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Azadirachta indica, also known as Neem,[2] Nimtree,[2] and Indian Lilac[2] is a

tree in the mahogany family Meliaceae. It is one of two species in the genus
Azadirachta, and is native to India and the Indian subcontinent including Nepal,
Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. It typically is grown in tropical and semitropical regions. Neem trees now also grow in islands located in the southern
part of Iran. Its fruits and seeds are the source of neem oil.

Neem is a fast-growing tree that can reach a height of 1520 metres (4966 ft), and rarely
3540 metres (115131 ft). It is evergreen, but in severe drought it may shed most or nearly
all of its leaves. The branches are wide and spreading. The fairly dense crown is roundish and
may reach a diameter of 1520 metres (4966 ft) in old, free-standing specimens. The neem
tree is very similar in appearance to its relative, the Chinaberry (Melia azedarach).
The opposite, pinnate leaves are 2040 centimetres (7.915.7 in) long, with 20 to 31 medium
to dark green leaflets about 38 centimetres (1.23.1 in) long. The terminal leaflet often is
missing. The petioles are short.
The (white and fragrant) flowers are arranged in more-or-less drooping axillary panicles
which are up to 25 centimetres (9.8 in) long. The inflorescences, which branch up to the third
degree, bear from 150 to 250 flowers. An individual flower is 56 millimetres (0.200.24 in)
long and 811 millimetres (0.310.43 in) wide. Protandrous, bisexual flowers and male
flowers exist on the same individual tree.
The fruit is a smooth (glabrous), olive-like drupe which varies in shape from elongate oval to
nearly roundish, and when ripe is 1.42.8 centimetres (0.551.10 in) by 1.01.5 centimetres
(0.390.59 in). The fruit skin (exocarp) is thin and the bitter-sweet pulp (mesocarp) is
yellowish-white and very fibrous. The mesocarp is 0.30.5 centimetres (0.120.20 in) thick.
The white, hard inner shell (endocarp) of the fruit encloses one, rarely two, or three,
elongated seeds (kernels) having a brown seed coat.
Traditional medicinal use

Products made from neem trees have been used in India for over two millennia
for their medicinal properties.[10] Neem products are believed by Siddha and
Ayurvedic practitioners to be Anthelmintic, antifungal, antidiabetic,
antibacterial, antiviral, contraceptive, and sedative.[13] It is considered a major
component in siddha medicine and Ayurvedic and Unani medicine and is
particularly prescribed for skin diseases.[14] Neem oil is also used for healthy
hair, to improve liver function, detoxify the blood, and balance blood sugar
levels.[15] Neem leaves have also been used to treat skin diseases like eczema,
psoriasis, etc.[10]
Insufficient research has been done to assess the purported benefits of neem,
however.[16] In adults, short-term use of neem is safe, while long-term use may
harm the kidneys or liver; in small children, neem oil is toxic and can lead to

death.[16] Neem may also cause miscarriages, infertility, and low blood sugar.

Safety issues

Neem oil can cause some forms of toxic encephalopathy and ophthalmopathy
if consumed in large quantities.[17]
Pest and disease control

Neem is a key ingredient in non-pesticidal management (NPM), providing a

natural alternative to synthetic pesticides. Neem seeds are ground into a
powder that is soaked overnight in water and sprayed onto the crop. To be
effective, it must be applied repeatedly, at least every ten days. Neem does not
directly kill insects on the crop. It acts as an anti-feedant, repellent, and egglaying deterrent, protecting the crop from damage. The insects starve and die
within a few days. Neem also suppresses the hatching of pest insects from
their eggs. Neem cake is often sold as a fertilizer.[18]
Neem oil has been shown to avert termite attack as an ecofriendly and
economical agent.[19]
Neem oil for polymeric resins

Applications of neem oil in the preparation of polymeric resins have been

documented in the recent reports. The synthesis of various alkyd resins from
neem oil is reported using a monoglyceride (MG) route and their utilization
for the preparation of PU coatings.[20] The alkyds are prepared from reaction of
conventional divalent acid materials like phthalic and maleic anhydrides with
MG of neem oil. In other reports, different routes for preparation of polymeric
resins from neem oil also are reported.[21]

The juice of this plant is a potent ingredent for a mixture of wall plaster,
according to the Samargan a Stradhra, which is a Sanskrit treatise dealing
with ilpastra (Hindu science of art and construction).[22]
Toiletries: Neem oil is used for preparing cosmetics such as soap, shampoo,
balms, and creams as well as toothpaste

Animal Treatment: Used to treat sweet itch and mud fever in horses

Toothbrush: Traditionally, slender neem twigs (called datun) are first

chewed as a toothbrush and then split as a tongue cleaner.[23] This practice
has been in use in India, Africa, and the Middle East for centuries. Many of
India's 80% rural population still start their day with the chewing stick,
while in urban areas neem toothpaste is preferred. Neem twigs are still
collected and sold in markets for this use, and in rural India one often sees
youngsters in the streets chewing on neem twigs. It has been found to be

as effective as a toothbrush in reducing plaque and gingival inflammation.


Tree: Besides its use in traditional Indian medicine, the neem tree is of
great importance for its anti-desertification properties and possibly as a
good carbon dioxide sink.[citation needed]

Neem gum is used as a bulking agent and for the preparation of special
purpose foods.

Neem blossoms are used in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka
to prepare Ugadi pachhadi. A mixture of neem flowers and jaggery (or
unrefined brown sugar) is prepared and offered to friends and relatives,
symbolic of sweet and bitter events in the upcoming new year, Ugadi.
"Bevina hoovina gojju" (a type of curry prepared with neem blossoms) is
common in Karnataka throughout the year. Dried blossoms are used when
fresh blossoms are not available. In Tamil Nadu, a rasam (veppam poo
rasam) made with neem blossoms is a culinary specialty.

Cosmetics : Neem is perceived in India as a beauty aid. Powdered leaves

are a major component of at least one widely used facial cream. Purified
neem oil is also used in nail polish and other cosmetics.

Bird repellent: Neem leaf boiled in water can be used as a very costeffective bird repellent, especially for sparrows.

Lubricant : Neem oil is non-drying and it resists degradation better than

most vegetable oils. In rural India, it is commonly used to grease cart

Fertilizer : Neem has demonstrated considerable potential as a fertilizer.

Neem cake is widely used to fertilize cash crops, particularly sugarcane
and vegetables.

Plant protectant : Ploughed into the soil, it protects plant roots from
nematodes and white ants, probably as it contains the residual limonoids.
[citation needed]
In Karnataka, people grow the tree mainly for its green leaves
and twigs, which they puddle into flooded rice fields before the rice
seedlings are transplanted.

Resin : An exudate can be tapped from the trunk by wounding the bark.
This high protein material is not a substitute for polysaccharide gum, such
as gum arabic. It may, however, have a potential as a food additive, and it
is widely used in South Asia as "Neem glue".

Bark : Neem bark contains 14% tannin, an amount similar to that in

conventional tannin-yielding trees (such as Acacia decurrens). Moreover, it
yields a strong, coarse fibre commonly woven into ropes in the villages of

Honey : In parts of Asia neem honey commands premium prices, and

people promote apiculture by planting neem trees.

Soap : 80% of India's supply of neem oil now is used by neem oil soap
manufacturers.[26] Although much of it goes to small-scale speciality soaps,
often using cold-pressed oil, large-scale producers also use it, mainly
because it is cheap. Additionally it is antibacterial and antifungal,
soothing, and moisturising. It can be made with up to 40% neem oil. [26]]].
Generally, the crude oil is used to produce coarse laundry soaps.

Against pox viruses : In India, people who are affected with pox viruses
are generally made to lie in bed made of neem leaves and branches. [citation
The belief is that it prevents the spreading of pox virus to others [citation
and has been in practice since early centuries

Chemical compounds

Ayurveda was the first to bring the anthelmintic, antifungal, antibacterial, and
antiviral constituents of the Neem tree to the attention of natural products
chemists. The process of extracting neem oil involves extracting the waterinsoluble components with ether, petrol ether, ethyl acetate, and dilute alcohol.
The provisional naming was nimbin (sulphur-free crystalline product with
melting point at 205 C, empirical composition C7H10O2), nimbinin (with
similar principle, melting at 192 C), and nimbidin (cream-coloured containing
amorphous sulphur, melting at 90100 C). Siddiqui identified nimbidin as the
main active antibacterial ingredient, and the highest yielding bitter component
in the neem oil.[27][full citation needed] These compounds are stable and found in
substantial quantities in the Neem. They also serve as natural insecticides.[28][full
citation needed]

Neem-coated urea is being used an alternate to plain urea fertilizer in India. It

reduces pollution, improves fertilizer's efficacy and soil health
Cultural and social impact

In Theravada Buddhism, the neem tree is said to have been used to achieve
enlightenment (bodhi) by Tissa, the twentieth reincarnation of Lord Buddha.
[citation needed]
Some sources claim, however, that Terminalia tomentosa was the
Bodhi tree used.[citation needed]
In 1995, the European Patent Office (EPO) granted a patent on an anti-fungal
product derived from neem to the United States Department of Agriculture and
W. R. Grace and Company.[36] The Indian government challenged the patent
when it was granted, claiming that the process for which the patent had been
granted had been in use in India for more than 2,000 years. In 2000, the EPO
ruled in India's favour, but W. R. Grace appealed, claiming that prior art about
the product had never been published in a scientific journal. On 8 March 2005,
that appeal was lost and the EPO revoked the Neem patent.[36]

Datura is a genus of nine species of poisonous vespertine flowering plants

belonging to the family Solanaceae. They are commonly known as daturas, but
also known as devil's trumpets,[1] not to be confused with angel's trumpets,
its closely related genus Brugmansia. They are also sometimes called
moonflowers, Jimsonweed, devil's weed, hell's bells, thorn-apple, and
many more. Its precise and natural distribution is uncertain, owing to its
extensive cultivation and naturalization throughout the temperate and tropical
regions of the globe. Its distribution within the Americas and North Africa,
however, is most likely restricted to the United States and Mexico and
Southern Canada in North America, and Tunisia in Africa, where the highest
species diversity occurs.
All species of Datura are poisonous, especially their seeds and flowers.

Some South American plants formerly thought of as Datura are now treated as
belonging to the distinct genus Brugmansia[2] (Brugmansia differs from
Datura in that it is woody, making shrubs or small trees, and it has pendulous
flowers, rather than erect ones). Other related taxa include Hyosyamus niger,
Atropa belladonna, Mandragora officinarum, and many more.

