CASSIA TORA LINN.: AN OVERVIEWHTML Full Text
CASSIA TORA LINN.: AN OVERVIEW
Harshal A. Pawar*1 and Priscilla M. D’mello 2
Department of Pharmacognosy, Dr. L. H. Hiranandani College of Pharmacy 1, Smt. CHM Campus, Opp. Railway Station, Ulhasnagar, Dist. Thane-421003, Maharashtra, India
M. Kundnani College of Pharmacy 2, Plot No. 23, Jole Joy Building, Rambhau Salgaokar Marg, Cuffe Parade, Colaba, Mumbai-400005, Maharashtra, India
Cassia tora Linn. (Family: Leguminosae) is well known plant widely distributed in India and other tropical countries. It is an annual under shrub and grows in wild wasteland. Different parts of the plant (Leaves, seed, and root) are reputed for their medicinal value. It is well recognized traditional medicine as laxative and is useful for treatment of leprosy, ringworm infection, ophthalmic, skin diseases and liver disorders. Several chemical compounds such as Anthraquinone glycosides, Naphthopyrone glycosides, Phenolic compounds, Flavonoids etc. have been isolated from this plant. The present review summarizes the scientific information of various aspects of Cassia tora plant used in traditional system of medicine for variety of purpose.
|Keywords:Cassia tora Linn,
INTRODUCTION: The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 80% of people living in developing countries rely almost exclusively on traditional medicines for their primary health care needs 1. India is virtually a herbarium of the world. In India, we are using plants and herbs as the basic source of medicine because we are rich in them. Herbals which form a part of our nutrition and provide us an additional therapeutic effect are in demand and Cassia tora is one of such plant.
Cassia tora Linn. (C. tora) is well known medicinal plant commonly found in India and other tropical countries 2. Various medicinal properties have been attributed to this plant in the traditional system of Indian medicine. Several anthraquinones have been isolated from the seeds of C. tora 3, 4. Sennosides, which are well known for their medicinal importance, have been detected in the leaves of the plants 5. The extracts of C. tora have been used as a remedy for various skin ailments, rheumatic disease and as laxatives 6, 7, 8. The extract of C. tora leaves has been found to possess significant hepatoprotective activity and anti-inflammatory activity 9, 10. The seeds of C. tora have been used in Chinese medicine as aperients, antiasthma, diuretic agent and also improve the visual activity 11.
The present article summarizes the updated information on various aspects such as pharmacognosy, phytochemistry and biopotential of C. tora Linn. It also focuses on correlation between active constituents and medicinal uses of this plant.
Source and distribution: Cassia tora Linn (Family: Leguminosae) is annual under shrub grows all over the tropical countries (throughout India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and west China) and grows well in wasteland as a rainy season weed 8. It grows in low lying coastal area, river banks, abundant in waste places and other moist places like uncultivated fields, up to 1000-1400 meters.
It is also known as ‘Chakramard’ in Ayurveda, ‘Panwar’ in Unani and ‘Jue Ming Zi’ in Chinese system of medicine. It is most commonly known as ‘Sickle pod’ due to Sickle shape of pods.
Phytography (Botany): It is an annual foetid herb, 30–90 cm high (Figure 1: C. tora plant). Leaves are green in colour, pinnate, up to 6-8cm long, leaflets are in 3 pairs, distinctly petioled, opposite, conical at one end, ovate, oblong and base oblique. Flowers are pale yellow in color usually in nearly sessile pairs in the axils of the leaves with five petals, upper one are very crowded. Pods are subteret or 4 angled, very slende, 6-12inch long, incompletely septate, membranous with numerous brown oblong, rhombohedral seeds (Figure-2: C. tora seeds and pods) 9, 12.
