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A review on critically endangered species of Acanthacea: Justicia beddomei (Clarke) bennet: An immune booster Remya A and Sunil Kumar KN

  • Central Council for Research in Siddha
  • Central Council for Research in Siddha


Justicia beddomei (Clarke) Bennet, a member of Acanthaceae, is endemic to the Southern Western Ghats. This plant shows remarkable similarities with J. adhatoda L., and the only morphological difference is the smaller size of both leaves and inflorescence. J. beddomei has an abundance of phytochemicals and widely used in traditional medicinal systems such as Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani. The phytochemicals present in the spewcies possess immense anti-bacterial, cytotoxic, anthelmintic, analgesic, antioxidant activities. Vasicoline, a major phytochemical proved for the treatment for Covid 19. At present, the plant is listed under IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered category. Protecting species from extinction, enhancing ecosystem services and protecting biological diversity are important for maintaining a healthy ecosystem. The review reveals the importance of conservation of this plant for the fitness of the ecosystem and the development of traditional medicine for the future.
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Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies 2020; 8(6): 94-98
ISSN (E): 2320-3862
ISSN (P): 2394-0530
NAAS Rating: 3.53
JMPS 2020; 8(6): 94-98
© 2020 JMPS
Received: 07-09-2020
Accepted: 09-10-2020
Remya A
Department of Pharmacognosy,
Siddha Central Research
Institute (CCRS, Ministry of
AYUSH, Govt of India),
Arumbakkam, Chennai,
Tamil Nadu, India
Sunil Kumar KN
Department of Pharmacognosy,
Siddha Central Research
Institute (CCRS, Ministry of
AYUSH, Govt of India),
Arumbakkam, Chennai,
Tamil Nadu, India
Corresponding Author:
Sunil Kumar KN
Department of Pharmacognosy,
Siddha Central Research
Institute (CCRS, Ministry of
AYUSH, Govt of India),
Arumbakkam, Chennai,
Tamil Nadu, India
A review on critically endangered species of
Acanthacea: Justicia beddomei (Clarke) bennet:
An immune booster
Remya A and Sunil Kumar KN
Justicia beddomei (Clarke) Bennet, a member of Acanthaceae, is endemic to the Southern Western
Ghats. This plant shows remarkable similarities with J. adhatoda L., and the only morphological
difference is the smaller size of both leaves and inflorescence. J. beddomei has an abundance of
phytochemicals and widely used in traditional medicinal systems such as Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani.
The phytochemicals present in the spewcies possess immense anti-bacterial, cytotoxic, anthelmintic,
analgesic, antioxidant activities. Vasicoline, a major phytochemical proved for the treatment for Covid
19. At present, the plant is listed under IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered category. Protecting
species from extinction, enhancing ecosystem services and protecting biological diversity are important
for maintaining a healthy ecosystem. The review reveals the importance of conservation of this plant for
the fitness of the ecosystem and the development of traditional medicine for the future.
Keywords: Adathodai, critically endangered, conservation, substitute, Vasaka
India’s traditional medicinal system flourished because of the diversity and abundance of
medicinal plants. These plants and their derived parts play a key role in the treatment of
several ailments of human beings. Nearly 1500 and 1200 species of plants are used in drug
preparation for Ayurveda and Siddha respectively [1]. Acanthaceae is a large family of
dicotyledonous plants comprising of more than 4300 species and distributed worldwide having
a lot of medicinally important plants [2]. The largest member of this family is Justicia which
comprises about more than 600 species distributed in the tropical and pantropical regions,
nearly 50 species occur in India and are distributed in the temperate regions [3, 5].
J. beddomei is endemic to the Southern Western Ghats in locations like Kerala, Valparai
(South Arcot), Akkamalai (Coimbatore) and Mahendragiri (Kanniyakumari) [6]. It is included
in the IUCN Red List category as Critically Endangered Species [7]. The plants are commonly
known as Malabar Nut because of the resemblance with J. adhatoda. It is morphologically
similar to J. adhatoda and the only visible difference is the smaller size of leaves and terminal
spike inflorescence with more tailed anthers [8]. J. beddomei, very commonly used in the
traditional medicinal systems like Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani as diuretic, antispasmodic,
expectorant, anti-asthmatic, febrifuge, styptic and tonic [9]. The leaves are very effective for the
treatment of irritable cough, diarrhoea and haemoptysis [10]. The medicinal properties of plants
are broadly used for the treatment of leprosy, blood disorders, heart troubles, thirst, fever,
vomiting, cough, asthma [11], diseases of eyes, bleeding diarrhoea, dysentery, bronchitis,
inflammation, jaundice, tumours, mouth-troubles, sore-eye, gonorrhoea, tuberculosis,
haemorrhage and haemorrhoids [12].
