of the tender leaves of Acacia in two cups of water. When warm, use the water as a gargle, 4-6 times a day.

7. For common cough, make a paste with a handful of the tender leaves of Acacia, take one teaspoon of this paste, along with one teaspoon of honey and a little warm water.

8. To treat Eczema, boil 3-5 tablespoons each of the powdered bark of Acacia and Mango (Mangifra indica) in 4-5 cups of water. Foment the affected parts with this water. Apply rarefied butter or ghee on the affected skin.

9. For Cough, Diabetes, Excessive urination, Impotency, and Throat infection, chew a small portion of the Acacia gum everyday until the ailment disappears.

10. To treat Conjunctivitis and sore eyes, grind a handful of the tender leaves of Acacia with some water into a fine paste. Fold the paste in a sterilized piece of cloth or bandage and wrap it over the closed eyes at bedtime.

Parts Used: Bark, gum, tender leaves, and root.

Dosage: As recommended above.

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By Anonymous on 16 June 2011

Aloe-vera

Usage: 
Definition/Short Discription: 

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Aloe, or aloe vera, is a prickly, gray-green succulent native to Africa but cultivated around the world. It is perennial with leaves that can grow up to two feet (sixty centimeters) long, and it bears spikes of yellow or orange flowers. The leaves contain a clear gel that that is applied in the skin treatments. A dried yellow sap taken from the leaf base, aloe bitters, is used internally.

EVIDENCE OF BENEFITS

Aloe is an immune stimulant, laxative and anti inflammatory agent. It also promotes the absorption of nutrients through the digestive tract and normalizes blood sugar.

Benefits of aloe for specific health condition include the following:
·
Burns and other wounds. Scientific studies with animals have shown that aloe vera sap activates macrophages, the immune cells that fight bacterial infection. This allows burns to heal cleanly. The sap stimulates the circulation of blood at the body’s surface, which accelerates wound healing. Aloe vera juice speeds healing because it increases the amount of oxygen carried by the blood to the cells. Aloe gel is a mild anesthetic that relieves itching, swelling and pain. Aloe also helps repair damaged cells and prevents burns from scarring. Moreover aloe contains enzymes, carboxypeptidase and bradykininase, that relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and decrease redness and swelling. Clinical studies have confirmed burns and cuts treated with aloe vera gel heals as much as three days faster than burns and cuts that have been treated with unmedicated dressings or with chemical antiseptic gels.
·
Cancer . Alo A, a medically active complex sugar in aloe stimulates and regulates various components of the immune system. It stops both the processes of inflammation necessary for tumor to gain new blood supplies and the growth of tumors themselves. In skin cancer study involving animals, aloe gel and vitamin E cream together produce remission approximately 33 percent of the time, compared with 3 percent when no treatment was given.
In addition, certain compounds in aloe seem to prevent cancer- causing substances from entering liver tissue. Because it keeps potential carcinogens from entering the liver, rather than changing the chemistry of the liver itself (like many other cancer treatments), aloe compounds do not cause the liver to create new carcinogens while it deactivates others. Some clinics have used aloe vera to increase the effectiveness of cancer treatment with the chemotherapy agents cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar) and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). Several studies indicate that aloe vera gel can protect both the immune system and the skin from the effects radiation treatment. In addition at least one study suggests taking aloe internally can reduce the likelihood of lung cancer in smokers.
·
Constipation. Aloe bitters are a fast and effective remedy for constipation used widely outside the United States. When compared with other herbal stimulant laxatives such as cascara sagrada or senna, aloe draws less fluid into the large intestine from the rest of the body. This makes less likely than cascara or senna to cause dehydration or electrolyte disturbances. Aloe juices have the same effects as bitters on constipation but are less reliable and offer less relief.
·
Crohn’s disease. Aloe juice is an effective anti-inflammatory for Crohn’s disease. It also ensures soft stools. Aloe bitters and aloe laxatives, however, should be avoided by people with crohn’s disease, since they may cause painful cramps. Cathartic preparation of aloe should be avoided.

