Sunday, 31 July 2016

Why Captain America is a positive masculine role model

The Chilean wild raspberry (Rubus geoides Sm.) increases intracellular GSH content and protects against H2O2 and methylglyoxal-induced damage in AGS cells

Volume 194, 1 March 2016, Pages 908–919


Rubus geoides increases intracellular GSH content in AGS cells.
The fruit phenolics protected against H2O2 and MGO-induced damage in AGS cells.
The phenolic composition of Rubus geoides was analyzed by HPLC–DAD-MS.
The main phenolics were flavonoid glycosides with antioxidant activity.


The Chilean raspberry Rubus geoides Sm. (Rosaceae) is a native species occurring in the Patagonia. Five R. geoides samples were assessed for phenolic content and composition, antioxidant activity, effect on total reduced glutathione (GSH) synthesis and protective effect against H2O2 and methylglyoxal (MGO)-induced stress in epithelial gastric AGS cells. The HPLC–DAD/ESI-MS profiles allowed the tentative identification of 39 phenolics including flavonol glycosides and tannins. R. geoides presented higher total phenolic and flavonoid content than Rubus idaeus. Two out of the five phenolic enriched R. geoides extracts (PEEs) exhibited better antioxidant activity than R. idaeus in the DPPH, FRAP and TEAC assays. A significant cytoprotective activity was observed when AGS cells were pre-incubated with extracts and subsequently challenged with H2O2 or MGO. Treatment with the PEEs increased the intracellular GSH content. R. geoides fruit extracts may induce the activation of intracellular protection mechanisms against oxidative and dicarbonyl-induced stress.


  • ABTS, 2,2′-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid diammonium salt;
  • AGS, human gastric epithelial adenocarcinoma cells;
  • CE, cyanidin equivalents;
  • DAD, diode array detection;
  • DPPH, 2,2-diphenyl-1-picryl hydrazyl;
  • ESI, electrospray ionization;
  • FBS, fetal bovine serum;
  • FRAP, ferric reducing antioxidant power;
  • GAE, gallic acid equivalents;
  • GSH, reduced glutathione;
  • HPLC, high performance liquid chromatography;
  • IRh, isorhamnetin;
  • K, kaempferol;
  • MGO, methylglyoxal;
  • MeOH, methanol;
  • MS, mass spectrometry;
  • MTT, 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenytetrazolium bromide;
  • NAC, N-acetyl-l-cysteine;
  • PEE, phenolic enriched extract;
  • Q, quercetin;
  • QE, quercetin equivalents;
  • ROS, reactive oxygen species;
  • TE, trolox equivalent;
  • TEAC, trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity;
  • TF, total flavonoids;
  • TP, total phenolics;
  • TPTZ, 2,4,6-tri(2-pyridyl)1,3,5-triazine;
  • HHDP, hexahydroxydiphenoyl


  • Rubus geoides;
  • Rosaceae;
  • AGS cells;
  • Methylglyoxal;
  • Glutathione;
  • Oxidative stress
Corresponding author.

Ethnobotany and Ethnohistorical Sources of Mesoamerica

Chapter Part of the series Ethnobiology pp 41-65

  • Robert Bye 
  • , Edelmira Linares


Almost five centuries of interactions and relationships between humans and plants in Mesoamerica have been documented, principally from the etic perspective. This essay focuses on ethnohistorical sources mostly from New Spain (which includes much of contemporary Mexico) during the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth century during Mexico’s Viceroyalty period. Indigenous documents usually referred to as codices are rare due to their destruction by Spanish authorities; none the less 15 preConquest documents exist and depict the people’s interactions with plants as well as other elements of the physical and spiritual worlds. Along with indigenous postConquest codices, the documents generated by ecclesiastical, government, and commercial authorities provide abundant textual and pictorial records of plants that influenced the life of native people as well as that of the Spanish and mestizo population. Botanical identification of the plants is limited in certain documents due to lack of adequate descriptions and/or illustrations. None the less, certain plants can be discerned from vernacular names associated with earlier illustrations as well as their etymological analysis. As sources for ethnobotanical data, the codices of the early Viceroyalty Period were complemented by later census data, commercial and tax records, and governmental inventories of useful resources (especially food and medicinal plants). Various missionaries and travellers authorized by the Spanish crown chronicled their experiences which included occasional observations about the natural history of plants. It was not until the eighteenth and the early nineteenth century that herbarium specimens and associated botanical studies permitted taxonomic identification of many plants of ethnobotanical importance. About 3000 plant names were recorded of which almost 700 have taxonomic determinations. They were important sources of medicines, food, material sources, and ornamentals.


