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sweetbasil

Chemical constituents and properties
• The dried leaves contain 0.21–1% essential oil, the major compounds of which are linalool and methyclaviol.
• Some of the other compounds are: caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, p-cymene, limonene, 1,8-cineole, methyl cinnamate, myrcene, quercetin, rutin, tryptophan, safrole.
• Study yielded 14 different anthocyanins: 11 cyanidin-based pigments and 3 peonidin-based pigments.
• Carminative, stimulant, diaphoretic, expectorant, febrifuge, diuretic, demulcent, mucilaginous, cooling.

Parts utilized
Leaves, seeds.

Mature fresh leaves are harvested 2 to 3 months after planting. Leaves are picked leaving the branches on the plant to allow it to flower and produce seeds for the next season.

The leaves are air-dried until they crumble when crushed with the fingers. Store in amber colored bottles in a cool, dry place.

Uses
Culinary
The leafy and flowering tops are used as condiment; eaten sparingly in salads.
Folkloric
Cough: Expectorant properties – Take infusion or decoction of herb (9-15 gm of dried herb) or tops as tea.
Leaf juice helpful for expectoration of mucus.
Decoction of leaves also used for hiccups, vomiting and nausea.
Gas pains: Decoction of herb as tea helps to expel wind from bowels.
Snake bites: Crush fresh plant and poultice the bitten wound.
Gonorrhea, using a decoction of the roots and leaves of plants.
Decoction of leaves used as a wash for ulcers.
External contusions.
Used in baths for rheumatic pains.
Ringworm and insect bites: Apply juice of crushed leaves.
Skin ulcers: Decoction of herb as wash.
For delayed menstruation: take the juice of the leaves with water.
Seeds are used in treatment of several eye diseases.
Toothache: Wet small piece of cotton with juice of crushed leaves and insert into tooth cavity.
Postpartum: Decoction of seeds used to decrease postpartum pains; the seeds are mucilaginous.
Poultice of seeds used for buccal sores.
Decoction of seeds also used for constipation.
Acne: Infusion of 3 tsp of dried leaves in 1 cup of boiling water for 20-30 minutes. Apply externally or drink decoction of tea or infusion 3 times daily.
Others
• Oils repel insects (limonene, myrcene, camphor, thymol) and have larvicidal (eugenol and methylclaviol) activity against houseflies and mosquitoes.


Recent uses

Dizziness: crush enough fresh leaves with your fingers and sniff them.
Cough: As decoction boil eight tablespoons of fresh leaves in two glasses of water for 15 minutes or until the liquid is reduced to half. Divide the decoction into eight parts and take one part, three times a day.

Studies
• Aqueous extracts of Ocimum basilicum L. (sweet basil) decrease platelet aggregation induced by ADP and thrombin in vitro and rats arterio–venous shunt thrombosis in vivo: Results showed Ocimum basilicum to possess an inhibitory effect on platelet aggregation induced by ADP and thrombin resulting in an anti-thrombotic effect in vivo.
Cardiac stimulant activity of Ocimum basilicum Linn. extracts: The study evaluated the cardiac effects of extracts derived from the aerial parts of Ocimum basilicum. Results showed the alcoholic extracts exhibited a cardiotonic effect and the aqueous extract produced a B-adrenergic effect.
Antimicrobial Effects of Ocimum basilicum (Labiatae) Extract: Results suggest that O. basilicum extracts possess compounds with antimicrobial properties against C. albicans and some bacterial pathogens.
Anti-dyspepsia: A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled study showed Ocimum basilicum seems to relieve functional dyspepsia in female and young patients with dysmotility.
Anthocyanins in Basil : Purple basils are an abundant source of acylated and glycosylated anthocyanins, a potential source of stable red pigments to the food industry.
Antioxidant: In a study of plants in the Lamiaceae family, the leaves and stems of Ocimum basilicum displayed the highest antioxidant activity.
Antiulcer: Study showed the seed extracts of OB to possess significant anti-ulcer activity against ethanol-induced ulceration in animal models.
Wound-Healing Activity: Wounds treated with honey in combination with OB alcoholic leaf extract and solcoseryl-jelly showed accelerated wound healing compared to honey alone.
• Antiproliferative / Anticancer: A study on the antiproliferative activity of essential oil from 17 thai medicinal plants on human mouth epidermal carcioma (KB) and murine leukemia (P388) cell lines. In the KB cell line, Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum) oil showed the highest anti-proliferative activity in the P388 cell line. The results suggested the potential of Thai medicinal plants for cancer treatment.

