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Hygrophila auriculata (K. Schum) Heine: Ethnobotany, phytochemistry and pharmacology

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Abstract

The plant Hygrophila auriculata (K. Schum) Heine, (Acanthaceae), has been traditionally used for the treatment of inflammation, pain, urinary infection, edema, gout and as a diuretic. It is described in ayurvedic literature as Ikshura, Ikshugandha, and Kokilasha having eyes like the Kokila or Indian Cuckoo. The plant is widely distributed throughout India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Malaysia and Nepal. Following various folk claims as a cure for numerous diseases, efforts have been made by researchers to verify the efficacy of the plant by scientific biological screening. The plant contains saponins, alkaloids, steroids, tannins, flavonoids and triterpenoids are the main phytoconstituents. A scrutiny of literature revealed some notable pharmacological effects like anti-nociceptive, anti-tumor, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, haematinic, diuretic, free radical scavenging, anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, anabolic and androgenic activities. The present review is an attempt to highlight the various ethanobotanical and traditional uses as well as phytochemical and pharmacological reports about Hygrophila auriculata (K. Schum) Heine.
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Hygrophila auriculata (K. Schum) Heine: Ethnobotany, phytochemistry and pharmacology / Asian Journal of Traditional
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Reviews
Hygrophila auriculata (K. Schum) Heine: Ethnobotany,
phytochemistry and pharmacology
Md. Sarfaraj Hussain a *, Sheeba Fareed a, Mohd. Ali b
a Faculty of Pharmacy, Integral University, Lucknow 226026. India;
b Department of Pharmacognosy & Phytochemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi
110062, India.
Abstract
The plant Hygrophila auriculata (K. Schum) Heine, (Acanthaceae), has been traditionally used for the treatment of inammation,
pain, urinary infection, edema, gout and as a diuretic. It is described in ayurvedic literature as Ikshura, Ikshugandha, and Kokilasha
having eyes like the Kokila or Indian Cuckoo. The plant is widely distributed throughout India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Malaysia and
Nepal. Following various folk claims as a cure for numerous diseases, efforts have been made by researchers to verify the efcacy
of the plant by scientic biological screening. The plant contains saponins, alkaloids, steroids, tannins, avonoids and triterpenoids
are the main phytoconstituents. A scrutiny of literature revealed some notable pharmacological effects like anti-nociceptive, anti-
tumor, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, haematinic, diuretic, free radical scavenging, anthelmintic, anti-inammatory,
antipyretic, anabolic and androgenic activities. The present review is an attempt to highlight the various ethanobotanical and
traditional uses as well as phytochemical and pharmacological reports about Hygrophila auriculata (K. Schum) Heine.
Key words: Hygrophila auriculata; phytochemistry; pharmacological activities
Introduction
Herbal medicines have been used in medical
practice for thousands of years and are recognized
especially as a valuable and readily available
healthcare resource. During the past decades, the
contribution of herbal medicines and their preparations
has attracted much interest in the pharmaceutical
industry. However, most herbal medicines still
need to be investigated scientifically, although the
experience obtained from their traditional use over the
years should not be ignored [1, 2]. Botanical drugs and
dietary supplements may be obtained from a broader
variety of plants than those normally present in the
human diet. Botanicals or phytopharmaceuticals are
very suitable for prophylactic use in order to prevent
diseases and also to maintain our normal wellbeing.
The screening and evaluation of medicinal plants
is very dependent on the proper cultivation and
collection of the plant materials followed by their
extraction and isolation of the phytochemical entities
to enable optimized bioactive compound production
and subsequent therapeutic applications. This is
very important for multi-component drugs and their
standardized extracts to ensure high quality and batch-
to-batch consistency [3]. The Indian subcontinent is
the site of one of the oldest civilizations, and it has
seen the development of many traditional health
* Author to whom should be addressed. Address:
Md. Sarfaraj Hussain, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy,
Integral University, Dasauli, Kurshi road, Lucknow-26, Uttar Pradesh.
