Read this essay to learn about the natural medicines used for the Treatment of Cataract and Glaucome. After reading this essay you will learn about: 1. Emblica Officinalis 2. Camellia Sinensis 3. Glycine Max 4. Ocimum Sanctum 5. Allium Cepa 6. Trigonella Foenum-Graecum 7. Ginkgo Biloba 8. Pilocarpus Jaborandi 9. Coleus Forskohlii and few others.
Commonly known as amla, is extensively used in many preparations of Ayurveda and also against many chronic ailments including diabetes it contains rich source of ascorbic acid and tannins.
In the recent experimental studies demonstrated E. officinalis inhibited the activity of enzyme aldose reductase (which is the responsible for the conversion of glucose to sorbitol via polyol pathway) in vitro cultured rat lens.
Also showed significant inhibition against purified recombinant human aldose reductase at the concentration of 10 µg/ml respectively. The inhibition of aldose reductase by E. officinal is tannoids is 100 times higher than its aqueous extract and comparable to or better than quercetin.
It is commonly known as green tea. The protection offered by various antioxidants in cataract development is well established. Polyphenolic compounds present in green tea are reported to possess antioxidant property in various pathological conditions. The anti-cataract potential of green tea extract was established now.
Green tea leaf extracts positively modulated antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX). These antioxidant enzymes protecting the eye lens from various type of oxidative stress. Also it was found to reduce the incidence of selenite induced cataract in vivo (Gupta et al., 2002).
The antioxidant effect of green tea also preventing glaucoma and age related macular degeneration (Shixian et al., 2006).
It is commonly referred as Soya bean, (Fam: Leguminosae) playing important role in traditional diets of many regions throughout the world. Soya bean contains iso-flavones namely genistein, daidzein and glycetein and extensive research has been done on these compounds and showed potential antioxidant property (Corinna et al., 2006).
The ant cataract potential of soya bean was investigated in our laboratory. In vitro the aqueous extract of soya bean showed a concentration dependent protection against oxidative and osmotic stress; 200 µg/ml showed significant protection. In vivo 10% soya bean diet significantly delayed the onset and progression of 30% galactose induced cataract in rats (Agrawal et al., 2008).
It is generally referred as Tulsi. Aqueous extract of Tulsi possesses potential anti-cataract activity against selenite-induced experimental cataractogenesis. It showed different degrees of positive modulation in selenite-induced morphological as well as biochemical changes.
At the concentration of 140 µg/ml significantly modulated glutathione and thiobarbituric acid reacting substances and also increased the activity of antioxidant enzyme levels with preservation of normal lens protein profile. In vivo, 5 and 10 mg/kg of reduced the incidence of selenite cataract by 20% and 60%, respectively, and prevented protein solubilization as well (Gupta et al., 2005).
Flavonoids are a group of substances that are widely distributed in various herbals and natural products and possess strong antioxidant activity. The potential of dietary flavonoids in the prevention of cataract has been investigated in some experimental studies (Durukan et al., 2006).
In the recent study reported that topical administration of onion juice into the rat eyes effectively prevented selenite-induced cataract formation. This effect was associated with increased total antioxidant level, SOD and CPX activities in the lens (Javad- zadeh et al, 2009).
Trigonella foenum-graecum is known as Fenugreek is a plant in the family Fabaceae. The seeds of this plant are widely used in Indian cuisine. Fenugreek seeds are a rich source of the polysaccharide galactomannan. They are also a source of saponins such as diosgenin, yamogenin, gitogenin, tigogenin, and neotigogens.
Other bioactive constituents of fenugreek include mucilage, volatile oils, and alkaloids such as choline and trigonelline. Experimental studies on alcoholic extract of Fenugreek at the dose of 2g/kg exerted significant effect in alloxan induced diabetic rats by showing the decreased opacity index (Vats et al., 2004).
It is also known as the Maidenhair Tree found in China; the leaves contain flavonoid, glycosides and terpenoids (ginkgolides, bilobalides) and have been used pharmaceutical^. Ginkgo biloba has been extensively studied for its cognitive effects in patients with dementia (DeKosky et al., 2008).
The extract have been found to possess potential therapeutic effect in radiation-induced cataract (Ertekin et al., 2004).
