Action.- (therapeutic)-Poppy seeds are demulcent and nutritive, also mild astringent. Poppy capsules are astringent, somniferous, soporific, sedative and narcotic; they promote talkativeness. Externally they are used as anodyne and emollient; opium is first stimulant, then narcotic, anodyne and antispasmodic, also aphrodisiac, astringent and myotic. In overdoses it is a powerful narcotic poison," and a deadly enemy of the tiny body-cells, and weakens the will-power. Hakims had described opium as an anaesthetic and as a pain-reliever. Locally opium relieves pain and allays spasms. As astringent, opium checks haemorrhages, lessens bodily secretions and restrains tissue changes. Indian opium can now compete with the best Turkish opium as regards its medicinal value. It has further the advantage of being richer in codeine than opium produced in other countries." (Physiological)-The physiological action of opium depends upon the combined effects of the various alkaloids and other principles obtained from it. Opium in medicinal doses at first stimulates the brain, heart and respiration; this effect is soon followed by general depression. Generally opium is anodyne, hypnotic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, narcotic, myotic, intoxicant and cerebral depressant. Its chief action is on the cerebro-spinal system and through the nerves it acts upon all the organs of the body; it stimulates the generative organs; it affects all the secretions except milk and sweat which it increases by stimulating the mammary and sweat glands. It causes dryness of the mouth and throat, lessens the secretion of the stomach and thus impairs appetite; also diminishes bile and causes constipation, decreases the quantity of urine secreted, increases heart action and arterial tension. It at first produces exhilaration of the cerebral functions, then a sort of mild intoxication followed by drowsiness and sound sleep, often disturbed by dreams, and often followed on waking by headache, constipation, indigestion and depression of spirits. Large doses produce depression of the heart, lessened activity of the cerebral cells and reduction of the blood supply to the brain centres, lowering of circulation and causing loss of body heat; the oxidation is interfered with. The cerebral depression is followed by headache, vertigo, slow and laborious respiration. In poisonous doses stertorous breathing and coma supervene, followed by feeble and slow pulse, cold clammy perspiration, contraction of the pupils followed by dilatation as the end approaches, cyanosis of the face and fingers, followed by abolished reflexes, deep coma, paralysis of respiratory centres, carbonic acid accumulation in the blood and death. Physiological action of Opium alkaloids:- "The alkaloids of opium are more or less narcotic and convulsant in their action, but as the latter group accur in small quantities, their action is dominated by the former group. The exact difference between the action of morphine, opium and combinations of other alkaloids introduced in therapeutics under the names of 'pantopon', narcophine' etc., have not been worked out. Older investigators have shown that a dose of opium acts more strongly on the frog than the corresponding quantity of morphine contained in it. Winternitz showed that hypnotic and sedative effects were produced in man by alkaloids of opium from which morphine had been completely
eliminated." As regards chemical constitution they fall into two main groups. One, the morphine group including morphine, codeine and thebaine, and the other, narcotic group including narcotine, narceine and papaverine as its principal members. The most characteristic feature of the physiological action of the opium alkaloids is their simultaneous depressing and exciting action on the central nervous system, and in this respect there is no clear line of demarcation between the two groups. The five chief members-morphine, papaverine, codeine, narcotine and thebaine-all exhibit this peculiarity and as the series is descended in the order just given the narcotic action diminishes and the power of reflex stimulation increases until in thebaine a strychnine-like effect is exhibited. Morphia causes stupor and sleep. If morphine is taken when there is pain, it makes that part numb and pain is not felt, though the trouble remains there all the same. "Small doses of morphine, in themselves inactive, produce when combined with small quantities of the subsidiary alkaloids, severe symptoms of poisoning.". "Morphine habit apart from addiction does not cause physical deterioration. There is no change in the Hepatic, Endocrine, and Circulatory functions.". "The greatest increase in activity is obtained when equal parts of narcotine and morphine are given together. The decrease in perception of pain in man is also more marked when morphine and narcotine are combined. Interesting experiments conducted by Macht, Johnson and Bollinger and Macht, Herman and Levy have shown that the increase in the pain-depressing action is due to the subsidiary alkaloids, especially narcotine. By measuring the strength of the induced current which would just produce a pain sensation from a single sensation point, they showed that 'pantapon' and 'narcophine' increase the threshold value of the effective stimulus more than the corresponding amount of morphine. These observations have been confirmed and open a wide field for the use of narcotine. Narcotine also possesses an antagonistic action to the depressing effect produced by morphine on the respiratory centre. "Although narcotine by itself is not a therapeutically very active though narcotine by itself is not a therapeutically very active drug, it has got great possibilities of being a useful therapeutic agent by combination with other opium alkaloids in suitable proportions which have yet to be worked out". Morphine exerts both a depressing and stimulating action on the central nervous system, the former being produced mainly in the brain, the latter mainly in the spinal cord. In man the depressing action dominates the whole nervous system. Respiration is slowed by morphine, in many cases it may be deeper at first though the amount of air taken in per minute is reduced. Death ensues from arrest of respiration. The alkaloid has little effect on the circulation and this is also true of the peripheral muscles and nerves. Pupil of the eye is much contracted in morphine-poisoning until just before asphyxia when it is widely dilated. Alkaloid causes a slight fall in body temperature. Morphine is excreted mainly by the digestive tract, but after large doses it also occurs in traces in the urine. Papaverine is a comparatively weak poison, but in the nature of its effects stands between morphine and codeine, it produces light sleep in comparatively small doses and this does not become deeper when the dose is increased. On the other hand, the reflex irritability is increased and large doses may cause tetanising action. It has more tendency than either morphine or codeine to slow the heart. "Codeine when given by itself has a feeble action, but has a sedative effect in man. In combination with the other alkaloids of opium, however, codeine produces as strong an