Monthly Archives: December 2012

Yashti Madhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Yashti Madhu (Glycyrrhiza Glabra)

Latin Name Glycyrrhiza glabra
Sanskrit Name Yastimadhuka, Yastika, Madhuka, Madhuyasti, Yatyahva
English Name Liquorice root
Common Name Jethimard, Jethimadh, Mulethi, Muleti, Jethimadhu, Jesthamadh, Jatimadhu, Jastimadhu, Atimadhuramu
Ayurvedic Properties and Action:
Rasa Madhura
Guna Guru, Snigdha
Virya Sita
Vipaka Madhura
Karma Balya, Caksusya, Vrsya, Varnya, Vatapittajit, Raktaprasadana

Phytochemistry:

The principal constituent of liquorice is glycyrrhizin (its characteristic sweet taste). Other constituents present in liquorice are: glucose, sucrose, mannite, starch, and asparagine, bitter principles, resins and a volatile oil. The yellow color is due to the anthoxanthin glycoside, iso liquiritin which undergoes partial conversion to liquiritin during drying and storage of roots. Iso liquiritin gives on hydrolysis iso liquiritigenin, while liquiritin gives liquiritigenin as a glucone. Both iso liquiritin and liquiritin are bitter with a sweet after-taste and stimulate the salivary glands. A phytosteroid estrogen, possibly estriol, is also reported to be present in liquorice. The plant contains phytoestrogens in the form of isoflavones such as formononetin; glabrone, neoliquiritin and hispaglabridin A & B.
Roots contain glycyrrhizin, asparagin, sugar, starch, acid resin, gum, mucilage, phosphoric, sulfuric & malic acids. Bark contains a small quantity of tannins.

Pharmacological Actions:

It is a tonic, sweet, antioxidant, expectorant, antitussive, demulcent, spasmolytic, anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, anti-nociceptive, memory stimulant (being MAO inhibitor), antimicrobial, antiviral, demulcent, antibacterial, spasmolytic, tonic, diuretic and intellect promoting, also has antistress, antiulcer, liver protective, estrogenic, emmenagogue, antidiabetic and antidepressive actions.
It has hypolipidaemic, antiatherosclerotic, antioxidant and hypotensive properties.

Medicinal Use:

It is used in bronchitis, dry cough, respiratory infections, catarrh, tuberculosis; genitourinary diseases, urinary tract infections; abdominal pain, gastric and duodenal ulcers, inflamed stomach, mouth ulcer and in catarrh of the upper respiratory tract. Also used for adrenocorticoid insufficiency.

It is useful in epilepsy, as a general tonic in debility and as a rejuvenator.

It is used in healing of peptic ulcer and warm sensation on mucus membrane, It has spasmolytic antiulcer properties, and useful in gastralgia, gastric ulcer, hypo and hyper acidity, and peptic ulcer .

It is used to relieve oral inflammations, irritable condition of bronchial tubes, hoarseness, dry coughs, bronchitis, asthma, sore throats and in viral infections.

It is used for allaying coughs and catarrhal affections. Liquorice extract is a constituent of cough syrups, it is useful in clears and sooths sore throat and it resolves infection of respiratory tract.

It is useful in falling and graying of hair.
Clinical / experimental study:

Memory stimulant

Glycyrrhizic acid has neuroprotective effects and may be use to prevent cerebral damage elicited by the glutamate.
It has neuroprotective effects against ischemic damage by maintaining the SOD1 level.

