Friday, November 24, 2006

MEDICINAL PLANTS

Medicinal plant rediscovered after 115 years
Botanists in Arunachal Pradesh have rediscovered a rare medicinal plant after more than a century.

Two scientists of the Botanical Survey of India spotted the wild flower, Begonia Tessaricarpa, during a routine research work near Ligu village in the northeastern state's Upper Subansari district bordering China.

"Begonia Tessaricarpa was long believed to be extinct but we found the flower blooming in a narrow strip of rocky land during one of our surveys," Kumar Ambarish, one of the two scientists, told IANS.

The rediscovery of the plant was published in the November issue of Current Science, a reputed Indian journal.

The plant was first listed in scientific literature by British scientist C.B. Clarke in 1879 and 1890 but had not been seen since.

"Everybody thought the plant had become extinct as there were no reports of sighting Rebe (as the plant is locally known) and no recorded use by locals for medicinal purpose," Ambarish said.

The small plant, measuring about 30 centimetres with two petals and two sepals, was also found growing in a scattered manner in the state's Namdapha National Park in the eastern Changlang district.

"Actually we found the plant first in 2004 and again during another visit in October 2005 in the two places. But it takes time for verification and hence it took a long time to publicize the rediscovery," Ambarish said.

The tribal people of Arunachal Pradesh have for long used Rebe as a cure for stomach disorder and dehydration. The extracts of the plant were also used to ward off mountain leeches.

"We have collected samples of the plant and it is now growing in two experimental gardens and showing good results," he said.

Ambarish, along with his co-scientist M. Amadudin, now plans to carry out extensive research on the plant that grows at very high altitudes.

"This is a plant under threat and now we have to do some study to find out more about the herbaceous flower," Amadudin said.

Arunachal Pradesh is home to a wide variety of medicinal plants and other exotic flora, although wanton destruction of the forest cover had led to many of the rare species being wiped out.

The Texas Bacata, the yew tree, is an example of unregulated exploitation of forest wealth. The bark of this tree is processed to make Taxol, a known treatment of ovarian cancer.



Medicinal plants and their properties
• Foreword
The vegetable world comprises three main groups of plants: Superior, Intermediary and Inferior. These encompass bacteria, microscopic algae, mushrooms, ferns, brushes and trees, among others. Their identification is a task of specialists and the limit between the vegetal and animal world is not clear. To simplify matters, we consider plants those recognized as such by ordinary people. Books about medicinal properties of vegetables normally seem to treat differently herbs and medicinal plants. However, herbs are seed producing annual, biennial or perennial plants that do not develop a persistent woody tissue. Perhaps because herbs have such an important historical and tradition in healing, sometimes they are treated as a special category of plants i.e., those particularly valued for their medicinal, savory or aromatic qualities. In the following list, herbs are considered as medicinal plants and taken only for their medicinal or aromatic properties.
Since the traditional or popular name of medicinal plants varies so much according to regional and cultural aspects, the have been grouped alphabetically according to their most common English name. The scientific designation follows in each case.

