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L A red or purple dye is obtained from the root.

C Vitexin (8/3-D-glucopyranosyl-apigenin) was isolated from the flowers of A. hispidis-sima and Ochrocarpus longifolius L.

P Vitexin showed potent hypotensive, anti-inflammatory and non-specific antispasmodic properties. The hypotensive effect was attributed to its ganglion-blocking properties and the anti-inflammatory effects to its antihistamine, anti-bradykinin and anti-serotonin properties (Prabhakar etal., 1981).

Vitexin has also been reported to be present in the leaves of Lophira lanceolata van Tiegh. ex Keay (Jacquemain, 1971), which are used in Senegal as an antitussive (whilst the stembark is said to cure oedemas) (Kerharo and Adam, 1974, p. 614). Vitexin heterosides have also been noted in the leaves of Combretum micranthum (Jentsch etal., 1962).

Calcphyllum inophyllum L. GUTTIFERAE

Mesua ferrea L.

Both introduced into West Africa

L In its country of origin (South India) the oil of the seeds of Calophyllum is specifically used to treat skin diseases and is also applied topically in cases of rheumatism. The gum and the juice are said to be purgative and the bark astringent in patients with internal haemorrhage. The leaves are used as a fish poison.

C From the leaves of C. inophyllum, friedelin and triterpenes of the friedelin group, namely canophyllal, canophyllol and canophyllic acid (Govindachari et al., 1967), and from the heartwood xanthones (mesuaxanthone B and calophyllin B) have been isolated (Govindachari et al., 1968). A number of 4-phenylcoumarin derivatives have successfully been isolated from the seeds (Mitra, 1957a; Farnsworth and Cordell, 1976, p. 424); they include calophyllolide, inophyllolide and calophyllic acid. In plants collected in India all three of these compounds were present, while in Indochina and Tahiti only calophyllic acid has been found (Polonsky, 1957). Furthermore, inophyllic acid (Mitra, 1957b) and two more 4-phenylcoumarins, ponnalide (Adinarayana and Seshadri, 1965) and calaustrin (Bhusan et al., 1975) have been reported.

P The pharmacological properties of calophyllolide have been examined by Arora et al. (1962), who reported that in the isolated perfused rabbit heart it decreased the amplitude of contraction but increased coronary flow. It suppressed ventricular ectopic tachycardia resulting from acute myocardial infarction in dogs as effectively as quinidine and had vasoconstrictive action on the peripheral vessels. Its effectiveness as an anticoagulant puts it between dicoumarol and tromexan for this purpose (Arora etal., 1962). Also, Saxena etal. (1982) found calophyllolide to be effective in reducing the increased capillary permeability induced in mice by various chemical mediators involved in inflammation processes, namely histamine, 5-hydroxytryp-tamine and bradykinin. Pretreatment of the mice with calophyllolide afforded significant protection against the inflammation induced by these mediators. When evaluated against carrageenan-induced rat pedal oedema, at 40 mg/kg given intra-peritoneally, calophyllide and inophyllide reduce oedema by 60.7% and 29.8%, respectively. In this study hydrocortisone given intraperitoneally at a dose of 10

mg/kg reduced the inflammation by 44% (Chaturvedi et al., 1974). The safety margin of calophyllolide is very similar to that of oxyphenbutazone (21.4 mg/kg and 25 mg/kg, respectively) (Bhalla et al., 1980), which would warrant clinical studies of different inflammatory diseases with this compound (Saxena et al., 1982).

The xanthones of C. inophyllum and M. ferrea, namely dehydrocycloguanandin, calophyllin B, jacareubin, 6-deoxyjacareubin and mesuaxanthone, produced in mice and rats various degrees of CNS depression (sedation, decreased spontaneous motor activity, loss of muscle tone, potentiation of barbitone sleeping time and ether anaesthesia). None had analgesic, antipyretic or anticonvulsant activities (Chaturvedi et al., 1974). The xanthones displayed, both by intraperitoneal and oral routes, anti-inflammatory activity in rats in carrageenan-induced hind paw oedema, cotton-pellet granuloma and granuloma pouch techniques both in normal and in adrenalec-tomized rats. The xanthones did not have any mast cell membrane effect and did not alter the prothrombin time in rats (Gopalakrishnan et al., 1980).

Plants with other active constituents.

Curcuma domestica Valeton syn. (C. longa L.) ZINGIBERACEAE


P Next to the anti-infectious and choleretic activities of the root already mentioned (I), the volatile oil obtained from the rhizome of C. longa has been noted to have significant anti-inflammatory properties in rats, comparable to those of hydrocortisone acetate and phenylbutazone. In oral doses of 0.5-1 mg/kg, curcumin inhibited carrageenan-induced oedema in rats and mice as well as formalin-induced acute oedema in mice and subacute arthritis and cotton pellet-induced granuloma formation in rats (Arora et al., 1971; Srimaland Dhawan, 1973). Curcuma oil also strongly reduced the histamine content of the skin of the rat (by 50% as compared to a 42% reduction by hydrocortisone). This antihistamine effect is believed to explain the protective action of the volatile oil (0.01 ml/kg) in early inflammation lesions in adjuvant arthritis in rats. The inhibition of the late arthritis changes may be due to the activation of the adreno-hypophyseal axis (Chandra and Gupta, 1972). The volatile oil was also found to act on the proteases responsible for the acute inflammatory process as it was found to inhibit trypsin as well as hyaluronidases (Tripathi etal., 1973).

