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Euphorbia Hirta or "tawa-tawa"

Tawa Tawa or Gatas Gatas (Euphorbia Hirt)

The Mindoro Post, within its article entitled "Dengue Fever Cure using Tawa tawa" (released The month of January 2010, utilized July 2010), creates, "many individuals understand and also have attested in order to the truth that these people and many more happen to be healed associated with dengue using a simple grass. This particular grass is known as Gatas Gatas within the land associated with Leyte. However in Butuan and Cagayan de Oro these people call this “Tawa Tawa”

· At the same time, a wesite upon Filipino therapeutic grass offers the organic category associated with Tawa Tawa grass as well as explains which, "its blossoms tend to be several, each about 5 to 8 cm across. Sepals as well as petals tend to be obovate-oblong, yellowish-green, as well as protected along with big, reddish-brown smears”

The effectiveness of Tawa Tawa Plant · One of the studies proving Tawa Tawa's efficacy is an investigatory project entitled "The Effectivity of Euphorbia hirta L. (Tawa-tawa), Prepared in Teabag Form, on Increasing Platelet Levels in Mus musculus (White Mice)." The said science project won the Student Research Presentation sponsored by the College of Agriculture atXavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan in thePhilippines.

· The said project, as the title suggests, probes on increasing blood platelet levels using Tawa Tawa plant. For the sake of conducting the actual research, students used white mice as their subject of experiment.

Tawa Tawa Tea for Dengue Treatment

·, in its flagship newscast, "24 Oras" aired on August 2, 2010, featured Tawa Tawa plant as a cure for dengue. The said feature informs the public of the easiest way to derive the actual curative substance out of Tawa Tawa -- by simply boiling its leaves!

· A site called "Foodrecap" shares an illustrative step-by-step procedure of making Tawa Tawa tea for dengue treatment. It further writes, "Finding this plant was an easy task." Author : Aga Nuls
Herbal Remedy of Dengue Fever: Euphorbia Hirta Plant (Mangagaw plant)

A group of second year Medical students from the city of Cebu, Philippines were doing observation clinic in one of the Government hospitals in the city in the middle of the Dengue outbreak. As they took history from one patient to another, they noticed a common sighting in the patients' bedside, a brownish; tea colored concoction in a mineral water bottle caught their attention. The future then asked the patients what it was and they were amazed. It was an extract made from an herb known as "mangagaw" or scientifically known as Euphorbia hirta. All these patients claim that the plant extracts increase platelet. Having scanned their books, the students knew that there was no treatment for Dengue but IV fluids and close monitoring of physical and hematological status of the patients. With over 4 children dying everyday on the third day of the outbreak, the students came up with one future agenda. They have found their research project; to determine the thrombogenic or platelet increasing property of Euphorbia hirta to the efforts of preventing the deadly complications of Dengue.

The group started with a search for similar studies and studies made about the Euphorbia hirta. The search resulted with only one study, a BS Biology student from the University of the Philippines, Cebu who made a study about the plant by giving the "mangagaw" extract orally to mice and testing their blood platelet count. He claimed that he noted an increase platelet count on the mice but later discovered that mice have normally higher platelet counts compared to humans and there was no significant difference on the platelet counts of control mice that were not given the concoction.

Dengue is probably one of the leading causes of death in children in the Philippines. It is caused by the Dengue Virus which is transmitted by a mosquito vector known as the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The incubation period of this deadly disease is 4-5 days from the time bitten by the mosquito. Dengue may present as a simple cough and colds symptoms, flu like symptoms or simply fever and muscle pains. Dengue fever has 3 entities or types: The Dengue Fever, Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever and Dengue Shock Syndrome. The Classical Dengue Fever is characterized by low to moderate fever, muscle pains and body malaise. On the third or fifth day of illness, the fever would subside. This is considered as the most critical stage wherein thrombocytopenia or decreasing of platelets occurs. In this type, the disease is usually self-limited after 6-7 days since it is a viral infection or in some cases progresses to the severe type. The Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever is a more severe type of Dengue. It could either be a progression from the classical dengue fever or a direct infection. It presents with low to moderate grade fever for 3-5 days and eventually, as the virus invades the capillary wall making this microvasculature highly permeable. Leakage of intravascular fluid follows as well as the platelets. This explains the thrombocytopenia. The severity of capillary wall damage then causes the rupture and is manifested by the sudden and intense bleeding in this type. The Dengue Shock Syndrome is the result or the end product of the complications from the hemorrhagic type. The intense loss of blood from the bleeding caused by the rupture of the vessels leads to hypotension and shock. The hemorrhagic and the shock types of Dengue have very poor prognosis.

The Euphorbia hirta plant, commonly known as the famous Mangagaw plant is believed to be the herbal remedy of dengue fever. All the pharmacologic properties of this plant are purely hearsays and undocumented. No studies were made about this plant yet but it being used by common people through extracts when suspecting dengue even with the warning of the local health authorities regarding the verification of the plant's medicinal properties. The Euphorbia hirta is believed to have an immune-enhancing effect, an anti-histaminic effect and a thrombogenic effect.

Determining The Thrombogenic Effect Of Euphorbia Hirta Plant Concoction To Mice

The group decided to continue or to more or less do the same procedure done by the previous research on Euphorbia hirta since the other option which was using the patients in the hospitals as the population for blood testing, was not possible due the rules and regulations of the research commission. Eight normal and healthy mice with identical sizes were then collected. Baseline platelet counts were taken from each mouse. Four were the control and were not given the concoction while the other four were the subjects and each was given 10cc of the concoction per day in 5 equal settings in a period of 3 days. After the third day, platelet count was taken from each of the mouse. The platelet counts of the subject mice were then compared to the platelet counts of the control mice.