India; Mobile no: +91-9889902496; Email: sarfarajpharma@gmail.com
Received: 2010-02-12 Accepted: 2010-06-24
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care systems. Their development was supported
by the great biodiversity in flora and fauna due to
variations in geography and climate [4]. This review
aims at describing the traditional uses, phytochemical
profiles and therapeutic potential of various parts
of Hygrophila auriculata (K. Schum) Heine, which
has been used in traditional practice for many years.
Hygrophila auriculata (K. Schum) Heine (synonym:
Asteracantha longifolia Nees, Barleria auriculata
schum, Barleria longifolia linn) Acanthaceae, is a wild
herb commonly found in moist places on the banks
of rivers, ditches and paddy fields throughout India,
The plants are described in the ayurvedic literature
as Ikshura, Ikshagandha and Kokilasha having eyes
like the kokila or the Indian cuckoo. It is classied in
the ayurvedic system of medicine as Seethaveryam,
mathuravipaka and is used for the treatment of a
number of conditions including Premeham (diabetes)
and athisaram (dysentery) [5, 6].
Description of Hygrophila auriculata (K. Schum)
Heine
The plant is a sub shrub, usually growing in
marshy places along water courses. The stem is
reddish brown and the shoot has 8 leaves and six
thorns at each node (Fig. 1. A, B). The leaves occur in
whorls, the outer pair of leaves are larger, lanceolate,
scalerous, margins are minutely dentate, subsessile,
and the thorns are strong, straight or curved. Flowers
occur in axillary whorls, bract and bracteoles are leafy.
The calyx is four-lobed, and the lobes are unequal.
Corolla, -5 petals gamopetalous, unequally 2-lipped,
middle lobe of the lower lip with a yellow palate;
corolla purple coloured. Stamens - four, in two pairs,
laments unequal; anthers divergent; ovary two celled;
four ovules in each cell. The fruit is in the form of
dehiscent capsules [5].
Ethanobotanical uses
A survey of the ethanobotanical literature shows
that the roots, seeds, and aerial parts of the plant are
widely used in the traditional system of medicine
for the treatment of jaundice, hepatic obstruction,
rheumatism, inflammation, pain, urinary infection,
edema, gout, malaria, and impotence and also as an
aphrodisiac [7].
Pharmacognosy studies
A detailed pharmacognosy studies of all
parts of Hygrophila auriculata (K. Schum) Heine
has been carried out by Hussain et al., 200 9
(Communicated) [8].
Leaf
Fig. 1. (A, B) Exomorphic features of the plant. Shoots showing axillary owers, throns, and cluster leaves.
AB
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The leaf is dorsiventral, smooth and even with a
fairly prominent midrib. The midrib is Plano convex
in a sectional view with a at adaxial side and a broad
semicircular abaxial side. The midrib is 750 µm along
the median vertical plane and 1 µm in the horizontal
plane. In the adaxial part, the epidermis is prominent
with squarish cells and a prominent cuticle. Beneath
the epidermis there are about three layers of small
collenchyma cells. Further below the collenchyma are
four or five layers of wide thin walled parenchyma
cells. The abaxial part of the midrib has an epidermis
similar to the adaxial side. These may be one or two
layers of collenchyma inner to the abaxial epidermis.
The remaining ground tissue consists of wide,
compact, thin walled parenchyma cells. The vascular
bundle is single and elliptical in cross–section. It is
350 µm horizontally and 150 µm vertically. It consists
of 8-10, parallel rows of xylem elements which are
angular, thin walled and narrow. Phloem occurs as a
thin sheath along the abaxial side of the xylem. There
are two small, less prominent, circular accessory
strands on the adaxial part. They are circular with a
cluster of xylem elements and a small nest of phloem
elements.
Lamina
The lamina is uniform in thickness except where
the lateral vein and veinlets are situated. The lateral
view is raised slightly on the adaxial and abaxial sides.
It consists of a small top-shaped collateral vascular
bundle surrounded by parenchymatous cells which
extend both adaxially and abaxially. The lateral vein
is 400 µm thick. The veinlets also project slightly on
the lower side. They have a small cluster of xylem and
phloem with a parenchymatous bundle sheath without
extensions.
