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1.  Phytochemicals and biological studies of plants from the genus Balanophora 
This review focus on the phytochemical progress and biological studies of plants from the genus Balanophora (Balanophoraceae) over the past few decades, in which most plants growth in tropical and subtropical regions of Asia and Oceania, and nearly 20 species ranged in southwest China. These dioeciously parasitic plants are normally growing on the roots of the evergreen broadleaf trees, especially in the family of Leguminosae, Ericaceae, Urticaceae, and Fagaceae. The plants are mainly used for clearing away heat and toxic, neutralizing the effect of alcoholic drinks, and as a tonic for the treatment of hemorrhoids, stomachache and hemoptysis. And it has been used widely throughtout local area by Chinese people.
Cinnamic acid derivative tannins, possessing a phenylacrylic acid derivative (e. g. caffeoyl, coumaroyl, feruloyl or cinnamoyl), which connected to the C(1) position of a glucosyl unit by O-glycosidic bond, are the characteristic components in genus Balanophora. In addition, several galloyl, caffeoyl and hexahydroxydiphenoyl esters of dihydrochalcone glucosides are found in B. tobiracola, B. harlandii, and B. papuana. Other compounds like phenylpropanoids, flavonoids, terpenoids and sterols are also existed. And their biological activities, such as radical scavenging activities, HIV inhibiting effects, and hypoglycemic effects are highlighted in the review.
PMCID: PMC3475005  PMID: 22853440
2.  Antioxidant and anticancer evaluation of Scindapsus officinalis (Roxb.) Schott fruits 
Ayu  2011;32(3):388-394.
Several methods exist for the treatment of cancer in modern medicine. These include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery; most cancer chemotherapeutants severely affect the host normal cells. Hence the use of natural products now has been contemplated of exceptional value in the control of cancer. Plant-derived natural products such as flavonoids, terpenes, alkaloids, etc., have received considerable attention in recent years due to their diverse pharmacological properties including cytotoxic and cancer chemopreventive effects. Looking into this, the antioxidant and anticancer evaluation of Scindapsus officinalis (Roxb.) Schott fruits has been attempted to investigate its antitumor activity. The collection and authentication of the plant material mainly fruits and their various extractions was done. Identification of plant's active constituents by preliminary phytochemical screening was carried out. An in-vitro cytotoxic assay using the brine shrimp lethality assay with brine shrimp eggs (Artemia salina) at a dose of 1–10 μg/ml with the fruit extract was performed by the method described by Mayer et al. Cell viability using the Trypan blue dye exclusion test at a dose of 20, 40, 80, 120, and 160 μg/ml dissolved in DMSO (final concentration 0.1%), and cytotoxicity using the MTT assay where viable cells convert MTT into a formazan salt were performed. All pharmacological screening for acute toxicity and anti tumour studies using EAC 1 × 106 cells/mouse treated Swiss albino mice at a dose of 100 and 200 mg/kg/day orally was carried out. Biochemical and antioxidants predictions from various parameters like hematological, RBC, WBC count, PVC, total protein, Tissue Lipid Peroxidation, SOD, CATALASE, GPx, GST levels and anti tumour activity of Scindapsus officinalis were observed. The data was statistically analyzed by one-way ANOVA followed by Dunnett's and Tukey's multiple comparison test. The antitumor effect of the extract is evident from the increase in mean survival time (MST) lifespan, reduction in the solid tumor volume, and also the reversal of altered hematological parameters almost equal to normal. The methanolic extract (100–200 mg/kg/day orally) was found to be cytotoxic on human cancer cell lines. In addition, the methanolic extract had an antioxidant effect as reflected by a decrease in LPO, GST, and GPx (oxidant enzymes), and an increase in SOD and catalase.
PMCID: PMC3326889  PMID: 22529657
Antioxidant; Ehrlich's ascites carcinoma; hematological parameter; mean survival time; solid tumor volume; Scindapsus officinalis
3.  The Hypouricemic Effect of Balanophora laxiflora Extracts and Derived Phytochemicals in Hyperuricemic Mice 
The objective of this study is to evaluate the lowering of uric acid using Balanophora laxiflora extracts and derived phytochemicals on potassium-oxonate-(PO-) induced hyperuricemia in mice. The results revealed that ethyl acetate (EtOAc) fraction of B. laxiflora extracts exhibited strong xanthine-oxidase-(XOD-) inhibitory activity. In addition, among the 10 subfractions (EA1–10) derived from EtOAc fraction, subfraction 8 (EA8) exhibited the best XOD-inhibitory activity. Four specific phytochemicals, 1-O-(E)-caffeoyl-β-D-glucopyranose (1), 1-O-(E)-p-coumaroyl-β-D-glucopyranose (2), 1,3-di-O-galloyl-4,6-(S)-hexahydroxydiphenoyl-β-D-glucopyranose (3), and 1-O-(E)-caffeoyl-4,6-(S)-hexahydroxydiphenoyl-β-D-glucopyranose (4), were further isolated and identified from this subfraction. Compounds 3 and 4 exhibited the strongest XOD-inhibitory activity compared with other compounds, and both hydrolyzable tannins were determined to be noncompetitive inhibitors according to the Lineweaver-Burk plot. On the other hand, the in vivo hypouricemic effect in hyperuricemic mice was consistent with XOD-inhibitory activity, indicating that B. laxiflora extracts and derived phytochemicals could be potential candidates as new hypouricemic agents.
