Friday, April 25, 2008

Herb's all About


Other Names: Eurycoma longifolia, Longjack

TONGKAT ALI is a tree native to Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. The part of the tree used medicinally is the root.

Why Do People Use TONGKAT ALI ?

Tongkat Ali was dubbed the "Asian Viagra" in a May 1999 report in the New Sunday Times.

It has been used in Malaysia for many years by men to increase sexual desire, libido, sexual performance and to treat erectile dysfunction.

Tongkat ali appears to work by increasing levels of the hormone testosterone. Testosterone is primarily responsible for the growth and development of male reproductive organs, including the penis, testicles, scrotum, prostate, and seminal vesicles. Normal testosterone levels maintain energy level, mood, fertility, and sexual desire.

Because of its testosterone-enhancing properties, TONGKAT ALI is also used by bodybuilders to increase muscle mass and strength.

Reported side effects include insomnia, anxiety, and restlessness.

TONGKAT ALI should not be used by pregnant or nursing women or children.

Because tongkat ali increases testosterone levels it should not be used by men with breast cancer or prostate cancer, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, or sleep apnea.

TONGKAT ALI should not be used by people with weakened immune systems as some evidence suggests it may further weaken immune function.

Drug Interactions

TONGKAT ALI should not be used by people taking immunosuppressant drugs.

It is especially important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking insulin. TONGKAT ALI may decrease blood sugar levels.


Alternate names: Maidenhair tree, Kew tree, Japanese silver apricot

GINGKO is one of the oldest living tree species. The extract of ginkgo leaves is used medicinally in North America, where it's one of the most popular medicinal herbs, and many other countries around the world. In traditional Chinese medicine, the seeds of the ginkgo tree are used.

Why Do People Use GINGKO ?

• To improve mental function

• Alzheimer's disease

• Age-related memory loss

• Macular degeneration

• Sexual dysfunction

• To enhance blood circulation

GINGKO leaves are believed to contain compounds that thin blood and help to improve muscle tone in the walls of blood vessels. This may enhance blood flow.

What are the Safety Concerns?

Constituents in GINGKO leaves may affect blood clotting, so GINGKO leaf extracts shouldn't be used by people with bleeding disorders. People with epilepsy (or anyone with a history of seizures) should avoid GINGKO, because it may increase the frequency of seizures.

GINGKO leaf products may affect blood sugar levels, so people with diabetes should only be used under the supervision of a health care provider.

The safety of GINGKO in pregnant or nursing women and children isn't known.

What are the Side Effects of GINKO ?

Side effects of GINGKO leaf include excessive bleeding. Rarely, seizures have been reported in people using either the GINGKO leaf or seed. Other side effects include digestive problems, headaches, allergic skin reactions, or muscle weakness. People should not consume fresh GINGKO seeds. Roasted GINGKO seeds may cause diarrhea, nausea, indigestion, vomiting, or allergic skin reactions. Side effects of fresh GINGKO seeds or over 10 roasted GINGKO seeds may include difficulty breathing, seizures, unconsciousness and death.

Possible Drug Interactions

GINGKO can increase the effect of blood-thinners (antiplatelet or anti-clotting drugs), such as clopidogrel, ticlopidine (Ticlid), warfarin (Coumadin), heparin, and aspirin, which may result in uncontrolled bleeding or hemorrhage. Certain herbs, such as danshen, devil's claw, eleuthero, garlic, ginger, horse chestnut, papain, red clover, and saw palmetto, can also increase the risk of bleeding if combined with ginkgo.

GINGKO has been found to interfere with the metabolism of drugs processed by an enzyme called cyp3A4. Ask your doctor to check if you are taking medications of this type.

GINGKO may increase the risk of seizures if combined with other drugs or herbs that do the same, such as antidepressants, bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban), certain antibiotics such as penicillin and cephalosporins, Corticosteroids, fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic), theophylline, methylphenidate (e.g. Concerta, Ritalin), drugs that suppress the immune system, such as azathioprine and cyclosporine, borage, evening primrose, and wormwood.

GINGKO shouldn't be used with the drug cyclosporine (used to suppress the immune system), because it has been found to decrease the effect of that drug. Theoretically, ginkgo may have the same effect with other immunosuppressant drugs.

GINGKO may interact with insulin and other drugs for diabetes, such as metformin (Glucophage), glyburide (Glynase), glimepiride (Amaryl), and glipizide (Glucotrol XL). It shouldn't be used with medications to prevent seizures. There have been some cases of high blood pressure in people taking GINGKO and thiazide diuretics, such as chlorothiazide, chlorthalidone, hydrochlorothiazide, metolazone, and polythiazide.


