Ginkgo biloba, Leek, Peganum harmala, and Smilax china: Power of Medicinal Plants for Organic Life


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Series: Natural Products and Therapeutics

BISAC: MED040000

Ginkgo biloba L. can date back to 300 million years ago and is considered  a living fossil. Ginkgo consists of terpenoids, like diterpenes such as ginkgolides A, B, C, J, sesquiterpenes like bilobalide and triterpenes like sterols. Ginkgo biloba L. contains a vast number of flavonoids which include myricetin, kaempferol, isorhamnetin, quercetin, rutin, laricitrin, mearnsetin, apigenin, luteolin, epicatechin, catechin and genistein. Ginkgo also contains Biflavonoids which consist of sciadopitysin, ginkgetin, isoginkgetin, amentoflavone and bilobetin.

Allium, with around 800 species, is an important genus of the Amaryllidaceae family which is widely spread in the northern hemisphere. Leeks (Alllium ampeloprasum var. porrum) are robust, winter-hardy biennials that do not form a hard bulb like onions or garlic. Instead, they are grown for their long and thick white stems. Persian leek is one of the most widely used herbal foods among Iranians.

Peganum harmala L. (Zygophyllaceae) has been a famous plant in traditional and folk medicine, and it is used in both endemic regions and other parts of the world. Peganum harmala belongs to Asian origin and grows in the Middle East, parts of South India, Pakistan and west of China and is a medicinal plant of the family Nitrariaceae. Peganum harmala is a perennial herbaceous, glabrous plant which can grow 30-100 cm and is mainly disturbed throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. The plant is not usually grazed by animals due to its bitter taste. Its seeds showed that alkaloids belonging to the β-carboline family such as harmine, harmaline, Harman, harnol and harmalol are responsible for a wide range of pharmacological effects. The main compounds from Peganum harmala seeds are dodecane, tetradecane, methyl dodecanoate, hexadecane, 2-Octanol benzoate, heptadecane, methyl tetradecanoate, 2,6,10,14-tetramethyl pentadecane, octadecane, 2,6,10,14-tetramethyl hexadecane, nonadecane, methyl hexadecanoate, dibutyl phthalate, eicosane, methyl oleate, henicosane, docosane, harmine and tricosane. The most important properties of Peganum harmala are anti-cholinesterase, anti-tumor angiogenesis, antiparasitic effect, anti-inflammatory effect, cytotoxicity effect, antioxidant effect, cerebroprotective effect, hempatoma cancer effect, hepatoprotective prevention effect, hypoglycemic effect, antibacterial effect, pesticide effect, antitumor effect, antinociceptive effects, haemosporidian infections effect and different unknown beneficial properties. This review article suggests the important potential of P. harmala to be employed in both new western and eastern therapeutic drugs. This review article emphasizes on the need of widespread research and study for covering the supplementary information and knowledge on the importance of medicinal crops.

Smilax china consists of fat, Saponins, glucosides, gum, starch, flavonoids, tannins and alkaloids. The rhizomes are bitter, acrid, thermogenic, anodyne, anti-inflammatory, digestive, laxative, depurative, diuretic, febrifuge and tonic. It is used in dyspepsia, flatulence, colic, constipation, helminthiasis, skin diseases, leprosy and psoriasis, syphilis, strangury, seminal weakness, general debility, detoxifies organs, cleanses blood, aids absorption and kills bacteria; it also used in fever, epilepsy, insanity, neuralgia and stimulates digestion, increases urination, protects liver and promotes perspiration.

Table of Contents


About the Authors

Chapter 1. Ginkgo biloba

Chapter 2. Leek

Chapter 3. Esfand (P. harmala)

Chapter 4. Smilax china



Additional information


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