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The Sankhaholi (Evolvulus alsinoides Linn. [EA]) of family Convolvulaceae which is commonly known as Shankhpushpi, in the traditional system of medicine including Unani medicine. It is a perennial herb with a small woody branched rootstock which contains alkaloids: Shankhapushpine and evolvine. Fresh plant of sankhholi contains volatile oil. It also contains a yellow neutral fat, an organic acid, and saline substances. Therapeutic uses of Sankhaholi EA, mentioned in the Unani medicine are alexiteric (Mufarreh), cardiac tonic (Muqawwi-e Qalb), brain tonic (Muqawwi-e Dimag), digestive (Hazim) Musaffi-e-Khoon (blood purifier), general tonic (Muqawwi-e-am), diuretic (Mudirr-e-Baul), anti-inflammatory (Muhallil-e-waram), hypoglycemic (Dafa-e-Ziabitus), and antihypertensive (Dafye Imtella). It is also used in a headache, asthma, hyperlipidemia, etc. The present article reviews the pharmacological actions and therapeutic uses of Sankhaholi (EA) present in Unani literature supported with the available clinical and animal studies.
Vol 4, Issue 3, 2016 ISSN- 2347-5544
The Sankhaholi (Evolvulus alsinoides Linn. [EA]) of family Convolvulaceae which is commonly known as Shankhpushpi, in the traditional system of
medicine including Unani medicine. It is a perennial herb with a small woody branched rootstock which contains alkaloids: Shankhapushpine and
evolvine. Fresh plant of sankhholi contains volatile oil. It also contains a yellow neutral fat, an organic acid, and saline s ubstances. Therapeutic uses
of Sankhaholi EA, mentioned in the Unani medicine are alexiteric (Mufarreh), cardiac tonic (Muqawwi-e Qalb), brain tonic (Muqawwi-e Dimag),
digestive (Hazim) Musaffi-e-Khoon (blood purifier), general tonic (Muqawwi-e-am), diuretic (Mudirr-e-Baul), anti-inflammatory (Muhallil-e-waram),
hypoglycemic (Dafa-e-Ziabitus), and antihypertensive (Dafye Imtella). It is also used in a headache, asthma, hyperlipidemia, etc. The present article
reviews the pharmacological actions and therapeutic uses of Sankhaholi (EA) present in Unani literature supported with the available clinical and
animal studies.
Keywords: Sankhahol; Evolvulus alsinoides Linn; Shankhpushpi; Unani medicine
The traditional system of medicine is now gaining popularity after
population became aware of side effects and limitation of synthetic
medicine. In both organized (Unani, Ayurveda) and unorganized
forms, plants have been utilized as therapeutic agents since old age.
Shankhaholi (Evolvulus alsinoides Linn. [EA]) is one of such effective
herb and has been used since ancient times by physicians [1].
Shankhaholi, with flowers shaped like a shankh (conch), is one of Lord
Shiva’s sacred instruments often used in ritual worship. It is considered
memory enhancer in Unani literature and has been used as rejuvenator,
anti-aging, mental stimulant, and tranquilizers. All parts of EA are
accepted for medicinal uses as per the Indian pharmacopoeia [1].
Four plants referred to as Sankhaholi in literature they are:
(i) Convolvulus pluricaulis Chois, (ii) EA (iii) Canscora decussate roem,
and (iv) C. ternatea [2].
EA, family Convolvulaceae, is an important medicinal plant.
Traditionally, it is used for different ailments in India and o ther
countries, and grows in the open and grassy places almost throughout
India and other subtropical countries [2]. Various dosage forms and a
wide range of original products have been used in the traditional system
of medicine and have reported therapeutic activity experimentally and
clinically in various scientific journals [1]. The present article reviews
the pharmacological actions and therapeutic uses of Sankhaholi (EA)
present in Unani literature supported with the available clinical and
animal studies.
