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Department of Health in the Philippines
Scientific Research on Medicinal Herbs
Scientific name: Vitex Negundo
Lagundi is a shrub that grows in the Philippines. It is one of the ten herbal medicines endorsed by the Philippine Department of Health as an effective herbal medicine with proven therapeutic value. Lagundi has been clinically tested to be effective in the treatment of colds, flu, bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis and pharyngitis. Studies have shown that Lagundi can prevent the body’s production of leukotienes which are released during an asthma attack. Lagundi contains Chrysoplenol D – a substance with anti-histamine properties and muscle relaxant.
Plant Description: The Lagundi plant can grow up to five meters tall. It has a single woody stem. Lagundi distinctive feature are the pointed leaves with five leaflets set like a hand.
• Relief of asthma and pharyngitis
• Relief of rheumatism, dyspepsia, boils diarrhea (roots)
• Treatment of chough, colds, fever and flu and other bronchopulmonary disorders
• Alleviate symptoms of Chicken Pox
• Removal of worms and boils
Hepatoprotective effect of Vitex negundo against carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage
Leaf decoction for fever, headache, toothache, cough, asthma.
(1) For fever and toothaches, boil 6 tbsp of the chopped leaves in 2 glasses of water for 15 minutes; strain and cool. Divide the decoction in 3 parts and take one part every 3-4 hours. Also, bruised leaves may be applied to forehead.
(2) For asthma and cough: Take 1/4 of the decoction three times a day.
Pounded leaves applies on the forehead and temples for headaches.
(3) Aromatic bath or sponge bathing: Boil 4 handfuls of leaves in a pot of water for 5 minutes; use the lukewarm decoction for sponge bathing.
(4) Wounds and ulcers: Use infusion of leaves as wash.
• In Ayurveda and Unani, leaves and seeds used for rheumatism and joint inflammation. Decoction of leaves taken as a diuretic.
Lagundi has been proven to be an effective analgesic and antitussive (prepared as a pleasant tasting cough syrup) and has been considered as a replacement for dextromethorphan in the public health system.
Studies have shown benefit through reduction of coughing and relaxation of the bronchial smooth muscles. Being promoted by the Department of Health (DOH) for cough and asthma. One of a few herbs recently registered with the Bureau of Foods and Drugs (BFAD) as medicines.
• Anti-Venom: Snake venom neutralization by Indian medicinal plants (Vitex negundo and Emblica officinalis) root extracts: A methanolic extract study of VN showed it possesses potent snake venom neutralizing capacity and suggests further investigation.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Vitex negundo Linn (VN) leaf extract as an adjuvant therapy to standard anti-inflammatory drugs: VN significantly potentiated antiinflammatory activity of phenylbutazone and ibuprofen in albino rats.
• Anti-Inflammatory Activity: Anti-inflammatory Activity and Mechanism of Action of Vitex negundo Linn: Study suggests VN possess anti-imflammatory activity against acute and sub-acute inflammation probably due to prostaglandin inhibition and reduction of oxidative stress.
• Antibacterial: Essential oil composition and antibacterial studies of Vitex negundo linn. extracts: : Study showed the essential oils and extracts to have antibacterial activity. Ethyl acetate and ethanol extracts showed prominent antibacterial activity against all tested strains.
• Antifungal: (1) New antifungal flavonoid glycoside from Vitex negundo: Study found a new isolated flavone glycoside and a known compound to have significant antifungal activity against Tricophyton mentagrophytes and Cryptococcus neoformans. (2) Ethanol extract of fruit seeds showed significant activity against Fusarium solani and moderate response against Microsporum canis with no effect against C albicans.
• Larvicidal: Differential larvicidal efficacy of four species of Vitex against Culex quinquefasciatus larvae: The methanolic extracts of all Vitex species showed varying levels of larvicidal activity.
• Anthelmintic: Study of ethanolic extracts of Moringa oleifera and Vitex negundo on anthelmintic activity against Indian earthworm Pheritima posthuma showed both to have dose dependent activity, with Moringa oleifera showing more activity.
How to make lagundi syrup
• Clean fresh lagundfi leaves and chop.
• In 4 glasses of water, boil 4 tablespoons of minced lagundi leaves for 50 minutes.
• Strain the liquid extract and add 1 part honey to 4 parts extracts.
• Boil in an earthen pot or enamel-lined saucepan for 15 minutes until the desired viscosity is attained; cool.
• Pour the syrup in clear amber-colored bottles.
The medicinal uses of ginger is almost endless. If you can stomach the spiciness, it does wonders in treating many disorders.
Anticoagulant: Add ginger in most of your cooking or add a teaspoonful of fresh ginger juice in your beverages to enjoy the anticoagulant properties of ginger. It helps make blood platelets less sticky which in turn reduces your risk of atherosclerosis.
Aphrodisiac effect: A natural aphrodisiac, this might be the better substitute to viagra! Drink hot ginger tea (by mixing ginger juice, hot water and honey) after a not-too-heavy meal and see it work!
Cold: Cut up a small piece of ginger and boil it with a small cup of pure drinking water. Add some green tea leaves if you wish. Strain and drink when hot. Effective if you also have fever resulting from the cold. You may also drink this concoction if you feel a cold coming.
