Cat’s Claw for Immunity and Recovery - Medicinal Herbs Podcast Series

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Scientific Name: Foeniculum vulgare

Constituents:

  • Volatile oils: anethole (dianethole & photoanethole), estrogole, and fenchone
  • Flavonoids (rutin, quercetin, kaempferol and their glycosides)
  • Coumarins
  • Phytosterols
  • Protein, fat, and carbohydrates
  • Minerals (calcium, potassium, sodium, iron, phosphorus)
  • Vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin C)

Medicinal actions:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antispasmodic
  • Carminative
  • Diuretic
  • Emmenagogue
  • Expectorant
  • Galactogogue
  • Phytoestrogenic

Mechanism of Action & Pharmacology:

  • Anethole (and polymers such as dianethole & photoanethole) have been shown to have estrogenic activity. Isomers and several other compounds in the VO have been shown to have a similar chemical structure to that of adrenaline and dopamine, giving the plant a sympathomimetic action on the body (e.g. bronchodilation, lactogenesis).
  • VO relaxes smooth muscle, regulates peristaltic functions of the GIT and are carminative and anti-inflammatory.

Pharmacy:

  • Infusion
  • Tincture
  • Capsules

Safety & Toxicity Concerns:

  • Essential oil toxic dose: 1-5 ml/day and may cause skin irritation, nausea/vomiting, seizures, pulmonary edema, and liver lesions.
  • Avoid during pregnancy due to estrogenic effects, and concentrated oil is considered abortifacient.
  • Rare allergic reaction possible.

Interactions:

  • None known.
  • Inhibition of cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4), therefore some drugs metabolized by this isozyme may be affected (theoretical).
  • Found to affect absorption, distribution and elimination of ciprofloxacin.

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