6 Amazing Health Benefits of Small Flower Willow Herb

Willow herb (Epilobium parviflorum) is a perennial herbal plant. It has thick rhizomes with short shoots at it base. The stem is tall and cylindrical with hairs. It has narrow-lanceolate leaves which are small and sharply toothed. The flowers of willow herb are small and red-purple in color with four petals, eight stamens and a stigma with four lobes.

The fruits of willow flower herb are elongated capsules which contain seeds that are covered with numerous silky hairs. Willow herbs usually bloom between June and August.

Phytochemical Composition of Epilobium parviflorum

The chemical composition of willow herb can be classified accordingly as follows:

Flavonoids

These include Kaempferol, Kaempferol-3-O-rhamnoside, Kaempferol-3-O-glucoside, Quercetin, Quercetin-3-O-rhamnoside, Quercetin-3-O-glucoside, Quercetin-3-O-galactoside, Myricetin, and Myricetin-3-O-rhamnoside.

Phenolic acids

Ellagic, Gallic, Protocatechuric, Syringic, Vanillic, Curinamic, Caffeic and Ferulic acids.

Tannins

Oenothein A and Oenothein B.

Fatty acids

The fatty acids include Oleic, Linoleic, α-linoleic, Palmitic, Stearic and Arachidonic acids.

 

6 Amazing Health Benefits of Small Flower Willow herbs

Small flower Willow herb contains 6 amazing health benefits that are in high demand.

 

  1. Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Willow herb is used in the treatment of RA and other inflammatory diseases. Just like Monkey sugarcane, Willow herb contains various groups of kaempferol compounds which suppresses NF-kB inflammatory response by blocking its signaling pathways. Kaempferol also regulates the production of IFN-ϒ and IL-2, both of which are pro-inflammatory factors.

Aside Kaempferol compounds, small flower willow herb also contains Quercetin compounds. Quercetin suppresses the NLRP3 elevation in RA synovial tissues. It also inhibits the release of cytokines and decreases lipopolysaccharide-induced cyclooxigenase (COX-2). It antagonizes bone resorption by suppressing NF-kB and AP-1 activities.

Chemical structure of Kaempferol

Fig. 1. Chemical structure of Kaempferol

 

 

  1. Treatment of Hepatitis Infection

The Oenothein B component of the Tannins present in Willow herb inhibits hepatitis C virus (HCV) invasion. Hepatitis C is a liver infection, which can be transmitted through blood contact with infected objects or through sexual transmission. When left untreated, HCV can cause serious damage to the liver.

 

Chemical structure of Oenothein B

Fig. 2. Chemical structure of Oenethein B.

  1. Treatment of Tumors

Another benefit of Willow herb is in the treatment of tumors. The Oenothein B in Small flower Willow herb serves as an immunomodulator and antitumor substance. It carries this activity by stimulating macrophages as well as the release of LAF and IL-1β from macrophages.

  1. Treatment of Prostate Cancer

Willow herb is widely known for its efficacy in the treatment of prostate cancer. Its chemical compounds such as Kaempferol, Quercetin and Oenothein B possess among others, anti-proliferation activities. Oenothein B, inhibits 5α-reductase and Aromatase, which are involved in the etiology of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

 

 

Chemical structure of Quercetin

Fig.3. Chemical structure of Quercetin

  1. Antioxidants

Willow herb is made into and taken as an antioxidant tea. It increases glutathione levels and the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD). This maintains a youthful body by mopping up free radicals that attack and destroy the cells.

 

  1. Treatment of microbial infections

Willow herb is beneficial for treating bacterial and viral infections such as the urinary tract diseases. Tannins contribute to this efficacy of Willow herb against bacterial and viral infection.

 

 

5 Amazing Health Benefits of Monkey Sugarcane

Monkey sugarcane (Costus afer) has five amazing health benefits that would surprise you. The plant, which is always greenish and perennial, is usually found in West African countries ad beers white and yellow flowers. Every part of Monkey sugarcane offers an amazing health benefits. Other common names of Costus afer include Okpete, Tete-egun, or Mbritem.

