Moringa oleifera Lam. (Moringaceae) Benzolive Tree, Drumstick Tree, Horseradish Tree, West Indian Ben (Medicine)

Moringa oleifera Lam. (Moringaceae) Benzolive Tree, Drumstick Tree, Horseradish Tree, West Indian Ben

Synonyms —

Guilandina moringa L., Moringa moringa (L.) Small, M. pterygosperma Gaertn.

Medicinal Uses (Horseradish Tree) —

In rural Sudan, powdered seeds are used to purify drinking water by coagulation. In trials, the powder was toxic to guppies (Poecilia reticulata), protozoa (Tetrahymena pyriformis), and bacteria (Escherichia coli), and it inhibited acetylcholinesterase. It might serve as a fruit- and vegetable-preservative. In low concentrations, it protects mice against staphylococcus infections. Juice from the leaves and stem bark inhibits Staphyloccoccus aureus but not Escherichia coli. One study showed bark extracts active against Bacillus subtilis, Dip. pneumoniae, Escherichia coli, Micrococcus pyogenes, Salmonella typhosa, Shigella dysenteri, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Vibrio comma. Bark extract fungicidal to Candida albicans, Helm-inthosporium sativum, Microsporum gypseum, and Trichiphyton mentagrophytes. The 50% ethan-olic extract of root bark (devoid of antibacterial activity) was antiviral to the vaccinia virus but not Ranikhet disease virus, but it did inhibit its replication. Ether leaf extracts were bacteriostatic to Staphylococcus aureus and S. typhosa. Alcohol extracts may contain an adrenergic neurone blocking agent (MPI).
The root alkaloid, spirochin, paralyzes the vagus nerve, hinders infection, and has antimycotic and analgesic activity. In doses of 15 g, the root bark is abortifacient. Alcoholic root bark extract is analgesic, antiedemic, and antiinflammatory at 500-1000 mg/kg orally in albino rats (MPI). Aqueous and ethanolic leaf extracts antibacterial, hypotensive, sedative, and respirastimulant.
Root-bark yields two alkaloids, moringine and moringinine. Moringinine acts as a cardiac stimulant, produces rise of blood pressure, acts on sympathetic nerve endings as well as smooth muscles all over the body, and depresses the sympathetic motor fibers of vessels in large doses only.
Extracts of Moringa increased glutathione-S-transferase activity >78% in esophagus, liver, and stomach, enough to be considered chemopreventive (Aruna and Sivaramakrishnan, 1990).

Indications (Horseradish Tree) —

Abscess (f; KAB; PH2); Adenosis (f; KAP; NUT); Alopecia (f; NUT; SKJ); Ameba (1; TRA); Arthrosis (1; FNF; KAB; KAP; PH2; SUW); Ascites (f; HHB; NUT); Asthma (f; IED; KAP); Bacteria (1; FNF; KAP; MPI; WBB); Biliousness (f; KAB); Boil (f; KAP; NUT); Burn (f; JLH; NUT; TRA); Calculus (f; KAB); Cancer (1; FNF; JLH; JAC7:405); Cancer, abdomen (1; PH2; JAC7:405); Cancer, colon (1; JLH; JAC7:405); Cancer, esophagus (1; JAC7:405); Cancer, liver (1; JLH; JAC7:405); Cancer, nasopharynx (1; KAP; MPI); Cancer, spleen (f; JLH); Cancer, stomach (1; JAC7:405); Cardiopathy (f; PH2); Caries (f; SKJ; SUW); Catarrh (f; HHB; KAP; NUT); Cholera (1; SKJ; WBB); Circulosis (f; SUW); Cold (f; JFM); Colic (f; PH2);
Constipation (f; PH2); Convulsion (f; NUT); Cough (f; JFM; KAP); Cramp (f; SUW); Cystosis (f;
BOW); Dandruff (f; PH2); Debility (f; SUW); Dermatosis (f; JFM; PH2); Diabetes (f; PH2); Dropsy
(f; IED; KAP; NUT); Dysentery (f; NUT); Dysmenorrhea (f; SKJ); Dyspepsia (f; KAP; PH2); Dysuria (f; NUT); Earache (f; IED); Edema (1; JFM; PH2; JAC7:405); Enterosis (f; JLH; PH2);
Epilepsy (1; ABS; IED; PH2; SUW); Erysipelas (f; NUT); Escherichia (1; TRA; WOI); Esophagosis (1; JAC7:405); Fever (f; IED; JFM; PH2; SUW); Fracture (f; SKJ); Fungus (1; FNF; MPI; WBB);
Gas (f; KAB; SUW); Gastrosis (f; PH2); Gingivosis (f; KAB); Gout (f; IED; KAP); Gravel (f;
NUT; SKJ); Hallucination (f; KAB); Headache (f; JFM; PH2); Heart (f; KAB); Hematuria (f; NUT;
SKJ); Hepatosis (f; HHB; JLH; SUW); Hiccup (f; KAB); Hoarseness (f; KAB); Hysteria (f; IED;
KAB; SUW); Induration (f; JLH); Infection (1; FNF; KAP; WBB); Infertility (f; NUT); Inflammation (1; FNF; KAB; KAP; PH2; JAC7:405); Leprosy (f; KAB); Leukemia (f; KAP; MPI);
Lumbago (f; KAB; PH2); Madness (f; NUT); Maggot (f; NUT); Malaria (f; JFM; KAP; PH2;
SUW); Mycosis (1; HHB; MPI; NUT); Myosis (f; KAB); Nephrosis (f; JFM); Neuralgia (f; KAB;
NUT); Odontosis (f; BOW); Oligolactea (f; BOW); Ophthalmia (f; KAB); Pain (f; JFM; KAP; SKJ; SUW); Palsy (f; KAB; SUW); Pancreatosis (f; WBB); Paralysis (f; KAB; PH2; SUW); Pharyngosis (f; KAB; KAP); Pneumonia (f; NUT; SKJ); Rheumatism (1; FNF; IED; JFM; KAP;
PH2; SUW); Rhinosis (1; KAP); Salmonella (1; TRA; WOI); Scabies (f; NUT); Scirrhus (f; JLH); Scrofula (f; NUT); Septicemia (f; BOW); Shigella (1; TRA; WOI); Snakebite (f; IED; PH2); Sore (f; KAB; PH2); Sore Throat (f; KAB); Spasm (f; IED); Splenomegaly (f; PH2); Splenosis (f; JLH; HHB; PH2; SUW); Staphylococcus (1; MPI; WBB; WOI); Stomatosis (f; KAB); Stone (f; BOW);
Streptococcus (1; WBB); Swelling (f; JFM; KAP); Syncope (f; KAB; SUW); Syphilis (f; NUT);
Tetanus (f; KAB; SUW); Toothache (f; NUT); Tuberculosis (1; KAP); Tumor (1; FNF; NUT); Ulcer (f; BOW; IED); VD (f; NUT; SUW); Vertigo (f; NUT; PH2); Virus (1; FNF; KAP; MPI);
Wart (f; JFM); Worm (f; JFM; PH2); Wound (f; IED; PH2); Yellow Fever (f; IED; NUT).

