Indian names: Guggul, Indian Bedellium, Guggulow, Mukul myrrh tree, Dhev dhupa
English name: Indian Bedellium
Description: It is a flowering plant in the family Burseraceae. It is a shrub or small tree, reaching a maximum height of 4 m with thin papery bark. The branches are thorny. The leaves are simple or trifoliate, the leaflets ovate, 1–5 cm long and irregularly toothed. It is gynodioecious, with some plants bearing bisexual and male flowers, and others with female flowers. The individual flowers are red to pink, with four small petals. The small round fruit are red when ripe. Guggul, the sticky gum resin from the mukul myrrh tree, plays a major role in the traditional herbal medicine of India. The guggul plant found from northern Africa to central Asia, but is most common in northern India. It prefers arid and semi- arid climates and it is tolerant of poor soil. Phytoconstituents: The primary chemical constituents of Guggul includes phytosterols, gugulipids, and guggulsterones.
It was traditionally combined with other herbs for the treatment of arthritis, skin diseases, pains in the nervous system, obesity, digestive problems, infections in the mouth, and menstrual problems. Guggul helps reduce high cholesterol, because it lowers harmful low- density lipoproteins while elevating the beneficial high-density lipoproteins. It helps prevent blood platelet aggregation and breaks up already formed blood clots. Thus, it helps prevent heart disease and stroke. Guggul is also widely promoted as a weight loss agent that supposedly enhances thyroid function. Guggul lipid stimulates the activity of white blood cells in the body, contributing to the build-up of the immune system. Guggul lipid also helps eliminate and expel dead tissues, wastes, and toxins from the body. Guggul lipid may also be used to treat arthritis and reduce inflammation of the joints.
Indian names: Haridra, Gauri, Kunyit, You Jin, Haldi, Kurkum
English names: Turmeric, Indian saffron
Description: Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. The plant reaches up to 1 m tall; highly branched, yellow to orange, cylindrical, aromatic rhizomes are found.
It is native in southeast India, and needs temperatures between 20 and 30 °C (68 and 86 °F) and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive (tropical climate).
Phytoconstituents: The most important chemical components of turmeric are a group of compounds called curcuminoids, which include curcumin (diferuloylmethane), demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin. The best-studied compound is curcumin, which constitutes 3.14 % (on average) of powdered turmeric. In addition, other important volatile oils include turmerone, atlantone, and zingiberene. Some general constituents are sugars, proteins, and resins. Curcumin 95 %, a potent antioxidant is believed to be the most bioactive and soothing portion of the herb turmeric. Therapeutic uses in Ayurveda: Turmeric is used extensively in foods for both its flavor and color. Turmeric has a long tradition of use in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. The rhizome (root) of turmeric has long been used in traditional Asian medicine to treat gastrointestinal upset, arthritic pain. Turmeric has long been used as an anti-inflammatory, to treat digestive disorders, osteoarthritis, atherosclerosis, cancer and liver problems and for the treatment of skin diseases and wound healing. It is believed to strengthen the overall energy of the body, relieve gas, dispel worms, regulate menstruation, dissolve gallstones, and relieve arthritis. The active components of turmeric alleviate the destructive activity of parasites or roundworms. Curcumin 95 % has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-platelet, cholesterol-lowering antibacterial and anti-fungal effects.
CURCUBEST – A novel bioavailable formulation
Curcumin, commonly called diferuloyl methane, is a hydrophobic polyphenol derived from the rhizome (turmeric) of the herb Curcuma longa which is a member of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). Turmeric has been used traditionally for many ailments because of its wide spectrum of pharmacological activities. Curcumin is believed to be the most bioactive and soothing portion of the herb turmeric. Curcumin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antifungal actions. Studies have shown that curcumin is not toxic to humans. Turmeric (95 % curcumin) is effective in reducing post-surgical inflammation. It helps to prevent atherosclerosis by reducing the formation of bloods clumps.
Nevertheless curcumin has extensive health benefits, pharmacokinetic studies in animals have demonstrated that 40-85 percent of an oral dose of curcumin passes through the gastrointestinal tract unchanged, with most of the absorbed flavonoid being metabolized in the intestinal mucosa and liver. CURCUBEST is a proprietary product from Vidya Herbs, with enhanced bioavailability. CURCUBEST is an organic turmeric extract with over 95 % curcuminoids and bioenhancers. At Vidya Herbs, we have evaluated the pharmacokinetics of CURCUBEST in preclinical models. Increased absorption of curcumin in the formulation prompted us to test the bioavailability in healthy human subjects. The increased bioavailability could be attributed to the non-curcuminoid components such as turmerones.