The extract is used for the treatment of glaucoma; the mechanism of the activity is due to the improvement of central and peripheral blood flow, reduction of vasospasm, reduction of serum viscosity, antioxidant activity, platelet activating factor inhibitory activity, inhibition of apoptosis, and inhibition of excitotoxicity (Ritch, 2000).
It is commonly known as jaborandi, Pilocarpus and Indian hemp. (Fam: Rutaceae). P. jaborandi is small shrub 120-150 cm in height, but in some species can the height of a medium-sized tree. Various species of Jaborandi are native South America, occurring most densely in Brazil, and to a much lesser extent in Central America.
An herbal jaborandi leaf tea has a long history of use in Brazilian traditional folk medicine; the indigenous peoples of Amazonia used the herbal tea in treating many different problems including diuretic.
The majority of pilocarpine drugs are derived from the natural alkaloid extracted from jaborandi leaves produced in Brazil. After extensive research, the alkaloid pilocarpine was identified in the plant. It is about 200 year’s old medicine for the treatment of glaucoma.
Pilocarpine eye drops are still sold as a prescription drug worldwide for the treatment of glaucoma and as an agent to cause constriction of the pupil of the eye (useful in some eye surgeries and procedures). This substance has the ability to lower pressure within the eye of a person with glaucoma. As a result of that finding, pilocarpine is used in modern ophthalmology in the treatment of glaucoma.
The plant is also called coleus (Family: Lamiaceae); an aromatic perennial plant about two feet tall when fully mature. Coleus possesses tuber like roots and a straight and erect stem with colorful leaves. The coleus has an aromatic fragrance resembling the scent of the camphor plant.
Forskoin (7 beta-acetoxy-8, 13-epoxy-1 alpha, 6 beta, 9 alpha-trihydroxy-labd-14-ene-11 -one) is the main active ingredient in the Ayurvedic herb Coleus forskohlii. Coleus is a member of the mint family and grows in subtropical areas in India, Burma, and Thailand.
Forskolin has been extensively evaluated in the field of pharmaceutical sciences for use in the treatment of allergies, respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases and glaucoma. Clinical studies have shown that topical application of one per cent forskolin eye drops resulted in significant decreases in intraocular pressure for up to five hours.
Limited clinical experience suggests that oral forskolin appears to offer significant potential for sufferers of glaucoma. Indian pharmaceutical companies are currently engaged in clinical trials of a forskolin eye drop product in the treatment of glaucoma.
Crape Seed Extract which is high in Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPC’s or PCO’s) is powerful antioxidant which can reduce the damage done by free radicals, strengthen and repair connective tissue, and promote enzyme activity. OPC’s can also help moderate allergic and inflammatory responses by reducing histamine production.
Proanthocyanidin is one of the names used to describe a powerful bioflavonoid complex known as Procyanidolic Oligomers. Clinical studies have shown that antioxidants can halt cataract progression. PCO has a strong affinity for the portion of the retina that is responsible for visual acuity.
It prevents free radical damage and reinforces the collagen structures of the retina. In clinical trials of patients with various types of retinal disease, including macular degeneration, all patients given PCO showed significant improvement following therapy. Health professionals monitoring the effects of PCO have reported that it also has helped in the prevention and treatment of glaucoma.
Grape seed extract considerably decreased the development of cataract in rats (Durukan et al., 2006).
Dregea volubilis is a woody climbing plant commonly found in the hotter parts of India. The leaves am edible and used as a green vegetable, while the plant extract has been used traditionally to treat several diseases including eye ailments. Research studies have evaluated the potential anti-cataract effect and it has also been found that the effect is due to drevogenin D, a triterpenoid aglycone (Biju et al., 2007).
It is commonly known as Bilberry; is a small, wild, perennial shrub that grows throughout Europe and is now cultivated from the Far East to the United States. The shrub yields large amounts of small, darkish blue berries. Besides their medicinal use, they are often eaten fresh or made into jams.
It has a long history of use for various eye conditions in a clinical study report of 50 patients with senile cataracts, a combination of bilberry and vitamin E stopped the progression of cataracts up to 96% (Bravetti et al., 1989).
Bilberry flavonoids can increase certain enzymes and substances in the eyes that are crucial to good vision and eye function. Furthermore, anthocyahosides can increase circulation in the blood vessels in the eyes, and help these blood vessels repair and protect themselves.
