Dr Kalyan Sarma and Dr H Prasad
Contd from previous issue
7. Tannins : Tannin acts as an astringent. This action is a result of their ability to bind albumen (a protein found in the skin and mucous membranes) to form a protective layer that is resistant to disease. Tannins also have healing actions, protecting from irritation while at the same time reducing inflammation. Plants which contain tannins include witch hazel, oak bark and Beth root. These herbs are used for cuts and wounds, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, catarrh, heavy periods and inflammatory conditions of the digestive tract. These compounds have antimicrobial activities and can inhibit receptor and enzymes externally, internally and in the digestive tract. Another important group of tannins is hydrolysable. They represent esters between Gallic acid and sugars. Tannins are useful in medicine to treat dermal and mucosal infection and intestinal problem.
8. Volatile oils
Volatile or essential oils are what give the aroma and flavour to herbs that we use in foods. These herbs include rosemary, marjoram, dill, basil, sage, thyme and mint. Volatile or essential oils are made up of different chemical compounds. The oils have antiseptic and anti-microbial action, enhance the body's ability to fight off a range of infections, have anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic effects (chamomile, yarrow), are expectorants (thyme, hyssop), are diuretic (chamomile, parsley) are tonics enhancing the appetite and the digestion and absorption of food (rosemary, fennel, marjoram), and stimulate the heart and circulatory system (ginger, rosemary, thyme). The essential oils can be taken into the body in a number of different ways. They can enter the blood stream via food, drinks or in herbal medicine, being absorbed when placed directly under the tongue, through the pores of the skin when in massage oils or inhaled.
They are rapidly dispersed and during pregnancy and lactation they are passed to the baby through the placenta and breast milk. When the oils are inhaled the nerve endings in the upper part of the nose carry messages to the brain and in particular the part of the brain related to our thoughts and emotions (the limbic system). When the oils enter our system through our skin as in a bath or massage, they stimulate the nerve endings in the skin which send messages to the underlying tissues (muscles, blood, lymphatic vessels and nerves). The messages are relayed to the pituitary gland (this gland regulates the body's hormones).
The triangle of human beings, animals and plants has existed for ages and has given rise to intense interrelationships, and consequently rich tradition in many regions of the world. The role of animals in Indian life, the part of the rural women play in the care of animals, and significance of ethno veterinary medicine practices have highlighted in many recent publications. The predominantly rural populations and the strong agricultural base of economy in India have provided unique situation for rich ethnoveterinary practices. Due to richness of biodiversity in India, a very large number of plant species is available for ethnoveterinary use. The Indian farmers, particularly the tribal farmers, have a lot of traditional knowledge accumulated over the centuries for treatment of animals.Therefore, the ethnoveterinary medicine practice is more common among the North East hilly region. According to a report nearly 750 medicinal plants are used by traditional healers for treatment of animal and human diseases. Most of these plants are used either as green or dried powder form or as water extract, decoction and infusion. They can also be refined into tablets, capsules, powder, tinctures and other supplement formulations.
Despite the fact that ethno-veterinary medicine has been very crucial for the animal health cares of most developing countries, it has not yet been well documented and much effort is needed in research and integration activities in these countries. Few ethno-veterinary remedies have been tested clinically in livestock species (rather than in laboratory animals); more such studies are needed. To get the true picture of a remedy’s efficacy, it is important that such studies follow as closely as possible the local way of preparation and application; this is to ensure that the results reflect the efficacy of the remedy and are not influenced by other preparation or application method.
The writers are from the Department of Veterinary Medicine, College of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry, Central Agricultural University, Selesih, Aizawl, Mizoram.
For further details contact:-Public Relation & Media Management Cell,CAU, Imphal. Email [email protected]