Herbal plants–Boon for Future

POONKODI PG Department of Chemistry, NGM College, Pollachi 642001, Tamilnadu, India.

Herbal plants–Boon for Future

Abstract

India  is well known for its rich medicinal  flora and economic significance. India with its wide range of agroclimatic conditions forms a cradle land for the cultivation and maintenance of several medicinal plants. The Indian traditional systems of medicine composed of herbal plant treatment and it provide a great relevance to the health care of the people. Undoubtedly, the use of herbal plants for the various diseases is safer than the synthetic formulation. Many researches support that majority of  the world population are still relying on herbal plant formulation. Numerous herbal products have been evaluated as therapeutics for the treatment of a variety of diseases.  One of the most pressing challenges for the next 50 years is to reduce the impact of chronic disease.

Introduction

Plants are one of the most important sources of medicines. The application of plants as medicines date back to prehistoric period. In India the references to the curative properties of some herbs in the Rig-Veda seems to be the earliest records of the  use of plants in medicines. The medicinal plants are extensively utilized throughout the world in two distinct areas of health management; traditional system of medicine and the modern system of medicine. Over the centuries, the use of medicinal herbs has become an important part of daily life despite the progress in modern medical and pharmaceutical research. Approximately 3000 plant species are known to have medicinal properties in India (Kirkar and Basu, 1991).  In this present study some important herbal plants and their uses are discussed.

Ocimum basilicum (Basil)

Ocimum basilicum L. commonly called as Sweet Basil which belongs to family Lamiaceae is a native plant of Indo-Malayan region. It is called the “king of herbs” which contains plenty of phytochemicals with significant nutritional as well as antioxidant capabilities and health benefits Yayasinghe et al, 2003, Zheljazkov et al. (2007).  Basil is used for stomach spasms, loss of appetite, intestinal gas, kidney conditions, fluid retention, head colds, warts, and worm infections. It is also used to treat snake and insect bites. Women sometimes use basil before and after childbirth to promote blood circulation, and also to start the flow of breast milk.

Tulsi

For over the centuries Tulsi (the queen of herbs) has been known for its remarkable healing properties. The Tulsi is the effective remedy for the Severe acute Respiratory Syndrome. Juice of its leaves gives relief in cold, fever, bronchitis and cough.Tulsi oil is also used as the ear drop.Tulsi helps in curing malaria. It is very effective against indigestion, headache, hysteria, insomnia and cholera. The fresh leaves of Tulsi are taken by the million of people every day.

Moringa oleifera

Moringa oleifera, an edible tree found worldwide in the dry tropics, is increasingly being used for nutritional supplementation 6. The tree is valued mainly for the tender pods, which are esteemed as a  vegetable. Flowers and young leaves are also eaten as vegetables. The leaves are a rich source of essential amino acids such as methionine, cysteine, tryptophan and lysine. Decoctions and extracts made from the leaves are also variously employed in native medicine. In Southern India, village people use the fresh leaves to prepare cow and buffalo ghee from butter fat. It has been found that there is a significant increase in shelf life of ghee and that Moringa leaves can be a good source of natural antioxidants.

Turmeric

Though commonly used as a spice for flavoring dishes, turmeric has great healing powers and has been used in Ayurveda for mostly for purifying blood, treating skin ailments, as well as in treatment of heart, liver and lungs diseases. Turmeric is considered great anti-bacterial, which helps in healing of wounds.

Aloe Vera

The sap from aloe vera is extremely useful to speed up the healing & reducing the risk of infections for wounds,cuts,burns and reducing inflammation. Apart from its external use on the skin, aloe vera is also taken internally in the treatment of ulcerative colitis (drinking aloe vera juice) chronic constipation, poor appetite and digestive problems.

Ashwangandha

Ashwagandha is best known for stress Reduction, Neural Protection, and a Lot More from an Ancient Herb.The benefits of ashwagandha are many; in addition to promoting fertility, aiding in wound care, and boosting the immune system, some other benefits are diuretic, Sleep aid, galactogogue, anti-epileptic, anti-tumor, Pain relief, eye health, heart tonic, Lowers cholesterol & regulates blood sugar, reduces depression and anxiety, Combats stress, fights cognitive decline due to brain cell degeneration.

Vitex Negundo

Because of its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties, the plant is useful in treating sores and skin infections. Five-Leaved Chaste Tree relieves muscle aches,head aches and joint pains. The herb is effective in treating vaginal discharge.

Costus pictus

Costus pictus D. Don, commonly known as ‘insulin plant’ is a member of Zingiberacea family and is used as a munching dietary supplement for the treatment of diabetes in Southern India. In Folk Medicine, this plant is used as an infusion in the treatment of renal disorders [Anaga et al., 1978; Martínez et al., 1996]. The diuretic activity of this species was evaluated in rats by measuring water and electrolyte balance.