Glabridin has a neuroprotective effect via modulation of multiple pathways associated with apoptosis (Glabridin significantly attenuated the level of brain malonyldialdehyde, while it elevate the level of two endogenous antioxidants in the brain, i.e. superoxide dismutase and reduced glutathione , it also inhibit the staurosporine-induced cytotoxicity and apoptosis of cortical neurons, and reduce the DNA laddering caused by staurosporine, etc.). It is useful in cerebral ischemia.
A controlled clinical trial on 92 randomly selected cases of post operative traumatic inflammation following tonsillectomy with powdered G. glabra given in a dose of 3g t.d.s in 28 cases. In another series of 24 cases, oxyphenbutazone 2 tabs t.d.s were given. On sequential analysis, the anti-inflammatory response of G. glabra was found to be equivalent to that of oxyphenbutazone. G. glabra appeared to possess a more potent antipyretic and anti-exudative activity in comparison to oxyphenbutazone.
In clinical study, licorice root fluidextract was used to treat 100 patients with early peptic ulcer, of which 86 cases had been unresponsive to conventional treatment, at a dose of 15 ml four times daily for six weeks. Positive effects were reported in 90% of the cases, in 22 of which ulcer craters disappeared by X-ray examination and 28 others showed improvement. In subsequent studies, researchers reported that licorice powder at a dosage of 2.5–5.0 g three times daily was more effective than the fluidextract.
DGL (deglycyrrhizinated liquorice) has shown success in treating duodenal gastric ulcers in clinical trials. Licorice preparations have been studied for possible benefits in treating digestive tract ulcers. In one clinical study, licorice root fluidextract was used to treat 100 patients with early peptic ulcer, of which 86 cases had been unresponsive to conventional treatment, at a dose of 15 ml four times daily for six weeks. Positive effects were reported in 90% of the cases, in 22 of which ulcer craters disappeared by X-ray examination and 28 others showed improvement. In subsequent studies, researchers reported that licorice powder at a dosage of 2.5–5.0 g three times daily was more effective than the fluidextract.

The antiulcer activity of Glycyrrhizae has been demonstrated both experimentally and clinically. Intraperitoneal, intraduodenal, or oral administration of aqueous or alcoholic extracts of Radix Glycyrrhizae reduced gastric secretions in rats, and it inhibited the formation of gastric ulcers induced by pyloric ligation, aspirin, and ibuprofen.
Glycyrrhizin and its agly-cone (glycyrrhetic acid, enoxolone), two of the active constituents of Radix Glycyrrhizae, both have antiphlogistic activity and increase the rate of mucus secretion by the gastric mucosa. Deglycyrrhizinated liquorice (97% of glycyrrhizin is removed) effectively treated stress-induced ulcers in animal models. The mechanism of antiulcer activity involves acceleration of mucin excretion through increasing the synthesis of glycoprotein at the gastric mucosa, prolonging the life of the epithelial cells, and antipepsin activity.
The spasmolytic activity of Glycyrrhizae has been demonstrated in vivo (guinea-pig, rabbit, & dog), & appears to be due to the flavonoids liquiritigenin & isoliquiritigenin.
Oral administration of Glycyrrhizae to 15 patients with peptic ulcer reduced symptoms and improved healing in 75% of the cases. Glycyrrhetic acid (enoxolone), the active constituent, produced its antiulcer activity by inhibiting 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase and Δ13-prostaglandin reductase. Inhibition of these two enzymes stimulated an increase in the concentration of prostaglandins E and F2α in the stomach, which promoted the healing of peptic ulcers owing to a cytoprotective effect on the gastric mucosa.
Carbenoxolone, a derivative of glycyrrhetic acid, has been used clinically for years in the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers.
Oral administration of deglycyrrhizinated liquorice (380 mg, 3 times daily) to 169 patients with chronic duodenal ulcers was as effective as antacid or cimetidine treatments. These results indicate that, in addition to glycyrrhetic acid, other unidentified constituents of Glycyrrhizae contribute to its antiulcer activity.
The flavonoids have been shown to kill Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that causes most ulcers and stomach inflammation.
Glycyrrhiza Glabra strengthens the gastric mucosal defense system, neutralizes gastric acid, increases the concentration of dissolved mucosubstances and helps in healing of gastric and duodenal ulcers.
Antitussive effects
In animal studies licorice produces a persistence antitussive effect, which is mediated by liquiritin apoiside in the earlier phase and liquiritin and liquiritigenicn (a metabolite of liquiritin apoiside) in the later phase.

Antiallergic activity

G. glabra (glycyrrhizin, 18 beta-glycyrrhetinic acid and liquiritigenin) have Antiallergic activity, which can relive IgE-induced allergic diseases such as dermatitis and asthma.

