Ethno-Veterinary medicine plays a significant role in management of livestock health

Dr Kalyan Sarma and Dr H Prasad
Contd from last Saturday
21. Terpene alkaloids: e.g. Acontine (analgesic and paralytic), Taxol (anti tumour)
2. Anthraquinones
These are glycosides which are yellow. They were often used in the past to produce dyes. They act to stimulate muscular contraction of the large intestine and so have a laxative effect. Herbs such as dock, senna, and aloe contain anthraquinones. If they are taken alone they can have a griping effect in the bowel. They are therefore taken with calmative (flatulence treating) herbs such as ginger or fennel.These herbs are best used for the short term treatment of constipation while the underlying causes are dealt with. Longer term use can reduce the tone of the bowel.They exhibit a strong laxative activity by interfering with intestinal  Na+, K+ ATPase and adenylyl cyclase. E.g. Hypericine, plumbagin, arbutin
3. Bitters
Many herbs contain bitter ingredients (e.g. Quassin, Cucurbitacins) These mainly affect the digestive tract, stimulating the secretion of digestive juices and enzymes in the stomach and the flow of bile from the liver.
They enhance appetite and improve digestion and absorption of nutrients from food. They are prescribed for people with poor appetite, a sluggish bowel, gall bladder and liver problems, gastritis, and to aid convalescence after the flu and other illnesses. Bitter herbs can also have other beneficial effects.
Flavonoids or glycosides are responsible for the yellow or orange colors in herbs, such as cowslip. Many flavonoids have a diuretic action, some such as licorice are antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory and others are antiseptic. Bio-flavonoids are a part of plants that contain vitamin C, such as citrus fruit, rosehip, black current and cherries. Bioflavonoid act with vitamin C to enhance its absorption and metabolism in the body. Bioflavonoids have a strengthening and healing effect on blood vessels. They are used to treat conditions such as capillary fragility, tendency to bruising and nosebleeds and high blood pressure.Catechins form a special class of Flavonoid. The phenolic hydroxyl groups of Flavonoid can interact with proteins to form hydrogen. They can be regarded as general protein modifying compounds. Isoflavones exhibit oestrogenic activities and inhibit tyrosinekinase and play a role in the prevention of certain cancers and regulation of hormonal disturbances. The examples of flavonoids are apigenin kaempferol, naringenin, genistein etc.  Artemisia copa contains flavonoids such as spinacetin, jaceosidin, axillarin, penduletin, tricin and chrysoeriol have anti-inflammatoryactivity .
5. Mucilage
Mucilage is a sweet, gel like substance. It has the tendency to draw water to it-so that when water is added, it swells to form a viscous fluid. It is able to form a protective layer over mucous membranes and skin -thus effectively soothing irritation and relieving inflammation. Plants with high mucilage content include flax or psyllium seeds. These are used to draw water into the bowel and thereby bulk out the stool making an effective laxative.
6. Saponins
Saponins are glycosides. They are found in many medicinal plants and like soap they lather when they are mixed with water. Soapwort has a high saponin content and can be used to make natural soap. Saponins have a number of different effects on the body including an expectorant effect (cowslip and mullein), diuretic effects (horsetail and asparagus), beneficial effects on the circulatory system, reducing the fragility of the blood vessel walls (horse chestnut). (To be contd)