The mesophyll is differentiated into an adaxial
zone of palisade cells and an abaxial zone of spongy
mesophyll tissue. The palisade zone consists of a
single row of thin pillar-like cells which are 100µm in
height. The spongy mesophyll has four or ve layers
of small, lobed cells which are interlinked with each
other forming a wide region of aeranchymatous tissue.
The adaxial epidermis is 30 µm thick while the abaxial
epidermis is 20 µm thick; both are stomatiferous.
Cystoliths
Calcium carbonate crystals of cystoliths are
abundant in the adaxial epidermis of the leaf. The
cystoliths are long, spindle shaped, straight or curved
with a warty surface. They are 200 µm long and 20
µm thick. They occur is specialized cells which are
elongated and candle-like; these modified cells in
which the cystoliths are found are called lithocysts.
Stomata
These occur on both surfaces of the leaf.
They are equal in abundance and frequency in the
upper and lower sides. The stomata frequency is
45-50/µm2. The stomata are predominantly diacytic
with two subsidiary cells with their common
walls at right angles to the stomatal axis. The
subsidiary cells may be equal or unequal in size.
The epidermal cells are variable in shape; they are
narrow, rectangular, slightly lobed or squarish.
Their anticlinal walls are fairly thick, straight or
slightly undulated.
Petiole
In cross-sectional view, the petiole is wide at and
boat-shaped. The adaxial side is flat and the abaxial
side is convex. The petiole has lateral, thick, abaxially
hanging wings on either side. The vascular system
consists of a flat wide main bundle and two wing
bundles. The main bundle is located in the control part
of the petiole. It is flat measuring 950 µm long and
250 µm thick. It consists of several short, radial rows
of xylem elements, with 2 or 3 elements in each row;
they are angular to circular and thick-walled. Phloem
is found beneath the xylem strands. The wing bundles
are circular, nearly 150 µm in diameter with four or
ve short rows of xylem elements and a small patch
of phloem. The ground tissue is homogeneous and
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parenchymatous. The cells are wide, circular, thin-
walled and compact.
Stem
The stem is roughly four angled in sectional view
with a wide arenchymatous cortex and four angled
stele. The epidermis is thin and less conspicuous. The
outer cortex consists of four or ve layers of radially
aligned, small, compact squarish parenchyma cells.
This zone is uniformly 150 µm wide. The inner cortex
in much wider, about ve rows wide and circular air
chambers are formed by reticulate layers of narrow
aerenchyma cells. The stele has four semicircular
thicker bundles located at four corners and two smaller
bundles positioned opposite each other. The larger
and smaller bundles are interlinked by a thin cylinder
of small compact, dense xylem elements. The vascular
bundles are collateral with dense xylem bers, widely
separated radial rows of xylem vessels and a thin
arc of phloem. The pith is wide and parenchymatous
while the pith cells are circular, less compact and thin-
walled.
Root
The root has an intact, continuous rhizodermis
(epidermis) followed by two layers of tangentially
oblong compact outer cortex. The inner cortex is
wide and aerenchymatous. Wide, radially elongated
air-chambers are formed by thin, uniserate partition
filaments, made up of thin-walled parenchyma cells.
Some of the partition cells have thick walls and are
dilated and squarish rectangular. The vascular cylinder
has a thin endodermal layer and a pericyclic layer.
The xylem consists of five exarch strands and a few
wide angular vessels in between the exarch strands.
The phloem is in ve small groups alternating with the
primary xylem strands. The central part is narrow and
parenchymatous.
Phytochemistry
Flavonoids
Bairaj and Nagarajan (1982) isolated apigenin
7-O-glucuronide from the flowers of Asteracantha
longifolia along with traces of apigenin 7-O-glucoside [9].
(See Fig. 2)
Alkaloids
Parashar and Harikishan Singh (1964) isolated an
alkaloidal fraction from the alcoholic extract of the
aerial parts of Asteracantha longifolia. Two alkaloids,
asteracanthine and asteracanthicine, were reported
from the seeds [10].