The plant contains some bioactive compounds that have nephroprotective properties on the kidneys. It also protects against neurodegenerative diseases as well as protection of the pancreatic beta cells.

 

Phytochemical Components of Costus afer

 

Monkey sugarcane leaves are usually green.

Costus afer contains several phytochemicals in their roots, stems, rhizomes and leaves. Some of the phytochemicals include:

  • Alkaloids
  • Tannins
  • Phenols
  • Saponins
  • Triterpenes
  • Glycosides

The rhizome contains steroidal saponins such as

  • Diocin
  • Paryphllin C
  • Aferoside B
  • Aferoside C

The aerial parts contain kaempferol-3-O-R-L-rhamnopyranoside while the roots contain additional Aferoside A, Aferoside B and Aferoside C.

 

Health benefits of Monkey Sugarcane

The health benefits of Monkey sugarcane, especially in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, may be attributed to its bioactive compounds such as kaempferol and Aferosides. It is used in treating a wide range of illness which include:

  1. Treatment of Ulcer

The rhizome pulp and leave extracts are used in treating ulcers when taken, mostly by oral administration. Both the leaves and rhizome extracts increase gastroprotective factors, antioxidants such as glutathione, and decreases lipid peroxidation.

 

  1. Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetic patients would find the leaf and stem extracts of Monkey sugarcane useful in treating diabetes mellitus, as both extracts enhance glucose clearance and reduce hyperglycemia by increasing cellular glucose uptake.

 

  1. Monkey Sugarcane Possesses Antioxidant Properties

The extracts of the various parts of Costus afer, especially the leaf extract is used in treating oxidative stress. It increases the activity of plasma superoxide dismutase (SOD) and increases the levels of glutathione and serum electrolytes such as Na+ and HCO3 . Other enzymes whose activities, Costus afer extract increases include catalase and glutathione-S-transferase.

 

  1. Protection of The Kidneys From Toxic Damage

The plant leaves, when taken, protect the kidneys from toxic and harmful substances. It also protects the β-cells of the pancreas from alloxan-induced damage. This supports its anti-diabetic efficiency as healthy β-cells promotes insulin production and glucose transport across the inter- and intra-cellular compartments.

Read also (Monkeypox virus infection)

 

  1. Possesses Anti-inflammatory Activity

Costus afer contains strong anti-inflammatory components such as Kaempferol, Aferoside A and Zn2+. They exert their anti-inflammatory activities by regulation the signaling activity of NF-kB pathways. Also, they inhibit the production of IFN-ϒ and IL-2, both which are proinflammatory factors. This regulatory effect of Costus afer extracts makes them useful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. Aside the regulatory role they play on NF-kB signaling pathways, they also exert inhibitory effect on the cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) and interfere with G-protein-mediated signal transduction.

 

Side Effects of Monkey sugarcane

When taken for a long period of time, the side effects from the use of Costus afer may include:

Sufficient reduction of red blood cells, which results in anemia.

Increased weight of the liver and vacuolar changes in the hepatic cells.

When taken by pregnant women, may lead to miscarriage.

 

                                                REFERENCES

G. E. Omokhua, “Medicinal and socio-cultural importance of Costus afer (Ker Grawl) in Nigeria,” African Research Review, vol. 5, no. 5, pp. 282–287, 2011.

G. N. Anyasor, O. Ogunwenmo, O. A. Oyelana, and B. E. Akpofunure, “Phytochemical constituents and antioxidant activities of aqueous and methanol stem extracts of Costus afer Ker Gawl. (Costaceae),” African Journal of Biotechnology, vol. 9, no. 31, pp. 4880–4884, 2010.