The group noted that after the experiment, the eight mice appeared healthy and active. Regarding the platelet counts, there was no significant difference of the platelet counts from the subject mice in comparison with the control mice. Having confirmed the results and data gathered from the experiment, the researchers then concluded: "Euphorbia hirta has no thrombogenic effect or platelet-increasing effect on mice."
Article Source:
Author: Zandro Cabaral

'Tawa tawa as anti-dengue treatment' - Marquez

KALIBO, Aklan - Governor Carlito Marquez has urged the dengue patients to use the local 'tawa tawa' plant as potential cure of hemorrhagic fever caused by virus-carrying mosquitoes.
In a meeting with the municipal mayors and health professionals at the Provincial Governor's Office, Marquez directed the local officials to adopt urgent measures to prevent and control the prevalence of dengue disease in the barangays.
"The deadly dengue virus has no specific drug treatment caused by mosquitoes and this tawa tawa has helped some of our people in the communities," the governor said.
Alarmed over the rising cases of dengue, Marquez also urged the public to clean the surroundings of the possible breeding grounds of mosquitoes, practice the four S to eradicate dengue and consult the doctor for medication.

Known as Euphorbia hirta, the tawa tawa in the Philippines grows anywhere, has natural enzymes within that stabilize the membranes of the blood vessels, preventing internal bleeding of patients, according to WikiAnswers website.
Marquez also encouraged local executives to activate their Municipal Health Board and to intensify the campaign on the breeding grounds of killer mosquitoes.
Provincial Health Officer II Dr. Emma Cortes said the Aklan provincial hospital has reported a shortage of rooms and beds due to the rising incidence of dengue cases. Aklan dengue cases reached 292 as of July 31, the most cases were reported in the towns of Kalibo, Numancia, New Washington and Banga.
Department of Health (DOH) officials earlier raised concerns of the 'overdosage' of tawa tawa and other herbal products to cure dengue fever. Health experts said there is a need for thorough clinical study of the efficacy of tawa tawa on dengue cases. In many instances, tawa tawa increases the platelet count in the blood of the dengue patients.
The herbal medication of dengue patients is accepted in the barrios as a practical and effective way to treat the dengue hemorrhagic fever. It is well known to those who have tried it or witnessed the testimonies of dengue patients.
Tangalan mayor Gene Fuentes said three patients from his town were treated by the tawa tawa, testifying for the effectiveness of the local medicinal plants to treat dengue fever.

