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Alkanna (Boraginaceae)

Generic Name: Alkanna

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Alcanna d'Oriente, Alcanna vera, alkanet, alkanet root, Alkanna lehmannii, Alkanna orientalis, Alkanna sempervireus, Alkanna tinctoria, Alkanna tinctoria Tausch, Alkanna tuberculata, Alkannawurzel (German), anchusa, Anchusae radix, Anchusa tinctoria, Anchusa tuberculata, ancusa (Spanish), Boraginaceae (family), bugloss, dyer's bugloss, havaciva, Lithospermum tinctorium, onoquiles, orcanette (French), orchanet, Schminkwurz (German), Spanish bugloss.

Background

Alkanna is grown in the south of France and on the shores of the Levant (the mountainous region paralleling the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, including parts of the countries of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel). Its root yields a fine red coloring, which has been used as a cloth dye and a tint for tinctures, oils, wines, and varnishes. It is commonly used today as a food coloring.

Alkanna has been used traditionally for its wound healing and anti-inflammatory effects. Evidence supporting folkloric uses of alkanna is mixed.

There is currently no available scientific evidence of alkanna to recommend its use, safety or effectiveness for any medical condition.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Anti-aging, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antipruritic (prevents/relieves itching), antiviral (Alkanna orientalis), astringent, back pain, bed sores, bruises, cancer, jaundice, kidney disorders, measles, poisonous snake bites, rash, smallpox, varicose veins, vulnerary (skin regenerative), wound healing.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

There is not enough scientific evidence to safely recommend alkanna for use in adults.

Children (younger than 18 years)

There is not enough scientific evidence to safely recommend alkanna for use in children.

Safety

DISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.

Allergies

Individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to alkanna, its constituents or potentially any member of the family Boraginaceae should not take alkanna.

Side Effects and Warnings

In general, the lack of available scientific evidence makes it difficult to comment on the potential adverse effects of alkanna. Nevertheless, certain constituents (pyrrolizidine alkaloids) found in alkanna may be potentially damaging to the liver and lungs, and may also be carcinogenic (cancer-causing). Pyrrolizidine alkaloids may also cause pneumonitis (inflammation of the lungs) or pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure).

Caution is advised in patients with hepatic or pulmonary insufficiency. Patients with cancer should also use cautiously because the quantity of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in some herbal teas and dietary supplements may worsen the condition.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Alkanna is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to lack of available scientific evidence.

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