Cough: Drink ginger juice with honey three to four times a day for a bad throat. It is soothing and helps clear up phlegm.
Digestive disorder: Mix a teaspoonful of fresh ginger juice with one teaspoonful each of fresh lime juice and fresh mint juice with some honey to taste in a glass of water. Drink to relieve heartburn, indigestion, nausea and vomiting. Especially helpful after a big meaty meal.
Fatigue: Slice a piece of ginger into disks and boil it with a big glass of water. Add a piece of cinnamon bark, bring to boil and then cover it for about half an hour till it turns to golden color. Drink it to relieve fatigue when recovering from fever. It also relieves muscle pain and soreness.
Flatulence/wind: Pound a piece of fresh ginger and boil with a cup of water and add a little honey to taste. Drink it twice a day to let off the wind trapped in the intestinal tract.
Impotency: Believe it or not! Mix a teaspoonful of fresh ginger juice to a half-boiled egg and a teaspoonful of honey. Take this concoction on an empty stomach, every night for a month. It is supposed to cure impotency, premature ejaculation and increase sperm count. (Not proven but worth trying!)
Inflammations: The anti-inflammatory (gingerols) and anti-oxidant properties in ginger help relieve various inflammatory disorders like gout, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It provides substantial relief in pain caused by inflammation and help decrease swelling and morning stiffness.
Menstruation disorders: Pound a piece of fresh ginger and boil with a cup of water and add a little honey to taste. Drink it hot two or three times a day for a month. The pain-relieving and anti-cramping compounds in ginger effectively help relieve painful menstruation cramps (dysmenorrhoea). In the absence of menstruation in women in the reproductive age (amenorrhoea), this concoction can also help induce menstruation.
Morning sickness: A teaspoonful of fresh ginger juice with some honey will also help alleviate morning sickness, sea or motion sickness, dizziness and even nausea caused by chemotherapy or anesthesia.
Pain killer: Ginger juice makes an excellent pain killer, even when applied externally. In headache, apply ginger juice to the forehead. With toothache, apply it to the external area either on the cheek or jaw area.
A clue to ginger’s success in eliminating gastrointestinal distress is offered by recent double-blind studies, which have demonstrated that ginger is very effective in preventing the symptoms of motion sickness, especially seasickness. In fact, in one study, ginger was shown to be far superior to Dramamine, a commonly used over-the-counter and prescription drug for motion sickness. Ginger reduces all symptoms associated with motion sickness including dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and cold sweating.
Safe and Effective Relief of Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy
Ginger’s anti-vomiting action has been shown to be very useful in reducing the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, even the most severe form, hyperemesis gravidum, a condition which usually requires hospitalization. In a double-blind trial, ginger root brought about a significant reduction in both the severity of nausea and number of attacks of vomiting in 19 of 27 women in early pregnancy (less than 20 weeks). Unlike antivomiting drugs, which can cause severe birth defects, ginger is extremely safe, and only a small dose is required.
Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. These substances are believed to explain why so many people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels and improvements in their mobility when they consume ginger regularly. In two clinical studies involving patients who responded to conventional drugs and those who didn’t, physicians found that 75% of arthritis patients and 100% of patients with muscular discomfort experienced relief of pain and/or swelling.
Arthritis-related problems with your aging knees? Regularly spicing up your meals with fresh ginger may help, suggests a study published in a recent issue of Osteoarthritis Cartilage. In this twelve month study, 29 patients with painful arthritis in the knee (6 men and 23 women ranging in age from 42-85 years) participated in a placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study. Patients switched from placebo to ginger or visa versa after 3 months. After six months, the double-blind code was broken and twenty of the patients who wished to continue were followed for an additional six months.
By the end of the first six month period, those given ginger were experiencing significantly less pain on movement and handicap than those given placebo. Pain on movement decreased from a score of 76.14 at baseline to 41.00, while handicap decreased from 73.47 to 46.08. In contrast, those who were switched from ginger to placebo experienced an increase in pain of movement (up to 82.10) and handicap (up to 80.80) from baseline. In the final phase of the study when all patients were getting ginger, pain remained low in those already taking ginger in phase 2, and decreased again in the group that had been on placebo.
Not only did participants’ subjective experiences of pain lessen, but swelling in their knees, an objective measurement of lessened inflammation, dropped significantly in those treated with ginger. The mean target knee circumference in those taking ginger dropped from 43.25cm when the study began to 39.36cm by the 12th week. When this group was switched to placebo in the second phase of the study, their knee circumferences increased, while those who had been on placebo but were now switched to ginger experienced a decrease in knee circumference. In the final phase, when both groups were given ginger, mean knee circumference continued to drop, reaching lows of 38.78 and 36.38 in the two groups.
How does ginger work its anti-inflammatory magic? Two other recent studies provide possible reasons.
A study published in the November 2003 issue of Life Sciences suggests that at least one reason for ginger’s beneficial effects is the free radical protection afforded by one of its active phenolic constituents, 6-gingerol. In this in vitro (test tube) study, 6-gingerol was shown to significantly inhibit the production of nitric oxide, a highly reactive nitrogen molecule that quickly forms a very damaging free radical called peroxynitrite. Another study appearing in the November 2003 issue of Radiation Research found that in mice, five days treatment with ginger (10 mg per kilogram of body weight) prior to exposure to radiation not only prevented an increase in free radical damage to lipids (fats found in numerous bodily components from cell membranes to cholesterol), but also greatly lessened depletion of the animals’ stores of glutathione, one of the body’s most important internally produced antioxidants.
