Artemisia vulgaris

artemisia_vulgaris_mugwort_flowers_04-08-05-1

Aphotoflora. (2004). Aphotoflora. Retrieved from: http://www.aphotoflora.com/d_artemisia_vulgaris_mugwort.html

Botanical Name: Artemisia vulgaris
Common name: Mugwort, Motherwort, Cronewort (Holms, 1989, p. 316)
Family: Asteraceae (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 531)
Parts used: Leaf and root (Hoffmann, 2013, p. 531)

Folklore: The name “Motherwort” is derived from western folklore as a herb for the womb (Holms, 1989, p. 317)

Constituents: Volatile oil (linalool, 1,8-cineole, β-thujone, borneol, α- and β- pinene); sesquiterpene lactones (incl. vulgarin); flavonoids; coumarin derivatives and triterpenes (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 531).

Actions

  • Bitter tonic (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 531)
  • Stimulant (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 531)
  • Nervine tonic (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 531)
  • Emmenagogue (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 531)

 

TCM actions:

  • Warms channels
  • Stops bleeding
  • Dispels cold
  • Relieves pain’
  • Drains dampness
  • Warms the uterus
  • Alleviates itching

(Hempen, 2009, p. 586)

 

Indications Traditional

  • Mugwort root is a traditional European treatment for epilepsy (Holms, 1989, p. 317)
  • Traditionally used in Moxibustion in the treatment of damp-cold and pain due to cold (Hempen, 2009, p. 587)

TCM indications

  • Amenorrhea (Holms, 1989, p. 316)
  • Dysmenorrhea (Hempen, 2009, p. 587; Holms, 1989, p. 316)
  • PMS with dry skin, swollen breasts, confusion and loss of self esteem (Holms, 1989, p. 316)
  • Estrogen or progesterone deficiency (Holms, 1989, p. 316)
  • Failure to progress during labor (Holms, 1989, p. 316)
  • Restless foetus (Hempen, 2009, p. 587)
  • Infertility (Holms, 1989, p. 317)
  • Anorexia (Holms, 1989, p. 317)
  • Gastric and biliary dyspepsia (Holms, 1989, p. 317)
  • Liver congestion (Holms, 1989, p. 317)
  • Jaundice (Holms, 1989, p. 317)
  • Edema (Holms, 1989, p. 317)
  • Aches, pains, fever and chills (Holms, 1989, p. 317)
  • Boils, ulcers, sores (Holms, 1989, p. 317)
  • Urinary and intestinal infections (Holms, 1989, p. 317)
  • Intestinal parasites (Holms, 1989, p. 317)
  • Eczema or itching (internal or external) (Hempen, 2009, p. 587)
  • Cough, wheezing phlegm (Hempen, 2009, p. 587)

 

Dosage & Preparation: 3-9g/day (Hempen, 2009, p. 587)

 

Cautions

  • Avoid during pregnancy and lactation due to effect on uterus and “drying” quality (Holms, 1989, p. 317)
  • Long term use/excessive dose may cause toxicity due to thujone content (Holms, 1989, p. 317)
  • Yin deficentcy heat (Hempen, 2009, p. 587)

 

Interactions: For heavy menstrual bleeding, restless foetus or premature labor: combine with Angelicae sinensis (Hempen, 2009, p. 587)

Viburnum prunifolium

thumbnail-1

Northern Family Farms. (2013). Flowering Shrubs. Retrieved from: http://www.northernfamilyfarms.com/detail.php?plant=313

vipr130154

Cook, W. (2013). Blackhaw (Viburnum prunifolium). Retrieved from: http://www.carolinanature.com/trees/vipr.html,/span>

Botanical Name: Viburnum prunifolium
Common name: Black Haw
Family: Caprifoliaceae (Bone, 2003, p. 100)
Parts used: Bark (Bone, 2003, p. 100)

 

Constituents: Flavonoids (incl. biflavone amentoflavone), iridoid glycosides, triterpenes and triterpenic acids and coumarins (incl. scopoletin) (Bone, 2003, p. 101)

Actions

  • Astringent (Bone, 2003, p. 100; Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • Antispasmodic (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • Hypotensive (Bone, 2003, p. 100; Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • Uterine sedative (Bone, 2003, p. 100)
  • Bronchospasmolytic (Bone, 2003, p. 100)
  • Antiasthmatic (Bone, 2003, p. 100)
  • Nervine (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)