Cardiac
Hypocholesterolaemic and Antioxidant effects of Glycyrrhiza glabra appeared to be mediated via (I) accelerated cholesterol, neutral sterol and bile acid elimination through fecal matter with an increased hepatic bile acid production and (II) improving the activities of hepatic SOD, catalase and increasing the ascorbic acid content. It significantly decline in plasma lipid profiles and an increase in HDL-cholesterol content. During treatment the status of antioxidant was improved.

It has estrogen like activity and useful in female hormonal replacement therapy support and also aid in depression associated with PMS or menopause.

Gynaecological action

Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has been touted as a “natural” source of estrogen and has been suggested as a treatment for symptoms of menopause. The estrogen action may be due to its isoflavone content, and these compounds tend to act as estrogen agonists in a low estrogen setting, and as estrogen antagonists in a setting of high estrogen levels.
It has estrogen like activity and useful in female hormonal replacement therapy support and also aid in depression associated with PMS or menopause.

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Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri)

Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri)

Latin Name Bacopa Monnieri, Bacopa Monnieria, Herpestis monnieria
Sanskrit Name Brahmi, Sarasvati, Kapotavanka
English Name Thyme Leaved Gratiola
Common Name Manduka Parni, Neerbrahmi, Bamanevari, Jalnam, Brahmi, Birami, Nirabrahmi, Sambarenu, Sambrani
Ayurvedic Properties and Action:
Rasa Madhura, Tikta, Kasaya
Guna Laghu, Sara
Virya Sita
Vipaka Madhura
Karma Kaphahara, Medhya, Rasayana, Svarya, Vatahara, Visahara, Ayusya, Matiprada, Prajasthapana, Mohahara

Phytochemistry:

The herb contains the alkaloids brahmine, herpestine, and a mixture of three bases. It also contains the saponins, monnierin; hersaponin, bacoside A and bacoside B. Other constituents present in the plant are D-mannitol, betulic acid, ß- sitosterol, stigmasterol and its esters, heptacosane, octacosane, nonacosane, triacontane, hentriacontane, dotriacontane, nicotine, 3-formyl-4-hydroxy-2H-pyran, luteolin and its 7-glucoside. The presence of a-alanine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid and serine is also reported.
Pharmacological Actions:

It has astringent, tranquilizer, antioxidant, smooth muscle relaxant, laxative, intellect promoting, carminative, digestive, antiinflammatory, anticonvulsant, depurative, and tonic actions, antianxiety, adaptogenic, brain tonic, sedative and antidepressant activity.
Medicinal Use:

Clinically it is used for memory enhancing, epilepsy, insomnia and as a mild sedative, and in treatment or prevention of neurological disorders.

It is useful in neuralgia, epilepsy, amentia, dyspepsia, etc.

It is adaptogenic, sedative, tranquilizing, potent nervine tonic, anti-anxiety agent (improves mental functions, used in insanity, epilepsy), in psychic disorders and as a brain tonic. (The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India; Indian Herbal Pharmacopoeia).
Clinical / experimental study:

Natural Tranquilisers
The saponin, hersaponin, is reported to possess cardiotonic, sedative and spasmodic properties. It has tranquilizing effect, also improve the performance of rats in various learning situations.

Brahmi exhibited a sedative effect and significantly prolonged the hypnotic action of pentobarbitone. It produced a variable blockade of conditioned avoidance response. The presence of a significant antinociceptive effect, coupled with the ability of the test substance to offer protection against electroshock seizures and chemoconvulsions plus the ability to antagonize the haloperidol-induced catalepsy, suggests an involvement of the GABAergic system in the mediation of the central nervous system effects of Brahmi.

Triterpene saponins (bacopasides VI-VIII) of Brahmi have antidepressant activity.

B. Monnieri has been shown to cause prolonged elevated level of cerebral glutamic acid and a transient increase in GABA level. Endogenous increase in brain glutamine may be helpful in the process of learning. Hersaponin is reported to possess cardiotonic and sedative properties. It was found, as in case of reserpene, to deplete nor-adrenaline and 5-HT content of the rat brain.

