Latin name: Emblica officinalis
Local Name: Indian Gooseberry, Amla, Amlaki
Parts Used: Fruits
Amla is one of the oldest Indian fruits. It is a rich source of vitamin C and its content of ascorbic acid is next to only that of Barbados cherry (Malpighia glabra L.). It is one of the three constituents of the famous ayurvedic preparation, triphala, which is prescribed in many digestive disorders (Chopra et al. 1959). The medicinal properties of amla have been mentioned in old ayurvedic texts, such as Charaksamhita and Sushrutsamhita (Kirtikar and Basu, 1935). It is used in making pickles and preserves. The amla preserve is one of the specialties of the Indian fruit-preservation industry.
It is a powerful rejuvenating herb. The Amla fruit is reputed to have the highest content of vitaminC than any other naturally occurring substanceinnature. Research shows that 8.75mg of natural vitamin C complex from Amla is equivalent to 100mg of the most commonly used synthetic vitamin C. Amla possesses the highest level of heat and storage-stable vitamin C known to man.
Amla juice has twenty times more vitamin C than orange juice
The edible fruit tissue of Amla contains protein concentration 3-fold and ascorbic acid concentration 160-fold than those of apples. This fruit also contains considerably higher concentration of most minerals and amino acids than apples
Chemical composition of the fruit
The fruit pulp, which constitutes 90.97 per cent of the whole fruit, contains 70.5 per cent moisture. The total soluble solids constitute 23.8 per cent of the juice. The acidity of aonla is 3.28 per cent on pulp basis. The pulp contains 5.09 percent total sugars and 5.08 per cent reducing sugars. The ascorbic acid content is 1,094.53 mg per 100 ml of juice. The tannins and pectin content of the pulp is 2.73 per cent and 0.59 per cent respectively.
The fruit pulp contains 0.75 per cent protein. The mineral content of the edible portion, as represented by its ash, is 2.922 per cent. The percentage content of the mineral elements, viz. phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron is 0.027, 0.368, 0.059, 0.248 and 0.004 respectively
Benefits of Amla:
A potent antioxidant, hypolipidemic, antibacterial, antiviral, antacid and digestive aid
- Enhances production of Red Blood Cells. Strengthens teeth, hair and nails.
- Regulates Blood Sugar and prevents lipid peroxidation in cell membranes.
- Very Powerful anti-inflammatory herb. Useful in hemorrhoids, gastritis and colitis.
- Useful in eye problems especially in inflammations. Having been shown to improve nearsightedness significantly in recent studies, amla is the most frequently used cataract medicine. Amla is a potent inhibitor of free radicals, which are one cause of cataracts.
- Prevents premature greying of hair and makes them strong and free from dandruff.
- Increases all-round immunity in the body against heart and nervous disorders.
Research on Amla ....
- Hepatoprotective:50% alcoholic extract of Emblica officinalis and quercetin isolated from it produced significant hepatoprotection against country made liquor (CML) and paracetamol challenge in albino rats and mice respectively.
- Another study revealed that both the aqueous fruit extract and ascorbic acid could prevent the toxic effects induced by both metals Pb(NO3)2 or Al2(SO4)3.18H2O, but the extract was more effective than ascorbic acid alone.
- Hypolipidemic: Emblica officinalis juice is an effective hypolipidemic agent and can be used as a pharmaceutical tool in hyperlipidemic subjects.
- Feeding of Amla to the hypercholesterolemic rabbits for 12 weeks showed a two pronged effects, its feeding increased the lipid mobilization and catabolism and retarded the deposition of lipids in the extra hepatic tissues. The degree of atherosclerosis at the end of 12 weeks of Amla feeding was much lower when compared to the control group.
- The tissue lipid levels including Serum cholesterol, TG, phospholipid and LDL showed a significant reduction following Emblica officinalis juice administration. Emblica officinalis juice treated rabbits excreted more cholesterol and phospholipids, suggesting that the mode of absorption was affected.
- Anticlastogenic: A crude aqueous extract from the Emblica officinalis fruit following orallyadministration, exhibited significant protective action against damage induced by CsCl.