effect as morphine. The other alkaloids therefore appear to potentiate the action of codeine and of these narcotine has been shown to be the most important synergist." Codeine resembles morphine in its general effect but its depressing action is less marked and less prolonged while its stimulating action involves not only the spinal cord but also the lower parts of the brain. In small doses in man it induces sleep which is not so deep as that caused by morphine, and in large doses it causes restlessness and increased refle excitability rather than sleep. The respiration is slowed less than by morphine. The pupil is contracted at first, but is dilated in the excitement stage of the intoxication. "Narcotine which is next to morphine in importance, but which is by itself not a very active alkaloid, though an important subsidiary one inasmuch as it constitutes on an average 5 to 6 per cent of opium, increases the toxicity of morphine and codeine. It has a well-marked synergistic action when combined with morphine so far as its action on the central nervous system is concerned. Levy found that 3 mgm. of an equal mixture of morphine and narcotine exerted as great a narcotic action as 10 mgm. of morphine." Narcotine generally resembles codeine in its action, but is less depressant. It is much less poisonous than either morphine and codeine. It was at one time used in India in the treatment of migraine as an analgesic, and for malaria, but has long been superseded by quinine for the latter purpose. "So far little or no use has been made of narcotine in medicine; narcotine is readily absorbed from the site of injection; it does not produce much local irritation or necrosis of the tissues. Narcotine definitely inhibits the peristaltic movements of the gut. It relaxes the involuntary muscle tissue all over the body, e.g., of uterus, bladder, gall bladder, etc., by its direct action on the muscle fibres. Guven intravenously in animals, narcotine produces a fall of systemic blood pressure followed by a slight rise. The fall is due to dilatation of the blood vessels, especially those of the splanchnic area, by its direct action on the musculature of the vessel wall. The subsequent rise is probably due to reflex stimulation of the vasomotor centre to counteract the fall in systemic pressure. The stimulation of the auricle and ventricle seen in myocardiograph experiments cannot be wholly explained by vasomotor stimualtion, and there is evidence to show that the sympathetic ganglion cells of the cardiac plexuses may be excited. The depression of the heart seen in perfusion experiments is more than compensated by these two factors. Narcotine, unlike morphine, stimulates the respiratory centre in the medulla. The plain muscle of the bronchioles is relaxed. The drug, in the animals at any rate, has a stronger action on the cord than on the brain. The marked depressant effects of narcotine on the central nervous system found by some of the early workers can be accounted for by the presence of other alkaloids of opium as impurities, due to imperfect technique. Narcotine has been shown to have a depressant action on the algesic areas in the brain and, therefore, lessens such symptoms as headache, pain in the limbs, discomfort, etc., attendant on febrile conditions. It undoubtedly enhances the action of morphine and codeine so that much smaller quantities of these alkaloids would be effective if given in combination with narcotine. Voluntary muscles are not affected. The secretions do not appear to be greatly influenced by narcotine in therapeutic doses. In toxic doses there is a marked stimulation of salivary secretion, but urine, sweat, etc., are hardly touched. Narcotine is not a very toxic alkaloid; its minimum lethal dose is 2 mg. per gramme body weight in frogs and 1.5 to 2.0 gm. per kilo body weight in cats. Large doses such as 1 or 2 gm. can be given in man without producing any marked toxic effects. Narceine has been recommended as a hypnotic, but is believed to have very little action when pure, probably owing to the instability of its salts and the insolubility of the alkaloid itself. Oxynarcotine is described as a feeble narcotic poison.
Of the derivatives of the opium alkaloids, two are of special importance in medicine, viz:-Apomorphine and Cotarine Hydrochloride (stypticin). In the conversion of morphine into apomorphine the depressing action on the central nervous system is almost wholly lost, but the stimulant action remains, and is exercised over the whole central nervous system, but especially on the medulla. In very small doses apomorphine may not produce vomiting, though the secondary symptoms-such as increased perspiration-which usually accompany this may be shown. The emetic action is due to the direct action on the medulla oblongata and not to irritation of the stomach. According to Hildebrandt thebaine antagonises the emetic action of apomorphine in dogs and Harnach and Hildebrandt have shown that a and b chloromorphides are also anti-emetics, the former being the more powerful. "Cotarnine hydrochloride (Stypticin), a derivative from narcotine (decomposition product of narcotine) is used in medicine as a styptic in all forms of uterine haemorrhages and also for checking profuse menstruation; 1 to 2 per cent may be used as a tampom. It is also used in the form of a 5 per cent ointment in the treatment of erysipelas, eczema and shingles. Tablets of cotarine hydrochloride containing Â¾ grain are on the market and stypticin wool and gauze (30 per cent) are also perpared. A preparation of cotarnine phthalate under the trade name of 'Styptol' is also on the market and is administered in 5 - grain doses in similar troubles. 2:4 dihdroxyphenyl cotarnine hydrochloride has also been prepared and is said to have a quinine-like action." Cotarnine is less effective than hydrastinine and produces its effect in a different way.
Action & Uses in Ayurveda & Siddha.-Tikta kashaya rasam, kapha vata haram, balyam, vrishyam, Resin:-Tiktarsam, ushnaveeryam, kapha haram, vata pitta haram, grahi, intoxicant, ruksham, in kasam, improves agni.
Preparations.-(of the poppy seeds):-Oil. (of the poopy heads or capsules):- Fresh prepared syrup (1 in 2Â½ of water, Â½ of spirit and 1Â½ of sugar), dose is 1 drachm. Decoction (1 in 15) for fomentations etc., and Poultice. (Of Opium):- Extract (1 in 3 to 4 of water and Â½ of spirit), dose is 2 to 5 grains. Pills, Tincture (1 to 8-laudanum), dose Â½ to 1 drachm; Compound powders, Wine (1 in 20), dose is 10 to 60 minims; Plaster, Enema, Suppository, Liniment and Ointment; Morphine or Morphia occurring as a white amorphous powder, or shining transparent acicular prisms; dose is 1/10th to 1/3rd grain (Â¼ of a grain of morphine is equal to 1 grain of opium). Oleatum morphinae (1 in 60 to 1 in 10) is a local sedative, orphine hydrochloride a white crystalline amorphous neutral soluble powder. Dose is 1/8th to Â½ grain.
Incompatibles:- Potassium Permanganate is able to oxidise and so destroy the medicinal and toxic properties of an equal weight of opium; the other incompatibles are alkalies, alkaline carbonates and alkaline earths, substances containing tannin, salts of lead, iron, copper, mercury, zinc and Liquor Arsenicalis.