Iconography Codices Relaciones geográficas Viceroyalty Period Reversión

Ethnoveterinary applied to Equidae in the Alentejo, south Portugal

Chapter Volume 132 of the series Forages and grazing in horse nutrition pp 401-411

  • N. Farinha 
  • , O. Póvoa
  • , R. Santos


The medicinal use of plants for animal health purposes is a tradition found worldwide. Nowadays, the idea of using the medicinal properties of plants in animals may be focused on two different perspectives: (1) the increasing concern with environmental issues and the growing popularity of organic farming as means of diminishing impacts on environment and public health; and (2) the need to find low cost solutions that allow the development of food production and cattle raising in underdeveloped countries. The present work aims to survey traditional medicinal uses of plants in animal health, namely on Equidae, in the Alentejo region, south Portugal. Being the first study regarding this subject, our first concern was to review ethnoveterinary studies in regions that presented similar soil and weather conditions, as well as common cultural background. A preliminary survey was carried out in Alentejo, during 2011 and the beginning of 2012. Forty semi-structured interviews were carried out with local individuals, mainly farmers, animal breeders and animal handlers, scattered throughout Alentejo. Data on plant taxa, medicinal uses and preparations for the different domestic animal groups (Bovinae, Caprinae – Capra, Caprinae – Ovis, Equidae, Suidae, Galliformes, Canidae and Felidae) were collected. Additionally, human utilization of medicinal plants was registered. A total of 626 citations of plant/application/animal or human were collected. The animal citations correspond to 75% of total. Among these, 19% mentioned the medicinal use of plants in Equidae (horses, donkeys and mules). The most frequently mentioned plants for Equidae were mallow (Malva spp./Lavatera spp.) and wooly St. John’s wort (Hypericum tomentosum). The most frequently mentioned use was the treatment of trauma, followed by gastrointestinal conditions. These results agree with those referred by other authors of ethnoveterinary studies in Mediterranean countries. Further studies should therefore be conducted, to allow common knowledge registration and problem resolution in Mediterranean areas, and to scientifically test the pharmacological application of these plants.


Equidae ethnoveterinary Alentejo Portugal

Traditional homemade herbal remedies used by farmers of northern Switzerland to treat skin alterations and wounds in

Planta Med 2013; 79 - PL24
DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1352332

M Disler 1, K Schmid 1, S Ivemeyer 2, M Hamburger 1, M Walkenhorst 3
  • 1University of Basel, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology, Basel, Switzerland
  • 2University of Kassel, Department of Farm Animal Behaviour and Husbandry, Witzenhausen, Germany
  • 3Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, Animal Science Division, Frick, Switzerland

Ethnoveterinary surveys are missing for wide areas of Europe. During the years 2011 and 2012 80 farmers on 64 farms in seven cantons of Northern Switzerland (Aargau, Zürich, Schaffhausen, St. Gallen, Thurgau, Appenzell Innerhoden and Appenzell Ausserrhoden) were interviewed. More than 500 homemade herbal remedies (HMHR) were documented regarding the used plant species, modes of preparation, dosage, routes of administration, category of use and origin of knowledge. A selection was made by choosing all HMHR which (a) contain only one herbal drug, (b) are used to treat skin alterations and wounds, (c) were administered to the skin, (d) were obtained from forefathers and relatives and (e) have been used by the interview partners themselves at least 5 times during the last five years. The two latter criteria were introduced to analyse only formulations with a high level of tradition. The 34 selected HMHR contained twelve plant species from 8 families. The most frequently used plant species were from the family of Asteraceae (Table 1), and flowers were the most often used plant parts. The processing of the herbs included mostly extraction with oil/fat or water, but also maceration with ethanol of varying percentage. In contrast, fresh Comfrey roots were grated and administered directly to the skin. The formulations where used in 49 different applications for treatment of wounds and other skin alterations in livestock, mainly in cattle. Whenever possible, the weight of the used plant was determined to calculate concentrations in g drug equivalent per 100 g of finished product. Most of the documented concentrations were in a lower range compared to literature. The uses of the most frequently named medicinal plants (chamomile, marigold and St. John's wort) can be regarded as well founded, considering recent pharmacological and clinical data. Other plants identified in this survey should be subject to further studies. (connect the author for references)