Anti microbial activity of Euphorbia hirta leaf extract
"Eat leeks in March and wild garlic in May, and all the year after the physicians may play." Traditional Welsh rhyme (Tyler, V. E. 1987.)
"An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Traditional American rhyme
Clinical microbiologists have two reasons to be interested in the topic of anti-microbial plant extracts. First, it is very likely that these phytochemicals will find their way into the arsenal of anti-microbial drugs prescribed by physicians; several are already being tested in humans (see below). It is reported that, on average, two or three antibiotics derived from microorganisms are launched each year (Clark, A. M. 1996). After a downturn in that pace in recent decades, the pace is again quickening as scientists realize that the effective life span of any antibiotic is limited. Worldwide spending on finding new anti-infective agents (including vaccines) is expected to increase 60% from the spending levels in 1993 (Alper, J. 1998.). New sources, especially plant sources, are also being investigated. Second, the public is becoming increasingly aware of problems with the overprescription and misuse of traditional antibiotics.
In addition, many people are interested in having more autonomy over their medical care. A multitude of plant compounds (often of unreliable purity) is readily available over-the-counter from herbal suppliers and natural-food stores, and self-medication with these substances is commonplace. The use of plant extracts, as well as other alternative forms of medical treatments, is enjoying great popularity in the late 1990s. Earlier in this decade, approximately one-third of people surveyed in the United States used at least one "unconventional" therapy during the previous year (Eisenberg, D. M., et al., 1993). It was reported that in 1996, sales of botanical medicines increased 37% over 1995 (Klink, B. 1997). It is speculated that the American public may be reacting to over prescription of sometimes-toxic drugs, just as their predecessors of the 19th century (see below) reacted to the overuse of bleeding, purging, and calomel (Yankauer, A. 1997).
Plants are known to contain innumerable biologically active compounds (1), which possess antibacterial (2,3) properties. Today, nearly 88% of the global population turn to plant derived medicines as their first line of defense for maintaining health and combating diseases. Currently, people of Asia are utilizing plants as part of their routine health management. New sources are also being investigated. It is esteemed that there are 2,50,000 to 5,00,000 species of plants on Earth (4).
Plants exhibit a natural and very high resistance to bacterial diseases, such resistant depends on many defense mechanisms that act at different levels of infection. Among which the synthesis of anti-microbial substances is particularly important. In this respect the most investigated texa are the angiosperms (monocotyledons and oligosaccharides are released from the plants which act as elicitors of defense substances such as phytoalexins (Novtanagel, et al., 1983).
The antibacterial substances isolated so far from higher plants are active only at higher concentrations, and act chiefly against gram-positive bacteria (Barnabas and Nagarajan, 1988). However, in many developing countries like India, China and Brazil about 50% of available drugs come from medicinal plants and in industrialized countries plant make up the raw material for processes which synthesize pure chemical derivatives (Penso, 1980). Very large number of secondary metabolites produced from microorganisms, plants and marine organisms has been identified. These natural products include some of the most potent inhibitors of cellular metabolic reactions. Due to anti-microbial actions some of the biologically active compounds have become excellent sources of new and effective drugs, disinfectants (Ruggieri, 1976).
Recent reports on medicinal plants explain that under some circumstances, higher plants produce antibiotic compounds (Phytoalexins) in response to infection (Gnanamanickarn, 1981; Haenen, 1985). Such compounds have been examined for their anti microbial and anti fungal actions. However, there is no compelling reason to suppose that plant anti-infective agents are active against human or veterinary pathogens. Additionally the quantity of phytoalexins produced in comparation to other constitive agents is often small, even in infected plants (Mitscher, 1987). These approach doses have the attraction that phytoalexins are highly active compounds produced in response to infection. One approach that has been used for the discovery of anti microbial agents from higher plants is based on the evaluation of medicinal plants extracts that are well known in local medicine. Currently, this approach to the problem has the advantage that human clinical experience of the use of the agents is well established, but awaits scientific contribution of efficacy, toxicity and mechanisms of action of the agents employed.
In the present study, an attempt has been made to enrich the knowledge of anti-microbial activity of Euphorbia hirta plant traditionally used in Andhra Pradesh. As there is no reference in literature regarding the anti-microbial activity of this plant, it was, therefore, considered worthwhile to study the anti-microbial activity against various pathogenic gram positive bacteria, gram negative bacteria and pathogenic fungi.
The Impact of Natural Products on Medicine: An Overview
Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine is known as the richest, first and the foremost among the other branches of medicine knowledge that is available elsewhere on the globe. Experienced individuals of this art amply recorded much of the information. However the first codified information occurred as written record in ‘Atharvana Veda’ in Sanskrit language. It was because of the prolific importance in human health and disease, the natural medicine involved all aspects of treatments and had attained the status of Veda known as ‘Ayurveda’. Out of many ramifications that followed this basic knowledge into various other sister branches, the most important and fundamental cure was associated with medicinal plants and to a lesser extent with the use of a few natural, mineral, animal and certain ills. Thus the written records medicinal knowledge had appeared very late and the material worlds was tried as a source of medicine. Ayurveda mean “the knowledge that is gained to save the life period with comparable optimum happy existence and potential working days with the use of naturally occurring materials”.
Plants contribute a great deal to wide range of industries such as pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, agrochemicals, cosmetics, industrial raw chemical etc. and substantial portion of all the currently prescribed drugs are directly or indirectly derived from plant sources (Banarji, 1993). A recent investigation revealed that approximately 60% of the anti-tumor and anti-infective agents that are commercially available are in various stages of clinical development originate from naturul sources (Shu, 1998). The developmental cost of synthetic drugs has increased tremendously hence the drug discovery taken an economical path utilizing naturul products. Research in natural product area continues now because of the presence of the diversified structural features of the secondary metabolites, which may act as therapeutic agents. It is important to note that some of the remarkable drugs have been isolated from common plants, which are not known to have any medicinal reputation in the folklore or indigenous system of medicine. For example, most potent antileukemic drugs, vincristine and vinblastine were obtained (Grabley and Thiericke, 1999) by chance from Catharanthus roseus but this plant was reported earlier to have only hypoglycemic activity.
Distribution of Medicinal Plants:
Macroanalysis of the distribution of medicinal plants show that they are distributed across diverse habitats and landscape elements. Around 70% of India’s medicinal plants are found in tropical areas mostly in the various forest types spread across the Western and Eastern Ghats, the Vindhyas, Chotta Nagpur plateau, Aravalis and Himalayas. Although the 30% of the medicinal plants are found in the temperate and alpine areas and higher altitudes the include species of higher medicinal value. These macro studies (Foye, 1981) show that one third are trees and equal portion shrubs and the remaining one-third herbs, grasses and climbers. Very small portions of the mericinal plants are lower plants like lichens, ferns, algae etc.
Trees = 33%
Shrubs = 20%
Herbs = 32%
Climbers = 12%
Others = 3%
History of Drug development:
Examination of the history of medicine and pharmacy reveals a definite pattern. Humankind first utilized materials found in the environmental on an empirical basis to cure various ailments. These plants, animal parts, and even micro organisms were initially employed in unmodified form, then as concentrated extracts to improve their intensity and uniformity of action. Subsequently, pure chemical compounds responsible for the activity were isolated and finally, using these compounds as prototypes, synthetic chemical entities were developed that possessed even greater activity (Sitting, 1979).
The problem with these new synthetic drugs was that as their potency was enhanced due to their side effects and also their cost. Their use required the close supervision of an expert, a physician, to employ them to best advantage. These three factors caused intelligent people to look around and say, there must be a better way. Lets backup a bit and see if for some conditions we cannot use the crude drugs with out so much processing. They are generally mild, with out serious side effects. In addition, they are much cheaper than synthetic drugs, and we can select them ourselves, with out obtaining a prescription from a physician. Besides, we don’t know everything about herbs. May be they can cure things that synthetic medicines can not.
Natural Products Screening:
In a biological screening the selection criterion is usually a wanted biological effect aiming at a defined pharmaceutical application (target directed biological screening). In contrast to any biological screening, screening approaches such as the physicochemical and chemical methods possess no prior correction to be defined biological effect. Here selection of promising secondary metabolites from the natural sources is based on the physicochemical properties, or on the chemical reactivity, respectively. In both strategies, the first step is chromatography in order to separate the compounds from the complex mixtures obtained from different natural sources. In a second (analytical) step, physicochemical properties or chemical reactivates of the separated secondary metabolites are analyzed.
Today, successes in drug discovery and development obviously depend on the therapeutic value of the bioassays running in the primary biological screening and on the period required for identification of first promising lead compounds in order to start lead optimization procedures e.g. with combinatorial synthetic approaches. Therefore, biological screening attempts have been developed to powerful concepts, which integrate and make use of recent findings in molecular modeling and cell biology yielding in High Throughput Screening (HTS) (Woodson, et al., 1957). Today’s dealing with HTS a number of pharmaceutical companies reach a turn over more than fifteen different assay system a year, in which 3,00,000 samples or even more are tested. This confronts the scientist with more than 5,00,000 data points that indicate the need for efficient automation at all stages of HTS, even data collection, data quality control and analysis. Any how , HTS is an interesting time over the next few years for the development of natural drug discovery.
Plants and other natural products have been in use for the human sufferings from time immemorial. The search for new chemical entities obtained by screening natural sources such as plant extracts and microbial fermentations has led to the discovery of many clinically useful drugs that play a major role in the treatment of human diseases. Today, higher plants continue to retain their historical significance as important sources of novel compounds useful directly medicinal agents, as lead compounds for synthetic or semi-synthetic structure modifications and optimisation as biochemical or pharmacological probes.