- Antacid: Clinical studies were conducted to investigate the effect of Emblica officinalis in amlapitta (gastritis syndrome). The drug was found to be effective in 85 per cent of cases.
- Cases of hyperchlorhydria with burning sensation in abdominal and cardiac regions and epigastric pain were also benefited with Emblica officinalis.
- Dyspepsia: The therapeutic efficacy of Amalaki in cases of dyspepsia was evaluated and the results clearly indicate the efficacy of Emblica officinalis, in relieving the dyspeptic symptoms as well as in promoting ulcer healing.
- Revitalize the sexual health: Indian herbal masters believed that the decrease in sexual desire that a man begins to experience in middle age was due to increased stress. Stress, in turn, was believed to cause a decrease in the essential nutrients in the body that promote a healthy sex life. Therefore, Indian herbal masters turned to amla, a pulverized fruit extract rich in dozens of essential nutrients, to revitalize sexual health.
- At the University of Delhi and the University of Rajasthan in India, two separate studies revealed that amla also seems to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels (Jacob 1988; Mathur 1996). Cholesterol can be a significant enemy of sexual health, because it can impede the all-important flow of blood to the genitals. Researchers therefore suggest that by maintaining healthy cholesterol, amla can support blood flow.
- A study conducted at the Department of Foods & Nutrition, Lady Irwin College, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India has demonstrated that the Indian Gooseberry (amla-Emblica officinalis, Gaertn.) can reduce high serum cholesterol levels. The effect on total serum cholesterol and its lipo-protein fractions of supplementation of the diet with the Indian gooseberry was studied in normal and hypercholesterolaemic men aged 35-55 years. The fresh gooseberry was eaten(un-cooked) for a period of 28 days. Both normal and hypercholesterolaemic participants showed a decrease in cholesterol levels. However, two weeks after withdrawing the supplement, the total serum cholesterol levels of the hypercholesterolaemic subjects rose significantly almost to initial levels.
- Antiviral Medicines: Research in India shows that Amla Extract has the capacity to kill the virus causing Hepatitis and provide a complete cure. This rebuilds new tissues and increases the red blood cell count
Benefits of Ashwagandha:
- Ashwagandha acts against insomnia, stress and stress oriented hypertension.
- Ashwagandha enhance sexual power, prevent impotency, infertility, low sperm count or seminal debility
- Ashwagandha acts against Arthritis and Rheumatism
- When applied externally it acts against scabies, minor ulceration of skin applied as a poultice to boils.
- In case of cancer, Ashwagandha acts as an adjuvant
- Ashwagandha is also very effective against intestinal ulcers
- It is used in general debility, aging, stress induced disorders, anxiety neurosis, wounds and ulcers.
Ashwagandha is one of the oldest medicinal herbs; it was used for several discomforts throughout India.
- The total alkaloids of roots have a variety of pharmacological actions. They exhibited prolonged hypertensive and respiratory stimulating actions in dogs. The hypotensive effect is mainly due to autonomic ganglion-blocking action and the depressant action on the higher cerebral centers. The total alkaloids produced a taming and a mild depressant effect on the central nervous system in several experiments on animals. The neuro-pharmacological activity was accredited to the acetone-soluble fraction of the total alkaloids.(Malhotra, Indian J. med. Res.,1961; Indian J. Physiol. Pharmacol.,1965; Prasad & Malhotra, 1968).
- In an other experiment, the depressive effect of the alkaloids was attributed to the basic alkaloids in the roots, the neutral alkaloids (3-tropyltigloate and an unidentified alkaloid) showing no depressive effect on spontaneous locomotive activity.
- The total alkaloids showed relaxant and antispasmodic effects against several spasmogens on intestinal, uterine, bronchial, tracheal and blood-vascular muscles. The pattern of smooth muscle activity of the alkaloids was similar to that of papaverine which suggested a direct musculotropic action, both as relaxant and spasmolytic. The alkaloids are, however, much weaker than papaverine. This pharmacological activity lends credence to the use of aswagandha in asthma and as a uterine sedative in the Ayurvedic system of medicine (Malhotra et al., Indian J, Physiol. Pharmacol., 1965).
