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      Himalayan Aromatic Medicinal Plants: A Review of their Ethnopharmacology, Volatile Phytochemistry, and Biological Activities

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          Abstract

          Aromatic plants have played key roles in the lives of tribal peoples living in the Himalaya by providing products for both food and medicine. This review presents a summary of aromatic medicinal plants from the Indian Himalaya, Nepal, and Bhutan, focusing on plant species for which volatile compositions have been described. The review summarizes 116 aromatic plant species distributed over 26 families.

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          Antimicrobial agents from plants: antibacterial activity of plant volatile oils.

          The volatile oils of black pepper [Piper nigrum L. (Piperaceae)], clove [Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. & Perry (Myrtaceae)], geranium [Pelargonium graveolens L'Herit (Geraniaceae)], nutmeg [Myristica fragrans Houtt. (Myristicaceae), oregano [Origanum vulgare ssp. hirtum (Link) Letsw. (Lamiaceae)] and thyme [Thymus vulgaris L. (Lamiaceae)] were assessed for antibacterial activity against 25 different genera of bacteria. These included animal and plant pathogens, food poisoning and spoilage bacteria. The volatile oils exhibited considerable inhibitory effects against all the organisms under test while their major components demonstrated various degrees of growth inhibition.
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            Qinghaosu (artemisinin): an antimalarial drug from China.

             D L Klayman (1985)
            The herb Artemisia annua has been used for many centuries in Chinese traditional medicine as a treatment for fever and malaria. In 1971, Chinese chemists isolated from the leafy portions of the plant the substance responsible for its reputed medicinal action. This compound, called qinghaosu (QHS, artemisinin), is a sesquiterpene lactone that bears a peroxide grouping and, unlike most other antimalarials, lacks a nitrogen-containing heterocyclic ring system. The compound has been used successfully in several thousand malaria patients in China, including those with both chloroquine-sensitive and chloroquine-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum. Derivatives of QHS, such as dihydroqinghaosu, artemether, and the water-soluble sodium artesunate, appear to be more potent than QHS itself. Sodium artesunate acts rapidly in restoring to consciousness comatose patients with cerebral malaria. Thus QHS and its derivatives offer promise as a totally new class of antimalarials.
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              Antibacterial activity of essential oils and their major constituents against respiratory tract pathogens by gaseous contact.

              The antibacterial activity of 14 essential oils and their major constituents in the gaseous state was evaluated against Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus. For most essential oils examined, H. influenzae was most susceptible, followed by S. pneumoniae and S. pyogenes, and then S. aureus. Penicillin-susceptible and -resistant S. pneumoniae were comparable in susceptibility. Escherichia coli, which was used as a control, showed least susceptibility. A minimal inhibitory dose (MID) was introduced as a measure of the vapour activity. Among 14 essential oils, cinnamon bark, lemon-grass and thyme oils showed the lowest MID, followed by essential oils containing terpene alcohols as major constituents. The essential oils containing terpene ketone, ether and, in particular, hydrocarbon had high MIDS. The vapour activity on short exposure was comparable to that following overnight exposure, and rapid evaporation was more effective than slow evaporation of essential oils. The vapour concentration and absorption into agar of essential oils reached a maximum 1 or 2 h after rapid evaporation. These results indicate that the antibacterial action of essential oils was most effective when at high vapour concentration for a short time.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                Medicines (Basel)
                Medicines (Basel)
                medicines
                Medicines
                MDPI
                2305-6320
                19 February 2016
                March 2016
                : 3
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Education, Government of Uttrakhand, Nainital 263001, India; raakeshjoshi@ 123456rediffmail.com
                [2 ]Department of Chemistry, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL 35899, USA; prabodhsatyal@ 123456gmail.com
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: wsetzer@ 123456chemistry.uah.edu ; Tel.: +1-256-824-6519; Fax: +1-256-824-6349
                Article
                medicines-03-00006
                10.3390/medicines3010006
                5456235
                © 2016 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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