During the course of evolution, plants have acquired effective defence mechanisms, which secure their survival amidst hostile environment and enemies. Thick cuticular waxes, thorns, prickles, sticky hairs are some of the familiar protective features. Tough less obvious, more important subtle defence mechanisms are based on chemicals (secondary metabolites), which protect the plants from the attack of insects, microbes and other predators. Many plants produce a stratagem of chemicals, which make them unsuitable for utilization by insects and other predators by importing repellency, toxicity, unpalatability or biochemical in compatibility. An understanding of these, which may be called ‘natural defence technologies’, might therefore provide clues for the development of new biotechnological procedures based on ecologically acceptable biocides (Banerji, 1993).
The plants on only continue to retain their historical significance as important sources for development of new drugs, but also are extremely useful as sources of “lead”,
Compounds for structural modification and optimisation that can be employed as specific probes in biochemical studies. More recently as the lead compound generation and drug discovery processes have been significantly influenced by emerging approaches such as advanced genomics combinatorial chemistry and computer assisted drug design. However, occurrence of any array of organic structures in nature has directed natural product research towards never frontiers dealing with biotechnology, physiology and ecology.
Despite of many important past contributions from the plant kingdom, a great many folklore medicinal plant species have remained unknown to science and relatively few have been surveyed systematically for biologically active constituents, it has been estimated that only 10 – 15 % of the existing plat species have been systematically studies for the prescience of biologically active compounds, which a challenge to the chemists specializing in natural products and to pharmacologists. The powerful new chemical and biological technologies now permit receptor isolation characterization so that drug design principles can be applied rapidly to fast track natural product leads as never before.
Plant Products as Anti microbial Agents:
The search for drugs derived from plants has accelerated in recent years. Ethanopharmacologists, botanists, micrbiologists, and natural-products, chemists are combing the earth for phyto chemicals, which could be developed for treatment of infectious diseases. While 25 to 50 % of current pharmaceuticals are derived from plants, none are used as anti microbials. Traditional healers have long used plants to prevent or cure infectious conditions; Western medicine is trying to duplicate their successes. Plants are rich in a wide verity of secondary metabolites, such as tannins, terpinoides, alkaloids and flavonoids, which have been found in vitro to have anti microbial properties. Science many of these compounds are currently available as unregulated botanical preparations and their use by the public is increasing rapidly, clinicians need to consider the consequences of patients self – medicating with these preparations.
Finding healing power in plants is an ancient idea. People on all continents have long applied poultices and imbibed infusions of hundreds, if not thousands, of indigenous plants, dating back to pre history. There is evidence that Neanderthals living 60,000 yrs ago in present – day Iraq used plants such as holy hock (Stockwell, 1988); these plants are still widely used in Ethanomedicine around the world. Historically, therapeutic results have been mixed; Quite often cures or symptom relief resulted poisoning occurred at a high rate, also. Currently, a very few are intended for use as anti microbial, since we have relied on bacterial and fungal sources for these activities. Since advent of antibiotics in the 1950s., the use of plant derivatives as anti microbials has been virtually nonexistent. Clinical microbiologists have two regions to be interested in the topic of anti- microbial plant extracts. First it is very likely that these phyto chemicals will find their way in to the arsenal of anti microbial drugs prescribed by physicians; several are already being tested in humans. It is reported that, on average, two or three antibiotics derived from micro organisms are launched each year (Clark, 1996). After downturn in that pace in resent decades, the pace is again quickening as scientists release that the effective lifespan of any antibiotic is limited. New sources, especially plant sources, are also benign investigated. Second, the public is becoming increasingly aware of problems with the over-prescription and misuse of traditional antibiotics. In addition, many people are interested in having more autonomy over their medical care. A multitude of plant compounds (often of unreliable purity) is readily available over-the-counter from herbal suppliers and natural-food sources.
It is estimated that there are 250,000 to 500,000 species of plants on Earth (Borris, 1996). A relatively small percentage (1to10%) of these are used as foods by both humans and other animal species. It is possible that even more are used for medicinal purposes (Moermen, 1996). Mainstream medicine is increasingly receptive to the use of anti-microbial and other drugs derived from plants, as traditional antibiotics (products of micro organisms or their synthesized derivatives) become ineffective, as new, particularly viral, diseases remain intractable to this type of drug. Another driving factor for the renewed interest in plant antimicrobials in the past 20 years has been rapid rate of (plant) species extinction. There is a feeling among natural-products chemists and microbiologists alike that the multitude of potentially use full phytochemical structures which could be synthesised chemically is at risk of benign lost irretrievably (Borries, 1996). There is a scientific discipline none as ethanobotany (or ethanopharmacology), whose goal is to utilise the impressive array of knowledge assembled by indigenous people about the plant and animal products they have used to maintain health ( Rojas, et al., 1992 & Silva, et al., 1996) some, such as terpinoids give plants their odours; others (Quinones and Tannins ) are responsible for plant pigment.
Breakthrough in the research of natural products:
Natural products have long been and will continue to be extremely important as sources of medicinal agents and models for the design of synthetic and semi synthetic novel substances for treating human disease. The commercialisation of some modern drugs derived from plants or microbes is given below Table 1.
Table1: Commercialisation of some modern drugs derived from nature
S. No
Drug Commercialised as
1 Manufacturing of Morphine (1) Natural compound Analgesic
2 Acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin) (2) Synthetic analog Analgesic,
Anti phlogistic etc.,
3 Penicillin (3) Natural compound Antibacterial
4 Cyclosporin A (4) Natural compound Immunosuppresant
5 Artemisinin (5) Natural compound Antimalarial
6 Lovastatin (6) Natural compound Antihyperlipidemic
7 Acarbose (7) Natural compound Anti diabetic
8 Paclitaxel (8) Natural compound
A semi-synthetic derivative
9 Docetaxel (9) Semi-synthetic derivative Anticancer
10 FK 506 (10) Natural compound Immunosuppresant
11 Irinotecan (11) Semi-synthetic derivative Anticancer
12 Topotecan (12) Semi-synthetic derivative Anticancer
13 Migliton (13) Synthetic analog Anti diabetic
Classically plants have played a dominant role in the introduction of new therapeutic agents and continue to occupy important niche in the modern medicine. At least 130 drugs, either single chemical entities extracted from higher plants or synthetically modified, are currently in use. Some of these are now being made synthetically modified, are currently used. Some of these are now being made synthetically for economic reasons. For example, antipyretic and analgesic properties of the bark willow-tree (Cortex salicis) was already known around 400BC by the Greeks and Romans. It was used for more than two thousand years, until the middle of the last century its main bioactive principle salicin(14), the a-glucoside of salicylic alcohol was identified. Degradation reactions of salicin yielded salicylic acid(15) featuring improved analgesic, antipyretic, antiseptic, antiphlogistic and antirhuematic properties. Nearly 100 years later, the synthesis of aspirin (acetyl salicylic acid) was guided by natural salicylic acid featured as most successful drug worldwide ( Grabley and Thiericke, 1999).
Reserpine (16), isolated from from the roots of Indian plant Rauwolfia serpentina by M/s CBIA, India was heralded as a revolutionary event in the treatment of hypertension and CNS activity (Foye, 1981; Sitting,1979; Woodson et al., 1957). Some of the most important chemotherapeutic agents, currently use, for the treatment of certain types of cancers viz., Hodgkin’s disease, lymph sarcoma, and leukemia in children, are vincristine (17) and vinblastine (18), both isolated from Catharanthus roseus( Budavari, 1989; Taylor and Fransworth 1975).
Etoposide (20), developed from the antineoplastic lignan podophyllotoxin(19), a constituent of Himalayan tree Podophyllum hexandrum, is currently being used against testicular cancer, small cell lung cancer and lymphomas (Kraska, 1979; Loike, 1982 and Budavari, 1989). Paclitaxel (8), previously known in the scientific literature as taxol, a diterpenoid constituent of several Taxus sp. Is effectively in the treatment of lung cancer, metastatic breast cancer and malignant melanoma (Suffness, 1993; Suffness,1995 and George et al., 1995).
Irenotecam (11), an analogue of quinoline alkaloid camptothecin (21), first isolated from the Chinese tree Comptothca acuminata, but now obtained mostly from the Indian tree, Mappia foetida (Wall et al., 1966; Govindachari and Viswanathan 1972) is being used in Japan for the treatment of lung, ovarian and cervical cancer (Pitmesil and Pomedo, 1995; Cheng, 1995). As a matter of fact, development of few antineoplastic therapeutic agents based on natural products leads is proving to be a fertile area of activity (Petit et al., 1994 and Valeriote, 1994). Several derivatives of camptothecin (21), besides Irenotecan (11) already refereed to above, are now in clinical phase, and mention may be made of Topotecan (12) and 9-aminocamptothecin (22), both of them have shown promising activity (Kinghorn and Seo, 1996). besides Irenotecan (11) already refereed to above, are now in clinical phase, and mention may be made of Topotecan (12) and 9-aminocamptothecin (22), both of them have shown promising activity (Kinghorn and Seo, 1996). Comptothecin (21) itself has potent antineoplastic activity, but has serious side effects, which includes bleeding. Some of the biologically active natural products have proved useful as tools in drug discovery. A good example is Forskolin (23), a diterpene from the roots of the Indian plant Coleus forskohlii, which is being used in the activation of adenylate cyclase, in receptor binding assay and as an antihypertensive (Seamon, 1984).
The herb Artemisia annua L. has been used traditionally in China for treatment of fevers. It has yielded and effective antimalarial, a sesquiterpene peroxide, artemisinin (5). The compound is active against both chliroquine-sensitive and chloroquine-resistent strains of Plasmodium falsiparum and P. vivax, and is equall effective against cerebral malaria (Huang, 1984). Artemether (24), a simple derivative of artemisinin, has a better clinical profile, and is under clinical development (Bai,1993; Da-Yuan,1987; and Murray,1997). Gomishin (25), a lignan from the fruits of Chinese medicinal plant Schizandra chinensis, has hepatoprotective activity as revealed from studies carried out in China and Japan, and is now under clinical trails for the treatment of chronic hepatitis (Dev, 1997).
The Chinese plant Sophora substrata has been used in chaina for the treatment of stomach troubles, and Sophoradin (26) a chalkone, isolated from this has shown significant anti-gastric ulcer activity; a synthetic compound, (27) developed after this lead is now in clinical use (Allen, 1985). An alkaloid, named Huperizine A (28), has been isolated from the plant Huperzai serrata used in some parts of China to allevate memory disorders has been demonstrated to be a powerful acetyl choline esterase (AchE) inhibitor, and is being clinically evaluated for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (Bai, 1993).