In addition to the anti-inflammatory properties, aqueous extracts of the rhizome of C. domestica had a 100% antifertility action in albino rats at a dose of 100 mg/kg body weight. The petroleum ether extract had an 80% antifertility effect and also caused resorption of the implants (Garg, 1971). Furthermore, sodium curcuminate has long been known as an active choleretic (Ramprasad and Sirsi, 1956). Curcumol and curdione are reported to be active in the early stage of cervical cancer (Xaio, 1983).

Salvadora persica L. SALVADORACEAE

Salt bush or toothbrush tree

L The twigs and roots are used as a toothbrush. In Senegal the roots are mainly used as a diuretic and are sometimes used associated with kinkeliba leaves for blackwater fever, rheumatism and venereal diseases (Kerharo, 1968). In the Eastern Sudan the bark is pulverized and made into a paste with water, which is applied to the head in cases of serious febrile diseases. Dried leaves are taken for flatulent dyspepsias (Dalziel, 1937).

C The leaves and bark contain the alkaloid trimethylamine and the leaves and seeds yield about 45% of a fatty oil (composed of ±20% lauric acid, ±55% myristic acid and ±19% of palmitic acid (Gunde and Hilditch, 1939)), which is used for making candles and which contains a small proportion of volatile oil (mainly benzyl-mustard-oil) (Wehmer, 1935). From an extract of the roots, /3-sitosterol and elemental and monoclinic sulphur were isolated (Ezmirly et al., 1979) and from the leaves polyphenols (quercetin and caffeic and ferulic acids) were isolated. In the rootbark, the presence of small amounts of tannins and saponins has also been reported (Farooqi and Srivastava, 1969).

P Extracts of S. persica root have shown antibacterial, weak anti-inflammatory and mild hypoglycaemic properties (Ezmirly et al., 1979).

Ipomoea purpurea (L.) Roth. CONVOLVULACEAE

Ipomoea pes-caprae (L.) Sweet subsp. brasiliensis (L.) Oostr. syn. Convolvulus brasiliensis L., I. pes-caprae Roth.) (Fig. 5.3) Goat's foot convolvulus

L I. pes-caprae is a good sandbinder near the sea. The starchy root is a common Indian drug used for rheumatism, dropsy and colic (Dalziel, 1937) and the juice is given as a diuretic in cases of oedema whilst the bruised leaves are applied to the swelling (Chopra et al., 1956, p. 142).

C The whole plant contains 7-8% of total resin, 0.05% of an essential oil, triaconthane, pentatriaconthane, a sterol, behenic acid and melissic, butyric and myristic acids (Cwalina and Jenkins, 1938; Dawalkar and Dawalkar, 1960). The roots contain glycorrhetins similar to those of other Ipomoea resins (Hegnauer, 1962-68, Vol. Ill, p. 551; Shellard, 1962).

P In Indonesia the plant is used against inflammation and cancer. An antihistamine action was reported for this plant by Wasuwat (1970), who noted that a volatile fraction of 6 x 10"5 M antagonized the contractile effect of histamine (2 x 10 6 M) on the guinea pig ileum in a similar fashion to benadryl or antistine (1 x 10~6 M). It also antagonized the contractile effect of jellyfish as effectively as did these antihistamines. I. purpurea (L.) Roth, which is naturalized in West Africa, produced 60% inhibition, in doses of 100 mg/kg, in carrageenan-induced rat paw oedema when the dose was repeated at 150- and 30-min intervals before carrageenan administration, when tested on Indonesian plants (Benoit et al., 1976).

Table 5.1. Additional anti-inflammatory plants

The abbreviations used are as follows: adj. arthr., adjuvant arthritis; carr., carrageenan; cotton p. gran., cotton pellet induced granuloma; crot. i., croton oil induced; equiv. = equivalent; form., formalin; i.r.p.o., induced rat paw oedema; i.p., intraperitoneally; i.v., intravenously; p.o., perorally; s.c., subcutaneously

Table 5.1. Additional anti-inflammatory plants

The abbreviations used are as follows: adj. arthr., adjuvant arthritis; carr., carrageenan; cotton p. gran., cotton pellet induced granuloma; crot. i., croton oil induced; equiv. = equivalent; form., formalin; i.r.p.o., induced rat paw oedema; i.p., intraperitoneally; i.v., intravenously; p.o., perorally; s.c., subcutaneously


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