Datura species are herbaceous, leafy annuals and short-lived perennials which
can reach up to 2 m in height. The leaves are alternate, 1020 cm long and 5
18 cm broad, with a lobed or toothed margin. The flowers are erect or
spreading (not pendulous like those of Brugmansia), trumpet-shaped, 520 cm
long and 412 cm broad at the mouth; colors vary from white to yellow, pink,
and pale purple. The fruit is a spiny capsule 410 cm long and 26 cm broad,
splitting open when ripe to release the numerous seeds. The seeds disperse
freely over pastures, fields and even wasteland locations.
Datura belongs to the classic "witches' weeds", along with deadly nightshade,
henbane, and mandrake. Most parts of the plants are toxic, and datura has a
long history of use for causing delirious states and death. It was well known as
an essential ingredient of potions and witches' brews.[6]
In India it has been referred to as "Poisonous" and as an aphrodisiac. In little
measures it was used in Ayurveda as a medicine from the ancient times. It is
used in rituals and prayers to Shiva.
The larvae of some Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species, including
Hypercompe indecisa, eat some Datura species.
Effects of ingestion

Due to the potent combination of anticholinergic substances it contains,

Datura intoxication typically produces effects similar to that of an
anticholinergic delirium (usually involving a complete inability to differentiate
reality from fantasy); hyperthermia; tachycardia; bizarre, and possibly violent
behavior; and severe mydriasis (dilated pupils) with resultant painful
photophobia that can last several days. Pronounced amnesia is another
commonly reported effect.[18]
In Pharmacology and Abuse of Cocaine, Amphetamines, Ecstasy and Related
Designer Drugs, Freye asserts: Few substances have received as many
severely negative recreational experience reports as has Datura. The
overwhelming majority of those who describe their use of Datura find their
experiences extremely unpleasant both mentally and often physically
dangerous.[18] However, anthropologists have found that indigenous groups,
with a great deal of experience with and detailed knowledge of Datura, have

been known to use Datura recreationally (including the Navajo and especially
the Havasupai).[19][20] The knowledge of Datura's properties was critical to
minimize harm.[6]

Due to their agitated behavior and confused mental state, victims of Datura
poisoning are typically hospitalized. Stomach pumping and the administration
of activated charcoal can be used to reduce the stomach's absorption of the
ingested material. The drug physostigmine is used to reverse the effect of the
poisons. Benzodiazepines can be given to curb the patient's agitation, and
supportive care with oxygen, hydration, and symptomatic treatment is often
provided. Observation of the patient is indicated until the symptoms resolve,
usually from 2436 hours after ingestion of the Datura.[16][21]

Species and cultivars

Datura metel
It is difficult to classify Datura as to its species, and it often happens that the descriptions of
new species are accepted prematurely. Later, these "new species" are found to be simply
varieties that have evolved due to conditions at a specific location. They usually disappear in
a few years. Contributing to the confusion is the fact that various species, such as D. wrightii
and D. inoxia, are very similar in appearance, and the variation within a species can be
extreme. For example, Datura species can change size of plant, leaf, and flowers, all
depending on location. The same species, when growing in a half-shady, damp location can
develop into a flowering bush half as tall as an adult human of average height, but when
growing in a very dry location, will only grow into a thin plant not much more than anklehigh, with tiny flowers and a few miniature leaves.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Psyllium /slim/, or ispaghula /spul/, is the common name used for

several members of the plant genus Plantago whose seeds are used
commercially for the production of mucilage.
Psyllium is mainly used as a dietary fiber to relieve symptoms of both
constipation and mild diarrhea and occasionally as a food thickener. Research
has also shown benefits in reducing cholesterol levels.
The plant from which the seeds are extracted tolerates dry and cool climates
and is mainly cultivated in northern India. Psyllium products are marketed
under several brand names, such as Metamucil, Fybogel, Konsyl, and Lunelax.

Psyllium is mainly used as a dietary fiber, which is not absorbed by the small
intestine. The purely mechanical action of psyllium mucilage is to absorb
excess water while stimulating normal bowel elimination. Although its main
use has been as a laxative, it is more appropriately termed a true dietary fiber
and as such can help reduce the symptoms of both constipation and mild
diarrhea. The laxative properties of psyllium are attributed to the fiber
absorbing water and subsequently softening the stool. It is also one of the few
laxatives that does not promote flatulence.[1]
High blood cholesterol

As well as aiding in intestinal transit, several studies point to a cholesterol

reduction attributed to a diet that includes dietary fiber such as psyllium. The
use of soluble-fiber cereals is an effective and well-tolerated part of a prudent
diet for the treatment of mild to moderate hypercholesterolemia.[2] Although
the cholesterol-reducing and glycemic-response properties of psylliumcontaining foods are fairly well documented, the effect of long-term inclusion
of psyllium in the diet has not been determined. Supplementation with fiber as
ispaghula husk may have adverse effects on colorectal adenoma recurrence,
especially in patients with high dietary calcium intake.[3]

As a thickener, it has been used in ice cream and frozen desserts. A 1.5%
weight/volume ratio of psyllium mucilage exhibits binding properties that are
superior to a 10% weight/volume ratio of starch mucilage. The viscosity of
psyllium mucilage dispersions are relatively unaffected between temperatures
of 20 and 50 C (68 and 122 F), by pH from 2 to 10 and by salt (sodium
chloride) concentrations up to 0.15 M. These physical properties, along with
its status as a natural dietary fiber, may lead to increased use of psyllium by
the food-processing industry. Technical-grade psyllium has been used as a

hydrocolloidal agent to improve water retention for newly seeded grass areas,
and to improve transplanting success with woody plants.
Adverse effects

Since psyllium husk-containing products are sometimes used as a source of

dietary fiber, the intake of dietary fiber could hinder the absorption of
vitamins, minerals, and proteins.[4] Psyllium fiber has been shown in studies to
lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels while another common fiber,
methylcellulose, has not shown these benefits.[5][6][7][8]
Gas or stomach cramping may also occur. It is recommended that this product
be taken with a full glass of water to avoid it swelling in the throat and causing
choking. Serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek medical
attention if any signs of anaphylaxis arise, such as a rash, itching/swelling,
dizziness or difficulty breathing.[9]
Choking is a hazard if psyllium is taken without adequate water as it thickens
in the throat.[10] Cases of allergic reaction to psyllium-containing cereal have
also been documented.[11]
Mechanism of action

The soluble fiber in psyllium is arabinoxylan, a hemicellulose.[12]

Psyllium is produced mainly for its mucilage content. The term mucilage
describes a group of clear, colorless, gelling agents derived from plants. The
mucilage obtained from psyllium comes from the seed coat. Mucilage is
obtained by mechanical milling (i.e. grinding) of the outer layer of the seed.
Mucilage yield amounts to about 25% (by weight) of the total seed yield.
Plantago-seed mucilage is often referred to as husk, or psyllium husk. The
milled seed mucilage is a white fibrous material that is hydrophilic, meaning
that its molecular structure causes it to attract and bind to water. Upon
absorbing water, the clear, colorless, mucilaginous gel that forms increases in
volume by tenfold or more.

The genus Plantago contains over 200 species. P. ovata and P. psyllium are
produced commercially in several European countries, the former Soviet
Union and India. Plantago seed, known commercially as black, French, or
Spanish psyllium, is obtained from P. psyllium L., also known as P. arenaria.
Seed produced from P. ovata is known in trading circles as white or blonde
psyllium, Indian plantago, or isabgol. Isabgol, (or ispaghol in Pakistan) the
common name in India for P. ovata, comes from the Persian words asp and

gul, meaning "horse flower", which is descriptive of the shape of the seed.
India dominates the world market in the production and export of psyllium.
Plantago ovata is an annual herb that grows to a height of 3046 cm (12
18 in). Leaves are opposite, linear or linear lanceolate 1 cm 19 cm (0.39 in
7.48 in). The root system has a well-developed tap root with few fibrous
secondary roots. A large number of flowering shoots arise from the base of the
plant. Flowers are numerous, small, and white. Plants flower about 60 days
after planting. The seeds are enclosed in capsules that open at maturity.
The fields are generally irrigated prior to seeding to achieve ideal soil
moisture, to enhance seed soil contact, and to avoid burying the seed too
deeply as a result of later irrigations or rainfall. Maximum germination occurs
at a seeding depth of 6 mm (1/4 in). Emerging seedlings are frost sensitive;
therefore, planting should be delayed until conditions are expected to remain
frost free. Seed is broadcast at 5.5 to 8.25 kg/hectare (5 to 7.5 lb/acre) in India.
In Arizona trials, seeding rates of 22 to 27.5 kg/ha (20 to 25 lb/acre) resulted
in stands of 1 plant/25mm (1 inch) in 15 cm (6 inch) rows produced excellent
yields. Weed control is normally achieved by one or two hand weedings early
in the growing season. Control of weeds by pre-plant irrigation that germinates
weed seeds followed by shallow tillage may be effective on fields with
minimal weed pressure. Psyllium is a poor competitor with most weed species.
Plantago wilt (Fusarium oxysporum) and downy mildew Peronospora alta are
the major diseases of Isabgol. White grubs and aphids are the major insect
The flower spikes turn reddish brown at ripening, the lower leaves dry and the
upper leaves yellow. The crop is harvested in the morning after the dew is
gone to minimize shattering and field losses. In India, mature plants are cut
15 cm above the ground and then bound, left for a few days to dry, thrashed,
and winnowed.
Harvested seed must be dried to below 12% moisture to allow for cleaning,
milling, and storage. Seed stored for future crops has shown a significant loss
in viability after 2 years in storage.

The United States is the world's largest importer of psyllium husk, with over
60% of total imports going to pharmaceutical firms. In the UK, ispaghula husk
is used in the popular constipation remedy Fybogel. Psyllium mucilage is also
used as a natural dietary fiber for animals. The dehusked seed that remains
after the seed coat is milled off is rich in starch and fatty acids, and is used as
chicken and cattle feed

Cinchona (/skon/ or /-kn/)[2] is a genus of flowering plants in the

family Rubiaceae containing at least 23 species of trees and shrubs.[3] They are
native to the tropical Andean forests of western South America.[4] A few
species are reportedly naturalized in Central America, Jamaica, French
Polynesia, Sulawesi, Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, and So Tome &
Principe off the coast of tropical Africa. A few species are used as medicinal
plants, known as sources for quinine and other compounds.
Linnaeus named the genus in 1742 after Ana de Osorio, the 4th Countess of
Chinchn and wife of a viceroy of Peru. According to some accounts, she
suffered from malaria and was cured by a botanical remedy made of the
powdered bark of a native tree. The veracity of the story is uncertain, but the
tree still carries her name.[4][5]
The National Tree of Peru is in the genus Cinchona.[6]

Cinchona plants are large shrubs or small trees with evergreen foliage,
growing 515 m (1649 ft) in height. The leaves are opposite, rounded to
lanceolate and 1040 cm long.
The flowers are white, pink or red, produced in terminal panicles. The fruit is
a small capsule containing numerous seeds.


The medicinal properties of the cinchona tree were originally discovered by

the Quechua peoples of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, and long cultivated by
them as a muscle relaxant to abate shivering due to low body temperatures,
and symptoms of malaria. Ana de Osorio, wife of the count of Chinchn then
serving as viceroy of Peru, contracted malaria and native people persuaded her
to bathe in a small pond beneath a tree whose quinine made its waters bitter.
[citation needed][dubious discuss]
After a few days, she was cured. Linnaeus later named
the tree in her honor. Later the Jesuit brother Agostino Salumbrino (1561
1642), an trained apothecary who lived in Loja in Ecuador and Lima in Peru,
observed the Quechua using the quinine-containing bark of the cinchona tree
to cure malaria. While its effect in treating malaria and malaria-induced
shivering was entirely unrelated to the plant's efficacy in controlling shivering
from cold, it was nevertheless the correct medicine for malaria. The use of the
fever tree bark was introduced into European medicine by Jesuit
missionaries. Jesuit Bernab Cobo (15821657), who explored Mexico and
Peru, is credited with taking cinchona bark to Europe. He took the bark from
Lima to Spain, and afterwards to Rome and other parts of Italy, in 1632. To
maintain their monopoly on cinchona bark, Peru and surrounding countries
began outlawing the export of cinchona seeds and saplings beginning in the
early 19th century.
In the 19th century, the plant's seeds and cuttings were smuggled out for new
cultivation at cinchona plantations in colonial regions of tropical Asia, notably
by the British to the British Raj and Ceylon (present-day India and Sri Lanka),
and by the Dutch to Java in the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia).[7]
As a medicinal herb, cinchona bark is also known as Jesuit's bark or
Peruvian bark. The bark is stripped from the tree, dried, and powdered for
medicinal uses. The bark is medicinally active, containing a variety of
alkaloids including the antimalarial compound quinine and the antiarrhythmic
quinidine. Although the use of the bark has been largely superseded by more
effective modern medicines, cinchona is the only economically practical
source of quinine, a drug that is still recommended for the treatment of

Cinchona species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera
species, including the engrailed, the commander, and members of the genus
Endoclita, including E. damor, E. purpurescens and E. sericeus.
Medicinal uses

The cinchona tree's medicinal uses were first discovered by the Quechua
people of Peru and Bolivia.[a]

The Italian botanist Pietro Castelli wrote a pamphlet noteworthy as being the
first Italian publication to mention the cinchona. By the 1630s (or 1640s,
depending on the reference), the bark was being exported to Europe. In the
late 1640s, the method of use of the bark was noted in the Schedula Romana,
and in 1677, the use of the bark was noted in the London Pharmacopoeia.
English King Charles II called upon Robert Talbor, who had become famous
for his miraculous malaria cure.[9] Because at that time the bark was in
religious controversy, Talbor gave the king the bitter bark decoction in great
secrecy. The treatment gave the king complete relief from the malaria fever. In
return, Talbor was offered membership of the prestigious Royal College of
In 1679, Talbor was called by the King of France, Louis XIV, whose son was
suffering from malaria fever. After a successful treatment, Talbor was
rewarded by the king with 3,000 gold crowns and a lifetime pension for this
prescription. Talbor was asked to keep the entire episode secret.
After Talbor's death, the French king found this formula: seven grams of rose
leaves, two ounces of lemon juice and a strong decoction of the cinchona bark
served with wine. Wine was used because some alkaloids of the cinchona bark
are not soluble in water, but are soluble in the ethanol in wine.
In 1738, Sur l'arbre du quinquina, a paper written by Charles Marie de La
Condamine,lead member of the expedition, along with Pierre Godin and Louis
Bouger that was sent to Ecuador to determine the length of a degree of the 1/4
of meridian arc in the neighbourhood of the equator, was published by the
French Academy of Sciences. In it he identified three separate species.[10]
In 1743, on the basis of a specimen received from La Condamine, Linnaeus
named the tree Chinchona citing La Condamine's paper. Establishing his
binomial system In 1753, he further designated it as Cinchona officinalis[11][12]

The birth of homeopathy was based on cinchona bark testing. The founder of
homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, when translating William Cullen's Materia
medica, noticed Cullen had written that Peruvian bark was known to cure
intermittent fevers.[13] Hahnemann took daily a large, rather than homeopathic,
dose of Peruvian bark. After two weeks, he said he felt malaria-like symptoms.