Ayurveda (Indian system of medicine): potential and opportunity
The origin of Ayurveda is lost in prehistoric antiquity, but its characteristic concepts appear to have matured between 2500 and 500BC in India. The word Ayurveda derived from ‘Ayus’ meaning life, and ‘Veda’, meaning Knowledge, thus, Ayurveda literally means science of life.
Disease, according to Ayurveda (Dahannkon, 1989), can arise from body and/or mind due to external factors or intrinsic causes. Ayurvedic treatment is aimed at the patient as an organic whole, and treatment consists of salubrious use of drugs, diets and certain practices. Ayurveda has vast literature in Sanskrit and various Indian languages, covering all aspects of diseases, therapeutics and their methodical preparations. It has evolved its own theoretical base, which is difficult to comprehend it terms of modern scientific concepts.
In Ayurveda, Medicinal preparations are invariably complex mixtures, being derived from plant and animal products as also minerals and metals. Earliest references to such plants are to be found in Rig-Veda and Atharvana Veda, dating back to second millennium BC. Charaka Samhita (900 BC) is the first recorded treatise fully devoted to the concepts and practice of Ayurveda. The next land mark in the Ayurvedic literature is Sushruta Samhita (600 BC), which has special emphasis on surgery. After Charaka and Sushruta, and Vagbhatta are the Vroohat Traya (Powerful Triad) of Ayurveda (Dev, 1997).
The earliest contribution of Ayurveda to modern drug development is Reserpine (16), which is a minor alkaloid of the Ayurvedic drug plant Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina). It has received international attention and in a way rekindled interest of researchers in identifying possible leads from natural products. The next landmark is the isolation of antihyperlipoproteinemic (hypolipidemic) steroids, Z-guggulsterone (29) and E- guggulsterone (30) from the gum resin of Commiphora wightti (Patil et al., 1972; Nityanad and kapoor, 1972).
Roots of Asparagus recemosus are well known in Ayurveda as galactogogue, and preparation based on these are used in case of threatened abortion. Shatavarin-I (31), a component of this plant material has been shown to produce a specific and competitive block of oxytocin induced contraction of rat, guinea pig and rabbit uteri in situ (Gaitonde and Jetmalani, 1969). The active compounds of Andrographis paniculata and Picrorrhiza kurroa have been identified as Andrographolide (32), and Picrosides (picroside-I (33), picroside-II (34) respectively (Anderson and Voorcher, 1980).
Seeds of Butea frondosa constitute an important component of Ayurvedic anthelmintic preparations. Palasomin (35) has been identified as the active principle from B. frondosa (Dev, 1997). Psoralea corylifolia seed powder is having much value in Ayurveda for the treatment of vitiligo and other skin diseases. Psoralen (36), the active principle from this plant stimulates formation of melanin (Anderson and Voorher, 1980). Bakuchiol (37), another active component, has been shown to prosess potent antibacterial activity, and is effective against psoriasis, a skin disease (Mehta, 1973 and Rao et al., 1973). The use of neem (Azadirachta indica) in the treatment of fevers is available in folklore literature and researchers have isolated Gedunin (38), an antimalarial agent. This tetranor-triterpene showed good in-vitro activity against certain clones of the causative organism Plasmodium falsiparum (Mackinnomm, 1977).
Among the alkaloids isolated from Tylophora indica, tylophorine (Govindachari, 1973 and Govindachari, 1974) (39) has a paralyzing action on the heart muscle, but a stimulating action on the muscles of the blood vessels and was found to show significant anticancer activity (Chopra et al., 1937 and Rao et al., 1970). Cyclostachine A (40) was isolated from Piper trichostachyon and was found to have anticonvulsant, antifungal, antibacterial and anti-TB activities (Joshi et al., 1975; Wagner and Wolff, 1977). Himachalol (41) and Centdarol (42) isolated from Cedrus deodara exhibited pronounced spasmolytic activity (Srimal and Dhauhan, 1973). Curcumine (43) is a major constituent of Curcuma longa, which was reported to possess local as well as systemic anti-inflammatory property (Srimal and Dhauhan, 1973).
Extraction Methods
Advice abounds for the amateur herbalist on how to prepare healing compounds from plants and herbs. Water is almost universally the solvent used to extract activity. At home, dried plants can be ingested as teas (plants steeped in hot water) or, rarely, tinctures (plants in alcoholic solutions) or inhaled via steam from boiling suspensions of the parts. Dried plant parts can be added to oils or petroleum jelly and applied externally. Poultices can also be made from concentrated teas or tinctures (Brantner, A., and E. Grein. 1994, Thomson, W. A. R. (ed.). 1978).
Scientific analysis of plant components follows a logical pathway. Plants are collected either randomly or by following leads supplied by local healers in geographical areas where the plants are found (Martin, G. J. 1995). Initial screenings of plants for possible antimicrobial activities typically begin by using crude aqueous or alcohol extractions and can be followed by various organic extraction methods. Since nearly all of the identified components from plants active against microorganisms are aromatic or saturated organic compounds, they are most often obtained through initial ethanol or methanol extraction. In fact, many studies avoid the use of aqueous fractionation altogether. The exceptional water-soluble compounds, such as polysaccharides (e.g., starch) and polypeptides, including fabatin (Zhang, Y., and K. Lewis. 1997) and various lectins, are commonly more effective as inhibitors of pathogen (usually virus) adsorption and would not be identified in the screening techniques commonly used. Occasionally tannins and terpenoids will be found in the aqueous phase, but they are more often obtained by treatment with less polar solvents. Table 3 lists examples of extraction solvents and the resultant active fractions reported in recent studies. Compounds which, according to the literature, partition exclusively in particular solvents are indicated in boldface type in the table.
TABLE 3. Solvents used for active component extraction
Any part of the plant may contain active components. For instance, the roots of ginseng plants contain the active saponins and essential oils, while eucalyptus leaves are harvested for their essential oils and tannins. Some trees, such as the balsam poplar, yield useful substances in their bark, leaves, and shoots (Thomson, W. A. R. (ed.). 1978).
For alcoholic extractions, plant parts are dried, ground to a fine texture, and then soaked in methanol or ethanol for extended periods. The slurry is then filtered and washed, after which it may be dried under reduced pressure and redissolved in the alcohol to a determined concentration. When water is used for extractions, plants are generally soaked in distilled water, blotted dry, made into a slurry through blending, and then strained or filtered. The filtrate can be centrifuged (approximately 20,000 × g, for 30 min) multiple times for clarification (Cichewicz, R. H., and P. A. Thorpe. 1996, Taylor, R. S. L. et al., 1996.). Crude products can then be used in disc diffusion and broth dilution assays to test for antifungal and antibacterial properties and in a variety of assays to screen for antiviral activity, as described below.
Natural-products chemists further purify active chemicals from crude extracts by a variety of methods. Petalostemumol, a flavanol from purple prairie clover, was obtained from the ethanol extract by partitioning between ethyl acetate and water, followed by partitioning between n-hexane and 10% methanol. The methanol fraction was chromatographed and eluted with toluene (Hufford, C. D. et at., 1993). Terpenoid lactones have been obtained by successive extractions of dried bark with hexane, CHCl3, and methanol, with activity concentrating in the CHCl3 fraction (Rao, K. V. et al., 1993). The chemical structures of the purified material can then be analyzed. Techniques for further chemical analysis include chromatography, bioautography, radioimmunoassay, various methods of structure identification, and newer tools such as fast atom bombardment mass spectrometry, tandem mass spectroscopy (Rinehart, K. L., et al., 1990), high-performance liquid chromatography, capillary zone electrophoresis, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and X-ray cystallography (Borris, R. P. 1996).
Recently, Eloff (Eloff, J. N. 1998) examined a variety of extractants for their ability to solubilize antimicrobials from plants, as well as other factors such as their relative ranking as biohazards and the ease of removal of solvent from the fraction. The focus of the study was to provide a more standardized extraction method for the wide variety of researchers working in diverse settings. Although it is not one of the more frequently used extractants in studies published to date, acetone received the highest overall rating. In fact, in a review of 48 articles describing the screening of plant extracts for antimicrobial properties in the most recent years of the Journal of Natural Products, the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, and the International Journal of Pharmacognosy, only one study used acetone as an extractant. Of the solvents listed in Table 3, which are reported in the recent literature with the highest frequency, Eloff ranked them in the order methylene dichloride, methanol, ethanol, and water. Table 4 displays the breakdown of scores for the various solvents studied. The row indicating the number of inhibitors extracted with each solvent points to two implications: first, that most active components are not water soluble, supporting the data reported in Table 3, and second, that the most commonly used solvents (ethanol and methanol, both used as initial extractants in approximately 35% of the studies appearing in the recent literature) may not demonstrate the greatest sensitivity in yielding antimicrobial chemicals on an initial screening. This disparity should be examined as the search for new antimicrobials intensifies.
TABLE 4. Comparison of extractants on different parameters based on a five-point scale (1 to 5) and with different weights allocated to the different parameters
Euphorbia hirta (Euphorbia)
Botanic Name
Euphorbia hirta
Common Name Euphorbia, (Pill-bearing Spurge E. pilulifera) Asthma Weed, Catshair (Brockhampton)
Family Euphorbiacea
Parts Used Herb (Mills)
Habitat India and most tropical countries (Mills)
Constituents Triterpenoids (Mills)
Sterols (Mills)
Alkaloid (Mills)
Glycoside (Mills)
Tannin (Mills)
Actions Antispasmodic (Mills) Antiasthmatic (Mills)
Expectorant (Mills) Anti-catarrhal (Mills)
Antisyphilitic (Grieve)
Applications Asthmatic conditions and bronchial asthma (Mills)
Syphilis (Grieve)
Body Systems Respiratory, Reproductive (Nervous)
Dosage 0.1– 0.3 gm dried herb tds (Mills)
1:1 45% 0.12-0.3mls tds (BHP)
1:5 60% 0.6-2mls tds (BHP)
Combinations Grindelia camporum in asthma and bronchitis (BHP)
C/I Cautions May cause nausea and vomiting(McGuffin)
An irritant of the GIT(McGuffin)
BHP S/I Bronchitic asthma (E. pilulifera)
Euphorbia hirta leaf extracts increase urine output and electrolytes in rats. Johnson PB, Abdurahman EM, Tiam EA, Abdu-Aguye I, Hussaini IM
Euphorbia hirta is locally used in Africa and Australia to treat numerous diseases, including hypertension and edema. The diuretic effects of the E. hirta leaf extracts were assessed in rats using acetazolamide and furosemide as standard diuretic drugs. The water and ethanol extracts (50 and 100 mg/kg) of the plant produced time-dependent increase in urine output. Electrolyte excretion was also significantly affected by the plant extracts. The water extract increased the urine excretion of Na+, K+ and HCO3-. In contrast, the ethanol extract increased the excretion of HCO3- decreased the loss of K+ and had little effect on renal removal of Na+. Acetazolamide, like the water extract, increased urine output and enhanced the excretion of Na+, K+ and HCO3-. The high-ceiling diuretic, furosemide, increased the renal excretion of Na+ and Cl-; but had no effect on K+ and HCO3- loss. This study suggests that the active component(s) in the water extract of E. hirta leaf had similar diuretic spectrum to that of acetazolamide. These results validate the traditional use of E. hirta as a diuretic agent by the Swahilis and Sukumas. Mr. Mohammad Badrud Duza

