Description: Plantago major L. is a small perennial herb. Leaves are nearly all basal, exstipulate, lanceolate to ovate, 5-20 cm long and rosette. Flowers are small, white, in dense spike-like inflorescence. Sepals are broadly elliptic, oblong to rounded obtuse or subacute and corolla are greenish or yellowish, with four lobed and imbricate. Seeds are dull black and endospermous.[1,2]
Origin: It is found in Europe, Northern and Central Asia, and introduced all over the world.
Phytoconstituents: Aucubin, catalpol, scutellarein, nepetin, chlorogenic acid, neochlorogenic acid, hispidulin, homoplantaginin, nepitrin, ursolic acid and others.[3,4]
Traditional Medicinal Uses: The Greeks and Romans used it as an astringent, to heal wounds, asthma, fever and eye disorders. In Brazil, it has been used to treat skin ulceration (cutaneous leishmaniasis) caused by Leishmania braziliensis. P. major has been used in Turkey in the treatment of ulcers by taking the powdered dried leaves together with honey daily before breakfast. Infusion of the leaf has been taken for diarrhoea, ulcers, bloody urine, digestive disorders, and excess mucous discharge. The American Indian groups make use of a poultice of the leaves for pain, swelling, cuts, wounds, sores, infections, blisters, insect bites, snakebites and haemorrhoids. Its seeds are used to induce sweating, increase flow of urine, treat diarrhoea, dysentery, rheumatism, malaria, asthma, kidney problems, bladder diseases, gonorrhoea and piles. Its roots are used to treat fever, respiratory infections and constipation. The Commision E approved the internal use of plantain for catarrhs of the respiratory tract and inflammatory alterations of the oral and pharyngeal mucosa while its external application is approved for inflammatory reactions of the skin.
Pharmacological Activities: Analgesic, Antibacterial, Anti-diarrhoeal, Anti-inflammatory,[413-15] Anticancer,[1016-18] Antioxidant, Antiprotozoal,[20,21] Antiviral, Immunomodulatory,[23,24] Immuno-stimulatory,[25,26] Proliferative, Antiulcerogenic, Antimutagenic,[27,28]
Uterotonic and Wound healing.
Dosage: A daily dose of 8 to 16 g of the whole plant or seeds in the form of a decoction or extract is used to treat oedema, dysuria, haematuria, persistent cough, bronchitis and ophthalmia. Approximately 2 to 4 ml of the fluid extract taken orally three times daily serves for general well being. As a rinse or gargle, 1.4 g of cut herb is immersed in 150 ml of cold water for 1 to 2 hours. For internal use, 1.4 g of herb is immersed in 150 ml of boiled water for 10-15 min, drunk as infusion, for 3 to 4 times daily.
Adverse Reactions: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, anorexia, bloating, hyper-sensitivity and dermatitis may arise. Life threatening anaphylaxis may occur in more serious cases.
Toxicity: The 70% ethanol extract was found to be toxic to shrimps but P. major possesses a low toxicity in rats after oral and intraperitoneal administration.
Contraindications: Should not be used during pregnancy and lactation. Should not be used in persons with intestinal obstruction or those who developed hypersensitivity to plantain.
Drug-Herb Interactions: Decreases the effects of carbamazepine and enhances the effects of cardiac glycosides, ^-blockers and calcium channel blockers.
61. Púnica granatum L. (Punicaceae)
Description: Punica granatum L. is a small woody shrub that can grow up to 3-4.5 m tall. Leaves are opposite, oblong-lanceolate, 3-8 cm and branches are spiny. Flowers are large, trumpet-shaped, and bright orange-red in colour. Fruit is globose, with waxy surface, tough leathery skin, turns deep pink or red upon maturity, and contains numerous seeds with fleshy covering.
Origin: Native to temperate and tropical Asia.
Phytoconstituents: Punicafolin, punicalagin, friedelin, betulic acids, estrone, estradiol, piperidine, pomegranatate, pseudopelletierine and others.[3-7]
Traditional Medicinal Uses: The plant is used in folk medicine to expel worms, for diarrhoea, dysentery, as an abortifacient, astringent, for haemorrhoids (when used externally) and as a gargle for sore throat. In Ayurveda it is used for diarrhoea, dysentery, vomiting, and eye pain. Used in Chinese medicine for chronic diarrhoea and dysentery, it is also used to treat blood in stools, worm infestation, and anal prolapse. Homeopathically, it is used for gastrointestinal disturbances.151 The leaves are used to relieve itch. The pericarp is used to treat diarrhoea, rectocele and to expel pinworms.[81 The dried pericarp is decocted with other herbs for colic, colitis, diarrhoea, dysentery, leucorrhoea, menorrhagia, oxyuriasis, paralysis and rectocele,[31 to treat piles, yellowish discharge from the vagina, sore throat, bad breath and nose bleed.[81 The stem bark is used as an emmenagogue and for dysentery.[31
Pharmacological Activities: Anthelmintic^39101 Antibacterial,[11-21] Anticancer/ Antineoplastic^22-361 Antidiabetic/Hypoglycaemic,[37-411 Antidiarrhoeal,[421 Antifertility,[431 Antifungal^44451 Anti-inflammatory^46471 Antimalarial,[481 Antioxidant,[34,48-62] Antiviral,[63-651 Gastroprotective,[66671 Hepatoprotective,[681 Hypolipidaemic,[41691 Immunomodulatory^70711 Neuroprotective,[72-751 Antiatherogenic,[76-781 Wound healing,[79801 Larvicidal[811 and Molluscicidal.[82831
Dosage: Daily dose for the treatment of tapeworm is one part pericarp, root, or stem bark boiled with 5 parts of water. Bark juice extract is recommended for tapeworm at a single dose of 20 g. Otherwise, 250 parts powdered bark are boiled in 1500 parts water for 30 minutes.[51 Doses of 4-5 g of powdered dried flower are used in haematuria, haemorrhoids, dysentery, chronic diarrhoea, and bronchitis. Either 1.5-3 g of root and bark powder, 100-200 ml of bark decoction (for children, 28-56 ml) is used for anthelmintic purposes.[841 7 g flower in 300 ml water is prescribed for inflamed mouth and throat; 5-12 g root or stem bark boiled in 240 cm3 water until 1/3 has evaporated and taken on a 3 hourly basis on empty stomach 2 hours after taking 40 ml castor oil.[851 A daily dose of 20 to 50 g of dried root bark or stem bark as a decoction is used in the treatment of taeniasis (tapeworm infection). Daily dose of 15 to 20 g fruit rind in the form of a decoction is taken to treat dysentery and diarrhoea.[861
Adverse Reactions: No known side effects with appropriate therapeutic dosages. In some cases, gastrointestinal disturbances may occur due to high tannin content.[51 Pomegranate fruits have rarely been reported to cause immediate hypersensitivity^871
Toxicity: The bark[5'9'88'891 and peel[9a911 are toxic.
Contraindications: Contraindicated in the elderly, children and pregnant women.[921 Pericarp is contraindicated in diarrhoea. Should not be taken with fats or oils when it is used for killing parasites.[881 Should not be used by patients with hepatic diseases or asthma, and who are hypersensitive to pomegranate.[911
Drug-Herb Interactions: Inhibition of cytochrome P450 enzymes,[93941 interaction with carbamazepine[951 and interaction with tolbutamide.[961
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