Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Medicinal Plant Tour/ Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Medicinal Plant Tour/ Royal Botanic Gardens Kew


Salix – Willow -- salicylic acid – used as a pain killer in ancient Sumaria 4000 years ago.  Problmatic side effects --Salicin isolated by Felix Hoffman in 1899 – leading to Bayer *Asperin

Betulus – Birch – infusion of dried leaves said to help inappropriate fluid retention.  And, swelling joints.

Sweetgum – Liquid Amber – sap – Chewing gum -- storax—strong antimicrobial agent -- *Timiflu for flu prevention.

Tilia – Lime  -- dried flowers and bracts, mild sedative, antisposmodic, coughs, sore throat

                   *80% - 20% story
Med Garden

Euphedra – Stimulates the brain, increases heart rate, increases blood pressure – a performance enhancer – possibly the source of Soma in ancient Iran.  Meth, chrystal meth, banned by Olympic Committee, but is basis of *Desoxyn, used for ADHD and weight loss.

Santalina – flowers and leaves made into a decoction to expel intestinal parasites

Ginkgo biloba (dementia), found in fossils 270 million years old.  Traditional medicine.  Dietary supplement sold to improve cognitive function.  Reasearch re treatment of Alziemers and dementia.

Palm House

Madagasgan Periwinkle – Catharanthus roseus, Vincristine (lukemia) – Vinblastine (hodgkin’s lymphoma) 10% to 90%

Strophantus –arrow poison – Livingstones– John Kirk –cardiac glycosides – toothbrush – slower heart rate – stronger contractions – *Ouabain

Aristolochia – Birthwort – Doctrine of Signatures – expulsion of the placenta – TCM - dieting pills – kidney failure – cancer of the urinary tract.

Dioscorea composite – Yams – Mexico  -- Chinatec healers -- Oxaca – Russell Marker – progesterone – used to make cortisone and oral contraceptives.

Banasteriopsis caapi – ayahuasca – cumandero – entheogen -- psychoactive – method for letting the plants themselves identify what they will cure – contains harmaline, harmine, and tetrahydroharmine.  Insurace reinbursement.

On the Way to Queen’s Garden

Eucalyptus (common colds, nasal congestion) *Vicks Vapor Rub.

Horse Chestnut – Aesculus hippocastanum – vericlose viens, ulceration, piles  *Aescin

Yew – Taxus Bacatta – in 1967, discovery that compounds found in the back of Taxus was an effective Chemotherapy drug-  *Taxol – ovarian, breast, lung and pancreatic cancer.

Queen’s Garden

Laburnum – poisonous, but not too.  No known instances of death in last 60 years.  Entire plant is poisonous.  Seed in pods ingested by children

Davos carota –wild carrot – Queen Anne’s Lace – traditionally used for soothing the digestive system.  Also used as morning after contraception.  Big danger is  confusing it with poison hemlock.

Artichoke Thistle – Cynara cardunculos -- used traditionally for cronic liver and gall bladder problems.  Oakeley:  Arm pits and bodily lust.

Hypericum – St John’s wort – contains two compounds – hyperforin and hypericin.  Used for mild to medium depression.  A reuptake inhibitor.  Originally used for hurts and wounds.

Pulmonaria – Lungwort – Doctrine of Signatures

Marsh Mallow – Althaea officinales – softening and healing.  Good for irritants of the mucus membrane – mouth ulcers and gastric ulcers.

Valerianna officinales – Root – used as an anti-anxiety agent – a sedative – tranquilizer.

Kew project, Monique Simmons – traditional remedies.

French Lilac – Galega officinales – medieval remedy for diabetes – and, in fact, the guaridine compounds contained do lower blood sugar levels.  But it was too toxic for ordinary use, so researchers used the chemistry of its compounds as a roadmap, and created *Metformin, which has the benefits but not the toxicity.

Artemisia – Sweet wormwood – Tu Youyou won the nobel prize for developing an effective antimalarial drug from sweet wormwood.  Just in time:  the old Cinchona (Jesuit bark) remedy was loosing effectiveness.  Traditionally a love potion – stirs up bodily lusts.

 Artemisia maritinaSea wormwood – Bases for *Santonin – gets rid of worms – and good for hysteria.

Digitalis – Foxglove – contains cardiac glycosides – in particular, digoxin.  Entire plant is poisonous.  !775, Wm. Withering used it for congestive heart failure.  *Acetyidigoxin; *Desianoside; *Digitalin; *Digitoxin, and  *Gitalin.

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