 

Indications

  • Dysmenorrhea (Bone, 2003, p. 100; Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • Threatened miscarriage (Bone, 2003, p. 100; Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • False labor pains (Bone, 2003, p. 100; Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • Asthma (Bone, 2003, p. 100; Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • Postpartum hemorrhage (Bone, 2003, p. 100)
  • Hypertension (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)

 

Dosage & Preparation:

  • 5-4.5mL liquid extract (1:2)/day or 10-30mL/week (Bone, 2003, p. 100)
  • Tincture (1:5 in 60%): 5-10mL/tds
  • Decoction: 2tsp dried herb/1 cup water/tds (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 594).

 

Cautions: Caution to be taken in individuals with kidney stones due to oxolate content

Combinations: For threatened miscarriage: combine with False Unicorn root and Cramp Bark (Hoffmann, 1990, p. 181)

Interactions: Due to scopoletin content, caution should be taken when used in combination with anticoagulant medications (Bone, 2003, p. 100).

Viburnum opulus

viburnum-opulus-fl-rboutwell viburnum-opulus-trilobum-fr-fbramley-b

Images: New England Wild Flower Society. (2013). Virburnum opulus/Highbush-cranberry. Retrieved from: https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/species/viburnum/opulus/

Botanical Name: Viburnum opulus
Common name: Cramp Bark (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
Family: Caprifoliaceae (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
Parts used: Dried Bark (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)

Constituents: Hydroquinones (incl. arbutin and methylarbutin), coumarines (incl. scopoletin and scopoline) and tannins (mainly catechins) (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)

 

Actions

  • Antispasmodic (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593; Bone, 2013, p. 212)
  • Anti-inflammatory (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • Nervine (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • Hypotensive (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • Astringent (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • Emmenagogue (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • Vasorelaxant (Bone, 2013, p. 226)

 

Indications

  • Relaxes muscular spasm and tension (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • Cramps of both voluntary and involuntary muscles (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • Dysmenorrhea (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • Excessive menstrual blood loss (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • Delayed or sparse menstruation (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • Irregular bleeding during miscarriage (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • Protect against threatened miscarriage (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • Atonic conditions of pelvic organs (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)
  • Angina (Bone, 2013, p. 228)
  • IBS (Bone, 2013, p. 201)

 

Dosage & Preparation:

  • Tincture: 4-8mL/tds
  • Decoction: 2tsp dried her/tds

(Hoffmann, 2003, p. 593)

 

Interactions: Use cautiously with immune modulators and hypertensive agents (Natural Standard, 2014)

Turnera diffusa

Das Entfernen des Urheberrechtsvermerks ist gem‰fl dem "Gesetz ¸ber Urheberrecht und verwandte Schutzrechte (Urheberrechtsgesetz) strafbewehrt und wird verfolgt.

B.Bos. (n.d.). Damiana (Turnera diffusa). Retrieved from: http://www.giftpflanzen.com/turnera_diffusa.html

Botanical Name: Turnera diffusa
Common name: Damiana (Bone, 2003, p. 171)
Family: Turneraceae (Bone, 2003, p. 171)
Parts used: Leaves and stems (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 144)

 

History/Folklore: Traditionally used by Native Brazillian, Mexican and Mayan people (Bone, 2003, p. 171). In Mexico the herb was consumed as a stimulating beverage in place of tea/coffee (Bone, 2003, p. 171). Mayan Indians are believed to have used the herb to prevent giddiness, loss of balance and also as an aphrodisiac (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 144)

 

Constituents:

  • Sesquiterpenes
  • Alkaloids
  • Volatile oils
  • Thymol
  • Gozalitosin
  • Resin
  • Tannins
  • Gum
  • Mucilage
  • Starch
  • Bitter element

(Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 144)

 

Actions

  • Nervine tonic (Bone, 2003, p. 171)
  • Mild laxative (Bone, 2003, p. 171)
  • Anti-inflammatory (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 144)

 

