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Did You Know?
By D.P. Agrawal


Did you know that snakebites can be cured with herbs?

 Researchers from Indian Institute of Chemical Biology and University of Calcutta have found that the seed extract of Strychnos nux vomica (SNV) - an Indian herb - could neutralise the toxins present in the venom of viper (Daboia russelii) and cobra (Naja kaouthia). The researchers isolat­ed the active compound from the seed extract and found that it protected ani­mals against the toxic effects of the venom. "The active compound, proba­bly an organic compound, may lead to the development of a herbal drug more effective than snake venom antiserum (serum with antibodies against snake venom)," says Antony Gomes, the lead author. "We think that it works by inac­tivating the toxic enzymes of the venom," he adds (Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, Vol 42, No 5, May 2004).

The venom contains a host of lethal enzymes that wreak havoc on healthy cells. Viper venom leads to excessive bleeding and build up of abnormal body fluid. Cobra venom cripples cardiac muscles and nerve cells. After preparing the seed extract of SNV, Gomes and his colleagues measured the lethal dose (a dose that killed lab mice) by injecting the venom of viper and cobra into the tail vein of male mice. The lethal doses for viper and cobra venom were found to be 2.4 microgrammes and 3.09 microgrammes, respectively. The extract even neutralised the adverse affects in guinea pigs and rats. The team also found that a combination of antiserum and seed extract was more potent against venom than antiserum alone.

Source: Herbal cure for snakebite

Biplab Das, Kolkata

Link: www.downtoearth.org.in

The tiny AMLA has been found to be a very healthy tonic.

The tree is called Emblica myrobalan in scientific parlance. It is a small, leafy tree that grows across India and bears an edi­ble fruit (termed Indian gooseberry by the British). A tree can bear fruits for 65-70 years. The berry is rich in pectin and vitamin C; it is an essential ingredient of the popular herbal tonic Chyawanprash. A single fruit con­tains more vitamin C than three oranges or 16 bananas. It is val­ued for its precious oil, which is used for treatment of hair and scalp problems. Amla oil is prepared from dried berries, which have been soaked in coconut oil for several days; this helps extract the oil soluble vitamins from the fruit. The fruit has unique medicinal properties. It improves eyesight and purifies blood: It helps treat bile and cough. It enhances food absorption. The berry is ideal for calming mild to moderate hyperacidity and other digestive problems. It for­tifies the liver, lungs and the nervous system.

In India, the area under amla cultivation has been expand­ing rapidly - from just about 3,000 hectares in the early 1980s to over 50,000 hectares in 2003. Current trends indicate that the area could increase to 1 lakh hectares by 2005. The fruit is cultivated mostly in Uttar Pradesh, followed by Gujarat. The plant can be grown on wasteland.

Source: Down To Earth

An Amla a Day Keeps the Docter Away

Mahendra Pandey

Link: www.downtoearth.org.in


Posted August 30th 2005

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