Botanicals

The pulp and skin of acai fruit are rich in anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, and fatty acids. Unlike other fruits, acai berries are relatively high in fat and low in sugar. Acai berries are also dense with trace minerals and plant compounds, one of which, anthocyanin, gives the fruit its distinct deep purple color.

Acai (Euterpe oleraceaeis)

Acai berry fruit comes from acai palm, which is a species present in the genus Euterpe and is usually cultivated for its palms and fruits. Its scientific name is Euterpe oleracea. The name acai palm is derived from the Brazilian Portuguese of the Tupian word wacai, which means the fruit that expels water or cries. The demand of this fruit worldwide has increased during the recent years and its cultivation has increased significantly

The herb contains several beneficial compounds including flavonoids, diterpenoids, and polyphenols. The most bioactive component is a diterpenoid called andrographolide. This is also the compound that has been studied most extensively because of its potential anti-cancer effect.

Andrographis (Andrographis paniculate)

Andrographis paniculata is a bitter-tasting annual plant prevalent in much of Asia and has been used in traditional Asian medicine to treat infectious diseases and fevers.

It contains sesquiterpene lactones of the helenanolid type, predominantly ester derivatives of helenalin and 11,13-dihydrohelenalin.  Additionally, the herb contains flavonoids (e.g., isoquercitrin, luteolin-7-glucoside, and astragalin), volatile oil (with thymol and its derivatives), phenol carbonic acid (chlorogenic acid, cynarin, caffeic acid), and coumarins (umbelliferone, scopoletin).

Arnica (Arnica montana)

Arnica montana is the Latin name for a perennial that grows 1 to 2 feet tall with bright, yellow daisy-like flowers that appear in July and August. It is found on the moist, grassy upland meadows in the hills and mountains of northern and central Europe and Siberia. It is also found sparsely in the northwestern United States. More common names for Arnica are mountain daisy, leopard’s bane, and mountain tobacco. Its medicinal history dates back several centuries and arnica continues to be popular today.

Animal studies have suggested that artemisinin and related compounds inhibit tumor growth and metastasis. A few safety studies in advanced cancer patients suggest oral add-on artesunate, a semisynthetic artemisinin derivative, is well tolerated, although monitoring for ototoxicity is needed. In other studies, oral or intravenous artesunate did not produce a response, although modest clinical activity was observed with intravenous administration. In one study a low dose artemisia formulation produced clinically relevant pain reductions in patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis.

Artemisia, Wormwood (Artemisia annua)

Artemisia annua is a medicinal plant that originated in Southeast Asia but is now cultivated all around the world. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2000 years as a treatment for fevers, inflammation, headaches, bleeding, and malaria, but its medicinal properties were rediscovered by modern science in the 1970’s when research revealed that the plant contains more than 10 active substances. Currently, Artemisia annua is the source for the production of artemisinin and semi-synthetic artemisinin derivatives (including dihydroartemisinin, artesunate, artemether, and arteether) that are used for the production of combination therapies for the treatment of malaria Today, one of those substances – artemisinin – is the foundation of all anti-malarial medicine, the discovery of which won Prof. Tu Youyou the Nobel Prize in 2015.

A. annua, may be effective for protozoal infections including leishmaniasis, Chagas’ disease, and African sleeping sickness. Cytotoxic effects of A. annua compounds have also been evaluated in tumor cell lines.

Artemisinin-based combination therapies are part of the standard treatment arsenal for malaria. Systematic reviews suggest it is as effective as quinine, but an increased risk of relapse may limit its uses. It is also unclear whether it is effective against quinine-resistant malaria strains. Other reports of artemisinin-based therapy resistance are also emerging, prompting additional drug development.

The herb is composed of alkaloids, steroidal lactones, and saponins, many of which support immunomodulatory actions.nia.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

The name ‘Ashwagandha’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Ashva,’ meaning horse, and ‘gandh’ denoting smell referring to the horse-like odor emanating from its root. Its scientific name is Withania somnifera, a plant in the Solanaceae (Tomato family). Withania is named after Henry Witham, an English palaeobotanist of the early 19th century. The species name somnifera denotes “sleep-inducing” in Latin.

The main bioactive components of the plant are saponins and flavonoids including calycosin, formononetin, astragaloside, and calycosin-7-Obeta-d-glucoside.

Astragalus root (Astragalus membranaceus)

Astragalus belongs to a group of medicinal plants from the Leguminosae family. According to reports, there are > 3000 different types of A. membranaceus. The roots contain the medicinal components and are collected and dried for use.

Constituents include oleic, palmitic, and salicylic acids; cimigonite; tannin; and volatile oil.

Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemose)

Cimicifuga racemose, also known as Black cohosh, is a member of the buttercup family and grows in North America.