Researchers using a rat model of clinical anxiety demonstrated bacopa’s considerable anti-anxiety activity that was comparable to lorazepam, a common anti-anxiety prescription drug. However, Bacopa did not cause forgetfulness like lorazepam but instead had a memory-enhancing effect.

Mental As well as physical strength
Bacopa Monnieri possesses a potent adaptogenic activity against chronic and acute stress. On the basis of the study it is concluded that the standardized extract of B. monniera possesses a potent adaptogenic activity.

Usage of Bacopa Monnieri continuously for three months led to a significant overall improvement in the memory of the trial group as a whole, thereby establishing that it has a definite role as a memory booster drug. Therefore, it can be recommended to the patients suffering from memory related problems. Maximum improvement in memory sub-tests was observed in ‘Verbal retention for dissimilar pairs’ followed by ‘Immediate recall’ and ‘Attention and concentration’. Marked improvement was also observed in ‘Visual retention and recognition’. It has no adverse effect on the individual and hence its use is safe in all the people irrespective of their age.

Memory Enhancer
Bacopa monniera is recognized as a powerful brain enhancer. It is considered to be the greatest herb in Ayurveda for treating age-related mental decline, as well as for improving cognitive processes, including comprehension, memory and recall. It also enhances the crucial coordination of these three aspects of mental functioning, and helps increase one’s ability to solve problems.

In a double-blind, randomized trial conducted at the Department of Pediatrics, BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur, India, 19 ADHD children, aged 8-10 years old, were given 50 mg. of Bacopa twice daily. 17 ADHD children received a placebo. After 12 weeks of treatment, the children took a battery of specialized tests. The data revealed a significant improvement in the areas of sentence repetition, logical memory, and pair-associative learning (matching things that go together; e.g., “test” and “grade”) in all 19 children who took Bacopa. Evaluation did not occur until four weeks after stopping Bacopa usage, indicating that it had a lasting effect. According to Dr. O. P. Asthana, head of the pediatric department, there were no side effects and the herb was very well tolerated.

107 healthy participants were recruited for this double-blind placebo-controlled independent group design investigation. 62 participants completed the study with 80% treatment compliance. Neuropsychological testing using the Cognitive Drug Research cognitive assessment system was conducted at baseline and after 90 days of treatment with a special extract of Bacopa monniera (2×150 mg) or placebo. The Bacopa monniera product significantly improved performance on the ‘Working Memory’ factor, more specifically spatial working memory accuracy. The number of false-positive recorded in the Rapid visual information processing task was also reduced for the Bacopa monniera group following the treatment period. The current study provides support for the two other published studies reporting cognitive enhancing effects in healthy humans after a 90 day administration of the Bacopa monniera extract. Further studies are required to ascertain the effective dosage range, the time required to attain therapeutic levels and the effects over a longer term of administration.

Bacopa monniera is recognized as a powerful brain enhancer. It is considered to be the greatest herb in Ayurveda for treating age-related mental decline, as well as for improving cognitive processes, including comprehension, memory and recall. It also enhances the crucial coordination of these three aspects of mental functioning, and helps increase one’s ability to solve problems. These multiple effects ultimately lead to improved nerve impulse transmission, leading to faster learning and better memory retention.

The study was conducted on 18 individuals in the age group of 15-65 years with an objective to advocate and standardize an effective Ayurvedic formulation as memory booster and to evaluate an Ayurvedic herbal formulation for its efficacy in selected cases of Smriti Daurbalya with special reference to disorder of memory. The volunteers were evaluated on the basis of an objective criteria “PGI memory scale” which includes different tests to evaluate different types of memory. They were administered with dry hydro- alcoholic extract of Bacopa monnieri in the dose of 150 mg twice daily in the form of capsule for 3 months. The present study revealed an overall significant improvement in the memory of the trial group as a whole. It was found that maximum improvement in memory among different memory subtests was in “Verbal retention for dissimilar pairs”, followed by “Immediate recall” and “Attention and concentration”. Marked improvement was also observed in “Visual retention and recognition”. The response to the treatment was found to be more pronounced in volunteers who had their memory score below 80 before the start of the trial as they offered maximum scope of improvement. Thus the drug Bacopa monnieri has a definite role as a memory booster drug. Therefore, it can be confidently recommended to the patients suffering from memory related problems.

