Thursday, June 12, 2008


Ginseng and the Chinese go a long way back - over 5,000 years, in fact. The name ginseng is derived from two Chinese words meaning 'man plant' because of its likeness to the human form. Ancient healers believed the herb could help the mind and body achieve a healthy balance.

Medicinal uses and health benefits
Ginseng has been claimed to have many health benefits, including lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels, protecting against stress and enhancing strength.
Ginseng is also said to increase resistance to diabetes, cancer, heart disease and various infections by improving the body's immune system.

The more popular types of ginseng used today are Panax ginseng and Siberian ginseng.

Panax ginseng is used primarily to improve psychological function, physical performance, immune function and conditions associated with diabetes. It is said to promote Yang energy by improving blood circulation, revitalising energy and aids recovery from illness.

Panax ginseng is recommended by traditional herbalists to protect against heart and other cardiovascular diseases. Traditional Chinese medicine also prescribes Panax ginseng to treat diabetes.

Research has shown that Panax ginseng improves the release of insulin from the pancreas and lowers blood sugar levels. It also has antioxidant properties and increases immune system activity, which makes it a good herbal support for those suffering from cancer, AIDS and other chronic conditions that impair the immune system.

American and Asian ginseng are also said to slow the progression of Alzheimer's, and improve memory and behaviour.

Siberian ginseng is usually given to maintain good health rather than treating ailments.
Siberian Ginseng is reputed to have a normalising effect and bringing the body back into balance. It may help protect the body from the debilitating effects of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery.

It also contains remarkable compounds that favourably affect the adrenal glands, the small glands that rest above the kidneys and secrete stress-fighting hormones.

Siberian ginseng is popular for invigorating and fortifying the body. By supporting healthy uterine function, it is said to be useful in preventing female infertility. Siberian ginseng may also increase mental alertness, particularly in the early stages of mental deterioration.

No known medical conditions preclude the use of ginseng, but people with heart and circulation problems should use it with care. Caution is also advised if you have hypertension, since overuse of the herb can cause an increase in blood pressure. Because of its effects on blood sugar, people with diabetes should be cautious as well.
When considering the use of ginseng, consultation with a health care professional is advised.

Elephantopus scaber L.

Scientific name : Elephantopus scaber L.
Common name : Elephant's foot / Solomon's seal
Local name : Tutup bumi / Tapak sulaiman
Family : Compositae

Because of its leaf form which lies flat on the ground and covers more than its share of space, the Malays equate it with the pentacle seal of Solomon by which it confines the jins underground. As Solomon's seal, it is traditionally reputed to be potent for all diseases. So far, this crop has not been domesticated in Malaysia, but collected from the wild by traditional healers for preparing herbal remedies.

Plant description
These are erect, stiff, perennial herbs growing up to a height of 50cm. The leaves are mostly concentrated on the lower portion of the stem and arranged in a rosette manner. The leaves are slightly serrated, covered with white hairs, variable in shape and size, oblonged or rounded near the tip and narrower to the base. The petioles are very short and hairy. The flower heads are borne at the end of dichotomously branched pedicels, which are covered with white hairs. The flowers are numerous, sessile, closely packed forming a large flat-topped terminal inflorescence. Three green broad leaf-like bracts surround each flower cluster. The corolla lobes are violet in color while the tube is white. The corolla margin is deeply cleft on one of its side. The stamen is appendicular in nature and is arranged round the single central style. The fruits or achnes are truncate with fine ridges and surrounded with pappus of stiff bristles.

Plant habitat
These plants can be found growing wildly on roadsides, grassy fields and forest borders.

Plant growth habit/cultivation
This herb can be propagated easily through seeds. The seeds are collected by enclosing the flowers with a piece of paper. The seeds are minute and very light and therefore during sowing they are normally mixed with loose dampen soil and then sprinkled on the nursery beds. Germination success is about 70-80%.

Within two weeks of sowing, the first leaf can be seen emerging out. The plant is then transferred to the field after a period of one month or when the seedling reaches the 4-5 leaf stage. Tutup bumi is a very hardy crop and needs minimal care and fertilizing. It can also adapt itself to a wide range of conditions. It is a relatively a slow growing herb and is susceptible to only insect attacks.

Plant parts used : Whole herb, roots.

Uses in traditional medicine
The plant is primarily used as a diuretic, febrifuge and to relieve anuria and blennorrhea. Other applications include employment as an antibiotic, antiswelling agent, antipyretic, antiinflammatory, bechic and emollient. It is believed to be a good remedy for leucorrhea, anemia, and beneficial during parturition. In Malaysia, tutup bumi is taken internally as a diuretic, febrifuge and anthelmintic and applied externally as a poultice for abdominal pains and other complaints. A decoction made from the leaves or roots is used as a tonic for eliminating roundworms and treating coughs and venereal diseases. The roots and leaves are taken after childbirth as a protective medicine. A decoction made from the fresh roots and sireh is prescribed to arrest vomiting whilst the leaves are recommended for treating dropsy.