PMCID: PMC3388452  PMID: 22778779
4.  Rate heterogeneity in six protein-coding genes from the holoparasite Balanophora (Balanophoraceae) and other taxa of Santalales 
Annals of Botany  2012;110(6):1137-1147.
Background and Aims
The holoparasitic flowering plant Balanophora displays extreme floral reduction and was previously found to have enormous rate acceleration in the nuclear 18S rDNA region. So far, it remains unclear whether non-ribosomal, protein-coding genes of Balanophora also evolve in an accelerated fashion and whether the genes with high substitution rates retain their functionality. To tackle these issues, six different genes were sequenced from two Balanophora species and their rate variation and expression patterns were examined.
Sequences including nuclear PI, euAP3, TM6, LFY and RPB2 and mitochondrial matR were determined from two Balanophora spp. and compared with selected hemiparasitic species of Santalales and autotrophic core eudicots. Gene expression was detected for the six protein-coding genes and the expression patterns of the three B-class genes (PI, AP3 and TM6) were further examined across different organs of B. laxiflora using RT-PCR.
Key Results
Balanophora mitochondrial matR is highly accelerated in both nonsynonymous (dN) and synonymous (dS) substitution rates, whereas the rate variation of nuclear genes LFY, PI, euAP3, TM6 and RPB2 are less dramatic. Significant dS increases were detected in Balanophora PI, TM6, RPB2 and dN accelerations in euAP3. All of the protein-coding genes are expressed in inflorescences, indicative of their functionality. PI is restrictively expressed in tepals, synandria and floral bracts, whereas AP3 and TM6 are widely expressed in both male and female inflorescences.
Despite the observation that rates of sequence evolution are generally higher in Balanophora than in hemiparasitic species of Santalales and autotrophic core eudicots, the five nuclear protein-coding genes are functional and are evolving at a much slower rate than 18S rDNA. The mechanism or mechanisms responsible for rapid sequence evolution and concomitant rate acceleration for 18S rDNA and matR are currently not well understood and require further study in Balanophora and other holoparasites.
PMCID: PMC3478055  PMID: 23041381
Balanophora; Balanophoraceae; B-class genes; LFY; RPB2; mitochondrial matR; substitution rate; phylogeny; Santalales; parasitic plants.
5.  Pharmacognostical and physicochemical analysis of Tamarindus indica Linn. stem 
Tamarindus indica Linn. fruits (Chincha) are extensively used in culinary preparations in Indian civilization. Its vast medicinal uses are documented in Ayurvedic classics and it can be used singly or as a component of various formulations. Besides fruit, the Kasta (wood) of T. indica L. is also important and used to prepare Kshara (alkaline extract) an Ayurvedic dosage form. Pharmacognostical and physicochemical details of Chincha Kasta are not available in authentic literature including API (Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India). The study is an attempt in this direction. T. indica L. stem with heartwood was selected and morphological, microscopic and physicochemical standardization characters along with TLC finger print, and fluorescence analysis were documented. Transverse section of stem showed important characters such as phelloderm, stone cells layer, fiber groups, calcium oxalate, crystal fibers, and tylosis in heartwood region. Four characteristic spots were observed under UV long wave, in thin layer chromatography with the solvent combination of toluene: ethyl acetate (8:2). The study can help correct identification and standardization of this plant material.
PMCID: PMC3326798  PMID: 22529673
Ayurveda; Chincha; powder microscopy; tamarind; thin layer chromatography
6.  Botanical pharmacognosy of stem of Gmelina asiatica Linn 
Ancient Science of Life  2012;31(4):190-193.
Gmelina asiatica Linn (G. parvifolia Roxb.) is a large shrub or a small tree. Roots and aerial parts are used in Ayurvedic medicine and also have ethno-medical uses. Root is reported as adulterant to G. arborea roxb roots. Pharmacognostical characters of root were reported. Owing to the shortage of genuine drug and ever-increasing demands in market, it becomes necessary to search an alternative with equal efficacy without compromising the therapeutic value. Nowadays, it becomes a common practice of using stem. In case of roots phytochemical and pharmacological analysis of stem was reported. However, there is no report on the pharmacognostical characters of stem and to differentiate it from roots. The present report describes the botanical pharmacognostical characters of stem and a note to differentiate it from root. Hollow pith, faint annual rings in cut ends, alternatively arranged macrosclereids and bundle cap fibers, and presence of abundant starch grains and calcium oxalates in pith and in ray cells are the diagnostic microscopic characters of stem. Stem pieces can be differentiated from roots by absence of tylosis.
