-Vitexnegundo (Vi-tex Ne-gun-do), commonly known as Lagundi, is a plant found throughout regions of Southeast Asia, Southeastern Africa, India, and even parts of the middle east. It is prevalent in the Philippines.
-Three varieties exist, but we will focus on Vitexnegundo since this is the prevalent species in the Philippines.
-Lagundi can reach heights up to 5 meters! It contains a single woody stem with five pointed leafs (looks like a spread out hand). The flowers produce range from blue to lavender in color and the flowers produce a fruit (turns black when ripe). Lagundi is usually found in swampy regions.
Lagundi has many health benefits such as asthma relief, anti-inflammatory properties to reduce swelling, anti-oxidant properties for general health, and anti-histamine properties that aid in allergen relief. These are the most evident health properties that are known and may contain even more attributes.
The Department of Health in the Philippines has conducted clinical tests regarding the therapeutic effects using Lagundi. Studies have shown Lagundi can be used to treat colds, flu, bronchial asthma, and chronic bronchitis. The main hypothesis is that Lagundi contains many therapeutic benefits that can aid in reducing symptoms.
Today, we will focus on the anti-histamine properties of Lagundi. Allergies can range from mild to severe and can occur at any age. But what is histamine? Histamine is involved in the local immune response of the adaptive immune system. A signal from specialized immune cells known as B cells, produce antibodies specific for target allergies known as the IgE antibody (Ig stands for immunoglobulin). IgE antibodies target mast cells, special immune cells that are involved in allergic responses. The mast cells release histamine as an effort to reduce the allergy, which causes symptoms such as itchy eyes, running nose, etc.. Anti-histamines essentially block the release of histamine by competitively inhibiting for the position where histamine would normally bind. By blocking the histamine pathway via anti-histamine molecules, symptoms are reduced.
The steps involved in the histamine response will be reviewed so we have an understanding how anti-histamines work. Step 1 involves the first encounter of the allergen. Anallergic response is a malfunction in the immune system, thinking a substance is pathogenic when in reality its not. That’s why some people are able to eat peanuts while others cant-it just depends on the individual’s immune system. The second step is when the allergen is re-encountered by the immune system (white blood cells), causing the production and release of IgE antibodies specific for that allergen. The third step involves the attachment of IgE antibodies to mast cells. In the fourth step, the mast cells release histamine. In step 5, histamine is recognized by cell surface receptors in the epithelium, causing a series of events to occur which induces symptoms, step 6.
-The allergen is first encountered. Many allergens are airborne but others can be from direct contact or ingestion. Again, allergies can be acquired at any stage of life.
-The white blood cell is an important aspect of the immune system. They are able to recognize foreign pathogens and induce intricate signaling pathways to reduce pathogens. White blood cells produce antibodies which aid in destruction of the pathogen.
-The IgE antibodies produced by the white blood cell attaches to the surface of the mast cell. This causes conformational changes at the cell surface.
-When the allergen is re-encountered, IgE antibodies recognize the allergen since it is specific, which causes the release of histamine from mast cells.
-Histamine then binds to cell surface receptors in the epithelium (line blood vessels and capillaries), creating a chain of events.
-The chain of events initiates vasodilatation, causing vessels and capillaries to expand, reducing the tight junctions and allowing the release of fluids. The release of fluids triggers allergenic symptoms that are encountered.
-Lagundi has the benefit of producing anti-histamine properties (Chrysoplenol D), which competitively inhibit histamine from binding to the receptors. When anti-histamine binds, it doesn’t allow histamine to bind and create the chain of events that leads to allergenic symptoms. Thus, anti-histamine reduces those symptoms.
-Typically, the leaves of the Lagundi plant are boiled as it contains the anti-histamine properties but other parts of the plant can be used for different medical problems. Lagundi produces chrysoplenol D, which has anti-histamine properties associated with it. The anti-histamine properties create the reduction of symptoms by “beating”histamine to the cell receptor site, thus blocking the histamine pathway. Today, Lagundi can be found in capsule or liquid form and is commonly prescribed by doctors in the Philippines. Further studies will be conducted to determine other therapeutic values of Vitexnegund
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Background information• Species name:Vitexnegundo• Common name:Lagundi or Chastetree• Family: Lamiaceae• Native to: SoutheastAsia, and Eastern andSouthern Africa
Background informationThree varieties exist:• var. incisa• var. cannabifolia• var. negundo
Identification of lagundi• Height: up to 5 meters• Single woody stem• Five pointed leafs, in leaflet structure• Blue and lavender flowers;• Usually found in swampy areas
Beneficial Uses• Asthma relief• Anti-inflammatory (swelling due to injury, headaches, etc.)• Anti-oxidant (general health)• Anti-histamine (reduces allergies)
Current research• Has been clinically tested to treat: colds, flus, bronchialasthma, chronic bronchitis• The Department of Health in the Phillipines is currentlyconducting research on the lagundi• They hypothesize that lagundi mayhave some therapeutic benefits
What is an anti-histamine?• What is histamine?• Involved in local immune responses• Response to a signal from IgE antibodies on the surface of mastcells• These mast cells then release histamine• Leads to vasodilation, causing symptoms such as sneezing, runnynose, itchy eyes• Anti-histamines are competitive inhibitors: they block thebinding of histamine to a cell surface receptor, thus nosymptoms occur
Steps in the Histamine PathwayStep 1: Allergen is encounteredStep 2: Allergen is detected by white blood cells, the cells thenproduce specific IgE antibodiesStep 3: IgE antibodies attach to the surface of mast cellsStep 4: Allergen attaches to antibodies on mast cell, histamine isreleasedStep 5: Histamine is recognized by cell surface receptorsStep 6: Symptoms arise
Step 1• Some allergens areairborne• Others can be ingestedthrough food• Allergies can beacquired early or late inlifeAllergen enters the body
Step 2White blood cells recognizeallergens as harmfulThis causes whiteblood cells to releaseIgE antibodies
Step 3IgE antibodies attach tothe surface of mast cells
Step 4• Allergens can then berecognized by the IgEantibodies• This causes therelease of histamine bythe mast cell
Step 5Histamine then binds tocell surface receptorson epithelial cells thatline blood vessels andcapillaries throughoutthe body
Step 6Binding of the histamine tocell surface receptorscauses a chain of eventsThis leads tovasodilation, causingthe release ofexcess fluidsThis leads toallergenic symptoms
Anti-histamine Function• Anti-histamines blockthe binding ofhistamine to cellsurface receptors• Thus, vasodilationdoes not occur andsymptoms are reducedor eliminated
How does Vitexnegundo work?• The leaves are boiled and the broth is consumed• It produces the compound chrysoplenolD, which has anti-histamine properties• These anti-histamine molecules compete with histamineto reduce allergic reactions and symptoms• Modern medicine has allowed the creation of capsule andliquid forms of this therapy