The prevailing status of this plant reveals that the unconstrained use of natural products
inversely affects the balance of the ecosystem. Crucial conservation of the ecosystem is
important for the healthy existence of each member.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Angiosperms
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Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies
Class: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Acanthaceae
Genus: Justicia
Species: J. beddomei
Common names
English: Malbar Nut
Hindi: Adusa, arusa
Kannada: Sann-adusoge, aadusoge, addalasa, addasara,
byaaladamara, vaasa
Malayalam: Cheriyaatalotakam, cittatalotakam
Sanskrit: Vasa, vrsah
Tamil: Adutota, cittadalodakam
Telugu: Addasaramu
These are large diffusely branched shrubs wit cylindrical
striated stem with swollen nodes. The simple leaves arranged
opposite and nearly 5 to 10 cm long and 3 to 4 cm wide and
glabrous; apex ovate to acuminate with entire margin; base
acute and petiole short; 8 paired main nerves arranged
The flowers are small terminal spikes; calyx with 5 sepals of
5 mm in length; petals 1.25 cm long with 2 lips; pubescent
outside and dull white in colour; upper lip emarginated and
deflexed lower lip with 3 lobes; 4 stamens with hairy
filaments at the base; 2 celled ovary and each cell with 2
ovules; style pubescent. Fruit a clavate capsule with a long
solid base and the seeds 1 or 2, suborbicular, compressed and
rugose [13, 14].
Pharmacognostical studies are the easiest way to sort out
morphologically similar adulterant/substitute plants used in
the medicinal system. J. beddomei and J. adhatoda are
morphologically similar and the one who is unaware of plants
will misidentify these two. The characteristic features of the
family Acanthaceae are the presence of cystoliths in leaf
lamina and petiole. But in J. beddomei these characteristic
cystoliths are absent15. There is no further anatomical or
pharmacognostical studies about this plant reported yet.
Preliminary phytochemical analysis of the plant J. beddomei
reported various types of phytochemicals. The phytochemical
investigation of different parts revealed the presence of the
bioactive compounds like alkaloids, tannins, disaccharides,
flavonoids, phenolics and glycosides [16, 17]. The important
biologically active chemicals and their properties are
tabulated in Table 1. The chemicals in which detailed
pharmacological studies are not carried out are 7-octadecyne;
2-methyl, 9,12,15-octadecatrienal; β-sophoroside; anisotine;
hexadecanoic acid, ethyl ester; phosphoric acid, diethyl pentyl
ester; flavonoids like luteolin; alkane like tritriacontane;
quinazoline alkaloid like adhavasinone, deoxyvasicinone,
vasakin, vasicinine, vasicinol, vasicinolone, vasicol,
vasicolinone, vasicolone and Vasicine18-21.
Table 1: Chemicals and properties of Justicia beddomei (Clarke) Bennet
Chemical formula
1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid,
mono(2-ethylhexyl ester) [21]
Cytotoxic [22]
Adhatodic acid [18]
Tuberculosis, sore throat [23], expectorant, bronchodilator, antibacterial [24],
antiasthmatic [25]
Adhatodine [18]
Aminophylline [18]
Asthma or other chronic lung diseases like chronic bronchitis and emphysema,
prevent apnea in preterm infants [27].
Campesterol [21]
Lowering LDLs and cholesterol [28]
Carotene [18]
Precursor of vitamin A [29], anti-cancer [30], antioxidant [31]
Kaempferol [18]
Antioxidant by reducing oxidative stress, antibacterial agent, human xenobiotic
metabolite, blood serum metabolite, urinary metabolite and currently under
consideration as a possible cancer treatment [32]
Lupeol [18]
Anti-cancerous [33]
O-Ethyl S-2-dimethylaminoethyl
methylphosphonothiolate [21]
Used as a quick-acting military chemical nerve agent [34].
Phytol [21]
Antinociceptive, antioxidant35, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic [36], immunostimulant,
activation of both innate and acquired immunity [37].
Squalene [21]
Advantages for the skin as an emollient and antioxidant, and for hydration and its
antitumor activities [38]
Stigmasterol [21]
Maintain the structure and physiology of cell membrane [39], lowering the levels of
LDLs [40]
Vasicine (peganine) [19]
Bronchodilator activity in-vitro and in vivo [41], uterine stimulant, respiratory
stimulant, cardiac depressant (combined with vasicinone) [42]
Vasicinone [20]
Bronchodilatory (in vitro) bronchoconstictory (in vivo) [43], antianaphyactic [44]
Vasicoline [18]
Effect for the treatment for COVID 19, diseases related to respiratory problems [45]
Vitamin E [21]
Antioxidant [46]
Vitamin C [18]
Antioxidant [47]
β-Sitosterol [19]
Antiinflammatory48, chemoprotective [49], hypocholesterolemic [50],
immunomodulatory [51]
Pharmacological activities
J. beddomei has a predominant role in the traditional medical
systems in India. The pharmacological activities are studied
for the further development of drug research. The following
activities of the plant are studied.
