Friday, January 29, 2016

Ginkgo, desmodium, Eschscholzia, ginseng plants

Ginkgo, desmodium, Eschscholzia, ginseng plants

Often it was believed find miracle plant, from remote regions, endowed with unique properties that cure many ills. If these travelers made regularly featured as ginkgo, desmodium the Eschscholzia or ginseng sometimes represent a passing fad, they really help to get back on the health track. What do the so-called exotic plants in herbal medicine? Do we really need? Many professionals think. For if some have surfed modes, disappearing thereafter to the general public, they have shown their advantages and are used daily. "The clove  is used for centuries. Its utility does not even discussed. We can not do without is the most classic anesthetic ", exclaims Françoise Thomas, MD, specializes in herbal medicine.

And examples abound. Most hypertensives are exotic: coffee, tea, of course, but also the kola nut, cocoa, yerba mate and guarana. Because their environmental conditions are at the origin of their active principles, often richer due to sometimes extreme conditions. "Harpagophytum, from Namibia, contains many iridoids, anti-inflammatory properties useful against arthritis , back pain, etc. It is a dryland plant, which is very difficult to grow outside its biotope complex ", says Jean-Michel Morel, herbalist.

The plants develop special properties indeed by the environments in which they live. "France has many habitats, but it has little tropical and arctic zones. It is normal that he lacks the associated plants ", takes the herbalist.

Ginseng, for example, is adaptogen. These types of plants facilitate the adaptation of the body to stress. In France, it has not yet found equivalent. Among the originating equatorial climate, benzoin balm, made ​​from Styrax benzoin, which comes from the island of Sumatra, is an antispasmodic and pulmonary antiseptic used against bronchitis among others. A majority of these exotic tropical climates comes from: "The griffonia comes from Africa. It serves as a supplement for depressive syndromes because it has a precursor of serotonin, "says Jean-Michel Morel." Bamboo is very good for spinal problems. In addition, it grows fast and renewed well ", continues Françoise Thomas.

But obviously, it should be careful. There is always a novelty factor or a spotlight that promotes a particular plant. Sometimes with exaggerated effect. At first, horse chestnut, now a common tree in our parks, was presented as alternate quinine. Far short of his virtues, however, it is quite useful against hemorrhoids and bleeding. "In the eighties, Canada fleabane was shown as the anti-inflammatory plant. Finally, it has not much effect as what was said. This is harpagophytum who took over ", says Jean-Michel Morel. This last plant is still without rival. Some tests are currently conducted around the knotted figwort (Scrophularianodosa), which possess the same active ingredient, harpagoside.

All exotic plants are not essential. Some were encouraged by the cumulative effect of novelty and exoticism, but can be replaced by native species. "Soy is given to women for problems associated with menopause. Yarrow however has the same effect ", says Françoise Thomas. Witch hazel shrub of North America, is recommended for venous insufficiency. "But the broom that grows in our forests is a venous tonic and blood thinner. It is equally interesting. Similarly the red vine ", ends this practitioner.

In reality, there are several plants for the same symptom is not serious. The key is to verify that it is preferable to use according to the patient's symptom. Because plants whose use was regulated are now fully integrated into traditional uses. The latest arrivals, however, have more difficulty in being accepted.

A list was drawn up by the European Medicine Agency (EMEA) to validate plants with traditional uses, and the effects are seen confirmed after thirty years. But since plants that arrive today do not allow for the decline in our society, they can not be on that list. Therefore, not being authorized for sale in therapy, they will never be able to integrate traditional care practices. The only way remaining to conduct studies proving their effects on the body. Faced with this vicious cycle where everything is based on the scientific validation, plants borrow other sales channels coexisting good products and famous stings. This is not without risk because such excesses can lead to health consequences. 

Ginkgo, always unique
Symbol of the return to life to have survived the Hiroshima atomic bomb, the Ginkgo biloba is a special case. It is unique in plant classification, which gives it particular principles. It has ginkgolides and bilobalide which act on the nervous system, helping the brain to withstand hypoxia and ischemia. Indicated in brain deficits, memory loss, it is nevertheless necessary to pay attention to its use and especially avoid some potentially dangerous drug combinations. A maximum daily dose has even been set at 0.6 micrograms because of its potentially allergenic compounds.

Desmodium, unmatched for liver
The properties of adscendens Desmodium is unparalleled to protect the liver  and treat viral hepatitis A and B. Between 1959 and 1963, Dr. Pierre Tubéry and his wife observe its hepato-protective properties while working at a clinic in Cameroon. Back in France, they will be taken with other scientists from the Faculty of Sciences of Toulouse botanical research, phytochemical, toxicological and pharmacological. In 1994, Olivier Heard, the Tours Faculty of Pharmacy, manages to explain the operation of desmodium. Despite numerous studies and its current use, it is not currently part of 
our pharmacopoeia.

The California poppy or Eschscholzia 
Naturalized in France, the California poppy  is used in herbal medicine to treat insomnia  and anxiety. Infuse 6 to 10 g per 0.5 liters of water for 15 minutes. Drink three times per day or after dinner in case of insomnia. Avoid associating it with alcohol or sedative drugs.

Growing ginseng?
Victim of its success, the Chinese ginseng, Panax ginseng, almost exclusively produced in China, is now rare. France in imports over 100 tonnes per year, four times more than in 1988. It is prohibited to harvest in China today. The culture may be a solution, but remains complicated. The company France Ginseng tent that had so far failed: cultivate and produce this plant that needs to grow for five to six years before being harvested. Philippe Brion, its director, explains: "We believe in the synergy between the photovoltaic and ginseng, which need shade in order to be economically viable. "It will take two or three years to see their roots in the market.

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