Horseradish Tree for cancer:

• AntiHIV: caffeic-acid; quercetin
• Antiaggregant: caffeic-acid; kaempferol; quercetin
• Anticancer: caffeic-acid; kaempferol; quercetin; vanillin
• Anticarcinogenic: caffeic-acid
• Antiestrogenic: quercetin
• Antifibrosarcomic: quercetin
• Antihepatotoxic: caffeic-acid; quercetin
• Antiinflammatory: caffeic-acid; kaempferol; quercetin
• Antileukemic: kaempferol; quercetin
• Antileukotriene: caffeic-acid; quercetin
• Antilipoperoxidant: quercetin
• Antimelanomic: quercetin
• Antimutagenic: caffeic-acid; kaempferol; quercetin; vanillin
• Antinitrosaminic: caffeic-acid; quercetin
• Antioxidant: caffeic-acid; delta-5-avenasterol; delta-7-avenasterol; gamma-tocopherol; kaempferol; quercetin; vanillin
• Antiperoxidant: caffeic-acid; quercetin
• Antiproliferant: quercetin
• Antiprostaglandin: caffeic-acid
• Antitumor: caffeic-acid; kaempferol; quercetin; vanillin
• Antiviral: caffeic-acid; kaempferol; quercetin; vanillin
• Apoptotic: kaempferol; quercetin
• COX-2-Inhibitor: kaempferol; quercetin
• Cyclooxygenase-Inhibitor: kaempferol; quercetin
• Cytoprotective: caffeic-acid
• Cytotoxic: caffeic-acid; quercetin
• Hepatoprotective: caffeic-acid; quercetin
• Immunostimulant: caffeic-acid
• Lipoxygenase-Inhibitor: caffeic-acid; kaempferol; quercetin
• Mast-Cell-Stabilizer: quercetin
• Ornithine-Decarboxylase-Inhibitor: caffeic-acid; quercetin
• p450-Inducer: quercetin
• PTK-Inhibitor: quercetin
• Prostaglandigenic: caffeic-acid
• Protein-Kinase-C-Inhibitor: quercetin
• Sunscreen: caffeic-acid
• Topoisomerase-II-Inhibitor: kaempferol; quercetin
• Tyrosine-Kinase-Inhibitor: quercetin
Horseradish Tree for infection:
• Analgesic: caffeic-acid; quercetin; spirochin
• Antibacterial: caffeic-acid; kaempferol; pterygospermin; quercetin
• Antiedemic: caffeic-acid
• Antiinflammatory: caffeic-acid; kaempferol; quercetin
• Antiseptic: caffeic-acid; kaempferol; oxalic-acid; pterygospermin; spirochin
• Antiviral: caffeic-acid; kaempferol; quercetin; vanillin
• Bacteristat: quercetin
• Candidicide: quercetin
• COX-2-Inhibitor: kaempferol; quercetin
• Cyclooxygenase-Inhibitor: kaempferol; quercetin
• Fungicide: caffeic-acid; pterygospermin; quercetin; spirochin; vanillin
• Immunostimulant: caffeic-acid
• Lipoxygenase-Inhibitor: caffeic-acid; kaempferol; quercetin

Other Uses (Horseradish Tree) —

Described as “one of the most amazing trees God has created.” Almost every part of the Moringa is said to be of value for food. Thickened pungent root used as substitute for horseradish. Mustard-flavored foliage eaten as greens, in salads, in vegetable curries, and for seasoning. Leaves pounded up and used for scrubbing utensils and for cleaning walls. Young, tender seedlings make an excellent cooked green vegetable (FAC). Flowers are said to make a satisfactory vegetable; interesting, particularly in subtropical places like Florida, where it is said to be the only tree species that flowers every day of the year. Flowers good for honey production. Young pods cooked as a vegetable, in soups and curries, or made into pickles. Immature seeds are eaten like peas while mature seeds, roasted or fried, are said to suggest peanuts (FAC). Seed is said to be eaten like a peanut in
Malaya. Seeds yield 38 to 40% of a nondrying oil, known as Ben Oil, used in arts and for lubricating watches and other delicate machinery. The oil contains high levels of unsaturated fatty acids, up to 75.39% oleic, making it competitive with olive oil and avocado as a poor man’s source of MUFAs. The dominant saturated acids were behenic (to 6.73%) and palmitic (to 6.04%). The oil also rich in beta-sitosterol (to 50.07%), stigmasterol (to 17.27%), and campesterol (to 15.13%), and the vari-ous-tocopherols totaled more than 220 mg/kg of oil, respectively (JAF47:4495). Haitians obtain the oil by crushing browned seeds and boiling in water. Oil is clear, sweet and odorless, said never to become rancid. It is edible, used in salads and cooking, and in the manufacture of perfumes and hair dressings. Leaves and young branches are relished by livestock. A reddish gum produced by the bark, called Ben Gum, is used as a seasoning (FAC). Wood yields a blue dye. Commonly planted in Africa as a living fence (Hausa) tree. Trees planted on graves are believed to keep away hyenas and its branches are used as charms against witchcraft. Ochse notes an interesting agroforestry application: the thin crown throws a slight shade on kitchen gardens, which is “more useful than detrimental to the plants.” In Taiwan, treelets are spaced 15 cm apart to make a living fence, the top of which is lopped off for the calcium- and iron-rich foliage. Bark can serve for tanning and also yields a coarse fiber. Trees are being studied as pulpwood sources in India. Analyses indicate that the tree is a suitable raw material for producing high alpha-cellulose pulps for use in cellophane and textiles (NUT).
For more information on activities, dosages, and contraindications, see the CRC Handtopic of Medicinal Herbs, ed. 2,  et al., 2002.

Cultivation (Horseradish Tree) —

In India, the plant is propagated by planting limb cuttings 1-2 m long, from June through August, preferably. The plant starts bearing pods 6-8 months after planting, but regular bearing commences after the second year. The tree bears for several years. Fruits are harvested as needed, or, perhaps in India, there may be two peak periods (March-April and September-October). A single tree may yield some 600-1000 pods a year. A single fruit may have 20 seeds, each weighing some 300 mg, suggesting a yield of 6 kg/tree and an oil yield of 2 kg/tree (NUT).

Chemistry (Horseradish Tree) —

With the recent flurry of interest in “stanols,” the health food industry might be interested in a closer look at Ben Oil, which has more stanols than olive oil. See table below. Ben Oil, as analyzed, is also well endowed with tocopherols, making it a double whammy for heart health, with a slight taste of horseradish. It’s oleic-acid (MUFA) levels can be as high as 75.39%. The ben oil contained ca. 100 ppm alpha-tocopherol (cf 90 in olive oil); 35 ppm gamma-tocopherol (cf 10 in olive oil); 75 ppm delta-tocopherol (cf 2 in olive oil). These high levels of tocopherols, especially delta-tocopherol, the better antioxidant, offer some protection in processing and storage.
Ben Oil Analyzed
% of sterols
Olive oil
Source: JAF47:4495
Here are a few of the more notable chemicals found in horseradish tree. For a complete listing of the phytochemicals and their activities, see the CRC phytochemical compendium,  and , 1993 (DAD) and the USDA database .
Alpha-Tocopherol — Anticancer; Anticonvulsant Synergen; Antimutagenic; Antioxidant (5 x quercetin); Antiradicular (5 x quercetin); Antitumor; RDA = 3-12 mg/day.
Gamma-Tocopherol — Antioxidant 10-15 |ig/g.
Leucine — Antiencephalopathic.
Lysine — Antialkalotic; Antiherpetic 0.5-3 g/day; Essential; Hypoarginanemic 250 mg/kg; LD50 = 181 ivn mus.
Moringinine — Cardiotonic; Enterodepressant; Hypertensive; Myodepreessant; Sympathomimetic; Vasoconstrictor.
Oleic-Acid — 5-Alpha-Reductase-Inhibitor; Anemiagenic; Anticancer; Antiinflammatory IC50 = 21 [iM; Antileukotriene-D4 IC50 = 21 \iM; Choleretic 5 ml/man; Dermatitigenic; Hypocholester-olemic; Insectifuge; Irritant; Percutaneostimulant; LD50 = 230 ivn mus; LDlo = 50 ivn cat.
Spirochine — Analgesic; Antipyretic; Antiseptic; Cardiodepressant 350 mg/kg; Cardiotonic 35 mg/kg; CNS-Paralytic; Fungicide; Hypotensive; Myocardiotonic; Uterotonic.