This idea of "like cures like" was the starting point of his writings on
homeopathy. Hahnemann's symptoms are believed[by whom?] to be the result of a
hypersensitivity to cinchona bark on his part.[14]

The bark was very valuable to Europeans in expanding their access to and
exploitation of resources in distant colonies and at home. Bark gathering was
often environmentally destructive, destroying huge expanses of trees for their
bark, with difficult conditions for low wages that did not allow the indigenous
bark gatherers to settle debts even upon death.[15]
Further exploration of the Amazon Basin and the economy of trade in various
species of the bark in the 18th century is captured by the extract from a book
by Lardner Gibbon:
"...this bark was first gathered in quantities in 1849, though known for many
years. The best quality is not quite equal to that of Yungas, but only second to
it. There are four other classes of inferior bark, for some of which the bank
pays fifteen dollars per quintal. The best, by law, is worth fifty-four dollars.
The freight to Arica is seventeen dollars the mule load of three quintals. Six
thousand quintals of bark have already been gathered from Yuracares. The
bank was established in the year 1851. Mr. [Thaddus] Haenke mentioned
the existence of cinchona bark on his visit to Yuracares in 1796". (Source:
Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon, by Lieut. Lardner Gibbon, USN.
Vol.II, Ch.6, pp. 146-47.)

In 1860, a British expedition to South America led by Clements Markham

brought back smuggled cinchona seeds and plants, which were introduced in
several areas of the British Raj in India and Sri Lanka. In India, it was planted
in Ootacamund by William Graham McIvor. In Sri Lanka, it was planted in
the Hakgala Botanical Garden in January 1861.[16] James Taylor, the pioneer of
tea planting in Sri Lanka, was one of the pioneers of cinchona cultivation.[17]
By 1883, about 64,000 acres (260 km2) were in cultivation in Sri Lanka, with
exports reaching a peak of 15 million pounds in 1886. It was also cultivated by
British in 1862 in the hilly terrain of Darjeeling District of West Bengal, India.
There is a factory and plantation named after Cinchona at Mungpoo,
Darjeeling, West Bengal. The factory is called a Govt. Quinine Factory.
Cultivation of Cinchona continues at places like Mungpoo, Munsong,
Latpanchar, and Rongo under the supervision of the government of West
Bengal's Directorate of Cinchona & Other Medicinal Plants.

In 1865, "New Virginia" and "Carlota Colony" were established in Mexico by

Matthew Fontaine Maury, a former confederate in the American Civil War.
Postwar confederates were enticed there by Maury, now the "Imperial
Commissioner of Immigration" for Emperor Maximillian of Mexico, and
Archduke of Habsburg. All that survives of those two colonies are the
flourishing groves of cinchonas established by Maury using seeds purchased
from England. These seeds were the first to be introduced into Mexico.[18]

The bark of trees in this genus is the source of a variety of alkaloids, the most
familiar of which is quinine, an antipyretic (antifever) agent especially useful
in treating malaria.
Cinchona alkaloids include:

cinchonine and cinchonidine (stereoisomers with R1 = vinyl, R2 =


quinine and quinidine (stereoisomers with R1 = vinyl, R2 = methoxy)

dihydroquinine and dihydroquinidine (stereoisomers with R1 = ethyl, R2 =


They find use in organic chemistry as organocatalysts in asymmetric synthesis.

Other chemicals

Alongside the alkaloids, many cinchona barks contain cinchotannic acid, a

particular tannin, which by oxidation rapidly yields a dark-coloured
phlobaphene[19] called red cinchonic,[20] cinchono-fulvic acid or cinchona red.


There are at least 23 species recognized by botanists. There are likely several
unnamed species and many intermediate forms that have arisen due to the
plants' tendency to hybridize.[3] Resolution of species boundaries is awaiting
results of DNA studies. Several species formerly in the genus are now placed
in Cascarilla.

Rauvolfia serpentina, or Indian snakeroot is a species of flower in the family

Apocynaceae. It is native to the Indian subcontinent and East Asia (from India
to Indonesia).[3][4] Common English names include devil pepper and snakeroot.
Vernacular names

English: serpentine wood[5] Bengali: Chandra; Hindi: Chandrabagha, Chota

chand; Kannada: Patalagondhi, Sarpagandhi,Shivavabhiballi, Sutranavi;
Malayalam: Chuvanna-vilpori, Suvapavalforiyan; Marathi: Harkaya, Harki;
Oriya:Patalgarur, Sanochada; Tamil: Chivan amelpodi; Telgu: Paataala garuda,
Paataala goni; Urdu: Asrel.[6] indonesia : pule pandak;
Chemical composition

Rauvolfia serpentina The plant contains 200 alkaloids of the indole alkaloid
family. SerpentinaDB The major alkaloids are ajmaline, ajmalicine,
ajmalimine, deserpidine, indobine, indobinine, reserpine, reserpiline,
rescinnamine, rescinnamidine, serpentine, serpentinine and yohimbine.[7]
Medicinal uses
The extract of the plant has been used for millennia in India
Alexander the Great administered this plant to cure his general
Ptolemy I Soter of a poisoned arrow.[citation needed] It was reported that
Mahatma Gandhi took it as a tranquilizer during his lifetime.[8] It has
been used to treat insect stings and the bites of venomous reptiles.
[citation needed]
The plant also contains reserpine, was used to treat high
blood pressure and mental disorders including schizophrenia, and
had a brief period of popularity for that purpose in the West from
1954 to 1957.[9] R. serpentina is also known for its antimicrobial,
antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, antidiuretic and
anticholinergic activities.[7]

Recent research has proved that Rauwolfia serpentina exhibits activity against
drug-resistant tumor cells.[10]
It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine,
where it has the name shgn m (Chinese: ) or ynd shm (Chinese:

Other uses

The wood, commonly known as serpentwood, is mildly popular amongst

woodcarving and woodturning hobbyists.[citation needed]

Justicia adhatoda, commonly known in English as Malabar nut, adulsa,

adhatoda, vasa, or vasaka,[1][2] is a medicinal plant native to Asia, widely used
in Siddha Medicine, Ayurvedic, homeopathy and Unani systems of medicine.

The plant's range includes Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Indonesia,
Malaysia, and China, as well as Panama where it is thought to have been
Botanical description

Justicia adhatoda is a shrub with lance-shaped leaves 10 to 15 centimeters in

length by four wide. They are oppositely arranged, smooth-edged, and borne
on short petioles.[4] When dry they are of a dull brownish-green colour. They
are bitter-tasting. When a leaf is cleared with chloral hydrate and examined
microscopically the oval stomata can be seen. They are surrounded by two
crescent-shaped cells at right angles to the ostiole. The epidermis bears simple
one- to three-celled warty hairs, and small glandular hairs. Cystoliths occur
beneath the epidermis of the underside of the blade.[5]
The trunk has many, long, opposite, ascending branches, where the bark is
yellowish in color. Flowers are usually white and the inflorescence shows
large, dense, axillary spikes. Fruits are pubescent, and are with club-shaped
Chemical composition

The leaves of Adhatoda vasica contains phytochemicals such as alkaloids,

tannins, saponins, phenolics and flavonoids.[6] The most important is vasicine,
a quinazoline alkaloid.[3] The vasicine yield of the herbage has been measured
as 0.541 to 1.1% by dry weight.

Traditional medicine

This shrub has a number of traditional medicinal uses in Siddha Medicine,

Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine.[3]
Cultural reference

It is the unofficial provincial flower of the Punjab province of Pakistan.


In Garhwali language it is called Basingu it is also used as vegetable but very

bitter. According to br Panchuri.

EucalyptusEucalyptus /juklpts/[2] L'Heritier 1789[3] is a diverse genus

of flowering trees and shrubs (including a distinct group with a
multiple-stem mallee growth habit) in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae.
Members of the genus dominate the tree flora of Australia, and include
the tallest known flowering plant on Earth. There are more than 700
species of eucalyptus and most are native to Australia; a very small
number are found in adjacent areas of New Guinea and Indonesia. One
species, Eucalyptus deglupta, ranges as far north as the Philippines. Of
the 15 species found outside Australia, just nine are exclusively nonAustralian. Species of eucalyptus are cultivated widely in the tropical
and temperate world, including the Americas, Europe, Africa, the
Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East, China, and the Indian
subcontinent. However, the range over which many eucalypts can be
planted in the temperate zone is constrained by their limited cold

Eucalyptus is one of three similar genera that are commonly referred to as

"eucalypts", the others being Corymbia and Angophora. Many species, though
by no means all, are known as gum trees because they exude copious kino
from any break in the bark (e.g., scribbly gum). The generic name is derived
from the Greek words (eu) "well" and (kalpto) "to cover",
referring to the operculum on the calyx that initially conceals the flower.[5]
Some eucalyptus species have attracted attention from horticulturists, global
development researchers, and environmentalists because of desirable traits
such as being fast-growing sources of wood, producing oil that can be used for
cleaning and as a natural insecticide, or an ability to be used to drain swamps

and thereby reduce the risk of malaria. Eucalyptus oil finds many uses like in
aromatherapy, as a cure for joint pains. Eucalyptus trees show allelopathic
effects; they release compounds which inhibit other plant species from
growing nearby. Outside their natural ranges, eucalypts are both lauded for
their beneficial economic impact on poor populations[6][7]:22 and criticised for
being "water-guzzling" aliens,[8] leading to controversy over their total impact.