Local Name : Garlic, Lasan
Parts Used : Bulb
Distribution : Garlic is cultivated all over India in warm climate.
Chemical composition & pharmacology:
- Indicated in hypercholesterolaemia and atherosclerosis.
- Relieves nausea, gas colic, flatulence, belching and heaviness.
- Garlic contains many bioactive substances including Alliin, Allicin, Gamma-Glutamylcysteine and Thiosulfinates. They are very effective against Bacterial, Parasitic and Fungal Infections.
- Garlic may prevent blood clots and destroy plaque preventing atherosclerosis. Hence, garlic does reduce the chances of stroke, heart attacks, and PVD.
- Garlic is useful for increasing sexual energy and combating simple impotence and to kill parasites such as hookworms and pinworms.
Local Name: Guduchi (Sanskrit), Amrita, Giloya (Hindi), Tinospora (English), Gulancha (Bengali), Shindil Kodi (Tamil)
Parts Used: Whole Plant
Distribution: This plant is found throughout tropical part of India.
Chemical composition & pharmacology:
Uses of Guduchi:
- Guduchi is anti-pyretic and act as a tonic after fever, also has action against alternative fever like Malaria. Used for the treatment of jaundice, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, gout, viral hepatitis, arthopathies and general weakness.
- Guduchi acts as a diuretic and found to be effective against Renal obstruction like calculi and other urinary disorders.
- Guduchi acts as a memory booster, develops inteligence, promotes mental clarity.
- Guduchi is regarded as a liver protector.
- The stem of guduchi is used in general debility, dyspepsia and urinary diseases.
Local Name : Neem
Parts Used : Leaves.
Distribution : Neem is cultivated throughout India. It is found widely in deciduous forests of India.
Chemical composition & pharmacology:
Uses of Neem:
- Used as an antineoplastic and antiviral. Indicated in eczema, ringworm and scabies. Very effective anthelmintic in ascariasis. Also mosquito larvicidal
- Neem Extract which have Nimbinin and Nimbandiol as active constituents possess a significant blood sugar lowering effect, which are very useful against diabetes.
- Neem Extract have been shown to reduce clotting, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, slow rapid heartbeat and inhibit irregularities of the rhythms of the heart. Besides due to it's active constituents and owing to it's high bioavailability than any other products of Neem, it is used either in medicine or in capsulated form to combat a great number of diseases like Athritis, Skin diseases and a number of digestive disorders including Gastritis and Ulceration. Recent researches shows it's anti-carcinogenic effect also.
- Neem checks cholesterol, treats athritis due to anti-inflamatory actions, acts as a mosquito repellant and in long term use it acts as a immuno modulator. Guduchi is anti-pyretic and act as a tonic after fever, also has action against alternative fever like Malaria. Used for the treatment of jaundice, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, gout, viral hepatitis, arthopathies and general weakness.
Latin name: Garcinia combogia
Local name: Vrikshamla
Parts used: Fruits
Distribution: It is found widely in deciduous coastal forests of
Hydroxycitric Acid is a naturally occurring fruit acid found in the outer layer covering of the fruit of Garcinia Combogia, Garcinia Indica and Garcinia Mangostana. Hydroxycitric Acid is highly unstable and therefore extracted as a salt preferably as a Calcium or Potassium salt
Chemical composition & pharmacology:
The fruit contains ( - ) Hydroxy Citric Acid (HCA) chemically similar to the citric acid found in oranges.
