Rheum palmatum

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Botanical Name: Rheum palmatum
Common name: Rhubarb root (Hoffmann, 1990, p. 228), Chinese rhubarb (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 577).
Family: Polygonaceae (Hoffmann, 1990, p. 228)
Parts used: Rhizome (Hoffmann, 1990, p. 228)

Constituents:

  • Anthraquinones
  • Tannins
  • Bitter aromatic principal

(Hoffmann, 1990, p. 228)

 

Actions

  • Mild purgative (Hoffmann, 1990, p. 228)
  • Astringent (Hoffmann, 1990, p. 228)
  • Laxative (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 577)
  • Bitter (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 577)

 

Indications

Constipation: Cleansing action, removing debris and astringing with antiseptic properties (Hoffmann, 1990, p. 228).

 

Preparation & Dosage

  • Decoction: 0.5-1 tsp/1 cup water bid (morning and evening)
  • Tincture: 1-2mL tds

(Hoffmann, 1990, p. 228)

 

Cautions

May enhance loss of potassium (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 577).

 

Contradictions

Presence of anthraquinones constituents are known to stimulate peristalsis of bowel and due to the potential for anthraquinone to have a similar effect on the uterus, the herb is contraindicated in pregnancy (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 394).

 

Interactions

May have an effect on antiarhythmic drugs and cardiac glycosides due to the herb’s potential to enhance loss of potassium (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 577). As it is a laxative, it increases intestine transit time and therefore may interfere with the absorption of orally administered drugs (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 577).

 

Combinations

Should be combined with carminative herbs to relieve any consequent gripping (Hoffmann, 1990, p. 228).

 

REFERENCE

Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester Vermont: Healing Arts Press.

Hoffmann, D. (1990). Holistic Herbal. London: Thorsons

Image I: Campana, A. (2008). Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Retrieved from: http://www.gfmer.ch/TMCAM/Atlas_medicinal_plants/Rheum_palmatum.htm

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Rhamnus purshiana

Rhamnus_purshiana-3
Image I

Rha-pur-226-47
Image II

Botanical Name: Rhamnus purshiana
Common name: Buckthorn, Cascara sagrada (Heinrich, Barnes, Gibbons & Williamson, 2012, p. 204).
Family: Rhamnaceae (Heinrich et al., 2012, p. 204).
Part used: Bark (Heinrich et al., 2012, p. 204).

  • Active constituents:

  • Cascarosides A, B, C, D, E and F (stereoisomeres of aloin and derivatives) (Heinrich et al., 2012, p. 204).
  • Anthraquinone Glycosides
  • Anthrone and dianthrone glycosides -have emetic effects (Heinrich et al., 2012, p. 204).

 

Actions

  • Laxative (Heinrich et al., 2012, p. 51).
  • Purgative (Heinrich et al., 2012, p. 204).
  • Emetic (Heinrich et al., 2012, p. 204).
  • Bitter tonic (Hoffmann, 1990, p. 188)

 

Indications (contemporary)

Native to Pacific coast of North America (Heinrich et al., 2012, p. 204). Anthraquinone Glycosides are stimulant laxatives that act on the large intestine (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 201). In extreme cases of hypothyroidism related constipation (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 462).

 

Preparation

Due to emetic effects of active constituents anthrone and dianthrone, the herb is often kept for a year or “aged artificially” via heating, in order to oxidise these into anthraquinones, which have fewer undesirable side effects (Heinrich et al., 2012, p. 204).

 

Dosage

Decoction: 1-2 teaspoons/1 cup of water
Tincture: 1-2mL
*To be taken before sleep.
(Hoffmann, 1990, p. 188)

 

Contradictions

  • At high doses Anthraquinone Glycosides are gastrointestinal irritants. (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 201). Abuse may result in pseudomelanosis coli, which is associated with colorectal carcinoma (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 265). While short-term use is generally safe, long term use is not recommended (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 265)
  • As a strong laxative Rhamnus palmatum is contraindicated in pregnancy (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 394).