The presence of α- and aromatic turmerones significantly increases the amount of curcumin transported into the cells. α-turmerone inhibits the activity of P-gp, a drug efflux pump. Pgp have been proven to have a very important role in inhibiting efficient drug entry into the systemic circulation. P-gp pumps drug molecules back out of cells with the help of changing ATP to ADP. This can lead to drug resistance. Turmerones in CURCUBEST acts as inhibitors that might block the action of P-gp by taking away its ATP or by competing with the drug for the pump, so less curcumin is pumped out.
Indian names: Neem, Nimtree, Indian Lilac
Description: Azadirachta indica, also known as Neem is a tropical evergreen tree growing from 50 to 150 feet tall in the mahogany family Meliaceae. It is a super herb used in Ayurvedic system of medicine in India. Neem is currently being researched in India for cancer therapy.
Distribution: It is native to India and the Indian subcontinent including Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and SriLanka; typically growing in tropical and semi-tropical regions. Neem trees are also grown in islands in the southern part of Iran.
Phytoconstituents: The major active principles isolated from different parts of the plant include: Azadirachtin, meliacin, gedunin, nimbidin, nimbolides, salanin, nimbin, valassin. The bitterness of Neem oil is attributed to meliacin. The seed contain tignic acid responsible for the distinctive odour of the oil. Neem kernels contain 30-50 % of oil mainly used by the soap, pesticide and pharmaceutical industries and contain many active ingredients which are together called triterpene or limnoids.
Health benefits: Neem has been valued in Ayurveda as ‘Sarva roga nivarini’ because of its resourceful applications. Every part of neem such as bark, seed oil, leaf, roots are used in therapeutic preparations. It is used as a medication for skin ailments, ulcers, malaria, insect bites, diabetes, hair problems, blood pressure, cholesterol etc.
Indian names: Syamaparni, Caha
English names: Tea, green tea
Description: Camellia sinensis (L.) (Theaceae) commonly known as green tea in India, is mainly cultivated in India (Assam) and china. Green tea has many beneficial effects on the body. So we analyze the various pharmacological effect of green tea. The recent era is all about herbal treatment of various diseases and green tea is one of the best tonic for healthy well being. Green tea is a ‘non-fermented’ tea and contains more catechins than black tea or oolong tea. Catechins are in vitro and in vivo strong antioxidants.
Phytoconstituents: One third of the bioactive compounds in Green tea are polyphenols. Polyphenols found in green tea are mostly flavonoids. Catechins contribute largely for the health benefits attributed to green tea. Major catechins are (-)-epicatechin gallate (ECG), (-)-epicatechin (EC), (-)-epigallo catechin (EGC), (-)-epigallo catechin gallate (EGCG). Other compounds are alkaloids (Caffeine, theophylline, theobromine), amino acids, carbohydrates, proteins, chlorophyll, volatile organic compounds.
Therapeutic uses in Ayurveda: Tea plant is used against the poison of viper and keeps the kidney working in the victims of viper. It is used in ayurvedic formulations to relieve from Asthma. It is also used for the treatment of skin infections, reduction of cholesterol. Several studies document the various pharmacological activities of green tea extract.
Indian names: Guduchi, Giloy
Description: Tinospora cordifolia commonly named as “Guduchi” in Sanskrit belonging to family Menispermaceae is a large, deciduous climbing shrub with greenish yellow typical flowers, found at higher altitude. The plant is indigenous to the tropical areas of India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. The plant has gained great attention across the globe because of its reported medicinal properties like anti-diabetic, anti-periodic, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, anti-oxidant, anti-allergic, anti-stress, anti-leprotic, anti-malarial, hepatoprotective, immunomodulatory and anti-neoplastic activities.
Phytoconstituents: Leaves of this plant are rich in protein (11.2 %) and are fairly rich in calcium and phosphorus. The plant is rich with alkaloids such as Berberine, Palmatine, Tembetarine (0.012 %), Magnoflorine (0.075 %) in stem and Choline, Tinosporin, Isocolumbin, Palmatine, Tetrahydropalmatine, Magnoflorine in the roots. The stem contains glycosides such as 18-norclerodane glucoside, Furanoid diterpene glucoside, Tinocordiside, Tinocordifolioside, Cordioside, Cordifolioside A, Cordifolioside. T. cordifolia aerial parts contain steroids β -sitosterol, δ-sitosterol and diterpenoids Furanolactone, Clerodane derivatives, Jateorine and Columbin.