Senile dementia In a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled clinical trail on 54 participants (65 years or older) with Bacopa Monnieri (300mg/day) gives significant cognitive enhancing results. Controlling for baseline cognitive deficit using the Blessed Orientation-Memory-Concentration test, Bacopa participants had enhanced Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT) delayed word recall memory scores relative to placebo. Stroop results were similarly significant, with the Bacopa group improving and the placebo unchanged. Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CESD)-10 depression scores, combined state plus trait anxiety scores and heart rate decreased over time for the Bacopa group but increased for the placebo group. The dose was well tolerated. This study provides further evidencing cognitive performance in the aging.

Bacopa Monnieri has been found to improve the power of concentration and useful in dementia. It has cognitive-enhancing properties and an antioxidant effect might be involved.

Bacopa Monnieri possesses significant anticholinesterase and antidementic properties, which may be useful in the treatment of dementia.

Cognitive effects of Bacopa monniera extract were evaluated in healthy human subjects in a double blind placebo controlled, independent group trial design. The randomly allocated subjects received either placebo or Brahmi. Bacopa monniera significantly improved speed of visual information processing, learning rate and memory consolidation and anxiety compared to placebo, with maximal effects evident after 12 weeks. These findings suggest that B. monniera may improve higher order cognitive processes that are critically dependent on the input of information from our environment such as learning and memory.

Bacopa has this remarkable effect on the brain due to its active components. Two of the most important types are triterpenoid saponins and bacosides. The active compounds enhance nerve impulse transmission and aid in repair of damaged neurons. They accomplish this by enhancing enzymes called kinases that are responsible for rebuilding ATP (the cell’s powerhouse molecule). Kinases also stimulate neuronal synthesis, restoring lost synaptic activity22, 23. According to scientists at the CDRI, a number of compounds have been identified in Bacopa, including bacosides A and B, two chemicals that improve the transmission of impulses between nerve cells in the brain. These bacosides regenerate synapses and repair damaged neurons, making it easier to learn and remember new information. Bacopa also increases serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation.

In a double blind randomized controlled clinical trial in 76 subjects, B. monnieri showed significant effect on the retention of new information. Follow – up tests showed that the rate of learning was unaffected, suggesting that B. monnieri decreases the rate of forgetting newly acquired information.

Antianxiety
For four weeks, 35 patients were treated for anxiety neurosis. After treatment they were assessed for clinical anxiety levels, maladjustment levels, mental fatigue rate, and immediate memory span. The patients who took Bacopa had a 20% reduction in anxiety levels. Their maladjustment and mental fatigue were significantly lower than before treatment, and their immediate memory-span scores were significantly increased. In other words, Bacopa improved memory and productivity by reducing anxiety and related problems.

Anti oxidant
Australian researchers conducted a double blind, placebo-controlled trial reported in the journal Pharmacology in 2001. They found significant improvement in verbal learning, memory consolidation, and speed of early information processing in subjects after just 12 weeks of treatment with Bacopa compared to the placebo group. These effects were not observed at the beginning of the trial or after the first five weeks. These delayed results can be attributed either to bacopa’s antioxidant properties or to its effect on the neurotransmitter system.

Like Ashwagandha, Bacopa also acts as an antioxidant. But in Bacopa’s case, it does this by protecting and assisting the enzymes involved in scavenging reactive oxygen compounds in the brain. In addition, test tube studies have shown Bacopa exerts a protective effect against DNA damage. Bacosides of Brahmi has potential to modulate the activities of Hsp70, P450 and superoxide dismutase thereby possibly allowing the brain to be prepared to act under adverse conditions such as stress (antistress activity).

The antioxidant capacity of BM may explain, at least in part, the reported antistress, immunomodulatory, cognition-facilitating, antiinflammatory and antiaging effects produced by it in experimental and in clinical situations.

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