Murraya koenigii (L.) Spreng. (Rutaceae)

Curry Leaf ,

Murraya koenigii (L.) Spreng. (Rutaceae)

Synonyms —

Bergera koenigii L., Chalcas koenigii (L.) Kurz.

Medicinal Uses (Curry Leaf) —

Reported to be analgesic, carminative, stomachic, and tonic (DAW). Medicinally, leaves, roots, and bark are considered carminative, stomachic, and tonic, especially in India. Leaves used internally in dysentery and diarrhea and for checking vomiting; used externally, it is applied to bruises and skin eruptions (WOI). Juice of root taken to relieve pain associated with kidney ailments (KAB). Powdered root mixed with betel nut juice and honey as an antiperiodic (DEP).
Extracts antispasmodic and protisticidal (MPI). The 50% ethanolic extracts showed antiprotozoal activity against Entameba histolytic and antispasmodic activity on guinea pig ileum (no anticancer, antiviral, or CNS effects, nor hypolipemic activity in some Indian assays). Aqueous extracts (= tea) of leaves hypoglycemic in normal and alloxan diabetic dogs (MPI). Aqueous extracts inhibit ethanol-induced stomach ulcers (TAD). Leaf EO antibacterial against B. subtilis (at 2000 ppm), C. pyogenes (at 2000 ppm), P. vulgaris, Pasteurella multicida, and Staphylococcus aureus (at 2000 ppm) (MPI). Leaf EO fungicidal against Aspergillus fumigatis, A. niger, Candida albicans (at 2000 ppm), C. tropicalis, and Microsporum gypseum (MPI). Ethanolic leaf extract active against Colletotrichum falcatum and Rhizoctonia solani (MPI). Some of the carbazole alkaloids were fungicidal against Microsporum and Trichophyton. At 10 ng/ml, girinimbine inhibited their growth.
Tachibana et al. (2001), comparing five antioxidant carbazole alkaloids, found three were better antioxidants than tocopherol, two less so. Euchrestine, bismurrayafoline, mahanine, mahanimbicine, and mahanimbine all showed radical scavenging activity (JAF49:5594). Similarly, Ramsewak et al. (1999) isolated three bioactive carbazole alkaloids, mahanimbine, murrayanol, and mahanine, all of which were antiseptic, insecticidal, and inhibited topoisomerase I and II inhibition activities. Adebajo and Reisch (2000) reported several minor furocoumarins, possibly additive or synergistic, in the seeds: byakangelicol, byakangelicin, gosferol, isobyakangelicol, isogosferol, neobyakangeli-col, phellopterin, and xanthotoxin. It seems to me the rule, rather than the exception, that biologically active compounds of a type (like an alkaloid, flavonoid, furanocoumarin, lignan, monterpene, an OPC, phytostanol, phytosterol, polyphenol, saponin, tannin, or a triterpenoid), don't usually occur alone in their class, but in a suite of closely related, often synergistic compounds in that class. Not only is that additivity or synergy lost when we seek out the single most active compound, we enable the enemy to develop resistance. Resistance is a response to the monochemical silver bullet, not the polychemical herbal shotgun.

Indications (Curry Leaf) —

Ameba (1; MPI); Bacteria (1; FNF; MPI; TAD); Biliousness (f; DEP); Bite (f; DEP); Blood (f; KAB); Bruise (f; WOI); Cancer (1; FNF; X9366097); Colic (f; BOW); Constipation (f; BOW); Cramp (1; FNF; MPI); Dermatosis (f; DEP; WOI); Diabetes (1; MPI); Diarrhea (f; SKJ); Dysentery (f; DEP; SKJ); Fever (f; KAB); Fungus (1; FNF); Gastrosis (1; TAD); Hemorrhoid (f; KAB); Infection (1; FNF; TAD); Inflammation (1; FNF; KAB); Itch (f; KAB); Leukemia (1; ABS); Leukoderma (f; KAB); Malaria (f; DEP); Melanoma (1; FNF; X9366097); Nausea (f; SKJ); Nephrosis (f; SKJ); Nervousness (1; FNF); Pain (f; SKJ); Snakebite (f; KAB); Staphylococcus (1; MPI); Thirst (f; KAB); Tumor (1; FNF); Ulcer (1; FNF; TAD); Virus (1; FNF); Vomiting (f; DEP); Worm (f; KAB).

Curry Leaf for cramp:

• Analgesic: myrcene; p-cymene
• Anesthetic: benzaldehyde; carvacrol; linalool; myrcene
• Anticonvulsant: bergapten; gaba; linalool
• Antiinflammatory: alpha-pinene; bergapten; beta-pinene; carvacrol; caryophyllene; isopimpinellin
• Antispasmodic: benzaldehyde; bergapten; bornyl-acetate; carvacrol; caryophyllene; limonene; linalool; myrcene
• Carminative: carvacrol
• Cyclooxygenase-Inhibitor: carvacrol
• Myorelaxant: bornyl-acetate
• Sedative: alpha-pinene; alpha-terpineol; benzaldehyde; bornyl-acetate; caryophyllene; dipentene; gaba; limonene; linalool; p-cymene
• Tranquilizer: alpha-pinene; gaba

Curry Leaf for infection:

• Analgesic: myrcene; p-cymene
• Anesthetic: benzaldehyde; carvacrol; linalool; myrcene
• Antibacterial: alpha-pinene; alpha-terpineol; benzaldehyde; bornyl-acetate; carvacrol; caryophyllene; delta-cadinene; dipentene; limonene; linalool; myrcene; nerolidol; p-cymene; terpinen-4-ol
• Antiedemic: caryophyllene
• Antiinflammatory: alpha-pinene; bergapten; beta-pinene; carvacrol; caryophyllene; isopimp-inellin
• Antiseptic: 2-nonanone; alpha-terpineol; aromadendrene; benzaldehyde; beta-pinene; carvacrol; hexanol; limonene; linalool; oxalic-acid; terpinen-4-ol
• Antiviral: alpha-pinene; beta-bisabolene; bornyl-acetate; dipentene; limonene; linalool; neryl-acetate; p-cymene
• Cyclooxygenase-Inhibitor: carvacrol
• Fungicide: alpha-phellandrene; beta-phellandrene; carvacrol; caryophyllene; isopimp-inellin; linalool; myrcene; oxypeucedanin; p-cymene; terpinen-4-ol; terpinolene
• Fungistat: limonene
• Immunostimulant: benzaldehyde

Other Uses (Curry Leaf) —

The pungently aromatic curry leaves, dried or fresh, may be found in Indian grocery shops. Much cultivated in India for its aromatic leaves and used as a spice in curries, chutneys, and stews (CFR). Tucker and Debaggio (2000), advise that, though not GRAS, the herb harmonizes well with curry mixtures for buttermilks, chutneys, fish dishes, meat dishes, pickles, scrambled eggs, soups (rasams), etc. Leaves retain their pungent flavor even after drying. Curry leaves, with stems removed, can be sauteed lightly in oil. This method should be chosen when making a dry curry and also for the savory spiced-rice dishes of south India (AAR). Leaves are fried in ghee or oil until crisp (FAC). It was found that fresh curry leaves (1%) prevented oxidation of ghee better than the commercial antioxidants BHA and BHT. Leaves are an ingredient of the Tamil Nadu spice blend called curry powder. After being powdered in a grinder or blender, the dried leaves can also be used in marinades or sprinkled on vegetables or yogurt. They are used almost like bay leaves, a couple of sprigs with a total of six to ten leaflets are needed for a dish serving four. Remove sprigs before serving. Curry leaves are sometimes called "sweet neem" (AAR). Fruit is edible and yields 0.76% of a yellow volatile oil with a neroli-like odor and a pepper-like taste, giving an agreeable sensation of coolness on the tongue (Reed, 1976). Wood (wt. 43-50 lb/cu ft) is grayish-white, even and close-grained, durable, used for agricultural implements. Plants often grown as an ornamental (CFR).
For more information on activities, dosages, and contraindications, see the CRC Handtopic of Medicinal Herbs, ed. 2,  et al., 2002.