On warm days, eucalyptus forests are sometimes shrouded in a smog-like mist

of vaporised volatile organic compounds (terpenoids); the Australian Blue
Mountains take their name from the haze.[10]

A mature eucalyptus may take the form of a low shrub or a very large tree. The
species can be divided into three main habits and four size categories.
As a generalisation "forest trees" are single-stemmed and have a crown
forming a minor proportion of the whole tree height. "Woodland trees" are
single-stemmed, although they may branch at a short distance above ground
"Mallees" are multistemmed from ground level, usually less than 10 m (33 ft)
in height, often with the crown predominantly at the ends of the branchlets and
individual plants may combine to form either an open or closed formation.
Many mallee trees may be so low-growing as to be considered a shrub.
Two other tree forms are notable in Western Australia and described using the
native names "mallet" and "marlock". The "mallet" is a small to medium-sized
tree that does not produce lignotubers and has a relatively long trunk, a steeply
branching habit and often a conspicuously dense terminal crown. This is the
normal habit of mature healthy specimens of Eucalyptus occidentalis, E.
astringens, E. spathulata, E. gardneri, E. dielsii, E. forrestiana, E. salubris, E.
clivicola, and E. ornata. The smooth bark of mallets often has a satiny sheen
and may be white, cream, grey, green, or copper.
The term marlock has been variously used; in Forest Trees of Australia, it is
defined as a small tree without lignotubers, but with a shorter, lower-branching
trunk than a mallet. They usually grow in more or less pure stands. Clearly
recognisable examples are stands of E. platypus, E. vesiculosa, and the
unrelated E. stoatei.
The term "morrell" is somewhat obscure in origin and appears to apply to trees
of the western Australian wheatbelt and goldfields which have a long, straight

trunk, completely rough-barked. It is now used mainly for E. longicornis (red

morrell) and E. melanoxylon (black morrell).
Nearly all eucalyptus are evergreen, but some tropical species lose their leaves
at the end of the dry season. As in other members of the myrtle family,
eucalyptus leaves are covered with oil glands. The copious oils produced are
an important feature of the genus. Although mature eucalyptus trees may be
towering and fully leafed, their shade is characteristically patchy because the
leaves usually hang downwards.

The leaves on a mature eucalyptus plant are commonly lanceolate, petiolate,

apparently alternate and waxy or glossy green. In contrast, the leaves of
seedlings are often opposite, sessile and glaucous, but many exceptions to this
pattern exist. Many species such as E. melanophloia and E. setosa retain the
juvenile leaf form even when the plant is reproductively mature. Some
species, such as E. macrocarpa, E. rhodantha, and E. crucis, are sought-after
ornamentals due to this lifelong juvenile leaf form. A few species, such as E.
petraea, E. dundasii, and E. lansdowneana, have shiny green leaves
throughout their life cycle. E. caesia exhibits the opposite pattern of leaf
development to most eucalyptus, with shiny green leaves in the seedling stage
and dull, glaucous leaves in mature crowns. The contrast between juvenile and
adult leaf phases is valuable in field identification.
Four leaf phases are recognised in the development of a eucalyptus plant: the
seedling, juvenile, intermediate, and adult phases. However, no definite
transitional point occurs between the phases. The intermediate phase, when the
largest leaves are often formed, links the juvenile and adult phases.[11]
In all except a few species, the leaves form in pairs on opposite sides of a
square stem, consecutive pairs being at right angles to each other (decussate).
In some narrow-leaved species, for example E. oleosa, the seedling leaves
after the second leaf pair are often clustered in a detectable spiral arrangement
about a five-sided stem. After the spiral phase, which may last from several to
many nodes, the arrangement reverts to decussate by the absorption of some of
the leaf-bearing faces of the stem. In those species with opposite adult foliage
the leaf pairs, which have been formed opposite at the stem apex, become
separated at their bases by unequal elongation of the stem to produce the
apparently alternate adult leaves.

The most readily recognisable characteristics of eucalyptus species are the

distinctive flowers and fruit (capsules or "gumnuts"). Flowers have numerous

fluffy stamens which may be white, cream, yellow, pink, or red; in bud, the
stamens are enclosed in a cap known as an operculum which is composed of
the fused sepals or petals, or both. Thus, flowers have no petals, but instead
decorate themselves with the many showy stamens. As the stamens expand,
the operculum is forced off, splitting away from the cup-like base of the
flower; this is one of the features that unites the genus. The name Eucalyptus,
from the Greek words eu-, well, and kaluptos, cover, meaning "well-covered",
describes the operculum. The woody fruits or capsules are roughly coneshaped and have valves at the end which open to release the seeds, which are
waxy, rod-shaped, about 1 mm in length, and yellow-brown in colour. Most
species do not flower until adult foliage starts to appear; E. cinerea and E.
perriniana are notable exceptions.

The appearance of eucalyptus bark varies with the age of the plant, the manner
of bark shed, the length of the bark fibres, the degree of furrowing, the
thickness, the hardness, and the colour. All mature eucalypts put on an annual
layer of bark, which contributes to the increasing diameter of the stems. In
some species, the outermost layer dies and is annually deciduous, either in
long strips (as in E. sheathiana) or in variably sized flakes (E. diversicolor, E.
cosmophylla, or E. cladocalyx). These are the gums or smooth-barked species.
The gum bark may be dull, shiny, or satiny (as in E. ornata) or matte (E.
cosmophylla). In many species, the dead bark is retained. Its outermost layer
gradually fragments with weathering and sheds without altering the essentially
rough-barked nature of the trunks or stems for example E. marginata, E.
jacksonii, E. obliqua, and E. porosa.
Many species are half-barks or blackbutts in which the dead bark is
retained in the lower half of the trunks or stems for example, E.
brachycalyx, E. ochrophloia, and E. occidentalis or only in a thick, black
accumulation at the base, as in E. clelandii. In some species in this category,
for example E. youngiana and E. viminalis, the rough basal bark is very
ribbony at the top, where it gives way to the smooth upper stems. The smooth
upper bark of the half-barks and that of the completely smooth-barked trees
and mallees can produce remarkable colour and interest, for example E.
Different commonly recognised types of bark include:

Stringybark consists of long fibres and can be pulled off in long pieces.
It is usually thick with a spongy texture.

Ironbark is hard, rough, and deeply furrowed. It is impregnated with

dried kino (a sap exuded by the tree) which gives a dark red or even black

Tessellated bark is broken up into many distinct flakes. They are corkish
and can flake off.

Box has short fibres. Some also show tessellation.

Ribbon has the bark coming off in long, thin pieces, but is still loosely
attached in some places. They can be long ribbons, firmer strips, or
twisted curls.
Fossil record

The oldest definitive Eucalyptus fossils are surprisingly from South America,
where eucalypts are no longer endemic, though have been introduced from
Australia. The fossils are from the early Eocene (51.9 Mya), and were found in
the Laguna del Hunco deposit in Chubut province in Argentina.[12] This shows
that the genus had a Gondwanan distribution. Fossil leaves also occur in the
Miocene of New Zealand, where the genus is not native today, but again have
been introduced from Australia.[13]
Despite the prominence of Eucalyptus in modern Australia, estimated to
contribute some 75% of the modern vegetation, the fossil record is very scarce
throughout much of the Cenozoic, and suggests that this rise to dominance is a
geologically more recent phenomenon. The oldest reliably dated macrofossil
of Eucalyptus is a 21-million-year-old tree-stump encased in basalt in the
upper Lachlan Valley in New South Wales. Other fossils have been found, but
many are either unreliably dated or else unreliably identified.[14]
It is useful to consider where Eucalyptus fossils have not been found.
Extensive research has gone into the fossil floras of the Paleocene to
Oligocene of South-Eastern Australia, and has failed to uncover a single
Eucalyptus specimen. Although the evidence is sparse, the best hypothesis is
that in the mid-Tertiary, the contintental margins of Australia only supported
more mesic noneucalypt vegetation, and that eucalypts probably contributed to
the drier vegetation of the arid continental interior. With the progressive drying
out of the continent since the Miocene, eucalypts were displaced to the
continental margins, and much of the mesic and rainforest vegetation that was
once there was eliminated entirely.[14]
The current superdominance of Eucalyptus in Australia may be an artefact of
human influence on its ecology. In more recent sediments, numerous findings
of a dramatic increase in the abundance of Eucalyptus pollen are associated
with increased charcoal levels. Though this occurs at different rates throughout
Australia, it is compelling evidence for a relationship between the artificial

increase of fire frequency with the arrival of Aboriginals and increased

prevalence of this exceptionally fire-tolerant genus.[14]
Species and hybridism

Over 700 species of Eucalyptus are known; refer to the List of Eucalyptus
species for a comprehensive list of species. Some have diverged from the
mainstream of the genus to the extent that they are quite isolated genetically
and are able to be recognised by only a few relatively invariant characteristics.
Most, however, may be regarded as belonging to large or small groups of
related species, which are often in geographical contact with each other and
between which gene exchange still occurs. In these situations, many species
appear to grade into one another, and intermediate forms are common. In other
words, some species are relatively fixed genetically, as expressed in their
morphology, while others have not diverged completely from their nearest
Hybrid individuals have not always been recognised as such on first collection
and some have been named as new species, such as E. chrysantha (E.
preissiana E. sepulcralis) and E. "rivalis" (E. marginata E. megacarpa).
Hybrid combinations are not particularly common in the field, but some other
published species frequently seen in Australia have been suggested to be
hybrid combinations. For example, E. erythrandra is believed to be E.
angulosa E. teraptera and due to its wide distribution is often referred to in
Renantherin, a phenolic compound present in the leaves of some eucalyptus
species, allows chemotaxonomic discrimanation in the sections
renantheroideae and renantherae[15] and the ratio of the amount of
leucoanthocyanins varies considerably in certain species.[16]
Related genera

A small genus of similar trees, Angophora, has also been known since the 18th
century. In 1995 new evidence, largely genetic, indicated that some prominent
eucalyptus species were actually more closely related to Angophora than to
the other eucalypts; they were split off into the new genus Corymbia.
Although separate, the three groups are allied and it remains acceptable to
refer to the members of all three genera, Angophora, Corymbia and
Eucalyptus, as "eucalypts".

Tall timber

Several eucalypt species are among the tallest trees in the world. Eucalyptus
regnans, the Australian 'mountain ash', is the tallest of all flowering plants
(angiosperms); today, the tallest measured specimen named Centurion is
99.6 m (327 ft) tall.[17] Coast Douglas-fir is about the same height; only coast
redwood is taller, and they are conifers (gymnosperms). Six other eucalypt
species exceed 80 metres in height: Eucalyptus obliqua, Eucalyptus
delegatensis, Eucalyptus diversicolor, Eucalyptus nitens, Eucalyptus globulus
and Eucalyptus viminalis.
Frost intolerance

Most eucalypts are not tolerant of severe cold. Whilst in a wide range of
climates mild frost is experienced by eucalypts, they in general only tolerate
light frosts down to 5 C (23 F);[4][18][19] the hardiest are the snow gums, such
as Eucalyptus pauciflora, which is capable of withstanding cold and frost
down to about 20 C (4 F). Two subspecies, E. pauciflora subsp.
niphophila and E. pauciflora subsp. debeuzevillei in particular are even hardier
and can tolerate even quite severe winters. Several other species, especially
from the high plateau and mountains of central Tasmania such as Eucalyptus
coccifera, Eucalyptus subcrenulata and Eucalyptus gunnii,[20] have also
produced extreme cold-hardy forms and it is seed procured from these
genetically hardy strains that are planted for ornament in colder parts of the
Animal relationships

An essential oil extracted from eucalyptus leaves contains compounds that are
powerful natural disinfectants and can be toxic in large quantities. Several
marsupial herbivores, notably koalas and some possums, are relatively tolerant
of it. The close correlation of these oils with other more potent toxins called
formylated phloroglucinol compounds (euglobals, macrocarpals and
sideroxylonals)[21] allows koalas and other marsupial species to make food
choices based on the smell of the leaves. For koalas, these compounds are the
most important factor in leaf choice.
Eucalyptus flowers produce a great abundance of nectar, providing food for
many pollinators including insects, birds, bats and possums. Although
eucalyptus trees are seemingly well-defended from herbivores by the oils and
phenolic compounds, they have insect pests. These include the eucalyptus
longhorn borer Phoracantha semipunctata and the aphid-like psyllids known
as "bell lerps", both of which have become established as pests throughout the
world wherever eucalypts are cultivated.

The eusocial beetle Austroplatypus incompertus makes and defends its

galleries exclusively inside Eucalyptus plants.

