Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Medicinal plants in western medicine

Herbs and spices do play a very prominent role in the preparation of various western medical drugs and formulations. Studies reveal that over 30% of prescriptions in the western system of medicine contain botanical preparations. Even such well known wonder drugs as Penicillin and Streptomycin are in fact fungal extracts. Ayurveda- showcases a list of valued herbs and spices which the western system of medicine cannot do without. So welcome

The western countries initially relied heavily on the import of herbs and spices from the Asian countries to sustain the continuous production of western medicines. This sourcing of vital ingredients had been in practice right from the colonial era. The demand, however, far outstripped supply. As supply of natural herbs and spices dwindled, the western countries resorted to use of synthetic herbs and spices in their medicines. These synthetic herbs and spices posed serious problems for the human body and were no substitute for the natural herbs. Ayurveda is the only system of medicine that uses as ingredients the extracts of naturally grown herbs and spices. Ayurveda is wholly natural- it’s nature’s gift to mankind.


Aloe Vera finds application in medicines that are prescribed for the treatment of sunburns, minor burns, arthritis, and constipation. Most of the modern day shampoos and sprays also use Aloe Vera as a constituent.


Also called the Indian Ginseng, Aswagandha is an integral ingredient of medicines that are prescribed for mental problems, sexual impotence and fatigue. Some companies also include aswagandha in their cold and flu formulations.


Many of the tonics prescribed for speeding up the blood circulation contain large amounts of capsicum. Capsicum is also used in preparations that aid the digestive system and respiratory conditions


cardamomThis is used both as an ingredient in medicines and also as a flavouring agent in tonics. Some medicines that offer cure for indigestion, flatulence, urinary and skin complications contain cardamom extracts.


Many pharmaceutical companies use cinnamon as an ingredient in medicines manufactured for treating diseases like diarrhea and influenza. Leading companies tend to include cinnamon in the manufacture of glucose powders.


Cloves are widely used to make vanillin, the artificial vanilla. Cloves also form an integral part in medicines that are prescribed for the treatment of hernia, ringworm, digestive ailments and respiratory problems.


Coriander seeds form a major ingredient of some of the western formulations that are a cure for anti inflammations and digestive disorders.


Cumin seed was considered an indispensable spice by the western world from very early times. Many of the present day formulations made for treating indigestion and diarrhea also contain cumin seeds.


Garlic is an integral part of drugs and formulations that offer cure for bronchitis, asthma and those that reduce the blood pressure. Some pharmaceutical companies also include garlic in common cold and cough formulations.


This spice is being widely used in the manufacture of pepper mints and menthol. Peppermints are an integral part of herbal teas and menthol used both as vapour rubs and throat soothers. Formulations prescribed for indigestion most often contain ginger as an important ingredient


Neem leaves are being widely used in western medicines in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Its efficacy in reducing the blood sugar levels is well known. Romans had also used this herb for treating neuromuscular diseases. Some of the present day formulations prescribed for treating such diseases contain neem extracts.


Nutmeg is widely used by the western medical companies in preparing drugs and formulations that treat digestive disorders. Many of the medicines prescribed for treating vomiting and nausea also contain extracts from the nutmeg. .Nutmeg is also finding increasing application in the form of flavouring of cakes and puddings.


Onion has been used in various forms to treat a number of diseases. Western pharmaceutical companies make use of onions while preparing medicines in the treatment of hyper tensions, heart diseases, and cholesterol. .It is also widely used in anti septic preparations.


Pepper, called the king of spices was an eagerly sought after item from the very earliest of times. It was prized both for its nutritional and medicinal values. Pepper is an ingredient in a large number of syrups that tone up the immune system and improve digestion.


Turmeric has been long known to contain anti inflammatory and anti oxidant properties. Many of the leading cosmetic brands do in fact contain substantial amounts of turmeric. Turmeric is also widely used in medicines prescribed for skin ailments.


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