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THE PHARMA REVIEW (SEPTEMBER 2009)

Karaunda (Carissa Carandas Linn.) - As a Phytomedicine: A Review

N. Balakrishnan , V.H. Bhaskar

Abstract: Carissa Carandas Linn. (Karaunda) is a widely used medicinal plant by tribals throughout India and popular in various indigenous system of medicine like Ayurveda, Unani and Homoeopathy. All parts of the plant are used in traditional medicine. Traditionally the plant has been used in the treatment of scabies, intestinal worms, pruritus, biliousness and also used as antiscorbutic, anthelmintic. The notable biological activities reported are analgesic, anti inflammatory, anti pyretic, cardiotonic and histamine releasing. The plant is also an alternative source of oil, hydrocarbon and phytochemicals. This review presents a detailed survey of the literature on phytochemistry, traditional and biologically evaluated medicinal uses of C. carandas.
 
Introduction
Medicinal plants are a major source of biodynamic compounds of therapeutic values and are basis of many traditional medicines throughout the world for thousands of years. Herbal medicine is still the mainstay of about 75–80% of the world population, mainly in the developing countries for primary healthcare not because they are inexpensive but also for better cultural acceptability, better compatibility with the human body and minimal side effects. However among the estimated 250,000-400,000 plants species, only 6% have been studied for biological activity and about15% have been investigated phytochemically.
 
Owing to the global trend towards improved ‘quality of life’, there is great demand for medicinal plants in the developing world for treating various ailments of both man and animals. Herbal medicine is an old practice as man himself. These plants are widely used by all sections of the society whether directly as folk remedies or indirectly as pharmaceutical preparation of modern medicine. In recent times, focus on plant research has increased all over the world and a large body of evidence has been collected to show immense potential of medicinal plants used in various traditional systems (Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani). Medicinal plants are assuming greater importance in the primary health care of individuals and communities in many developing countries. Therefore it seems necessary to evaluate the herbs properly.
 
General information
The plant C. carandas (Apocynaceae)7 is an evergreen shrub or small crooked tree up to 3 m in tall with dichotomous branches armed with simple or forked, 2-4 cm long, paired axillary thorns. Bark is yellowish brown, peeling in square flakes. Leaves are short-petiole, light green, leathery glabrous and shining on surfaces, obovate, elliptic or oblong, 3-7 cm long and 1.5-4 cm wide apex obtuse, base rounded faintly scented flowers in lax cymes. Fruits (berries) ellipsoid, up to 2 cm long, red turning dark purple when ripe, normally 8 seeded, flowers between March and February in central India. C. carandas traditionally has been used as stomachic, antidiarrheal and anthelmintic; stem used to strengthen tendons; fruits used in skin infections and leaves are remedy for fevers, earache and syphilitic pain. Alcoholic extract of root material was found to decrease blood pressure and aqueous extract of root has reported various pharmacological activities including histamine releasing, anthelmintic, sapsmolytic and cardiotonic. Fruits has also been studied its analgesic, anti-inflammatory and lipase1 activity. Carisone & carindone, carinol, lignin, oderosideH and 2-acetylphenol reported from root material. The leaves were reported to have triterpene, tannins and carissic acid. Fruits of this plant were reported to contain a mixture of volatile principles like 2-phenyl ethanol, linalool, β- caryophyllene, isoamyl alcohol and benzyl acetate and a novel (Carissol) triterpenic alcohol. The aim of present review is to highlight the traditional uses, phytochemical and pharmacological investigations carried out on the plant, to explain the multifaceted role of this medicinal plant.

 

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