Eucalypts originated between 35 and 50 million years ago, not long after
Australia-New Guinea separated from Gondwana, their rise coinciding with an
increase in fossil charcoal deposits (suggesting that fire was a factor even
then), but they remained a minor component of the Tertiary rainforest until
about 20 million years ago, when the gradual drying of the continent and
depletion of soil nutrients led to the development of a more open forest type,
predominantly Casuarina and Acacia species.
The aridification of Australia during the mid-tertiary period (25-40 million
years ago), combined with the annual penetration of tropical convection
storms, and associated lightning, deep into the continental interior stimulated
the gradual evolution, diversification and geographic expansion of the
flammable biota. The absence of great rivers or mountain chains meant that
there were no geographic barriers to check the spread of fires. From the
monsoonal 'cradle', fire-promoting species expanded into higher rainfall
environments, where lightning was less frequent, gradually displacing the
Gondwanan rainforest from all but the most fire-sheltered habitats.[22]
The two valuable timber trees, alpine ash E. delegatensis and Australian
mountain ash E. regnans, are killed by fire and only regenerate from seed. The
same 2003 bushfire that had little impact on forests around Canberra resulted
in thousands of hectares of dead ash forests. However, a small amount of ash
survived and put out new ash trees as well. There has been some debate as to
whether to leave the stands or attempt to harvest the mostly undamaged
timber, which is increasingly recognised as a damaging practice.

The two most common hazards of eucalyptus species to people are fire and
falling branches.

Eucalyptus trees bent over due to the high winds and heat of the October 2007
California wildfires. They are located in the San Dieguito River Park of San Diego
County and leaning west

Eucalyptus oil is highly flammable (ignited trees have been known to

explode);[9][23] bushfires can travel easily through the oil-rich air of the tree
crowns.[24][25] Eucalypts obtain long-term fire survivability from their ability to

regenerate from epicormic buds situated deep within their thick bark, or from
lignotubers,[26] or by producing serotinous fruits.
In seasonally dry climates oaks are often fire-resistant, particularly in open
grasslands, as a grass fire is insufficient to ignite the scattered trees. In contrast
a eucalyptus forest tends to promote fire because of the volatile and highly
combustible oils produced by the leaves, as well as the production of large
amounts of litter which is high in phenolics, preventing its breakdown by
fungi and thus accumulates as large amounts of dry, combustible fuel.[26]
Consequently, dense eucalypt plantings may be subject to catastrophic
firestorms. In fact, almost thirty years before the Oakland firestorm of 1991, a
study of eucalyptus in the area warned that the litter beneath the trees builds
up very rapidly and should be regularly monitored and removed.[27] It has been
estimated that 70% of the energy released through the combustion of
vegetation in the Oakland fire was due to eucalyptus.[28] In a National Park
Service study, it was found that the fuel load (in tons per acre) of non-native
eucalyptus woods is almost three times as great as native oak woodland.[28]
Falling branches
Fallen E. camaldulensis limbs on a walking track

Some species of gum trees drop branches unexpectedly. In Australia, Parks

Victoria warns campers not to camp under river red gums.[29] Some councils in
Australia such as Gosnells, Western Australia, have removed eucalypts after
reports of damage from dropped branches, even in the face of lengthy, well
publicised protests to protect particular trees.[30] A former Australian National
Botanic Gardens director and consulting arborist, Robert Boden, has been
quoted referring to "summer branch drop".[31] Dropping of branches is
recognised in Australia literature through the fictional death of Judy in Seven
Little Australians. Although all large trees can drop branches, the weight of
eucalyptus wood is high because of its density and high resin content.[citation

Cultivation and uses

Eucalyptus was introduced from Australia to the rest of the world following
the Cook expedition in 1770. Collected by Sir Joseph Banks, botanist on the
expedition, it was subsequently introduced to many parts of the world, notably
California, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Ethiopia, Morocco, Portugal, South
Africa, Uganda, Israel, Galicia and Chile. On the order of 250 species are
under cultivation in California.[32] In Portugal and also Spain, eucalypts have
been planted in pulpwood plantations. Eucalyptus are the basis for several
industries, such as sawmilling, pulp, charcoal and others. Several species have

become invasive and are causing major problems for local ecosystems, mainly
due to the absence of wildlife corridors and rotations management. Eucalypts
have many uses which have made them economically important trees, and
have become a cash crop in poor areas such as Timbuktu, Africa[7]:22 and the
Peruvian Andes,[6] despite concerns that the trees are invasive in some
countries like South Africa.[8] Best-known are perhaps the varieties karri and
yellow box. Due to their fast growth, the foremost benefit of these trees is their
wood. They can be chopped off at the root and grow back again. They provide
many desirable characteristics for use as ornament, timber, firewood and
pulpwood. It is also used in a number of industries, from fence posts and
charcoal to cellulose extraction for biofuels. Fast growth also makes eucalypts
suitable as windbreaks and to reduce erosion.
Eucalypts draw a tremendous amount of water from the soil through the
process of transpiration. They have been planted (or re-planted) in some places
to lower the water table and reduce soil salination. Eucalypts have also been
used as a way of reducing malaria by draining the soil in Algeria, Lebanon,
Sicily,[33] elsewhere in Europe, in Caucasus (Western Georgia), and California.
Drainage removes swamps which provide a habitat for mosquito larvae, but
can also destroy ecologically productive areas. This drainage is not limited to
the soil surface, because the eucalyptus roots are up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in length
and can, depending on the location, even reach the phreatic zone.[citation needed]

Eucalyptus is the most common short fibre source for pulpwood to make pulp.
Eucalyptus globulus (in temperate climates) and the hybrid of Eucalyptus
urophylla x Eucalyptus grandis (in tropical climates) are the most used
varieties in papermaking.[citation needed] The fibre length of Eucalyptus is relatively
short and uniform with low coarseness compared with other hardwoods
commonly used as pulpwood. The fibres are slender, yet relatively thick
walled. This gives uniform paper formation and high opacity that are
important for all types of fine papers. The low coarseness is important for high
quality coated papers.[35] Eucalyptus is suitable for many tissue papers as the
short and slender fibres gives a high number of fibres per gram and low
coarseness contributes to softness.[35]
Eucalyptus oil

Eucalyptus oil is readily steam distilled from the leaves and can be used for
cleaning and as an industrial solvent, as an antiseptic, for deodorising, and in
very small quantities in food supplements, especially sweets, cough drops,
toothpaste and decongestants. It has insect repellent properties (Jahn 1991 a, b;
1992), and is an active ingredient in some commercial mosquito repellents
(Fradin & Day 2002). Eucalyptus globulus is the principal source of
eucalyptus oil worldwide.


The nectar of some eucalypts produces high-quality monofloral honey.

Musical instruments

Eucalypt wood is also commonly used to make didgeridoos, a traditional

Australian Aboriginal wind instrument. The trunk of the tree is hollowed out
by termites, and then cut down if the bore is of the correct size and shape.

All parts of Eucalyptus may be used to make dyes that are substantive on
protein fibres (such as silk and wool), simply by processing the plant part with
water. Colours to be achieved range from yellow and orange through green,
tan, chocolate and deep rust red.[36] The material remaining after processing
can be safely used as mulch or fertiliser.[citation needed]

Eucalyptus trees in the Australian outback draw up gold from tens of meters
underground through their root system and deposit it as particles in their
leaves and branches. A Maia detector for x-ray elemental imaging at the
Australian Synchrotron clearly showed deposits of gold and other metals in
the structure of Eucalyptus leaves from the Kalgoorlie region of Western
Australia that would have been untraceable using other methods. The
microscopic leaf-bound "nuggets" are not worth collecting themselves, but
may provide an environmentally benign way of locating subsurface mineral
Eucalyptus as plantation species

In the 20th century, scientists around the world experimented with eucalyptus
species. They hoped to grow them in the tropics, but most experimental results
failed until breakthroughs in the 1960s-1980s in species selection, silviculture,
and breeding programs "unlocked" the potential of eucalypts in the tropics.
Prior to then, as Brett Bennett noted in a 2010 article, eucalypts were
something of the "El Dorado" of forestry. Today, eucalyptus is the most widely
planted type of tree in plantations around the world,[38] in South America
(mainly in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay), South Africa, Australia,
India, Galicia, and many more.[39]
North America

California. In the 1850s, Eucalyptus trees were introduced to California by

Australians during the California Gold Rush. Much of California has a similar
climate to parts of Australia. By the early 1900s, thousands of acres of
eucalypts were planted with the encouragement of the state government. It was
hoped that they would provide a renewable source of timber for construction,
furniture making and railroad ties. It was soon found that for the latter purpose

eucalyptus was particularly unsuitable, as the ties made from eucalyptus had a
tendency to twist while drying, and the dried ties were so tough that it was
nearly impossible to hammer rail spikes into them.
They went on to note that the promise of eucalyptus in California was based
on the old virgin forests of Australia. This was a mistake as the young trees
being harvested in California could not compare in quality to the centuries-old
eucalyptus timber of Australia. It reacted differently to harvest. The older trees
didn't split or warp as the infant California crop did. There was a vast
difference between the two, and this would doom the California eucalyptus
One way in which the eucalyptus, mainly the blue gum E. globulus, proved
valuable in California was in providing windbreaks for highways, orange
groves, and other farms in the mostly treeless central part of the state. They are
also admired as shade and ornamental trees in many cities and gardens.
Eucalyptus plantations in California have been criticised because they
compete with native plants and do not support native animals. Fire is also a
problem. The 1991 Oakland Hills firestorm which destroyed almost 3,000
homes and killed 25 people was partly fuelled by large numbers of eucalypts
close to the houses.[41]
In some parts of California, eucalypt plantations are being removed and native
trees and plants restored. Individuals have also illegally destroyed some trees
and are suspected of introducing insect pests from Australia which attack the
Eucalyptus trees also grow in parts of the Pacific Northwest: Washington,
Oregon and parts of British Columbia.
South America

Uruguay. Antonio Lussich introduced Eucalyptus into Uruguay in

approximately 1896, throughout what is now Maldonado Department, and it
has spread all over the south-eastern and eastern coast. There had been no
trees in the area because it consisted of dry sand dunes and stones. (Lussich
also introduced many other trees, particularly Acacia and pines, but they have
not expanded so massively.)
Uruguayan forestry crops using eucalyptus species have been promoted since
1989, when the new National Forestry Law established that 20% of the
national territory would be dedicated to forestry. As the main landscape of
Uruguay is grassland (140,000 km2, 87% of the national territory), most of the
forestry plantations would be established in prairie regions.[43][44][45] The
planting of Eucalyptus sp. has been criticised because of concerns that soil

would be degraded by nutrient depletion and other biological changes.[44][45][46]