The oleo gum-resins contain 30-60% resin, 5-10% essential oils, which are soluble in organic solvents, and the rest is made up of polysaccharides. Gum-resin extracts of Boswellia serrata have been traditionally used in folk medicine for centuries to treat various chronic inflammatory diseases. The resinous part of Boswellia serrata possesses monoterpenes, diterpenes, triterpenes, tetracyclic triterpenic acids and four major pentacyclic triterpenic acids i.e. β-boswellic acid, acetyl-β-boswellic acid, 11-keto-β-boswellic acid and acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid, responsible for inhibition of pro-inflammatory enzymes. Out of these four boswellic acids, acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid is the most potent inhibitor of 5-lipoxygenase, an enzyme responsible for inflammation.

The primary bioactive compound in boswellia is boswellic acid, a 5-lipoxygenase inhibitor with anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effects. It also demonstrated cytotoxic and radio-enhancing properties and prevented intestinal tumorigenesis in a murine model. Other animal studies suggest boswellia may improve cognitive impairment and insulin resistance. Essential oil of boswellia has also been shown to have antimicrobial activities.

Boswellia, Indian frankincense (Boswellia serrata)

Boswellia serrata is a tree prevalent in India, the Middle East, and North Africa. The gummy exudate or resin obtained by peeling away the bark is commonly known as frankincense or olibanum. The oldest written document mentioning boswellia as a drug is the papyrus Ebers written around 1500 BC.

More than 281 components have been isolated from Radix Bupleuri, including 15 flavonoids, 430 lignins, 12 phenyl propanol derivatives, 66 triterpenoid saponins, and 158 volatile oils all with diverse pharmacological effects

Bupleurum root (Bupleurum chinense, Bupleurum scorzoneraefolium, Bupleurum falcatum, Radix Bupleuri)

Bupleuri Radix, the dried roots of Bupleurum falcatum L. (Umbelliferae), which is a perennial medicinal herb distributed mainly in China, Korea, and Japan, is one of the most important ingredients in traditional Japanese Kampo and Chinese medicines. It is frequently prescribed in combination with other herbs to treat colds, fever, malaria, digestive disorders, chronic liver diseases, and depression

Butcher’s broom (Ruscus aculeatus)

Ruscus aculeatus, commonly called Butcher’s broom due to its hard roots and antibacterial properties being traditionally used to clean the cutting boards of butchers. It is a short evergreen shrub of the Liliaceae family. Ruscus aculeatus L. rhizomes are well-known constituents of a great number of food supplements utilized to prevent microcirculation diseases.

Constituents of cat’s claw extracts include proanthocyanidins [proanthocyanidin B2 (the main component), proanthocyanidin B4, proanthocyanidin C1, an epicatechin trimer, epiafzelechin-4β→8-epicatechin, and an epicatechin tetramer, oxindole alkaloids (isopteropodine, pteropodine, rhynchophylline, mytraphylline, speciophylline, uncarine F and uncarine E), indole alkaloidal glucosides (cadambine, 3-dihydrocadambine and 3-isodihydrocadambine), quinovic acid glycosides, tannins, polyphenols, catechins, beta sitosterol, and proteins which individually or synergistically contribute to their therapeutic properties.

Cats Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)

Uncaria tomentosa, known as cats’ claw after its curved, claw-like thorns that grow on its stem, is a vine that can climb as high as 100 feet. It grows mostly in the Amazon rainforest up to 100 feet high, as well as other tropical areas in South and Central America. Much of the cat's claw sold in the United States was grown in Peru. Cat’s claw includes two species, Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guinaensis and the extract is usually made from their root bark most commonly from U. tomentosa.

German chamomile flowers contain 0.24- to 2.0-percent volatile oil that is blue. The two key constituents, (-)-alpha-bisabolol and chamazulene, account for 50-65 percent of total volatile oil content. Other components of the oil include (-)-alpha-bisabolol oxide A and B, (-)-alpha-bisabolone oxide A, spiroethers (cis- and trans- enyndicycloether), sesquiterpenes (anthecotulid), cadinene, farnesene, furfural, spathulenol, and proazulene (matricarin and matricin). Chamazulene is formed from matricin during steam distillation of the oil. Yield varies depending on the origin and age of the flowers. European Pharmacopoeia recommends chamomile contain no less than 4 mL/kg of blue essential oil. Chamomile also contains up to eight-percent flavone glycosides (apigenin 7- glycoside and its 6’-acetylated derivative) and flavonols (luteolin glucosides, quercetin glycosides, and isohamnetin); up to 10-percent mucilage polysaccharides; up to 0.3-percent choline; and approximately 0.1-percent coumarins (umbelliferone and its methyl ether, herniarin). The tannin level in chamomile is less than one percent.

Chamomile "German" (Matricaria recutita)

There are two basic types of chamomiles: German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). Most research has been conducted on German chamomile, and this article will focus on that species.

Matricaria chamomilla (chamomile) was described in ancient medical writings and was an important medicinal herb in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Matricaria chamomilla is a well-known medicinal plant species from the Asteraceae family often referred to as the “star among medicinal species.” Nowadays it is a highly favored and much used medicinal plant in folk and traditional medicine. Its multitherapeutic, cosmetic, and nutritional values have been established through years of traditional and scientific use and research.

The berries contain essential oils (e.g., limonene, sabinene, 1,8-cineole [eucalyptol]), iridoid glycosides (e.g., agnoside, aucubin), diterpines (e.g., vitexilactone, rotundifuran), and flavonoids (e.g., apigenin, castican, orientin, isovitexin).