PMCID: PMC3644757  PMID: 23661867
Botanical pharmacognosy; ethnobotany; Gmelina arborea; Gmelina asiatica; pharmacognosy; root; stem
7.  Pharmacognostical and preliminary phytochemical evaluation of Alysicarpus longifolius W. and A. Prodr 
Ayu  2013;34(2):229-232.
Ayurveda, the science of life, deals with the drugs of animal, herbal, or mineral origin. Drugs of plant origin occupy more than 90% of the constituents of the Ayurvedic formulations used during treatment. Due to over exploitation and non-availability of medicinal plants, certain classical drugs are being substituted by locally available ethnomedicinal plants that are being claimed to possess similar activity by the tribal and local practitioners. The authentic source of Prishniparni is Uraria picta Desv. (Fabaceae) and is being substituted by Alysicarpus longifolius W. and A. Prodr. (Fabaceae) by some traditional healers of Gujarat (Saurashtra region). Both the plants are locally known by the names Samervo or Pithvan and both have similar characteristics with reference to leaves and flowers (inflorescence type). Pharmacognostical and Phytochemical evaluation of Alysicarpus longifolius W. and A. Prodr has been carried out and results are reported.
PMCID: PMC3821257  PMID: 24250137
Alysicarpus longifolius; pharmacognosy; phytochemistry; Prishniparni; Samervo; Uraria picta
8.  Pharmacognostic and phytochemical studies on Ficus Microcarpa L. fil 
Ancient Science of Life  2012;32(2):107-111.
Ficus microcarpa L. fil. (Syn: Ficus retusa) (Moraceae) is well-known traditional medicinal plant. The bark is used for diverse health ailments in traditional and folklore remedies.
The present study was undertaken to lay down pharmacognostical and phytochemical standards.
Materials and Methods:
Pharmacognostic studies on fresh, dried and powdered bark was carried out to determine it's morphological, anatomical, and phytochemical diagnostic features. Furthermore, major phytoconstituents were identified from the extracts with the help of high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) study.
The morphology showed to be soft, brittle, rough, shallow vertical, irregularly oriented fissures, curved surface; with splintering, laminated fracture. Microscopically F. microcarpa showed all general characteristics of bark with some distinct differentiation. The phellem is thin and even, phelloderm few cell and rectangular and followed by smaller sclerides, the phloem rays are broad, multi-serrate and showed the scattered bundles of sclerides. The fluorescence and physicochemical standards for bark were established. HPLC analysis showed the predominant presence of therapeutically important phytoconstituents such as oleanolic, betulinic acid, lupeol, β-sitosterol, catechin, and gallic acid.
The bark of F. microcarpa considered equivalent to other Ficus species, such as Ficus virens, Ficus infectoria, Ficus arnottiana, Ficus lacor, and Ficus talboti. However, there is no pharmacognostical and phytochemical reports on F. microcarpa to authenticate and differentiate it from similar species. Present work has described pharmacognostical and phytochemical characteristics of F. microcarpa and diagnostic features to differentiate it.
PMCID: PMC3807953  PMID: 24167337
Ficus microcarpa; Ficus retusa; pharmacognostic; phytochemical study
9.  Traditional herbal medicine in Far-west Nepal: a pharmacological appraisal 
Plant species have long been used as principal ingredients of traditional medicine in far-west Nepal. The medicinal plants with ethnomedicinal values are currently being screened for their therapeutic potential but their data and information are inadequately compared and analyzed with the Ayurveda and the phytochemical findings.
The present study evaluated ethnomedicinal plants and their uses following literature review, comparison, field observations, and analysis. Comparison was made against earlier standard literature of medicinal plants and ethnomedicine of the same area, the common uses of the Ayurveda and the latest common phytochemical findings. The field study for primary data collection was carried out from 2006-2008.
The herbal medicine in far-west Nepal is the basis of treatment of most illness through traditional knowledge. The medicine is made available via ancient, natural health care practices such as tribal lore, home herbal remedy, and the Baidhya, Ayurveda and Amchi systems. The traditional herbal medicine has not only survived but also thrived in the trans-cultural environment with its intermixture of ethnic traditions and beliefs. The present assessment showed that traditional herbal medicine has flourished in rural areas where modern medicine is parsimoniously accessed because of the high cost and long travel time to health center. Of the 48 Nepalese medicinal plants assessed in the present communication, about half of the species showed affinity with the common uses of the Ayurveda, earlier studies and the latest phytochemical findings. The folk uses of Acacia catechu for cold and cough, Aconitum spicatum as an analgesic, Aesculus indica for joint pain, Andrographis paniculata for fever, Anisomeles indica for urinary affections, Azadirachta indica for fever, Euphorbia hirta for asthma, Taxus wallichiana for tumor control, and Tinospora sinensis for diabetes are consistent with the latest pharmacological findings, common Ayurvedic and earlier uses.
Although traditional herbal medicine is only a primary means of health care in far-west Nepal, the medicine has been pursued indigenously with complementing pharmacology and the Ayurveda. Therefore, further pharmacological evaluation of traditional herbal medicine deserves more attention.