Kacip Fatimah (Labisia pumila) has been widely used by the traditional practitioners as the
remedial for involution of birth channel, delay fertility and to regain body strength. Kacip Fatimah is also used to reduce excessive gas in the body, treat flatulence, dysentery, dysmenorrheal, gonorrhea and “sickness in the bones” (Burkill, 1935). Apart from those, the extract from the plant is also used as a drink to gain energy and medicinal usage. Unfortunately the scientific data to support the claims are still scarce. There is no available international publications regarding this plant is effect in human reproduction. Although Kacip Fatimah is generally assumed as safe and sound for human consumption, this study is carried out to determine the side effects of petroleum-ether extract of Labisia pumila var. alata on liver and kidney of white rats by histological examination.

Material and methods Labisia pumila var. alata (Kacip Fatimah) samples were freshly collected from Setiu Reserve Forest in Terengganu. The roots of were separated and dried before grinding into fine powder. The powder were then soaked into the petroleum-ether for three consecutive days at room temperature for extraction. The process was repeated twice before the whole extract containing the solvent was collected, filtered and evaporated to dryness under reduces pressure in a rotary evaporator at 40oC. Concentrated extracts of the roots were place in glass container for future use.

Thirty-six female Albino Winstar rats were equally divided into four groups; Group A was used as untreated group, while Group B was treated with 100% (0.1 mg/ml) of Labisia pumila petether extract dilute inside 1ml solvent. Group C and D were treated with 50% (0.05 mg/ml) and 25% (0.025 mg/ml) of Labisia pumila pet-ether extract dilution inside 1 mL solvent. Rats in Group B, C and D were given subcutaneous injection by using 23-gauge needle and euthanized at days 1, 3 and 7 post-partum. Liver and kidney samples were collected and fixed in 10% buffered formalin for histology preparation. Histopathological changes were examined by using research compound microscope with computerized Image Analyzer Software (Leica DM LB2-Image analyser) to determine the lesions in those organs.


Histology examination of the liver and kidney of rats in abnormal changes
from day 1 until day 7. On contrary, abnormalities were observed in Group B, C and D. Hydropic degeneration of the liver progress severely from day 1 to day 3 and continuously progress until the last day of experiment that is on day 7. Other abnormalities observed in the liver were hyaline degeneration, fatty changes and necrosis of the hepatocytes.

No significant changes were observed in the kidney of rats in Group A at day 1, 3 and 7. However, rats in Group B, C and D showed mild to moderate hemorrhage lesions in their kidneys. Inflammation was observed in the cells tubule and progressed to more severe condition at day 7. The lesions were more severe when red blood cells were observed outside the blood vessels almost every part of the kidney tubule.

Results showed that the extract of Kacip Fatimah contains one or more active compound that may injure and caused irritation to the liver and kidney tissues. This irritant toxic compounds produce cellular damage either morphologically or biochemically (Donovan, 1985).

The development of lesions in the liver and kidneys of rats suggested that Kacip Fatimah could be poisonous and hazardous if it is consumed in large quantity in a short period of interval. As the second largest organ and gland in the body, liver is recognized as the most important organ for excretion of drugs or other metabolites. It performs many functions, such as transferring and accumulating metabolites, aiding food digestion, controlling the production, storage of glucose and producing blood-clotting factors. The most vital function of the liver is to neutralize and elim inates toxic substances from the body (Runnells et al., 1995). Some of the available chemotherapy drugs are toxic and have the potential to cause liver damage. Liver will remove toxins and chemicals from the blood stream and changes them into products that can be readily removed through the bile or urine through the kidney. If toxins accumulate in the body faster than the liver can process them, then liver damage will result.

The development of the lesions in the liver highly suggested that Kacip Fatimah extract contains toxin material that is harmful to the liver filtering system. Early evidence of liver damage is usually manifested by the fatty change which is indicated by the form of cytoplasmic vacuoles in the liver cells. The vacuoles will displace the nucleus to one side. When the metabolic disruption is becoming more severe, hydropic degeneration will be noticed and cells will become swollen. Unless the restoration of the normal functions is in place, the liver function will be impaired. Eventually, the affected cells will undergo necrosis or die.

Kidney is the second target in the body after the liver. The main functions of the kidney are the excretion of the by-products of the metabolism, foreign substances such as body pigments (Runnells et al., 1965) and maintaining homeostasis. Exposure to circulating toxins will lead to pathological changes and disruption of glomerular functions. Subsequently, the renal tubular functions will also be affected. The results showed varying degree of irritation to the glomerulus and tubular structures, indicating harmful metabolic activity.

Phytotoxins are also potential to cause glomerulonephritis and nephrosis. This study highly suggested the presence of toxin compound in Kacip Fatimah extract which will cause lesions in liver and kidney in the model animal.

Observation showed that petroleum-ether extract of Kacip Fatimah can caused lesion in the endothelium and tissue of kidney and liver. The most severe lesion occurred in Group B which was treated with high dose (100%) 0.1 mg/ml. Group C had moderate lesion whereas Group D showed mild lesion. Future study needs to carry out to eliminate the presence of harmful compound in Kacip Fatimah for the safety and soundness of the herb.

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