Uses.-These are varied and multifarious. "For euphoric purposes, opium is habitually taken by some in the form of a pill or in solution in water," In Assam and C.P., opium is sometimes smoked. In China, opium smoking is replaced by morphine injections. The poppy seeds yield a bland fixed oil which is used for culinary purposes. Medicinally it is used like olive oil in doses of Â½ to 1 drachm. Seeds themselves are innocuous and used as an article of food. They are boiled, mixed with a little oil and salt and taken as curry with rice, or they are made into balls and formed with tamaring into an acid curry. As a mild astringent, they are given with sugar and cardamoms (burnt); they are useful in diarrhoea and dysentery. Poppy seeds are used as syrup in cough and asthma; as they are distitute of any narcotic principle, they are sprinkled over some sweetmeats and largely used in confectionary; they are also used in insomnia. Poppy seeds and lettuce seeds 2 and 1 part respectively are soaked in water and mucilage extracted, mixed with sugar and taken in insomnia. "Capsules and the inspissated juice or Afyun have been used by Vaidyas and Hakims as a sedative both for internal use and external application, and employed in the preparation of scporific drugs or in the preparation of stimualting and soothing beverages from times immemorial. Hakims prescribe capsules (alone or combined with astringent drugs) for headache, diarrhoea, dysentery and digestive troubles in children, and as a household remedy in many parts of India, mothers give them to their children to keep them quiet during teething periods. Chinese writer Wang Shih and others said that the effects of poppy capsules in dysentery were magical. The Chinese were using both the red and white forms of poppy. A beverage called 'post' or 'Kuknar' prepared from capsules in even now taken in the Punjab. It resembles the old "Kuknar" and "Char-bughra" beverages of the Moghuls, used for euphoric purposes." Locally bruised poppy seeds (capsules) are used as a sedative in the form of fomentations, poultice and infusion as a soothing application to bruises, inflamed, excoriated and painful swollen parts, to tender and irritable ulcers, and various forms of painful conjunctivitis, ophthalmia, inflammation of the ears etc. Their decoction is used as a soothing injection in cancer of the uterus. They contain a trace of opium. For fomentations etc., they should be broken up and boiled in water, and the liquor only is used. Into this, when quite hot, a flannel should be dipped and wrung out and then laid on the part affected dipping it afresh as it begins to cool. Fomentation is applied also to sprains, contusions, etc. The inspissated juice is the drug known as opium. "Opium is said to cure 'the concurrent derangement of the three humours, increase the seminal and muscular powers and produce stupefaction of the brain', and Hakims prescribed it in hemicrania, pain in the joints, lumbago etc., and was not only given internally but was applied externally also in the form of a paint." It is given internally in diarrhoea, dysentery, sleeplessness, colic, intestinal and inflammatory pains, severe cough, asthama and hiccup. It is useful in fevers chiefly during exascerbation. It is also useful in supporting the strength and calming the exhausted nervous system. In Egypt opium is taken as an asphrodisiac, and in India "Hakims also recommended it as an aphrodisiac as it was believed to lengthen the time of seminal discharge during coitus, but the drug after a temporary stimulation diminishes sexual desire and causes impotence. "At present opium is used in combination with other drugs in the treatment of diabetes mellitus, as small and moderately large doses of opium alone have little or no effect on the blood-sugar, and opium in doses ranging from 1 to 9 grains daily in patients suffering from albuminuria has no deleterious effect on the quantity of albumin excreted; in fact, in many cases there is an appreciable decrease". In typhus fever, small pox and typhoid fever, during low muttering delrium with subsultus and jactitations, it is highly beneficial to revive the flagging nervous system. In fever with violent delirium, wakefulness, suffused eyes and constant rising from the bed, opium given in combination with aconite renders the patient tranquil and induces sleep. Opium procurable in the bazaars is always more or less adulterated. Of the several kinds of opium met with in India the chief are-(1) Patna Garden Opium; (2) Malwa Opium.
Some points connected with the use of opium which should always be borne in mind are:-
- The drug should be avoided in cases of:- (1) Doubt as to the advisability of giving opium; (2) Persons who are very intolerant to the action of opium, in whom even the smallest dose produces great nervous excitement, violent headache and vomiting; (3) Infants and young children who bear opium badly-(in diseases of childhood in which it is very necessary it should be given only under expert professional advice or superinendence and not otherwise; (4) Pregnant women, as it seems to exercise a prejudicial effect on the foetus; (5) Persons who are suffering from disease of the kidneys especially if there be a tendency to dropsy and Bright's disease of the kidney or nephritis; (6) Strongly marked contraction of the pupil; (7) Inflammatory and other diseases in which the tendency to death is by coma or by apnoea, rather than by asthma; (8) Congestion of the brain shown by suffused eyes and contracted puplis; (9) Bronchi filled with excessive, thick and viscid tenaceous secretions. (10) Conditions with suspected venus congestion; (11) Heart-disease; (12) In excessive excitement as in acute meningitis, puerperal mania and insanity it should not be long continued as it would ultimately derange the digestion and the scretions; (13) In phthisis, opium should not be used for a long time; (14) At the commencement or during the height of fever with a dry tongue, opium should not be given.
- (b) If the patient is a confirmed opium taker, he requires a far larger dose to produce a given effect than one not habituated to it.
- (c) When the use of opium is clearly indicated and the patient from any cause is unable to swallow it may be given in an enema; in this case a larger dose is required than when given by mouth.
Opium is used in many diseases such as diarrhoea, insomnia, diabetes, convulsions, rheumatism, tumours, cancer carbuncles abscesses, and ulcers, connected either with leprosy, syphilis or scrofula in which the pain, especially at night, effectually banishes sleep. An adult may commence with one grain pill or 15 drops of laudanum, taken about an hour before the usual bed-time; if this succeeds in procuring sleep it may safely be repeated nightly; if not, the dose may be doubled the scond night and trebled the third night, but not beyond this quantity except under professional advice. Even these quantities after being used for a week or two if they lose much of their power, may require to be cautiously increased. When the pains are lessened and the patient is improving the quantity of opium should be decreased gradually but not left off at once. To control the sleeplessness and restlessness of delirium tremens, mental excitement or exhaustion, opium given as above may be necessary, but each dose should be combined with 4 or 5 grains of camphor in the form of pill, in fact camphor alone in doses of 2 to 3 grains every 3 or 4 hours, exercises a most soothing influence, and when this treatment is adopted, the opium at bedtime may be given alone. In acute and chronic inflammations opium acts as an antiphlogistic and removes the existing constitutional iritation. "After obstetric operations and even after surgical operations, its administration prevents secondary fever. Neuralgias are relieved by it. In sunstroke it may be used as a cure. In uraemic convulsions it acts beneficially if hypodermically injected (morphia). In traumatic tetanus its use has been followed by a great diminution in the spasms. The pain and cough incidental to diseases of the respiratory organs are often relieved by opium. In the early stages of bronchitis where the tubes are dry and the cough painful opium mitigates the suffering. In asthma, iritable heart and angina it may be given in small and repeated doses with good results. In disorders of the digestive organs and chiefly vomiting and diarrhoea with colicky pains the use of opium is highly extolled. In acute dysentery it relieves tormina and tenesmus. In the chronic form it is efficiently given with astringents. In lientery it is productive of immense good. In the premonitory stage of cholera opium acts like a charm. In dysmenorrhoea and in grinding pains during labour, opium is an efficient palliative," In fevers, especially in the advanced stages it is valuable either alone or in combination with camphor, antimony etc. In chronic gastritis, gastrodynia, nervous and sympathetic vomiting, diarrhoea, dysentery, strangulated hernia, visceral obstructions etc., it is given with the best results. In diseases of the gastro-urinary system e.g., cystitis cystorrhoea, spacmodic structure of the urethra, also in meno & rhagia, dysmenorrhoea, irritable states of the uterus, metritis etc., it is a remedy of the highest value. Tetanus and acute rheumatism are amongst the other diseases in which opium has been employed as a sheet anchor. In cases of spasmodic affections of the bowels, violent colic, and the violent pain due to the passage of all calculi, a full dose i.e., 20 to 25 drops of laudanum in a wine-glassful of omum water or infusion of sweet-flag root repeated once or twice if necessary at intervals of Â½ to 1 hour, affords speedy relief. It proves, however, even more effectual if introduced into the rectum either in the form of suppository (2 grains of opium with 4 grains of soap), or in enema (30 to 40 drops of laudanum in 2 ounces of thin conjee water). It may also be given with great benefit in irritable states and painful affections of the kidneys. In retention of urine due to spasmodic structure of the urethra a hot-bath and a full dose of opium (25 to 30 drops of laudanum), followed by a dose of castor oil will give relief in recent cases of no great severity, following a debauch, exposure to wet, etc. Opium given in an enema of two or three ounces of rice conjee sometimes succeeds when it fails if given by mouth. In diabetes, opium is narcotic and occasionally produces the most beneficial results, especially in oil cases occuring in the aged; the dose should be diminished or the remedy left off altogether, if it gives rise to headache or other bad symptoms. Generally persons suffering from this disease will take large doses with impunity. The Amritsagar recommends following preparation of opium in diabetes:-Take of camphor and musk, each one part, opium and mace, each four parts. Mark into two-grain pills. They are administered with the juice of betel leaves.