During the last ten years, in the northwestern regions of Uruguay the
Eucalyptus sp. plantations have reached annual forestation rates of 300%. That
zone has a potential forested area of 1,000,000 hectares, approximately 29% of
the national territory dedicated to forestry, of which approximately 800,000
hectares are currently forested by monoculture of Eucalyptus spp.[47] It is
expected that the radical and durable substitution of vegetation cover leads to
changes in the quantity and quality of soil organic matter. Such changes may
also influence soil fertility and soil physical and chemical properties. The soil
quality effects associated with Eucalyptus sp. plantations could have negative
effects on soil chemistry;[46][48][49] for example: soil acidification,[50][51][52] iron
leaching, allelopathic activities[51] and a high C:N ratio of litter.[48][53][54][55]
Additionally, as most scientific understanding of land cover change effects is
related to ecosystems where forests were replaced by grasslands or crops, or
grassland was replaced by crops, the environmental effects of the current
Uruguayan land cover changes are not well understood.[56] The first scientific
publication on soil studies in western zone tree plantations (focused on pulp
production) appeared in 2004 and described soil acidification and soil carbon
changes,[57] similar to a podzolisation process, and destruction of clay (illitelike minerals), which is the main reservoir of potassium in the soil.[58]
Although these studies were carried out in an important zone for forest
cultivation, they cannot define the current situation in the rest of the land area
under eucalyptus cultivation. Moreover, recently Jackson and Jobbagy have
proposed another adverse environmental impact that may result from
Eucalyptus culture on prairie soils: stream acidification.[59]
The eucalyptus species most planted are E. grandis, E. globulus and E. dunnii;
they are used mainly for pulp mills. Approximately 80,000 ha of E. grandis
situated in the departments of Rivera, Tacuaremb and Paysand is primarily
earmarked for the solid wood market, although a portion of it is used for
sawlogs and plywood. The current area under commercial forest plantation is
6% of the total. The main uses of the wood produced are elemental chlorine
free pulp mill production (for cellulose and paper), sawlogs, plywood and
bioenergy (thermoelectric generation). Most of the products obtained from
sawmills and pulp mills, as well as plywood and logs, are exported. This has
raised the income of this sector with respect to traditional products from other
sectors. Uruguayan forestry plantations have rates of growth of 30 cubic
metres per hectare per year and commercial harvesting occurs after 9 years.
Brazil. Eucalyptus was introduced to Brazil in 1910, for timber substitution
and the charcoal industry. It has thrived in the local environment, and today
there are around 7 million hectares planted. The wood is highly valued by the
charcoal and pulp and paper industries. The short rotation allows a larger
wood production and supplies wood for several other activities, helping to

preserve the native forests from logging. When well managed, the plantation
soils can sustain endless replanting. Eucalyptus plantings are also used as wind
breaks. Brazil's plantations have world-record rates of growth, typically over
40 cubic metres per hectare per year,[60] and commercial harvesting occurs
after years 5. Due to continual development and governmental funding, yearon-year growth is consistently being improved. Eucalyptus can produce up to
100 cubic metres per hectare per year. Brazil has become the top exporter and
producer of Eucalyptus round wood and pulp, and has played an important
role in developing the Australian market through the country's[clarification needed]
committed research in this area. The local iron producers in Brazil rely heavily
on sustainably grown Eucalyptus for charcoal; this has greatly pushed up the
price of charcoal in recent years. The plantations are generally owned and
operated for national and international industry by timber asset companies
such as Thomson Forestry, Greenwood Management or cellulose producers
such as Aracruz Cellulose and Stora Enso.
Overall, South America is expected to produce 55% of the world's Eucalyptus
round-wood by 2010. Many environmental NGOs have criticised the use of
exotic tree species for forestry in Latin America.[61]

Ethiopia. Eucalyptus was introduced to Ethiopia in either 1894 or 1895, either

by Emperor Menelik II's French advisor Mondon-Vidailhet or by the
Englishman Captain O'Brian. Menelik II endorsed its planting around his new
capital city of Addis Ababa because of the massive deforestation around the
city for firewood. According to Richard R.K. Pankhurst, "The great advantage
of the eucalypts was that they were fast growing, required little attention and
when cut down grew up again from the roots; it could be harvested every ten
years. The tree proved successful from the onset".[62] Plantations of eucalypts
spread from the capital to other growing urban centres such as Debre Marqos.
Pankhurst reports that the most common species found in Addis Ababa in the
mid-1960s was E. globulus, although he also found E. melliodora and E.
rostrata in significant numbers. David Buxton, writing of central Ethiopia in
the mid-1940s, observed that eucalyptus trees "have become an integral -- and
a pleasing -- element in the Shoan landscape and has largely displaced the
slow-growing native 'cedar' Juniperus procera)."[63]
It was commonly believed that the thirst of the Eucalyptus "tended to dry up
rivers and wells", creating such opposition to the species that in 1913 a
proclamation was issued ordering a partial destruction of all standing trees,
and their replacement with mulberry trees. Pankhurst reports, "The
proclamation however remained a dead letter; there is no evidence of
eucalypts being uprooted, still less of mulberry trees being planted."[64]
Eucalypts remain a defining feature of Addis Ababa.

Madagascar. Much of Madagascar's original native forest has been replaced

with Eucalyptus, threatening biodiversity by isolating remaining natural areas
such as Andasibe-Mantadia National Park.
South Africa. Numerous Eucalyptus species have been introduced into South
Africa, mainly for timber and firewood but also for ornamental purposes. They
are popular with beekeepers for the honey they provide.[65] However, in South
Africa they are considered invasive, with their water-sucking capabilities
threatening water supplies. They also release a chemical into the surrounding
soil which kills native competitors.[8]
Eucalyptus seedlings are usually unable to compete with the indigenous
grasses, but after a fire when the grass cover has been removed, a seed-bed
may be created. The following Eucalyptus species have been able to become
naturalised in South Africa: E. camaldulensis, E. cladocalyx, E. diversicolor,
E. grandis and E. lehmannii.[65]
Zimbabwe. As in South Africa, many Eucalyptus species have been
introduced into Zimbabwe, mainly for timber and firewood, and E. robusta
and E. tereticornis have been recorded as having become naturalised there.[65]

In continental Portugal, the Azores and the North of Spain (especially in the
provinces of Cantabria, Vizcaya, Asturias, and Galicia) farmland has been
replaced with eucalypt plantations.
In Italy, the eucalyptus only arrived at the turn of the 19th century and large
scale plantations were started at the beginning of the 20th century with the aim
of drying up swampy ground to defeat malaria.[citation needed] This, their rapid
growth in the Italian climate and excellent function as windbreaks, has made
them a common sight in the south of the country, including the islands of
Sardinia and Sicily.[citation needed] They are also valued for the characteristic
smelling and tasting honey that is produced from them. The variety of
eucalyptus most commonly found in Italy is E. camaldulensis.[66]
In Greece, eucalyptus is widely found, especially in southern Greece and
Crete. It is cultivated and used for various purposes, including as an ingredient
in pharmaceutical products (e.g., creams, elixirs and sprays) and for leather
production. It was imported in 1862 by botanist Theodoros Georgios
Orphanides. The principal species is Eucalyptus globulus.
Eucalyptus has been grown in Ireland since trials in the 1930s and now grows
wild in South Western Ireland in the mild climate.

Eucalyptus seeds of the species E. globulus were imported into Palestine in the
1860s, but did not acclimatise well. [67] Later, E. camaldulensis was introduced
more successfully and it is still a very common tree in Israel.[67] The use of
eucalyptus trees to drain swampy land was a common practice in the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. [67][68] The German Templer colony of
Sarona had begun planting eucalyptus for this purpose by 1874, though it is not
known where the seeds came from. [69] Many Zionist colonies also adopted the
practice in the following years under the guidance of the Mikveh Israel
Agricultural School.[67][68]

In India, the Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore

started a eucalyptus breeding program in the 1990s. The organisation released
four varieties of conventionally bred, high yielding and genetically improved
clones for commercial and research interests in 2010.[70][71][72]
Eucalyptus trees were introduced to Sri Lanka in the late 19th century by tea
and coffee planters, for wind protection, shade and fuel. Forestry replanting of
eucalyptus began in the 1930s in deforested mountain areas, and currently
there are about 10 species present in the island. They account for 20% of
major reforestation plantings. They provide railway sleepers, utility poles,
sawn timber and fuelwood, but are controversial because of their adverse
effect on biodiversity, hydrology and soil fertility. They are associated with
another invasive species, the eucalyptus gall wasp, Leptocybe invasa.[73][74]
Pacific Islands

Hawaii Some 90 species of eucalyptus have been introduced to the islands,

where they have displaced some native species due to their higher maximum
height, fast growth and lower water needs. Particularly noticeable is the
rainbow eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta), native to Indonesia and the
Philippines, whose bark falls off to reveal a trunk that can be green, red,
orange, yellow, pink and purple.[75]
Nonnative eucalyptus and biodiversity

Due to similar favourable climatic conditions, Eucalyptus plantations have

often replaced oak woodlands, for example in California, Spain and Portugal.
The resulting monocultures have raised concerns about loss of biological
diversity, through loss of acorns that mammals and birds feed on, absence of
hollows that in oak trees provide shelter and nesting sites for birds and small
mammals and for bee colonies, as well as lack of downed trees in managed
plantations. A study of the relationship between birds and eucalyptus in the
San Francisco Bay Area found that bird diversity was similar in native forest
vs. eucalyptus forest but the species were different.[76] One way in which the
avifauna changes is that cavity nesting birds including woodpeckers, owls,
chickadees, wood ducks, etc. are depauperate in eucalyptus groves because the

decay-resistant wood of these trees prevents cavity formation by decay or

excavation. Also those bird species that glean insects from foliage, such as
warblers and vireos, have population declines when eucalyptus replace oak
forest. Birds that do well in eucalyptus groves in California like tall vertical
habitat like herons and egrets (possibly because redwood trees are less
available), or have longer bills, which may play a role in preventing their
nostrils from being clogged by eucalyptus resin/pitch.[77] The Point Reyes Bird
Observatory observes that sometimes short-billed birds like the ruby-crowned
kinglet are found dead beneath eucalyptus trees with their nostrils clogged
with pitch.[28]
Monarch butterflies use eucalyptus in California for over-wintering, but in
some locations have a preference for Monterey pines.[28]

Although eucalypts must have been seen by the very early European explorers
and collectors, no botanical collections of them are known to have been made
until 1770 when Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander arrived at Botany Bay
with Captain James Cook. There they collected specimens of E. gummifera
and later, near the Endeavour River in northern Queensland, E. platyphylla;
neither of these species was named as such at the time.
In 1777, on Cook's third expedition, David Nelson collected a eucalypt on
Bruny Island in southern Tasmania. This specimen was taken to the British
Museum in London, and was named Eucalyptus obliqua by the French
botanist L'Hritier, who was working in London at the time.[78] He coined the
generic name from the Greek roots eu and calyptos, meaning "well" and
"covered" in reference to the operculum of the flower bud which protects the
developing flower parts as the flower develops and is shed by the pressure of
the emerging stamens at flowering. It was most likely an accident that
L'Heritier chose a feature common to all eucalypts.
The name obliqua was derived from the Latin obliquus, meaning "oblique",
which is the botanical term describing a leaf base where the two sides of the
leaf blade are of unequal length and do not meet the petiole at the same place.
E. obliqua was published in 1788-89, which coincided with the first official
European settlement of Australia. Between then and the turn of the 19th
century, several more species of Eucalyptus were named and published. Most
of these were by the English botanist James Edward Smith and most were, as
might be expected, trees of the Sydney region. These include the economically
valuable E. pilularis, E. saligna and E. tereticornis.

The first endemic Western Australian Eucalyptus to be collected and

subsequently named was the Yate (E. cornuta) by the French botanist Jacques
Labillardire, who collected in what is now the Esperance area in 1792.[11]
Several Australian botanists were active during the 19th century, particularly
Ferdinand von Mueller, whose work on eucalypts contributed greatly to the
first comprehensive account of the genus in George Bentham's Flora
Australiensis in 1867. The account is the most important early systematic
treatment of the genus. Bentham divided it into five series whose distinctions
were based on characteristics of the stamens, particularly the anthers (Mueller,
187984), work elaborated by Joseph Henry Maiden (190333) and still
further by William Faris Blakely (1934). The anther system became too
complex to be workable and more recent systematic work has concentrated on
the characteristics of buds, fruits, leaves and bark.

Ephedra is a medicinal preparation from the plant Ephedra sinica.[1] Several

additional species belonging to the genus Ephedra have traditionally been
used for a variety of medicinal purposes, and are a possible candidate for the
Soma plant of Indo-Iranian religion.[2] It has been used in traditional Chinese
medicine for more than 2,000 years.[3][4] Native Americans and Mormon
pioneers drank a tea brewed from other Ephedra species, called "Mormon tea"
and "Indian tea".