Protection against Colorectal Cancer
Gingerols, the main active components in ginger and the ones responsible for its distinctive flavor, may also inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells, suggests research presented at the Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, a major meeting of cancer experts that took place in Phoenix, AZ, October 26-30, 2003.
In this study, researchers from the University of Minnesota’s Hormel Institute fed mice specially bred to lack an immune system a half milligram of -gingerol three times a week before and after injecting human colorectal cancer cells into their flanks. Control mice received no -gingerol.
Tumors first appeared 15 days after the mice were injected, but only 4 tumors were found in the group of -gingerol-treated mice compared to 13 in the control mice, plus the tumors in the -gingerol group were smaller on average. Even by day 38, one mouse in the -gingerol group still had no measurable tumors. By day 49, all the control mice had been euthanized since their tumors had grown to one cubic centimeter (0.06 cubic inch), while tumors in 12 of the -gingerol treated mice still averaged 0.5 cubic centimeter-half the maximum tumor size allowed before euthanization.
Research associate professor Ann Bode noted, “These results strongly suggest that ginger compounds may be effective chemopreventive and/or chemotherapeutic agents for colorectal carcinomas.”
In this first round of experiments, mice were fed ginger before and after tumor cells were injected. In the next round, researchers will feed the mice ginger only after their tumors have grown to a certain size. This will enable them to look at the question of whether a patient could eat ginger to slow the metastasis of a nonoperable tumor. Are they optimistic? The actions of the University of Minnesota strongly suggest they are. The University has already applied for a patent on the use of -gingerol as an anti-cancer agent and has licensed the technology to Pediatric Pharmaceuticals (Iselin, N.J.).
Ginger Induces Cell Death in Ovarian Cancer Cells
Lab experiments presented at the 97th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer, by Dr Rebecca Lui and her colleagues from the University of Michigan, showed that gingerols, the active phytonutrients in ginger, kill ovarian cancer cells by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) and autophagocytosis (self-digestion).
Ginger extracts have been shown to have both antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects on cells. To investigate the latter, Dr Liu examined the effect of a whole ginger extract containing 5% gingerol on a number of different ovarian cancer cell lines.
Exposure to the ginger extract caused cell death in all the ovarian cancer lines studied.
A pro-inflammatory state is thought to be an important contributing factor in the development of ovarian cancer. In the presence of ginger, a number of key indicators of inflammation (vascular endothelial growth factor, interleukin-8 and prostaglandin E2) were also decreased in the ovarian cancer cells.
Conventional chemotherapeutic agents also suppress these inflammatory markers, but may cause cancer cells to become resistant to the action of the drugs. Liu and her colleagues believe that ginger may be of special benefit for ovarian cancer patients because cancer cells exposed to ginger do not become resistant to its cancer-destroying effects. In the case of ovarian cancer, an ounce of prevention-in the delicious form of liberal use of ginger-is an especially good idea. Ovarian cancer is often deadly since symptoms typically do not appear until late in the disease process, so by the time ovarian cancer is diagnosed, it has spread beyond the ovaries. More than 50% of women who develop ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the advanced stages of the disease.
Immune Boosting Action
Ginger can not only be warming on a cold day, but can help promote healthy sweating, which is often helpful during colds and flus. A good sweat may do a lot more than simply assist detoxification. German researchers have recently found that sweat contains a potent germ-fighting agent that may help fight off infections. Investigators have isolated the gene responsible for the compound and the protein it produces, which they have named dermicidin. Dermicidin is manufactured in the body’s sweat glands, secreted into the sweat, and transported to the skin’s surface where it provides protection against invading microorganisms, including bacteria such as E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus (a common cause of skin infections), and fungi, including Candida albicans.
Ginger is so concentrated with active substances, you don’t have to use very much to receive its beneficial effects. For nausea, ginger tea made by steeping one or two 1/2-inch slices (one 1/2-inch slice equals 2/3 of an ounce) of fresh ginger in a cup of hot water will likely be all you need to settle your stomach. For arthritis, some people have found relief consuming as little as a 1/4-inch slice of fresh ginger cooked in food, although in the studies noted above, patients who consumed more ginger reported quicker and better relief.
Tops, leaves and edible roots.
Constituents and properties
• Source of polyphenolic antioxidants.
• Leaves have a high content of polyphenolics – anthocyanins and phenolic acids, with at least 15 biologically active anthocyanins with medicinal value.
• Polyphenols have physiologic funtions, radical scavenging activity, antimutagenic, anticancer, antidiabetes and antibacterial activity in vitro and vivo.
• Considered hemostatic, spleen invigorating.
Edible: Leaves and roots.
Has a higher nutritional value than the common potato.
Good source of vitamins A, B and C, iron, calcium and phosphorus.
High in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber; deficient in protein.
Leafy tops eaten as vegetables.
A component of many traditional cuisines.
A staple food crop in some countries.