PMCID: PMC3012020  PMID: 21144003
10.  Pharmacognostic evaluation of leaf of Cordia macleodii Hook., An ethnomedicinally important plant 
Ayu  2011;32(2):254-257.
Plants of ethnomedicinal importance have contributed for the development of many new pharmacologically effective molecules/chemical entities to modern medicine. India, the country having one of the richest biodiversity of its flora in its forest, with numerous tribal inhabitants, is able to contribute a lot from ethnomedicine to the ailing humanity. Cordia macleodii Hook. (Boraginaceae), an ethnomedicinal plant has been highlighted for its wound healing, aphrodisiac and hepatoprotective activities. It is a medium-sized tree, known as Panki/Shikari by the tribals, rarely found in the forests of Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. So far, the plant has been studied neither for its pharmacognostical characters nor for its pharmacological actions except its hepatoprotective activity. Hence, it has been selected for a detailed investigation which includes pharmacognostic study of its leaf to find out the diagnostic characters and preliminary physicochemical analysis. Results of the study will help in identifying the plant pharmacognostically. Presence of alkaloids, glycosides and tannins were found during the study.
PMCID: PMC3296350  PMID: 22408312
Cordia macleodii; ethnomedicine; pharmacognostical evaluation
Ancient Science of Life  2007;26(3):40-44.
Pharmacognostical and preliminary phytochemical studies of Triphala churnam were carried out. The churnam of triphala consists of equal quantities of deseeded fruits of Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellerica and Emblica officinalis. Triphala is exclusively used in more than 200 drug formulations in Indian system of Medicine. The present study involved the pharmacognostical evaluation of Triphala, in which morphological and powder microscopical characters were established. In addition, physico-chemical parameters such as ash values viz, total ash (10.21± 0.42), acid insoluble ash (2.54 ± 0.06), water-soluble ash (5.46±0.24) and sulphated ash (13.12 ± 0.63), extractive values viz, alcohol soluble extractive (11.20±0.18)) and water-soluble extractive (52.56±2.04), fluorescent analysis and microchmical tests were determined. The preliminary phytochemical study revealed the presence of carbohydrates, reducing sugar and tannins in aqueous extract and carbohydrates, flavonoids and tannins in alcoholic extract. This standardization would be very much helpful for the identification of Triphala churnam to differentiate from other powdered sources.
PMCID: PMC3330880  PMID: 22557240
12.  Pharmacognostical evaluation of Cardiospermum halicacabum Linn. leaf and stem 
Ancient Science of Life  2013;33(1):15-21.
Cardiospermum halicacabum Linn (Sapindaceae) is an important medicinal plant in the traditional system of medicine, known as karṇasphoṭa. The root of it is officially included in Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia for its therapeutic uses such as jvara, kuṣṭha, pāṇḍu, kṣaya and sandhivāta etc. As no detailed analysis of macroscopy, microscopy characters of the plant, except root, have been carried out till date, it was thought worth to carry out the detailed macroscopic and microscopic study of leaves and stem, following standard pharmacognostical procedures.
Materials and Methods:
Pharmacognostic studies of C. halicacabum were carried out, and in this, the macroscopic, microscopic, physicochemical, fluorescence and phytochemical analyses were done. Physicochemical parameters such as total ash, moisture content, extractive values were determined by World Health Organization guidelines. The microscopic features of leaf and stem components were observed.
Macroscopically the leaves are bi-ternate, ovate-lanceolate in shape with dentate margin. Microscopically, leaf shows prominent midrib and thin dorsiventral lamina. The midrib shows the presence of epidermal layers, angular collenchyma, palisade cells and vascular strands comprised of thin walled xylem and thick walled phloem elements. The lamina shows prominent, narrow and cylindrical upper epidermis. The upper epidermal cells are large and contain mucilage, whereas lower epidermis possesses thin, small and elliptical epidermal cells. The mesophyll was differentiated into two zones upper and lower. The upper zones show narrow cylindrical palisade cells and lower zone shows 2-3 layers of loosely arranged spongy parenchyma cells. In the Paradermal section of the lamina we observe anomocytic stomata. The transverse section of stem shows a pentagonal appearance with five short blunt ridges and prominent cuticle. Parenchymatous cells, cortical sclerenchyma, lignified xylem fibers, phloem and pit were also found. In the powder microscopy of whole plant, glandular trichomes, non-glandular trichomes, fragments of lamina, xylem elements, parenchyma cells and fibers are observed. Phytochemical screening reveals that the C. halicacabum extract contains glycosides, carbohydrates, flavonoids, phytosterols, phenolic compounds and saponin.
Various pharmacognostic characters observed in this study help in identification, quality, purity and standardization of C. halicacabum.
PMCID: PMC4140016  PMID: 25161325
Cardiospermum halicacabum; fluorescence analysis; macroscopy; microscopy; physicochemical; phytochemical
13.  Identity and pharmacognosy of Ruta graveolens Linn 
Ancient Science of Life  2012;32(1):16-19.