Indications

  • Anxiety (Bone, 2003, p. 171)
  • Depression (Bone, 2003, p. 171)
  • Impotence (Bone, 2003, p. 171)
  • Decreased libido (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 144)
  • Nervousness (Bone, 2003, p. 171)
  • Nervous dyspepsia (Bone, 2003, p. 171)
  • Constipation (Bone, 2003, p. 171)

 

Traditional indications in Mexico include:

  • Sterility
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Childbirth aid
  • Nervous debility
  • Spermatorrhea
  • Irritable bladder
  • Suppressed menstruation

(Bone, 2003, p. 171)

 

Preparation & Dosage:

  • 3-6mL liquid extract (1:2)/day (Bone, 2003, p. 171)
  • 20-40mL liquid extract (1:2)/week (Bone, 2003, p. 171)
  • Dried leaf: 2-4g/tds (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 144)

 

Cautions & Contraindications: None Known (Bone, 2003, p. 171)

Interactions: May theoretically have an additive effect with hypoglycemic agents, although there is not enough evidence to support this (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 144)

Asparagus racemosa

Asparagus racemosus-1

Prasad, S. R. (n.d.). ASPARAGUS (Shatavari) as Multi target Drug in Women. Retrieved from: http://technoayurveda.com/Shatavari.html

Botanical Name: Asparagus racemosa
Common name: Shatavari, Wild Asparagus, Satavar (Hindi), Satavari (Sanskrit) (Pole, 2006, p. 217)
Family: Liliaceae (Pole, 2006, p. 217)
Parts used: Root (Bone, 2003, p. 409)
Quality: Bitter, sweet, cooling (Pole, 2006, p. 217)

History: Shatavari is regarded in Ayurvedic medicine as part of the rasayana group, which translates to the path that primordial tissue takes (Bone, 2003, p. 410). Australian aboriginals used shatavari topically in a wash for scabies, ulceration and chicken pox (Bone, 2003, p. 410).

Constituents: Steroidal saponins (incl. shatavarin I); alkaloids (incl. pyrrolizidine alkaloid ‘asparagamine A’); and mucilage (Bone, 2003, p. 410).

Actions

  • Tonic (Bone, 2003, p. 409)
  • Galactagogue (Bone, 2003, p. 409; (\Pole, 2006, p. 217)
  • Sexual tonic (Bone, 2003, p. 409)
  • Female reproductive tonic (Pole, 2006, p. 217)
  • Adaptogen (Bone, 2003, p. 409; Pole, 2006, p. 217)
  • Sapsmolytic (Bone, 2003, p. 409)
  • Antidiarrheal (Bone, 2003, p. 409)
  • Diuretic (Bone, 2003, p. 409; Pole, 2006, p. 217)
  • Aphrodisiac (Bone, 2003, p. 409; Pole, 2006, p. 217)
  • Immunosuppressant (Bone, 2003, p. 409)
  • Immunomodulator (Pole, 2006, p. 217)
  • Nervine (Pole, 2006, p. 217)
  • Demulcent (Pole, 2006, p. 217)
  • Anti-inflammatory (Pole, 2006, p. 217)
  • Anti-bacterial (Pole, 2006, p. 217)

Indications

  • Promote conception (Bone, 2003, p. 409)
  • Sexual debility (Both male and female) (Bone, 2003, p. 409)
  • Infertility (Bone, 2003, p. 409; Pole, 2006, p. 217)
  • Impotence (Bone, 2003, p. 409)
  • Promote lactation (Bone, 2003, p. 409; Pole, 2006, p. 217)
  • Menopause (Bone, 2003, p. 409)
  • Promote appetite in children (Bone, 2003, p. 409)
  • Infections (Bone, 2003, p. 409)
  • Diarrhea (Bone, 2003, p. 409)
  • Colic (Pole, 2006, p. 217)

Dosage & Preparation:

  • Liquid extract (1:2): 4.5-8.5mL/day or 30-60mL/week (Bone, 2003, p. 409)

Contraindications

  • Acute lung congestion (Pole, 2006, p. 218)
  • High kapha and/or āma (Pole, 2006, p. 218)

Combinations: Combine with Ashwagandha for a uterine tonic or to promote fertility in both male and females (Pole, 2006, p. 218)

Interactions: None known (Bone, 2003, p. 409)