Cultivation (Curry Leaf) —

Propagation by seeds, which germinate freely under partial shade. When cultivated, seedlings are spaced 3-7 m each way. Semiripe cuttings possible in late summer (Bown, 2001). Moist, rich, sunny, or partially shaded sites recommended (Bown, 2001). Hardy only in zones 9 and 10, plants tolerate full sun and evenly moist garden loams (TAD). Plants are outplanted in May in India. Plants may also be propagated by cuttings of ripened wood, which should be taken with leaves intact or by root suckers. These are inserted in moist sand in a shady site. Rooted cuttings are spaced as seedlings. Once established, shrubs require little attention. Native plants often form undergrowth in forest (CFR). Harvested as needed, leaves rarely enter into commercial statistics.

Chemistry (Curry Leaf) —

Leaves contain 6.1% protein; 16% carbohydrate, calcium, phosphorus, and iron; and the vitamins A and C and nicotinic acid, but lack thiamine and riboflavin. Leaves are fair source of vitamin A and a rich source of calcium, but the high total oxalate content is a hindrance. The most important constituents of leaf EO are beta-caryophyllene, beta-gurjunene, beta-elemene, beta-phellandrene, and beta-thujene. It produces nearly 2000 times as many aroma volatiles as does Pandanus latifolius. Prakash and Natarajan (1976) tabulate the composition of young, medium, and older leaves:
Total nitrogen
Crude protein (Nx6.25)
Total sugars
Crude fibre
Volatile oil
Here are a few of the more notable chemicals found in curryleaf. For a complete listing of the phytochemicals and their activities, see the CRC phytochemical compendium,  and , 1993 (DAD) and the USDA database.
Alpha-Phellandrene — Dermal; Emetic; Fungicide; Insectiphile; Irritant; Laxative.
Beta-Elemene — Antitumor (Cervix).
Beta-Phellandrene — Expectorant; Fungicide.
Mahanimbine — Antioxidant 33 |ig/ml; Antiseptic; Insecticide; Mosquitocide; Topoisomerase-I-Inhibitor; Topoisomerase-II-Inhibitor.
Mahanine — Antioxidant (>tocopherol); Antiseptic; Insecticide; Mosquitocide; Topoisomerase-I-Inhibitor; Topoisomerase-II-Inhibitor.

Myristica fragrans Houtt. (Myristicaceae) Mace, Nutmeg

Myristica fragrans Houtt. (Myristicaceae) Mace, Nutmeg

Synonym —

Myristica officinalis L.

Medicinal Uses (Nutmeg) —

Considered aphrodisiac, astringent, carminative, narcotic, and stimulant. Mace has been used for putrid and intermittent fevers and mild indigestion. The expressed oil of nutmeg is used externally as a stimulant. They are used to allay both gas and nausea. Mixed with lard, grated nutmeg is applied to piles. Roasted nutmeg is used internally for leucorrhea. The EO is recommended for inflammation of the bladder and urinary tract. Chinese use powdered seeds for pediatric and geriatric fluxes, for cardosis, cold, cramps, and chronic rheumatism. Indonesians boil the powdered seed for anorexia, colic, diarrhea, dyspepsia, dysentery, and malaria. Seed oil is rubbed on the temples for headache or dropped in tea for dyspepsia and nausea. Indonesians use the leaf tea for gas. Malayans use the nutmeg for madness, malaria, puerperium, rheumatism, and sciatica. Arabians, as early as the seventh century B.P., recommended nutmeg for digestive disorders, kidney troubles, lymphatic ailments, etc. Even earlier, Indians used it for asthma, fever, heart disease, and tuberculosis. In India, nutmeg is prescribed for dysentery, gas, malaria, leprosy, rheumatism, sciatica, and stomachache. Arabs still use nutmeg as an aphrodisiac in love potions. Nutmeg butter is used in massage for arthritis, paralysis, rheumatism, sciatica, and sprains. It is also used as an external stimulant in hair lotions, ointments, and plaster (MPI). Yemenites recommend its use for the liver and spleen, for colds, fevers, and respiratory ailments.
Nutmeg may alleviate some symptoms of certain types of cancer, suggested in a case study presented in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Ira Shafran and Daniel MaCrone of Ohio State University say, "further study may substantiate the speculation that inhibition of prostaglandin E2 by nutmeg affords symptomatic improvement of hypercalcemia in medullary carcinoma of the thyroid and other prostaglandin-secreting neoplasms." They prescribed 4 to 6 tbsp of nutmeg per day to their patient, because nutmeg is known to improve diarrhea associated with medullary carcinoma of the thyroid. The patient also suffered from hypercalcemia that did not respond to standard calcium-reducing treatment. After 12 days of nutmeg therapy, the calcium levels were reduced by almost one-third. The medical team says that medullary carcinoma of the thyroid is known to produce "copious amounts of prostaglandin E2... (and) inhibition of prostaglandin E2 may be nutmeg's antidiarrheal mechanism of action" (DAD). Mace, at 10 mg per mouse, significantly decreased carcinoma of the uterine cervix. At 1% of diet, mace significantly decreases skin papillomas in mice. At 1-2% levels, for 10 days, mace significantly increased glutathione-S-transferase activities (JAC7:405).
Khan and Balick (2001) note human studies on Myristica for bladder and kidney stones. In rabbits, ethanolic fruits extracts at 500 mg/kg/day orally for 60 days, lowered LDL and total cholesterol and triglycerides (JE55:49). Nutmeg proved antiseptic to Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, confirming traditional uses of spices as food preservatives, disinfectants, and antiseptics (De et al., 1999).
Four or five grams of myristicin, a narcotic, produce toxic symptoms in man. Many women, in hopes of inducing abortion, have failed yet suffered the intoxication due to myristicin. Ingestion of 1-2 oz ground nutmeg produces a prolonged delirium, disorientation, and drunkenness. "Stirred into a glass of cold water, a penny matchbox full of nutmeg had the kick of three or four reefers," Malcolm X, as quoted by Schleiffer. Nutmeg taken as a psychotropic often causes reactions similar to those of other hallucinogenic drugs, quite unlike the classic account of Myristica poisoning. Myristicin alone does not give the reaction, but eating the whole seed does. Rinzler (1990) says boldly in bold print, ".. .high doses, defined as one to three whole seeds or 5 to 15 g (0.5 oz) grated nutmeg, can cause euphoria, a sensation of floating, flushed skin, vomiting, circulatory collapse, and visual or auditory hallucinations, within one to six hours after the nutmeg is consumed. Very large doses may be fatal" (RIN). Doses exceeding 1 tsp take effect within 2 to 5 hr, producing time-space distortions, feelings of unreality, and sometimes visual hallucinations accompanied by dizziness, headache, illness, and rapid heartbeat (anonymous). Reviewing research on myristicin, which occurs also in black pepper, carrot seed, celery seed, and parsley, it is noted that the psychoactive and hallucinogenic properties of mace, nutmeg, and purified myristicin have been studied. It has been hypothesized that myristicin and elemicin can be readily modified in the body to amphetamines.
The oral LD50 for nutmeg oil in rats, mice, and hamsters is 2600, 5620, and 6000 mg/kg, respectively. (For more data on the phytochemicals and their activities, see the CRC phytochemical compendia) (CRC, DAD).