Diabetes. In one five- years study, 3,167 diabetic patients with atherosclerotic heart disease were given 120 grams parboiled aloe leaves for lunch and dinner each day. The patient showed marked decreases in level of cholesterol, triglycerides, and sugar. While aloe leaves are unlikely to be eaten as a vegetable in the United States, this research demonstrates the ant diabetic potency of the herb. In another test, diabetic patients were given a spoonful of a much more palatable aloe extracts with water everyday at every meal for fourteen weeks. Their average fasting blood- sugar level fell from a very high 273 milligrams per deciliters (mg/dl) to a slightly elevated 151 mg/dl. Aloe seems to act by stimulating the pancreas to secret insulin. For this reason, it is potentially helpful for people with type 2 diabetes whose body still produce insulin. However, one of aloe’s strengths is that it does not cause weight gain, a common side effect of some diabetes medications.
·
Frostbite. Aloe prevents a decrease of blood flow to the frozen tissues, which is the common cause of tissue loss in frostbite. People treated with aloe vera cream are more likely to heal with no tissue loss or amputation.
·
Hangover. An aloe compound called aloin helps prevent alcoholic intoxication, probably by preventing the passage of alcohol from the intestine into the bloodstream.
·
Hemorrhoids. Aloe gel helps heal wounds and can be applied topically. India’s ayurvedic physicians recommend drinking ½ cup of aloe juice three times a day until hemorrhoid flare-ups are gone.
·
HIV/AIDS. In test –tubes studies, acemannan, apotent immune-stimulating compound in aloe, was shown to be active against HIV. Acemannan also may reduce requirements for Zidovudine (Retrovir, better known as AZT).The recommended amount of acemennan is up to 250 milligrams four times a day .It takes about a quart of the aloe juice to provide 1,600 milligrams of acemennan.
·
Kidney stones. Aloe juice contains aloemannan. This complex sugar concentrates in the kidneys, stimulates the growth of health kidneys cells ,and slow the rate of crystal formation
·
Radiation exposure. Aloe protects against skin-damaging x-rays. Aloe is an effective antioxidant that absorbs the free radicals caused by radiation.
·
Skin disorders and wrinkles. A clinical study found that using aloe vera cream twice a day for four weeks” cured” psoriasis inflammation, stopping skin outbreaks for at least a year. Aloe gels applied to the skin relieves the pain and inflammation of eczema and psoriasis. A potent ant-inflammatory chemical in aloe is as effective as hydrocortisone in treating skin irritation, without hydrocortisone’s detrimental effects on the immune system, and using aloe vera cream with hydrocortisone increases relief of inflammation. In a study involving sixty volunteers, daily use of aloe vera gel cleared up psoriasis in over 80 percent of volunteers, compared with 7 percent treated with placebo.

Research at the University of Maryland has found that another compound in aloe, (aloe emodin,) which is also responsible for aloe’s laxative effect, kills the viruses that that cause herpes and shingles. Aloe which has antibacterial and moisturizing effects also has been shown to rejuvenate sun-aged skin.
·
Surgery recovery. Studies have shown that patients who underwent surgical procedures and were treated with a dressing and aloe healed much faster than those who were treated with dressing and surgical gel.
·
Ulcers. Aloe soothes peptic-ulcer inflammation caused by excess acid, aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and alcohol, Studies shows that aloe vera leave sap heals ulcers so completely that researchers recommend it over the anti- ulcer drug cimetidine ( Tagamet ). In people with AIDS, it soothes the lining of the digestive tract, increasing nutrients absorption.

CONSIDERATION FOR USE

Use aloe gel for skin problems, bitters for constipation and kidney stones, and juice for other disorders. Aloe gel is available commercially and may also be taken from one’s own plants. Leaves up to one foot long may be removed from the plant without causing damage. The best time of day for cutting aloe leaves is mid-afternoon, when the plant has moved maximum amount of sap into the leaf.

Be aware that there are many so-called aloe vera products on the market that actually contain very little aloe vera. They are watered-down imitations that are not as beneficial as bona-fide aloe vera . Read products labels. Aloe vera should be listed as primary ingredient-that is, it should be the first – or second listed ingredient.

Aloe bitters and aloe juice should not be taken internally during pregnancy or menstruation, or in cases of rectal bleeding, although aloe gel may be used externally under these conditions. The laxative compounds in aloe are passed into the mother’s milk, so nursing mothers should avoid internally use of aloe.

Any laxative, herbal or otherwise affects the rate at which other orally administered drugs are absorbed into the blood stream. Therefore, prescription medication and aloe laxatives should be taken at different times.