Lycopus virginicus

LYCOPUS_VIRGINICUS

Singh, M. (2006). LYCOPUS VIRGINICUSBugle-weed. Retrieved from: http://www.homeopathyandmore.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=770

Botanical Name: Lycopus virginicus
Common name: Bugleweed (Hoffmann, 2010, p. 563)
Family: Lamiaceae (Hoffmann, 2010, p. 563)
Parts used: Ariel Parts (Hoffmann, 2010, p. 563)

Constituents:

  • Phenolic acid derivatives: caffeic, rosmaninic , chlorogenic and ellagic acid
  • Pimaric acid
  • Methyl ester

(Hoffmann, 2010, p. 563)

 

Actions

  • Diuretic (Hoffmann, 2010, p. 563)
  • Peripheral vasoconstrictor (Hoffmann, 2010, p. 563)
  • Astringent (Hoffmann, 2010, p. 563)
  • Nervine (Hoffmann, 2010, p. 563)
  • Antitussive (Hoffmann, 2010, p. 563)
  • TSH antagonist (Bone, 2010, p. 113)
  • Mild sedative (Bone, 2010, p. 113)

 

Indications

  • Specific for overactive thyroid, notably symptoms such as:
    • Shortness of breath
    • Palpitations
    • Shaking (Hoffmann, 2010, p. 563; Bone, 2010, p. 113)
  • Graves disease (Bone, 2010, p. 113)
  • Heart palpitations of nervous origin (Hoffmann, 2010, pp. 563-564)
  • Irritating coughs (Hoffmann, 2010, p. 564)

 

Preparation & Dosage:

2-6mL liquid extract (1:2)/day

15-40mL liquid extract (1:2)/week

(Bone, 2010, p. 113)

Cautions:

  • Blocks conversion of thyroxin to T3 in the liver and therefore may interfere with thyroid hormones (Hoffmann, 2010, p. 564)
  • High doses and extended therapy are not recommended (Bone, 2010, p. 113)

 

Contradictions

  • Hypothyroidism (Bone, 2010, p. 113)
  • Pregnancy and lactation (Bone, 2010, p. 113)

 

Interactions

  • Preparations containing thyroid hormone (Bone, 2010, p. 113)
  • May interfere with thyroid diagnostic procedures involving radioactive isotopes (Bone, 2010, p. 113)

Leonurus cardiaca

show_image
UniProt Consortium (2014). SPECIES Leonurus japonicus (Chinese motherwort) (Leonurus artemisia). Retrieved from: hengduan.huh.harvard.edu

Botanical Name: Leonurus cardiaca
Common name: Motherwort (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562)
Family: Lamiaceae (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562)
Parts used: Aerial parts (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562)

Constituents: Iridoids (incl. leonuride); labdane diterpenes (incl. leocardin); flavonoids (incl. apigenin, kaempferol, and quercetin glucosides); caffeic acid; alkaloids (incl. tachydrine, betonicine, turicin, leonurine); tannins; and volatile oil (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562).

Actions

  • Nervine (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562; Bone, 2003, p. 331)
  • Emmenagogue (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562; Bone, 2003, p. 331)
  • Antispasmodic (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562; Bone, 2003, p. 331)
  • Hepatic (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562)
  • Cardiotonic (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562; Bone, 2003, p. 331)
  • Hypotensive (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562; Bone, 2003, p. 331)
  • Anti-arrhythmic (Bone, 2003, p. 331)

 

Indications

  • Delayed or suppressed menstruation (esp. when related to anxiety and tension) (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562).
  • Congestive amenorrhea (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562; Bone, 2003, p. 331)
  • Dysmenorrhoea (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562; Bone, 2003, p. 331)
  • False labor pains (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562)
  • Menopausal symptoms (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562)
  • Tachycardia (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562; Bone, 2003, p. 331)
  • Anxiety and tension (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562)
  • Insomnia (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562)
  • Anemic nervousness (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562)
  • Cardiac weakness following infection (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562)
  • Hyperthyroidism (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562)
  • Neuralgia (Bone, 2003, p. 331)

 

Dosage & Preparation:

  • Liquid extract (1:2):2,0-3.5mL/day or 15-25mL/week (Bone, 2003, p. 331)
  • Tincture (1:5 in 40%): 1-4mL/tds (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562)
  • Infusion: 1-2tsp/1cup water/tds (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562)

