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Ethnopharmacological relevance The Bhutanese Sowa Rigpa medicine (BSM) uses animal parts in the preparation of numerous polyingredient traditional remedies. Our study reports the taxonomical identification of medicinal animals and the description of traditional uses in English medical terminologies. Aim of the study To taxonomically identify the medicinal animals and their derived natural products used as a zootherapeutic agents in BSM. Materials and methods First, the traditional textbooks were reviewed to generate a list of animal products described as ingredients. Second, animal parts that are currently used in Bhutan were identified. Third, the ethnopharmacological uses of each animal ingredients were translated into English medical terminologies by consulting Traditional Physicians, clinical assistants, pharmacognosists, and pharmacists in Bhutan. Fourth, the animal parts were taxonomically identified and their Latin names were confirmed by crosschecking them with online animal databases and relevant scientific literature. Results The study found 73 natural products belonging to 29 categories derived from 45 medicinal animals (36 vertebrates and 9 invertebrates), comprising of 9 taxonomic categories and 30 zoological families. Out of 116 formulations currently produced, 87 of them contain one or more extracts and products obtained from 13 medicinal animals to treat more than 124 traditionally classified illnesses. Only five animal ingredients were found available in Bhutan and rest of the animal parts are being imported from India. Conclusions Out of 73 natural products described in the traditional textbooks, only 13 of them (some omitted and few substituted by plants) are currently included in 87 formulations of BSM.
In this work, total phenolic and flavonoid contents and antioxidant activities in methanol and aqueous extracts of five-high altitude medicinal plants namelyAconogonon tortuosum, Thlaspi arvense, Erysimum bhutanicum, Thalictrum chelidoniiandAletris pauciflorawere studied for the first time from Bhutan. Antioxidant activities were investigated using DPPH radical scavenging activity (DRSA), ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) assays. Significant level of phenolics and flavonoids were found in all medicinal herbs. Among the five plants studied, aqueous extract ofThalictrum chelidoniiand methanol extract ofErysimum bhutanicumshowed best free radical scavenging activity. Both aqueous and methanol extracts ofAconogonon tortuosumshowed strong ferric reducing antioxidant power. The results indicate that all five medicinal herbs could be potential sources of natural antioxidant compounds and could help boost the immune system of patients.
An assessment of the Bhutanese traditional medicine for its ethnopharmacology, ethnobotany and ethnoquality: Textual understanding and the current practices
Plant-derived compounds that modulate the immune responses are emerging as frontline treatment agents for cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmunity. Herein we have isolated 40 phytochemicals from five Bhutanese Sowa Rigpa medicinal plants—Aconitum laciniatum, Ajania nubegina, Corydalis crispa, Corydalis dubia and Pleurospermum amabile—and tested 14 purified compounds for their immunomodulatory properties using a murine dendritic cell (DC) line, and cytotoxicity against a human cholangiocyte cell line using xCELLigence real time cell monitoring. These compounds were: pseudaconitine, 14-veratryolpseudaconitine, 14-O-acetylneoline, linalool oxide acetate, (E)-spiroether, luteolin, luteolin-7-O-β-d-glucopyranoside, protopine, ochrobirine, scoulerine, capnoidine, isomyristicin, bergapten, and isoimperatorin. Of the 14 compounds tested here, scoulerine had adjuvant-like properties and strongly upregulated MHC-I gene and protein expression whereas bergapten displayed immunosuppressive properties and strongly down-regulated gene and protein expression of MHC-I and other co-stimulatory molecules. Both scoulerine and bergapten showed low cytotoxicity against normal healthy cells that were consistent with their immunoregulatory properties. These findings highlight the breadth of immunomodulatory properties of defined compounds from Bhutanese medicinal plants and show that some of these compounds exert their mechanisms of action by modulating DC activity. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Ethnopharmacological relevanceGeological materials, such as minerals, have a long history of usage as ingredients in multicompound formulations of Himalayan Sowa Rigpa medicine – as well as in its localized form of Bhutanese traditional medicine (BTM) – for treating various disorders for over thousand years. Yet, hardly any scientific research has been done on their ethnopharmacological efficacy and chemistry. Aim of the study This study documents and correlates the rarely explored ethnopharmacological and chemical identification of various minerals and their ethnomedicinal uses in BTM formulations for the first time. Material and methods A five stage cross-disciplinary process was conducted as follows: (1) a review of classical literature of Sowa Rigpa texts (Tibetan medical texts, pharmacopoeias and formularies) that are still in use today; (2) listing of mineral ingredients according to Sowa Rigpa names, followed by identification with common English and chemical names, as well as re-translating their ethnomedical uses; (3) cross-checking the chemical names and chemical composition of identified Sowa Rigpa minerals with various geological mineral databases and mineral handbooks; (4) authentication and standardization of Sowa Rigpa names through open forum discussion with diverse BTM practitioners; (5) further confirmation of the chemical names of identified minerals by consulting different experts and pharmacognosists. Results Our current study lists 120 minerals as described in Sowa Rigpa medical textbooks most of which we were able to chemically identify, and of which 28 are currently used in BTM herbo-mineral formulations. Out of these 28 mineral ingredients, 5 originate from precious metal and stone, 10 stem from earth, mud and rocks, 8 are salts, and 5 concern ‘essences’ and exudates. Conclusions Our study identified 120 mineral ingredients described in Sowa Rigpa medical textbooks, out of which 28 are currently used. They are crucial in formulating 108 multicompound prescription medicines in BTM presently in use for treating more than 135 biomedically defined ailments.
Background: The Bhutanese Sowa Rigpa medicine (BSM) uses medicinal plants as the bulk ingredients. Our study was to botanically identify subtropical medicinal plants from the Lower Kheng region in Bhutan, transcribe ethnopharmacological uses, and highlight reported pharmacological activities of each plant.Methods: We freely listed the medicinal plants used in the BSM literature, current formulations, and the medicinal plants inventory documents. This was followed by a survey and the identification of medicinal plants in the Lower Kheng region. The botanical identification of each medicinal plant was confirmed using The Plant List, eFloras, and TROPICOS. Data mining for reported pharmacological activities was performed using Google Scholar, Scopus, PubMed, and SciFinder Scholar. Results: We identified 61 subtropical plants as the medicinal plants used in BSM. Of these, 17 plants were cultivated as edible plant species, 30 species grow abundantly, 24 species grow in moderate numbers, and only seven species were scarce to find. All these species grow within the altitude range of 100-1800 m above sea level. A total of 19 species were trees, and 13 of them were shrubs. Seeds ranked first in the parts usage category. Goshing Gewog (Block) hosted maximum number of medicinal plants. About 52 species have been pharmacologically studied and only nine species remain unstudied. Conclusion: Lower Kheng region is rich in subtropical medicinal plants and 30 species present immediate economic potential that could benefit BSM, Lower Kheng communities and other Sowa Rigpa practicing organizations.
In this study, 71 species of edible medicinal plants belonging to 49 families were identified. These medicinal plants (beside therapeutic applications in Sowa Rigpa medicine) are used as food, fruit and vegetables in Bhutan. Five Himalayan medicinal plants were further studied for their phenolic content and antioxidant activity. Hypecoum leptocarpum Hook. f. & Thompson contained maximum phenolic content. The antioxidant activities were determined by DRSA and FRAP assays from water and methanol extracts. Overall, among five plants investigated, Lepisorus contortus (Christ) Ching, H. leptocarpum and Podophyllum hexandrum Royle gave good yield of phenolics content and best antioxidant activity. This study demonstrates that edible medicinal plants could be a potential source of natural antioxidants that can boost the immune system.