List of some commonly used medicinal plants

ALOE VERA
DANDELION
MYRTLE
THYME

ANGELICA
DILL
NETTLE
TURMERIC

ANISE
EUCALYPTUS
OLIVE
VALERIAN

ARNICA
FENNEL
PALMETTO
VERBENA

ARROWROOT
GARLIC
PARSLEY
WHITE WILLOW

ARTEMISIA
GENTIAN
PASSIFLORA
WORMWOOD

BASIL
GINGER
PATCHOULI
WILD THYME

BELLADONA
GINKGO
PEONIA
YARROW

BENZOIN
GINSENG
PEPPERMINT
YLANG-YLANG

BERGAMOT
GUMPLANT
PEPPER

BITTER ORANGE
HAMAMELIS
RADISH

BOLDO
HAWTHORN
RAUVOLFIA

CALENDULA
HYSSOP
RHUBARB

CAMPHOR
JASMINE
ROSE

CARDAMON
JUNIPER
ROSEMARY

CARDUS
LAUREL
RUE

CELERY
LAVENDER
SAGE, CLARY

CHAMOMILE
LEMON
SAGE

CHICORY
MALVA
SANDALWOOD

CINNAMON
MARJORAM
SARSAPARILLA

CLOVE
MATE
SCOTS PINE

COMFREY
MELISSA
SESAME

CORIANDER
MISTLETOE
ST JOHN'S WORT

CYMBOPOGON
MOTHERWORT
TARRAGON

DAMIANA
MYRRH
TEA TREE



Atlas of medicinal plants

• Achillea millefolium (Compositae)
• Acorus calamus (Araceae)
• Aesculus hippocastanum (Hippocastanacea)
• Alchemilla vulgaris (Rosaceae)
• Allium sativum (Liliaceae)
• Angelica archangelica (Umbelliferae)
• Arctium lappa (Compositae)
• Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Ericaceae)
• Arnica montana (Compositae)
• Artemisia vulgaris (Compositae)
• Atropa belladonna (Solanaceae)
• Ballota foetida (Labiatae)
• Berberis vulgaris (Berberidaceae)
• Betula pendula (Betulaceae)
• Boswellia serrata (Burseraceae)
• Calendula officinalis (Compositae)
• Camellia sinensis (Theaceae)
• Capsella bursa-pastoris (Cruciferae)
• Carica papaya (Caricaceae)
• Chelidonium majus (Papaveraceae)
• Chrysanthemum parthenium (Compositae)
• Cimicifuga racemosa (Ranunculaceae)
• Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Lauraceae)
• Cnicus benedictus (Compositae)
• Crataegus oxyacantha (Rosaceae)
• Crocus sativus (Iridaceae)
• Cupressus sempervirens (Cupressaceae)
• Curcuma longa (Zingiberaceae)
• Cynara scolymus (Compositae)
• Datura stramonium (Solanaceae)
• Digitalis purpurea (Scrophulariaceae)
• Drosera rotundifolia (Droseraceae)
• Echinacea purpurea (Compositae)
• Ephedra sinica (Ephedraceae)
• Equisetum arvense (Equisetaceae)
• Erythroxylum coca (Erythroxylaceae)
• Eschscholtzia californica (Papaveraceae)
• Eucalyptus globulus (Myrtaceae)
• Ferula assa-foetida (Umbelliferae)
• Filipendula ulmaria (Rosaceae)
• Foeniculum vulgare (Umbelliferae)
• Gelsemium sempervirens (Loganiaceae)
• Gentiana lutea (Gentianacea)
• Ginkgo biloba (Ginkgoaceae)
• Glycyrrhiza glabra (Papilionaceae)
• Guaiacum officinale (Zygophyllaceae)
• Hamamelis virginiana (Hamamelidaceae)
• Harpagophytum procumbens (Pedaliaceae)
• Hedera helix (Araliaceae)
• Helleborus niger (Ranunculaceae)
• Humulus lupulus (Cannabinaceae)
• Hyoscyamus niger (Solanaceae)
• Hypericum perforatum (Clusiaceae)
• Juglans regia (Juglandaceae)
• Juniperus communis (Cupressaceae)
• Lamium album (Labiatae)
• Lavandula angustifolia (Labiatae)
• Linum usitatissimum (Linaceae)
• Lobelia inflata (Campanulaceae)
• Mahonia aquifolium (Berberidaceae)
• Malva sylvestris (Malvaceae)
• Marrubium vulgare (Labiatae)
• Matricaria chamomilla (Compositae)
• Melaleuca alternifolia (Myrtaceae)
• Melilotus officinalis (Fabaceae)
• Melissa officinalis (Labiatae)
• Mentha piperita (Labiatae)
• Myrtus communis (Myrtaceae)
• Olea europaea (Oleaceae)
• Origanum vulgare (Labiatae)
• Paeonia officinalis (Paeoniaceae)
• Panax ginseng (Araliaceae)
• Papaver somniferum (Papaveraceae)
• Passiflora incarnata (Passifloraceae)
• Physostigma venenosum (Fabaceae)
• Pilocarpus pennatifolius (Rutaceae)
• Pimpinella anisum (Umbelliferae)
• Pinus sylvestris (Pinaceae)
• Piper methysticum (Piperaceae)
• Plantago lanceolata (Plantaginaceae)
• Populus tremula (Salicaceae)
• Primula veris (Primulaceae)
• Prunus spinosa (Rosaceae)
• Pulmonaria officinalis (Boraginaceae)
• Punica granatum (Lythraceae)
• Quercus robur (Fagaceae)
• Rauvolfia serpentina (Apocynaceae)
• Rheum palmatum (Polygonaceae)
• Ricinus communis (Euphorbiaceae)
• Rosa canina (Rosaceae)
• Rosmarinus officinalis (Labiatae)
• Rubus fruticosus (Rosaceae)
• Ruscus aculeatus (Ruscaceae)
• Ruta graveolens (Rutaceae)
• Salix alba (Salicaceae)
• Salvia officinalis (Labiatae)
• Sambucus nigra (Adoxaceae)
• Sanguinaria canadensis (Papaveraceae)
• Saponaria officinalis (Caryophyllaceae)
• Sarothamnus scoparius (Fabaceae)
• Scrophularia nodosa (Scrophulariaceae)
• Silybum marianum (Compositae)
• Solidago virgaurea (Compositae)
• Strophanthus gratus (Apocynaceae)
• Strychnos nux-vomica (Loganiaceae)
• Symphytum officinale (Boraginaceae)
• Syzygium aromaticum (Myrtaceae)
• Taraxacum officinale (Compositae)
• Thymus vulgaris (Labiatae)
• Tilia cordata (Malvaceae)
• Trigonella foenum-graecum (Fabaceae)
• Tropaeolum majus (Tropaeolaceae)
• Tussilago farfara (Compositae)
• Urtica dioica (Urticaceae)
• Valeriana officinalis (Valerianaceae)
• Verbena officinalis (Verbenaceae)
• Vinca minor (Apocynaceae)
• Viscum album (Viscaceae)
• Vitex agnus-castus (Labiatae)
• Zingiber officinale (Zingiberaceae)

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