Triterpenes
Govindachari et al., (1957) reported the presence of
lupeol in the roots leaves and stem, and a hydrocarbon,
hentricontane, in the leaves and stems [11]. Betulin was
isolated from the methanolic extract of the aerial parts
of Asteracantha longifolia [12]. Nair et al., (1965)
reported the presence of luteolin and luteolin-7-O-
rutinoside in the leaves of Asteracantha longifolia [13].
Aliphatic esters
Misra et al., (2001) isolated two aliphatic
esters, 25-oxo-hentriacontyl acetate and methyl
8-n-hexyltetracosanoate, from the methanolic extract
of the aerial parts of Asteracantha longifolia [12].
Sterols
Quasim and Dutta (1967) reported the presence of
stigmasterol in the roots of Asteracantha longifolia [14].
Minerals
Choudhary and Bandyopadhyay (1998) reported
a high concentration of Fe, Cu, and Co in all organs
of Hygrophila spinosa. Thanki and Thaker (1980)
studied the amino acid composition of the seeds of
Hygrophila auriculata and reported that the seed
proteins of Hygrophila auriculata contained all the
essential amino acids and were comparable with those
of groundnut protein [15].
Essential oils
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Hygrophila auriculata (K. Schum) Heine: Ethnobotany, phytochemistry and pharmacology / Asian Journal of Traditional
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Fig. 2. Structures of some phytoconstituents isolated from Hygrophila auriculata (K.Schum) Heine [1] Lupeol [2] Betulin [3]
Leutolin [4] Apigenin 7-O-glucoside [5] Apigenin 7-O-glucuronide and [6] Stimagsterol [7] 25-Oxo-hentriacontyl acetate [8] Methyl
8-n-hexyltetracosanoate.
Essential oils were isolated from the root and
aerial parts of Asteracantha longifolia and tested for
antibacterial activity [10].
Pharmacological screening
The folk and traditional uses of the plant will now
be discussed. It has been investigated scientically in
animal models to validate the potential of the plant
OH
[1] [2]
[3] [4]
O
O
OH
O
O
OH
OH
OH
HO
HO
O
OH
[5] [6]
H
OH
H
H
H
HO
O
OOH
OH
O
O
OH
H
OH
OH
H
OH H
HO
OH
[1] [2]
[3] [4]
O
O
OH
O
O
OH
OH
OH
HO
HO
O
OH
[5] [6]
H
OH
H
H
H
HO
O
OOH
OH
O
O
OH
H
OH
OH
H
OH H
HO
OH
[1] [2]
[3] [4]
O
O
OH
O
O
OH
OH
OH
HO
HO
O
OH
[5] [6]
H
OH
H
H
H
HO
O
OOH
OH
O
O
OH
H
OH
OH
H
OH H
HO
[7] [8]
Figure 2. Structures of some phytoconstituents isolated from Hygrophila auriculata (K.Schum)
Heine [1] Lupeol [2] Betulin [3] Leutolin [4] apigenin 7-O- glucoside [5] apigenin 7-O-
glucuronide and [6] Stimagsterol [7] 25-oxo-hentriacontyl acetate [8] methyl 8-n-
hexyltetracosanoate.
(CH2)14
OH
[1] [2]
[3] [4]
O
O
OH
O
O
OH
OH
OH
HO
HO
O
OH
[5] [6]
H
OH
H
H
H
HO
O
OOH
OH
O
O
OH
H
OH
OH
H
OH H
HO
OH
[1] [2]
[3] [4]
O
O
OH
O
O
OH
OH
OH
HO
HO
O
OH
[5] [6]
H
OH
H
H
H
HO
O
OOH
OH
O
O
OH
H
OH
OH
H
OH H
HO
OH
[1] [2]
[3] [4]
O
O
OH
O
O
OH
OH
OH
HO
HO
O
OH
[5] [6]
H
OH
H
H
H
HO
O
OOH
OH
O
O
OH
H
OH
OH
H
OH H
HO
[1] [2]
[3] [4]
[5] [6]
[7] [8]
Figure 2. Structures of some phytoconstituents isolated from Hygrophila auriculata (K.Schum)
Heine [1] Lupeol [2] Betulin [3] Leutolin [4] apigenin 7-O- glucoside [5] apigenin 7-O-
glucuronide and [6] Stimagsterol [7] 25-oxo-hentriacontyl acetate [8] methyl 8-n-
hexyltetracosanoate.
