Showing posts with label The Healing Herb. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Healing Herb. Show all posts

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Healing Herb : Teak (Tectona grandis)

Tectona grandis
Teak (Tectona grandis)

Tectona grandis Linn (Teak) is a large deciduous tree belonging to family Verbenaceae. It has yellowish to reddish brown wood and papery leaves that are often hairy on the lower surface. The tree attains a height up to 40 meters. Teak fruit is a drupe enclosed in a brown, papery calyx. The tree bears bluish to white flowers. It requires a dry tropical climate for its growth. It flowers in February and March. Teak is native mainly to India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Burma but is naturalized and cultivated in Africa and Caribbean as well. 

It is commonly  known as sagwan, saka  (India), Djati, Jati (Indonesia), Kyun (Myannmar), Teck, Mai Sak (Thailand), Giati (Vietnam) and Teca (Brazil). Tectona grandia, Tectona hamiltoniana, and Tectona philippinensis are the other related species of the tree. The biggest and oldest (about 1,500 years old) teak is in Uttaradit, Thailand with a height is 47 metres.

Tectona grandis is an economically important species and the best source of most commercial teak wood products. Teak's high oil content, high tensile strength and tight grain makes it particularly suitable for outdoor furniture applications. It is used in the furniture making, boat decks and for indoor flooring. It is widely used to make the doors and house windows. It is resistant to the attack of termites. The wood contains scented oil which is the repellent to insects. Both the root, bark and the young leaves of teak produce a yellowish-brown or reddish dye used for coloring paper, clothes, matting, and even edibles.

Different parts of this tree are used in ayurveda for treating various health ailments for its acrid, sedative, anthelmintic and expectorant properties. It useful in the treatment of indigestion, headache, gravid uterus, piles, leucoderma, dysentery and burning pain over liver region. The bark is bitter tonic and is considered useful in fever. The ashes of wood applied to swollen eyelids and are said to strengthen the sight. 

The oil of nuts promotes the growth of hair and removes itchiness of skin. The flowers and the seeds are diuretics.  In traditional medicine, a wood-powder paste of the treeis used to treat headaches, swellings and dermatitis (a skin reaction), as well as worms and other parasites of the gut.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Healing Herb: Picrorhiza kurroa

Picrorhiza kurroa 
Picrorhiza kurroa (family Scrophulariaceae, common name Picrorhiza, Katuka, Kutka, kutki) is one of the oldest medicinal plants found in the Himalayas. Since time immemorial, this perennial herb has been used in Ayurveda for treating diseases caused by kapha and pitta, and is valued for its hepatoprotective properties. In small doses, it helps in curing loss of appetite, liver diseases, jaundice, bronchial asthma, bile disorders and weakness. In larger doses, it is useful as an antioxidant, antibacterial, anticholestatic, antiallergic, antiperiodic, cathartic, laxative, and to treat abdominal diseases, adiposity and related disorders.

Roots of Picrorhiza kurroa 
The leaf, bark and the underground parts of Picrorhiza, mainly rhizomes are widely used in the treatment of the health ailments. The root of this plant is rich in glucosides including kitkin and picrorhizin, cucurbitacin, D-mannitol, benetic acid, kutkisterol, vanillic acid and some steroids. P. kurroa also contains apocynin, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, which helps reduce platelet aggregation.

Experimental studies have revealed the cytotoxic role of curcubitacins (found in the plant) having antitumor activity. It is also said to reduce blood cholesterol levels and the coagulation time. Furthermore studies of plant rhizome, is shown to improve the immunity of the body, as well as known to have a specific action against the parasite Leishmania, which causes the disease called leishmaniasis.

The plant is also used in treating abdominal pain, stomach disorders, anemia, and for promoting bile secretion. It is helpful in acute viral hepatitis, as immune-modulator, and in treating fever and allergies. Other instances of use include vitiligo, skin disorders, infections, scorpion stings, chronic diarrhea, epilepsy, malaria and rheumatoid arthritis. The plant and its formulations are widely used in treating epidemic jaundice.

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