The American Botanical Council (ABC) recently announced the adoptions of three botanicals through its Adopt-an-Herb research and education program: senna (Senna alexandrina, Fabaceae) by K. Patel Phyto Extractions Pvt. Ltd., a Mumbai-based company that specializes in Indian botanical extracts and phytochemicals; and garlic (Allium sativum, Amaryllidaceae) and artichoke (Cynara cardunculus, Asteraceae) by Neem Biotech, a Wales-based biotechnology company with expertise in bioactive compounds from plants.
These adoptions support ABC’s extensive HerbMedPro database, ensuring that this unique research and educational resource remains up to date for researchers, health professionals, industry members, students, consumers, and other members of the herbal and dietary supplement and natural medicine communities. HerbMedPro is a comprehensive, interactive online database that provides access to important scientific and clinical research data on the uses and health effects of more than 265 herbs, spices, medicinal plants, and fungi.
K. Patel Phyto Extractions Adopts Senna
“Through the Adopt-an-Herb initiative, we are proud to be a part of maintaining the database about senna and contribute to sharing information and knowledge about senna,” said Viraj Patel, director of business development for K. Patel Phyto Extractions.
ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal said: “ABC is deeply grateful for the adoption of senna by K. Patel Phyto Extractions. Senna is an ancient herbal drug, the medicinal properties of which have been recognized for millennia, including in official pharmacopeial monographs. Even today, senna extracts, and the sennosides found in senna leaf and fruit are approved by various government agencies and pharmacopeias as safe and effective stimulant laxatives.”
Blumenthal added: “The K. Patel adoption of senna on ABC’s HerbMedPro database will ensure that new scientific and clinical research on this classic medicinal plant will be more available to researchers, health professionals, industry members, and other stakeholders in the international medicinal plant community.”
Native to tropical areas of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and India, senna is a drought-tolerant shrub that typically reaches 1 to 2 meters (3.3 to 6.6 feet) in height. The plant has small yellow flowers, branching stems that taper to a point, and compound leaves with four to eight pairs of leaflets that form sharp edges. These features likely explain the plant’s common name, which comes from the Arabic word sanaa, meaning “thorny bush.”
Senna has been used in traditional medicine systems of Asia for centuries. Ninth-century Syriac physician Serapion the Elder is believed to have been one of the first to recommend senna for use as a medicine. In Ayurvedic medicine, senna leaf formulations such as tea preparations are used to treat constipation and digestive diseases. Similarly, senna leaf is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat excessive heat associated with constipation and abdominal pain.
Senna still is used primarily for its laxative properties. In the United States, senna is approved as an ingredient in over-the-counter (OTC) products for the treatment of constipation and irregularity. Modern research has examined the use of senna preparations — particularly the plant’s dianthrone glycosides sennoside A and B — for chronic constipation, medication-induced constipation, and colonoscopy preparation. Results from human clinical trials suggest that senna preparations are useful for these conditions.
About K. Patel Phyto Extractions Pvt. Ltd.
K. Patel Phyto Extractions Pvt. Ltd. has been in the business of Indian botanical extracts and phytochemicals for more than 14 years. It specializes in manufacturing innovative and quality-driven products, including its flagship senna extract, according to the company. K. Patel Phyto Extractions strives for a sustainable supply chain and runs various programs to educate farmers on best agricultural and plant collection practices. The company notes that it operates a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Gujarat, India, that produces extracts and phytochemicals that meet the regulatory standards of various countries around the world.
Neem Biotech Adopts Garlic and Artichoke
According to Neem Biotech CEO Graham Dixon, although the company is now more active in mainstream pharmaceutical biotechnology research and development, “Neem Biotech has its roots in extracting bioactive compounds from natural products,” he said. “Neem is pleased that its legacy interest in garlic and artichoke is being continued through the American Botanical Council’s Adopt-An-Herb program to help people live healthier lives through the responsible use of herbs and medicinal plants.”