Therapeutic uses in Ayurveda: The stem of Tinospora cordifolia is one of the constituents of several ayurvedic preparations used in general debility, dyspepsia, fever and urinary diseases. The stem is bitter, stomachic, diuretic, stimulates bile secretion, causes constipation, allays thirst, burning sensation, vomiting, enriches the blood and cures jaundice. The extract of its stem is useful in skin diseases. The root and stem of T. cordifolia are prescribed in combination with other drugs as an anti-dote to snake bite and scorpion sting. Dry barks of T. cordifolia has anti-spasmodic, antipyretic, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory and anti-leprotic properties.
Indian Name(s): Arjuna, Argun kahua, Kumbuk.
Description: Terminalia arjuna is a large sized deciduous fluted tree belongs to the family of Combretaceae. It is found growing on river banks or near dry river beds in West Bengal, south and central India. It is exotic to many countries including China, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand.
Phytoconstituents: Arjuna bark contains arjunic acid, tannic acid, tannins, saponins, flavonoids and gallic acid. Active compounds present in T. arjuna bark are phytosterols, lactones, flavonoids, phenolic compounds and tannins and glycosides in high concentration. The active compounds presence in low concentration, such as triterpenoids (arjunic acid, arjunolic acid, arjungenin, arjunglycosides), saponins, alkaloids, carbohydrates, flavonoids(arjunone, arjunolone, luteolin), oligomeric proanthocyanidins and proteins. Arjuna is rich in calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper.
Uses in Ayurveda: T. arjuna has been widely used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of cancer, dermatological and gynaecological complaints, heart diseases and urinary disorders. The bark is acrid, an astringent and tonic and is useful in treatment of high blood pressure. Cancer cell growth inhibitory constituent has been isolated from bark, stem and leaves of T. arjuna. It helps to balance all three doshas Vata, Pitta, Kapha at once. T. arjuna bark is powerful, relieving tonic for the heart. It strengthens the emotions to decrease excessive response to stress and trauma, also used for loneliness, sadness and frustration. It helps to stabilize the erratic heartbeat.
Indian names: Daadima, Daalimbe, Daanimma, Anar
Description: Pomegranate is a major resource for the modern medicine. It is valued in Ayurveda as a powerful gift of nature against a long list of human ailments. Pomegranate is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between 5 and 8 m (16–26 ft) tall. Distribution: The pomegranate is considered to have originated in the region from Iran to northern India, and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region.
Phytoconstituents: The peel, white pulp membrane, arils and seeds of the pomegranate all contain many chemical compounds of high biological value. About 50 % of the total weight of the pomegranate corresponds to the peel and white pulp membranes, which are a major source of bio-active compounds such as polyphenols, flavonoids, ellagitannins, proanthocyanidins and minerals, mainly potassium, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sodium. Pomegranate arils are composed of 85 % water, 10 % sugar (mainly fructose and glucose), 1.5 % organic acids (principally ascorbic, citric and malic acids) and bioactive compounds such as polyphenols and flavonoids (mainly anthocyanins). Pomegranate arils are also a major source of lipids, since fatty acids comprise between 12 % and 20 % of the total dry weight of the seeds. The fatty acid profile is characterised by a high content in unsaturated fatty acids, including linolenic, linoleic, punicic, oleic, stearic and palmitic acids.
Health benefits: According to Ayurveda, sweet pomegranate is Tridohaghnam. It alleviates thirst, burning sensation, and fevers. It is known for aphrodisiac properties; useful in the treatment of diseases of the heart, throat and mouth. It improves intellect and strength. Pomegranate which is acidic and sour, improves appetite, and taste. The rind of the fruit and the bark of the pomegranate tree are used as a traditional remedy against diarrhea, dysentery, and intestinal parasites. Pomegranate has been used as a contraceptive and abortifacient by means of consuming the seeds, or rind, as well as by using the rind as a vaginal suppository.
Indian Name: Shatavari, Shatuli, Vrishya.
Description: Asparagus racemosus is a climbing herb which belonging to the family of Asparagaceae, grows in low forest areas. In India, it is found in tropical, sub tropical regions and in Himalayas. It is distributed throughout tropical Africa, Java, Australlia, Srilanka, India and southern parts of China.
Phytoconstituents: The major bioactive constituents of A. racemosus are steroidal saponins (Shatavarins I–IV) which are present in roots. It also contains vitamins A, B1, B2, C, E, Mg, P, Ca, Fe, and folic acid. Shatavarin IV is a glycoside of sarsasapogenin contains two molecules of rhamnose and one molecule of glucose. Other constituents include essential oils, asparagine, arginine, tyrosine, flavonoids (kaempferol, quercetin, and rutin), resin, and tannins. Flowers and fruits contain quercetin, rutin and hyperosides while the leaves contains diosgenin and quercetin-3 glucuronide. Many chemical constituents are isolated from the root, five steroidal saponins, shatavarins VI-X, Asparoside B (Shatavarin I), Asparinin B (Shatavarinin IV), Shatavarinin V, immunoside and Asparanin A (schidigerasaponin D5). It also contains isoflavone 8-methoxy-5, 6, 4’-trihydroxyisoflavone 7-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside.
