Posts Tagged ‘herb’

Comments of the Department of Ayush on “Heavy Metals in Ayurvedic Medicines”

September 3rd, 2008

Dr.Robert B. Saper of Department of Family medicine, Boston Medical Center along with others had published an article in JAMA, December 15, 2004 “Heavy Metal Content of Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine Products” which on the basis of testing of 70 samples of herbal medicinal products collected from grocery stores of Boston Area for heavy metals concluded that one out of every 5 Ayurvedic Herbal Medicinal Products originating from South Asia and available in Boston South Asian grocery stores contains potentially harmful levels of lead, mercury and/or arsenic. This article was widely reported in the Indian print media. In spite of methodological infirmities in the study carried out by Dr. Robert Saper and his associates, the Department of AYUSH enforced mandatory testing for heavy metals in respect of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani herbal products being exported from India w.e.f. 1.1.2006. Testing for heavy metals and other contaminant in Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani products is already a part of Good Manufacturing Practices notified in 2003.

A project for Physico chemical characterization and toxicity studies of 8 widely used Bhasmas (Rasa Aushadhies) was also sanctioned under the Golden Triangle Project which is being carried out by various laboratories of CSIR i.e. Indian Institute of Toxicological Research (IITR), Lucknow, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Hyderabad. Under this project, one of the reputed manufacturers of Rasa Aushadhies was chosen for manufacturing of the selected Rasa Aushadhies as per the classical texts which were made available to CSIR laboratories for physio chemical characterization and their toxicity studies. On the basis of 28 days toxicity studies, all the 8 Rasa Aushadhies have been found to be non-toxic. 90 days chronic studies are under progress. CSIR would be getting the results of this scientific research published to set at rest doubts regarding the safety of Rasa Aushadhies prepared properly as per classical texts. Further, the work of finalizing SOPs for the various herbo metallic compounds (Rasa Aushadhies) used in Ayurveda has been undertaken by the Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Committee of India. Supplementary Good Manufacturing Practices for Rasa Aushadhies have also been prepared of which draft publication has been done.
» Read more: Comments of the Department of Ayush on “Heavy Metals in Ayurvedic Medicines”

An Ancient Herb, Combined With Cows’ Milk, Can Boost the Body’s Immunity

August 13th, 2008

News wise — Eastern and Oriental medicine practitioners have long known that Ashwagandha, an herb commonly used in the 5,000-year old practice of Ayurvedic medicine, helps fight disease when used in combination with a liquid known as Anupana. Anupana may be derived from many different substances, from olive oil, to beer, to ghee. Each liquid is thought to have different properties, so an Ayurveda practitioner selects an Anupana that has the qualities that best fit a given situation. Traditionally, one method of administering Ashwagandha and milk was to boil them together.

A team of American researchers is examining whether drinking whole cows’ milk with the herb can increase the body’s white blood cells, which help boost immunity. They have found that it does.

This first-of-its-kind study was led by Heather Zwickey of the National College of Natural Medicine’s Helfgott Research Institute, Portland, OR, and her colleagues Jeremy Mikolai, Andrew Erlandsen, Andrew Murison, Will Gregory, Padma Raman-Caplan and Kimberly Brown. Mikolai, Erlandsen and Murison will be presenting the team’s findings during the 23rd annual meeting of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP;, being held August 13-16, 2008 in Phoenix, AZ. The full findings of the study are being published this fall.


According to Zwickey, investigations into herbal remedies rarely take into account how the herb has been administered throughout the tradition of the medicine’s life cycle, such as coupled or mixed with water, tea, or oil. While many consumers today may consume the herb with water or no liquid at all, researchers know that Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (WS)), has typically been taken with an Anupana substance. It is believed to aid in the digestion and effectiveness of the plant.

To determine if an anupana substance would help enhance Ashwagandha’s immune properties, the research team used milk in a co-administered intervention along with the herb extract. Cows’ milk was chosen over goats’ milk and other potential substances because Ayurvedic medicine considers it to be a strengthening, nutritive driver for medicines. This made it an appropriate choice for an immunological study. A follow-up study will compare the results of the herb extract alone to the combination of herb with milk and to placebo controls.
» Read more: An Ancient Herb, Combined With Cows’ Milk, Can Boost the Body’s Immunity

Ayurvedic Herb Extract Reduces Osteoarthritis

July 31st, 2008

A team of researchers led by an Indian scientist has found that an herbal extract of an Indian Frankincense Salai, commonly found in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, can effectively reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

The new study led by Siba Raychaudhuri, a faculty member of the University of California, Davis, in the United States found that arthritis patients taking the herbal remedy showed significant improvement in as little as seven days.

“The high incidence of adverse affects associated with currently available medications has created great interest in the search for an effective and safe alternative treatment,” she said.

During the study, the team conducted randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of 70 patients. The extract the researchers used was enriched with 30 pct AKBA (3-O-acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid), which is thought to be the most active ingredient In the plant.

“AKBA has anti-inflammatory properties, and we have shown that Salai (also known as Boswellia serrata) enriched with AKBA can be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee,” she added.

B. serrata has been used for thousands of years in the Indian system of traditional medicine known as “Ayurveda”.

Himalaya – UAS joint research

July 22nd, 2008

Bangalore-based Himalaya Drug Company, which has pioneered the contemporization of Ayurveda through the use of scientific research, recently signed an MoU with the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore (UAS, B) to facilitate collaborative research on medicinal herbs and plants with a view to discovering new therapeutic drugs, building a corpus of knowledge on herbs and preserving endangered herbs and plants.

Himalaya will study herbs and plants in specific regions to understand therapeutic benefits and differences in therapeutic properties of herbs across regions; prepare joint research projects; while UAS will assist in training of farmers to promote better agricultural practices, study and documentation of rare, endangered herbs; facilitate joint research projects on tissue culture of rare and endangered herbs and assist Himalaya in setting up a herb garden that will be a centre for national and international research activities.

In addition, UAS will provide training to farmers under Himalaya’s contract farming Programme, assist Himalaya in setting up a botanical garden which would serve as a centre for national and international research activities and provide technical assistance and education to Himalaya scientists as the company moves towards its process of organic certification.

» Read more: Himalaya – UAS joint research