Kingdom Planate - Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Super division Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Solanales
Family Convolvulaceae - Morning-glory family
Genus Evolvulus L. - dwarf morning-glory
Species EA - slender dwarf morning-glory [3]
EA: Evolvulus alsinoides
Vernacular names
Urdu Sankhaholi
Unani Sankhaholi
Hindi Shyamkranti, Sankhapuspi
Sanskrit Vishnukranti, Vishnugandhi
Punjabi Shankhpushpi, Kodyali
Bombay Sankhavalli
Gujarati Kalisankhavali
Malayalam Vishnukranthi
Marathi Vishnukanta
Tamil Vishnukarandi, Vishnukaranthi
Telgu Vishnukranta, Kancakura
English Canscora [4-9]
EA (dwarf morning glory) belonging to the family Convolvulaceae
and is a perennial herb with a small woody branched rootstock; stem
membranous, more than 30 cm long, prostrate, spreading, slender or
rounded, wiry usually covered with long spreading hairs but sometime
quite glabrous. Leaves are small numerous 6-20 by 4-8 mm, alternate,
elliptic-oblong, obtuse, strongly petioles very short, sometimes almost
absent. Flowers light blue, or deep blue very small solitary, or sometime in
pairs. Peduncles are very long, filiform, axillary, calyx densely silky, sepals
4 mm long, lanceolate, very acute. Corolla 5 mm long; fruits are usually
glabrous, four-valved thin capsules, 3-4 mm diameter [4,10-12,25].
Habitat and distribution
Sankhaholi is a small, hairy, diffuse, and perennial herb. It grows in open
and grassy places throughout India and other sub-tropical countries.
Chemical constituent
The plant of sankhaholi contains alkaloids: Betaine, shankhapushpine,
and evolvine. Fresh plant of sankhaholi contains volatile oil. It also
contains a yellow neutral fat, an organic acid and saline substances.
An unidentified compound has been isolated. Scopoletin, scopoli n,
umbelliferone, 2-methyl-1,2,3,4-butanetetrol, ferulic acid esters
with alcohols and palmitic, stearic, oleic, 8-methyldecanoic, and
heptadecanoic acids have been reported [13,14]. 2,3,4-trihydroxy-
3methylbutyl 3-2-propenoate (1) and 1,3-di-O-caffeoyl quinic acid
methyl ester, caffeic acid, 6-methoxy-7-O-glucopyranoside coumarin,
Review Article
Department of Moalejat, Faculty of Medicine (U), Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, India. Email:
Received: 22 April 2016, Revised and Accepted: 29 April 2016
Khan et al.
Innovare Journal of Health Sciences, Vol 4, Issue 3, 2016, 1-3
2-C-methyl erythritol, kaempferol-7-O-glucopyranoside, kaempferol
glucopyranoside, and quecetine-3-O-glucopyranoside were reported
from n-BuOH soluble fraction from the ethanol extract of EA [15,28].
Temperament (Mizaj)
Barid Ratab [7,16]
Har Ratab [8,17].
Therapeutic dosage (Miqdar-e-Khurak)
6-9 g [16,17]
3-5 g [8]
3-8 g [18].
Medicinal action of Sankhaholi (Afa’al wa khawas)
Anthelmintic (Qatile Deedan) [4,5,6,11]
Alexiteric (Mufarreh) [4,9]
Anti-diarrheal (Dafaye ishal) [4,9]
Aphrodisiac (Muqawwi-e-Bah) [9,27]
Appetizers (Mushtahi) [9-11]
Brain tonic (Muqawwi-e Dimag) [4,5,7-9,16,17,27]
Cardiac tonic (Muqawwi-e Qalb) [7,17,27]
Laxative (Molayyen) [7,9,16,17]
Febrifuge (Musakkin-e-Hararate) [4,5,11,12,27]
Emmenogogue (Mudirr-e-Haiz)
Conception promoter [9]
Astringent [4,9]
Digestive (Hazim) [7,27]
General tonic (Muqawwi-e-am) [4-7,12]
Blood purifier (Musaffi-e-Khoon) [7,8,16,17]
Hair tonic (Muqawwi-e-Shaar) [4,5,26]
Nervine tonic (Muqawwi-e-Asab) [7,27]
Mughalliz-e-Mani [7,8,17]
Anti-inflammatory (Muhallil-e-waram) [7,17]
Eye tonic (Muqaww-e-Basar) [7,8,17,27]
Dafa-e-Sual [7,27]
Dafa-e-Bawaseer [7,8,17,27]
Detergent (Jali) [17]
Diuretic (Mudirr-e-Baul)
Hypoglycemic (Dafa-e-Ziabitus) [7,27]
Anti-convulsant (Dafa-e-Tashannuz) [7]
Anti-emetic (Mane-Qai) [7]
Musakkin-e-Atash [17]
Coolant (Mubarrid) [7]
Mumbite sha’r [12]
It is mostly used in zofe dimagh, zofe qalb wa asab, diabetes, ihtebas-
e-baul wa haiz, istisqaa (ascites), zof-e-meda (gastric upset), nafakh-
e-shikam (flatulence), anxiety neurosis, stress Condition, qulanj
(intestinal colic), bawaseer (piles) warm-e-rahem, inteshar-e-shar,
wajaul-qutn (backache), mirgy (Sara) taqteerul baul [4,7,24]. It is also
used in nazla (common cold), suaal (cough), asthma and used in dard-e-
chashm [21] it is also used in skin eruption and fasad-e-khoon (bahaq,
bars) [7,26].