Anthelmintic activity
The antihelminthic activity of ethanolic as well as chloroform
extract of J. beddomei leaves was tested against Indian
earthworms. Different doses of 10 mg/ml, 20 mg/ml and 50
mg/ml of each extract were tested and compared with the
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Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies
standard drug Piperazine citrate. The result observed that the
death/paralysis of the worms increased with increasing
concentration. Effectiveness of the extracts was inversely
proportional to the time taken for paralysis of the worms. The
50 mg/ml ethanolic extract was more efficient than the
chloroform extract for the killing of worms. The current study
suggested that the ethanolic extract may be effective against
the worms in human [52].
Analgesic activity
The analgesic activity of different concentration of ethanolic
extract of J. beddomei leaves was evaluated in albino rats
using Eddy’s hot plate method [54]. The activity of the 100
mg/kg and 50 mg/kg was compared with the standard 15
mg/kg morphine sulphate. The result showed that the 90
minutes administration of test extract of 100 mg/kg possesses
significant analgesic activity. Due to the presence of
alkaloids, carbohydrates and tannins, the extract engenders
noticeable analgesic effect. The exact modes of action of the
biologically active compound responsible for the activity are
not studied, which minimise the efficacy of the results53.
Antioxidant activity
The powdered aerial parts of J.beddomei were extracted using
petroleum ether, chloroform, ethyl acetate and methanol.
Standard protocols followed for screening the preliminary
phytochemicals. The tests like DPPH, hydroxyl radical,
superoxide anion radical scavenging abilities, β-carotene-
linoleic acid model, reducing power ability, nitric oxide
scavenging assay of all the extracts were evaluated for
analyzing their potential antioxidant activities. The results
were compared with ascorbic acid, Butylated hydroxytoluene
and catechin standards and the concentration and efficacy
were directly proportionate. Because of the presence of
phenolic and flavonoid, all the extracts showed strong
antioxidant activity [16, 21].
Anti-cancer and XOI activities
In vitro anticancer and xanthine oxidase inhibitory (XOI)
activities were investigated with the methanolic extract of
dried aerial parts of J. beddomei which was compared with
the standard 2.4-40 µg/ml Allopurinol. The extract was
exposed to MTT colourimetric assay in HeLa and MCF-7 cell
lines for XOI activity and cytotoxic activity. Increased dosage
of the methanolic extract showed increased anticancer and
XOI activities (200 µg/ml and 40 µg/ml respectively). The
presence of flavonoids and phenolic compounds of the extract
contributed towards the inhibitory activities against cancer
and Xanthine Oxides [54].
Anti-diabetic activities
Whole plant ethanolic extract induced to the alloxan-induced
diabetic rats showed a reduction of diabetes in rats. Further
studies needed for the identification of specific
phytochemicals involved in this 55].
Cytotoxic activity
Endophytes are known for their cytotoxic activities. The
endophytes found in J. beddomei were tested for its
cytotoxicity. Ethyl extracts of the plant J. beddomei and its
endophytic fungi showed cytotoxic activity. The preliminary
phytochemicals were screened out and the MTT assay of the
extract was carried out on lung adenocarcinoma cells. The
results revealed that the bioactivity was three times than that
of the host plant. Endophytes are known for the production of
novel secondary metabolites with a broad spectrum of activity
according to their host. Aspergillus fumigates found in J.
beddomei increased the cytotoxicity [56].
Other activities
The pharmacologically active phytochemicals present in this
plant revealed important activities like antipyretic, anti-
inflammatory, anthelmintic, antiseptic, antidiabetic, blood
coagulant, a bronchodilator, disinfectant, antioxidant,
hepatoprotective, anti-jaundice, expectorant and has many
other medicinal applications [57, 60]. The unavailability and the
increasing demand of the plant may have reduced further
Molecular studies
The morphological characters of J. adhatoda and J. beddomei
are almost similar. It is very difficult to distinguish them
based on the taxonomic or phenotypic characters. Analyzing
the molecular aspects is the correct identification strategies in
such cases. PCR-RFLP of selected nuclear ribosomal ITS
amplicon along with sequence variability was used for the
molecular studies. The already sequenced J. adhatoda was
reported in NCBI as 687 bp and the direct sequencing of the
gel-purified ITS amplicon yielded a 624 bp sequence for J.
beddomei. It is clear that through the phylogenetic tree J.
beddomei and J. adhatoda were sister groups and distinct
species with common ancestors. The ITS sequences of J.
beddomei and J. adhatoda contained unique recognition sites
for specific restriction enzymes for which all the species were
distinct in their PCR-RFLP patterns. When the ITS amplicons
of the four selected Justicia species were subjected to
restricted digestion with EcoRI or SfoI, it yielded the
expected restricted products. The ITS sequences and PCR-
RFLP were successful in resolving the ambiguity that existed
among the species of Justicia [61].