Chasteberry (Vitex agnus castus)

Chaste tree fruit is composed of the ripe, dried fruits of Vitex agnus castus L. Other trees and plants in the Vitex genus are typically tropical, but this species is also found in temperate areas. The tree and its berries have the name “chaste” because the fruit was long believed to be an aphrodisiac. The effects that this plant can have on the reproductive health of both men and women is largely why it remains in use to this day.

The berries contain essential oils (e.g., limonene, sabinene, 1,8-cineole [eucalyptol]), iridoid glycosides (e.g., agnoside, aucubin), diterpines (e.g., vitexilactone, rotundifuran), and flavonoids (e.g., apigenin, castican, orientin, isovitexin).

Chasteberry (Vitex agnus castus)

Chaste tree fruit is composed of the ripe, dried fruits of Vitex agnus castus L. Other trees and plants in the Vitex genus are typically tropical, but this species is also found in temperate areas. The tree and its berries have the name “chaste” because the fruit was long believed to be an aphrodisiac. The effects that this plant can have on the reproductive health of both men and women is largely why it remains in use to this day.

Cinnamon consists of a variety of resinous compounds, including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamate, cinnamic acid, and numerous essential oils. It is reported that the spicy taste and fragrance are due to the presence of cinnamaldehyde and occur due to the absorption of oxygen. As cinnamon ages, it darkens in color, improving the resinous compounds. The presence of a wide range of essential oils, such as trans-cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, eugenol, L-borneol, caryophyllene oxide, b-caryophyllene, L-bornyl acetate, E-nerolidol, α-cubebene, α-terpineol, terpinolene, and α-thujene, has been reported.

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Cinnamomum aromaticum, Cinnamomum loureiroi, Cinnamomum burmannii)

Cinnamon refers to several plants that belong to the genus Cinnamomum, native to Southeast Asia. Cinnamon consists of the dried bark, separated from cork and the underlying parenchyma, of young branches and shoots of species of Cinnamomum. The bark, rich in essential oil, is used as a flavoring agent and as a spice.

Among the most important compounds in dandelion are sesquiterpene lactones, also known as bitter elements, principally taraxacin and taraxacerin. Other related compounds include betaamyrin, taraxasterol, and taraxerol, as well as free sterols (sitosterin, stigmasterin, and phytosterin), phenylpropanoids (believed to have inflammationmodulatingeffects), triterpenoid saponins and polysaccharides (primarily fructosans and inulin), smaller amounts of pectin, resin (complexcarbohydrates). Three flavonoid glycosides – luteolin7-glucoside and two luteolin 7-diglucosides – have been isolated from its flowers and leaves. Hydroxycinnamic acids, chicoric acid, monocaffeyltartaric acid, and chlorogenic acid are found throughout the plant, and the coumarins, cichoriin, and aesculin have been identified in theleafextracts (Williams et al.,1996) [33]. Dandelion leaves are a rich source of a variety of vitamins and minerals, including beta carotene, non-provitamin A carotenoids, xanthophylls, chlorophyll, vitamins C and D, many of the B-complex vitamins, choline, iron, silicon, magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc, manganese, copper, and phosphorous.

Although many people focus on the root or leaf of this herb, the flowers are also a potent medicinal food. Polyphenols in the flowers include ferulic, caffeic, sinapic, chlorogenic, and chicoric acids (phenylpropanoids); and flavonoids including luteolin, isorhamnetin, apigenin, and quercetin; along with flavonoid glycosides: luteolin 7-glucoside, luteolin 7-O-rutinoside, isorhamnetin 3-O-glucoside, quercetin 7-O-glucoside and apigenin 7-O-glucoside. These constituents are anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, and can activate the body’s endogenous antioxidant systems.

Dandelion flowers are also rich in carotenoids and xanthophylls (oil-soluble antioxidants) including lutein and zeaxanthin, which have a well-established role in protecting the macula lutea (yellow spot – it’s yellow because it accumulates these compounds) of the retina against UV damage and the potential development of macular degeneration. The flowers also contain the synergistic xanthophylls called violaxanthin and neoxanthin, along with carotenes. This combination of carotenoids helps to protect cells (including skin cells) against free radical damage. Several studies have also found that Dandelion carotenoids are protective to the respiratory system and may help prevent inflammation in the lungs.

The flowers also contain a low level of sesquiterpene lactones, terpenoid constituents that also have anti-inflammatory and antimutagenic activity; but if you are allergic to other Asteraceae plants like ragweed (Ambrosia) or chamomile (Matricaria), you may want to avoid eating dandelion flowers as it is possible to have a cross-reaction to these constituents.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Taraxacum officinale (dandelion), a member of the Asteraceae family, commonly found in the temperate zone of the Northern hemisphere, is an herb that grows to a height of about 12 inches, producing spatula like leaves and yellow flowers that bloom year-round. Dandelion is used in many traditional and modern herbal medical systems, as particularly has been documented in Asia, Europe, and North America. Dandelion is grown commercially in the United States and Europe, the leaves and roots are used in herbal medicine. It is commonly used as a food. Sesquiterpene lactones impart a bitter taste to the plant, which is especially notable in the leaf but also in the root particularly when spring harvested.