(CH2)14
[7] [8]
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Hygrophila auriculata (K. Schum) Heine: Ethnobotany, phytochemistry and pharmacology / Asian Journal of Traditional
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as a treatment for a variety of ailments. Both aqueous
and alcoholic extract have an LD50 of 4 g/kg, while the
extract has an LD50 of 3019.95 mg/kg p.o [16].
Hepatoprotective activity
A methanolic extract of the seeds of Hygrophila
auriculata at a dose of 200 mg/kg/p.o exhibited potent
hepatoprotective activity against paracetamol- and
thioacetamide-induced liver damage in rats [17].
Shanmugasundram et al., (2005) showed that an
aqueous extract of the roots of Hygrophila auriculata
(K.Schum) Heine at a dose of 150 mg/kg/p.o exhibited
potent hepatoprotective activity against carbon
tetrachloride-induced liver damage in rats [18].
Hewawasam et al., (2003) tested the aqueous
extract of Asteracantha longifolia for hepatoprotective
activity against carbon tetrachloride- and paracetamol-
induced acute hepatotoxicity in mice. The plant
exhibited significant hepatoprotective activity by
reducing carbon tetrachloride- and paracetamol-
induced changes in liver enzymes. The plant extract
may interfere with free radical formation, which may
account for the hepatoprotective action. Asteracantha
longifolia showed significant hepatoprotective activity
against carbon tetrachloride and paracetamol, comparable
with standard drugs used for this purpose [19].
The Asteracantha longifolia whole plant slurry
was tested against carbon tetrachloride-induced
liver dysfunction in rats. The plant exhibited
significant hepatoprotective activity by reducing
carbon tetrachloride-induced changes in biochemical
parameters of hepatic enzyme activity. The whole
plant slurry of Asteracantha longifolia exhibited
significant hepatoprotective efficacy against
carbon tetrachloride, comparable with a known
hepatoprotectant, silymarin [20].
Anti-tumor activity
Ahmed et al., (2001) reported the anti-tumor
activity of seeds of Asteracantha longifolia against
experimental hepatocarcinogenesis in rats. They also
showed that the seeds signicantly affected the activities
of the antioxidant enzymes, glutathione peroxidase and
catalase, in a dose-dependent manner [21].
Mazumdar et al., (1997) reported that the
petroleum ether extract of the root of Hygrophila
spinosa exhibited anti-tumour activity in mice with
Ehrlich ascites carcinoma and sarcoma-180 [22].
The hydroalcohlic extract of the whole plant of
Hygrophila spinosa, at a dose of 300 mg/kg body
weight, showed signicant anti-tumour activity against
7, 12-dimethylbenz (a) anthracene (DMBA)-induced
mammary tumours in female rats comparable with a
standard drug, tamoxifen [16].
Hypoglycemic activity
Fernando et al., (1991) carried out preliminary
investigations of the hypoglycaemic activity of
aqueous extracts of the whole plant of Asteracantha
longifolia and found that the extract significantly
lowers the fasting blood glucose level and markedly
improves the glucose tolerance of rats at a therapeutic
dose equivalent to 5 g/kg of the starting material [23].
An ethanolic extract of the aerial parts of Hygrophila
auriculata, at a dose of 100 and 250 mg/kg body
weight for 3 weeks, produced a signicant reduction in
blood glucose, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances
(TBARS) and hydroperoxide in both liver and kidney
in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Treatment with
an ethanolic extract of the aerial parts of Hygrophila
auriculata significantly increased glutathione (GSH),
glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione S-transferase
(GST) and catalase (CAT) levels compared with the
control group. An ethanolic extract of Hygrophila
auriculata given to glibenclamide-treated rats also
produced a decrease in lipid peroxidation associated
with increased activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD)
and catalase. The result of this study showed that an
ethanolic extract of the aerial parts of Hygrophila
auriculata possesses significant antidiabetic activity
along with a potent antioxidant activity in models of
diabetes [24].
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Antioxidant activity
Sunilkumar and Klausmuller (1999) screened 28
different plant species of Nepalese medicinal plants,
including seeds of Asteracantha longifolia, used
traditionally to treat inflammatory diseases for an
inhibitory effect on lipid peroxidation and reported
that the plant inhibited lipid peroxidation with an IC50
Value of 20 µg/ml [25].
Free radical scavenging activity
The free radical scavenging potential of aqueous,
alcoholic and other fractions of the whole plant of
Hygrophila auriculata (K.schum) Heine has been
evaluated using 1, 1’-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl
(DPPH), deoxyribose degradation against OH•, nitric
oxide and lipid peroxidation radical assays. Vitamin
E was used as a standard in the study [26]. The results
obtained showed that the n-butanol fraction exhibited
potent free radical scavenging activity in a dose-
dependent manner which was comparable with the
standard, Vitamin E.
Antibacterial activity
Boily and Vampuyvelde (1986) examined the anti-
microbial activity of an ethanolic extract of the leaves,
stem, fruits and root of Hygrophila auriculata against
Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeroginosa,
Bacillus subtilis, Escherachia coli, Candida albicans
and Mycobacterium smegmatis and reported that the
leaves exhibited potent anti-microbial activity against
Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Candida
albicans and Mycobacterium smegmatis [27].
Vlientick et al. (1995) investigated the anti-
microbial properties of an ethanolic extract of the
leaves, stem, fruits and root of Hygrophila auricalata
against Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas
aeroginosa, Esterachia coli, Candida albicans,
Tricophyton mentagraphytes and Mycobacterium
canis and reported that the leaves exhibited active
anti-microbial activity against Staphylococcus
aureus, Candida albicans, Mycobacterium
canis and Trichophyton mentagraphytes, while
the stem exhibited activity against C and i da
albicans, Mycobacterium canis and Trichophyton
mentagraphytes [28].
The antibacterial activity of petroleum ether,
chloroform, alcoholic and aqueous extracts of the
leaves of Hygrophila spinosa against Escherachia
coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis and
Pseudomonas aeroginosa was examined using disc-
diffusion methods [29]. The chloroform and alcoholic
extract exhibited significant antibacterial activity,
whereas the aqueous extract has moderate activity and
the petroleum ether extract had the weakest activity
against these microorganisms.
Anthelmintic activity
The anthelmintic activity of petroleum ether,
chloroform, alcoholic and aqueous extracts of the
leaves of Hygrophila spinosa was studied against
Pherithima posthuma as a test worm, at different
concentrations (10-100 mg/ml) in a bioassay which
involved determination of the time until paralysis and
time until death of the worms. The alcoholic extract
showed signicant anthelmintic activity at the highest
concentration, 100 mg/ml, whereas chloroform and
the aqueous extract were only moderately active and
the petroleum ether extract exhibited the weakest
anthelmintic activity [29].
CNS activity
Mazumdar et al. (1999) carried out a chemical
investigation of the petroleum ether extract of the root
of Hygrophila spinosa and reported for the presence
of active constituents like lupeol and lupenone.
They also reported that the i.p. administration of the
crude petroleum ether extract in mice potentiates the
sedative-hypnotic action of chlorpromazine, diazepam,
phenobarbitone, chlordiazepoxide and protects against
strychnine-induced convulsions [30].
Haematinic effect
The ethanolic extract of the aerial parts of Hygrophila
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spinosa, at a dose of 100 and 200 mg/kg (p.o.),
significantly increased the haemoglobin, haematocrit,
and RBC count in anaemic male rats indicating the
haematinic effect of the extract [31].
Diuretic activity
The diuretic potential of the aqueous, alcoholic
extract and different fractions of the alcoholic extract
of the whole plant of Hygrophila auriculata (K.schum)
Heine was evaluated using methods described by
Lipschitz et al., (1943). The diuretic effect was
examined by treating different groups of Wistar albino
rats with single (200 mg/kg) oral doses of alcoholic
extract/fractions. Furosemide (10 mg/kg) was used as
positive control in the study. Of the different fractions,
the n-butanol fraction (200 mg/kg) markedly increased
the urine output. The pattern of diuresis induced by the
n-butanol fraction was almost identical to that produced
by furosemide [32].
Anti-nociceptive activity
Shanmugasundram et al., (2005) found that
the aqueous extract of the aerial parts and roots of
Hygrophila auriculata (K. Schum) Heine, at a dose
of 200 mg/kg (p.o.), exhibited potent antinociceptive
activity in a mouse model of thermally induced
analgesia [33].
The petroleum ether, choloroform, alcoholic
and aqueous extracts of the leaves of Hygrophila
spinosa T. Anders (Acanthaceae) were screened for
analgesic activity. Analgesic activity was studied by
hot plate and tail flick tests in the thermal method,
while the acetic acid-induced writhing test was used
in the chemical method. The chloroform, alcoholic
and aqueous extracts, at doses of 200 and 400 mg/kg
body weight, significantly inhibited the abdominal
constriction produced by acetic acid and also increased
the pain threshold of mice to the thermal source in a
dose-dependent manner comparable with the standard
drug, aspirin (100 mg/kg body weight) [34].
Anti-inammatory and antipyretic activity
Patra et al., (2009) examined the anti-
inammatory and antipyretic activity of the petroleum
ether, chloroform, alcoholic and aqueous extracts of
the leaves of the Hygrophila spinosa T. Anders. The
anti-inammatory activity of the various extracts was
studied based on their effects on carrageenan-induced
paw oedema in rats while the antipyretic activity
was evaluated on the basis of their effect on Brewer
s yeast-induced pyrexia in rats. The chloroform and
alcoholic extracts of leaves of Hygrophila spinosa
exhibited signicant anti-inammatory and antipyretic
activities in a dose-dependent manner while the
petroleum ether and aqueous extracts did not have any
signicant anti-inammatory and antipyretic activities.
The maximum anti-inflammatory activities were
produced by the chloroform and alcoholic extracts at a
dose of 400 mg/kg body weight [32].
Patra et al., (2009) reported the antipyretic
activity of the alcoholic extract of the leaves
and roots of Hygrophila spinosa T. Anders using
Brewer’s yeast-induced pyrexia in rats. Both the
extracts, at a dose of 200 and 400 mg/kg body
weight, significantly reduced the increase in
rectal temperature and they also exhibited potent
antipyretic activity in an animal model [35].
Antimotility activity
The antimotility activity was studied by the
charcoal meal feeding method and atropine sulphate,
at a dose of 0.1 mg/kg (i.p.), was used as the standard
comparator drug. The alcoholic extract of the leaves
of Hygrophila spinosa T. Anders, at a dose of 400
mg/kg body weight, significantly decreased the
distance travelled by the charcoal meal through
the gastrointestinal tract suggesting that the extract
exhibited antimotility activity [34].
Conclusion
In recent years, the ethnobotanical and traditional
uses of natural compounds, especially those of plant
origin, have received much attention since these
130
Hygrophila auriculata (K. Schum) Heine: Ethnobotany, phytochemistry and pharmacology / Asian Journal of Traditional
Medicines, 2010, 5 (4)
compounds are often very effective and generally
believed to be safe for human use. The studies
concentrated on phytochemical investigations,
biological evaluations using experimental animal
models and toxicity studies, as well as the
investigation of molecular mechanisms of action
of the isolated phytoprinciples and their testing in
clinical trials. A survey of the published literature
about Hygrophila auriculata (K. Schum) Heine
showed that it is a popular remedy used by a variety
of ethnic groups, vaidyas, Hakim and Ayurvedic
practioners to treat a variety of ailments. However,
despite claims by traditional medicine practitioners,
little effort has been made by researchers to explore
the therapeutic potential of this plant. Even today,
plants remain the main source of drugs for a majority
of the world’s population [36]. Therefore, scientists
have a duty to provide effective, safe and cheap
drugs, especially for use in rural areas. Hygrophila
auriculata (K. Schum) Heine is widely distributed and
used in traditional medicine by different cultures in
India, Sri lanka, Burma, Malaysia, and Nepal. Modern
pharmacological studies have generally confirmed
the traditional uses of Hygrophila auriculata (K.
Schum) Heine and their extracts for the treatment of
a variety of conditions. The pharmacological studies
so far have mostly been performed in vitro and in vivo
with animals. Therefore, clinical studies are urgently
needed in order to confirm traditional applications
using rationa l phyt otherapy. It is interestin g to
note that the earlier scientific investigations of this
plant, Hygrophila auriculata (K. Schum) Heine,
showed the crude extracts exhibited analgesic, anti-
tumor, antioxidant, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective,
hypoglycemic, haematinic, diuretics, free radical
scavenging, anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory,
antipyretic, anabolic and androgenic properties.
However, naturally occurring terpenoids, flavonoids,
steroids and alkaloids, are unique phytoconstitiuents
of the genous Hygrophila auriculata (K. Schum)
Heine. But there is no direct scientific evidence of
the effect of these phytoconstitiuents regarding their
biological potentials. In future studies, the isolated
phytoprinciples from Hygrophila auriculata (K .
Schum) Heine need to be evaluated in a scientific
manner using specific experimental animal models
and clinical trials are required to understand the
molecular mechanisms of action, to identify potential
lead compounds for further development.
Acknowledgement
We are gra te fu l to th e Dr. K. F. H. Na ze er
Ahamed, Assistant Professor, Department of
Pharmacology, Vel’s College of Pharmacy, Chennai,
for his assistance and encouragement. We extend our
sincere thanks to Mr. Md. Zaheen Hassan Ansari,
research scholar, Department of Pharmaceutical
Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jamia Hamdard,
New Delhi, for critically reading the manuscript and
providing valuable suggestions.
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This study was designed to assess the potential anti-tumor effect of the administration of the hydroalcoholic extract of Hygrophila spinosa (HEHS), on 7,12 - Dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) - induced mammary tumors in female rats and its sub-acute toxicity evaluation. In the sub-acute toxicity exposure of 28 days, BEHS showed no significant change in body weight, organ weight and serum biochemical parameters which established its low toxicity profile. Besides this the LD50 was also calculated and was found to be 3020mg/kg by graphical method. Tumor sizes were determined by palpation, comparing the volume of each tumor to that of preformed plasticine models. After 12 weeks of induction, the total weights of tumor were calculated. Only animals bearing a suitable tumor load (< 6g) subsequently classified as adenocarcinomas (from histopathological findings) were considered for data evaluation and treated with control, HEHS, tamoxifen for three weeks. The tumor reducing potency was assessed by calculating the reduction in tumor weight. This change was statistically significant in animals receiving 300mg/kg of HEHS. In addition, assessment of estrogen and progesterone receptor (ERα, PR) levels revealed a significant reduction in the percentage of ERα and PR positive tumors in extract treated animals when compared to controls.
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India has a well-recorded and well-practiced knowledge of traditional herbal medicine for the treatment of chronic disease like diabetes. There is a growing demand for the leads with potential antidiabetic activity. Ethnomedical approach for diabetes is a practical, cost-effective, and a logical approach for its treatment and management. This chapter aims to provide a comprehensive review on the plant species and leads from Indian systems of medicine for the treatment of diabetes. Many of the species that contribute toward the antidiabetic activity are still unexplored and require further attention. Several potential medicinal plants have been explored from Indian biospheres which are being used for the treatment of diabetes and also several works on these plants have been reported.