Euphorbia hirta L.; has been used in the treatment of syphilis in traditional medicines.
In India, more than about 80% of the rural people depend mainly on plants for their primary healthcare needs. Many member plants of family Euphorbiaceae are found in Rajasthan and used here in many traditional remedies. A list of plants of family Euphorbiaceae found in Rajasthan is given in Table 3.2. Different plants of Euphorbiaceae are used in traditional medicine include: E. antiquorum, (Fig.3.3), E. antisyphilitica (Fig.3.2), E. chamaesyce, (Fig.3.4), E. cyparissias, (Fig.3.5), E. helioscopia (Fig.3.6), E. hypericifolia, (Fig.3.7), E. lathyris, (Fig.3.8), E. longifolia, (Fig.3.9), E. milii, (Fig.3.10), E. neriifolia, (Fig.3.11), E. nivulia (Fig.3.12), E. peplus, (Fig.3.13), E. resinifera, (Fig.3.14), E. royleana, (Fig.3.15). It was also observed that most of the remedies consist of single plant part and more than one method of preparation. However, many of the remedies consist of different parts of the same plant species to treat single or more diseases. Detailed ethanobotanical studies of Euphorbia plants found in Rajasthan, are given in Table 3.3 Detailed study of some proposed plants Euphorbia hirta L.; Vernacular/ common names: Dudhi, Lal-dudhi. Dugdhika, Pusitoa. E. hirta is an annual plant growing to 0.3m by 0.25m. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral, and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade, and requires dry or moist soil (Blanc et al., 1972) (Fig: 3.16, 3.17). Sap of E. hirta contains relatively abundant white latex, which is toxic on ingestion and irritant externally, causing photosensitive skin reactions, dermatitis, and severe inflammation. The toxicity can remain high even in dried plant material (Huxley, 1992). Prolonged and regular contact with the sap is inadvisable because of its carcinogenic nature. The analysis of the latex has revealed 1-inositol, pyrrogalic and catechuic tannins and the alkaloid xanthoramnine (Matthews. 1994). Baslas and Agarwal (1980) and Gupta and Gargi (1966) found taxerol, frieldelin, P-sitosterol, myricyl alcohol, ellergic acid and hentriacontane in extracts of the stem. Blanc et al., (1972) reported ellagic, gallic, chlorogenic and caffeic acids, kaempferol, quercitol, quercitrin (as a genin of a heteroside), and a number of amino acids. The use of latex on warts, whitlows and the like is worldwide (Hartwell, 1967). The plant has a diuretic and purgative action and is known to have a remedy for inflammation of the respiratory tract, and for asthma as it has a special reputation for causing bronchial relaxation (Johnson et al., 2004). The plant shows antibiotic activity (Sofowora, 1993). A number of substances have been detected in the plant; tannins, gallic acid, quercetin, phenols, phyto-sterols, alcohols, alkaloids etc. (Kerharo and Adam, 1974; Burkill, 1985). The alcoholic extract of the whole plant had an anticancer action in mice (Sharma and Kumar, 2000; Hartwell, 1967). The plant has also been shown to have anthelmintic activity (Ayensu, 1979; Sofowora, 1993; Adedapo et al., 2005). E. hirta is traditionally used to treat bronchitic asthma and laryngeal spasm, though in modern herbalism it is more used in the treatment of intestinal amoebic dysentery (Stuart.1979). It should not be used without expert guidance, however, since large doses cause gastro-intestinal irritation, nausea and vomiting (Adedapo et al., 2005). The aerial parts of the plant are harvested when in flower during the summer and can be dried for later use. The stem, taken internally, is famed as a treatment for asthma, bronchitis and various other lung complaints (Duke and Ayensu, 1985). The herb relaxes the bronchioles but apparently depresses the heart and general respiration. The whole plant is decocted and used in the treatment of athlete's foot, dysentery, enteritis, and skin conditions (Duke and Ayensu, 1985). It has been used in the treatment of syphilis. The sap is applied to warts in order to destroy them. The treatment needs to be repeated 2 - 3 times a day over a period of several weeks to be fully effective (Chopra et al., 1986). However use it under medical care only as all the uses mentioned here are from literature and need scientific basis for confirmation. By Ashwani Kumar