In recent years, dietary supplements containing ephedra alkaloid have been

found to be unsafe, with reports of serious side effects and ephedra-related
deaths.[5][6][7][8] In response to accumulating evidence of adverse effects and
deaths related to ephedra, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
banned the sale of supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids in 2004.[9] The
ban was challenged in court by ephedra manufacturers, but ultimately upheld
in 2006 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.[10] Ephedra extracts
not containing ephedrine have not been banned by the FDA and are still sold
legally today.[11]
Biochemistry and effects

A wide variety of alkaloid and non-alkaloid compounds have been identified

in various species of ephedra. Of the six ephedrine-type ingredients found in
ephedra (at concentrations of 0.02-3.4%), the most common are ephedrine and
pseudoephedrine.[12] The stimulant and thermogenic effects of Ephedra sinica
and other ephedra species are due to the presence of the alkaloids ephedrine
and pseudoephedrine.[3] These compounds stimulate the brain, increase heart
rate, constrict blood vessels (increasing blood pressure), and expand bronchial
tubes (making breathing easier). Their thermogenic properties cause an
increase in metabolism, as evidenced by an increase in body heat.
Ephedra is widely used by athletes as a performance-enhancing drug,[13]
despite a lack of evidence that it improves athletic performance.[14][15] Ephedra
may also be used as a precursor in the illicit manufacture of
Ephedra has been used as a weight-loss aid, sometimes in combination with
aspirin and caffeine. Some studies in regulated and supervised environments
have shown that ephedra is effective for marginal short-term weight loss
(0.9 kg/month more than the placebo), although it was untested whether such
weight loss is maintained.[17] However, several reports have documented a
number of adverse events attributable to unregulated ephedra supplements.[18]
Adverse effects of ephedra consumption may include severe skin reactions,
irritability, nervousness, dizziness, trembling, headache, insomnia, profuse
perspiration, dehydration, itchy scalp and skin, vomiting, and hyperthermia.
More serious potential side effects include irregular heartbeat, seizures, heart
attack, stroke, and death.[19]
Purity and dosage

There are no formal requirements for standardization or quality control of

dietary supplements in the United States, and the dosage of effective

ingredients in supplements may vary widely from brand to brand or batch to

batch.[20][21][22] Studies of ephedra supplements have found significant
discrepancies between the labeled dose and the actual amount of ephedra in
the product. Significant variation in ephedrine alkaloid levels, by as much as
10-fold, was seen even from lot to lot within the same brand.[23][24]
Safety and regulatory actions in the United States
See also: Ephedrine United States

Escalating concerns regarding the safety of ephedra supplements led the FDA
to ban the sale of supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids (specifically
ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, norephedrine, and methylephedrine) in the
United States in 2004. This ban was challenged by supplement manufacturers
and initially overturned, but ultimately upheld.
Initial concerns and supplement industry response

In 1997, in response to mounting concern over serious side effects of ephedra,

the FDA proposed a ban on products containing 8 mg or more of ephedrine
alkaloids and stricter labeling of low-dose ephedra supplements. The FDA also
proposed that ephedra labels be required to disclose the health risks of
ephedra, such as heart attack, stroke, and death.[25]
In response, the supplement industry created a public relations group, the
Ephedra Education Council, to oppose the changes, and commissioned a
scientific review by a private consulting firm, which reported that ephedra was
safe.[26] The Ephedra Education Council also attempted to block publication of
a study confirming wide discrepancies between the labeled potency of
supplements and the actual amount of ephedra in the product.[20]
Metabolife, makers of the best-selling brand of ephedra supplement, had
received over 14,000 complaints of adverse events associated with its product.
These reports were not initially provided to the FDA.[26][27] Co-founder of
Metabolife, Michael Ellis, was sentenced in 2008 to six months in federal
prison for his failure to report adverse effects from his company's products to
the FDA.[28] Senators Orrin Hatch (R. Utah) and Tom Harkin (D. Iowa),
authors of the Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act, questioned the
scientific basis for the FDA's proposed labeling changes and suggested that the
number of problems reported were insufficient to warrant regulatory action. At
the time, Senator Hatch's son was working for a firm hired to lobby Congress
and the FDA on behalf of ephedra manufacturers.[29]
In addition to the activities of the Ephedra Education Council, Metabolife
spent more than $4 million between 1998 and 2000 lobbying against state
regulation of ephedra in Texas.[30] Business Week reported that efforts to

regulate ephedra and other potentially harmful supplements had been "beaten
down by deep-pocketed industry lobbying."[31]
In 2000, the FDA withdrew the proposed labeling changes and restrictions.[32]
Additional evidence and deaths

A review of ephedra-related adverse reactions, published in the New England

Journal of Medicine in 2000, found a number of cases of sudden cardiac death
or severe disability resulting from ephedra use, many of which occurred in
young adults using ephedra in the labeled dosages.[5] Subsequently, in response
to pressure from the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen,[31] Metabolife
was compelled by the Department of Justice in 2002 to turn over reports of
over 15,000 ephedra-related adverse events, ranging from insomnia to death,
which the company had previously withheld from the FDA.[26][33] Use of
ephedra was considered to have possibly contributed to the death of Minnesota
Vikings offensive lineman Korey Stringer from heatstroke in 2001.[34]
Steve Bechler, a pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, died of complications from
heatstroke following a spring training workout on February 17, 2003. The
medical examiner found that ephedra toxicity played a "significant role" in
Bechler's sudden death.[35] Following Bechler's death, the FDA re-opened its
efforts to regulate ephedra use. According to Bruce Silverglade, legal director
for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, "All of a sudden [after
Bechler's death] Congress dropped objections to an ephedra ban and started
demanding that the FDA act."[26]
Senator Orrin Hatch (R. Utah), who in 1999 had helped block the FDA's
attempts to regulate ephedra, said in March 2003 that "...it has been obvious to
even the most casual observer that problems exist", and called FDA action to
regulate ephedra "long overdue."[29]
Supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids banned

In response to renewed calls for the regulation of ephedra, the U.S.

Department of Health and Human Services commissioned a large metaanalysis of ephedra's safety and efficacy by the RAND Corporation. This
study found that ephedra promoted modest short-term weight loss, but there
was insufficient data to determine whether it was effective for long-term
weight loss or performance enhancement. The use of ephedrine alkaloids in
this study was associated with significant gastrointestinal, psychiatric, and
autonomic side effects.[36] Almost simultaneously, a study in Annals of Internal
Medicine found that ephedrine alkaloids were 100 to 700 times more likely to
cause a significant adverse reaction than other commonly used supplements
such as kava or Ginkgo biloba.[6]

On December 30, 2003, the FDA issued a press release recommending that
consumers stop buying and using products containing ephedrine alkaloids, and
indicating its intention to ban the sale of ephedrine alkaloid-containing
supplements.[37] Subsequently, on April 12, 2004, the FDA issued a final rule
banning the sale of ephedrine alkaloid-containing dietary supplements.
Tommy Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, stated that
"...These products pose unacceptable health risks, and any consumers who are
still using them should stop immediately."[9] Products containing ephedra
extract remain legal to this day.[11]
Legal challenges

Nutraceutical Corporation, a supplement manufacturer based in Park City,

Utah, challenged the legality of the FDA's ban of ephedra alkaloids as
exceeding the authority given the agency by the Dietary Health Supplements
and Education Act. Nutraceutical Corporation stated that while they did not
intend to restart marketing ephedra, they were concerned about the scope of
the FDA's regulatory action. Judge Tena Campbell of the Utah Federal District
Court ruled that the FDA had not proven that low doses of ephedra alkaloids
were unsafe, although she also noted that studies to address the safety of lowdose ephedra would be unethical. Nevertheless, her ruling overturned the ban
on the sale of ephedra alkaloids in the state of Utah, and called into question
whether the ban could be enforced anywhere in the United States.[38]
The ruling was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in
Denver, Colorado. On August 17, 2006, the Appeals Court upheld the FDA's
ban of ephedra alkaloids, finding that the 133,000 page administrative record
compiled by the FDA supported the agency's finding that ephedra alkaloids
posed an unreasonable risk to consumers.[10] Nutraceutical Corp. filed a
petition for a writ of certiorari seeking a rehearing on the ban of ephedra
alkaloids; however, on May 14, 2007 the United States Supreme Court
declined to hear this petition. The sale of ephedra alkaloids containing dietary
supplements remains illegal in the United States.[8] Sales of products
containing ephedra extract not containing ephedrine remain legal.[11]
Use in sports

Ephedrine is listed as a banned substance by both the International Olympic

Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency.[39] The National Football
League banned players from using ephedra as a dietary supplement in 2001
after the death of Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Korey Stringer; ephedra
was found in Stringer's locker and lawyers for the team contended that it
contributed to his death.[34][40] The substance is also banned by the National
Basketball Association.[38] Nonetheless, ephedra remains widely used by
athletes; a 2006 survey of collegiate hockey players found that nearly half had
used ephedra believing it enhanced their athletic performance.[13]

Prominent cases of ephedrine use

In the 1994 FIFA World Cup, the Argentine footballer Diego Armando
Maradona tested positive for ephedrine.[41] The Japanese motorcycle racer
Noriyuki Haga tested positive for ephedrine in 2000, being disqualified from
two races and banned from two more as a result.[42] NFL punter Todd
Sauerbrun of the Denver Broncos was suspended for the first month of the
2006 season after testing positive for ephedrine.[40]

Aloe vera (/loi/ or /lo/) is a succulent plant species of the genus Aloe.
It grows wild in tropical climates around the world and is cultivated for
agricultural and medicinal uses. Aloe is also used for decorative purposes and
grows successfully indoors as a potted plant.[3]
It is found in many consumer products including beverages, skin lotion, or
ointments for minor burns and sunburns. There is little scientific evidence of
the effectiveness or safety of Aloe vera extracts for either cosmetic or
medicinal purposes. Studies finding positive evidence are frequently
contradicted by other studies.

Aloe vera is a stemless or very short-stemmed succulent plant growing to 60

100 cm (2439 in) tall, spreading by offsets. The leaves are thick and fleshy,
green to grey-green, with some varieties showing white flecks on their upper
and lower stem surfaces.[4] The margin of the leaf is serrated and has small
white teeth. The flowers are produced in summer on a spike up to 90 cm
(35 in) tall, each flower being pendulous, with a yellow tubular corolla 23 cm
(0.81.2 in) long.[4][5] Like other Aloe species, Aloe vera forms arbuscular
mycorrhiza, a symbiosis that allows the plant better access to mineral nutrients
in soil.[6]

Aloe vera leaves contain phytochemicals under study for possible bioactivity,
such as acetylated mannans, polymannans, anthraquinone C-glycosides,
anthrones, other anthraquinones, such as emodin, and various lectins.[7][8][9]

Taxonomy and etymology

Spotted forms of Aloe vera are sometimes known as Aloe vera var. chinensis

The species has a number of synonyms: A. barbadensis Mill., Aloe indica

Royle, Aloe perfoliata L. var. vera and A. vulgaris Lam.[10][11] Common names
include Chinese Aloe, Indian Aloe, True Aloe, Barbados Aloe, Burn Aloe, First
Aid Plant.[5][12][13][14][15] The species epithet vera means "true" or "genuine".[12]
Some literature identifies the white-spotted form of Aloe vera as Aloe vera var.
chinensis;[16][17] however, the species varies widely with regard to leaf spots[18]
and it has been suggested that the spotted form of Aloe vera may be
conspecific with A. massawana.[19] The species was first described by Carl
Linnaeus in 1753 as Aloe perfoliata var. vera,[20] and was described again in
1768 by Nicolaas Laurens Burman as Aloe vera in Flora Indica on 6 April and
by Philip Miller as Aloe barbadensis some ten days after Burman in the
Gardener's Dictionary.[21]
Techniques based on DNA comparison suggest Aloe vera is relatively closely
related to Aloe perryi, a species endemic to Yemen.[22] Similar techniques,
using chloroplast DNA sequence comparison and ISSR profiling have also
suggested it is closely related to Aloe forbesii, Aloe inermis, Aloe scobinifolia,
Aloe sinkatana, and Aloe striata.[23] With the exception of the South African
species A. striata, these Aloe species are native to Socotra (Yemen), Somalia,
and Sudan.[23] The lack of obvious natural populations of the species has led
some authors to suggest Aloe vera may be of hybrid origin.[24]

The natural range of A. vera is unclear, as the species has been widely
cultivated throughout the world. Naturalised stands of the species occur in the
southern half of the Arabian Peninsula, through North Africa (Morocco,
Mauritania, Egypt), as well as Sudan and neighbouring countries, along with
the Canary, Cape Verde, and Madeira Islands.[10] This distribution is somewhat
similar to that of Euphorbia balsamifera, Pistacia atlantica, and a few others,
suggesting that a dry sclerophyll forest once covered large areas, but has been
dramatically reduced due to desertification in the Sahara, leaving these few
patches isolated. Several closely related (or sometimes identical) species can
be found on the two extreme sides of the Sahara: dragon trees (Dracaena) and
Aeonium being two of the most representative examples.