Specifically, research has shown that anthocyanosides help stabilize and protect a protein called collagen, which is a basic building block of veins, arteries, capillaries, and connective tissue.
Particularly, anthocyanosides seem to work favorably in the tissues found in the retina, the back of the eye where major functions of vision take place (Pizzorno and Murray, 1996). The recent study also established that the combination of a standardized extract of bilberry and French maritime pine bark reduces the risk of glaucoma (Steigerwalt et al., 2008).
It is commonly known as Red sage, Chinese sage, Tan shen, is a perennial flowering plant in the genus Salvia, roots are widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. Experiments on rabbits found it protected the optic nerve from the damaging effects of increased Intra ocular pressure (IOP), with better results when used in conjunction with a medication to IOP pressure (Zhu and Cai, 1993).
The effect of Salvia miltiorrhiza on human glaucoma is well established. In a clinical study, Intra muscular injection (2 g/mL) of Salvia miltiorrhiza and in combination with other Chinese herbs significantly controlled the IOP in 121 glaucoma patients. After 30 days visual acuity had improved in 43.8 per cent of the eyes and visual field improvement was noted in 49.7 per cent of eyes.
There were no significant differences among the four herbal preparations; but the effect was a statistically significant (Wu et al., 1983).
It is known as lilac tassel flower genus of Emilia. The juice of the leaves is used in treating eye inflammations and night blindness. Flavonoids from Emilia sonchifolia modulate the lens opacification and oxidative stress in selenite-induced cataract (Lija et al., 2006).
Beta-carotene-a naturally occurring antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables. They are natural lipid soluble antioxidants. It is reported that high intake of carotene reduce the risk of incidence of cataract (Cumming et al., 2000).
It is present in many fruits and vegetables. It is a red, fat-soluble pigment found in certain plants and microorganisms, where it serves as an accessory light-gathering pigment and protects these organisms against the toxic effects of oxygen and light. Tomato products, including ketchup, tomato juice, and pizza sauce, are the richest sources of lycopene.
In addition to tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) and tomato-based products, lycopene is also found in watermelon, papaya, pink grapefruit, and pink guava. Experimental studies have been reported the incorporation of lycopene on diet retard the onset and progression of cataract (Pollack et al., 1999).
Similarly the role of lycopene in human cataract also has been established. Lycopene 5, 10 and 20 mM significantly increased the activities of glutathione and antioxidant enzymes whereas the lipid peroxidation product namely malondialdehyde level was reduced in human lens epithelial cells culture in vitro (Mohanty et al., 2002).
In vivo experimental study showed that 200 mg/kg significantly delayed the onset and progression of 30% galactose induced cataract on rats; the protective effect is too due to the antioxidant potential (Gupta et al., 2003).
Curcumin (1,7-bis (4-hydroxy-3- methoxyphenyl)-1,6. heptadiene-3,5-dione), is the major active compound of turmeric, has been shown to have significant antioxidant activity, both in vitro and in vivo (Joe et al., 2004). Curcumin 0.002% and 0.01 % in the diet are effective against the development of streptozotocin induced diabetic cataract in rats (Suryanarayana et al., 2005).
It is also effective against 30% galactose induced cataract in rats (Suryanarayana et al., 2003). Recent study demonstrated that topical application of aqueous extract of Curcuma longa showed potent anti-inflammatory activity against endotoxin induced uveitis in rabbits eye (Gupta et al., 2008).
It is one of over 600 known naturally occurring carotenoids. Found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. Lutein is present in the plant as fatty-acid ester, with one or two fatty acids bound to the two hydroxyl-groups. It is a natural antioxidant; experimental studies reported that combination of lutein and insulin retard the progression of cataract (Arnal et al., ‘2009).
Lutein was found to be concentrated in the macula, a small area of the retina responsible for central vision. The hypothesis for the natural concentration is that lutein helps protect from oxidative stress and high-energy light. Various research studies have shown that a direct relationship exists between lutein intake and pigmentation in the eye.
(v) Vitamin E:
As a fat-soluble antioxidant, the beneficial role in the prevention and delay of cataract in experimental and epidemiological studies has well documented (Ross et al., 1990). Recently 10 years of observational study concluded that intake of Vitamin E along with other antioxidants in middle age women significantly reduced the development of cataract (Christen, 2008).