Long-term internal use (more than two weeks) is not recommended because the fluid drawn into the stool can result in depletion of electrolytes, especially potassium. Loss of potassium is even better when aloe is taken internally with potassium-wasting diuretic drugs. Depletion of potassium by excessive use of aloe laxative theoretically could lead to toxic buildup of calcium in the blood stream and kidney damage in women who take calcium carbonate (such as Caltrate 600) for osteoporosis. Potassium depletion also can cause serious mineral imbalances in persons who take forms of lithium, including Cibalith-S, Eskalith, Lithobid, Lithonat, and lithotabs, for the treatment of bipolar disorder. The internal use of aloe should likewise be avoided by people who take potassium – depleting drugs for higher blood pressure congestive heart failure, such as hydrochlorothiazide (found in diuretic drugs sold under a wide range of brand names ) or furosemide ( Lasix ).

Ayurvedic medicines use aloe to stimulate fertility in women. Women who take birth control pills should avoid internal use of aloe, although application of aloe to the skin will not interact with oral contraceptives.

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By Anonymous on 04 May 2011

Kigelia Africana

Definition/Short Discription: 

Kigelia Africana Fruit

Origin
Kigelia is mainly localized in African countries, in seaboard Casamance and in coastal wet areas. It is rare inland, where it is in some forested galleries.

Traditional Applications
Kigelia has a long history of use by rural African communities, particularly for its medicinal properties. Most commonly, traditional healers have used the sausage tree to treat a wide range of skin ailments, from fungal infections, boils, psoriasis and eczema, through to the more serious diseases, such as leprosy, syphilis and skin cancer. It also has internal applications, including the treatment of dysentery, ringworm, tapeworm, post-partum haemorrhaging, malaria, diabetes, pneumonia and toothache.

The Tonga women of the Zambezi valley regularly apply cosmetic preparations of Kigelia fruit to their faces to ensure a blemish-free complexion. The fruit is a common ingredient in traditional beer, and is said to hasten the fermentation process. Kigelia leaves are an important livestock fodder, and the fruits are much prized by monkeys and elephants. Perhaps not surprisingly, given its suggestive shape, the fruit has also found traditional use as an aphrodisiac.

Kigelia's known chemical constituents include:
- Napthaquinones (including kigelinone)
- Fatty acids (including vernolic)
- Courmarins (including kigelin)
- Iridoids
- Caffeic acid
- Norviburtinal
- Sterols (including sitosterol and stigmasterol)

The steroids are known to help a range of skin conditions, notably eczema, and the flavonoids have clear hygroscopic and fungicidal properties. Strong anecdotal evidence suggests that it is effective in the treatment of solar keratosis, skin cancer and Kaposi sarcoma, an HIV-related skin ailment. New research by PhytoTrade Africa has supported anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Clinical Studies

laboratory studies conducted at the University of Nigeria in conjunction with Chelsea Pharmacy Department, London.[1],[2] The researchers conducted in-vitro tests for the efficacy of an aqueous extract of stem bark and two major iridoids against Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans. Their conclusion was that 'the extract tested had pronounced inhibitory effect against all microorganisms'.

These tests gave validity to the traditional use as a natural antibacterial. Chemical analyses of the roots, wood and leaves of the tree have shown the presence of napthoquinones, dihydroisocoumarins, flavonoids and aldehydic iridoid derivatives.

Breast firming clinical studies

The tested product is a gel of Carbopol containing 5% of Kigelia Fruit Extract.
The product is applied once a day with a prolonged massage, covering the whole bust area and the neck during 4 weeks. The 10 volunteers are between 30 and 45 year old women, with at least one pregnancy, and a breast measurement less than 90 cm.

The opening angle shows the improvement of the curve position and raising up of the bosom and decreasing in the photo.
BUST FIRMNESS IMPROVEMENT = 50 %
CUTANEOUS FIRMNESS IMPROVEMENT = 55 %
CUTANEOUS ELASTICITY IMPROVEMENT = 70 %
GENERAL IMPRESSION ABOUT Kigelia is MORE THAN 50% SATISFIED WOMEN

Conclusion
Due to its exceptional firming properties, Kigelia helps improve firmness and elasticity of the skin

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By Anonymous on 04 May 2011

neem-tree leaves

Definition/Short Discription: 

English Name: Neem
Swahili Name: Mwarubaini
Latin Names :Azadirachta indica A. Juss.,/b>

Neem is known for its immeasurable medicinal properties and is used as a main ingredient in many home remedies. It belongs to the mahogany family tree. In India, it is in factcalled the Heal All or Divine Tree. Neem is really very useful from roots to leaves. It is also said to heat more than 40 different diseases hence its Swahili name ( mwarubaine) . The neem fruit that produce neem oil which is the main player and commonly used. It's very useful in diverse ways such as skin care and acne treatment.