 

Combinations

Should be combined with aromatics and carminatives (e.g. Liquorice) (Hoffmann, 1990, p. 188).

 

REFERENCE

Heinrich, M., Barnes, J., Gibbons, S., & Williamson, E. (2012). Fundamentals of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester Vermont: Healing Arts Press.

Hoffmann, D. (1990). Holistic Herbal. London: Thorsons

Image I: McCguigan & Krug. (1942). Color Illustrations from “An Introduction to Materia Medica and Pharmacology. Retrieved from: http://wolf.mind.net/swsbm/Images/New10-2003.html

Image II: Oregon State University. (n.d.). Common Trees of the Pacific Northwest. Retrieved from: http://oregonstate.edu/trees/broadleaf_genera/species/cascara_buckthorn.htm

Sambucus nigra

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Hubpages. (2014). Gathering and Using Elderflowers to Make Lotions for Beautiful Skin and Healing Salves. Retrieved from: http://hubpages.com/hub/Gathering-and-Using-Elderflowers-to-Make-Lotions-for-Beautiful-Skin-and-Healing-Salves

sambucus-nigra-flower

Landscape Architect’s Pages. Sambucus nigra. (2011). Retrieved from: http://hubpages.com/hub/Gathering-and-Using-Elderflowers-to-Make-Lotions-for-Beautiful-Skin-and-Healing-Salves

Botanical Name: Sambucus nigra
Common name: Elder, Black Elder, Common Elder (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 400)
Family: Caprifoliaceae (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 580)
Parts used: Flower, berry, leaf (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 580)

Constituents

FLOWER

  • Triterpenes: ursolic acid, oleanolic acid,a- and b-amyrin, sterols
  • Fixed oils: linolenic and palmitic acids
  • Phenolic acids
  • Pectin

LEAF

  • Triterpenes
  • Cyanogenetic glycosides: incl. sambunigrin
  • Flavonoids: kaempferol, quercetin and quercetin glycosides
  • Fatty acids
  • Alkanes
  • Tannins

(Hoffmann, 2003, p. 580)

 

Actions

LEAF

  • Purgative
  • Expectorant
  • Diuretic
  • Diaphoretic
  • Emollient
  • Vulnerary

FLOWER

  • Diaphoretic
  • Anticatarrhal
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antiviral

Increases cytokin production, strengthens cells membranes, thus preventing virus penetration.

BERRY

  • Diaphoretic
  • Diuretic
  • Laxative
  • Antirheumatic

(Hoffmann, 2003, p. 580)

 

Indications

LEAF

Used topically for bruises, sprains and wounds

FLOWER

Colds and influenza

Catarrhal inflammation of upper respiratory tract

Hay fever and sinusitis

BERRY

Similar properties to the flower with added effectiveness in rheumatism (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 580)

 

Preparation & Dosage

Elderflower tincture: (1:5 in 40%) 2-4mL/tds

Infusion: 1 cup boiling water over 2 teaspoons of fresh blossoms. Infuse for 10 mins and drink hot/tds.

Juice: Boil fresh berries in water for 2-3mins. Express juice. Add 1 part honey to 10parts juice. Bring to boil. One glass diluted with hot water/ bds

Ointment: Heat 3 parts fresh elder leaves with 6 parts melted vasoline until leaves are crisp. Strain and store.

(Hoffmann, 2003, pp. 580-581)

 

Cautions & Contradictions:

No side effects reported (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 580). Tolerated in pregnancy in dietary amounts (Braun & Cohen, 2010, p. 402).

 

Combinations

Combined in an infusion with St John’s wort and Soap wort root has been seen to exhibit antiviral activity against influenza in in vitro and in vivo. It has also shown to exhibit antiviral activity against herpres simplex type-I in vitro (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 580).

 

REFERENCE

Braun, L., & Cohen, M. (2010). Herbs & Natural Supplements: An Evidence based Guide (3rd ed.). Chatswood NSW: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester Vermont: Healing Arts Press.