One of the factors for fat accumulation in the body is increased quantity of the key enzyme known as ATP - citrate lyase which facilitates the process of conversion of carbohydrates and sugars into fats and cholesterol. The fruit extract of Garcinia cambogia (containing 50% of HCA as the chief ingredient) competitively blocks ATP - citrate lyase enzyme making it ineffective which inturn hinders the production and storage of body fats. By inhibiting this enzyme, the fruit extract shifts the conversion of calories from fat to glycogen. This increased production of glycogen stimulates the glucoreceptors in the liver and sends satiety signals to the brain. Thus appetite and food craving are suppressed. Besides promoting glycogen production it also signals the Kreb's cycle to initiate betaoxidation which burns the body's stored fat. Thus the fruit extract containing highest concentration of HCA, promotes weight loss and assists the body's natural cycles in proper metabolism of fats. This has been verified by more than 20 years of research by the Pharmaceutical giant - Goffmann-La-Roche and others.
Benefits of Garcinia:
- Hydroxycitric Acid ensures an accelerated metabolic activity that leads to weight loss, fat and lipid lowering in the body thus providing a Natural Weight Management solution. It decreases the rate of dietary carbohydrate conversion to fat and cholesterol while increasing glycogen production. It suppresses appetite thus reducing food consumption. It also potentially increases caloric burning there by elevating the body's production of heat. It is nature's answer to weight loss.
- Hydroxycitric Acid improve Glucose metabolism.
- Hydroxycitric Acid acts as an appetite suppressant and regulator.
7. BRAHMI (BACOPA MONNERI)
Latin name: Bacopa Monnieri
Common Name: Brahmi, bacopa, Babies tear, Bacopa monnieri, Herpestis monniera, water hyssop
Parts Used: Whole Plant
Distribution: Brahmi is an annual creeping plant found throughout India including the North Eastern region.
Introduction: Bacopa monniera is bitter in taste; has been used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine for centuries. Brahmi which occurs naturally in India and has a long history of use in the Ayurvedic medicine tradition in the treatment of a number of disorders, particularly those involving anxiety, intellect and poor memory. Traditionally, it was used as a brain tonic to enhance memory development, learning, and concentration.
Chemical composition pharmacology:Plants contain saponins - Bacosides A and B1.
Treatment with plant extract for one month brought about reduction in level of anxiety, adjustment disability, leading to improved mental function. Levels of urinary V.M.A and corticoids were also reduced. Thus, drug appeared to have anti-anxiety agent property2.
Benefits of using Brahmi:
Brahmi extract has been found to be very beneficial in the treatment of anxiety neurosis and mental fatigue. It has been found to significant improve IQ levels, general ability, behavioral patterns and mental concentration in children. Brahmi is also used for the treatment of epilepsy, insomnia, asthma . Traditional application suggests that it has a direct effect on improving brain functions, increasing concentration, and in promoting memory functions.Bacosides are believed to play a protective role in the synaptic functions of the nerves in the hippocampus, the seat of memory Nerve impulses are transmitted across the synapses and their degeneration is believed to contribute to impaired memory and cognition. Clinical studies performed in India confirm that the bacosides can revitalize intellectual functions in children and reduce anxiety in stressed individuals thereby contributing to improved brain functions.
- Indian studies have also shown Brahmi to possess anticancer activity.
- Brahmi is effective against diseases like bronchitis, asthma, hoarseness, arthritis, rheumatism, backache, constipation, hair loss, fevers, digestive problems etc.
- Brahmi is useful for improving mental clarity, confidence and memory recall. For these uses of Brahmi, it has been widely used by students.
- As Brahmi is bitter in flavor, in India the plant is used in salads, soups, as a cooked lea vegetable, or pickled.
- Indian research has shown that Brahmi has Antioxidant, Cardiotonic and Anticancer properties.
Latin name : Boswellia serrata
Local Name : Salai Guggul, Boswellin, Indian frankincense, Shallaki
Parts Used : Gum Resin
Distribution : Boswellia Serrata tree found throughout India especially in the drier regions of western and Central India.
Introduction : A type of Frankincense, Boswellia serrata is a large branching tree found in the dry, hilly areas of India, Northern Africa and the Middle East. When the tree trunk is tapped, a gummy oleoresin is exuded. A purified extract of this resin is used in modern herbal preparations as a decoction, inhalant and capsule.