"In determining the question from a scientific point of view as to what extent opium has the power of cure and prevent genuine malarial fever, Dr. Roberts pointed out that the two important and abundant alkaloids occurring in opium are morphine and narcotine or anarcotine. Morphine represents the anodyne and hypontic properties of the drug and narcotine is a bitter crystalline alkaloid resembling quinine and like that substance possesses tonic and antiperiodic properties." "Opium on account of the sedative effects undoubtedly ameliorates the symptoms produced by malaria, but it has neither a prophylactic nor a curative action in this disease."
"As quinine became cheaper and more abundant, of late, narcotine which was used successfully for malaria, by Drs. Palmer and Gordon, in 1 to 3 grain doses, where there was an intolerance of quinine, came into disuse; and narcotine tried by Lt.-Col. Chopra, in a number of patients suffering from malaria, diabetes, pneumonia, etc., in doses varying from 5 to 20 grains daily, none of these patients showed any marked depression of the higher faculties as occurs with morphine, nor were there any signs of stimulation of the psychical areas of the brain. The algesic areas, however, appeared to be somewhat depressed and sensibility of the patient to pain and discomfort produced by disease was decidedly diminished. The patients looked more comfortable after the alkaloid was administered and felt better although the temperature was not appreciably affected. There was no very marked stimulation of the respiration and the heart, and no heightening of the reflexes, so that in therapeutic doses in man at any rate there were no outward signs of hyper-excitability of the medulla or the spinal cord. When taken by the mouth in doses of 0.4 gm. (6 grains) and 0.6 gm. (10 grains) narcotine produces a nauseating feeling which increased on moving the head. There was a distinct sensation of well-being for about an hour after the drug was taken. No other action on the central nervous system was observed. In another individual 8 grains were given after a hard day's work. The sensation of fatigue greatly disappeared and this was followed by a feeling of lassitude and inclination to lie down if not to sleep. No other effects were observed."
In many affections of the uterus besides using opium in the form of suppository of enema, as mentioned above, camphorated opium liniment warmed, may be rubbed into the loins or a hot rice poultice sprinkled with laudanum, applied over the lower part of the abdomen. Internally in these cases it requires to be given in full doses combined with camphor. For the relief of after-pains 15 to 20 drops of laudanum in a wine glassful of camphor julep of omum water or a little simple conjee generally affords speedy relief. In threatened abortion from a fall, over-exertion etc., in dysentery, a full dose of laudanum, and for the relief of the local pain, bearing down and straining in ysentery a small enema (30 to 40 drops of laudanum in 2 ounces of conjee) affords relief. Opium in a valuable adjunct to catechu and other astringents in treatment of diarrhoea. Rasendrasarasangraha gives the composition of the a pill alled Grahani Kapata Rasa, which is recommended in chronic diarrhoea and dysentery; it is prepared by taking nutmeg, borax, prepared talc and datura seeds, each one part, opium two parts and making into 2-grain pills with the juice of Paederia foetida. In cases of diarrhoea with anasarca, another pill called Dugdhavati much used by Kavirajas is described in Bhaishajyaratnavali; it is made by taking opium and aconite 24 grains each, prepared iron 10 grains, prepared talc 12 grains, and beating them into a mass with milk and making into 4-grain pills. One pill is to be given every morning with milk.
The diet is restricted to milk alone, water and salt being prohibited. For diarrhoea with high, fever, Bhashajyatantra recommends another pill known as Sambunatha Rasa;:-Take of orpiment, realgar, cinnabar, white arsenic, borax, aconite and alum each one part, mercury, sulphur and opium each 7 parts; soak them for 7 days in each of the following fluids viz., juice of the leaves of Cannabis sative, Vitex negundo, datura and nim. Make into 2-grain pills. These are given with ginger juice. Vomiting is sometimes speedily relieved by a few drops of laudanum (5 to 10 drops) in an effervescing draught, or a little omum-water. This drug is used as an aphrodisiac generally in combination with nervine and stimulant drugs. Sharangadhara gives the composition of compound powder known as Akaradi Churna and used as an aphrodisiac. It is made up of pellitory root, ginger, seeds called kakkola, saffron long-pepper, nutmegs,, cloves, and red sandalwood, each 2 tolas opium 8 tolas, rubbed together and passed through a cloth. Then sugar is added equal in quantity to all the above ingredients. Dose is grains 6 to 12 with honey.
A simple opium liniment, (readily made by rubbing down a drachm of bazaar opium in 2 ounces of cocoanut, sessamum of other bland oil) proves very useful in many external or local diseases, including chronic rheumatism, lumbago and other muscular and nerralgic pains, spasms and bruises, enlarged glands, mumps etc. Its efficacy, however, is greatly increased by conjoining it with an equal quantity of comphor limiment. This camphorated opium liniment, is an excellent application in many painful external affections. It should be well shaken before being used. Care should be taken not to apply it to an abraded or sore surface, it is only adapted for the sound skin, and not even then if the pain is attended with much heat and redness. This camphorated liniment well rubbed in along the course of the spine is occasionally very useful in whooping cough. For stiff neck, warm laudanum rubbed in over the part answers better than liniment.
"A combination of one molecule of morphine and one molecule of narcotine, with meconic acid, has been recommended by Straub and named 'narcophine' for use as a general analgesic." In ophthalmia atended with great intolerance of light great relief may be obtained by fumigating the eye with the vapour of boiling water containing a teaspoonful of laudanum, or a couple of grains of opium. An excellent eye-wash is these cases in composed of laudanum, vinegar and brandy each 1 part and water 4 parts. Toothache depending upon a decayed tooth is often relieved by a grain of opium put into the hollow of the tooth; the saliva should not be swallowed. Earache also frequently yields to mixture of equal parts of laudanum and any bland oil inserted into the outer passage of the ear on a piece of cotton wool; care should be taken not to push it in too far. To painful piles where there is much swelling and heat, a very soothing application is a soft rice poultice sprinkled over with laudanum or smeared over with simple opium liniment. Cold-pressed oil is prepared as a table or cooking oil, and the darker coloured oil is used for conversion into soap, in Europe. Opium is an antidote to snake-poison and scorpion-sting.