 

Contraindications

  • Pregnancy (Bone, 2003, p. 331)

 

Interactions: May interfere with cardiovascular medications (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 562)

Valeriana officinalis

val1
Grieve M, (1971). Figure 1: Valeriana officinalis. Retrieved from: http://www.itmonline.org/arts/valerian.htm#figure%201

Botanical Name: Valeriana officinalis
Common name: Valerian
Family: Valerianaceae (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 592)
Parts used: Rhizome, stolon, root (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 592)

Folklore and traditional use:

  • Medicinal use of Valarian dates back to the Dioscordis and Galen, in which the plant was administered for epilepsy.
  • In was used during World War II for sleep promotion amongst civilians.
  • IN Europe, Valarian oil was used as a remedy for cholera.
  • The Eclectricts used the herb as a cerebral stimulant in chorea, hysteria (associated with mental depression) and in fever.
  • IN Ayurvedic medicine Valarian was used for hysteria, neurosis and epilepsy.

(Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 581)

 

Constituents:

  • Iridoids or “valepotriates” (including valtrate, isovaltrate, didrovaltrate and acevaltrate.
  • Essential oil: containing monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and carboxylic compounds
  • Valerenic acid (non-volatile cyclopentane sesquiterpenes)

(Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 582)

 

Actions

  • Nervine (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 592)
  • Anxiolytic (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 581)
  • Carminative (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 592)
  • Hypotensive (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 592)
  • Emmenagogue (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 592)
  • Mild Sedative (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 581)
  • Hypnotic (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 581; Hoffmann, 2003, p. 592)
  • Spasmolytic/Antispasmodic (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 581; Hoffmann, 2003, p. 592)

 

Indications

  • Insomnia (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 581)
  • Restlessness (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 581)
  • Nervous tension (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 581; Hoffmann, 2003, p. 592)
  • Depression (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 581)
  • Anxiety (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 581; Hoffmann, 2003, p. 592)
  • Alleviation of symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 581)
  • Stress related heart conditions (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 592)

 

Preparation & Dosage:

  • Dried root: 3-9g /day
  • Liquid extract: (1:2) 2-6mL / day
  • Tincture: (1:5) 5-15mL /day

(Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 581)

 

Cautions & Contradictions: None known (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 587)

 

Interactions: Although no reports have been made, Valarinan may theoretically increase effects of CNS depressants when taken in conjunction (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 587).

 

Combinations:

  • For depression and anxiety combines with Hypericum perforatum (Bone, 2003, p. 447)
  • For insomnia combine with Melissa officinalis or Humulus lupulus (Bone, 2003, p. 447)

Piscidia erythrina

jdkwapr

Medowbeautynursey.com. (n.d.). Piscidia piscipula. Retrieved from: http://meadowbeautynursery.com/jamaica-dogwood/

Botanical Name: Piscidia erythrina
Common name: Jamaica Dogwood
Family: Fabaceae (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)
Parts used: Root Bark (Bone, 2003, p. 289) Stem (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)

Folklore and traditional use: Originated in West India, traditionally used as a fish poison (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573).

 

Constituents: Isoflavins (incl. lisetin, jamaicin, ichtyone); Rotenoids (rotenone, milletone, isomilletone); and organic acids (incl. piscidic acid, beta-sitosterol and tannins) (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)

 

Actions

  • Nervine (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)
  • Anodyne (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)
  • Antispasmodic (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573; Bone, 2003, p. 289)
  • Analgesic (Bone, 2003, p. 289)
  • Mild sedative (Bone, 2003, p. 289)

 

Indications

  • Migrane (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)
  • Neuralgia (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)
  • Pain relief from nervous tension (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)
  • Toothache (Bone, 2003, p. 289)
  • Ovarian and uterine pain (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)
  • Insomnia (Bone, 2003, p. 289)
  • Anxiety (Bone, 2003, p. 289)
  • Dysmenorrhea (Bone, 2003, p. 289)
  • Muscular spasm (Bone, 2003, p. 289)
  • Rheumatism (Bone, 2003, p. 289)

 

Preparation: tincture, fluidextract or decoction (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)

 