Tab. 1: Frequency of plant species in 34 homemade herbal remedies used by farmers of Northern Switzerland for 49 applications used to treat skin alterations and wounds in livestock
Description of 34 formulations
Route of administration of 49 applications
No of
botanical name
used plant
Calendula officinalis L.
Matricaria recutita L.
Hypericum perforatum L.
Symphytum officinale L.
Malva neglecta Wallr.
Sanicula europaea L.
Rumex obtusifolius L.
Arnica montana L.
Chenopodium bonus-
henricus L.
Malva sylvestris L.
Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.
Solidago virgaurea L.
no answer

Plant species reported from Swiss farmers to treat bovine respiratory diseases

Planta Med 2015; 81 - PW_43
DOI: 10.1055/s-0035-1565667

H Ayrle 1, K Schmid 2, M Disler 2, T Bischoff 2, K Stucki 2, M Zbinden 2, CR Vogl 3, M Hamburger 2, M Walkenhorst 1
  • 1Department of Livestock Science, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Frick, Switzerland
  • 2Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  • 3Division of Organic Farming, Department of Sustainable Agricultural Systems, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) causes high morbidity in cattle, and extensive antibiotic treatment is leading to increasing resistance of BRD pathogens. Medicinal plants (MP) used traditionally by Swiss farmers for BRD might be a potential future therapeutic option. Since 2011 ethnoveterinary surveys have been conducted in Switzerland, with some 200 interviews leading to more than 1'500 use reports (UR). From this dataset all URs referring to BRD were extracted and analyzed with respect to plant parts used, preparation of remedies, administration, and oral daily dose (ODD). A total of 54 URs were documented (Table 1). The most common of the 15 reported MPs were Thymus vulgaris L. (TA), Picea abies L. (PA) and Ilex aquifolium L. (IA) representing some 70% of all URs. Common ways of administration of MPs were by direct feeding of the herb, as herbal teas, by inhalation, and as a liniment. For 25 of the 32 oral applications an ODD could be determined. ODDs reported for TA varied widely, but were comparable (median 0.19 g/kg0,75) to commonly used human ODDs of 0.13 – 0.26 g/kg0,75. The use of this plant was reasonable considering known antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and spasmolytic properties. PA was administered by feeding of fresh twigs, but no detailed information on dosage could be obtained. However, antibacterial properties of spruce resin has been reported in literature. IA is commonly considered as toxic, but five UR corresponded to an average ODD of 0.41 g/kg0,75. Whether this ethnoveterinary use can be rationalized by the content in triterpene saponins is not clear at the moment. More research is needed, and the use of IA cannot be recommended at present. The 54 URs for BRD represent less than 5% of total URs documented so far from Swiss farms. In contrast to dermatological and gastrointestinal diseases the treatment of BRD with MPs seems less common. Nevertheless, several of the 15 documented MPs are interesting starting points for further investigations.