A perennial herb with a creeping horizontal rhizome. First to appear in the early spring are the flowering shoots with erect scaly stems bearing spike-like clusters of reddish-violet flowerheads. The plant is usually dioecious. The male flowers produce abundant pollen and are attractive to bees. The very large, long-stalked, cordate and serrate leaves, green above and grey-woolly beneath, are produced in summer. The fruit is an achene with a pappus of long hairs.
Butterbur grows throughout Europe on damp ground by streams, roadsides, in ditches, copses and wet meadows. The male plants are locally common throughout the British Isles; the female plants have a more restricted distribution. Butterbur is easily confused with the related Winter Heliotrope (P. fragrans), which has become a serious weed in Britain. The generic name, Petasites, comes from the Greek word petasos (= a broad-brimmed hat), a reference to the large leaves. The common name, Butterbur, may indicate that the leaves were once used to wrap up butter during hot weather. In the old days Butterbur was thought to banish the plague; it is now little used in herbal medicine.
The rhizomes and leaves have medicinal action. When dry the rhizomes have an unpleasant smell and a bitter taste. The constituents include an essential oil, a bitter compound, and alkaloid, mucilage, tannins and inulin. These substances give Butterbut antispasmodic, diuretic, diaphoretic and anthelmintic properties. An infusion is used to treat coughs, hoarseness, urinary disorders and to expel intestinal parasites. A poultice of fresh leaves can be applied externally to swellings, rashes, swollen veins and glands and rheumatic joints. In homeopathy a tincture of the fresh plant is used for neuralgia.
Flowering time : March to April
A biennial herb with a stout, white vertical taproot. In the first year it produces a rosette of triangular tripinnate leaves; in the second year, solid, branched stem with alternate, trifoliate, stalked leaves and terminal compound umbels of small yellowish-green flowers. The fruit, an ovoid double achene, splits into sickle-shaped seeds. All parts of the plant are strongly aromatic.
Native to the Mediterranean region, Parsley is now widely cultivated in several varieties, the curly leaved forms being preferred in Britain where Parsley is grown in all market-garden districts for culinary purposes. On the Continent plain-leaved varieties are preferred for garnishes and flavouring. The use of Parsley as a medicinal and sacred plant dates from ancient Greek times; the Romans seem to have been the first to use it as a food. In was introduced to Britain in the 16th century and is now naturalized in many scattered localities in waste places and on old walls. The generic name, Petroselinum, and the common name, Parsley, come from the Greek word petroselinon (from petra = rock and selinon = celery).
The fruits, leaves and roots are used medicinally. The constituents include an essential oil (fruits 7 per cent, roots 5 per cent) with apiole, myristicin and pinene as the main components, also the flavonoid glycoside apiin. The medicinal action is due largely to the essential oil, which gives Parsely strong diuretic, stomachic, carminative, irritant and emmenagogic properties. It small doses in infusions Parsley stimulates the appetite, aids digestion, alleviates kidney and bladder disorders and regulates menstrual flow. Very strong doses can be toxic; they may cause haemorrhaging and nervous disorders. The essential oil, which is obtained by steam distillation from the ripe fruits (parsley seed oil), should be used only under strict medical supervision. The juice from the fresh roots heals wounds and reduces swellings. The fresh leaves are rich in vitamin C.
Flowering time : June to August
(syn. Imperatoria ostruthium)
A perennial herb with a stout, knotted rhizome, rosette of basal leaves and a tall, furrowed, hollow stem terminated by large compound umbels of whitish or pinkish flowers. The leaves are ternate or biternate the segments broadly ovate and serrate; those up the stem have inflated membranous sheathing stalks. The fruit is a broadly winged ribbed achene.
Masterwort grows wild in the hills and mountains of central and southern Europe, usually alongside streams, in damp meadows and by springs. It was once often grown as a medicinal plant and pot herb. In the British Isles it is naturalized in a few places, having originally been a garden escape. The common name Masterwort comes through the German meisterwurz (master root) from the medieval Latin word magistrantia, after the use of the 'hot' pungent rootstock against 'cold' diseases (the plant promotes sweating). It is now rarely used in herbal medicine in Britain.
The rhizomes are the medicinal parts. When dry they have a penetrating aroma and burning taste and cause salivation. The constituents include a large amount of essential oil with limonene, phellandrene and pinene as its main components, plus a coumarin glycoside (imperatorin), bitter compounds and tannins. These substances give Masterwort diuretic, diaphoretic, stomachic and carminative properties. It is used in an infusion or in powder form for anorexia, digestive disorders, flatulence and enteritis. In large doses it is toxic. A tincture of the fresh rhizome is used in homeopathy for similar complaints.
Flowering time : July to August
Phaseolus Trilobus, Ait.
Sans.-Vanamudga; Mudgaparni. Fr. Haricot a trois lobes. Ger.-Dreilappige Bohne. Hin. & Ben.-Mugani. Mah.-Jangli mung. Bom.-Mukuya. Tam.-Pani-pyre; Narippayaru) is a trilobed variety of P. roxburghii common in Deccan and Bengal. Leaves are sedative, cooling, antibilious and tonic. They are applied in the form of paste to the eyes to improve the sight, and also in ophthalmia and in haemorrhoids. In Bihar the plant is used as a febrifuge. Fruit is used in scorpion-sting.
(Eng.-Common French or Kindly Bean; French Haricot Bean. Fr.- Petitefeve. Ger.- Fasein. Hind.-Bakla; Sem; Vilaiyte sem, Punj.-Babri. Mah.-Shravan ghevda, Can.-Tingalavaray. Tam.-Barigalu).
A cultivated annual herb that is either a shrub (bush or dwarf beans) or a vine (pole beans). In the second instance the stem may be up to 3 metres long, it twines spirally upwards anticlockwise, and has alternate trifoliate leaves. The flowers, of various colours, are arranged in scanty racemes growing from the leaf axils. The fruit is a slightly curved pod with usually kidney-shaped seeds of various sizes and colours.
Kidney Bean is native to tropical America and was first cultivated by the American Indians in preshistoric times. The plant is now grown all over the world in a great many forms and varieties as a vegetable and ornamental plant. Some varieties are cultivated for the stringless green or yellow pods and boiled and eaten as a vegetable; some are grown for the large, edible seeds which are dried before sale. Scarlet Runner Bean (P. coccineus) and Lima Bean (P. lunatus), grown as ornamentals and vegetables, also have medicinal value. The generic name, Phaseolus, comes from the Greek word phaselos (= a little boat), supposedly because of the pod's appearance, 'Bean' is an Anglo-Saxon word.
The dry ripe pods without the seeds are used medicinally. Their constituents include amino acids, vitamin C, mineral substances and starch. These substances give Kidney Bean diuretic and hypoglycaemic properties. It is included in herbal tea mixtures to treat rheumatism and kidney disorders. The dried seeds, ground into a powder, are used to make hot poultices for application to eczema. The seeds should never be used internally in whole or in powdered form as a remedy, or eaten raw or partially cooked because they contain a toxic cyanogenic glycoside (phasine) which can cause damage to the red blood cells and intestinal lining. It is not destroyed by drying. Properly cooked, however, beans are harmless and nutritious.