Over 70 compounds have been identified from danggui, including essential oils such as ligustilide, butylphthalide and senkyunolide A, phthalide dimers, organic acids, and their esters such as ferulic acid, coniferyl ferulate, polyacetylenes, vitamins and amino acids. Z-ligustilide (water insoluble and heat stable), among which Z-butylidenephthalide and ferulic acid are thought to be the most biologically active components in AS and are often used in quality control and pharmacokinetic studies of danggui. Z-ligustilide is the main lipophilic component of the essential oil constituents and is the main active ingredient of danggui.

Dang Gui (Angelica sinensis)

Angelica sinensis (danggui) root is a well-known Asian herbal medicine that has been used as a nourishing and hematopoietic agent for the treatment of gynecological diseases for thousands of years. It is often combined with other herbs in formulations.

The complex chemical composition of the roots and herbs of Echinacea involves alkamides, ketoalkenes, caffeic acid derivatives, polysaccharides, and glycoproteins, which are believed to be responsible for noted immunostimulatory and anti-inflammatory activities.

Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida)

The genus Echinacea belongs to the family Compositae, commonly referred to as the sunflower family. Of the known species, E. purpurea, E. angustifolia, and E. pallida are commonly used in herbal medicine. Extracts derived from the root and aerial parts are widely used in Europe and the United States as nonspecific immunostimulants and to prevent or treat the common cold and influenza.

Depending on how this Asteraceae family member is classified, there are up to 12 different species of Echinacea. The most commonly used species for medicinal purposes is Echinacea purpurea, which is easy to cultivate and therefore, product demand does not put stress on native populations of Echinacea species that are difficult to cultivate. Most preparations found in the market are derived from the above-ground, or aerial, parts of E. purpurea and/or underground parts of E. purpurea; these preparations account for 80% of commercial production. In addition, E. angustifolia and E. pallida are also utilized in commerce but much less than E. purpurea. All three species of Echinacea seen in commercial preparations have undergone chemical and pharmacological studies. However, there are several other species of Echinacea that have little to no research on their chemistry and pharmacology.

The fruit of Sambucus nigra (elderberries) contains several constituents responsible for pharmacological activity. Among these are the flavonoids quercetin and rutin, anthocyanins identified as cyanidin-3-glucoside and cyanidin-3-sambubioside, the hemagglutinin protein Sambucus nigra agglutinin III (SNA-III), cyanogenic glycosides including sambunigrin, viburnic acid, and vitamins A and C.

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

Elderberry belongs to a family of flowering shrubs known as Sambucus or Elder. They are native to Europe but have become naturalized in many parts of the world including the United States. Cultivated for medicinal and food purposes, the fruit is used to produce jams, syrups, and wine. The berries are a rich source of anthocyanins and other phenolics and nutrients. Several species of Sambucus produce elderberries with similar chemical compositions including American Elder (Sambucus canadensis) and Blue Elder (Sambucus caerulea), but European Elder (Sambucus nigra) is the type most studied and used in supplements.

Fenugreek contains several chemical constituents including steroidal sapogenins.  There are two furastanol glycosides, F-ring opened precursors of diosgenin that have been reported in fenugreek, also as hederagin glycosides. Alkaloids such as trigocoumarin, nicotinic acid, trimethyl coumarin and trigonelline are present in stem. The mucilage is a standing out constituent of the seeds. There is about 28% mucilage; a volatile oil; 2 alkaloids such as trigonelline and choline, 5% of a stronger-smelling, bitter fixed oil, 22% proteins and a yellow coloring substance are present in the stem. Fenugreek contains 23–26% protein, 6–7% fat and 58% carbohydrates of which about 25% is dietary fiber. Fenugreek is also a rich source of iron, containing 33 mg/100 g dry weight.

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)

Trigonella foenum-graecum (Fenugreek) is a clover-like herb native to the Mediterranean region, southern Europe, and western Asia. Its seeds, which smell and taste like maple syrup, have been used in cooking and as medicine for centuries. Fenugreek is used as an ingredient in spice blends and a flavoring agent in foods, beverages, and tobacco. Fenugreek seed extracts are also used in soaps and cosmetics.

The most important biologically active components are the sesquiterpene lactones, the principal one being parthenolide. Parthenolide is found in the superficial leaf glands (0.2%–0.5%), but not in the stems, and comprises up to 85% of the total sesquiterpene content.  Thus, more than 30 sesquiterpene lactones have been identified in feverfew. In general, there are 5 different types of sesquiterpene lactones, which may be classified by chemical ring structures. Feverfew contains eudesmanolides, germacranolides, and guaianolides. Parthenolide is a germacranolide.