Ruta graveolens L., is a odoriferous herb belonging to the family Rutaceae. It is the source of Rue or Rue oil, called as Sadab or Satab in Hindi. It is distributed throughout the world and cultivated as a medicinal and ornamental herb. The ancient Greeks and Romans, held the plant in high esteem. It is used in Ayurveda, Homoeopathy and Unani. Phytochemical constituents and pharmacological properties were studied in depth. In 14 species of genus Ruta, R. graveolens and R. chalepensis are available in India and also cultivated in gardens. Taxonomical characters to identify the Indian plants are very clear with fringed and or non-fringed petals. However, references to it are confused in the traditional literature. Due to sharing of regional language name, its identity is confused with Euphorbia dracunculoides. Morphological and anatomical characters were described. Pharmacognostic studies with microscopic characters were also published. Upon reviewing the anatomical characters and pharmacognostic characters one finds that it is highly confused and conflicting. The characters described are opposite of each other and authenticity of the market sample of R. graveolens cannot be guaranteed and able to be differentiated from R. chalepensis. Present work is to describe the pharmacognostic characters of R. graveolens to differentiate it from R. chalepensis. It is concluded that morphologically, R. graveolens can be identified with its non-fringed petals and blunted apices of fruit lobes. Whereas, in R. chalepensis petals are fringed or ciliated and apices of the fruit lobes are sharp and projected. Microscopically, in stem of R. graveolens pericyclic fibers have wide lumen. Whereas, in R. chalepensis, it is narrow. The published pharmacognosy reports do not pertain to authentic plant or some of the characteristic features like glandular trichomes are not observed in our samples.
PMCID: PMC3733200  PMID: 23929988
Pharmacognosy; ruta chalepensis; ruta graveolens; rutaceae
14.  Pharmacognostical evaluation of Launaea sarmentosa (Willd.) schultz-bip.ex Kuntze root 
Ayu  2013;34(1):90-94.
Launaea sarmentosa (Willd) Schultz-Bip.ex Kuntze (Asteraceae), locally known as Kulhafila in the Maldives, is a creeping herb, native to tropical Indian coastlines. According to anecdotal evidence from locals in the Maldives, the roots of this plant are used as an ingredient of a popular medicinal preparation (Hilibeys) taken by mothers after childbirth. It is also used in various other ailments in different parts of the Maldives, as well as in India. So far, there has been no scientific documentation of this plant. The only source of information available is held by natives and traditional medical practitioners. The present study was conducted on the root of L. sarmentosa for its pharmacognostical and phytochemical characteristics as per Ayurvedic Pharmacopoea of India (API) parameters. The microscopic characteristics of the root show prismatic crystals, multiseriate medullary rays, laticiferous cells, and pitted parenchyma. Qualitative analyses, such as loss on drying, ash value, pH, etc., were conducted. Preliminary phytochemical screening shows the presence of alkaloids, tannin, steroids, etc.
PMCID: PMC3764888  PMID: 24049412
Asteraceae; Kulhafila; Launaea sarmentosa; pharmacognosy; phytochemistry
15.  A review on ethnobotany, phytochemistry and pharmacology of Fumaria indica (Fumitory) 
Fumaria indica (Hausskn.) Pugsley (Fumariaceae), known as “Fumitory”, is an annual herb found as a common weed all over the plains of India and Pakistan. The whole plant is widely used in traditional and folkloric systems of medicine. In traditional systems of medicine, the plant is reputed for its anthelmintic, diuretic, diaphoretic, laxative, cholagogue, stomachic and sedative activities and is used to purify blood and in liver obstruction in ethnopharmacology. The whole plant is ascribed to possess medicinal virtues in Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine and is also used in preparation of important Ayurvedic medicinal preparations and polyherbal liver formulations. The review reveals that phytochemical constituents of wide range have been separated from the plants and it possesses important pharmacological activities like smooth muscle relaxant, spasmogenic and spasmolytic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, neuropharmacological and antibacterial activities. The separation of hepatoprotective and antifungal constituents from this plant was also reported newly. This review highlights the traditional, ethnobotanical, phytochemical, pharmacological information available on Fumaria indica, which might be helpful for scientists and researchers to find out new chemical entities responsible for its claimed traditional uses.