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The Physiologic Effects of the Crude Concoction from Euphorbia Hirta (Tawa-Tawa) Using Staphylococcus Aureus for Anti-Bacterial Tests and Animal Inoculation Assay for Toxicity 1

...Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION Background Euphorbia hirta, belongs to the family of Euphorbiaceae which is a large family of dicotyledons, with about 300 genera and over 5,000 species. Here in the Philippines, the Euphorbia hirta, is commonly referred to as Tawa-tawa or Gatas-gatas in some provinces. It is also known as Asthma weed or Snake weed in the United States. The plants of 3 different species share Phoretic variations, these plants are: (1) Mutha (Cyperus rotundus), (2) Gatas-gatas (Euphorbia hirta) and (3) Botoncillo (Gomphena globosa). Tawa-tawa is usually very abundant in tropical regions such as the Philippines. A simple weed scattered in sunny lawns, waste places and open grasslands. It is pantropic in distribution. The plant is an annual, hairy herb, usually branched from the base, spreading up to 40 cm long. The stem is slender and often reddish and purplish in color, covered with yellowish bristly hairs especially in younger parts. The leaves are oppositely arranged, elliptical-oblong to oblong-lanceolate, 1 to 2.5 cm long, toothed at the edge, and blotched with purple in the middle. In the axils appear numerous involucres, purplish or greenish, dense, axillary, short stalk clusters or crowded cymes, about 1 mm long. The capsules are broadly ovoid, hairy, three-angled, about 1.5 cm. The small green flowers constitute the inflourescence characteristics of the euphorbias. The stem and the leaves produce white or milky juice when cut (Lind and......

