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Daruharidra (Berberis aristata DC) has been used in ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine for more than 3000 years. It is a red-listed endemic medicinal plant species of conservation concern and has become very important in recent years due to its rarity and huge demand in the medicinal plant sector. However, many other species such as Berberis asiatica Roxb., Berberis lycium Royle., Cosinium fenestratum (Gaertn.) Coleb and Morinda umbellate L. are recommended as ayurvedic substitutes of Daruharidra and traded in the market. In ayurveda, it has been reported to be diaphoretic and diuretic; used as a tonic and also in the preparations of formulations for treating eye diseases, jaundice and skin diseases, diarrhoea, syphilis, chronic rheumatism, urinary disorders etc. From time to time, a number of reports on the various pharmacognosical and pharmacological properties of original Daruharidra (B.aristata) and its substitutes have been reported. This review analyses traditional medicinal usage, and pharmacognosical and pharmacological investigations done on the endangered medicinal herb Daruharidra and its substitutes.
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Review Article Pharmacology
International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences
Department of Biotechnology, Bannari Amman Institute of Technology, Sathyamangalam - 638452, TamilNadu, India
Institute of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine (IAIM), Bangalore -560106, Karnataka, India
Daruharidra (Berberis aristata DC) has been used in ayurveda and traditional Chinese
medicine for more than 3000 years. It is a red-listed endemic medicinal plant species of
conservation concern and has become very important in recent years due to its rarity
and huge demand in the medicinal plant sector. However, many other species such as
Berberis asiatica Roxb., Berberis lycium Royle., Cosinium fenestratum (Gaertn.) Coleb
and Morinda umbellate L. are recommended as ayurvedic substitutes of Daruharidra
and traded in the market. In ayurveda, it has been reported to be diaphoretic and
diuretic; used as a tonic and also in the preparations of formulations for treating eye
diseases, jaundice and skin diseases, diarrhoea, syphilis, chronic rheumatism, urinary
disorders etc. From time to time, a number of reports on the various pharmacognosical
and pharmacological properties of original Daruharidra (B.aristata) and its substitutes
have been reported. This review analyses traditional medicinal usage, and
pharmacognosical and pharmacological investigations done on the endangered
medicinal herb Daruharidra and its substitutes.
KEY WORDS: Daruharidra, Berberis aristata, Substitutes, Traditional medicine, Pharmacognosy,
*Corresponding author
Department of Biotechnology, Bannari Amman Institute of Technology,
Sathyamangalam - 638452, TamilNadu, India
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Daruharidra (in Sanskrit means ‘the wood having
yellow color’) is one of the herbs mentioned in
ancient scriptures of Ayurveda. Caraka and
Susruta have mentioned its different properties
along with various indications of its use. Caraka
has categorized Daruharidra as stanyasodhana
(lactode purant), lekhana (a reducing herb),
arsoghna (antihaemorrhoidal), kandughna
(antihaemorrhoidal), kandughna (antipruritic),
svedala (promotes sweating), rasayana
(rejuvenative). Susruta have mentioned it as
ropana a wound healer. Ayurvedic
Pharmacopeia of India correlates Daruharidra to
Berberis aristata of family Berberidaceae. The
root and wood are rich in a yellow alkaloid
berberine, a bitter substance, which dissolves in
acids and forms salts of the alkaloid. Daruharidra
has been observed to be diaphoretic,
rejuvenating, antipyretic properties and as Raja
Nighantu (bitter tonic). The plant is native to
Himalayas at an elevation 2000 to 3500 metres
and predominantly found in the Nilgiri mountain
range in Southern India. The shrub grows upto
1.5 2.0 metres in height, with a thick woody
root covered with a thin brittle bark. The leaves
are cylindrical, straight, tapering, very sharp,
hard, smooth spine with yellow, numerous,
stalked, arranged in drooping racemic flowers
and small berry, ovoid and smooth fruits. The
flowering season of this plant is observed from
April to May. Some of the major Daruharidra
formulations are Darvyadi kavatha, Darvyadi
leha, Darvyadi taila, Rasanjana and Dasanga
lepa. Due to several clinical important
formulations, Daruharidra is of trade importance
(high volume/high value) and is of conservation
concern being an endemic species. Market
survey in India indicates that Berberis asiatica,
Berberis lycium, Cosinium fenestratum and
Morinda umbellata are traded as substitutes of
B. aristata.[1] Literature survey of these plant
species indicates that they possess a wide range
of pharmacological activity, except for M.
B. aristata is used to treat all types of ENT
infections, wound healing, dysentery, indigestion,
uterine and vaginal disorders.[2] It is also used
as a tonic and used to cure ulcers and fevers
and as an important ingredient of several
polyherbal formulations for treating diarrhea,[3,4]
cholera [5] and eye diseases[6] including
opthalmia and other disorders which are cured
by applying the dried extract of the root
externally to the eyelids. Tender leaf buds are
used to treat dental caries. “Rashut” decoction
prepared from root is widely used in ayurveda. B.
asiatica root has been reported to be efficient
against a variety of ailments and diseases such
as rheumatism, jaundice, diabetes, fever,
stomach disorders, skin disease, and malarial
fever.[7] Their roots have been used as
antiperiodic, diaphoretic and antipyretic, and
bark as tonic and antiperiodic.[8] B. lycium roots
possess medicinal properties and used to treat
eye complaints [9], menorrhagia, chronic
diarrhea, febrifuge and piles.[10] Leaves are
used to treat jaundice and stem used in the
treatment of diabetes, wounds, broken bones,
ulcers and sore eyes. Gilani and Janbaz in 1999
reported in some areas of India and Pakistan the
fruits of this plant are used as a tonic against
liver and heart diseases and also possess
antihistaminic activity, stomachic, astringent,
antipyretic and diaphoretic properties.[11] Stems
of C. fenestratum exhibits medicinal properties
and is widely used for the treatment of kapha,
vata, skin diseases, diseases of the eye,
inflammations, wounds, ulcers, jaundice,
diabetes, dysentery, fever and general weakness
and are commercially used as ropes in Sri
Lanka. [12] The boiled roots and leaves of M.
umbellate are used in traditional medicine with
the powdered leaves used to treat dysentery,
diarrhoea and also reported to possess
antileukemic and antioxidant properties and the
fruits are considered edible.
Pharmacology is the branch of medicine and
biology concerned with the study of drug action
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(Table 1 and 2). More specifically, it is the study
of the interactions that occur between a living
organism and chemicals that affect normal or
abnormal biochemical function. Following reports
explain the possible effects of Daruharidra
Anti-inflammatory activity
The anti-inflammatory property of berberine
sulphate from B.aristata was reported in the year
1977. Aqueous extracts of the roots of B.aristata
(500-1000 mg/kg) showed significant anti-
inflammatory effect in rats with carrageenan
induced paw edema which is comparable with
that induced by 10 mg diclofenac sodium. [13]
Anti inflammatory effects of Curcuma longa and
B. aristata in endotoxin induced uveitis in rabbits
by grading the clinical signs and
histopathological changes and estimating the
inflammatory cell count, protein, and TNF-α level
in the aqueous humor observed indicated the
topical instillation of aqueous extracts of C.longa
and B.aristata showed potent anti-inflammatory
activity against endotoxin induced uveitis in
rabbits. The ethnobotanical studies conducted
on alcoholic and aqueous root extracts of
B.aristata showed significant activity on acute
inflammation after two hours of carrageenan
injection indicating the effectiveness of aqueous
extract in the early phase by blocking the
mediators released (i.e. bardykinin, histamine
and serotonin) and of the alcoholic extract in the
later phase by blocking the mediators released
(i.e. prostaglandins). [14] Methanolic and
aqueous extracts of B. aristata and C.
fenestratum have shown similar anti-
inflammatory activity in carrageenan induced raw
paw edema in rat model. [15]
Anti-microbial activity
The alkaloid berberine from B.aristata was
reported to possess antibacterial effects against
trachoma. [16] Efficacy of berberine at a
concentration of 0.2%, when compared to 20%
sulfactamide, was found to be superior in both
clinical course of trachoma and in achieving a fall
in the serum antibody titers against Chlamydia
trachomatis in the treated patients. Differential
antifungal activity of methanolic extracts of
B.aristata roots against three common forest
fungal pathogens has been reported. [17] The
effect of two natural products namely berberine,
an alkaloid from B. aristata and santonin from
Artemisia maritima on spore germination of
some saprophytic and obligate fungi, individually
and also in combination were reported by
observing the significant block in spore
germination of most of the tested fungi and
mixture of both alkaloids was found to be more
effective than individual ones. [18] Studies
conducted with six ear pathogens against the
root and leaf extracts of B.aristata recorded
antimicrobial activity against all the 6 pathogens
by the root extract while leaf extract was
effective against 5 pathogens indicating the
possible use of acetonic root extracts of
B.aristata against ear infection.[19] The
methanolic extract of stem bark of B.asiatica was
reported to possess effective antimicrobial
activity against a number of microorganisms by
comparing the different solvent extracts of stem
bark for antimicrobial property suggesting the
presence of other antimicrobial agents in
addition to berberine in the plant.[20] The reports
on the isolated flavanoids quercetin and
kaempferol from the leaves of B.lycium revealed
the antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus
aureus and E.coli. The antimicrobial activity of
hydroalcoholic extracts of four Berberis species
were tested against eleven bacterial and eight
fungal strain.[21] The root extracts of B. lycium,
B. aristata and B asiatica showed significant
antifungal activity against Aspergillus niger and
A.flavus and specifically the root extract B.
aristata gave low minimum inhibitory
concentration values against three bacterial
strains and a fungal strain while stem extract
demonstrated low activity against two bacterial
strains. The pharmacological effects of berberine
from C. fenestratum have been well investigated
and reported to be active against a number of
gram-positive as well as gram-negative bacteria
and also against a number of fungi.[22] Water
extract from C. fenestratum was shown to exhibit
antibacterial activity against Clostridium
species.[23] The stem of C. fenestratum extract
has been reported to exert hypotensive, and
hepatoprotective activities.[24,25] The methanol
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extract of C. fenestratum was found to have
strong anti-plasmodial effect inhibiting the growth
of the chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum strain
FCR-3. The ethanolic extract of C. fenestratum
significantly suppressed in vitro anti-herpes
simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) plaque formation in
Vero cells. [26] In clinical tests in Vietnam, the
aqueous methanol extract of C. fenestratum
showed distinct activity on Staphylococcus
aureus and Streptococcus hemolyticus, which
may cause inflammation and infection especially
in women after childbirth.[22]
Cytotoxic and Antitumour Activity
Studies conducted on the methanolic extracts of
B.aristata stem and rhizomes of Hemidesmus
indicus on MCF7 breast cancer cell line proved
the extracts to have in vitro cytotoxic activity.[27]
The polar components of C. fenestratum are
cytotoxic against laryngeal cancer cell lines.[22]
The methanolic extract of B. aristata is confirmed
to be a potential anticancer herb against colon
cancer due to its COX-II inhibitory property on
proliferation of human colon cancer cell line
(HT29).[28] Evaluation on the antitumour activity
of aqueous and alcoholic extracts of B. aristata
in swiss albino mice on primary stages of cancer
and found the possible anticancer activity by in
vitro cytotoxic avtivity in the brine shrimp lethality
bioassay method confirmed the in-vivo
antitumour activity in the ehrlich ascites
carcinoma model.[29] The anti-neoplastic
activities of different root extracts of B. lycium
along with berberine and palmatine were
investigated in p53-deficient HL-60 cells and
demonstrated that they regulated protein
expression and protein activation in HL-60 cells
and downregulated two potent onogenes Cdc-
25A and cyclin D1. [30] Antiproliferative activity
of the methanolic, methanol-water and water
extracts of C. fenestratum when evaluated in
human HT-1080 fibrosarcoma cells, exhibited
antiproliferative activities. C. fenestratum also
showed selective activity against lung carcinoma
and lung metastatic cell lines, A549, LLC and
B16-BL6. The leaf powder of M. umbellata is
reported to possess excellent antileukemic and
antioxidant anthraquinones.[31]
Hypoglycemic effect and Anti diabetic
The anti-diabetic activity of stem bark of
B.aristata in alloxan induced diabetic rats was
evaluated and reported the ethanolic extract to
reduce blood glucose level in diabetic rats.[32]
The analysis of serum urea, protein, blood
cholesterol, total lipids, SGOT and SGPT, body
weight and liver glycogen showed reduced levels
than standard levels. B.aristata root extract was
found to possess anti hyperglycemic and strong
anti oxidative properties by reducing blood
glucose level in alloxan induced diabetic rats,
restoring antioxidant status, reducing oxidative
stress and modulating enzymes for glucose
metabolis.[33] The extract of the root of B.
aristata was reported to have strong potential to
regulate glucose homeostasis through
decreased gluconeogenesis and oxidative
stress.[33] The methanolic extract of B.aristata
stem bark was reported to possess blood
glucose lowering potential and in vitro
antioxidant property.[34] Ethanolic, acidified-
basified and chloroform: methanol fractions
isolated from the root bark of B.aristata and
treated with alloxan induced diabetic rabbits
found a significant decrease in the blood glucose
level at 2, 4, 8 and12 hrs of observation for both
normal and alloxan induced rabbits, which was
higher than gliclazide confirming the roots bark
of B.aristata possess hypoglycemic activity for all
the above mentioned fractions.[35]
Comparative study of the effects of the
crude extract of B.lycium with pure berberine and
as an attempt to validate its use as a therapeutic
agent, demonstrated Berberis extract and
berberine had similar effects on all parameters
viz., glucose tolerance, glycosylated
haemoglobin, serum lipid profiles and body
weight of experimental animals measured and
the extract was comparable in efficacy to
berberine.[36] Antihyperglycemic effect of the
ethanolic extract of root samples of B.lycium,
when studied using alloxon induced diabetic rats,
indicated significant hypoglycemic activity.
Similarly, antidiabetic claim of B.lycium
suggested the possible use of water extract as
an adjunct to insulin.[36, 37] Hypoglycemic
activity was reported for the alcoholic stem
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extract of C. fenestratum and aqueous stem
extract of C. fenestratum for the treatment of
diabetes mellitus, evaluated in streptozotocin-
nicotinamide induced type 2 diabetic rats.[38, 39]
Studies suggested the possible use of C.
fenestratum ethanolic extract in controlling
diabetes mellitus by markedly decreasing the
plasma glucose level in diabetic rats and
exhibited antihyperglycemic activity by
stimulating insulin secretion and α-glucosidase
Antidiarrhoeal activity
Study with berberine from the roots and barks of
B.aristata reported the inhibition of secretary
response of heat labile enterotoxins of Vibrio
cholerae and Escherichia coli in rabbit ligated
intestinal loop model and infant mouse assay
and possible clinical effectiveness in treating
acute diarrheal disease.[40] The effectiveness of
alcoholic extract of the stem of B.aristata against
castor oil induced diarrhoea was analysed in rats
indicating the antienteropooling activity
(prevention of induced intestinal fluid
accumulation) of the extract. The leaf powder of
M. umbellata has been used in treating diarrhoea
and dysentery.[41]
Other Pharmacological Activities
Effects of B. aristata on lipid profile and blood
coagulation in hyperlipidemia induced rabbits,
when evaluated, revealed the hypolipidemic
effects of B. aristata and also indicated the
probable influence on blood coagulation which is
of importance in cardiovascular diseases.[42]
Based on the observations on uterine weight,
bone loss, ash content, biomechanical,
biochemical and histopathological changes in
ovariectomized rats, the aqueous - methanol
extract of B. aristata was reported to possess
potent anti-osteoporotic activity.[43] Studies
conducted to test the anti-cirrhosis activity of
ethanolic and aqueous extract of whole plant of
B.aristata against dimethylnitrosamine induced
liver cirrhosis in rat’s model recorded significant
increase in the survival time and decrease in
cirrhotic nodules indicating the protective effect
of the extracts.[44] Evaluations of the
hepatoprotective and antioxidant effects of the
methanol and aqueous extracts of B .asiatica
against CCl
- induced hepatic injury in rats
reported the effective hepatoprotective and
antioxidant activity of the extract which reduced
the serum marker enzymes and restored the
antioxidant levels.[45] Role of B.lycium in
reducing serum cholesterol in broilers was
carried out and also reported to possess anti-
bacterial and anti-diabetic effect and is used in
treatment of bleeding piles.[46, 47, 48]
Hypotensive action was recorded when
ethanolic stem extract of C.fenestatum was
tested in anaesthetised dogs, rats and guinea
pigs in a dose dependent manner.[24]
Antioxidant effect of methanol extract of C.
fenestratum stem powder was examined using
carbon tetrachloride-intoxicated rat liver as the
experimental model and in streptozotocin-
nicotinamide induced type 2 diabetic rats
revealing the effectiveness of C. fenestratum in
combating oxidative stress due to hepatic
damage.[25, 38] Studies conducted to test the
hypotensive and vasorelaxant effects of water
extract of C. fenestratum demonstrated the
effectiveness of the plant extract in reducing
blood pressure in anesthetized normotensive
rats.[49] The stem of C. fenestratum extract has
been reported to exert hypotensive and
hepatoprotective activities with antinociceptive
effects.[24,25,50] Studies concluded that C.
fenestratum possesses neurotoxicity and
induced neurobehavioral changes in rats.[51]
There are also reports on the alcoholic stem
extract possessing good hypolipidemic activity
( Evaluations with
respect to the wound healing potential of
ethanolic extract of C. fenestratum using albino
rats excision wound model and incision wound
model were based on the wound contracting
ability, epithelisation period and tensile strength.
The question of authenticity
When these plants show diverse
pharmacological actions with different dosage
preparations, using of substitutes is not
appropriate for which robust objective methods.
Current pharmacognosy practices use
morphology, microscopy, phytochemistry to
distinguish the different plant species. It is
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therefore required to develop standards with
authentic plant accessions for each of the
species (Table 3).
Berberis aristata D.C. is a large shrub which
grows up to 1.8 3.6 m high with 10 20 cm
stem diameter. It has thick woody roots which
are cylindrical, yellowish brown and covered with
thin brittle bark with pale yellowish brown,
cylindrical and strongly striate twigs. The leaves
are obovate, spinous toothed and gradually
narrowed with prominent reticulate nerves.
Numerous flowers are arranged as stalked
inflorescence with ovoid, blue black with
persistent style and stigmatous fruits.[52, 53, 54,
Berberis asiatica Roxb., is an evergreen shrub
growing to 1.2-1.8 m high at a medium rate and
with 10 cm wide stems. Its bark is rough,
furrowed and corky and pale yellowish and
glabrous twigs. Leaves are oblong, elliptic, or
broadly obovate with large distant spinous teeth
and the flowers are hermaphrodite. The
pollination is observed to be by insects or self
resulting in fruits are 7-10 mm long, ovoid, and
blue black with glaucous bloom with a distinct
style. The plant is capable to grow in heavy clay
and nutritionally poor soils.[56]
Berberis lycium Royle., is a 2-4 m high semi
deciduous shrub with pale yellow coloured roots
that are rich in alkaloids (berberine, etc.) and
other phytochemicals. Leaves are narrowly
obovate-oblong, with a few large spinous teeth,
arranged alternately on stem which is whitish
grey in colour. Flowers are yellow in colour found
in axillary clusters and are characteristically
longer than the leaves with black coloued fruits.
Berberis lycium is valued mainly for its fruits and
Coscinium fenestratum (Gaertn.) Colebr., is a
large woody climber with cylindrical and
yellowish stem of 10 m long and 10 cm diameter.
Its leaves are simple, oblong, deltoid, alternate
and minutely tomentose beneath, smooth above,
with yellowish tint. Flowers are yellow in colour
and unisexual in supra axillary inflorescence
yielding smooth globose drupes containing one
globose seed.[22]
Morinda umbellate Linn., is a large, climbing
shrub, with long, hairy, slender branches. Leaves
are elliptic, smooth on the upper surface, hairy
beneath, and pointed at both ends. The flowers
appear in clusters on long stalks and arranged
like rays of a star. Fruit is compound, and
irregularly lobed that mature from green to
Pharmacognosy is the study of the physical,
chemical, biochemical and biological properties
of drugs, potential drugs or drug substances of
natural origin as well as the search for new drugs
from natural sources. Daruharidra and various
endangered plant species require highly
sophisticated techniques for their identification.
Various pharmacognostic parameters including
macroscopy, microscopy, chemomicroscopy and
behaviour of powdered drug on treatment with
different chemical reagents were studied on the
stems of Berberis aristata to supplement
information in regard to its identification
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Figure 1
Choice of Pharmacognosy methods available
i. Macroscopical and Microscopical analysis
A detailed pharmacognistic study including the
macroscopic character and systematic
anatomical study of the root of B.asiatica was
carried out.[56, 58] Similarly, the anatomical
studies of the roots and rhizomes of B. lycium
were reported.[59] A detailed account of the
morphological and anatomical features of C.
fenestratum has been described.[22, 38]
ii. Physicochemical analysis
Elaborate study carried out on the various
physicochemical properties viz., ash content,
water and alcohol soluble extract, tannins,
sugars, starch and alkaloid content to identify the
diagnostic features of the root of B.asiatica. [56,
58] Various studies concluded that B.asiatica
can be a substitute for B.aristata. A detailed
chemical analysis of the roots and rhizomes of B.
lycium was reported along with various physical,
chemical, nutritional, anti-nutritional and
organoleptic qualities of wild fruit Kasmal (B.
lycium). Evaluations indicated the presence of
high moisture content with low protein, fat, ash
and fibre contents. Among the nutritional
content, vitamin C, β-carotene and mineral and
antinutritional components (phytic acid and
phytate phosphorous) were detected to be low
and anthocyanins were in high percentage. The
chemical and mineral constituents of possible
pharmacological interest of the wild B. lycium
indicated that the content of moisture, ash and
protein increased in different parts in descending
order i.e. root < shoot < leaves whereas fat and
fiber contents decreased in ascending order i.e.
root > shoot > leaves.[59, 60] A systematic
pharmacognostic study (Table 4 and 5) including
microscopic characters, fluorescence analysis,
physicochemical phytochemical screening and
TLC was performed on M. umbellate with results
suggesting these parameters can be used as a
diagnostic tool for the identification of this plant
and differentiating it from its adulterants.[57]
iii. Phytochemical Analysis
Isolation of tertiary alkaloids such as berlamine,
dihydroberlamine and noroxyhydrastine from the
roots of B.aristata was reported. Similarly,
studies on the stem of B.aristata identified the
presence of berberine, ceryl alcohol,
hentriacontane, sitosterol, palmitic acid, oleic
acid and saponin. The phytochemical screening
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of the methanolic extract of stems of B. aristata
showed the presence of alkaloids as active
chemical constituents.[28] Phytochemical
screening of B.aristata stem with various
solvents revealed the presence of phenolic
compounds, tannins, flavonoids, phytosterols,
saponins and glycosides in it.[27] Studies on the
extraction of air dried materials of B.asiatica
revealed the presence of triterpenoids in hexane
and chloroform soluble parts, tannin in water
soluble part, resin in acetone and alkaloids in
chloroform, acetone, alcohol and water soluble
parts.[56] Different pharmacognostic studies
revealed the presence of triterpenoids resin in
acetone and alkaloids in chloroform, acetone,
alcohol and water soluble parts which can be
used as diagnostic features of the root of B.
iv. High performance thin layer
chromatography (HPTLC) finger printing and
High performance liquid chromatography
(HPLC) Analysis
A precise, sensitive and reproducible method of
detection, quantification and monitoring
berberine in B.aristata was developed using
HPLC. A spectrophotometric method was
developed for the simultaneous estimation of
curcumin and berberine using methanoloic
extract, in pure and combined form of C. longa
and B. aristata without any prior purification step.
[61] The developed method has been employed
to analyse the two markers viz., curcumin and
berberine in polyherbal formulations. HPTLC
analysis was carried out for development of
characteristic fingerprint profile of different
extracts of B. asiatica root can be used as
markers for quality evaluation and
standardization of the drug. Habitat dependent
variation in berberine content of the roots and
stems of B.asiatica was recorded using HPLC
analysis.[62] Quantitative analysis of berberine in
stem pieces C.fenestatum was done by
HPLC.[63,64] HPTLC finger printing study was
conducted to identify variation in berberine
content among the ten Thailand market stem
samples of C. fenestratum although recorded a
significant difference in berberine content among
the samples, TLC densitometric fingerprinting
showed a similar pattern with berberine as a
major component suggesting a possible
guideline for identification of raw material and
extracts of C. fenestratum for pharmaceutical
v. Molecular Markers
Molecular markers to authenticate the species of
Berberis viz., B. aristata, B. asiatica and B.
lycium developed by using DNA ITS (internal
transcribed spacer) sequence.[66] Their data
from sequence alignment indicated the ITS1,
5.8S rRNA gene and ITS2 regions of each
species were quite unique and different from
each other. Maximum homology was observed in
the ITS1 regions of B. asiatica and B. lycium
while lowest was in the ITS1 regions of B.
asiatica and B. aristata. The 18S rRNA gene
and ITS gene sequences with PCR-RFLPs were
proven to be powerful molecular markers for
identifying C. fenestratum and distinguishing it
from Arcangelisia flava; Fibraurea tinctoria;, the
other two Menispermaceae plants.[67] Similarly,
to strengthen the pharmacognosy parameters,
molecular identification of C. fenestratum was
performed based on the nuclear DNA ITS
sequence.[68] Their study recorded a species-
specific DNA marker for easy identification of C.
fenestratum and as a molecular pharmacognosy
tool in quality control of herbal raw drugs.
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Table 1
Properties of various substitutes of Daruharidra
Table 2
Phytochemical constitution of Daruharidra on comparison with its substituents
B. aristata B. asiatica B. lyceum C.fenestratum M. umbellate
Anti-diabetic / Hypoglycemic
Wound healing
Table 3
Daruharidra and its permitted substitutes
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Table 4
Pharmacological studies of Daruharidra and its substitutes
Plant species Activity Preparation Animal Model Dosage Effect
ris aristata
Aqueous Root
Rats with carrageenan
induced paw edema
reduction of paw
Alcoholic and
aqueous root
Rats with carrageenan
induced paw edema
50 mg/100 g Significant
reduction of paw
Aqueous extracts of
C.longa and
Endotoxin induced
uveitis in rabbits
150-200 µl Improvement of
chronic uveitis
Methanolic root
Against forest fungal
0.1-0.5 mg/ml Inhibitory zone
Hydroalcoholic root
Eleven bacterial and
eight fungal strains
Inhibibatory zone
Aqueous and
alcoholic extracts of
Bacteria and Fungi 50 µg/disc Inhibibatory zone
Aqueous & acetonic
Five different ear
infecting pathogens
3.12 mg/ml Inhibibatory zone
Aqueous and
alcoholic extracts of
Albino rats 50/100 g Significant increase
in reaction time
Aqueous and
alcoholic extracts of
Rabbits 200 mg/kg Rectal temperature
Aqueous methanol
fruit extract
Swiss male mice and
Male albino wistar rats
500 mg/kg Induced rise in
transaminases and
paracetamol and
hepatic damage
ic and
Ethanolic root
Alloxan Induced male
albino wister rats
250 mg/kg Lowered blood
glucose level,
antioxidant status
ic activity
Ethanol extract Alloxan Induced male
wistar albino rats
71.42 and
100 mg/kg
Reduction of serum
glucose level
Methanolic extract of
stem bark
Male wistar albino rats 250 mg/kg Change in the body
Ethanolic fraction of
root bark,
Acidified- basified
methanol fraction
Alloxan induced
diabetic female albino
100 and 125
4 and 5
Stimulates the
release of insulin
and possess insulin
like action
Methanol extract of
Male albino wistar rats 250 and 500
Reduced the serum
lipid levels
Cytotoxic activity Methanolic extracts
of stems
MCF7 cell lines 1 mg/ml Cells viability
Ovirectomized female
sprague-dawley rats
500 mg9/kg Significant increase
in uterine weight,
femer BMD, ash
content and lumbar
Inotropic activity Aqueous-methanol
extract of fruit
Guinea pig 2 mg/ml Modulatory effect
on actin myosin
Ethyl alcohol extract
of stem
Wistar albino rats 250 mg/kg
500 mg/kg
Increased the
reabsorption of
water by
intestinal motility
Aqueous and
alcoholic extract
Ehrlich Ascites
Carcinoma induced
albino mice
3289 and 66
Significant increase
in life span and
decrease in cancer
cell number
B.asiatica Hepatoprotectiv
e and
Aqueous & methanol
Wistar albino rats 200-300
Prevented the CCl
elevation of serum
Antimicrobial Aqueous & 20 different 156.25- Inhibibatory zone
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activity methanolic extract of
stem bark
microorganisms 625.00 µg/ml
Petroleum ether,
Chloroform, Ethyl
acetate, Acetone,
methanol and Water
extracts of fruit
13 Bacteria and fungus
10 mg/ml and
50 mg/ml
Inhibibatory zone
Berberis lyceum Anti-neoplastic
n- butanol extract
Ethyl acetate extracg
Water extract
HL-60 human
promyelocytic cells
0.6 and 1.2
Inhibited the
expression of the
cyclin D1.Induced
the acetylation of
α-tubulin which
induced apoptosis
Anti hyper
glycemic effect
Aqueous and
ethanol extracts
Wistar rats 50 and 100
Reduction of serum
glucose levels
Various extracts of
Rabbits 250 and 500
Reduced the blood
glucose levels
ic activity
Ethanol extract Steptozotocin induced
diabetic male sprague
dawley rats
10 µg/ml Stimulates insulin
secretion and α-
Alcoholic stem
nicotinamide induced
diabetic rats
500mg/kg Enhanced and
protective effect on
Wound Healing
Ethanol extract Wistar strain albino rats 10% w/w
Increased wound
contracting ability,
period and tensile
Table 5
Parts of the plant used for targeting various compounds
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Daruharidra has been correlated to B. aristata as
per the Ayurvedic literature. Since it is an
endemic species of conservation concern, it is in
practice that C.fenestatum is used as its
substitute in certain parts of India. Exploitation of
B.lycium, B.asiatica and M.umbellata as
substitutes to Daruharidra requires critical
scientific understanding in terms of their
chemical constituents and property. There is a
lack of evidence based data detailing the
pharmacological and pharmacognosical effects
of B.lycium, B.asiatica and M.umbellata and
hence future studies may be carried out to prove
the potential of these plant species. Attempts are
being made to extend the work upto clinical trial
stages as most of the information available on
the pharmacological activities is purely
academically oriented. Identification of a valid
substitute to B. aristata will reduce the pressure
on this red listed Himalayan species and also
suggest industries for an authentic, effective and
economically viable substitute.
The authors wish to acknowledge the Management of Bannari Amman Institute of Technology,
Sathyamangalam, Tamil Nadu, India and Institute of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, FRLHT
(Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions), Bangalore, India.
Conflict of Interest
Conflict of interest declared none
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... Due to obstruction of the Doshas there will be Sangha(obstruction) for the normal flow of Doshas, so there will be manifestation of swelling over one or both theeyelids. The significant results were observed is due to the Shothahara [8] , Vranaropana [9] , Lekhana [10] properties of the trial drugs might have helped to reduce the eye lid edema. ...
An open label clinical trial was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of Haritakyadieye drops on Kukkunakaw.s.r to Ophthalmia Neonatorum in newborns at Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara College of Ayurveda and Hospital, Kuthpady, Udupi. This trial was conducted on 30 newborns. The drops were instilled 8th hourly in a 3 divided doses per day for 3 days. The response was assessed by using various subjective and objective parameters and analysed statistically using Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test. Statistically significant results were obtained in subjective parameter and conjunctival swab culture. Study showed Haritakyadi eye drops is effective in relieving the clinical symptoms as well as controlling the growth of gram positive and negative organisms.
Drugs of natural origin play a significant role in the public health care system of any nation. Quality control is a challenging task for natural remedies. Natural products are different from traditional medicines and should be assessed for the quality. Chromatographic fingerprint produces a chromatogram that represents the chemical characteristics of herbal medicines. This strategy can serve as the proper monitoring of the quality and safety of medicinal herbs. Chromatographic fingerprint enables the characterization of complex herbal product with multi-constituents on a systematic manner with a quantitative degree of reliability. Fingerprint of herbal products through chromatographic techniques has been widely acceptable for evaluation of quality.
The use of medicinal plants is an age-old tradition and recent progress in modern therapeutics has stimulated the use of natural products worldwide for diverse ailments and diseases. Ethnomedicinal values of plant form the ground of “Herbal Drug Industry” and “Green Medicines”. Berberis aristata (B. aristrata) also known as “Daruharidra”, native to the Himalayan region is an important medicinal plant used since ancient times for treating a variety of diseases such as splenomegaly, malaria, jaundice, rheumatism, conjunctivitis, and others. Scientific evidence suggests that it is its versatile biological functions that support its traditional use in the Orient. An extensive search in electronic databases (PubMed, Scopus, Embase, Web of Sciences and Science Direct) was used to identify the phytochemical studies of Berberine. Berberine is a benzylisoquinoline alkaloid, which occurs as an active constituent in B. aristata as well as various other medicinal plants that have an array of pharmacological properties. This review aims to highlight the morphology, distribution, phytochemistry, synthesis, chemical reactions, nanoformulation and important pharmacological properties of B. aristata. It also gives insights into developing further bioactive compounds from the plant scaffolds or additional pleiotropic role with special emphasis on metabolites isolated from Berberis used in the treatment of life-threatening disorders including cancers, heart diseases and diabetes mellitus.
Objective: Though a number of medicinal plants are being used to bring about traditional cure of inflammatory conditions, they are yet to be properly investigated and scientifically validated. Hence the present study was aimed to evaluate the anti-inflammatory activity of Adhatoda vasica and Berberis aristata in rats using carrageenin induced paw oedema method. Materials and methods: Rat paw oedema was produced by injecting carrageenin in the plantar aponeurosis of hind paw of each rat. The paw volume was measured before and at one hour interval for six hours post carrageenin injection. The extracts or drugs, were administered 30 min prior to injection of carrageenin. Results and conclusions: Aqueous and alcoholic extracts of A. vasica and B. aristata produced significant anti-inflammatory activity on acute inflammatory process, which is quite comparable to Diclofenac sodium in terms of their activity in respective therapeutic doses.
In this study, the effect of Coscinium fenestratum (Gaertn) a woody climbing shurb, belonging to the family menispermaceae and found in ]Srilanka was studied on inflammatory pain induced by formalin in mice. The total extract and its polar and non polar fractions were administered intraperitoneally 30 minutes before formalin injection. Total extract in doses (mg/kg of body weight) used, induced significant reduction in response as compared to control as follows: 40 (30.52%, P<0.05), 80 (42.50%, P<0.05) and 160 (68.28%) P<0.01) in the early phase and 40 (62.48%, P<0.01), 80(45.42%, P<0.05) 160(48.38%, P<0.05) in late phase. Fraction I (water phase) in doses (mg/kg) of 40(60.22%, p<0.01), 80(65 28% p<0.01) and 160 (72.23% P<0.01) in early phase and 40(75.83% P<0.01), 80(62.83% P<0.01), 160(53.83%, p<0.01) in the late phase induced antinociception when compared to controls. Fraction II (chloroform phase), Fraction III (hexane phase) did not induce significant antinociception in comparison to that of control group. It is concluded that the polar ingredients of the extracts are responsible for the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of Coscinium fenestratum (Gaertn). To elucidate the mechanisms relating in this historical plant, antinociceptive effect and regarding the mediators involving in the early and chronic phases of formalin test, further studies may focus to explore the interaction of the plant with histamine, kinin, serotonin and prostaglandins.
Coscinium fenestratum (Fam. Menispermaceae), a critically endangered and highly-traded medicinal plant, has become very important in recent years due to its rarity and huge demand in the medicinal plant sector. This review throws light into the various research aspects undertaken in the past and present in the area of botany, pharmacology, chemistry, agrotechnology, harvesting practices and biotechnology along with its medicinal, ethnobotanical and other uses.
Kasmal, Berberis lycium Royle is an indigenous fruit plant growing wild in the Himalayan region and has great economic and medicinal potential. It has been reported that these have been used for the treatment of several human diseases like liver and abdominal disorders, cough and skin diseases and as analgesic. The fruits are known to be hypoglycemic, antiinflammatory, anticarcinogenic, antipyretic and anticoagulant. Evaluation of nutritional status of the fruit was required for its popularization. The fruits were collected and analyzed for various physical, chemical, nutritional, anti-nutritional and organoleptic qualities. It was observed that kasmal fruits are thin and oblong small sized berries, light in weight with multiple seeds. The fruits contained 83.29% moisture content whereas protein, fat, ash and fibre contents are low. The fruits are sour in taste and contain low sugar, total carbohydrates, energy and dietary fibre. The content of vitamin C (10.83 mg/100g) and β carotene (343.0 μg/100 g) were low while, anthocyanins (82.47 mg/100 ml) are high in fruits. The mineral content and anti-nutritional components (phytic acid and phytate phosphorus) are low whereas oxalates were absent. Slightly higher quantity of tannin was observed, which might lead to astringent taste in fruits. The organoleptic evaluation indicated appreciation of colour of the fruits, while lower scores were obtained for texture, taste and overall acceptability.
Aqueous and alcoholic extracts of Berberis aristata DC. have been evaluated for its antitumour activity in Swiss albino mice. LC50 of aqueous and alcoholic extracts were 3289 and 66 mcg/mL, respectively. Alcoholic extract exhibited more potent antitumour activity than aqueous extract. In vitro cytotoxicity studies were confirmed by brine shrimp bioassay method. A significant increase in the life span and a decrease in the cancer cell number and tumour weight were noted in the tumour-induced mice after treatment with both of the extracts in Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma (EAC) model. The haematological parameters were also corrected by aqueous and alcoholic extracts in tumour-induced mice. These observations are suggestive of the antitumour effect of aqueous and alcoholic extracts of Berberis aristata DC. in ehrlich ascites carcinoma.