PMCID: PMC3609363  PMID: 23569991
Fumaria indica; Phytochemistry; Protopine; Hepatoprotective
16.  Pharmacognostic Standardization, Physico- and Phytochemical Evaluation of Amaranthus Spinosus Linn. Root 
Amaranthus spinosus Linn. (Amaranthaceae) is found throughout India. This tree species has been of interest to researchers because it is a medicinal plant employed in the Indian traditional system of medicine. Pharmacognostic standardization; physico-and phytochemical evaluation of the roots of Amaranthus spinosus was carried out, to determine its macro-and microscopical characters, and also some of its quantitative standards. Microscopical studies were done by using the trinocular microscope. Total ash, water-soluble ash, acid-insoluble ash, sulfated ash values, and alcohol-and water-soluble extractive values were determined for physico-chemical evaluations. A preliminary phytochemical screening was also done to detect different phytoconstituents. Microscopically, the root showed cork, cortex, stellar region, and calcium oxalate crystals. Powder microscopy showed anamalous secondary growth in between the xylem vessels and Calcium Oxalate crystals in the cortex region. Total ash was approximately three times more than acid insoluble and water soluble ash. The ethanol soluble extractive was approximately the same as the water soluble extractive. Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) of the Petroleum-ether extract using Benzene : Ethyl acetate (6 : 1), showed six spots. In the chloroform extract, using Benzene : Ethyl acetate (4 : 1) nine spots were seen, and in the ethanol extract, using Chloroform: Methanol (93 : 7), only four spots were observed, using Iodine vapor as a viewing medium. Phytochemically, the root exhibited terpenes, alkaloids, glycosides, and sugars. These findings might be useful to supplement information with regard to its identification parameters, which are assumed significant in the way of acceptability of herbal drugs, in the present scenario, which lacks regulatory laws to control the quality of herbal drugs.
PMCID: PMC3159276  PMID: 21897662
Amaranthus spinosus Linn.; pharmacognostic standardization; physicochemical evaluations
17.  Phytochemical investigation and pharmacognostic standardization of Cissampelos pareira root 
Ancient Science of Life  2012;31(4):181-184.
In ethno-medicinal practices, the roots of Cissampelos pareira(Patha) are used in the treatment of various ailments related to urinary problems and skin infections, and in tumorinhibitor activity, antibacterial, antimalarial, diuretic activity,anticonvulsant activity etc., The main problem encountered in standardization of Ayurvedic drugs is proper identification of the source plant.
Materials and Methods:
The macroscopic features of each anatomical component have been observed by a high-resolution camera. The moisture content, total ash, acid-insoluble ash, and water—alcohol and ether extractive values of the powdered sampleswere determined by the method as per WHO guidelines. The phytochemical investigation of the methanolic extract of Cissampelos pareira root was performed by the standard chemical ltests and by TLC on silica gel G using solvent systems proposed by Harborne.
The microscopic characteristics showed the wavy epidermis with unicellular trichomes. Lignified xylem vessels, radial medullary rays, and prismatic calcium oxalate crystals had also been found. Phytochemical screening revealed that the Cissampelos pareira root extract contains terpenoids, alkaloids, tannins, amino acid proteins, and carbohydrates. Alkaloids and essential oil were detected in TLC of the Cissampelos pareira root extract developed using blends of methanol:concentrated ammonia (200:3) and n-butanol:acetone:water (3:1:1) and benzene:ethyl acetate:formic acid(9:7:4) as solvent systems for alkaloid whereas chloroform(100%), benzene (100%), chloroform:benzene(1:1),and ether:benzene(1:1) as solvent systems for essential oil.
These findings will be useful toward establishing pharmacognostic standards on identification, purity,quality, and classification of the plant, which is gaining relevance in plant drug research.
PMCID: PMC3644755  PMID: 23661865
Cissampelos pareira; pharmacognostic standards; pharmacognostical and phytochemical investigation
18.  Analgesic and cytotoxic activity of Acorus calamus L., Kigelia pinnata L., Mangifera indica L. and Tabernaemontana divaricata L. 
The aim of the study was to evaluate analgesic and cytotoxic activity of Acorus calamus L., Kigelia pinnata L., Mangifera indica L., Tabernaemontana divaricata L. extracts by using acetic acid–induced writhing method in mice and brine shrimp lethality assay.
Materials and Methods:
The ethanolic extracts of the plants were obtained by simple maceration method and were subjected to standardization by using pharmacognostical and phytochemical screening methods, which were followed by acetic acid writhing and brine shrimp lethality test methods. Dose selection was made on the basis of acute oral toxicity study (10–1000 mg/kg body weight).
Results and Conclusion:
In analgesic test, M. indica L. extract produced 28.16% and 22.02% writhing protection at the doses of 250 and 500 mg/kg body weight in mice, respectively. While the T. divaricata L. extract produced 22.02% and 33.93%, K. pinnata L. extract produced 11.55% and 47.29% and A. calamus L. extract produced 15.16% and 54.51% of writhing protection at the same doses. The percent mortality (mean ± SD) was found to be 58.7 ± 25.22, 56.25 ± 22.88, 52.50 ± 24.37, and 61.25 ± 26.66 with M. indica L., T. divaricata L., K. pinnata L., and A. calamus L., respectively. And the LC50 and LC90 values were found to be 100 and 300 μg/mL for M. indica L. and that were (200 and 350 μg/mL), (100 and 350 μg/mL) and (50 and 300 μg/mL) for T. divaricata L., K. pinnata L., and A. calamus L., respectively. Thus it can be concluded that bark of M. indica L., leaves of T. divaricata L., bark of K. pinnata L., and roots of A. calamus L. have significant analgesic and cytotoxic activity and can be preferred in the treatment of pain and tumor.