Chemical composition & pharmacology: The extract contains three triterpene acids , , boswellic acids1, and two polysaccharides2.The antiinflammatory and anti-arthritic properties are attributed to the presence of boswellic acid3. When tested in Ehrlich ascites carcinoma and S-180 tumours transplanted in mice, it increased the life span of mice by 24% with ascites and decreased S-180 tumours by 24%2. The essential oil was found to be antifungal4. Antiinflammatory activity and antibacterial activity of extracts have been demonstrated5. The non-phenolic fraction of gum resin exhibited sedative and analgesic effects when tested in rats6.
Uses of Boswellia serrata :
- One of the principal constituents in the gum resin is boswellic acid which exhibits anti-inflammatory activity which can work against rheumatoid arthritis pain, low back pain and osteoarthritis.
- Boswellia has been known to reduce joint swelling, maintain blood supply to inflamed joints and mobility as well as reduce pain due to stiffness in the joints. It is also used to improve appetite and in general weakness7. It has an antidiarrhoeal action.
- The Gum Resin of Boswellia Serretta besides being antiarthritic, also has expectorant effect and improves immunity.
Latin name: Curcuma longa
Local name: Haridra,Turmeric
Distribution: Cultivated through out India
Introduction : Curcumin is the main biologically active phytochemical compound of Turmeric. Molecular chemical formula of Curcumin: C21H20O6. The most important constituents in organic turmeric are Curcuminoids, which is approximately 6%, and the yellow coloring principles of which Curcumin constitutes 50-60%. Curcumin is extracted and researched for its renowned range of health-related and disease-preventing medicinal properties.
Uses of Curcumin :
- Curcumin is very useful in joint related concerns.
- Curcumin helps maintain a normal cholesterol and a healthy heart.
- Curcumin is very helpful as a digestive support.
- Curcumin is extremely helpful in liver protection.
- Curcumin is also used in controling obesity.
- Curcumin induces the flow of bile, which breaks down fats.
- Curcumin acts as an anti-inflammatory agent that relieves the aches and pains associated with arthritis.
Latin name : Andrographis paniculata
Local Name: Kalmegh, Creat, Green chireyta, Bhunimba, King of Bitter
Parts Used : Whole plant
Distribution : Andrographis paniculata is chiefly found in the plains throughout South India. It mostly grows in moist, shady places.
Introduction : Andrographis paniculata is an erect annual herb and extremely bitter in taste. . Andrographis paniculata is a promising new herb for the treatment of many diseases including HIV-AIDS and the myriad of symptoms associated with autoimmune disorders. It has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries in India and China. In the west it is sometimes referred to as Indian Echinacea.
Active Ingredients in Andrographis paniculata: Andrographis paniculata contains bitter principles andrographolide, a bicyclic diterpenoid lactone and Kalmeghin.
Chemical composition & pharmacology: Three bitter principles, deoxyandrographolide, andrographolide and neoandrographolide have been isolated from the whole plant and leaves1.The hepatoprotective effect of the water extract of the plant and the active principle andrographolide has been studied 2. Both leaf extract and andrographolide in a single oral dose also inhibited the microsomal lipid peroxidation induced by carbon tetrachloride3. The effect of aqueous extract on the bile flow in albino rats was compared with phenobarbitone. Significant increase in liver weight was also observed4.
Benefits of Kalmegh :
- Kalmegh is a blood purifier, so used to cure torbid liver, jaundice, dermatological diseases, dyspepsia, febrifuge and anthelmintic.
- Kalmegh acts to dispel heat and remove toxins.
- It is used in loss of appetite in infants and also used as a febrifuge, stomachic, tonic, alterative, anthelmintic,antispasmodic etc. It is chiefly used in viral hepatitis, diminished appetite and drug induced liver damage.
- Kalmegh acts as antibacterial. It appears to have beneficial effect in reducing diarrhoea and symptoms arising from bacterial infections.
Latin name : Trigonela foenum graecum
Family : Leguminoseae
Local Name : Methi, Fenugreek, Alhova,Bird's Foot,Greek Clover,Greek Hay.