Indications (Nutmeg) —

Agoraphobia (f; HHB); Anorexia (f; CRC); Arthrosis (f; JLH) Asthma (f; CRC); Bacillus (1; X10548758); Bacteria (1; FNF; X10548758); Cancer (1; APA; CRC; FNF);
Cancer, gum (f; CRC; JLH); Cancer, joint (f; CRC; JLH); Cancer, liver (f; CRC; JLH); Cancer, mouth (f; CRC; JLH); Cancer, spleen (f; CRC; JLH); Childbirth (f; BOW; CRC); Cholera (f; FEL; PH2); Cold (f; CRC; FEL); Colic (f; AHP; CRC; HHB); Cramp (1; BOW; CRC; FNF; PH2); Cystosis (f; CRC; MPI); Debility (f; PH2); Delirium (f; BOW); Diarrhea (1; AHP; APA;
FNF; PH2); Dysentery (1; CRC; FNF; PH2); Dysmenorrhea (f; HHB); Dyspepsia (f; AHP; APA; CRC; PH2); Eczema (f; BOW); Enterosis (f; BOW); Escherichia (1; X10548758); Fever (f; CRC; FEL; PH2); Fungus (1; FNF; X10548758); Gas (f; AHP; APA; CRC; PH2); Gastrosis (f; CRC;
PHR; PH2); Headache (f; CRC; PH2); Heart (f; CRC); Heartburn (f; HHB); Hemorrhoid (f;
CRC; FEL); Hepatosis (1; CRC; FNF); High Cholesterol (1; APA; FNF); High Triglycerides (1; JE55:49); HIV (1; FNF); Hypercalcemia (1; CRC); Hypochondria (f; HHB); Hysteria (f; HHB); Impotence (f; PH2); Incontinence (f; BOW); Induration (f; CRC; JLH); Infection (1; FNF; X10548758); Inflammation (1; CRC; FNF; PH2); Insanity (f; CRC); Insomnia (f; APA; PH2);
Lachrimosis (f; HHB); Leprosy (f; CRC); Leukemia (1; FNF); Leukorrhea (f; CRC; FEL);
Lymphosis (f; CRC); Malaria (f; CRC; FEL; PH2); Mycosis (1; X10548758); Nausea (f; BOW;
CRC); Nephrosis (f; APA; CRC); Neuralgia (f; PH2); Neurasthenia (f; HHB); Neurosis (f; PH2); Ophthalmia (f; PH2); Pain (1; APA; FNF); Paralysis (f; MPI); Pneumonia (f; FEL); Respirosis
(f; CRC; PH2); Rheumatism (1; APA; CRC; FNF; MPI; PH2); Sciatica (f; CRC; MPI; PH2);
Splenosis (f; CRC); Spermatorrhea (f; BOW); Sprain (f; MPI); Stomachache (f; CRC; FEL; MPI); Stomatosis (f; APA); Toothache (f; APA); Tuberculosis (f; CRC); Tumor (1; CRC; FNF;
JLH); Urethrosis (f; MPI); UTI (f; CRC); Virus (1; FNF); Vomiting (f; PH2); Water Retention (1; FNF); Xerostomia (f; HHB); Yeast (1; X10548758).

Nutmeg for cancer:

• AntiEBV: (-)-epicatechin
• AntiHIV: (-)-epicatechin; caffeic-acid; oleanolic-acid; quercetin
• Antiaggregant: (-)-epicatechin; caffeic-acid; elemicin; eugenol; isoeugenol; kaempferol; myristicin; quercetin; safrole; salicylates
• Antiarachidonate: eugenol
• Anticancer: (-)-epicatechin; alpha-pinene; caffeic-acid; camphor; delphinidin; eugenol; eugenol-methyl-ether; geraniol; isoeugenol; kaempferol; limonene; linalool; myristicin; oleanolic-acid; p-coumaric-acid; quercetin; safrole; terpineol; vanillin
• Anticarcinogenic: caffeic-acid
• Antiestrogenic: quercetin
• Antifibrosarcomic: quercetin
• Antihepatotoxic: caffeic-acid; oleanolic-acid; p-coumaric-acid; quercetin
• Antiinflammatory: (-)-epicatechin; alpha-pinene; beta-pinene; borneol; caffeic-acid; caryophyllene; eugenol; gentisic-acid; kaempferol; myristicin; oleanolic-acid; quercetin; salicylates
• Antileukemic: (-)-epicatechin; kaempferol; quercetin
• Antileukotriene: caffeic-acid; quercetin
• Antilipoperoxidant: (-)-epicatechin; quercetin
• Antimelanomic: geraniol; quercetin
• Antimutagenic: (-)-epicatechin; caffeic-acid; eugenol; kaempferol; limonene; myrcene; quercetin; vanillin
• Antinitrosaminic: caffeic-acid; p-coumaric-acid; quercetin
• Antioxidant: (-)-epicatechin; caffeic-acid; camphene; cyanidin; delphinidin; eugenol; gamma-terpinene; isoeugenol; kaempferol; myrcene; myristicin; oleanolic-acid; p-cou-maric-acid; quercetin; vanillin
• Antiperoxidant: (-)-epicatechin; caffeic-acid; p-coumaric-acid; quercetin
• Antiproliferant: quercetin; terpineol
• Antiprostaglandin: caffeic-acid; eugenol
• Antisarcomic: oleanolic-acid
• Antistress: elemicin; myristicin
• Antithromboxane: eugenol
• Antitumor: alpha-humulene; caffeic-acid; caryophyllene; eugenol; geraniol; kaempferol; limonene; oleanolic-acid; p-coumaric-acid; quercetin; vanillin
• Antiviral: (-)-epicatechin; alpha-pinene; beta-bisabolene; caffeic-acid; dipentene; gentisic-acid; kaempferol; limonene; linalool; oleanolic-acid; p-cymene; quercetin; vanillin
• Apoptotic: kaempferol; quercetin
• Beta-Glucuronidase-Inhibitor: oleanolic-acid
• COX-2-Inhibitor: eugenol; kaempferol; oleanolic-acid; quercetin
• Chemopreventive: limonene
• Cyclooxygenase-Inhibitor: kaempferol; oleanolic-acid; quercetin
• Cytochrome-p450-Inducer: 1,8-cineole; delta-cadinene; safrole
• Cytoprotective: caffeic-acid
• Cytotoxic: (-)-epicatechin; caffeic-acid; eugenol; isoeugenol; p-coumaric-acid; quercetin
• DNA-Binder: elemicin; eugenol-methyl-ether; safrole
• Hepatoprotective: borneol; caffeic-acid; eugenol; oleanolic-acid; quercetin
• Hepatotonic: 1,8-cineole
• Immunostimulant: (-)-epicatechin; caffeic-acid
• Lipoxygenase-Inhibitor: (-)-epicatechin; caffeic-acid; kaempferol; p-coumaric-acid; quercetin
• Mast-Cell-Stabilizer: quercetin
• Ornithine-Decarboxylase-Inhibitor: caffeic-acid; limonene; quercetin
• p450-Inducer: 1,8-cineole; delta-cadinene; quercetin
• PTK-Inhibitor: quercetin
• Prostaglandigenic: caffeic-acid; p-coumaric-acid
• Protein-Kinase-C-Inhibitor: quercetin
• Reverse-Transcriptase-Inhibitor: (-)-epicatechin
• Sunscreen: caffeic-acid
• Topoisomerase-II-Inhibitor: kaempferol; quercetin
• Tyrosine-Kinase-Inhibitor: quercetin

Nutmeg for infection:

• Analgesic: borneol; caffeic-acid; camphor; eugenol; gentisic-acid; myrcene; p-cymene; quercetin
• Anesthetic: 1,8-cineole; camphor; eugenol; linalool; myrcene; myristicin; safrole
• Antibacterial: (-)-epicatechin; 1,8-cineole; acetic-acid; alpha-pinene; alpha-terpineol; caffeic-acid; caryophyllene; citronellol; dehydroisoeugenol; delta-cadinene; dipentene; eugenol; gentisic-acid; geraniol; kaempferol; limonene; linalool; malabaricone-b; mala-baricone-c; myrcene; nerol; oleanolic-acid; p-coumaric-acid; p-cymene; pinene; querce-tin; safrole; sclareol; terpinen-4-ol; terpineol
• Antiedemic: caffeic-acid; caryophyllene; eugenol; oleanolic-acid
• Antiinflammatory: (-)-epicatechin; alpha-pinene; beta-pinene; borneol; caffeic-acid; caryophyllene; eugenol; gentisic-acid; kaempferol; myristicin; oleanolic-acid; quercetin; salicylates
• Antiseptic: 1,8-cineole; alpha-terpineol; beta-pinene; caffeic-acid; camphor; citronellol; eugenol; formic-acid; furfural; geraniol; kaempferol; licarin-a; limonene; linalool; nerol; oleanolic-acid; pinene; safrole; terpinen-4-ol; terpineol
• Antiviral: (-)-epicatechin; alpha-pinene; beta-bisabolene; caffeic-acid; dipentene; gentisic-acid; kaempferol; limonene; linalool; oleanolic-acid; p-cymene; quercetin; vanillin
• Astringent: formic-acid
• Bacteristat: isoeugenol; quercetin
• COX-2-Inhibitor: eugenol; kaempferol; oleanolic-acid; quercetin
• Cyclooxygenase-Inhibitor: kaempferol; oleanolic-acid; quercetin
• Fungicide: 1,8-cineole; acetic-acid; alpha-phellandrene; beta-phellandrene; caffeic-acid; camphor; caprylic-acid; caryophyllene; citronellol; dehydroisoeugenol; elemicin; eugenol; furfural; geraniol; isoelemicin; linalool; malabaricone-b; malabaricone-c; myrcene; myristicin; octanoic-acid; p-coumaric-acid; p-cymene; pinene; quercetin; sclar-eol; terpinen-4-ol; terpinolene; vanillin
• Fungistat: formic-acid; isoeugenol; limonene
• Immunostimulant: (-)-epicatechin; caffeic-acid
• Lipoxygenase-Inhibitor: (-)-epicatechin; caffeic-acid; kaempferol; p-coumaric-acid; quercetin

Other Uses (Nutmeg) —

Both nutmeg and mace are used as spices in many American and exotic dishes. Seeds are the source of nutmeg, used to flavor cakes, custards, eggnog, pies, puddings, punches, possets, sauces, and vegetables, such as cabbage, cauliflower, and spinach. Mace, the dried aril, is favored to flavor baked goods, cakes, curries, fruits, salads, ketchups, pickles, soups, and sauces. Powdered mace, sprinkled on cooked cabbage, masks the sulfide odor. Nutmeg appears in several spice blends, curry powders, garam masala, jerk seasonings, mixed spices, mulling spices, and quatre epices. Both nutmeg and mace are indispensable ingredients of ras el hanout. Caribbean islands use some nutmeg for jerked meats, and in curry powder. Whole nutmegs can be quartered and boiled with cream, sugar syrup, broth, or some other element of a recipe to impart a good nutmeg flavor. Mace can be used in place of nutmeg, but use a pinch less mace. Fruits are sometimes gathered before maturing to make jelly. The flesh of the fruit is cut into slices and eaten as a delicacy with sambal (hot-pepper sauce), pickled, candied, preserved, or made into nutmeg-flavored jams, jellies, and syrups (FAC). Both nutmeg and mace yield an EO used for flavoring foods and liqueurs. Oil of Nutmeg is distilled for external medicine and perfumes. Oil, distilled from the leaves, has a spicy, aromatic, pleasant flavor and is used in making toilet and medicinal products, as a flavoring essence, and in chewing gum. Nutmeg butter, derived from broken seeds and poor grade mace, is used in medicinal ointments, suppositories, and perfumery. In Ayurvedic documents, nutmeg was called "madashaunda," a term meaning "narcotic fruits." Betel chewers in India often add nutmeg, and it is also added to chewing tobaccos and snuffs. On the island of Banda, a pap is made of the bark preserved with sugar and tasting like sour apples. The bark is pickled in brine in Java but tends to induce sleep. Juice from the pericarp is an efficacious mordant for fixing dyes (AAR, DAD, FAC).
Alcoholic extracts of nutmeg are antibacterial, and aqueous extracts kill cockroaches, while the volatile oils from the leaf are herbicidal. Myristicin enhances the toxicity of pyrethrum to house-flies. Perhaps the natural products might be less damaging environmentally than synthetics.
For more information on activities, dosages, and contraindications, see the CRC Handtopic of Medicinal Herbs, ed. 2,  et al., 2002.

Cultivation (Nutmeg) —

Propagated by seed. Selected fresh seed are planted in the shell, spaced about l0 x 30 cm, in nurseries where they germinate in about 6 weeks. When the seedlings are ca. 15 cm tall (ca. 6 months), they are outplanted, spaced about 8 m apart. Male and female trees occur in about a 50% ratio. Most male plants are cut out when recognized (when they flower at age of 5-8 years), leaving spacing about 12-14 m apart. In Grenada, marcots and approach-grafts, when outplanted, start bearing in 18 months. Full-fruiting and best yields obtained when trees are 12-20 years old; may continue to bear 40-75 or more years. Seedling trees may start bearing in 5-8 years, vegetative specimens earlier. Yields increase up to age 15 or so. Fruiting, scattered over the year, has two peaks, following the flowering period by about 6 months. Trees should be protected from extreme heat and strong winds. Without enough sun, however, EO does not develop. During dry spells, the trees must be watered frequently. Shade is provided by Canarium, Gliricidia, or Musa. Nutmeg may be mixed with arecanut, coconut, coffee, rubber, and tea. Little cultivation is required, as the oil in the leaves inhibits the growth of weeds and grass. Ripe fruits are gathered and may split or burst shortly after gathering from the tree or off the ground. Fruits that lie on the ground too long may discolor. The reddish aril, known as mace, is recovered first, flattened, and dried. There may be 4000 fruits per tree (in India—20,000 elsewhere are reported) the average running 1250 fruits per tree per year. In Grenada, trees average about 1000 nuts with 90-100 trees to the acre. Average nutmeg yields are about 720 lb dry (1500 lb green) with mace yields of about 150 lb green, ca. 35 lb dry to the acre. Dried nutmegs are subject to insect damage and should be limed and/or stored in sealed containers (BOW). (For more detail, see  and , 1993 and Purseglove, 1981).

Chemistry (Nutmeg) —

Here are a few of the more notable chemicals found in nutmeg. For a complete listing of the phytochemicals and their activities, see the CRC phytochemical compendium,  and , 1993 (DAD) and the USDA database .
Elemicin — Antiaggregant IC50 = 360 |jM; Antidepressant; Antifeedant; Antihistaminic; Antiser-otonic; Antistress ihl; DNA-Binder; Fungicide MIC = 8 \ig; Hallucinogenic; Hypotensive ihl; Insecticide 100 ppm; Insectifuge; Larvicide 100 ppm; Neurotoxic; Schistosomicide.
Furfural — Antiseptic; Fungicide; Insecticide; Irritant; LD50 = 127 orl rat.
Myristic-Acid — Anticancer; Cosmetic; Hypercholesterolemic; Lubricant; Nematicide; LD50 = 43 ivn mus.
Myristicin — Amphetaminagenic; Anesthetic; Antiaggregant IC50 = 250 | M; Anticancer 10 mg/mus/orl/day; Antidepressant; Antiinflammatory; Antioxidant 25-100 mg/kg/orl; Antispasmodic; Antistress ihl; Calcium-Antagonist IC50 = 88 | M; Diuretic; Fungicide MIC = 20 | g; Hallucinogenic; Hepatotoxic; Hypotensive ihl; Hypnotic; Insecticide 25 ppm; Insecticide-Synergist; Larvicide 25 ppm; MAOI; Neurotoxic; Oxytocic; Paralytic; Psychoactive; Sedative 300 mg/kg ipr; Serotonin-ergic 1000 ppm orl; Tachycardic; Uterotonic; LDlo = 570 orl cat; LD50 = 200 mg/kg ivn mus; LD50 = 1000 mg/kg ipr rat.
Safrole — See also Sassafras albidum.