Chemical composition of neem:

Neem tree has numerous medicinal properties by virtue of its chemical compounds. Seeds of the Neem tree contain the highest concentration of Azadirachtin. Apart from Azadirachtin , salannin, gedunin, azadirone, nimbin, nimbidine, nimbicidine, nimbinol, etc are other important liminoids of neem.

Uses of neem in horticulture:

Neem has been the most traditionally used plant in India , Pakistan and Africa to protect grains and cereals from pests. Fresh neem leaves are mixed with grains and cereals before storing. A paste of fresh neem leaves is rubbed against the wall of large mud bins or gunny bags in which the grains and cereals are stored. Some times a thick layer of dry neem leaves are spread over grains. Neem oil extracted from seeds acts as best biopesticide. Jute sacks treated with neem oil or extracts of neem are used to store food grains. Neem oil is a very cheap and effective house hold pesticide to protect grains and legumes from pests. Neem is being used to protect stored roots and tubers from potato moth.

Azadirachtin is available in high concentration in neem seeds. It is used as “botanical pesticide” which is environmentally friendly. It prevents insects from feeding on plants and regulates the growth of insects. Neem extracts do not harm the insects like bees, spiders and butterflies which help in pollination.

Medicinal properties of Neem:

The Neem tree has many medicinal uses. The chemical compounds present in neem have anti-inflammatory , antiarthritic ,antipyretic ,hypoglycaemic , Antifungal, spermicidal, antimalarial, antibacterial and Diuretic properties. Flower, leaves, bark and seeds of neem are used in home remedies and in preparation of medicines. Bark of neem acts as antipyretic and helps to reduce fever. Flowers are used in intestinal disorders. Juice from fresh leaves is very helpful in treating skin diseases, wounds and obesity. Oil from neem seeds is used in arthritis, skin diseases and muscular sprains. Neem is very effective in treating gum diseases.

The neem is proved to be beneficial in treating skin diseases because of its antibiotic, antifungal and blood purifying properties. According to ayurveda principles it promotes wound healing as it is antibacterial and astringent. In psoriasis it reduces itching, irritation, roughness of skin and heals the psoriatic patches. In same way it heals eczema too. It reduces infection and inflammation of acne. Neem helps to maintain the health of scalp skin and prevents dandruff.

Due to its detoxifying properties it helps to keep organ systems healthy, especially circulatory, digestive, respiratory and urinary systems.

Scientific studies have revealed that neem reduces blood sugar level. Hence its usage supports diabetic patients to keep their blood sugar level in control. Diabetes impairs blood circulation and causes gangrene in lower extremities. Numerous scientific researches have highlighted the role of neem in keeping circulatory system healthy, thus reducing the chances of gangrene. Recent studies have shown that neem reduces blood cholesterol level and keeps the heart healthy.

Home remedies with neem

1. Apply Crushed fresh leaves of neem on acne. In case of body acne mix fine paste of fresh neem leaves in little water and smear this mixture on back, chest and shoulders.

2. In itching, application of neeem oil on affected areas helps. Boil neem leaves in a big bowl of water and mix this in bathing water. This reduces body itch.

3. Massaging neem oil to scalp removes head lice and prevents formation of dandruff.

4. Mix dry neem powder, in water and apply this as pack on head . This pack has to be kept for 45 minutes and washed off later. This prevents hair loss and dandruff. Fresh neem leaves can also be used instead of dry neem powder.

5. A freshly prepared paste of turmeric, neem and sesame seeds is recommended in ayurveda for fungal infection between toes.

6. Fumigating the house with smoke of dried neem leaves in evenings for 1-2 minutes is an excellent ayurvedic method to keep mosquitoes away.

Neem in House hold

Neem flower pachidi is prepared from roasted neem flower and is a famous dish in South India which is prepared during ugadi. Neem flower rasam improves digestion and is very popular in Andhra and Tamilnadu.

Extract of skin friendly neem is being used in manufacturing bathing soaps, hair gels, body lotions etc. These products are gaining popularity in market.

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By Anonymous on 04 May 2011