A. N. Ezejiofor, Z. N. Igweze, N. A. Udowelle, and O. E. Orisakwe, “Histopathological and biochemical assessments of Costus afer stem on alloxan-induced diabetic rats,” Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 383–391, 2017.

A. N. Ezejiofor, C. N. Orish, and O. E. Orisakwe, “Cytological and biochemical studies during the progression of alloxan-induced diabetes and possible protection of an aqueous leaf extract of Costus afer,” Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines, vol. 12, no. 10, pp. 745–752, 2014.

 

Anti-aging Properties of Alpine Rose

Alpine rose (Rhododendron ferrugineum) also known as Alpen rose, belongs to the genus Rhododendron. It is one of the most beautiful flowers of the Alps, and grows at high mountainous altitude.

The ornamental plant thrives in a harsh environment with acidic and poor nutrient soils. Due to the harsh environmental conditions, Alpine rose developed strategies to protect itself against dehydration, UV radiation and attack of radicals and from pathogens.

 

Phytochemical Content With Anti-aging Properties of Alpine Rose

Among the phytochemicals present in Alpine rose extract, flavonoids are the predominant phenolic compounds. Among these flavonoids present in Alpine rose, hyperoside, naringenin, ferrerol and taxifolin are the most probable constituents that are involved in the senolytic and skin-rejuvenation effects.

 

How does Alpine maintain a youthful skin?

The anti-aging properties of Alpine rose are seen in the ability of its phenolic compounds to eliminate senescent cells from the skin.

Senescent cells greatly contribute to skin aging by inducing inflammatory responses and degradation of extracellular matrix.

When the normal human dermal fibroblasts were treated with Alpine rose extract, the number of senescent cells was reduced. Also, the normal proliferating cells were not affected.

 

Molecular Mechanism of Anti-aging Properties of Alpine rose

The phenolic components of Alpine rose maintain a youthful body by eliminating senescent cells. This is carried out by inducing apoptosis through the inhibition of Bcl-2, which is responsible for apoptosis resistance in senescent cells and in cancer cells, as well.

Other Health Benefits of Alpine Rose

Alpine rose has been used, traditionally in treating rheumatism and blood pressure. It also has antiviral activity against Herpes simplex virus I.

Another health benefit of Alpine rose is its inhibitory activity against Porphyromonas gingivalis adhesion to epithelial buccal KB cells, which suggests its antimicrobial potential in preventing periodontal diseases.

 

                              References

 

Gescher, K.; Kühn, J.; Hafezi, W.; Louis, A.; Derksen, A.; Deters, A.; Lorentzen, E.; Hensel, A. Inhibition of viral adsorption and penetration by an aqueous extract from Rhododendron ferrugineum L. as antiviral principle against herpes simplex virus type-1. Fitoterapia 2011, 82, 408–413

Löhr, G.; Beikler, T.; Hensel, A. Inhibition of in vitro adhesion and virulence of Porphyromonas gingivalis by aqueous extract and polysaccharides from Rhododendron ferrugineum L. A new way for prophylaxis of periodontitis? Fitoterapia 2015, 107, 105–113.

Wandrey, F.; Schmid, D.; Zülli, F. Senolytics: Eliminating «zombie cells» in the skin—A novel anti-aging mechanism to combat senescent cells. Ski. Care HPC Today 2020, 15, 18–20.

Chosson, E.; Chaboud, A.; Chulia, A.J.; Raynaud, J. Dihydroflavonol glycosides from Rhododendron ferrugineum. Phytochemistry 1998, 49, 1431–1433.

Abedini, A.; Colin, M.; Hubert, J.; Charpentier, E.; Angelis, A.; Bounasri, H.; Bertaux, B.; Kotland, A.; Reffuveille, F.; Nuzillard, J.M.; et al. Abundant Extractable Metabolites from Temperate Tree Barks: The Specific Antimicrobial Activity of Prunus Avium Extracts. Antibiotics 2020, 9, 111.