27 October 2009

Basil Plants Have Anti-Arthritic Properties

Two varieties of Basil that are widely used in Ayurvedic medicine have been scientifically shown to reduce inflammation and swelling, suggesting that they could have potential in arthritis treatment. At the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's annual event, the British Pharmaceutical Conference in Manchester, Mr Vaibhav Shinde from Poona Collage of Pharmacy, Pune, India, presented results of studies on the varieties Ocimum tenuiflorum Linn and Ocimum americanum Linn, which are used in Ayurvedic treatment of bronchitis, bronchial asthma, skin diseases, arthritis, inflammation and fever. Extracts of O. tenuiflorum were shown to reduce swelling by up to 73%, 24 hours after treatment, and similar results were seen with O. americanum.

Results for both plants were similar to those seen with diclofenac - an anti-inflammatory drug that is widely used in the treatment of arthritis. "Our results supported the use of these traditional treatments in inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, and we will now carry out more detailed evaluation of the plants for active compounds which could be developed into new medicines," said Mr Shinde. Results of the current study add to previous research supporting the medicinal properties of Basil plants1.

References1 Prakash P, Gupta N. Therapeutic uses of Ocimum sanctum Linn (Tulsi) with a note on eugenol and its pharmacological actions: a short review. Indian Journal Physiol. Pharmacol 2005; 49: 125-131About Ayurvedic medicine

Ayurvedic medicine originated in India over 2000 years ago and is widely practised in India and SE Asia. It aims to balance body, mind and spirit to help prevent illness and promote wellness. It uses a variety of products, including herbs, proteins, minerals and vitamins, and techniques, such as massage, exercise and meditation, to cleanse the body and restore balance.

Source The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain

Fighting Infection With Manuka Honey

Manuka honey may kill bacteria by destroying key bacterial proteins. Dr Rowena Jenkins and colleagues from the University of Wales Institute - Cardiff investigated the mechanisms of manuka honey action and found that its anti-bacterial properties were not due solely to the sugars present in the honey.

The work was presented this week (7-10 September), at the Society for General Microbiology's meeting at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. Meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was grown in the laboratory and treated with and without manuka honey for four hours. The experiment was repeated with sugar syrup to determine if the effects seen were due to sugar content in honey alone. The bacterial cells were then broken and the proteins isolated and separated on a system that displayed each protein as an individual spot. Many fewer proteins were seen from the manuka honey-treated MRSA cells and one particular protein, FabI, seemed to be completely missing. FabI is a protein that is needed for fatty acid biosynthesis. This essential process supplies the bacteria with precursors for important cellular components such as lipopolysaccarides and its cell wall. The absence of these proteins in honey-treated cells could help explain the mode of action of manuka honey in killing MRSA.

"Manuka and other honeys have been known to have wound healing and anti-bacterial properties for some time," said Dr Jenkins, "But the way in which they act is still not known. If we can discover exactly how manuka honey inhibits MRSA it could be used more frequently as a first-line treatment for infections with bacteria that are resistant to many currently available antibiotics".

Source: Dianne Stilwell Society for General Microbiology