Dosage: 3-6mL of 1:2 liquid extract/day (20-40mL/week) (Bone, 2003, p. 289)

 

Cautions & Contradictions:

  • Overdose produces toxic effects (Bone, 2003, p. 289)
  • Contraindicated in pregnancy and lactation (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573; Bone, 2003, p. 289)
  • Contraindicated in cardiac insufficiency (Bone, 2003, p. 289)

 

Interactions: May increase effects of concomitant therapies (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)

Piper methysticum

kava-piper_methysticum1

Nature Pacific PTY LTD. (2004). Kava Kava. Retrieved from: http://www.naturepacific.com/contents/en-us/d59_kava.html

Botanical Name: Piper methysticum
Common name: Kava Kava
Family: Piperaceae
Parts used: Rhizome

 

Folklore and traditional use: Kava kava root prepared as a beverage has a long history of use in welcoming ceremonies in the Pacific Islands (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 246).

Kava kava has been used both medicinally and ceremoniallyy in the Pacific region (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 456).

  • In Fiji it is used to treat bladder and kidney disease, as a diuretic, for coughs, colds and a sore throat.
  • In Samoa the root is used to treat gonorrhea.
  • In Hawaii it use to be used to treat skin disorders, to sooth nerves, induce sleep, to treat general debility, colds and chills.
  • In traditional Polynesian medicine it was used topically to treat skin disease, leprosy.
  • In Western herbal medicine, kava was indicated in a range of genitourinary tract ailments, such as gonorrhea, vaginitis and nocturnal incontinence.
  • The Eclectics recommended kava for neuralgia, toothache, earache, ocular pain, dizziness, despondency, anorexia, dyspepsia, intestinal catarrh, hemorrhoids and renal colic.

(Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 456)

 

Constituents:

  • Resin containing 6-stytly-4-methoxy-alpha-pyrone derivatives also known as ‘kava lactones’ or ‘kava pyrones’ including:
    • kavain
    • Dehydrokavain (DHK)
    • Methysticin
    • Dihydromethysticin
    • Yangonin
    • Desmethoxyyangonin
  • Flavonoids (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 457)

 

Actions

  • Anxiolytic (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 456; Bone, 2003, p. 291)
  • Hypnotic (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 456; Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)
  • Mild sedative (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 456)
  • Skeletal muscle relaxant (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 456)
  • Local anesthetic (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 456; Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)
  • Mild analgesic (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 456)
  • Relaxing nervine (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)
  • Antispasmodic (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)
  • Antifungal (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)
  • Anticonvulsant (Bone, 2003, p. 291)

 

Indications

  • General Anxiety Disorder (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 456; Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 246)
  • Nervous tension (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 456)
  • Restlessness (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 456)
  • Mild depression (of non-psychotic origin) (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 456)
  • Menopausal Symptoms (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 456)
  • Insomnia (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 247)
  • Hoffmann suggests that kava is good for anxiety without dampening alertness (administered at a normal therapeutic dose) (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)
  • Comparable to benzodiazepines in the treatment of anxiety, without the side effects (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573) this also suggests kava kava’s benefit in the withdrawal of benzodiazepine drugs (Braun & Cohen, 2005, p. 247).
  • Does not impair reaction time, and appears to improve concentration (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)

 

Preparation & Dosage: Commission E recommends preparations equivalent to 20-120mg of kavalactones/tds (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)

 

Cautions

  • A side effect of over consumption referred to as “kava dermopathy”, manifests as a skin rash, non-inflammatory dryness and scaling of skin. This is most often seen with heavy, long-term consumers. However this was also observed in clinical trials with doses of 300-800mg of isolated constituent dihydromethystici (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573).
  • Hepatotoxicity has been reported, leading to restrictions in availability in some countries (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)
  • Caution to be taken in elderly individuals with Parkinson’s disease due to potential dopamine antagonism (Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 452)
  • Liver conditions (Bone, 2003, p. 291)

 

Contradictions:

According to Commission E Kava kava is contraindicated in:

  • Pregnancy
  • Lactation
  • Endogenous depression

(Bone & Mills, 2010, p. 462)

 

Interactions: May increase effects of substances that act upon the central nervous system (alcohol, barbiturates, psycopharmaceutical agents) (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 573)