Flowering time : June to September
Phyllanthus emblica Linn.
Parts Used:- Dried fruit, the nut or seed, leaves, bark and flowers, ripe fruits.
Historical Aspects: Chyavan-an ancient seer-was rejuvenated by Aswinikumars by a preparation, chiefly containing fruits of Amla. Amla is a household medicinal plant in India.
Habitat:- The plant grows throughout India upto 4,500 ft2.
Botanical Description:- The tree is a deciduous, small or middle-sized, with a crooked trunk, and spreading branches, leaves, subsessile 10-13 by 2.5-8 mm closely set along the branchlets, distichous, light green, glabrous, narrowly linear obtuse, imbricate when young. Flowers greenish yellow in axillary, fascicles on the leaf-bearing branchlets often on the naked portion below the leaves. Fruit 1.3-1.6 cm, fleshy, glabrous and pale yellow of three 2 seeded crustaceous cocci.
Phytochemistry: The fruit is a rich source of ascorbic acid- Vitamin C. Ten gms of fresh fruits contain 600-900 mg of Vitamin C. The small fruit variant contains more Vitamin C than the large variant. According to recent work fruits lose Vitamin C more when dried in the sun than in the shade. Ellagic acid is present in bark.
Guna: Laghu, Ruksha. Rasa: All rasas present except Lavana. Veerya: Sheeta. Vipaka: Madhura. Dosha: Tridoshahara. Karma: Rasayana, Pramehaghna, Shukrala, Deepana, Keshya, Medhya Chakshushya, Anulomana.
Pharmacology: Alcoholic extract of the plant (1 gm/kg) has shown an increase in the cardiac glycogen and at decrease in serum GOT, GPT, and LDH in isoprotenol pretreated rats, suggesting a cardio-protective action. It showed a reduction in serum cholesterol levels and a significant antiatherogenic effect. This study suggest that Vitamin C content alone may not be responsible for the antiatherogenic effect of the plant in animals.
Safety:- The drug is not reported to have any side effects even after prolonged use. The results with large doses in animals reveal that atropinization completely blocked the hypotension in dogs and spasmogenic effect on rabbit ileum.
Clinical Usage:- The fruit of P. emblica is commonly used as a tonic especially in winter season in India. The leaf is used in conjunctivitis, bronchitis and leucorrhoea. The juice of the fresh bark with honey and turmeric is given in urinary infections. The leaves are used as an infusion with fenugreek seeds in cases of chronic dysentery and are also considered a bitter tonic. The milk juice is considered a good application on offensive sores. In Cambodia the leaves are used in the preparation of antithermic lotion and baths and the decoction of the roots is given in myalgia following some febrile conditions. It has no antidotal action against snake-bite and scorpion sting.
P. emblica (Amalaki Rasayana) is useful in both acid-peptic ulcer and non-ulcer dyspepsia. It is considered as one of the foremost Rasayana drugs imparting a long healthy life and weight gain. Improved haematological picture and diminished E.S.R. are also observed. The dried fruit powder is applied to hair and skin for increasing hair growth and lustre.
- Aging and general debility.
- Acid-peptic disease.
- Hair loss.
- Non-ulcer dyspepsia.
Formulations and Dosage:
Chayavanaprash : 6-12 gms b.i.d.
Bramhyarasayan : 6-12 gms b.i.d.
Amalakirasayana : 6-12 gms b.i.d.
Triphalachurna : 2 gm b.i.d.
Rasayanchurna : 1-2 gms b.i.d.
Norway spruce fir
Class and Order. Nat.Ord, and Gen. Char. See Pinus
The Norway Spruce Fir is one of the most valuable of the European forest trees, and frequently attains the height of one hundred and fifty feet or upwards; it is a native of the mountainous parts of Europe, and abounds in the northern provinces; it is of common occurrence in our plantations, and British grown timber is held in considerable estimation; but by far the greater part of that used for mechanical and domestic purposes is imported from the north of Europe. Though it grows readily in Britain, it never attains the size of those of Norway and Sweden; but it is by no means a small tree; it is highly ornamental, which, combined with its economic and pharmeceutic properties, renders it well deserving the attention of the forest planter.
Class and Order, Moncecia Monadelphia. Nat. Ord.
Gen. Char.-Barren flowers in crowded, racemose catkins; the scales peltate, bearing two one-celled, sessile anthers; Perianth none. Fertile flowers in an ovate catkin; its scales closely imbricated, two-flowered, perianth none; Pericarp one-seeded, terminated by a long, winged appendage, and covered with the imbricated scales, forming a cone or strobilus.
This, which is the only species of fir indigenous to the British islands, is found in abundance in the mountainous districts of Scotland, as well as in the northern parts of the continent of Europe; the trees growing on poor soil in elevated situations produce the most valuable timber; it grows to a vast size; Dr Hooker mentions having been shown a plank from the largest tree cut down in the Duke of Gordon's, forests of Glenmore, that measured five and a half feet in diameter. It is a valuable tree for its timber, as well as for the pitch, tar, and turpentine extracted from it; when planted in large masses it forms a noble object, but growing singly is unsightly, and often becomes stunted and deformed. The Highlands of Scotland have extensive natural forests of this species, and in such situations it is not only an object, of much grandeur, but likewise of great utility.
Class and Order, Dicecia Pentandria. Nat. Ord.
Gen. Char. Male: Calix five-cleft; Corolla wanting. Female: Calicx three-cleft; Corolla wanting; Styles five; Drupe one-seeded.
This species is a native of the south of Europe. It is a low tree or shrub, seldom exceeding ten or twelve feet in height, much branched at the summit; the leaves are pinnate, composed of six or eight pairs of leaflets, placed on winged foot-stalks; flowers growing three or four spikes together, from the axilla of the leaves, and sometimes are terminal; as in the former species, the flowers are inconspicuous.
Mastich is obtained from incisions made in the bark, from whence it exudes, and is received on cloths, to keep it free from impurities; when hardened, it is of a light yellow colour, brittle and hard, and usually is imported in small round fragments.
Mastich is the concrete resinous juice of the Pistacia lentiscus; it is much used by the Turks and other eastern nations as a masticatory (hence its name;) but in Europe it is chiefly used for making varnishes and cements.
Class and Order, Natural Order and Generic Character,
A NATIVE of Greece, the south of Europe, and north of Africa, but thrives well in cooler climates. The tree seldom exceeds twenty feet in height, has pinnate deciduous leaves, and produces its spikes of inconspicuous flowers at the end of the wood formed the year preceding. On being wounded, the turpentine exudes, and when hardened, forms the drug cypress turpentine.