PMCID: PMC3341719  PMID: 22557926
Acorus calamus L. Kigelia pinnata L. Mangifera indica L. Phytochemical; Tabernaemontana divaricata L
19.  Pharmacognostic specifications and quantification of (+)-catechin and (-)-epicatechin in Pentace burmanica stem bark 
Pharmacognosy Research  2014;6(3):251-256.
According to Thai traditional medicine, Pentace burmanica Kurz. stem bark has been used as crude drug for treating diarrhea. However, the crude drug is also found susceptible to adulteration.
To develop specific standardization parameters of P. burmanica stem bark in Thailand and to determine the (+)-catechin and (-)-epicatechin contents of P. burmanica stem bark by HPLC analysis.
Materials and Methods:
P. burmanica stem barks from various sources throughout Thailand were investigated according to WHO guideline of the pharmacognostic specification. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was performed for (+)-catechin and (-)-epicatechin quantification.
Macroscopic evaluation was demonstrated as whole plant drawing. Microscopic evaluation of stem bark powdered drug showed fragment of fibers, resin masses, tannin masses, starch grain, calcium oxalate, and fragment of parenchyma. Physico-chemical parameters revealed that total ash, acid insoluble ash, loss on drying, and water content should be not more than 3.58, 0.50, 8.40, and 9.70% of dry weight respectively; while ethanol and water soluble extractive values should not be less than 21.90 and 19.06% of dry weight respectively. Both (+)-catechin and (-)-epicatechin were existed in P. burmanica ethanolic extract. Owing to the small amount of (+)-catechin, quantitation of its content was omitted. However, (-)-epicatechin contents was found as 59.74 ± 1.69μg/mg of crude extract.
The pharmacognostic investigations can be used to set the standard parameters of P. burmanica stem bark in Thailand. HPLC method can be applied to determine (+)-catechin and (-)-epicatechin content in plant materials.
PMCID: PMC4080507  PMID: 25002807
(-)-Epicatechin; (+)-Catechin; high performance liquid chromatography; Pentace burmanica; pharmacognostic specification
20.  A comparative pharmacognostical profile of Desmodium gangeticum DC. and Desmodium laxiflorum DC. 
Ayu  2012;33(4):552-556.
Shaliparni is one of the Laghupanchamoola ingredients. Desmodium gangeticum DC. is an accepted source of Shaliparni as per Ayurvedic Pharmacopoea of India (API). Desmodium laxiflorum DC. is the drug commonly used instead of D. gangeticum in the Saurashtra region. The study is an attempt to compare the above said two species on the basis of their pharmacognostical profiles. The macroscopy and microscopy of roots of both plants were studied as per standard procedures. Root powders of both Desmodium species used in the experimental study to ascertain its Rasa by dilution method. Both the species show the same Rasa and Anurasa i.e., Madhura and Kashaya and almost same morphological and microscopical characters like prismatic crystals, starch grains etc. Hence it is concluded that D. laxiflorum may be considered as a substitute for D. gangeticum on the basis of present pharmacognostical study.
PMCID: PMC3665189  PMID: 23723675
Desmodium gangeticum DC.; Desmodium laxiflorum DC.; pharmacognosy
21.  In Vitro Screening for Anti-Cholinesterase and Antioxidant Activity of Methanolic Extracts of Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants Used for Cognitive Disorders 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86804.
Inhibition of Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is still considered as the main therapeutic strategy against Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Many plant derived phytochemicals have shown AChE inhibitory activity in addition to the currently approved drugs for AD. In the present study, methanolic extracts of 20 plants used in Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine for improving cognitive function were screened for acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity by Ellman’s microplate colorimetric method. Out of 20 extracts, Emblica officinalis, Nardostachys jatamansi, Nelumbo nucifera, Punica granatum and Raulfia Serpentina showed IC50 values <100 µg/ml for acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity. Antioxidant activities of these plants were assessed by DPPH scavenging assay. Among the extracts used, antioxidant activity was highest for Terminalia chebula and Emblica officinalis with IC50 values <10 µg/ml. Considering the complex multifactorial etiology of AD, these plant extracts will be safer and better candidates for the future disease modifying therapies against this devastating disease.
PMCID: PMC3900633  PMID: 24466247
22.  Physico-chemical and Pharmacognostic Investigation of Fruit Pulp of Mangifera Indica Linn. 
Ancient Science of Life  2005;24(4):199-204.