Starch and industrial alcohol production.
Tops, especially purplish ones, used for diabetes.
Crushed leaves applied to boils and acne.
For diarrhea: Boiled or boiled roots.
• Dengue - Like gatas-gatas (Euphorbia hirta), there have been anecdotal reports of the use of Ipomoea batatas in dengue, with improvement in platelet counts being attributed to decoctions of kamote tops.
Preparation: kamote tops are boiled in wate for 5 minutesr to extract the juice
• Diabetes – Despite its “sweet” name, it may be beneficial for diabetes as some studies suggest it may stabilize blood sugars and lower insulin resistance.
• Purple Sweet Potato anthocyanins have antioxidative activity in vivo as well as in vitro.
• Hemostatic mistura of ipomoea balatas leaves, methods of preparation and use thereof — a Jinshuye styptic plant preparation, an invention made from the extracts of leaf and stems of Ipomoea batatas has qi and spleen invigorating effects, cooling the blood and stopping bleeding. Such a composition has the potential of use for ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura), radiotherapy- and chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia.
• Local Root Crops as Antioxidant: A 2006 study of commonly consumed roots crops in the Philippines (Kamote, Ipomoea batata; ubi, purple yam, Dioscorea alata; cassava, Manihot esculenta; taro or gabi, Colocasia esculenta; carrot, Daucus carota; yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) showed them to be rich sources of phenolic compounds with antioxidant acitivity, highest in sweet potato, followed by taro, potato, purple yam and lowest in the carrot.
• BIOACTIVE COMPOUNDS IN IPOMOEA BATATAS LEAVES: Results suggest the total phenolic content was positively correlated with radical scavenging activities of the sweet potato leaves.
• Antidiabetic activity of white skinned sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) in obese Zucker fatty rats: Results suggest the white skinned sweet potato has antidiabetic activity and and improves glucose and lipid metabolism by reducing insulin resistance.
• Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas [L.] Lam ‘Tainong 57’) storage root mucilage with antioxidant activities in vitro: Mucilage might contribute its antioxidant activities against both hydoxyl and peroxyl radicals.
• Flavonoids: Leaf extract study isolated five news compounds: tiliroside, astragalin, rhamnocitrin, rhamnetin and kaempferol.
• Chitinases: Study identified new chitinolytic enzymes in sweet potato leaves. Chitinases catalyze the hydrolysis of chitin, the main structural component of fungal walls and arthropod integuments. Studies suggest it has other functions and has been proposed to play a role in the defense against pathogens. Chitinases are also useful in the production of biomedical and biotech products; used in the production of chitooligosaccharides, glucosamines and GlcNAc. Other applications are found in mosquito control and pathogenic plant fungi control.
• Antioxidant / Antiproliferative: Study demonstrated that the phytochemicals in sweet potato may have significant antioxidant and anticancer activities. The antioxidant activity was directly related to the total amount of phenolics and flavonoids in the extracts. The additive roles of phytochemicals may contribute to its ability in inhibiting tumor cell proliferation in vitro.
Sweet potatoes are excellent sources of plant proteins with very low calories. Unlike other starchy root vegetables, it is very low in sugar, and in fact is a good blood sugar regulator.
As an anti-oxidant: Sweet potatoes have been found to contain a high amount of anti-oxidant, making it suitable in combating inflammatory problems like asthma, arthritis, gout, etc.
Diabetes: This fibrous root is suitable for diabetics’ consumption as it is a very good blood sugar regulator, helps to stabilize and lower insulin resistance.
Digestive tract, healthy: The significant amount of dietary fiber, especially when eaten with the skin, helps to promote a healthy digestive tract, relieving constipation and also helps prevent colon cancer.
Emphysema: Smokers and people who inhale second-hand smoke should regularly consume foods high in vitamin A as smoke has been found to induce vitamin A deficiency, causing a host of other health problems to the lungs.
Fetal Development: The high folate content is important and necessary for healthy fetal cell and tissue development.
Immune System: Regular consumption of sweet potatoes strengthens the body’s immune system and develop resistance to infection.
Heart diseases: Consumption of this high potassium root helps to prevent heart attack and stroke. It helps maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body cells, as well as normal heart function and blood pressure.
Muscle Cramps: A deficiency in potassium can cause muscular cramps and greater susceptibility to injury. Make sweet potatoes a regular part of your diet if you exercise a lot, both for an energy boost and to prevent cramps and injuries.
Stress: When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, causing the body potassium levels to be reduced. By snacking on the potassium-packed sweet potato, it helps to rebalance the vital mineral, and helps normalize the heartbeat. This in turn sends oxygen to the brain and regulates the body’s water balance.
Sweet Potato Ranks Number One In Nutrition
According to nutritionists at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the single most important dietary change for most people, including children, would be to replace fatty foods with foods rich in complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes.
CSPI ranked the sweet potato number one in nutrition of all vegetables. With a score of 184, the sweet potato outscored the next highest vegetable by more than 100 points. Points were given for content of dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars and complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Points were deducted for fat content (especially saturated fat), sodium, cholesterol, added refined sugars and caffeine. The higher the score, the more nutritious the food.
Properties and constituents
• Considered antibacterial, astringent, antiscorbutic, febrifuge, antidiabetic, stomachic, refrigerant.
• Study on volatile components of AB fruits showed 6 mg/kg of total volatile compounds; 62 compounds were identified, nonanal and (Z)-3-hexenol were dominant.
Prepared as a relish and food flavoring.
· Skin diseases, especially with pruritus: Reduce the leaves to a paste and apply tolerably warm to areas of affected skin.
· Fruit juice used as eye drops.
· Post-partum and rectal inflammation: Infusion of leaves.
· Mumps, acne, and localized rheumatic complaints: Paste of leaves applied to affected areas.
· Warm paste of leaves also used for pruritus.
· Used for boils, piles, rheumatism, cough, hypertension, whooping cough, mumps and pimples.
· Cough and thrush: Infusion of flowers, 40 grams to a pint of boiling water, 4 glasses of tea daily.
· Fever: Fruit as a cooling drink.
· The fruit has been used for a variety of maladies: beriberi, cough, prevention of scurvy.
· Infusion of leaves also drank as a protective tonic after childbirth.
- In Malaysia, leaves are used for venereal diseases.
· In Indonesia, leaves used for boils, diabetes, mumps, fever.
· In French Guyana, fruit decoction or syrup use for hepatitis, diarrhea, fever and other inflammatory conditions.
· Because of high oxalic acid content, fruit used to remove stains from clothing and for washing hands, removing rust and stains from metal blades.
• Hypoglycemic / Hypotriglyceridemic / Anti-Atherogenic / Anti-Lipid Peroxidative: Effects of Averrhoa bilimbi leaf extract on blood glucose and lipids in streptozotocin-diabetic rats: Study showed that AB extract has hypoglycemic, hypotriglyceridemic, anti-lipid peroxidative and anti-atherogenic properties in STZ-diabetic rats.
• Antioxidant / Antimicrobial Activities: The scavenging of NO by the extract of AC fruits was dependent on concentration and stage of ripening. Extracts showed antimicrobial activity against E coli, Salmonella typhi, staph aureus and bacillus cereus.
• Phytochemicals / Antimicrobial: Phytochemical screening of fruit extracts yielded flavonoids, saponins and triterpenoids but no alkaloids. The chloroform and methanol fruit extracts were active againsxt Aeromonas hydrophilia, E coli, K pneumonia, S cerrevisiae, S aureus, Strep agalactiae and B subtilis. In conclusion, AB fruits possess potential antibacterial activities that warrants further studies.
• Anti-diabetic: Study showed the aqueous fraction was more potent than the butanol fraction in the amelioration of hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia in a high fat diet-fed STZ diabetic rats and suggests the AF as the potential source for isolation of the active principle for oral antidiabetic therapy.
• Anti-bacterial: Study of the aqueous extract of AB leaves and fruits showed antibacterial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. The antibacterial activity could be associated with the presence of bioactive compounds of the flavonoids type, like luteolin and apigenin. The results suggest further studies to isolate and identify the responsible compounds.
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum), the world’s most popular culinary herb is also known as “rock celery” and belongs to the Umbelliferae family of plants. Parsley is one of the world’s seven most potent disease-fighting spices which also include Ginger, Oregano, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Sage, and Red chili peppers. Parsley grows in most climates and is readily available throughout the year. It is a biennial plant which means that it produces seeds during its second year of production and will reseed itself if you let it.
While parsley is a wonderfully nutritious and healing food, it is often under-appreciated. Most people do not realize that this vegetable has more uses than just being a decorative garnish that accompanies restaurant meals.
Parsley is native to the Mediterranean region of Southern Europe and has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years. It was originally used as a medicinal plant (see below) prior to being consumed as a food. Ancient Greeks held parsley to be sacred, using it to not only adorn victors of athletic contests, but also for decorating the tombs of the deceased. While it is uncertain when and where parsley began to be consumed as a seasoning, historians think it may be sometime during the Middle Ages in Europe. Some historians credit Charlemagne with its popularization as he had it grown on his estates.
Parsley’s Many Therapeutic Health Benefits Include Its Use For:
· Anemia: Builds up the blood because it is high in iron. The high vitamin C content assists the absorption of iron.
- Antioxidant: Increases the anti-oxidant capacity of the blood.
- Bactericidal (kills bacteria)
- Bad breath
- Baldness: Believe it or not, men even scrubbed parsley onto their scalps to cure baldness—which doesn’t work.
- Blood purifier
- Blood vessel rejuvenation: Maintains elasticity of blood vessels, and helps to repair bruises.
- Diarrhea is greatly helped by drinking parsley tea.
- Digestion: Parsley is an excellent digestion restorative remedy. It improves the digestion of proteins and fats therefore promoting intestinal absorption, liver assimilation and storage. Because of its high enzyme content, parsley benefits digestive activity and elimination.
- Dissolves cholesterol within the veins
- Ear health: Treats deafness and ear infections.
- Edema: Acts as a diuretic and blood vessel strengthener.
- Fatigue: Parsley is high in iron so helps repair and provides components for better blood cells.
- Gallstones: Helps dissolve them.
- Glandular support of the liver, spleen, kidneys and adrenal glands.
- Hormonal support: In women, parsley improves estrogen and nourishes and restores the blood of the uterus. Conditions like delayed menstruation, PMS, and the menopause (dry skin, irritability, depression and hair loss) can often improve.
- Hormone balancing is achieved through the volatile fatty acids contained in parsley.
- Immune booster: The high vitamin C, beta carotene, B12, chlorophyll and essential fatty acid content render parsley an extraordinary immunity enhancing food. Parsley is an immune-enhancing multi-vitamin and mineral complex in green plant form and one of the most important herbs for providing vitamins to the body.
- Inhibits tumor formation, particularly in the lungs.
- Insect bites: Rub on to relieve the swelling and itch.
- Kidneys: Parsley is effective for nearly all kidney and urinary complaints except severe kidney inflammation. It improves kidney activity and can help eliminate wastes from the blood and tissues of the kidneys. It prevents salt from being reabsorbed into the body tissues; thus parsley literally forces debris out of the kidneys, liver and bladder. It helps improve edema and general water retention, fatigue and scanty or painful urination.
- Liver congestion: It enriches the liver and nourishes the blood. Parsley helps reduce liver congestion, clearing toxins and aiding rejuvenation.
- Menstrual irregularity: Parsley helps to make the cycles regular by the presence of apiol which is a constituent of the female sex hormone estrogen.
- Menstrual pain
- Night blindness: Bad eyesight is a sign of Vitamin A deficiency.
- Spleen strengthening: The parsley root in particular strengthens the spleen, and can, therefore, treat malabsorption.
- Stamina loss and low resistance to infection, point to a sluggish liver. This can manifest itself in blood deficiencies, fatigue, a pale complexion and poor nails, dizzy spells, anemia and mineral depletion.
- Stomach problems
- Strengthens loose teeth: In the Middle Ages parsley was used for many conditions including ‘fastening teeth’ (Scurvy, which is caused by a Vitamin C deficiency, makes the gums spongy and the teeth loose.)
- Uterine tonic
- Weight loss benefits from being a diuretic
Nutritional Benefits of Parsley:
Parsley is a nutrient powerhouse containing high levels of beta carotene, vitamin B12, folate, chlorophyll, calcium, more vitamin C than citrus fruits, and just about all other known nutrients. Parsley is a moistening, nourishing, restoring, ‘warming’ food, pungent with a slightly bitter, salty flavor. It enhances and stimulates the energy of organs, improving their ability to assimilate and utilize nutrients.
Beta carotene is used for protein assimilation. This nutrient benefits the liver and protects the lungs and colon. Beta-carotene is converted by the body to vitamin A, a nutrient so important to a strong immune system that its nickname is the “anti-infective vitamin.”
Chlorophyll Parsley is abundant in chlorophyll, thus purifying and inhibiting the spread of bacteria, fungi and other organisms. Chlorophyll from parsley is slightly anti-bacterial and anti-fungal which acts to enhance immune response and to relieve mucus congestion, sinusitis and other ‘damp’ conditions. Chlorophyll, high in oxygen, also suppresses viruses and helps the lungs to discharge residues from environmental pollution.
Essential Fatty Acids Parsley is a source of alpha-linolenic acid, an important essential fatty acid that is too frequently deficient in today’s diets.
Fluorine is an important nutritional component abundantly found in parsley. Fluorine has an entirely different molecular structure from chemically-produced fluoride. Tooth decay results from a shortage of fluorine, not fluoride. It is the combination of calcium and fluorine which creates a very hard protective surface on teeth and bones. Fluorine also protects the body from infectious invasion, germs and viruses.
Folic Acid, one of the most important B vitamins, but one of its most critical roles in relation to cardiovascular health is to convert homocysteine into benign molecules. Homocysteine is a potentially dangerous molecule that, at high levels, can directly damage blood vessels and increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke in people with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease. Folic acid is also a critical nutrient for proper cell division and is therefore vitally important for cancer-prevention in two areas of the body that contain rapidly dividing cells–the colon, and in women, the cervix.
Iron: The iron content of parsley is exceptional with 5.5mg per100g (4oz). A half-cup of fresh parsley or one tablespoon dried has about 10 percent of your iron daily requirements. Plus, parsley has the vitamin C your body needs to absorb that iron.
Protein: Parsley is made up of 20% protein. (About the same as mushrooms.)
Vitamin B12 Parsley contains traces of B12 producing compounds. Such compounds are needed for the formation of red blood cells and normal cell growth, important for fertility, pregnancy, immunity and the prevention of degenerative illness. The action of vitamin B12, however, is inhibited by birth control pills, antibiotics, intoxicants, stress, sluggish liver, and excess bacteria or parasites in the colon or digestive tracts. Parsley helps to counteract these inhibitors.
Vitamin K: Getting at least 100 micrograms of Vitamin K a day can drastically cut your risk of hip fracture. Vitamin K is necessary for bones to get the minerals they need to form properly. Parsley is loaded with vitamin K (180 mcg per 1/2 cup). Cooking parsley nearly doubles its Vitamin K.
Vitamin C: Parsley contains more vitamin C than any other standard culinary vegetable, with 166mg per 100g (4oz). This is three times as much as oranges. Flavonoids, which make up the Vitamin C molecule, maintain blood cell membranes, and act as an antioxidant helper.
Volatile oil components – including myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. Parsley’s volatile oils, particularly myristicin, have been shown to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies, and particularly, tumor formation in the lungs. It acts as an antioxidant that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens (like the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke, charcoal grill smoke, and the smoke produced by trash incinerators).
Parsley also contains calcium (245mg per 100g), phosphorus, potassium (1000mg per 4 oz), manganese (2.7mg per 100g), inositol, and sulphur.
Many of my client’s test they would benefit greatly from eating parsley for all kinds of health problems.
How to Use Parsley:
Top off your sandwiches with it, include it in your salad greens, put it in Tabbouli or better yet, toss it into simmering soups, stews and sauces. We eat it raw in salads and those days when I can’t eat it raw, I often add a couple of parsley capsules to my nutritional supplements.
Parsley juice, as an herbal drink, is quite powerful and is usually taken in quantities of about 2 fl oz (50ml) three times a day and is best mixed with other juices. I noticed that it’s most effective to juice parsley in between other vegetables as the juice is heavy and thick and doesn’t move through some juicers very readily.
Types of Parsley:
The two most popular types of parsley are curly parsley and Italian flat leaf parsley. They are both related to celery. The Italian variety has a more fragrant and less bitter taste than the curly variety. There is also another type of parsley known as turnip-rooted (or Hamburg) that is cultivated for its roots, which resemble salsify and burdock. Chinese parsley, is actually cilantro.
How to Pick and Care for Parsley:
Whenever possible, choose fresh, dark green, organically grown parsley that looks fresh and crisp over the dried form of the herb since it is superior in flavor. Avoid bunches that have wilted or yellowed leaves indicating over-mature or damaged produce.
Parsley can be stored loosely wrapped in a damp cloth or plastic bag and refrigerated for up to a week. Wash just before using. If the parsley wilts, either sprinkle it lightly with some water or wash it without completely drying it before putting it back in the refrigerator.
The best way to clean it is just like you would spinach. Place it in a bowl of cold water and plunge it up and down like you would a toilet plunger. This will allow any sand or dirt to dislodge. Remove the leaves from the water, empty the bowl, refill it with clean water and repeat this process until no dirt remains in the water.
If you have excess flat-leaved parsley, you can easily dry it by laying it out in a single layer on a clean kitchen cloth. I pre-chop mine (both varieties) and place it on a cookie sheet on top of the refrigerator where it is warm. Stir it occasionally to allow consistent drying. Once dried, it should be kept in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark and dry place.
Some feel the curly leaved variety is best preserved by freezing, as opposed to drying. Although it will retain most of its flavor, it has a tendency to lose its crispness, so it is best used in recipes without first thawing.
Some believe that parsley leaves can help control bedwetting (enuresis).
Oxalic acid is found in parsley. Oxalic acid prevents calcium absorption and may also contribute to gallstones and kidney stones. For the average person that eats a balanced diet, the small amounts of oxalic acid will not be a health factor. However, those with low calcium health concerns will not want to eat excessive amounts of parsley.
Chemical constituents and properties
• From the seed is produced a bitter fixed oil, nimbidin, known as “Oil of Margosa” or neem oil.
• Neem seeds yield a fix oil of glycerides and bitter compounds including nimbin, nimbinin and nimbidol.
• Neem bark and leaves contain tannin and oil.
• Azadirachtin, the insecticide constitutent of the seeds, is biodegradable, non-mutagenic, and nontoxic to birds, fish, and warm-blooded animals. The EPA has approved a neem formulation (Margosan-O) as a pesticide for limited use on nonfood crops
• Antiinflammatory (nimbidin, sodium nimbidate, gallic acid, catechin, polysachharides).
• Antiarthritic, hypoglycemic, antipyretic, hypoglycemic, diuretic, anti-gastric ulcer (nimbidin)
• Antifungal (nimbidin, gedunin, cyclic trisulfide)
• Antibacterial (nimbidin, nimbolide, mahmoodin, margolone, margolonone, isomargolonone)
• Spermicidal (nimbin, nimbidin)
• Antimalarial (nimbolidfe, gedunin, azadirachtin)
• Antitumor (polysaccharides)
• Immunomodulatory (NB-II peptoglycan, gallic acid, epicatechin, catechin)
• Hepatoprotective (aequeous extract of neem leaf)
• Antioxidant (neem seed extract)
Parts used and preparation
Poultice of leaves for swollen glands, brusies and sprains.
Fresh leaf-tea used for malaria.
Tree and root barks have been used for malaria, jaundice, and for intestinal parasitism.
Edible pulp of the fruit used for hemorrhoids.
Leaf- leprosy, intestinal parasites, eye problems, skin ulcers
Bark – pain and fever.
Flower – bile suppression, intestinal worms and phlegm.
Fruit – piles, intestinal worms, urinary disorder, nose bleeding , phlegm, eye problem, diabetes, wounds and leprosy.
Twig – cough, asthma, piles, intestinal worms, spermatorrhoea, urinary disorders, diabetes.
Gum – ringworms,scabies, wounds and ulcers.
Seed pulp and oil- leprosy and intestinal worms.
Young tender branches are chewed for toothbrushing use.
Leaf’s oil is used as a local antiseptic and insecticide.
Neem oil may be useful for gingivitis.
In the rural areas, burning of leaves and seeds used as mosquito repellant.
Neem oil has been shown to possess some spermicidal and contraceptive properties when used intravaginally.
Use of neem oil in animals showed lowering of glucose
Neem extracts used in the manufacture of toothpaste for its antibacterial properties.
Fresh seed oil has a strong garlic odor and is an ingredient for insect sprays.
• Studies have suggested hypoglycemic, antiulcer, antifertility, antimalarial, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, anticancer and antioxidant effects.
• Effect of essential oils from two Nigerian medicinal plants (Azadirachta indica and Morinda lucida) on growth and aflatoxin B1 production in maize grain by a toxigenic Aspergillus flavus: Oils from A indica completely suppressed aflatoxin synthesis.
• Lipid Effects / Antiviral: Effect of Supplemental Garlic and Neem Leaves in Broiler Feeds on Blood Cholesterol, Triglycerids and Antibody Titer: Study showed neem had greater potential than garlic in reducing cholesterol, triglycerides and increasing the antibody titers against viruses.
• Anti-ulcer: Mechanism of antiulcer effect of Neem (Azadirachta indica) leaf extract: effect on H+-K+-ATPase, oxidative damage and apoptosis: Study suggests antiulcer activity is achieved by blocking acid secretionn through inhibition of H+K+ATPase and preventing oxidative damage and apoptosis.
• Anti-candidal: Anticandidal activity of Azadirachta indica: Study suggested hexane and alcoholic extracts to have anticandidal potential.
Filipino Term: Tawa-tawa
Other name: Euphorbia hirta
Ingles Snake weed
The new generation
The research of Snake weed has found new interest for gatas-gatas (tawa-tawa) for its use in dengue, with increasing anecdotal reports of “cures.”
Decoction preparation: four grasp of gatas-gatas plants. Rinse. Put the
tawa-tawa into a pot of boiling water for one minute. Cool and Drink 1 to 1 1/2 glasses, every hour for 24 hours.
Posted by Philippine Herbal’s at 8:01 PM
Parts used and preparation
Called gatas-gatas because of the healing property of the milky juice.
Juice used for colics.
Juice used as ophthalmic drops for conjunctivitis or ulceration of the cornea.
Infusion or tea of the plant, 4 glasses daily, for bronchits and labored breathing, asthma, chronic dysentery.
Used for boils and wounds.
Decoction of dry plant used for skin disease.
Decoction of fresh plant used as gargle for the treatment of thrusth.
Decoction of the root used to allay vomiting, chronic diarrheas, and fevers.
Root decoction also beneficial for nursing mothers deficient in milk: 4-5 glasses of tea.
The same root decoction as an enema for constipation.
Root used for snake bites.
Used in sores, wounds, boils. As ear drop for pustular swellings in the ear.
Asthma: Make into cigarette or burn and inhale smoke.
Superficial bleeding: Crush leaves and apply on affected paret, as local hemostatic.
In Africa and Australia, used to treat hypertension and edema.
Plant decoction: 25 gms of the whole plant to a pint of boiling water; boil for 3-4 minutes; drink 3-5 glasses a day. Externally as needed.
Recent interests from the folk medicine grapevine
• A flurry of queries and web blogs, gatas-gatas has found new interest for gatas-gatas (tawa-tawa) for its use in dengue, with increasing anecdotal reports of “cures.”
• Decoction preparation: Cut roots off 5 to 6 gatas-gatas plants. Rinse. Put the tawa-tawa into a pot of boiling water for one minute. Cool. Drink the decoction, 1 to 1 1/2 glasses, every hour for 24 hours.
• Antibacterial Activities And Toxicological Potentials Of Crude Ethanolic Extracts Of Euphorbia hirta: The study showed the ethanolic extract to inhibit the growth of test isolates except Salmonella typhi. The antibacterial effect was attributed to the presence of alkaloids, tannins and flavonoids which have been shown to have antibacterial properties. The results supports its use in traditional medicine.
• Euphorbia hirta leaf extracts increase urine output and electrolytes in rats: Studty suggests that the active components in the water extract of E. hirta leaf had similar diuretic effect as that of acetazolamide. The results validate its traditional use as a diuretic.
• Inhibition of early and late phase allergic reactions by Euphorbia hirta L: Study demonstrated that E. hirta possessed significant activity to prevent early and late phase allergic reactions.
• Anthelmintic efficacy of the aqueous crude extract of Euphorbia hirta Linn in Nigerian dogs: Extract of E. hirta Study reduced the fecal egg count of the helminths and suggests a potential as an anthelmintic agent.
• Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibiting and anti-dipsogenic activities of Euphorbia hirta extracts: Study showed the extract from leaves and stems inhibited the activity of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE).
• Euphorbia hirta reverses chronic stress-induced anxiety and mediates its action through the GABAA receptor benzodiazepine: Study showed E. hirta as a potential anxiolytic drub beneficial for stress-induced anxiety disorders.
• Antidiarrhoeic activity of Euphorbia hirta extract and isolation of an active flavonoid constituent: A flavonoid, quercitin, with antidiarrheic activity was isolated.