Researchers have also isolated the following sesquiterpene lactones: artecanin, artemorin, balchanin, canin, costunolide, 10-epicanin, epoxyartemorin, 1-beta-hydroxyarbusculin, 3-beta-hydroxycostunolide, 8-alpha-hydroxyestagiatin, 8-beta hydroxyreynosinn, 3-beta-hydroxyparthenolide, manolialide, reynosin, santamarine, epoxysantamarine, secotanaparthenolide A, secotanaparthenolide B, tanaparthin-alpha-peroxide, and 3,4-beta-epoxy-8-deoxycumambrin B.

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)

Tanacetum parthenium (feverfew), a member of the Asteraceae family, is a phytomedicine that has become very popular since the 1980s in treating inflammatory conditions and migraine. The ancient Greeks called the herb “Parthenium,” supposedly because it was used medicinally to save the life of someone who had fallen from the Parthenon during its construction in the 5th century BC. The first-century Greek physician Dioscorides used feverfew as an antipyretic. Feverfew also was known as “medieval aspirin” or the “aspirin” of the 18th century.

Garlic has a variety of bioactive compounds, including organosulfur compounds, saponins, phenolic compounds, and polysaccharides. The major active components of garlic are its organosulfur compounds, such as diallyl thiosulfonate (allicin), diallyl sulfide (DAS), diallyl disulfide (DADS), diallyl trisulfide (DATS), E/Z-ajoene, S-allyl-cysteine (SAC), and S-allyl-cysteine sulfoxide (alliin). In general, organosulfur compounds in raw garlic have higher digestibility than those in cooked garlic. In addition, saponins were found to be more stable in the cooking process. The total amount of saponin in purple garlic was almost 40 times higher than that in white garlic, and several saponin compounds were only found to exist in purple garlic, such as desgalactotigonin-rhamnose, proto-desgalactotigonin, proto-desgalactotigonin- rhamnose, voghieroside D1, sativoside B1-rhamnose, and sativoside R1. Moreover, garlic contained more than 20 phenolic compounds, with higher contents than many common vegetables. The main phenolic compound was β-resorcylic acid, followed by pyrogallol, gallic acid, rutin, protocatechuic acid, as well as quercetin. Furthermore, garlic polysaccharides were reported to contain 85% fructose, 14% glucose, and 1% galactose.
Processing can have a substantial effect on the chemical content of garlic because the volatile oil components are heat-sensitive and certain enzymes are acid-labile. The best measure of total activity of garlic is its ability to produce allicin, which in turn, results in the formation of other active constituents. Several oral garlic formulations are available, and clinical studies have evaluated a variety of the proposed claims.

Garlic (Allium sativum)

Garlic (Allium sativum) is a species of bulbous flowering plant in the genus Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, Welsh onion, and Chinese onion. It is native to Central Asia and northeastern Iran and has long been a common seasoning worldwide, with a history of several thousand years of human consumption and use. Numerous cuneiform records show that garlic has been cultivated in Mesopotamia for at least 4,000 years. The use of garlic in China and Egypt also dates back thousands of years. Well-preserved garlic was found in the tomb of Tutankhamun (c. 1325 BC).
It was consumed by ancient Greek and Roman soldiers, sailors, and rural classes (Virgil, Eclogues ii. 11), and, according to Pliny the Elder (Natural History xix. 32), by the African peasantry. Garlic was placed by the ancient Greeks on the piles of stones at crossroads, as a supper for Hecate (Theophrastus, Characters, The Superstitious Man). Currently, China produces over 70% of the world's supply of garlic.

Chemical analysis of ginger shows that it contains over 400 different compounds. The major constituents in ginger rhizomes are carbohydrates (50–70%), lipids (3–8%), terpenes, and phenolic compounds. Terpene components of ginger include zingiberene, β-bisabolene, α-farnesene, β-sesquiphellandrene, and α-curcumene, while phenolic compounds include gingerol, paradols, and shogaol. These gingerols (23–25%) and shogaol (18–25%) are found in higher quantity than others. Besides these, amino acids, raw fiber, ash, protein, phytosterols, vitamins (e.g., nicotinic acid and vitamin A), and minerals are also present.
The aromatic constituents include zingiberene and bisabolene, while the pungent constituents are known as gingerols and shogaols. Other gingerol- or shogaol-related compounds (1–10%), which have been reported in ginger rhizome, include 6-paradol, 1-dehydrogingerdione, 6- gingerdione and 10-gingerdione, 4- gingerdiol, 6-gingerdiol, 8-gingerdiol, and 10-gingerdiol, and diarylheptanoids. The characteristic odor and flavor of ginger are due to a mixture of volatile oils like shogaols and gingerols.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale, Zingiberis rhizome)

Derived from the rhizome of the plant, ginger is native to Asia and is used both as food and as medicine. Ginger is in the family Zingiberaceae, which also includes turmeric (Curcuma longa), cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), and galangal. Ginger originated in Maritime Southeast Asia and was likely domesticated first by the Austronesian peoples. The first written record of ginger comes from the Analects of Confucius, written in China during the Warring States period (475–221 BC). In it, Confucius was said to eat ginger with every meal. It was transported with them throughout the Indo-Pacific during the Austronesian expansion (c. 5,000 BP), reaching as far as Hawaii. Ginger is one of the first spices to have been exported from Asia, arriving in Europe with the spice trade, and was used by ancient Greeks and Romans. The distantly related dicots in the genus Asarum are commonly called wild ginger because of their similar taste.