- FIG. 1 : CASSIA TORA PLANTUses in Folk and Traditional Medicines: Different parts of the plant (Leaves, seed, and root) are reputed for their medicinal value. The leaves of C. tora are reported to have antirheumatic activity in folklore practice. Decoction of the leaves is used as laxative 7. The seeds of C. tora have been used in Chinese medicine as aperients, antiasthnic and diuretic agent. It is also given to improve visual activity (eye diseases) and to treat liver disorders 13. In Korea, the hot extract of seeds is taken orally for protection of liver 14. Leaves and seeds are used in the treatment of skin disorders (Ringworm and itch) 6. Stem bark extract is used for various skin ailments, rheumatic diseases and as laxative. In Ayurveda, the plant is used in ‘Dadrughani Vati’ and ‘Pamari Taila’ 15.Phytochemistry:Leaves: The leaves showed mainly the presence of Anthraquinone glycosides and Flavonoids. The Anthraquinone glycoside includes rhein, emodine, physion, chrysophanol (marker), Obtusin, chryso-obtusin, chryso-obtusin-2-O-β-D-glucoside, obtusifolin and chryso-obtusifolin-2-O- β -D-glucoside 3, 4.Sennosides, which are well known for their medicinal importance, have been detected in the leaves of the plant. The % of Sennoside content in the leaf of C. tora was found to be 0.14 5.Leaves also reported to contain Kaempferol-3-diglucoside (Flavonol glycoside). A potential hepatoprotective constituent, Ononitol monohydrate, was isolated from C. tora leaves 16.Seeds: Several compounds belonging to anthraquinone and naphthopyrone groups have been isolated from seeds of this plant. Three crystalline substances have been isolated from seeds of C. tora known as tora substance A, B and C. From properties of these substances and some typical derivatives, it appeared that tora substance C might be identical with rubrofusarin a metabolic product of the fungus, Fusarium culmorum and tora substance B with nor-rubrofusarin the demethylation product of rubrofusarin 17, 18, 19.The seeds of C. tora yielded sitosterol from petroleum ether extract, chrysophanol, physion emodin and rubrofusarine from chloroform extract and two glycosides, rubrofusarin -6- β -gentiobioside and 8-Hydroxy-3-methyl anthraquinone -1- β -gentiobioside have been found in ethanolic extract 4, 17, 20. Three naphthopyrone glucoside, cassiaside, rubrofusarin -6-O- β-D-gentiobioside and toralactone -9-O- β-D- -gentiobioside isolated from butanol soluble extract of seed 21.It also contains phenolic glycosides namely rubrofusarine triglucoside, nor-rubrofusarin gentiobioside, demethylflavasperone gentiobioside, torochrysone gentiobioside, torachrysone tetra- glucoside and torachrysone apioglucoside.Seed oil contains different percentage of oleic, linoleic, palmitic, stearic and lignoceric acids 22, 23.The C. tora seed is composed of hull (27%), endosperm (32%) and germ (41%).Gum obtained from the seeds of C. tora is known as ‘Panwar gum’. Chemically it is neutral heteropolysaccharide of galactose and mannose (i.e. galactomannans). pH of the Panwar gum mucilage is approximately 7 24, 25. Seeds of C. tora contain about 23.2% of proteins, rich in all essential amino-acids, particularly, methionine and tryptophan 26.Other parts: Pods are rich in sennosides. Flowers are reported to contain Kaemferol and leucopelargonidine. The roots of C. tora showed the presence of 1, 3, 5 trihydroxy 6, 7 dimethoxy-2-methyle anthraquinone, leucopelargonidine and β-Sitosterol 27, 28. The Stem bark of this plant contains arachidic acid, isostearic acid, linolineic acid, palmitic acid, marginic acid, behenic acid, phenolics like rhein, emodine, Hexahydroxy flavones and a Hydroxycoumarin (Aurapterol) 29(Figure 2).
- FIG. 2 : CASSIA TORA SEEDS AND PODSBiopotential of C. tora: The plant has been found to exhibit diverse pharmacological activities. Several research workers have reported different biological activities of C. tora in various in vitro and in vivo test models. These have been described in detailed in following headings:Antioxidant Activity: The methanolic extract of seeds of C. tora (MECT) shows stronger antioxidant activity. It was found that MECT exhibits stronger antioxidant activity as compared to Alpha-tocopherol. Emodin was demonstrated as antioxidant component of MECT 30.The phenolic active component, alaternin and nor-rubrofusarin glucoside isolated from extract of C. tora also showed a potent free radical scavenging activity.Hypolipidemic Activity: Ethanolic extract and its ether soluble and water soluble fractions were evaluated for their hypolipidemic activity against triton induced hyperlipidemic profile. Decreased serum and triglyceride level of total LDL cholesterol but increased HDL cholesterol level by different percentages was observed.Soluble fibers isolated from the seeds showed the hypolipidemic level due to their phenomenal rheological behavior and lipid metabolism. The soluble fibers enhances fecal lipid excretion and showed significant hypolipidemic effect due to marked reduction in serum concentration of total cholesterol and triglyceride level 31, 32.Hepatoprotective Activity: The different extracts of seeds of Cassia tora have been studied for cytoprotection against galactosamine toxicity in primary cultured hepatocytes. Methanolic extract of seeds showed a significant hepatoprotective effect against toxicity of galactosamine in primary cultured rat hepatocytes. Methanolic extract at a dose of 400mg/ml orally exhibited significant protective effect by lowering the serum level of transaminases in rats.The % Cytoprotection of different isolates obtained from the methanol extract of seeds of C. tora were also studied against galactosamine toxicity in primary cultured hepatocytes. The naphtha-pyrone glycosides were found to have significant hepatoprotective effect against