Blumenthal said: “ABC is deeply grateful to Neem Biotech for its generous adoptions of these two important medicinal herbs on ABC’s HerbMedPro database. Garlic has been one of the most popular herbal dietary supplements in the United States for more than 20 years and is used for a wide variety of clinically documented health benefits, while artichoke extracts are popular in Europe, where they are employed as an aid for various digestive conditions.”
Native to Central Asia and the eastern Mediterranean, garlic, a member of the amaryllis family, has been used for millennia as food and medicine. The earliest known written record of garlic as a medicine is found in the Ebers Papyrus. This Egyptian medical document, dated to circa 1550 BCE, indicates that garlic bulb was used as a treatment for abnormal growths and abscesses, circulatory ailments, general malaise, and parasites. Garlic also was mentioned in the Bible as a source of food and in the Jewish Talmud as an aphrodisiac for married couples. In ancient Greece and Rome, evidence of garlic consumed as a fortifying tonic for athletes and warriors dates back to 1400 BCE. Greek physicians Hippocrates (ca. 460-370 BCE) and Dioscorides (ca. 40-90 CE) both wrote about the use of garlic for circulatory and pulmonary complaints. Garlic also became a staple of Asian medicine in India, China, and Japan as a digestion aid and for its antimicrobial activity.
Currently, garlic is being investigated for its cardiovascular benefits, particularly for lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. Garlic bulb contains organosulfur compounds, which are believed to be partly responsible for its observed hypocholesterolemic and antioxidant effects.
The artichoke plant is a large, spiny perennial member of the sunflower family that is native to the Mediterranean area and northern Africa. The primary medicinal part of the plant is the leaf, which is often prepared as an extract. Artichoke plants are a good source of the prebiotic fiber inulin, flavonoids, and phytosterols. In addition, artichoke contains sesquiterpene lactones, which give the plant its bitter taste. The first known written record of artichoke is found in the writings of Greek botanist Theophrastus (371-287 BCE), and Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE) recommended artichoke for intestinal distress. Both the Greeks and the Romans used artichoke as a diuretic and choleretic (bile-producing agent that aids digestion). Other traditional uses of artichoke focus on liver health and digestion.
Modern research has shown that artichoke leaf extract supplementation is correlated with lower total cholesterol levels and positive effects on blood lipid composition. Artichoke leaf extract also has beneficial effects on digestive complaints.
About Neem Biotech
Neem Biotech is a Wales-based biotechnology company with a vision to enhance people’s life expectancy and quality of life. With significant expertise in the biology and chemistry of bioactive compounds from plants, Neem Biotech transforms these natural compounds into novel, non-traditional treatments that can aid in the fight against the global threat of antimicrobial resistance. The company presently is studying and has drug candidates for the inhibition and treatment of respiratory infections and wounds. For more information, visit www.neembiotech.com.
About Adopt-an-Herb and HerbMedPro
K. Patel Phyto Extractions and Neem Biotech are among the 62 US and international companies that have supported ABC’s educational efforts to collect, organize, and disseminate reliable, traditional, and science-based information, including clinical studies, on herbs, medicinal plants, and other botanical- and fungal-based ingredients through the Adopt-an-Herb program. This program encourages companies, organizations, and individuals to “adopt” one or more specific herbs for inclusion and ongoing maintenance in the HerbMedPro database. To date, 69 herbs have been adopted.
Each adopted herb is continuously researched for new scientific articles and botanical, chemical, pharmacological, toxicological, and clinical studies, ensuring that its HerbMedPro record stays current and robust. Access to the studies is conveniently organized by publication type, with each study condensed to a one-sentence summary with a link to the study’s official abstract on PubMed (the US National Library of Medicine’s free-access database) or other publicly accessible database.
HerbMedPro is available to ABC members at the Academic level and higher. Its “sister” site, HerbMed, is available to the general public at no cost, with access to 25-30 herb records from the larger HerbMedPro database. In keeping with ABC’s position as an independent research and education organization, herb adopters do not influence the scientific information that is compiled for their respective adopted herbs.