Alpinia calcarata Rosc

The rhizomes are the major constituent of many formulations in indigenous systems of medicine for relieving throat inflammation, stimulating digestion, purifying blood and improving the voice. Drugs prepared from the A. calcarata are used in the treatment of rheumatism  and for reducing pain [Poonkodi et al., 2017 ]. It is used to cure polyurea, coughs, stomachic diseases diabetes, colds, asthma respiratory ailments and heart diseases. They are also used to treat snake bites. It improves the voice, prevents bad breath and strengthens the nerves.

Kalonjo pinnata

It is also known as the Air Plant and  is a succulent plant and has many health benefits. The leaf or its juice is taken for diabetes. The Leaf paste application stops bleeding and heals wounds. The burnt leaf (mashi) made in to paste with coconut oil cures burn.To prevent septic to cuts from sharp instruments, 15 leaves with four pepper corns roasted, powdered and mixed in cow ghee is applied.Leaf paste boiled in oil cures sciatica and rhematic pains.One leaf eaten raw with one pepper corn first thing every morning for 3 to 7 days cures urinary stones.

Ruta graveolens L

Ruta graveolens L. is an aromatic and medicinally important plant belongs to the family Rutaceae commonly known as Rue and Aruvatham Pachai in Tamil  R. graveolens is one of the promising specie due to its biological importance [Soleimani et al., 2009]. In the traditional system of medicine whole parts of the plant is used as stimulant, emmenagogue, diuretic, abortifacient, resolvent, anti-inflammatory, eye problems, dermatitis and anti-rheumatic medicine and for the treatment of hypertension, skin illness phototoxic, bacteriostatic and anthelminthic activities and rhinitis.

Hyptis suaveolens

The plant Hyptis suaveolens (L.) Poit commonly known as Wilayati tulsi belongs to the family Lamiaceae and is an ethnobotanically important medicinal plant. Almost all parts of this plant are being used in traditional medicine to treat various diseases. The leaves of H. suaveolens have been utilized as a stimulant, carminative, sudorific, galactogogue and as a cure for parasitic cutaneous diseases. Traditionally the leaves are used as a stimulant, jaundice, hyperthermia, breast abscesses, hemorrhoids, oral candidiasis, generalized edema antispasmodic, against colds and diarrhea. H.suaveolens is popularly used in the treatment of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, indigestion, colds, pain, fever, cramps, and skin diseases. Different parts of the plant have been used by traditional healers in the treatment of various ailments and disease conditions.

Aegels marmelos

  1. marmelos is a native plant of India. A. marmelos belongs to Rutaceae family and commonly

known as wood apple. In India, A. marmelos  is grown as a temple garden plant and the

leaves are used to pray Lord Shiva.  A. marmelos is an important medicinal plant with several

ethnomedicinal applications in traditional and folk medicinal systems. Traditionally, A.

marmelos is used in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery. Leaves of this plant used to cause

infertility/abortion in women.

Clausena anisata

Clausena  anisata have been reported to be useful as effective  remedies against parasitic infections, especially flatworm infestations, such as taeniasis and schistosomiasis, as well as in eye complaints; influenza and other respiratory ailments; heart disorders and hypertension; abdominal cramps, constipation andgastroenteritis; hepatic diseases causing bad breath; malaria; diabetes; fevers and pyrexia; boils, rheumatism, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions; headaches, body pains, toothaches and swollen gums; convulsions and some mental disorders; impotence and sterility; blood tonic; and dysentery in cattle [Hamza et al., 2006; Moshi et al., 2005, Uwaifo, 1984; Ekundayo, 1986]

Fenugreek

Fenugreek seeds are nourishing and taken to encourage weight gain (take note, anorexics), inhibit cancer of the liver, lower blood cholesterol levels,  treat inflammation and ulcers of the stomach and intestines, drain off sweat ducts, for body building, for late onset diabetes, poor digestion, insufficient lactation, painful menstruation, labor pains, freshen bad breath and restore a dull sense of taste.

 Andrographis paniculata

Andrographis is also known as Nilavempu in tamil is an annual herbaceous plant and is extensively cultivated in Southern Asia, China and some parts of Europe.  A. paniculata is widely used to get rid of body heat, dispel toxins from the body; prevent common cold, upper respiratory tract infections including sinusitis and fever. Historically, the herb has been widely used as a treatment for the common coldflu, upper respiratory infections, and a variety of infectious diseases. It is a traditional herbal treatment for diseases and ailments such as diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, pneumonia, swollen lymph nodes, leprosy, bronchitissore throats, tuberculosis, chicken pox, coughs, headaches, ear infection, inflammation, burns and mumps. Andrographis was used as a treatment for malaria, as a replacement for quinine.This bitter shrub has shown immunity-boosting capabilities by stimulating the body’s natural immune systems. Japanese researchers have reported that the plant is effective in preventing the multiplication of cancer cells.

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