Ginkgo contains many different substances.  Most of them fall into two categories Flavonoids and Terpenoids or Terpene lactones. Flavonoids are naturally occurring substances that function as antioxidants (scavenge free radicals-damaging compounds in the body that alter cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death) also found in fruits and vegetables.  They enhance the immune system in the body and interfere with tumor formation.  The type of flavonoid in Ginkgo is called Ginkgolide. Ginkgolides are unique compounds exclusive to Ginkgo and are broken down into separate ginkgolides A, B, C, J, and M.  Each Ginkgolide has a different degree of potency.  Ginkgolide B is considered the most active.  Other flavonoids present are quercetin (which is one of the most studied flavonoids and is a stronger antioxidant than vitamin E), and kaempferol. Terpene lactones are the active constituents that give ginkgo a bitter strong flavor and helps increase blood circulation. 
 
Other components present are Amino Acid-6hydrozykynurenic acid, Dimeric flavones (bilobetin, ginkgetin, isoginkgetin, scieadopitysin), Proanthocyanidins, ginkgolic acid, ascorbic acid, carotenoids, and Bilobalide.
 
The nuts contain essential oil, fatty acid, tannin, and resin.

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba belongs to the botanical family of Ginkgoceae consisting of approximately 15 genera. The ginkgo tree, known to be among the oldest living species on this planet, has flourished in forests for more than 200 million years, hence it is called a “living fossil”. The modern-day Ginkgo biloba has a very distinct appearance characterized by its fan-shaped leaves. They also live a very, very long time. A single Ginkgo biloba tree might drop its distinct fan-shaped leaves every year for centuries, if not millennia. As a ginkgo ages, it does not just survive, it thrives. Though 600-year-old ginkgos grow thinner annual rings, they are likely to pump out just as much defensive and immune-supporting chemicals as their younger relatives.

This tree having survived millions of years has developed a unique adaptability to thrive in even extremely polluted environments. This attribute has made the male ginkgos very popular in air polluted cities. Its resistance, adaptability, and regenerative strength is unsurpassed in the plant kingdom and it imparts this adaptogen quality to its user. Thus, it is medicinally considered an adaptogen remedy. It is a dioecious tree with the male and female reproductive organs on separate trees. The name ginkgo comes from the Chinese words sankyo or yinkuo, which means a hill apricot or silver fruit, due to their apricot shaped mature fruits and yellow color.
It is cultivated around the world for its medicinal properties and aesthetic value.

The bioactive components of American ginseng are ginseng ginsenosides or triterpenoid saponins. Other important chemical constituents of America ginseng include polyacetylenes, sesquiterpenes, polysaccharides, and peptidoglycans, that have also been isolated along with volatile constituents, organic acids, amino acids, sugars, and other constituents. More than 150 ginsenosides have been isolated from different parts of the American ginseng plant so far.

Ginseng (American) (Panax quinquefolius)

Ginseng is probably the most researched and used medicinal herb in the world. There are 11 different varieties of ginseng, eight species of Panax in all, two of which are considered possessing high medicinal value: Asian Ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius or P. quinquefolius). The genus name, Panax, comes from the Greek word for panacea, or cure-all. American ginseng is a native perennial found in the temperate nutrient-rich forests in North America. American ginseng is considered an adaptogen. Adaptogens are a class of substances that stimulate the body's resistance to physical, environmental, and emotional stressors. Both Native American healers and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners have utilized it. It is not to be confused with Panax ginseng as it is a different species with slightly different medicinal properties than Asian or Panax ginseng. Both American and Asian ginseng contain compounds called ginsenosides, so some of their effects may be similar.

Approximately 200 substances have been isolated from Asian ginseng thus far. Recent phytochemistry and pharmacological studies have discovered a variety of potent components in all parts of the ginseng plant including ginsenosides, alkaloids, phenolics, phytosterol, carbohydrates, polypeptides, ginseng oils, amino acids, nitrogenous substances, vitamins, minerals, and certain enzymes. Ginsenosides are the major bioactive metabolites. There is a total of 38 ginsenosides in Panax ginseng. Ginsenosides are triterpene saponins. Most consist of a dammarane skeleton (17 carbons in a four-ring structure) with different sugar groups (e.g., glucose, rhamnose, xylose and arabinose) connected to the C-3 and C-20 positions. 
So far, more than 70 ginsenosides have been separated from the three main kinds of ginseng. Among them, ginsenosides Rbl, Rb2, Rc, Rd, Rgl, Rg2, and Re are the major constituents of white and red ginseng, while ginsenosides Rg3, Rg5, and Rg6 are unique to red ginseng. Some rare ginsenosides, like the ocotillol saponin F11 (24-R-pseudoginsenoside) and the pentacyclic oleanane saponin Ro (3,28-O-bisdesmoside) have also been isolated and identified. The quality and composition of ginsenosides in the ginseng plants are influenced by several factors including the species, age, part of the plant, cultivation method, harvesting season and storage method. Using ginsenoside Rf as example, Rf is exclusive to Asian ginseng whereas F11 is unique to American ginseng. Thus, the Rf/F11 ratio is applied as a phytochemical label to differentiate American from Asian ginseng. Many reports indicate that ginsenoside metabolites show better biological effects than ginsenosides. For example, Rh2 and PD, metabolites of Rg3, have more potent anti-tumor activities than ginsenoside Rg3. Unlike Ginsenosides Rb1, Rb2, Rg1 and Re, compound K, PT and PD, the intestinal metabolites of PPTs and PPDs, have inhibitory effects like that of the human liver enzyme cytochrome P450 inhibitory effects.