It is used to cure insomnia, irritability as well as epilepsy [4,5,9], as it
has a relaxing effect on the brain [7,8]. It is a natural tranquilizer that
promotes deep and revitalizing sleep. Recommended where the mind
becomes overactive, Agitated and restless. It is slightly laxative in action
and improves digestion. It promotes health of both the male and female
reproductive organs. It is a rejuvenative herb with anti-aging properties.
May also help in preventing changes in the neuron cell bodies in specific
brain areas. It is also useful in fever, asthma, bronchitis, biliousness,
and hypertension. It is a sovereign remedy in bowel complaints
especially diarrhea and dysentery. It has been found to be effective in
reducing different types of stress including psychological, chemical and
traumatic. A decoction of the whole plant of Sankhaholi with Ocimum
sanctum is administered in fevers accompanied by indigestion or
diarrhea. Decoction was given in cases of malarial fever [7,27]. The root
of Sankhaholi is used with sandal, for intermittent childhood fever. The
leaves of Sankhholi are made into cigarettes and smoked in chronic
bronchitis and asthma. The Sankhaholi oil promotes the growth of
hairs [4,5,26].
According to an ethnobotanical survey conducted among
Kani/Kanikaran ethnic groups in Southern Western Ghats of India,
whole plant of EA is used for the treatment of venereal diseases [19].
S. No. Actions References
1 Antioxidant
activity [14,21]
Cervenka et al., 2008, Kumar M
et al., 2010, Gomathi et al., 2013
2 Antidiabetic activity [21] Gomathi et al., 2013
3 Immunomodulator
activity [24,38]
Ganju et al., 2003,
Mahiuddin et al., 2010
4 Anti-stress activity [15,23] Gupta et al., 2007
5 Antihypertensive
activity [22,29,37]
Kiran et al., 2005,
Joshi et al., 2012
6 Antihyperlipidemic
activity [21,36]
Gomathi et al., 2013, Deepa
et al., 2014
7 Anti-anxiety activity [30] Shamsi et al., 2007
8 Antiulcer activity [35] Purohit et al., 1996
9 Hepatoprotective
activity [33,34]
Chander et al., 2014,
Ravichandra et al., 2013
10 Anti-depression
activity [32]
Babu et al., 2005
11 Antifungal activity [31] Deviha et al., 2015
Substitute (Badal)
Barhammi [17].
Formulations (Murakkabat)
Majoon-e-Suparipak [20].
Demagheen (Jamia Tibbiya)
Saϔi (Hamdard).
Sankhaholi (EA) is a very beneficial plant for human being due to its
pharmacological actions of the whole plants in almost all the disease.
Sankhaholi (EA) is widely acceptable due to its antibacterial activity,
anti-diabetic activity, and antioxidant activity, antifungal activity,
immunomodulator, hepatoprotective activity, nephroprotective and
neuroprotective activity, antihyperlipidemic activity, antihypertensive
activity. Sankhaholi is a very effective in anxiety neurosis and stress
condition. This drug is used in the traditional system of medicine since
long time. Hence, this study may be helpful to know the pharmacological
actions and uses of Sankhaholi (EA) which are mentioned in the Unani
system of medici n e .
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... The second plant which is E. alsinoides belongs the Convolvulacae family, and it is commonly known as Chuha kanni , Shankhpushpi or Shankhavali ( Austin, 2008 ). This plant is widely distributed in tropical countries and sub-tropical countries ( Khan et al., 2016 ). It is a famous indigenous plant in India and often used as an ingredient of nervine tonics that are used traditionally to cure diseases ( Naikawadi et al., 2012 ). ...