Uses in Ayurveda: It has been widely used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as an aid for the reproductive system particularly for females. A.racemosus used to balance pitta and vata. It has cooling effect on the system. It’s unctuous (oily), building nature is responsible for nourshing, grounding effect. These combined qualities make rasayana (rejuvenative) for the female reproductive system, for the blood and the digestive system when pitta is involved. It is also know for phytoestrogenic properties.
Indian names: Olibanum,Frankincense, Dhup, Salai.
Description: Boswellia serrata is medium sized tree belonging to the family of Burseraceae. Trees of B. serrata grows in dry mountainous region and found in West Asia, Oman, Yemen, South Africa, Southern Arabia and in India.
Phytoconstituents: B. serrata contains an oleo-gum-resin called Salai guggal. Essential oils are the mixture of mono, di and sesquiterpenes and the gum fraction composed of pentose and hexose sugar with some oxidizing and digestive enzymes. Phenolic compounds and diterpene alcohol (serratol) also present in essential oils. Resin contains Boswellic acid constisting pentacyclic triterpenic acid. Boswellic acid is an active and important fraction of Salai guggal. Salai guggal contains essential oil, gum and resin. Its essential oil is a mixture of monoterpenes, diterpenes and sesquiterpenes. In addition phenolic compounds and a diterpene alcohol (serratol) is also found in essential oil. Gum portion of the plant consist of pentose and hexose sugars with some oxidizing and digestive enzymes. Resin portion mainly composed of pentacyclic triterpene acid of which boswellic acid is the active moiety. The essential oils include α-pinene dipentane, phellendrene, cadinene, camphene, p-cymene, d-borneol, verbenone and verbenol. The α- thujene consists 50 % of oils and the pinene 6.2 %, dlimonene 4.5 %, p-cymene 14 %, cadinene 4 %, geraniol 0.8 % and elemol 1.3 % as the main constituents of the essential oil. Terpenoids includes three acids α, β, γ- boswellic acids. Total triterpene acid contains β-boswellic acid, 11 keto boswellic acid and acetyl 11-keto β-boswellic acid.
Uses in Ayurveda: B. serrata creates an important role in traditional Ayuredic medicine. Guggal is a sticky gum resin of boswellia used to treat arthritis and rheumatism for centuries. Many other conditions also treated in traditional Ayurveda which includes asthama, bronchitis, diarrhea, jaundice, ringworm and other skin diseases. Also it’s used for ulcerative colitis, abdominal pain, asthama, hay fever, sore throat, syphills and cancer.
Indian names: Ashwagandha ("horse smell" in Sanskrit); Kanaje (Hindi); Amukkara (Tamil).
English name: Winter Cherry; Indian Ginseng
Description: Withania somnifera, commonly known as Ashwagandha, is a perennial shrub from the Solanaceae family. The plant is extensively used in Ayurveda, the traditional medical system of India. Ashwagandha means ‘Smell of Horse,’ which refers to the fresh root’s distinct horsey smell, and the traditional belief that consuming the herb will confer the strength and virility of a horse.
Withania Somnifera grows abundantly in India (especially Madhya Pradesh), Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and parts of northern Africa.
Phytoconstituents: The whole plant as well as specific parts (roots, stems, leaves) of the plant has been used for the treatment of numerous human ailments. The major constituents of ashwagandha are alkaloids and steroidal lactones. The phytochemicals present in Ashwagandha include Withanine, somniferine, somnine, somniferinine, withananine, pseudo-withanine tropane, pseudo-tropine, choline, anaferine, anahydrine, isopelletierine. The leaves contain steroidal lactone, which are commonly called as "Withanolides". Withaferine A has been receiving good deal of attention because of its antibiotic and anti-tumor activity.
Health benefits: The root of Ashwagandha is considered as tonic, aphrodisiac, narcotic, diuretic, anthelmintic, astringent, thermogenic and stimulant. The roots are crushed with water to form paste which is applied to reduce the inflammation at the joints. It is also locally applied in carbuncles, ulcers and painful swellings. The root in combination with other drugs is prescribed for snake venom as well as in scorpion-sting. It also helps in leucorrhoea, boils, pimples, flatulent colic, worms and piles. Topical application of Ashwagandha is effective for treating wounds, backache, and one-sided paralysis (hemiplegia).