Ginseng (Asian) (Panax ginseng)

Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) has been used for thousands of years and appears in the first known Chinese Materia Medica (thought to have been written during the Han Dynasty, 220 BCE). The English word “ginseng” stem from the Chinese word rénshēn. Rén means person, while shēn means plant root. Ginseng’s pronunciation comes from Cantonese “yun sum” or the Hokkien pronunciation "jîn-sim". Ginseng is a slow-growing perennial plant with fleshy roots and belongs to the genus Panax of the family Araliaceae. The genus Panax derives its name from the Greek words pan (all) and akos (healing).
There are a total of 13 species that grow widely in Asia, North America and Europe. Asian ginseng root is native to the northern mountainous regions of Korea, China, and parts of the Russian Federation. Cultivation of Panax ginseng in Korea started around 11 B.C. by transplantation of wild ginseng. Panax ginseng cultivated in Korea (Korean ginseng) is harvested after 4-6 years of cultivation, and it is classified into three types depending on how it is processed: (a) fresh ginseng (less than 4 yrs. old; can be consumed in its fresh state); (b) white Ginseng (4-6 yrs. old; dried after peeling); and (c) red ginseng (harvested when 6 yrs. old, and then steamed and dried) is an herb native to East Asia and Russia.
Panax ginseng should not be confused with American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) or Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), which have different medicinal properties. It should also not be confused with Panax notoginseng which also has different properties and is a key ingredient in the TCM formula Yunnan baiyao.

The root of Hydrastis canadensis contains alkaloids, including hydrastine (1.5%–4%), berberine (0.5%–6%), berberastine (2%–3%), canadine, candaline hydrastinine and other related alkaloids. Other constituents include meconin, chlorogenic acid, phytosterins, and resins. The primary active constituents are hydrastine and berberine. Berberine is primarily responsible for its antimicrobial activity.

Golden Seal (Hydrastis canadensis)

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), also called orangeroot or yellow puccoon, is a perennial herb in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae, native to southeastern Canada and the eastern United States. It may be distinguished by its thick, yellow knotted rootstock. The stem is purplish and hairy above ground and yellow below ground where it connects to the yellow rhizome. The plant bears two palmate, hairy leaves with 5–7 double-toothed lobes and single, small, inconspicuous flowers with greenish white stamens in the late spring. It bears a single berry like a large raspberry with 10–30 seeds in the summer. Its rhizome is the part used for medicinal purposes. Goldenseal has deep origins as a traditional remedy among Native Americans. Later, pioneers adopted goldenseal and it became a mainstay of American folk medicine.

Many active compounds and chemicals have been found in graviola, as scientists have been studying its properties since the 1940s. Graviola produces these natural compounds in its leaf and stem, bark, and fruit seeds. Most of the research on graviola focuses on a novel set of chemicals called Annonaceous acetogenins. Chemically, they are derivatives of long-chain fatty acids. Annonaceous acetogenins are only found in the Annonaceae family (to which graviola belongs). These chemicals in general have been documented with antitumorous, antiparasitic, insecticidal, and antimicrobial activities.The Annonaceous acetogenins discovered in graviola thus far include: annocatalin, annohexocin, annomonicin, annomontacin, annomuricatin A and B, annomuricin A through E, annomutacin, annonacin, annonacinone, annopentocin A through C, cis-annonacin, ciscorossolone, cohibin A through D, corepoxylone, coronin, corossolin, corossolone, donhexocin, epomuricenin A and B, gigantetrocin, gigantetrocin Aand B, gigantetrocinone, gigantetronenin, goniothalamicin, iso-annonacin, javoricin, montanacin, montecristin, muracin A through G, muricapentocin, muricatalicin, muricatalin, muri-catenol, muricatetrocin A and B muricatin D, muricatocin A through C muricin H, muricin I, muricoreacin, murihexocin 3, murihexocin A through C, murihexol, murisolin, robustocin, rolliniastatin 1 & 2, saba-delin, solamin, uvariamicin I and IV, and xylomaticin.

Graviola (Annona muricata)

Graviola is a tree prevalent in the rain forests of Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia. Graviola has a long, rich history of use in herbal medicine as well as a lengthy recorded indigenous use.