Natural antioxidants play a significant role to prevent cell breaking and regenerate cells. Three plants native to India named dwarf morning-glory (Evolvulus alsinoides), Indian banyan (Ficus bengalensis) and chicory (Chicorium intybus) are used as medicine in India traditionally to treat diseases. The aim of this study is to evaluate and compare the antioxidant activity as well as to compare phytochemical profiles of the aqueous extracts of the selected three plants. The dried plant powder was extracted with ethanol individually by using the Soxhlet method for eight hours and the solvent was evaporated under reduced pressure. Similarly, the air-dried powder was extracted with water, and the water was evaporated. The thin layer chromatography (TLC) profile of the extracts was determined by using TLC densitometer and the antioxidant activity was determined by the conventional 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) method. The TLC profile shows that there are no similarities of retention factor (Rf) values among the plant extracts which means all three plants contain different chemical compounds. The antioxidant activities of the aqueous extracts at different concentrations show different antioxidant activities. Percentage inhibition is dose dependent, as doses are increasing then percentage inhibition is also increasing for all three plant extracts. Among the selected plants, the highest activity was found in C. intybus and the lowest was in E. alsinoides. The order of the antioxidant activity among the selected plants was C. intybus < F. bengalensis < E. alsinoides. Based on the TLC profile and antioxidant activities, the highest activity of the selected plant species was evaluated.
Full-text available
Present study was aime d to Hepatoprotective Activity with fractions of Evolvulus alsinoides extracts on paracetamol induced Rats. Traditionally this plant used in various types of liver disorders like antihypertensive, hair growthing, antioxidants etc. prepared with various fra ctions of Evolvulus alsinoides ; conducted acute toxicity study on mices to identifying of LD50 value. By using various fractions to conducted Hepatoprotective activity by paracetamol induced method. The blood samples were collected for various biochemical parameters and d issected the liver for histopathological studies. With the above biochemical parameters toxic group of Parac e tamol showed the elevated levels of SGPT, SGOT, ALP, CHOL and TBL where as decreased TP and ALB levels when compared with the c ontr ol group. When fractions of Evolvulus alsinoides produced significant inhibition of hepatic damage by significantly (P < 0.01) reversing the effects of Parac e tamol induced hepatotoxicity. Histopathological studies revealed that of Evolvulus alsinoides exhi bited a remarkable recovery as Silymarin does. The results of this study strongly indicate that leaves of Evolvulus alsinoides have potent hepatoprotective against Paracetamol .
Full-text available
Shankhapushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis Choisy, CP) is an extremely versatile plant, commonly prescribed as nootropic (medhya), rejuvenator, nervine tonic in epilepsy, insanity and possesses wide range of therapeutic attributes. Since it is an essential ingredient of myriad popular Ayurvedic monoherbal or polyherbal preparations, it is commercially quite exploitable. Although CP exhibits a wide range of therapeutic attributes, only scattered information exploring the curative potential of CP is available, and there is a need to assemble it. Therefore, to revalidate the Ayurvedic therapeutic claims of Shankhapushpi in light of contemporary experimental and clinical studies, this study was carried out. Information was extracted from various Ayurvedic literature viz. Brihattrayi (Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hridaya) and Nighantu (lexicon). Online studies available on Convolvulus pluricaulis Choisy published in Pubmed, Scopemed, Pubmed Central Databases, Dhara online database and other allied databases were also rationally reviewed and documented in the present review. The current work appears to be the first of its kind and can be considered a reference standard for future studies.
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Alopecia is a major distressing dermatological disorder. It is caused due to several reasons such as nutrition, stress, microbes, chemicals (hair gels and sprays), and tangles. Dandruff is one of the most afflicting problem confronted in healthcare and cosmetics. Malassezia sp. is an opportunistic pathogen on the normal skin flora which is a causative of dandruff under unfavourable conditions. Traditionally dandruff is treated using a large number of medicinal herbs but the complete cure is far from reach. The present investigation dealt with study of the potentiality of Evolvulus alsinoides, Lawsonia inermis, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Azadirachta indica and Murraya koenigii against Malassezia furfur. The work was also emphasized in determining the minimum fungicidal concentration of each plant extracts against Malassezia sp. to know the efficiency of the herbs in treating dandruff. The results obtained were promising that it would help in formulating a polyherbal mixture to treat dandruff and enrich hair growth.
Full-text available
Objective: To evaluate antihypertensive effects of methanolic extract of Evolvulus alsinoides herb (MEEA) in adrenaline induced hypertensive rats. Methods: MEEA of authentified sample was prepared using soxhlet extraction using methanol as an extracting solvent. Antihypertensive effect of MEEA was investigated using adrenaline induced hypertension in wistar rats. Hypertension like condition i.e. raised in systolic and diastolic blood pressure was induced in rats by i.p. administration of adrenaline (0.5 mg/kg/100 μL). % inhibition in systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), mean arterial blood pressure (MABP) and pulse pressure (PP) were measured in MEEA (600 mg/kg, i.p.); propranolol, nifedipine and enalapril (standards) using tail-cuff apparatus with BIOPAC power lab to evaluate antihypertensive effect. Results: Induction in SBP, DBP, MABP and PP were significantly decreased in MEEA treated rats as compared to disease control group (p<0.001/ p<0.01/ p<0.05). % inhibition in SBP, DBP, MABP and PP were significantly increased in MEEA, propranolol, nifedipine and enalapril treated rats as compared to disease control group (p<0.001/ p<0.01/ p<0.05). Conclusion: MEEA possess significant antihypertensive activity in adrenaline induced hypertensive rats.
Full-text available
Sankhaholi (Evolvulus alsinoides Linn.) has been used to improve brain power, memory and to treat various psychiatric disorders. A single blind, placebo controlled study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of Sankhaholi in 60 patients of Anxiety neurosis, belonging to 18-50 yrs of age group of both sexes. The severity of anxiety symptoms was assessed by Hamilton's Anxiety Rating Scale (HARS), which was administered at baseline, at every week for 4 weeks, and then at 6th week of treatment (the treatment end point). In Drug group, the mean HARS score before treatment was 22.26, which was trimmed down to 12.21 after 6 weeks treatment. Whereas, in placebo group, pre-treatment mean HARS score was 23.78 and post treatment HARS score were 24.07. Sankhaholi markedly relieved anxiety symptoms without producing any side effects. Statistically the results of Sankhaholi were determined highly significant as compared to the results of placebo.
The in vivo evaluation of the alcoholic extract of Evolvulus alsinoides revealed its marked antiulcer and anticatatonic activity.
Objective: To explore the anti-hyperlipidemic and anti-tumor effect of ethanolic extract of Evolvulus alsinoides, its chloroform fraction and isolated components in Triton-induced hyperlipidemic rats. Methods: Animals were administered with intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of Triton WR 1339 at a dose of 400 mg/kg body weight. After 24 h of Triton administration the test drugs were administered orally at a dose of 200 mg/kg body weight in rats. The ethanolic extract and stigmast-5-en-3β-ol from Evolvulus alsinoides were further investigated for the tumor take inhibitory activity in hybrid mice (of C57BL strain + Swiss albino strain). Preventive group animals were injected daily with the extract and stigmast-5-en-3β-ol at dose of 50 mg/kg body weight i.p. for 10 consecutive days. The animals were observed for the growth of tumor after injection of B16F10 melanoma cells into the dorsal skin of mice. Results: Stigmast-5-en-3β-ol showed a marked antihyperlipidemic potential by reducing the total cholesterol, triglycerides, low density lipoproteins level, and significantly increased high density lipoprotein level compared with other isolated component. Pretreatment with the drug showed delay tumor growth by increasing the volume doubling time and growth delay. The stigmast-5-en-3β-ol showed better mean survival time. Conclusion: The supplementation of antioxidants and phytosterols rich food Evolvulus alsinoides has significant tumor take inhibitory activity.
The study was conducted to evaluate the hepatoprotective potentials of aqueous extracts of Convolvulus pluricaulis leaves against thiocetamide induced liver damage in rats. The acute oral toxicity study was conducted as per OECD guidelines 420 and the extract was proved to be safe up to the dose of 2000 mg/kg. The total duration of the study was 21 days and animals were divided into six groups. Hepatotoxicity was induced in the animals of all groups except normal control by single dose administration of thioacetamide (100 mg/kg) at first day of the study followed by animals were treated daily with standard drug sylimarine and aqueous extract of Convovulus pluricaulis (200 mg/kg, 400 mg/kg and 600 mg/kg) to respective groups for 21 days. Variations in biochemical parameters like alanine transferase (ALT), aspartate transferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), total bilurubin, direct bilirubin, albumin, total protein, ions and others parameters like clotting time and weight of the liver were considered to determine beneficial effect of the extract. At the end of the study liver samples were collected and subjected to histopathological evaluation. In control animals treated with Thioacetamide alone there were variations in the above-mentioned parameters. But in the animals treated with aqueous extract and standard drug silymarine, all the parameters were normal possibly due to their beneficial property in protecting the liver against thioacetamde induced hepatotoxicity. The results obtained in the above study suggesting that, the aqueous extract of Convolvulus pluricaulis posses significant hepatoprotective activity.