The Chian or cypress turpentine is the produce of the Pistacia terebinthus. It does not differ from the other turpentines, but it is more fragrant, much higher priced, and frequently adulterated.
A perennial herb with a spindle-shaped taproot and an erect, finely ribbed and usually downy stem, which is branched above. The basal leaves are odd-pinnate; the stem leaves have sheath-like stalks and more divided, linear leaflets. The small white flowers are arranged in terminal umbels. The fruit is an ovoid, compressed, double achene with five slender ribs.
Burnet Saxifrage grows throughout all of Europe in dry grassy places, usually on lime-rich soils. In the British Isles, where it is native, it is less common in the north. The larger Greater Burnet Saxifrage (P. major) also grows wild in Britain - in shady grassy places - but is generally less frequent than P. saxifraga. Burnet saxifrages were given the second half of their common names, which come from the Latin word saxum (=rock) and frangere (= to break), because they were thought to break up and remove kidney and bladder stones. Their leaves resemble those of burnets (Sanguisorba), which is how the plants came to acquire the first part of their name, but the two genera aare not closely related. Burnet Saxifrage and Greater Burnet Saxifrage have similar medicinal properties and both are still used in herbal medicine.
The roots are the medicinally active parts. Whey dry they have a strong aroma-of billy-goat - and absorb moisture easily. The constituents include an essential oil, furanocoumarins and their derivative pimpinellin, tannins, saponins and resin. These substances give Burnet Saxifrage expectorant, antispasmodic, stomachic, diuretic and antiseptic properties. It is used in an infusion or powdered form to treat asthma, infections of the upper respiratory tract, digestive disorders, flatulence and diarrhoea. Large doses can harm the kidnes. Externally Burnet Saxifrage is used in compresses and bath preparations to treat slow-healing wounds and in gargles.
Flowering time: July to August
Piper longum Linn.
Part used: Fruit, root and stem.
Historical Aspects: Charaka has described the medicinal properties of the plants, as an appetite stimulant, anticolic, antitussive and inducing resistance to infections. A special incremental administration of the fruit is described by several Sanskrit texts and is still popular in India.
Habitat: The plant is indigenous to North Eastern and South India and cultivated in Eastern Bengal.
Botanical description: The erect shrub has a thick, jointed and branched root-stock. Leaves are numerous, 6.3 to 9.0 cm, broadly ovate or oblong-oval, dark green and shining above, pale and dull beneath. Fruits are present in a solitary, pedunculate, fleshy spike 2.5 to 3.5 cm long, 5 mm thick, ovoid, oblong, erect, blunt, blackish green in colour and shining. Odour is aromatic and the taste is pungent.
Pharmacognosy: Macroscopic characters of the root, such as the presence of the radial wedges of xylem, the absence of pith and swollen nodes have been studied to distinguish root from the stem. Detailed microscopic study of the different parts of the stem like epidermis, cortex, endodermis, xylem etc. also has been carried out.
Phytochemistry: The fruits contain 1% volatile oil, resin, alkaloids piperine and piperlonguminine, a waxy alkaloid N-isobutyldecatrans-2-trans-4-dienamide and a terpenoid substance. Roots contain piperine, piperlongumine or piplartine. Dihydrostigmasterol has been isolated.
Guna: Snigdha, Laghu, Tikshna Rasa: Katu. Veerya; Anushnasheeta. Vipaka: Madhura, Dosha: Kaphavatahara. Karma: Deepaniya, Swasahasahara. Shoolprashamana, Anahaghna, Vrishya, Pachani, Jwarahara, Medhya.
Pharmacology: Antiallergic activity of the fruit has been studied. It effectively reduced passive cutaneous anaphylaxis in rats and protected guinea pigs against antigen-induced bronchospasm; a 30% protection of mast cells was observed in an in-vitro study. Both alcoholic extract and piplartine extracted from the stems showed significant inhibition of ciliary movements of oesophagus of frog. Neogi et al studied the pharmacology of piperine. Piperine decreased the rate and amplitude of respiration and showed nonspecific blockade of acetylcholine, histamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine induced spasm on isolated guinea pig and rabbit intestine. The oil of fruit has been found to posses sugnificant paralytic action on the nerve-muscle paration of A. lumbricoides. The hepatoprotective effect has been shown in carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage in rats.
Safety: Piper longum is in widespread use for may centuries. The standard doses are well tolerated. No mortality was observed with the powder of the fruit boiled in milk and water administered orally to alobino rats in a dose of 1 gm/kg;. Acute toxicity studies with piperine piperlongumine and piperlonguminine were carried out in mice, rat and dog with oral and intraperitoneal route. In mice, oral LD50 was 56.2 Â± 8.0, 110. 17.8 and 115.3 Â± 9.5 mg/kg with piperine, piperlongumine and piperlonguminine respectively.
Clinical Usage: A common use of the fruit is in the prevention of recurrent attacks of bronchial asthma. Another important indication is in chronic malaria. In a study of 240 children with a long term use of fruit 58.3% had decreased severity of attacks. In another study 20 children were studied for one year with the same treatment. Eleven had no recurrence. All patients had strongly positive skin test which became negative in 6 and decreased significantly in 12 after five weeks of treatment. Along with Piper nigrum and. C. Officinale it has been useful in viral hepatitis.
- Bronchial asthma.
- Recurrent infection of throat.
- Flatulent dyspepsia.
Formulations and Dosage:
Fruit powder : 250 mg to 500 mg t.i.d.
Pippalyasava : 20 ml b.i.d.
Chousastha Pippali : 125-500 mg b.i.d.
Piper nigrum Linn
Parts Used: Dried unripe fuit.
Historical Aspects: The generic name Piper has probably been derived from the Sanskrit Pippali, referring to the hot aromatic berry, of Piper longum. Theophrastus (248 B.C.), Dioscorides and Pliny (Ist century A.D.) mention pepper, a chief commercial trade item between India and Europe. Pepper has been used since Hippocrates' time when it was used to pay dowries, taxes tolls. It is a part of folklore medicine in many parts of the world. Polynesians use it as a daily nightcap, a soporific drink. In India, roots of the plant are chewed to prevent conception. Sushruta has many references stating the medicinal properties of black pepper, while Charaka mentions its action as a vermifuge, appetite stimulant and as antiflatulent.
Habitat: This plant is indigenous in India to Coorg and Kerala, also grows in Malaysia, South America, West Indies, Indonesia, and Sarawak.
Botanical Description: The plant is a thick glabrous climber. The inflorescence is a spike of 20-30 senile flowers. The fruit is glabrous, 6 mm in diameter, initially green, turning black on drying. Leaves are coriaceous. 10-18 by 5-12.5 cm broadly ovate, acuminate glabrous.
Pharmacognosy: Has been studied in detail.