galactosamine damage 21. It has also been reported that Ononitol monohydrate isolated from the leaves possesses significant hepatoprotective activity as compared to reference drug sylimarin. Ononitol monohydrate decreases the level of serum transaminase thereby shows its hepatoprotective activity 16.Antifertility Activity: C. tora leaves extract (200mg/100mg/Kg body weight) exhibited maximum antifertility activity in Female rats. The antifertility activity of the drug has been found to be related to oestrogenic activity 33.Antibacterial Effect: The effect of phenolics glycoside, their aglycones and several other compounds structurally related to them on E.coli K12, Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA 01 and some strains of Staphylococcus aureus were examined.Among them, torochrysone, torolactone, aloe-emodine, rhein and emodine showed noticeable antibacterial effect on four strains of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus with minimum inhibitory concentration of 264µg/ml 18, 34.Antimutagenic Activity: The antimutagenic activity of a methanolic extract of roasted C. tora seeds against Aflatoxin-B1 (AFB1) was demonstrated with Salmonella typhimurium assay. The number of relevant per plate decreased significantly when the extract was added to assay system using Salmonella typhimurium TA100 and or TA98 35.Alaternin and isorubrafusarin gentiobioside found to possess antimutagenic activity.Antitumor Activity: Emodine, an anthraquinone, present in root and bark of C. tora possess anti-tumor activity. It shows inhibitory effect on angiogenic and metasis regulatory process. Because of its quinine like structure, emodine may interfere with electron transport process and in altering cellular redox status, which may account for its cytotoxic property 36.Anti-inflammatory Effect: The Anti-inflammatory effect of methanolic extract of leaves of C. tora was investigated against carrageenan, histamine, serotonin and dextran induced rat hind paw oedema. It exhibited significant anti-inflammatory activity against these agents 10.Spasmogenic and Antinociceptive Activity: The methanolic extract of leaves was evaluated in guinea pig ileum, rabbit jejunum and mice intestinal transit for antinociceptive and spasmogenic effect. The extract contracted smooth muscles of guinea pig ileum and rabbit jejunum in a concentration dependent manner which is reversibly blocked by Atropine. The extract increased intestinal transit in mice. The extract also significantly reduced the number of acetic acid induced abdominal constrictions in mice and the effect was comparable to that of Aspirin. The extract also significantly reduced the nociceptive response of mice to increases force, which is dose dependent. Thus the use of C. tora traditionally as purgative and in treatment of other ailments is justifiable 37.Purgative Effect: The methanolic extract of C. tora leaves was found to possess purgative action. Seeds have been used as a purgative, probably due to the presence of emodine, aloe-emodine and anthraquinone glycosides 38, 39, 40.Antifungal Activity: The leaf extract has shown the significant antifungal activity to inhibit the growth of Candida albicans, Aspergillus niger, Sachharomyces cerevisiae and Trichophyton mentagrophyte 41.
It shows antifungal activity due to chrysophenol and crysophanic acid- 9- anthrone and other anthraquinones such as emodine, physcion and rhein 42, 43.
Oxytocic Activity: The seeds of C. tora contain oxytocic principle. It was found to be effective in producing the contraction of isolated uterus of guinea pig. The claim for oxytocic principle from the seeds lacks credibility due to insufficient experimental data 44.
Antihelmintic Activity: Alcohol and aqueous extracts of C. tora seeds showed antihelmintic activity against Pheretima posthuma and Ascardia galli due to the presence of flavonoids. Both the extract exhibited antihelmintic activity at highest concentration of 100mg/ml 45.
Toxicity: The toxicity of the crude extract of the leaves of C. tora on Swiss mice was investigated. A dose of 200mg/Kg given orally was found to be lethal. Dose level of 100mg/Kg was lethal when given intraperitoneally and intravenously respectively.
Continuous administration of diet containing 0.5% or more seed of C. tora for 13 weeks proved toxic to rats producing myeloid hyperplasia with peripheral leukocytosis, thrombocytosis and mild anaemia 46.
CONCLUSION: The scientific studies and research on C. tora suggests an enormous biological potential of this plant. Clinical and pharmacological studies with standardized extracts and isolated constituents need to be performed to investigate unexploited potential of this plant. There is huge scope for research on C. tora and could be further exploited in future as a source of useful phytochemical compound for the pharma industry. There is no doubt that this plant is a reservoir of potentially useful chemical compounds which serve as a drugs, as newer leads and clues for modern drug design by synthesis. It is thought that thorough information as presented in this review on pharmacognosy, phytochemistry and biopotential of C. tora may provide strong evidence for the use of this plant in different medicines.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Author is very much thankful to Dr. (Mrs.) S. S. Bhalerao, Principal of Hyderabad Sindh National Collegiate Boards (HSNCB’s), Dr. L. H. Hiranandani College of Pharmacy, Ulhasnagar, for her continuous support and encouragement.
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Harshal A. Pawar* and Priscilla M. D’mello
Principal, K. M. Kundnani College of Pharmacy, Plot No. 23, Jole Joy Building, Rambhau Salgaokar Marg, Cuffe Parade, Colaba, Mumbai-400005, Maharashtra, India
09 May, 2011
21 August, 2011
27 August, 2011
01 September, 2011