Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Herbs 201 ~ Mod 2, Option 3 ~ What are active constituents?

Discuss three from any of the herbs studied in this lesson.
(All three need not be in one herb).

The Active constituents is the chemically active part or the plant that does the healing. A plant can produce several active constituents, where usually one is the dominate. Depending on which we need, there are several ways to draw and isolate them for use either by ingestion or topically. Steeping in teas, infusions, decoctions, tintures, fluid extracts, fomentations, ointments & salves, poultices, syrups.

The plants metabolism uses the sun to make simple sugars through photosynthesis which is partially responsible for making active constituents.

There are many different types of active constituents. Here are three.

1. Flavonoids: Flavonoids are what give flowers and fruit their color, and in some cases the leaves as well. Flavonoids are known for their actions as antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and antiallergenics.

The herb Red Clover (Latin: Trifolium pratense) has been found to be rich in a flavonoids called isoflavone. Red Clover isoflavones is believe to help maintain the density of the bones in both menopausal and peri-menopausal women.

NOTE: For the ancient Celtic priesthood of Druids , clovers were a symbol of the Earth, Sea and Sky which are the three realms of Druidry. Just thought I toss that in there. ;-)

2. Glycosides: Glycosides have a strong affect on animal and body tissue and some are real poisonous. Using water they can be separated into sugar and non-sugar.

The herb Plantain (Latin: Plantago major) has the active constituent, glycoside aucubin, which is known to have both healing and analgesic effect on bladder infections and stomach ulcers. It also has potential hepatoprotective and anti-inflammatory actions.

3. Allicin: Allicin is a constituent found in garlic oil if I'm reading this right. Allicin is created when garlic (Latin: Allium sativum) is finely chopped or crushed. Allicin has strong antibiotic properties. It's great as an anti-fungal in the treatment of skin infections and athlete's foot.

Source cited

WebMD; Menopause Symptoms: Natural Remedies; http://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/8-natural-ways-to-ease-menopause-symptoms; 06/04/10
Garlic Central; Allicin – Health; http://www.garlic-central.com/allicin.html; 06/04/10

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