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Wala Lang to Ok Bye

...plant , Tawa-tawa had a report that it can cure dengue fever. According to the article from Dr. Willie T. Ong entitled “Treatment for Dengue” which was published on The Philippine STAR, there is no specific drug to kill the dengue virus. However, doctors can employ various supportive measures to strengthen the body so that it can recover from the disease. Here's how we do it :  1. Patients are encouraged to drink lots of water to keep the body's water at an optimum level. If needed, doctors give dextrose fluid to prevent dehydration.  2. Monitoring of blood count. Doctors check the hematocrit and platelet count regularly to see if there is a need to transfuse blood components.  3. Consider giving medicines to prevent ulcer, since bleeding is a possibility.  4. Encourage the patient to eat regularly, specifically soft, easily digestible foods. Patients are advised to avoid eating dark colored foods, because we need to monitor the stool's color. (Black stools means blood for doctors.)  5. Tawa Tawa plant might help.  In the Philippines, many patients are using Tawa Tawa plants to treat dengue. The Department of Health is still studying the effectiveness of this plant, and has raised concern over the possibility of toxicity with over dosage. However, doctors would usually allow patients to drink it if you ask their permission first.  Here's how to prepare Tawa Tawa:  (1) Take 5 whole Tawa Tawa plants;  (2) Cut off the roots, then wash and clean;  (3) Boil Tawa Tawa......

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