The plant is used as a diuretic and febrifuge in Indo-China, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. The roots, either pounded in water or in decoction, are used in Indonesia as a remedy for leucorrhea, anemia of women and children. In the Philippines, a decoction or infusion of the roots and leaves is used as an emollient, for treating diarrhea, dysentery, pulmonary diseases, scabies, urethral discharges and for relieving anuria and belnnorrhea. In Indo-China, a decoction made from the plant is used as diuretic, tonic, diaphoretic, emmenagogue and is taken internally for dyspepsia, intermittent fevers and menstrual irregularities.
In Chinese traditional medicine, the plant is used to treat conjunctivitis, epidemic encephalitis B, pertussis, acute hepatitis, cirrhosis, ascitis, acute and chronic hepatitis, ferunculosis and eczema. The Taiwanese use the root to relieve chest pains.

In India, a decoction of the root is given for urethral discharges, diarrhea, dysentery, dysuria and as a cardiac-tonic. In Ceylon, paste prepared from the tutup bumi leaves, water and honey is used for treating septic nails and wounds caused by bites of wild animals.

In Madagascar, it is considered a diuretic and febrifuge and in the West Indies as a tonic, diaphoretic and emmenagogue and given for dyspepsia, intermittent fevers and menstrual derangements. The plant is traditionally used in Brazil to eliminate bladder stones.

Chemical constituents
i) Chemicals with commercial potential: Deoxyelephantopin, molephantinin, phantomolin.
ii) Other chemicals: p-amyrin acetate, crepiside E. deacylcynaropicrin, 11,13-dihydrodeoxy-elephantopin, dihydroelephantopin, elephantin, elephantopin, epifriedelanol, glucozaluzanin-C, isodeoxyelephantopin, lupeol, lupeol acetate, molephantin, nudaphantin, stigmasterol, stigmasteryl 3-p-glucopyranoside.

This herb is reported to have antibacterial activity. Aqueous extract of Elephantopus scaber improves hepatic lesions caused by p-D-galactosamine (D-GalN)- and acetaminophen (APAP)-induced acute hepatic damage in rats. In another study, it was found that hepatic fatty metamorphosis and necrosis of central lobules were significantly improved after treatment with tutup bumi extracts.

Aqueous and hydroalcoholic extracts of tutup bumi, at 0.3-6g/kg i.p. administration, induced writhing, loss of muscle tone, ataxia, prostration and death in mice. However, no analgesic effects of these extracts were detected using mouse hot-plate and acetic acid-induced writhing tests. Both extracts also failed to modify diuresis or carrageenan-induced rat paw oedema. Brewer's yeast-induced hyperthermia in rats was reduced by extracts given at a dose of lOOmg/kg i.p., but there was no effect after oral administration (300 or 600mg/kg). Moreover, the aqueous extract decreased the intestinal transit time in mice while the hydroalcoholic extract increased it. Tutup bumi extracts at 25-100mg/kg (i.v.) reduced blood pressure and heart rates in rats.
Tutup bumi exhibited considerable antibacterial activity (MIC=7.8-23.4mg/ml) against cariogenic bacterium and Streptococcus mutans. An extract of the tutup bumi leaves also showed antibiotic activity (1/5) against Staphylococcus.
Clinical trials : No information available.

Towards commercial production
Although the health benefits of tutup bumi are tremendous, there has been very little attempt to commercialize its product. A few herbal products such as Shanggan Tablets, derived from tutup bumi is now available in China and in some Chinese traditional medicine stores in Southeast Asia where it is marketed as a Chinese Patent Medicine. Locally, their use is restricted to the traditional healers in preparing local 'jamus'.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rahsia Daun Sirih

Rahsia Daun Sirih

Daun Sirih kerap digunakan dalam rawatan perubatan secara tradisional. Ia juga digunakan untuk kecantikan dan adat istiadat.

Kecantikan seseorang bukan hanya pada wajah menawan atau penampilan bergaya sahaja. Kecantikan sebenar adalah terletak pada keindahan dalaman.

Sireh banyak digunakan dalam keguanaan untuk rawatan perubatan secara tradisional. Selain itu ia juga digunakan untuk hantaran peminangan bagi adat orang-orang Melayu Malaysia. Bagi masyarakat India pula, ianya selalu digunakan untuk dijadikan makan bagi orang-orang dewasa. Masyarakat Melayu dahulu juga menyukai memakan sirih ini.

Jika dilihat, kebiasaannya, pengamal yang memakan daun sireh ini bisanya mempunyai ketahanan gigi yang sangat kuat. Mempunyai bibir yang merah. Kemerahan ini menyerlah sehinggalah ke gusi-gusi dan gigi-gigi mereka.

# Jika diteliti sehelai daun sirih, bentuknya seakan-akan bentuk kemaluan wanita. Bahkan ada yang mengatakan ia berbentuk peta negara India dan kebetulan salasilahnya penemuan awalnya di India.

# Ianya disifatkan sebagai daun yang terbaik untuk perubatan dan membantu memperbaiki sistem peranakan. Ianya juga banyak digunakan untuk penyucian alat sulit wanita kerana sifatnya sebagai pembersih dalaman.