Bioactive Phenolics In Chilean Native Fruits

Planta Med 2016; 82 - OA12
DOI: 10.1055/s-0036-1578582

G Schmeda Hirschmann 1
  • 1Instituto de Química de Recursos Naturales, Universidad de Talca, Campus Lircay, Talca, Chile

The phenolic composition of Chilean edible fruits including the native Cactaceae “copao” (Euychnia acida), the Chilean currants (Ribes spp., Grossulariaceae) and the Patagonian raspberry Rubus geoides (Rosaceae) was established by spectroscopic and spectrometric methods. The antioxidant activity of the extracts, phenolic-enriched fractions, main compounds and mixtures was assessed by complementary chemical and biological means, including human cell cultures. The antioxidant [1] and anti-inflammatory [2] effect of the “copao” fruit was associated with flavonoid glycosides. Relevant differences were found according to the longitudinal valleys where the fruit was collected. The Patagonian raspberry is a wild relative of the cultivated raspberry Rubus idaeus. The chemical composition and bioactivity of the native fruit differ from that of the commercial raspberry and shows protective effects on human cell cultures challenged with different stressors [3]. The wild currant Ribes magellanicum shows antioxidant effect in vitro and in cell culture models. Distinctive chemical patterns were observed in populations from Chile and Argentinean Patagonia, showing clusters associated with chemical constituents and bioactivity [4]. Taken together, the results show high chemical diversity, different effects and action mechanisms of the Chilean fruits, compared with the cultivated relatives.

Acknowledgements: Support of FONDECYT 1120096 and PIEI-Universidad de Talca is gratefully acknowledged.

References: [1] Jiménez-Aspee F, et al. (2014) Food Research International, 62: 286 – 298. [2] Jimenez-Aspee F, et al. (2015) Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 70: 135 – 140. [3] Jiménez-Aspee F et al. (2016) Food Chemistry, 194: 908 – 919. [4]. Jiménez-Aspee F, et al. (2016) Food Science & Nutrition (in press).

Stachytarpheta cayennensis extract inhibits promastigote and amastigote growth in Leishmania amazonensis via parasite arginase inhibition

Volume 192, 4 November 2016, Pages 108–113


Ethnopharmacology relevance

Stachytarpheta cayennensis is a plant that is traditionally used to treat tegumentary leishmaniasis and as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Aim of the study

This study aimed to evaluate the action of S. cayennensis extracts on the Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis arginase enzyme.
Materials and methods: S. cayennensis was collected from the Brazilian Amazon region. Aqueous extracts were fractionated with n-butanol. The leishmanicidal effects of the n-butanolic fraction (BUF) were evaluated in L. (L.) amazonensis promastigotes and amastigotes. BUF was tested against recombinant arginase from both L. (L.) amazonensis and macrophage arginase. Promastigote cultures and infected macrophage cultures were supplemented with L-ornithine to verify arginase inhibition. NMR analysis was used to identify the major components of BUF.


BUF showed an EC50 of 51 and 32 µg/mL against promastigotes and amastigotes of L. (L.) amazonensis, respectively. BUF contains a mixture of verbascoside and isoverbascoside (7:3 ratio) and is a potent L. (L.) amazonensis arginase inhibitor (IC50=1.2 µg/mL), while macrophage arginase was weakly inhibited (IC50>1000 µg/mL). The inhibition of arginase by BUF in promastigotes and amastigotes could be demonstrated by culture media supplementation with L-ornithine, a product of the hydrolysis of L-arginine by arginase.


Leishmanicidal effects of the S. cayennensis BUF fraction on L. (L.) amazonensis are associated with selective parasite arginase inhibition.

Graphical abstract



  • Leishmania;
  • Polyamines;
  • Arginase;
  • Stachytarpheta cayennensis;
  • Verbascoside;
  • Isoverbascoside
Corresponding authors.

Saturday, 30 July 2016


It was obvious that the chipmunks in my current location were used to being fed. One or more ran across the bottom of the glass door that opens to the outside several times for the first couple of days and then they stopped trying to get my attention. So I tried cheerios (no loss to human-kind). Nope. I tried currants. Nope. Then my host asked if I wanted anything from the grocery for my turn to cook. I said "the person who was in this room before me was feeding the chipmunks" and I asked for some birdseed. He already had some and told me in graphic detail that the numerous dogs on the property would attack the chipmunks. So I said I would put the bird seed in an unused hanging basket. Works as you can see.