Fruit pulp of Mangifera indica Linn. is an important Ayurvedic medicine which is useful in gastric disorders, dyspepsia, loss of appetite, urine incontinence, uterine diseases, heat apoplexy, pharyngitis, ulcer, dysentery, sun stroke etc. The present study for the first time attempts to investigate physico-chemical and pharmacognostic properties as per WHO guidelines of this drug. Detailed account of physico-chemical and microscopic analysis have been given in the paper
PMCID: PMC3330939  PMID: 22557178
Physico-chemical; pharmacognostic; Ayurveda
23.  Comparative pharmacognostical investigation on four ethanobotanicals traditionally used as Shankhpushpi in India 
People in Indian region often apply Shankhpushpi and other Sanskrit-based common name to Evolvulus alsinoides, Convolvulus pluricaulis, Canscora decussata, and Clitorea ternatea. These are pre-European names that are applied to a medicinal plant. Before the establishment of British rule, like the other books, ayurvedic treatises were also hand written. This might be one of the reasons due to which ayurveda could not stand parallel to the western medicine and an ambiguity is reflected in the interpretation of names and description of drugs found in the books like Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita. The most widespread application of Shankhpushpi is for mental problems, but they have been considered for an array of other human maladies. The present investigation deals with the comparative pharmacognostical evaluation of four ethanobotanicals of Shankhpushpi. A comparative morphoanatomy of the root, stem, and leaves has been studied with the aim to aid pharmacognostic and taxonomic species identification. Various physicochemical, morphological, histological parameters, comparative high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC), and comparative high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), chromatogram of methanolic extract presented in this communication may serve the purpose of standard parameters to establish the authenticity of commercialized varieties and can possibly help to differentiate the drug from the other species. All the parameters were studied according to the WHO and pharmacopoeial guidelines.
PMCID: PMC3255406  PMID: 22247878
Ethanobotanicals; HPLC; HPTLC; physiochemical; Shankhpushpi
24.  The in vitro cytotoxic activity of ethno-pharmacological important plants of Darjeeling district of West Bengal against different human cancer cell lines 
Plant derived components have attracted particular attention as an alternative source to battle several diseases including cancer. The variation in the climate, the geographical location and the rich ethnomedicinal traditions has made the Darjeeling Himalayas an abode of invaluable repository of traditional medicinal plants. In this study, we explored the in vitro anticancer properties of traditionally used medicinal plants from the Darjeeling hills against different human cancer cell lines.
The ethanolic leaf extracts of 30 medicinal plants were tested for their cytotoxicity against human breast adenocarcinoma cell line (MCF 7), human hepatocarcinoma cell line (HepG2) and human cervix adenocarcinoma cell line (HeLa). The cytotoxicity was evaluated by performing MTT assay, trypan blue exclusion assay and morphological assessment under phase contrast inverted microscope. For the extracts which tested positive, IC50 (the concentration that inhibited cell growth by 50%) was calculated. The extract(s) were further subjected to Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) to determine their phytochemical profile.
Out of the 30 plant extracts tested, five plants, Artemisia indica, Eupatorium odoratum, Eupatorium adenophorum, Maesa macrophylla and Phlogacanthus thyrsiformis showed a > 50% growth inhibition of cancer cell lines at a concentration of 50 μg/ml. The sensitivity to different extracts varied according to the cell type under investigation. Of these plants, Maesa macrophylla, exhibited the most potent cytotoxicity against HeLa and MCF7 cell with IC50 values of 9.55 μg/ml and 16.19 μg/ml respectively. Phytochemical analysis revealed the presence of coumarins, flavonoids, tannins, saponins, steroids and terpenes.
This is perhaps the first report of screening of traditional medicinal plants from Darjeeling district in West Bengal, India, for their cytotoxic activity against three human cancerous cell lines MCF7, HeLa and HepG2. The extracts of Maesa macrophylla significantly inhibited the growth of HeLa and MCF7 cancerous cell lines and constituted of multiple known biologically active compounds. The present study may provide the landmark for further exploration of M. macrophylla for its potent anticancer constituents.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12906-015-0543-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4331178
Darjeeling; Medicinal plants; Anticancer; Cytotoxicity; Phytochemicals
25.  Pharmacognostical evaluation of Barringtonia acutangula leaf 
Barringtonia acutangula (L.) Gaertn. (Family: Lecythidaceae) is an evergreen tree with simple, alternate leaves, long pendulous racemes, dark scarlet flowers, and ellipsoid to ovoid berries containing one ovoid black seed. The present study deals with a detailed pharmacognostical study on the leaf of the crude drug, B. acutangula. Morphoanatomy of the leaf was studied using light and confocal microscopy and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on quality control methods for medicinal plant materials. Literature reveals that the phytoconstituents like tanginol, barrinic acid, and barringenic acid are present in the wood and fruits of this plant. Our preliminary phytochemical studies of the powdered leaves revealed the presence of terpenes, flavanoids, carbohydrates, tannins, steroids, and glycosides. The physico-chemical, morphological, histological parameters, and High Performance-Thin Layer Chromatographic (HPTLC) profile presented in this paper may be proposed as parameters to establish the authenticity of B. acutangula and can possibly help to differentiate the drug from its other species and the pharmacognostic profile of the leaves presented here will assist in standardization viz., quality, purity, and sample identification.
PMCID: PMC3157107  PMID: 21897641
Barringtonia acutangula; high performance thin layer chromatographic profile; pharmacognosy

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