Phytochemistry: Pepper contains volatile oil, the crystalline alkaloids piperine, piperidine and piperettine and a resin. The minor alkaloids present are piperitine, piperolein A, piperolein B, piperanine, trichostachine. The volatile oil contains large amounts of terpenes, and a - pinene, phellandrene, dipentene and sesquiterpenes. The pungency is ascribed to piperine and the resin. The leaves contain hentriacontane, hentriacontanone, 4-methyl triacontanone and b= sitosterol. They do not have any of the alkaloids and isobutyl amides found in the fruit.
Guna: Laghu, Tikshna. Rasa: Katu. Veerya: Ushna. Vipaka: Katu. Dosha: Kaphavatajit. Karma: Deepaniya, Shwasashula, Krimihara, Shoolprashamana, Vrishya, Chakshushya.
Pharmacology: Extracts of the fruit of P. nigrum showed slight selective anthelminitic activity against cestodes. The volatile oil from the fruit showed antifungal activity. The naturally occurring alkaloid, piperine displayed CNS depressant acitivity in mice, antipyretic effects in rabbits given typhoid vaccine, and analgesic activity in tail clip pressure in mice. Piperine enhances the pesticidal properties of pyrethrin, white the benzene extracts are markedly fungitoxic. When given orally to rats at 100 mg/kg it showed slight febrifugal activity.
Safety: It is commonly used as a spice all over India. Since piperine and other pepper alkaloids have chemical structures similar to that of the mutagenic urinary safrole metabolite (3-piperidyl 1-L3-4-1 methylene dioxyphenyl)-1- propanone), these components of black pepper are suspected to be mutagenic and carcinogenic. Safrole occurs in black pepper. In rats, the oral LD50 of safrole is 1950 mg/kg body weight, with major symptoms including ataxia, depression and diarrhoea. Dietary salrole at levels of 0.25, 0.5 and 1% produced growth retardation, stomach and testicular atrophy, liver necrosis, biliary proliferation and primary hepatomas.
Clinical Usage:-Used commonly as a culinary seasoning. Prescribed for dyspepsia, flatulence, diarrhoea, used as gargle for sore throat, and as febrifuge in intermittent fevers. A poultice made from pepper, salt and vinegar is used to soften corns. Unani system uses black pepper as a carminative, aphrodisiac and antispasmodic. It is also used to relieve diarrhoea. It is used with ginger and P. longum for vital hepatitis.
- Flatulent dyspepsia.
- Sore throat/cold.
- Viral hepatitis.
FORMULATIONS AND DOSAGE:
Fruit powder : 250-750 mgs. b.i.d.
Bktuchurna : 250-750 mgs. b.i.d.
Ashtachurna : 1-2 mgs. b.i.d.
Marichyadikwath : 10-20 ml. b.i.d.
Marichyadi Taila : Topical use.
Hind.-Baltanga. Ben.-Bartung. Pushtu.-Purhar: Pangi. Kash.-Isabggol Gola).
A perennial herb with lanceolate, parallel-veined leaves arranged in a basal rosette and long, erect, five-angled, furrowed, leafless flowering stems. The inconspicuous brownish flowers are arranged in a dense cylindrical spike. The long white stamens are very conspicuous. The stems and leaves are silky hairy. The fruit is a two-seeded capsule, which opens by a cap.
Ribwort Plantain grows throughout Europe in dry grassy places such as roadsides, pastures and lawns. It is a common native plant in the British Isles. In some countries it is now commercially, cultivated for the pharmaceutical industry. The generic name, Plantago, is derived from the Latin word planta (= sole of the foot) because the shape of the leaves of some plantain species resembles a footprint. Ribwort Plantain is distinct in having narrow, lance-shaped leaves, hence the specific epithet lanceolata. The prominent veins on the leaves gave the plant its common name. This species is just one of several plantains that have long traditional uses as healing herbs for sores and bites. The mucilaginous seeds of two species in particular, Psyllium of Fleaseed (P. psyllium) and Ispaghula (P. ovata), are also widely used as laxatives.
The leaves and seeds are used medicinally. The most important constituent of the leaves is an iridoid glycoside (aucubin). It is unstable and causes the dried leaves to darken. Other constituents include mucilage, carotenes, tannins, enzymes and silicic acid. These sustances give the leaves expectorant, emollient, demulcent, vulnerary and astringent properties. An infusion of them is used for cough, whooping cough, hoarseness, bronchitis and other respiratory disorders. Coughing in children is alleviated by a thickened syrup made from the leaves sweetened with honey. The seeds contain abundant mucilage, fatty oil, aucubin and enzymes. Swallowed whole they are an effective and harmless laxative. Crushed fresh leaves can be applied externally to swellings, bruises and inflamed wounds.
Flowering time: April to August.
Historical aspects:- The 'isapghula' of Mohommadan physicians was introduced in India by invading armies and was used in chronic gastrointestina disorders including dysentery. Isapghul literally means 'horse's ear.'
Habitat.- Mainly cultivated in Mehsana and Banaskantha districts of North Gujrat, but grows elsewhere in India too.
Botamical description: A stemless soft hairy annual with leaves, narrowly lenear, finely acuminate entire toothed. Flowers are in ovoid or cylindric spikes. The seeds are 3 mm long, ovoid-oblong, boat shaped, smooth and yellowish brown.
Phytochemistry:- A glycoside aucubin is found in the seeds, but it is physiologically inactive. The endosperm yields an oil up to 8.80%. Seed proteins are mainly abuminoid, clinical usage. The mucilginous seeds are used as laxative, demulcent and astringent particularly only in chronic colitis. In modern medicine, the plant is used as a mild bulk laxative. It has also been used in urinary infections as an ancillary treatment.
Eng.- Indian Beech, H: karanja a, M-Karanj.
Illness :- Dog bite
Part Used :- Roots
Preparation :- 1 cup of roots crushed and boiled in 4 cups of water till 1 cup of decoction is ready. This is strained.
Dosage :- 1 cup of decoction is taken in the morning and evening for 3 days. The first dosage is taken immediately after the bite, before taking anything by the mouth.
Illness :-Whooping cough.
Part Used :- The seeds are roasted in the fire and then powder prepared.
Dosage :- 1 pinch of powder is mixed with Â½ teaspoon of honey and taken thrice a day, for 4 days.
Illness :- Scabies, skin diseases
Parts Used :- Seeds
Preparation :- Seeds are ground, steamed and oil wrung out. After a bath, when the body is thoroughly scrubbed, the oil is applied.
Dosage :- Oil is applied in the evening for 7 days.
Polyalthia longifolia, Benth.
Hind., & Ben.-Devadaru. Bom.-Asoke. Tam.-Assothi; Asogu, Netlingi. Tel.-Asokamu. Action:- Febrifuge.
Polycarpea Corymbosa, Lamk.
(Porbander.-Small leaves Okhared; Tam.-Nilaisedachi) is found throughout India, Ceylon and Burma. Pounded leaves are used externally as well as internally for bites of venomous reptiles and of animals: also over boils and swellings as
poultice. Internally they are used in the form of a pill in jaundice.
N.B.- Three species of Polycarpea occur in the plains of South India.
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