Toxicity
Although known for its medicinal benefits, it contains some potentially dangerous compounds: safrole, rutin, caffeic acid, tryptophan and quercetin.(See: Medicinal Plants for Livestock / Cornell University)

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charcoal

Charcoal is an amazing substance. It adsorbs more poisons than any other substance known to mankind. It can adsorb lead acetate, strychnine, DDT, many drugs (including cocaine, iodine, penicillin, aspirin, phenobarbital), and inorganic substances (chlorine, lead, and mercury).

It can adsorb thousands of times its own weight in gases, heavy metals, poisons, and other chemicals; thus it renders them ineffective and harmless.

It can adsorb intestinal gas and deodorizes foul-smelling gases of various kinds.

Charcoal can do these various things because of its ability to attract other substances to its surface and hold them there. This is called “adsorption” (not absorption). Charcoal can adsorb thousands of times its own weight in harmful substances. One teaspoonful of it has a surface area of more than 10,000 square feet.

The British medical journal, Lancet, discusses the amazing ability of the human skin to allow transfer of liquids, gases, and even micro-particles through its permeable membrane and pores, by the application of moist, activated charcoal compresses and poultices which actually draw bacteria and poisons through the skin and into the poultice or compress! The article describes the use of charcoal compresses to speed the healing of wounds and eliminate their odors. But the poultices must be kept moist and warm for this healing process to occur (59).

Ancient Egyptian doctors, as well as Hippocrates (the Greek physician), recommended the use of charcoal for medicinal purposes. North American Indians used it for gas pains and skin infections. It eases inflammation and bruises.

A 1981 research study found that activated charcoal reduces the amount of gas produced by eating beans and other gas-forming foods. It adsorbs the excess gas, along with the bacteria which form the gas (57).

Activated charcoal helps eliminate bad breath, because it cleanses both the mouth and the digestive tract (38). It also helps to purify the blood (10, 38).

It relieves symptoms of nervous diarrhea, traveler’s diarrhea (turista), spastic colon, indigestion, and peptic ulcers. For such problems, take between 1-1½ tablespoons of powdered charcoal up to 3 times a day. Because food will reduce its effectiveness, take it between meals. Swirl the charcoal in a glass of water and then drink it down; or mix it with olive oil and spoon it into your mouth. (38, 47, 57, 58).

Charcoal was placed in gas masks during World War I; and it effectively counteracted poison gas.

Bad odors, caused by skin ulcers, have been eliminated by placing charcoal-filled cloth over plastic casts. It has been used externally to effectively adsorb wound secretions, bacteria, and toxins. And, in poultices and packs, it treats infections of the face, eyelids, skin, or extremities. It is one of the best substances in poultices for mushroom poisoning, insect stings, brown recluse spider bites, black widow bites, and various types of snake bites.

It is used in water purification, air purification, and for removing undesirable odors and impurities in food.

Charcoal is the most-used remedy when many different types of poisons may have been swallowed. It is also used for diarrhea and indigestion.

It is used for jaundice of the newborn, poison oak and ivy reactions, and many other illnesses.

All research studies show charcoal to be harmless when it is accidently inhaled, swallowed, or in contact with the skin. (But if enough is swallowed, it can cause a mild constipation.) No allergies to it have been reported (10, 38). But it is best not to take charcoal longer than 12 weeks without stopping. Do not take it regularly for long periods of time.

Charcoal from burned toast should never be used; since substances are present which are carcinogenic. Do not eat burned food. Charcoal briquettes are especially dangerous, because petro-chemicals have been added to them.

The most effective type of charcoal is the activated form. This process renders it 2 to 3 times as effective as regular charcoal. First, the charcoal is ground very fine; and then it is placed in a steam chamber. This opens up the charcoal and exposes more of its surfaces, so it can adsorb much more.

Modern medical science uses Activated Charcoal USP, a pure, naturally produced wood charcoal carbon that has no carcinogenic properties.

It must be stored in a tightly sealed container, because it readily adsorbs impurities from the atmosphere. (Leaving the top off a container of charcoal will partially purify the room it is in, to the degree that the air in the room comes in contact with the charcoal.)

Simply place some in water, stir, and swallow. Or apply it to the skin’s surface. It is odorless and tasteless. Powdered, activated charcoal achieves maximum adsorption within a minute or so after absorption.

Charcoal can also be placed in empty gelatin capsules and swallowed. (Gelatin is usually processed from animals.) But they will act more slowly than swallowing the powder mixed with water. Charcoal can also be mixed with a little fruit juice before being swallowed; but, of course, it will adsorb that also. This should not be a problem if the juice is diluted or there is a sufficient amount of charcoal in it.