The species was introduced to China and various parts of southern Europe in
the 17th century.[25] The species is widely naturalized elsewhere, occurring in
temperate and tropical regions of Australia, South America, Mexico, the
Caribbean and southeastern US states.[26] The actual species' distribution has
been suggested to be the result of human cultivation (anthropogenic).[19][27]
Aloe vera has been widely grown as an ornamental plant. The species is popular
with modern gardeners as a putatively medicinal plant and for its interesting
flowers, form, and succulence. This succulence enables the species to survive in
areas of low natural rainfall, making it ideal for rockeries and other low water-use
gardens.[4] The species is hardy in zones 811, although it is intolerant of very
heavy frost or snow.[5][28] The species is relatively resistant to most insect pests,
though spider mites, mealy bugs, scale insects, and aphid species may cause a
decline in plant health.[29][30] This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural
Society's Award of Garden Merit.[31]

In pots, the species requires well-drained, sandy potting soil and bright, sunny
conditions; however, Aloe plants can burn under too much sun or shrivel when
the pot does not drain water. The use of a good-quality commercial
propagation mix or packaged "cacti and succulent mix" is recommended, as
they allow good drainage.[32] Terra cotta pots are preferable as they are porous.
Potted plants should be allowed to completely dry before rewatering. When
potted, aloes become crowded with "pups" growing from the sides of the
"mother plant", they should be divided and repotted to allow room for further
growth and help prevent pest infestations. During winter, Aloe vera may
become dormant, during which little moisture is required. In areas that receive
frost or snow, the species is best kept indoors or in heated glasshouses.[5]
There is large-scale agricultural production of Aloe vera in Australia,[33]
Bangladesh, Cuba,[34] the Dominican Republic, China, Mexico,[35] India,[36]
Jamaica,[37] Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa,[38] along with the USA[39] to
supply the cosmetics industry.

There is little scientific evidence of the effectiveness or safety of Aloe vera

extracts for either cosmetic or medicinal purposes. A research study finding
positive evidence[7] is frequently contradicted by other studies.[40][41][42]
Despite this, the cosmetic and alternative medicine industries regularly make
claims regarding the soothing, moisturizing, and healing properties of aloe

Two 2009 reviews of clinical studies determined that all were too small and
faulty to allow strong conclusions to be drawn, but concluded: "there is some
preliminary evidence to suggest that oral administration of aloe vera might be
effective in reducing blood glucose in diabetic patients and in lowering blood
lipid levels in hyperlipidaemia. The topical application of aloe vera does not
seem to prevent radiation-induced skin damage. The evidence regarding
wound healing is contradictory. More and better trial data are needed to define
the clinical effectiveness of this popular herbal remedy more precisely."[42][44]
One of the reviews found that Aloe has not been proven to offer protection for
humans from sunburn.[44]
A 2007 review of aloe vera use in burns concluded, "cumulative evidence
tends to support that aloe vera might be an effective intervention used in burn
wound healing for rst- to second-degree burns. Further, well-designed trials
with sufficient details of the contents of aloe vera products should be carried
out to determine the effectiveness of aloe vera."[45] Topical application of aloe
vera may also be effective for genital herpes and psoriasis.[42][46] A 2014
Cochrane review found no strong evidence for the value of topical application
of aloe vera to treat or prevent phlebitis caused by intravenous infusion.[47]
Aloe vera gel is used commercially as an ingredient in yogurts, beverages, and
some desserts,[48][49][50] although at certain doses, its toxic properties could be
severe whether ingested or topically applied.[51] The same is true for aloe latex,
which was taken orally for conditions ranging from glaucoma to multiple
sclerosis until the FDA required manufacturers to discontinue its use.[52]
Dietary supplement

Aloin, a compound found in the exudate of some Aloe species, was the
common ingredient in over-the-counter (OTC) laxative products in the United
States until 2002 when the Food and Drug Administration banned it because
the companies manufacturing it failed to provide the necessary safety data.[53]
Aloe vera has potential toxicity, with side effects occurring at some dose
levels both when ingested or applied topically.[51] Although toxicity may be
less when aloin is removed by processing, Aloe vera that contains aloin in
excess amounts may induce side effects.[7][42][55]
Aloe vera juice is marketed to support the health of the digestive system, but
there is neither scientific evidence nor regulatory approval to support this
claim.[56] The extracts and quantities typically used for such purposes appear to
be dose-dependent for toxic effects.[51]
Traditional medicine

Aloe vera is used in traditional medicine as a skin treatment. In Ayurvedic

medicine it is called kathalai, as are extracts from agave.[57]:196 for aloe:117 for agave

Early records of Aloe vera use appear in the Ebers Papyrus from the 16th
century BC,[15]:18 and in Dioscorides' De Materia Medica and Pliny the Elder's
Natural History both written in the mid-first century AD.[15]:20 It is also
written of in the Juliana Anicia Codex of 512 AD.[48]:9 The plant is used widely
in the traditional herbal medicine of many countries.

Aloe vera is used on facial tissues where it is promoted as a moisturiser and

anti-irritant to reduce chafing of the nose. Cosmetic companies commonly add
sap or other derivatives from Aloe vera to products such as makeup, tissues,
moisturizers, soaps, sunscreens, incense, shaving cream, or shampoos.[48] A
review of academic literature notes that its inclusion in many hygiene products
is due to its "moisturizing emollient effect".[9]
Other potential uses for extracts of Aloe vera include the dilution of semen for
the artificial fertilization of sheep,[58] as a fresh food preservative,[59] or for
water conservation in small farms.[60] It has also been suggested that biofuels
could be obtained from Aloe vera seeds.[61]

Under the guidelines of California Proposition 65, orally ingested nondecolorized aloe vera leaf extract has been listed by the OEHHA, along with
goldenseal, among "chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or
reproductive toxicity".[62]
Use of topical aloe vera is not associated with significant side effects.[53] Oral
ingestion of aloe vera, however, may cause abdominal cramps and diarrhea
which in turn can decrease the absorption of drugs.[53] IARC studies have
found ingested non-decolorized liquid aloe vera[63] to be carcinogenic in
animals, and state that it is a possible carcinogen in humans as well.[64]

Ocimum tenuiflorum

Ocimum tenuiflorum, also known as Ocimum sanctum, holy basil, or tulasi

or tulsi (also sometimes spelled thulasi), is an aromatic plant in the family
Lamiaceae which is native to the Indian subcontinent and widespread as a
cultivated plant throughout the Southeast Asian tropics.[2][3] It is an erect,
many-branched subshrub, 3060 cm (1224 in) tall with hairy stems and
simple phyllotaxic green or purple leaves that are strongly scented.
Leaves have petioles and are ovate, up to 5 cm (2.0 in) long, usually slightly
toothed. The flowers are purplish in elongate racemes in close whorls.[3] The
two main morphotypes cultivated in India and Nepal are green-leaved (Sri or
Lakshmi tulasi) and purple-leaved (Krishna tulasi).[4]
Tulasi is cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes, and for its essential
oil. It is widely known across the Indian subcontinent as a medicinal plant and
a herbal tea, commonly used in Ayurveda, and has an important role within the
Vaishnava tradition of Hinduism, in which devotees perform worship
involving holy basil plants or leaves. This plant is revered as an elixir of life.
The variety of Ocimum tenuiflorum used in Thai cuisine is referred to as Thai
holy basil (Thai: kaphrao);[2] it is not to be confused with Thai basil,
which is a variety of Ocimum basilicum.

DNA barcodes of various biogeographical isolates of Tulsi from the Indian

subcontinent are now available. In a large-scale phylogeographical study of
this species conducted using chloroplast genome sequences, a group of
researchers from Central University of Punjab, Bathinda, have found that this
plant originates from North Central India.[5][6] The discovery might suggest the
evolution of Tulsi is related with the cultural migratory patterns in the Indian

In Hinduism
Main article: Tulsi in Hinduism

Tulsi leaves are an essential part in the worship of Vishnu and his avatars,
including Krishna and Ram, and other male Vaishnava deities such as
Hanuman, Balarama, Garuda and many others. Tulsi is a sacred plant for
Hindus and is worshipped as the avatar of Lakshmi.[7] It is believed that water
mixed with the petals given to the dying raises their departing souls to heaven.
Tulsi, which is Sanskrit for "the incomparable one", is most often regarded
as a consort of Krishna in the form of Lakshmi.[9][10] According to the Brahma
Vaivarta Purana, tulsi is an expression of Sita.[11][full citation needed] There are two
types of tulsi worshipped in Hinduism: "Rama tulsi" has light green leaves and
is larger in size; "Shyama tulsi" has dark green leaves and is important for the
worship of Hanuman.[12] Many Hindus have tulasi plants growing in front of or
near their home, often in special pots. Traditionally, tulsi is planted in the
centre of the central courtyard of Hindu houses. It is also frequently grown
next to Hanuman temples, especially in Varanasi.[13][full citation needed]
According to Vaishnavas, it is believed in Puranas that during Samudra
Manthana, when the gods win the ocean-churning against the asuras,
Dhanvantari comes up from the ocean with Amrit in hand for the gods.
Dhanvantari, the divine healer, sheds happy tears, and when the first drop falls
in the Amrit, it forms tulasi. In the ceremony of Tulsi Vivaha, tulsi is
ceremonially married to Krishna annually on the eleventh day of the waxing
moon or twelfth of the month of Kartik in the lunar calendar. This day also
marks the end of the four-month Chaturmas, which is considered inauspicious
for weddings and other rituals, so the day inaugurates the annual marriage
season in India. The ritual lighting of lamps each evening during Kartik
includes the worship of the tulsi plant, which is held to be auspicious for the
home. Vaishnavas especially follow the daily worship of tulsi during Kartik.[14]
In another legend, Tulsi was a pious woman who sought a boon to marry
Vishnu. Lakshmi, Vishnu's consort, cursed her to become a plant in earth.
However, Vishnu appeased her by giving her a boon that she would grace him
when he appears in the form of Shaligrama in temples.[15]
Vaishnavas traditionally use Hindu prayer beads made from tulsi stems or
roots, which are an important symbol of initiation. Tulsi rosaries are
considered to be auspicious for the wearer, and believed to put them under the
protection of Hanuman. They have such a strong association with Vaishnavas,
that followers of Hanuman are known as "those who bear the tulsi round the

Tulsi grown in front of a house

An altar with tulsi plant for daily worship in a courtyard in India


Tulasi (Sanskrit:-Surasa) has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda for
its diverse healing properties. It is mentioned in the Charaka Samhita,[16] an
ancient Ayurvedic text. Tulsi is considered to be an adaptogen,[17] balancing
different processes in the body, and helpful for adapting to stress.[18] Marked
by its strong aroma and astringent taste, it is regarded in Ayurveda as a kind of
"elixir of life" and believed to promote longevity.[19]
Tulasi extracts are used in ayurvedic remedies for a variety of ailments.
Traditionally, tulasi is taken in many forms: as herbal tea, dried powder, fresh
leaf or mixed with ghee. Essential oil extracted from Karpoora tulasi is mostly
used for medicinal purposes and in herbal cosmetics.

The leaves of holy basil, known as kaphrao in the Thai language (Thai:
), are commonly used in Thai cuisine.[20] Kaphrao should not be
confused with horapha (Thai: ), which is normally known as Thai
basil,[20] or with Thai lemon basil (maenglak; Thai: ).
The best-known dish made with this herb is phat kaphrao (Thai: )
a stir-fry of Thai holy basil with meats, seafood or, as in khao phat
kraphao, with rice.[21][22][23]
Insect repellent
For centuries, the dried leaves have been mixed with stored grains to repel
insects.[24] In Sri Lanka this plant is used as a mosquito repellent. Sinhala: