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Traditional herbal drugs: digitalis and its health benefits

Author(s): Debjit Bhowmik | Chiranjib | K.P. Sampath Kumar

Journal: International Journal of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
ISSN 0976-5263

Volume: 01;
Issue: 01;
Start page: 16;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Traditional herbal drugs | Digitalis | Digoxin | Heart failure

Herbal medicine, sometimes referred to as Herbalism or Botanical Medicine, is the use of herbs for their therapeutic or medicinal value. An herb is a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal, aromatic or savory qualities. Herb plants produce and contain a variety of chemical substances that act upon the body. The term digitalis or digitalis compounds are all used to refer to the entire group of inotropic (or drugs that increase myocaridal contractility). All glycosides have a shared structure of: an aglycone ring structure. The aglycone ring is where the pharmacological activity is found. The main use of Digitalis Purpurea today is as a effective way of treating congestive heart failure. The main way it achieves this function is through increasing myocardial contractility. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4 billion people, 80 percent of the world population, presently use herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care. Herbal medicine is a major component in all indigenous peoples’ traditional medicine and a common element in Ayurvedic, homeopathic, naturopathic, traditional oriental. The digitalis drugs come in many forms, differing in their chemical structure. As a group they are classified as cardiac inotropes. Cardiac, of course, refers to the heart. An inotrope is a substance that has a direct effect on muscle contraction. Positive inotropism is an increase in the speed and strength of muscle contraction, while negative inotropism is the opposite. Digitalis has a positive inotropic effect on the heart muscle. During the early 20th century, the drug was introduced as treatment of atrial fibrillation. Only subsequently was the value of digitalis for the treatment of congestive heart failure (CHF) established

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