Charcoal poultices that are kept moist and warm actually draw toxins and poisons out through the skin tissue. This is because skin is a permeable membrane, which permits a variety of liquids and gases to enter and exit the body.

Make the poultice just large enough to cover the injured part. The paste may be made by mixing equal parts of flaxseed meal or corn starch with the activated charcoal, in a bowel, and then adding just enough hot water to make a moderately thick paste. Then spread the paste over a porous cloth, covering over the top with another layer of that same cloth.

Place the poultice over the area to be treated and cover it with a piece of plastic. Cover or wrap with a cloth, to hold it all in place. Secure by a tie, stretch bandage, or pin.

Apply the poultice for 1 or 2 hours. If applied at bedtime, leave it on overnight. Adsorption takes place almost immediately. When it is removed, wash or gently cleanse the area with cool water. Repeat when needed. Poultices should, at the most, be changed every 6-10 hours. Do not put charcoal directly on the broken skin; because it may cause a tatooing effect, blackening the skin for a period of time (21, 23, 24, 38, 50).

Activated charcoal is required by law to be part of the standard equipment on many ambulances, in case poisoning is encountered. It is the first choice of the medical profession (10, 38, 41).

Scientific experiments, conducted over a period of many years, attest to the effectiveness of charcoal as an antidote. In one experiment, 100 times the lethal dose of cobra venom was mixed with charcoal and injected into a laboratory animal. The animal was not harmed (15).

In other experiments, arsenic and strychnine were thoroughly mixed with charcoal and then swallowed by humans under laboratory conditions. The subjects survived, even though the poison dosages were 5 to 10 times the lethal dose (1, 3, 14, 16, 17, 38).

Because medicinal drugs are chemical compounds, they are all poisons to a greater or lesser degree. Because of this, if charcoal is taken with them, or soon afterward, it will tend to adsorb and inactivate the drugs. Therefore, physicians recommend that you only take charcoal two hours before or two hours after taking a medicinal drug.

Physicians primarily use charcoal for eight different purposes. Here they are:

1 – To treat poisonous bites from snakes, spiders, and insects (38).

2 – To treat poisonings in general, as well as overdoses of aspirin, Tylenol, and other drugs (10, 30, 48, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 62, 63).

3 – To treat some forms of dysentery, diarrhea, dyspepsia, and foot-and-mouth disease (20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 37, 38, 48).

4 – To disinfect and deodorize wounds (48, 50, 58, 59).

5 – To eliminate toxic by-products that cause anemia in cancer patients (33, 50, 54).

6 – To filter toxins from the blood in liver and kidney diseases (31, 48, 65).

7 – To purify blood in transfusions (48, 60, 65).

Although activated charcoal can be used as an antidote in poisoning from most drugs and chemicals, it will not be effective against the following: cyanide, alcohol, caustic alkalies (such as lye), mineral acids, or boric acids. Strong alkaline and acid poisons need to be treated with solutions with the opposite pH. For example, until the ambulance arrives, calcium powder in water will help offset acids and vinegar will help offset alkalies. Consult a doctor immediately, for instructions and information in any poisoning emergency.

When mixed with water and swallowed to counteract poisoning, charcoal adsorbs the poison or drug, inactivating it. It then carries it inert through the entire length of the digestive tract and out of the body. Charcoal is not absorbed, adsorbed, neutralized, nor metabolized by the body (6, 13, 47, 53).

In a poisoning emergency, if the victim is conscious, first induce vomiting (unless he has swallowed an acid) if it can be done quickly. Ipecac is a commonly used emetic. The dosage is ½ oz. for children and 1 oz. for adults. Induced vomiting will bring up about 30% of the poison from the stomach.

Then give the charcoal to help inactivate the remaining 70%. The usual dose is 5-50 grams of charcoal, depending on age and body size. Adults should be given at least 30 grams (about half a cup of lightly packed powder), depending on the amount of poison ingested. Larger doses will be needed if the person has eaten a meal recently. A dose of 200 grams (3½ cups) is not excessive in cases of severe poisoning. The charcoal will reach its maximum rate of adsorption within one minute. The sooner it is given, the more complete will be the adsorption of the poison. Always keep a large jar of activated charcoal in your kitchen! The dose can be repeated every four hours or until charcoal appears in the stool (3, 10, 41, 47, 48, 52, 53, 60, 61).

Never give charcoal, or anything else, to an unconscious person to swallow. Contact a physician or ambulance immediately.