# Membantu menyembuhkan hidung berdarah dengan hanya menggunakan sehelai daun sirih. Daun dilipat kecil dan sumbatkan dengan mendonggakkan kepala pesakit.

# Airnya digunakan untuk membersihkan bahagian alat sulit wanita.

# Sifatnya yang pedas seperti bunga cengkih, menjadikannya sesuai untuk pewangi mulut.

# Simbolik adat peminangan dan perkahwinan orang Melayu atau majlis-majlis rasmi.

# Dikatakan ada aura jika ada lelaki atau wanita yang belum ketemu jodoh apabila mereka menemui sirih bertemu urat.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Malaysian Herbal Medicine History

Malaysian Herbal Medicine History

Traditionally, Malaysian herbal medicines include teas (infusions & decoctions), tinctures, poultices and salves. The usual practice was very much on a patient-herbal practitioner basis.

The earliest documentation on herbal medicines in Malaya dated back to 1886. It was by Munshi Ismail, a language teacher and translator. His translation was subsequently edited and published by Gimlette and Burkill in 1930. This document described a total of 543 prescriptions using about 260 identifiable plant species used in the treatment of various illnesses and disorders.

In that same year, Burkill and Haniff published another account on the "Malay Village Medicine" which documented the uses of about 650 native plants. Following this was the publication of the monumental and still highly referred to account, A Dictionary of the Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula, by Burkill (1935) which documented the
uses of about 1,200 native and exotic plants.

The beginning of the 19th century heralded an era during which there were efforts to purify the active, secondary-metabolite principles of medicinal plants. These purified constituents were then introduced into therapy as evidenced in the formulation of
morphine, qUinine, atropine, papaverine, cocaine and pilocarpine. Scientific research into the medicinal or biological properties of Malaysian plants or herbal recipes was unheard of in those olden years of the 1950s-I960s. While the greater part of the world in China, Japan, Europe and USA was busy making novel discoveries from medicinal plants, little local scientific research was conducted on Malaysian plants.

Some unsystematic scientific investigations kicked off in the 1970s. However, the earliest record of phytochemical screening could only be traced back to 1959. The main reason for this unsatisfactory scenario is the lack of trained scientists, limited infrastructure and funding for such endeavors. There was also inadequate coordination among those involved.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Medicine Plant To Society

Medicine Plants To Society

The healing relationship between humans and plants streches back almost as far as the dawn of mankind. Throughout the world, medicinal plants have been used to treat all kinds of common ailments and have evolved to become recognized as traditional medicine. Tradisional medicine is synonymous with herbal of folk medicine.

Around 80% of the population in developing countries still use herbal medicines for their health care.

Hubungan penyembuhan diantara manusia dan tumbuhan kembali semula ke permulaan pemikiran asal manusia. Seluruh dunia, tumbuhan ubatan telah digunakan untuk mengubati penyakit-penyakit ringan dan telah berkembang serta dikenali sebagai Ubatan Tradisional. Ubatan Tradisional beerti uabtan dari tumbuhan-tumbuhan herba.

Hampir 80% pepolasi di negara membangun masih lagi menggunakan ubatan herba untuk menjaga kesihatan.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Plants To Pills And Back To Plants

Herbs were the earliest source of medicine. The use of herbs for healing dates as far back as pre historic times and has since been woven into the culture and civilization of people. In ancient times, herbs were closely allied to ritual belief, myth and magic. In Egypt, herb gardens were planted about 4,000 years ago. The use of volatile oils was common in bath. Incense has long been important in rituals in ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece, India and China. In terms of ancient record, Chinese herbalism is widely as the oldest in the world with a long unbroken history of record. Aryuvedic (Indian herbalism) medicine is also well recorded and dates back to 2,000 BC.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Nama botani : Vitex pubescens Vahl.

Nama lain : Leban

Famili : Verbenaceae


Pokok halban mudah ditemui hidup dalam keadaan liar di kampung, di tepi sungai dan di hutan.

Ciri morfologi

Pokok halban sederhana hingga besar, mencapai 25 m tingginya. Kulit batangnya berwarna kuning kelabu. Kulit batang pokok tua merekah dan berkeping-keping nipis. Kanopi pokok bulat tetapi kadang-kadang bentuknya tidak sekata. Ranting, tangkai daun, jambak bunga dan permukaan bawah daun berbulu halus. Daun jenis majmuk, mengandungi 3-5 anak daun yang besar. Anak daun tanpa tangkai atau sesil. Warnanya hijau pucat. Bunga halban keeil, terdapat pada jambak panikel hujung yang besar. Brakteanya perang kehijauan dan kelopak bunganya biru keunguan. Buah halban hijau, dan apabila masak bertukar menjadi ungu dan kemudiannya hitam.

Kegunaan dan khasiat

Daun halban digunakan untuk mengubati luka dan demam. Bagi mengubati luka, daun diramas di tapak tangan dan disapu pada luka. Untuk mengubati demam, daun ditumbuk dan dituam pada kepala dan badan.