Chemical analysis has allowed for the identification of more than 150 bioactive molecules in Hawthorn fruits, leaves, and flowers, such as flavonoids, oligomeric proanthocyanidins, triterpene acids, phenolic acids (ferulic, gallic, p-coumaric, syringic, chlorogenic organic acids (fumaric, tartaric, succinic, citric, malic), sterols, sugars (maltose, sucrose, glucose, fructose) and trace amounts of cardioactive amines. Flavonoids and OPCs are the two major groups of bioactive components. Pharmacologic activities of hawthorn flower, leaf, and berry extracts are attributed to constituents such as flavonoids and oligomeric procyanidins. Laboratory experiments suggest cardiac action of the flavonoids occurs via inhibition of the 3’,5’-cyclic adenosine monophosphate phosphodiesterase, and demonstrate positive inotropic effects by hawthorn that increase heart rate. Inotropic and vasodilatory effects have also been related to increased myocardial perfusion and reduced afterload. Antioxidant properties and inhibitory effects against LDL oxidation are attributed to phenolic compounds.

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna, Crataegus oxyacantha)

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna, Crataegus oxyacantha) is a member of Rosaceae family and has been recorded as a popular medicinal plant in most of the countries. The berry has been a key part of traditional Chinese medicine for at least 2000 years. The genus name, “Crataegus” comes from the Greek word, “kràtaigos” which means “strength and robustness” due to its hard and durable wood. The parts of the Hawthorn bush that are used for medicinal purposes are the berries and the leaf. The berries of the Hawthorn are collected in the fall after they turn a dark purple.

Hawthorn berries are one of the oldest known medicinal plants used in European herbal medicine. Dioscorides, a Greek herbalist, was the first to report the performance of Hawthorn Berry on the heart. Dioscorides was followed by a Swiss physician, Paracelsus who touted the use of Hawthorn Berry for its actions on the heart. During his years of practice, Dr. Green of Ennis, Ireland held such a reputation of curing heart disease and other ailments of the heart, that he had patients from all over the United Kingdom. While remaining a physician in good standing, he refused to share his secret with his colleagues. After his death in 1894, Dr. Green’s daughter revealed that a concentrate of fresh Hawthorn berries, Crataegus Oxycantha, Common Hawthorn, was the formula which her father had successfully used to cure his many heart patients.

Horse chestnut seeds are rich in saponins (3–5%), over thirty of which have been isolated and identified. The main compound is aescin – a mixture of acylated triterpene glycosides. Three fractions of aescin, denoted as crypto-, α-, and β-aescin have been described in the literature. Cryptoaescin contains C-28-O-acetyl saponins, and β-aescin contains C-22-O-acetyl saponins, whereas α-aescin is a mixture of crypto- and β-aescin. β-Aescin (mainly made up of aescin Ia and aescin Ib ) is the major active component of extracts from horse chestnut seeds, whereas α-aescin (made up mainly of isoaescin Ia and isoaescin Ib ) is less bioactive. Horse chestnut seeds also contain flavonoids: quercetin and kaempferol derivatives, proanthocyanidins, sterols, and significant amounts of starch.

Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)

Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum L.) is a deciduous tree native to parts of southeastern Europe, particularly the Balkan Peninsula, but now cultivated in many areas of Europe and North America. The tree produces fruits that are made up of a spiny capsule containing one to three large seeds, known as horse chestnuts. Traditionally, many of the aerial parts of the horse chestnut tree, including the seeds, leaves, and bark, were used in medicinal preparations. Its fruits contain seeds that resemble sweet chestnuts but have a bitter taste. Modern extracts of horse chestnut are usually made from the seeds, which are high in the active constituent aescin (also known as escin).

Analysis of the composition of kava rhizome indicates that the fresh material is on average 80% water. When dried, the rhizome consists of approximately 43% starch, 20% fibers, 12% water, 3.2% sugars, 3.6% proteins, 3.2% minerals, and 15% kavalactones, although the kavalactone component can vary between 3% and 20% of the dry weight of the rhizome, depending on the age of the plant and the cultivar. The bioactive principles of kava rhizome are mostly, if not entirely, contained in the lipid-soluble resin. The compounds of greatest pharmacological interest are the substituted α-pyrones or kavapyrones, commonly known as kavalactones. At least 15 lactones have been isolated from kava rhizome. The following six compounds are present in the highest concentrations and account for approximately 96% of the lipid resin: kavain, dihydrokavain, yangonin, desmethoxyyangonin, methysticin, and dihydromethysticin. Other constituents of kava include chalcones and other flavanones, and conjugated diene ketones.

Kavalactones in kava are thought to be the active constituent that produces skeletal muscle relaxation, non-narcotic anesthesia, and local anesthetic effects.

Kava (Piper methysticum)

Kava, (Piper methysticum), also known as Kava Kava, is an indigenous plant in Polynesia and throughout the South Pacific, including Melanesia and Micronesia. It has been safely used for over 1,500 years in these cultures as a beverage for both ceremonial and casual consumption. Europeans documented its use when they traveled to Polynesia in the 18th century. In modern Fijian culture, Kava is used as a welcome beverage for visitors, and used in some religious contexts as well. These beverages are prepared from either the fresh or dried roots of the plant.