Do not give charcoal before giving an emetic (to get him to vomit), because the charcoal will neutralize the emetic. Remember that charcoal will not work in cases of poisoning by strong acids or alkalies.

Here is a sampling of over 100 substances which are adsorbed by charcoal:

Acetaminophen / Aconitine / Amitriptyline / hydrochloride / Amphetamine / Antimony / Antipyrine / Arsenic / Aspirin / Atropine / Barbital, Barbiturates / Ben-Gay / Benzodiazepines / Cantharides / Camphor / Chlordane / Chloroquine / Chlorpheniramine / Chlorpromazine / Cocaine / Colchicine / Congesprin / Contact / Dalmane / Darvon / Delphinium / Diazepam / 2-, 4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid / Digitalis (Foxglove) / Dilantin / Diphenylhydantoin / Diphenoxylates / Doriden / Doxepin / Elaterin / Elavil / Equanil / Ergotamine / Ethchlorvynol / Gasoline / Glutethimide / Golden chain / Hemlock / Hexachlorophene / Imipramine / Iodine / Ipecac / Isoniazid / Kerosene / Lead acetate / Malathion / Mefenamic acid / Meprobamate / Mercuric chloride / Mercury / Methylene blue / Methyl salicylate / Miltown / Morphine / Multivitamins and minerals / Muscarine / Narcotics / Neguvon / Nicotine / Nortriptyline / Nytol / Opium / Oxazepam / Parathion / Penicillin / Pentazocine / Pentobarbital / Pesticides / Phenobarbital / Phenolphthalein / Phenol / Phenothiazines / Phenylpropanolamine / Placidyl / Potassium permanganate / Primaquine / Propantheline / Propoxyphene / Quinacrine / Quinidine / Quinine / Radioactive substances / Salicylamide / Salicylates / secobarbital / Selenium / Serax / Silver / Sinequan / Sodium Salicylate / Sominex / Stramonium / Strychnine / Sulfonamides / Talwin / Tofranil / Tree tobacco / Yew / Valium / Veratrine / Some silver and antimony salts / Many herbicides (32, 39).

Additional information from other sources.

Charcoal is an important natural remedy because of its ability to keep certain substances from being absorbed in the body’s gastro-intestinal tract. It will absorb (not absorb, but bind with) 29 of the 30 most dangerous poisons, thus neutralizing them. If you do not have any available in an emergency, you can burn a piece of hard wood and scrape or chip the charcoal from the charred wood. After moistening it with water, place it in a food grinder. Commercial sources are usually made from coconut shells. Activated Charcoal may be taken orally or use a as compress.

Primary source of activated charcoal: The source of activated charcoal products sold for internal or medicinal use (including for animals) includes hardwood, coconut, bamboo, peat moss, or olive pits. The source of activated charcoal used for other than internal or medicinal use may also come from Coal (Lignite or Anthracite).

Here are few of the many things it absorbs: Many industrial toxins, including: DDT, dieldrin, strychnine, malathion, and parathion. Many medicinal drugs, including: aspirin, barbiturates, cocaine, opium, nicotine, morphine, penicillin, and sulfas. Many inorganic chemicals, including: mercury, phosphorus, chlorine, iron, lead, and silver.

Medicinal Benefits:

  • Activated charcoal main use is totreat accidental poisonings. Once ingested, it binds with certain chemicals in the digestive tract, preventing them from being absorbed into your system and causing harm.
  • Activated charcoal lowers the concentration of total lipids, cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood serum, liver, heart and brain.
  • Charcoal has been used as a poultice to reduce inflammation and absorb poisons from your skin caused by infection, chemicals, or insect bites and stings.
  • Charcoal alleviates intestinal gas and upset stomach.
  • Charcoal is also use in the treatment of allergies, skin problems, diabetes mellitus, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, ulcer, bad breath, body odor, lower cholesterol levels, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

Using Activated Charcoal:

  • Poisoning. The first thing to dois to induce vomiting, followed by giving a large dose of activated charcoal. A dosage of 30-60 grams (about ½ cup) is needed, suspended in water and taken as soon as possible after the injection of any toxin.
  • Intestinal Gas and Diarrhea. Place a spoonful of charcoal in a half glass of water, drink it and drink another glass of pure water.
  • Breath deodorizer. With wet finger apply powder charcoal inside the mouth or hold a charcoal tablet in the mouth to stop bad breath immediately.
  • Snake bite. Immerse the affected area in charcoal water for 1 hr. Take 2 tbsp of charcoal every 2 hrs 3 doses, 1 tsp every 2 hrs for next 24 hrs.
  • Varicose leg ulcers. Apply charcoal cloth.

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