Parts Used : Seeds, Leaves.
Introduction : Fenugreek seeds is used as a spice and fenugreek leaves are eaten as vegetable in India, China and the Middle East for centuries. The practitioners of Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine have used and documented Methi seeds for its many medicinal uses.
Chemical composition & pharmacology: The plant contains a number of steroidal sapogenins. The alkaloid trigonelline, trigocoumarin, trimethyl coumarin and nicotinic acid are also present. Mucilage is a prominent constituent in the seeds 1.
This plant has been mentioned in early literature as a hypoglycaemic and anti-inflammatory agent. Its effects as an oral hypoglycaemic has been evaluated 2 .Antiulcer property has been studied in rats 3 .Hypocholesterolemic effects 4and antiinflammatory effects have been observed5.
Uses of Fenugreek:
- Fenugreek seeds are rich in vitamin E .
- It forms an important medicinal use of the plant in rheumatic disorders and spondylosis. It is used as an adjunct in Diabetes mellitus. It is indicated in hyperlipidaemia.
Latin name : Ocimum Sanctum
Family : Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Local Name : St. Josephwort, Tulsi, Tulasi
Parts Used : Leaf, Whole Plant
Distribution : Organic basil Plant is found all over India especially in the garden of each Indian family.
Introduction : Basil is an erect, herbaceous, much-branched, softly hairy plant with annual purple or crimson flowers & it is a sacred herb in India.
Uses of Basil :
- Basil is very much useful in Respiratory disordera,skin problems.
- Basil is very much useful for increasing memory power
- Basil is effective against vomiting, nausea, constipation, depression, whooping cough, headaches, fever and cold.
- Basil is most useful with the stomach and its related organs.
Latin name : Asparagus Racemosus
Local Name : Asparagus, Satavari, Satmuli
Parts Used : Tuber (Root)
Distribution : This is cultivated throughout India including tropical and subtropical parts Andamans and in Himalayas.
Introduction : Asparagus is a perennial vegetable arising from a root system of fleshy rhizomes known as the "crown". It is grown for the immature stalk and is harvested in the spring. Asparagus is good for heart. It is found throughout India including tropical and subtropical parts.
Medical Action :
Asparagus is used by physicians and herbal specialist to treat diseases in the following conditions such as, Moistens dry tissues of the reproductive organs, kidneys, stomach and lungs.
- Asparagus is known as the Indian 'Female Rejuvenative', as it is helpful in cases of low milk production, low sex drive, menopause, PMS, and infertility.
- Asparagus is indicated in case of inflammatory disease. It also acts as an antioxidant and antiallergic.
- Asparagus strengthens and increases muscle tone and increases general body strength.
- Asparagus is also used as an Aphrodisiac in India.
- Asparagus promotes an easier and balanced life.
14. INDIAN SENNA
Latin name : Cassia angustifolia
Local Name : Indian Senna, Swarnapatri
Parts Used : Leaves
Distribution : Organic Senna is cultivated in most of the part in India.
Introduction : CSennosides are hydroxyanthracene glycosides derived from Senna leaves and Pods. Sennosides are natural, safe time-tested laxatives in traditional as well as modern systems of medicine. Sennosides are obtained from Cassia Angustifolia leaves.
Chemical composition & pharmacology:Contains glycosides, sennoside A, sennoside B, sennoside C and sennoside D1.
Maximum cathartic action was seen in rats due to direct stimulant activity and water and electrolyte secretion2. Sublaxative doses of standardised senna fruit showed spasmolytic activity3. Effective dose of piperazine for the treatment of thread worms and round worms was substantially reduced by the addition of extract of senna. Water extract was found effective against Trichophyton purpurceum4.
- Stimulating laxative.
- Stronger cathartic.
Uses of Senna Extract :
- Sennosides extensive researches indicate that they irritate the lining of large intestine resulting in bowel movement. Senna Extracts has shown effective results in constipation
Latin name : Salacia reticulata
Local Name : Saptha chakra
Parts Used : Roots
Distribution :Wild dense forest of coastal belts of India.