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Medicinal plants News 2015

 Scientists decode Queen of herbs tulsi


BENGALURU, September 10, 2015: Tulsi (Holy Basil) can cure many an ailment, but despite its extensive use in the Ayurvedic system of medicine, not much is known about the bioactive compounds produced by the plant. A recent breakthrough by city scientists has got them one step closer to understanding the herb's medicinal values.

A team of researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru, has produced the first draft genome of the plant, which can help them identify the genes responsible for production of compounds with potential medicinal properties. The medicinal properties of tulsi are attributed to specialized compounds produced as a part of its defence mechanism, said Sowdhamini Ramanathan of NCBS, the lead researcher. The team included researchers from NCBS, inStem and CCAMP, all members of the Bangalore Life Sciences Cluster.

"The sequence reveals the interesting pathways used by tulsi to make Ursolic acid, a medically important compound. If one could use modern synthetic biology techniques to synthesize Urosolic acid, it would be of great benefit," said S Ramaswamy from inStem.

The team used five varieties of tulsi to collect the genomic data. It then compared the results with well-studied species like Arabidopsis thaliana (a flowering plant). This helped them identify the unique compounds found in tulsi Krishna subtype. - indiatimes.com

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Chinese Plant Thunder God Could Cut Body Weight

        Thunder god

June 27, 2015; Harvard researchers experimenting with the traditional Chinese medicinal plant Thunder God discovered that it may be a powerful appetite suppressant that could lead to a significant weight -loss breakthrough.

“It could be a powerful way to treat obesity and improve the health of many patients suffering from obesity and associated complications, such as heart disease, fatty liver and type 2 diabetes,” says study author Umut Ozcan, M.D., an endocrinologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

The plant works by enhancing the action of leptin, an  appetite- suppressing hormone that sends signals to the brain when a person is full and should stop eating, according to the study.

Researchers have previously speculated that a lack of sensitivity to leptin may be a root cause of obesity. In the study, researchers found that obese mice that were given high doses of Thunder God extract for one week ate 80 percent less food compared with mice that did not receive the compound. After three weeks, the mice treated with the compound lost 45 percent of their body weight, while the comparison group lost no weight at all.

Plant extracts to manage diabetes and cancer


May 17, 2015: A new study has shown that traditional Aboriginal and Indian plant extracts could be used to manage the disease and may also have potential use in cancer treatment.

Researchers from Swinburne University of Technology identified plant species that could potentially be applied in the management of type 2 diabetes and related complications of weight gain, hypertension and immune suppression.  

Among the Indian Ayurvedic plant extracts, Kali musli (Curculigo orchioides) stimulated glucose uptake as well as reduced fat accumulation. Vijayasar (Pterocarpus marsupium), and Kalmeigh (Andrographis paniculata) reduced accumulation in fat cells .

Furthermore, extracts of Witchetty bush and Dead finish also showed strong activity against cervical cancer cells.

Nigella sativa health benefits

       Nigella sativa

July 20, 2015: Nigella sativa ( black-cumin) also known as kalonji is an annual flowering plant native to south and southwest Asia . It grows to 20–30 cm tall. The flowers are usually coloured pale blue and white, with five to ten petals. The fruit is a large and inflated capsule composed of three to seven united  follicles, each containing numerous seeds  The black seeds of Nigella sativa are used as a spice in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines have a  bitter taste and smell.

Researchers have evaluated the benefits of black seed oil in the treatment of many medical conditions, including cancer, arthritis, diabetes, liver damage, parasitic infections, bacterial infections, viral infections, asthma / other respiratory illnesses, and diffuses the toxic effects of bees and wasps.

Asthma and allergies respond quickly unless there is infection, in which case, the infection needs to be eliminated before the symptoms of immune weakness subside. For extreme fatigue, consider mixing some crushed seeds with some royal jelly. Nigella Sativa Seed is useful in paralysis, facial palsy, migraine, amnesia and palpitation.


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