Myrtus communis L. (Myrtaceae) Myrtle

Myrtus communis L. (Myrtaceae) Myrtle

Medicinal Uses (Myrtle) —

The leaf is used for condylomata, figs, whitlows, warts, figs, parotid tumors, cancer of the gums, ulcerated cancers, and polyps. Iranians make a hot poultice for boils from the plant. The oil, in plasters or unguents, is said to help indurations of the breast, condyloma of the genitals, and cancer. The berries and seed are said to cure tumors and uterine fibroids (JLH). An infusion or tincture of leaves is given for prolapsus and leucorrhoea, and for washing incisions and joints. It is also used to check night sweats of phthisis and for all types of pulmonary disorders. Unani direct smoke from the leaves onto hemorrhoids. Italians make a bolus of the leaves in turpentine for the same indication. Algerians recommend the leafy infusion for asthma. Unani use fruits for bronchitis, headache, and menorrhagia (KAB). They consider the fruits useful for the blood, brain, hair, and heart. North Africans use the dry flower buds for smallpox (BIB, PH2, WOI). Lebanese consider the plant binding and diuretic, believing it holds loose things in place — the bowels, the emotions, or the teeth. The EO and tincture have analgesic properties but not as strong as menthol and peppermint oil. Wine of myrtle corrects the bad odor and stimulates healing in offensive sores and ulcers, threatening gangrene (FEL).
Aqueous and ethanolic extracts of leaves, roots, and stems are active against Gram(-) and Gram(+) bacteria. The plant contains antibacterial phenols. One thermolabile principle was highly active against Micrococcus pyogenes var. aureus. The principle resembled streptomycin in its action on Mycobacterium tuberculosis (WOI). Aqueous berry extract is active against carrageenan-induced edema in rats paw [(=)comparable to oxyphenylbutazone] (MPI).
Large doses of myrtle may cause diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, according to Gruenwald et al. (2000). More than 10 g myrtle oil can threaten life, due to high cineole content (myrtle contains 135-2250 ppm cineole according to my calculations, meaning 10 g myrtle would contain a maximum 22.5 mg cineole). Several herbs and spices may attain higher levels of cineole; see cardamom for the longer list. Myrtle phytochemicals are said to be quickly absorbed and to impart a violet aroma to the urine within 15 min (BOW).

Indications (Myrtle) —

Acne (f; BOW); Adenosis (f; JLH); Allergy (1; FNF); Alopecia (f; DEP); Aphtha (f; BIB; DEP); Aposteme (f; JLH); Arthrosis (1; FNF; MPI); Bacteria (1; BIB;
FNF; WOI); Bleeding (f; BIB); BPH (f; PH2); Bronchosis (1; BIB; FEL; FNF; HHB; PH2);
Cacoethes (f; BIB); Cancer (f; JLH); Cancer, breast (f; JLH); Cancer, colon (f; JLH); Cancer, gum (f; JLH); Cancer, liver (f; JLH); Cancer, spleen (f; JLH); Cancer, throat (f; JLH); Cancer,
uterus (f; JLH); Candida (1; FNF); Catarrh (f; FEL); Cold (1; PH2); Condylomata (f; BIB);
Congestion (1; FNF); Conjunctivosis (f; FEL); Cough (1; FNF; MAD); Cramp (1; FNF); Cystosis
(1; BIB; FEL; FNF; PH2); Diarrhea (1; BIB; FNF; MAD; PH2); Dropsy (f; MAD); Dysentery (f; BIB); Dyspepsia (f; BIB); Eczema (f; BIB); Edema (1; FNF; MPI); Encephalosis (f; BIB; DEP); Enterosis (f; JLH); Epilepsy (f; BIB; WOI); Fatigue (f; PH2); Fever (f; BIB); Fibroid (f;
JLH); Flu (1; FNF); Fungus (1; FNF); Gangrene (f; FEL); Gastrosis (f; BIB; MAD); Gingivosis
(f; BOW; JLH); Gonorrhea (f; MAD); Gray Hair (f; BIB); Headache (f; BIB); Hemorrhoid (f; FEL; PH2); Hepatosis (f; BIB; JLH; WOI); Induration (f; JLH); Infection (1; FNF; PH2);
Inflammation (1; FNF; MPI); Intertrigo (f; FEL); Leishmania (1; ABS; FT68:276); Leukorrhea
(f; BIB; FEL; PH2); Mastosis (f; JLH); Menorrhagia (f; FEL); Nephrosis (f; FEL); Night Sweat
(f; BIB); Otosis (f; PH2); Pain (1; FEL; FNF; MAD); Parotosis (f; JLH); Pertussis (1; PH2);
Pharyngosis (f; FEL); Phthisis (f; BIB); Pleurodynia (f; MAD); Polyp (f; BIB; JLH); Proctosis
(f; JLH); Prolapse (f; BIB); Pulmonosis (1; BIB; MAD); Pyelosis (f; BIB); Rheumatism (f; BIB);
Sinusosis (f; PH2); Smallpox (1; BIB); Sore (f; BIB); Splenosis (f; JLH); Tonsilosis (f; JLH);
Tuberculosis (1; MAD; PH2; WOI); Urogenitosis (f; BIB); Uterosis (f; BIB; JLH); UTI (f; BOW); Vaginosis (f; BOW); Virus (1; FNF); Wart (f; JLH); Water Retention (1; FNF); Whitlow (f; BIB); Worm (f; PH2); Wound (1; BIB; FNF).
Myrtle for bronchosis:
• Antibacterial: 1,8-cineole; acetic-acid; alpha-pinene; alpha-terpineol; bornyl-acetate; car-vacrol; caryophyllene; delta-3-carene; delta-cadinene; dipentene; ellagic-acid; eugenol; gallic-acid; geranial; geraniol; limonene; linalool; methyl-eugenol; myrcene; myricetin; myricitrin; neral; nerol; nerolidol; p-cymene; terpinen-4-ol
• Antibronchitic: 1,8-cineole; borneol; gallic-acid
• Antihistaminic: linalool; myricetin
• Antiinflammatory: alpha-pinene; beta-pinene; borneol; carvacrol; caryophyllene; caryo-phyllene-oxide; delta-3-carene; ellagic-acid; eugenol; gallic-acid; myricetin; myricitrin
• Antioxidant: camphene; carvacrol; ellagic-acid; eugenol; gallic-acid; gamma-terpinene; linalyl-acetate; methyl-eugenol; myrcene; myricetin
• Antipharyngitic: 1,8-cineole
• Antipyretic: borneol; eugenol
• Antispasmodic: 1,8-cineole; borneol; bornyl-acetate; camphor; carvacrol; caryophyllene; eugenol; geraniol; limonene; linalool; linalyl-acetate; myrcene
• Antitussive: 1,8-cineole; carvacrol; terpinen-4-ol
• Antiviral: alpha-pinene; ar-curcumene; beta-bisabolene; bornyl-acetate; dipentene; ellagic-acid; gallic-acid; geranial; limonene; linalool; myricetin; neryl-acetate; p-cymene
• Bronchodilator: gallic-acid
• Bronchorelaxant: linalool
• COX-2-Inhibitor: eugenol
• Candidicide: 1,8-cineole; beta-pinene; carvacrol; caryophyllene; eugenol; geraniol; myricetin; myricitrin
• Candidistat: limonene; linalool
• Cyclooxygenase-Inhibitor: carvacrol; gallic-acid
• Decongestant: camphor
• Expectorant: 1,8-cineole; acetic-acid; alpha-pinene; bornyl-acetate; camphene; camphor; carvacrol; dipentene; geraniol; limonene; linalool
• Immunostimulant: gallic-acid
Myrtle for edema:
• Analgesic: borneol; camphor; eugenol; gallic-acid; myrcene; p-cymene
• Anesthetic: 1,8-cineole; camphor; carvacrol; eugenol; linalool; linalyl-acetate; methyl-eugenol; myrcene
• Antiedemic: caryophyllene; caryophyllene-oxide; eugenol
• Antiinflammatory: alpha-pinene; beta-pinene; borneol; carvacrol; caryophyllene; caryo-phyllene-oxide; delta-3-carene; ellagic-acid; eugenol; gallic-acid; myricetin; myricitrin
• COX-2-Inhibitor: eugenol
• Cyclooxygenase-Inhibitor: carvacrol; gallic-acid
• Diuretic: myricetin; myricitrin; terpinen-4-ol
• Lipoxygenase-Inhibitor: myricetin
Myrtle for infection:
• Analgesic: borneol; camphor; eugenol; gallic-acid; myrcene; p-cymene
• Anesthetic: 1,8-cineole; camphor; carvacrol; eugenol; linalool; linalyl-acetate; methyl-eugenol; myrcene
• Antibacterial: 1,8-cineole; acetic-acid; alpha-pinene; alpha-terpineol; bornyl-acetate; car-vacrol; caryophyllene; delta-3-carene; delta-cadinene; dipentene; ellagic-acid; eugenol; gallic-acid; geranial; geraniol; limonene; linalool; methyl-eugenol; myrcene; myricetin; myricitrin; neral; nerol; nerolidol; p-cymene; terpinen-4-ol
• Antiedemic: caryophyllene; caryophyllene-oxide; eugenol
• Antiinflammatory: alpha-pinene; beta-pinene; borneol; carvacrol; caryophyllene; caryo-phyllene-oxide; delta-3-carene; ellagic-acid; eugenol; gallic-acid; myricetin; myricitrin
• Antiseptic: 1,8-cineole; alpha-terpineol; beta-pinene; camphor; carvacrol; carvone; ellagic-acid; eugenol; furfural; gallic-acid; geraniol; hexanal; limonene; linalool; methyl-eugenol; myricetin; nerol; terpinen-4-ol
• Antiviral: alpha-pinene; ar-curcumene; beta-bisabolene; bornyl-acetate; dipentene; ellagic-acid; gallic-acid; geranial; limonene; linalool; myricetin; neryl-acetate; p-cymene
• Astringent: ellagic-acid; gallic-acid
• Bacteristat: gallic-acid; malic-acid
• COX-2-Inhibitor: eugenol
• Cyclooxygenase-Inhibitor: carvacrol; gallic-acid
• Fungicide: 1,8-cineole; acetic-acid; alpha-phellandrene; camphor; carvacrol; caryophyl-lene; caryophyllene-oxide; eugenol; furfural; geraniol; linalool; methyl-eugenol; myrcene; p-cymene; terpinen-4-ol; terpinolene
• Fungistat: limonene; methyl-eugenol
• Immunostimulant: gallic-acid
• Lipoxygenase-Inhibitor: myricetin

Other Uses (Myrtle) —

Grown since ancient times for the fragrant, aromatic flowers, leaves, and bark. The Big topic of Herbs (TAD) leads off with an interesting quote, “Sardinia’s favorite flavoring is myrtle, a preference which may well go back to the Stone Age.” In Sardinia, the wood is used for the fires to spit cook or pit cook whole animals, especially pig. “Gallina col mirto” is boiled chicken withdrawn from the pot, covered with myrtle leaves, consumed cold the following day. Yes, they use myrtle almost as a substitute for bay leaf (TAD). Myrtle has been known since ancient times for the fragrant, aromatic flowers, leaves, and bark. In Jerusalem and Damascus, the flowers, leaves, and fruits are sold for making perfume. In Italy, the leaves are used as a spice, and the flower buds are eaten. Leaves, made into tea, are considered an alternative to “buchu.” The sprigs were formerly added to wine to increase its potency (FAC). The leaves are used for massage to
work up a glowing skin. The fragrant oil obtained from the leaves is used in perfumery and as a condiment, especially when mixed with other spices. Oil of myrtle is used in all kinds of culinary compositions, especially table sauces. The oil is also used in toilet waters, especially eau de cologne and eau d’ange. Green and dried fruits sometimes are used as a condiment. Dried fruits, leaves, and flower buds are used for flavoring meats, poultry, sauces, liqueurs, and syrups. Widely used in Sardinia, Corsica, and Crete. In Corsica, the myrtle liqueur called “myrthe” flavors pate de merles. Around Rabat, they mix the leaves with shampoo, believed to darken the hair. In India, the fixed oil from the berries is alleged to strengthen and promote the growth of hair. Seeds, ground and mixed with antimony, are used to color the eyelids (DEP). Turkish and Russian leather is tanned with the bark and roots, imparting a distinctive odor. The wood is very hard and of interesting texture and grain, growing in Mediterranean climate. In Biblical times, Jews collected myrtle to adorn their sheds and booths at the Feast of Tabernacles, chiefly as a symbol of divine generosity. It is considered emblematic of peace and joy in the Bible. To ancient Jews, it was symbolic not only of peace, but also of justice. Arabs say that myrtle is one of the three plants taken from the garden of Eden, because of its fragrance. Greeks consider it a symbol of love and immortality and used it for crowning their priests, heros, and outstanding men (BIB, DEP, FAC, PH2).
For more information on activities, dosages, and contraindications, see the CRC Handtopic of Medicinal Herbs, ed. 2,  et al., 2002.

Cultivation (Myrtle) —

Plants are often grown for ornament, as it makes a good hedge that is often everblooming in proper climates. It is said to be hardy to zone 9, doing best in full sun, moist but not wet soils, and well-drained garden loams, at pH 5.5-8.2 (average 6.8). Propagated mainly by cuttings of half-ripe or partly woody shoots about 10 cm long, taken in July with a slight heel of old wood. Cuttings inserted in sand bed in glass-frame or greenhouse. Roots form in a few weeks. Planting best done in spring. Young plants potted or planted out in sandy peaty soil. When grown as a potted plant in the North, it should be kept in a frost-proof greenhouse or other light but cool place during the winter and spring, and then grown outdoors in summer months. Overgrown plants should be pruned in early spring immediately before new growth appears.

Chemistry (Myrtle) —

Here are a few of the more notable chemicals found in myrtle. For a complete listing of the phytochemicals and their activities, see the CRC phytochemical compendium,  and , 1993 (DAD) and the USDA database.
1,8-Cineole — See also Elettaria cardamomum.
Limonene — See also Carum carvi.
Linalool — ADI = 500 |Jg/kg; Acaricide; Anesthetic 0.01-1 ng/ml; Antiallergic; Antianaphylactic; Antibacterial MIC = 1600 | g/ml; Anticancer; Anticariogenic MIC = 1600 | g/ml; Anticonvulsant 200 mg/kg ipr mus; Antihistaminic; Antipyretic; Antiseptic 5 x phenol; Antishock; Antispasmodic; Antiviral; Barbiturate-Synergist; Bronchorelaxant; Candidistat; Expectorant; Fungicide; Gabaergic; Hypnotic; Insectifuge; Insecticide; Irritant; Motor-Depressant; Nematicide MLC = 1 mg/ml; Proox-idant; Sedative ED = 1-32 mg/kg, 200 mg/kg ipr mus (1% as active as diazepam); Termitifuge; Trichomonicide LD100 = 600 ng/ml; Tumor-Promoter; LD50 = 2790 mg/kg orl rat; LD50 = 459 mg/kg ipr mus.
Methyl-Chavicol — Antipyretic; Calcium-Antagonist IC50 = 258 | M; DNA-Binder; Hepatocarci-nogenic; Insecticide.
Verbenone — Allelochemic; Coleopterifuge; Insectifuge; LDlo = 250 ipr mus.

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