Seed germination and stem cutting are the main propagules
for J. beddomei. Studies showed that seed germination and
propagation through stem cutting are very low [62]. Micro-
propagation ways like tissue culture are the easiest way to
propagate these type of plants. Rapid propagation through
nodal explants in MS medium supplemented with BAP
achieved shoot multiplication. Increasing concentration of
BAP resulted in an increase in shoot development and IAA
and NAA concentration affected the root development. It was
suggested that hardening of the plant in an organic
supplemented soil environment will get the better result63.
Clonal propagation of explants was achieved through callus
free axillary meristem proliferation in SH medium from the
stem node explants. Shoot multiplication increased by the
result of cytokinin along with the synergetic effect of auxin.
Five to 10 shoots was obtained in 5 to 6 weeks with the effect
of 3.0 mg.l−1 BAP, 0.5 mg.l−1 2-ip and 1.0 mg.l−1 IAA.
Rooting was obtained in the medium containing 0.2 mg.l−1
IBA or IAA. Hardening the plants in humidity chamber
showed 95% of survival rate. They flowered in 15 months
with no cytological defects shows a good result of
micropropagation [64].
J. beddomei, the plants are medicinally very important and its
presence is inevitable. The detailed pharmacological activities
about the phytochemicals found in J. beddomei are absent or
insufficient. Primary phytochemical studies revealed the
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Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies
presence of several chemicals. Most of these chemicals are
similar to J. adhatoda, which are efficient for the treatment of
various disorders. Molecular studies revealed that these two
plants emerged from a common ancestor, so shows the
remarkable similarities. Recently in traditional medicine, J.
adhatoda acquired its position. The unavailability of J.
beddomei makes limited studies and restricted use in
medicinal fields. The distribution of the plant is restricted at
the elevation of 1000 m, overexploitation for the medicinal
and research purpose leads to the rapid depletion of this
important plant from its natural habitat65. From 1998 the plant
is listed in IUCN Red List as endangered and again the count
is reduced to become critically endangered6,7. The
conservation of the plants is very important for the
development of the traditional medicinal system. Recent
studies show that the phytochemicals found in J. beddomei
are used against viral infected diseases such as COVID 19.
The propagation of the plants is very difficult, so we have to
develop new propagation strategies like tissue culture. The
ecosystem is balanced because of the equal distribution of
flora and fauna. The involvement of human being makes a
disturbed ecosystem which will adversely affect the whole.
The plant J. beddomei, not used as an adulterant or substitute,
shows its effect on the medicinal field confronts adverse
riddles from the ecosystem. The extinction of these types of
medicinally important plants will lead to developing new
strategies to conserve them.
From the current review, we concluded that the conservation
of J. beddomei could be useful for the development of
commercial as well as traditional drugs on a detailed
exploration of phytochemicals and pharmacological actions
after needful mass cultivation is practised.
The authors express their grateful acknowledgement to the
Director In-charge, SCRI, Chennai and Prof Dr Kanakavalli,
Director General, CCRS, Chennai for their support.
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The extent of genetic diversity within a species is an important determinant of successful adaptation to adverse environmental conditions. Assessment of extent of genetic diversity/variability is also important to monitor genetic erosion within a species. In threatened plant species, genetic diversity assessment helps in selection of genetically diverse populations to enrich the genetically impoverished populations, thus minimizing the probability of genetic drift. Confirming taxonomic identity of threatened species, particularly those belonging to species complexes with dispute identity, is another essential task in the conservation of threatened species, which is best resolved through molecular approaches. The present study estimated the genetic variability within and among the populations of four threatened species, viz. Justicia beddomei (C.B. Clarke) Bennet (Acanthaceae), Embelia ribes Burm. f. (Myrsinaceae), Madhuca insignis (Radlk.) H.J. Lam (Sapotaceae) and Cycas beddomei Dyer (Cycadaceae) using Inter Simple Sequence Repeat (ISSR) and Simple Sequence Repeat (SSR) markers for selecting the genetically diverse populations. The phylogeny was analysed through ITS (nrDNA) and matK (cpDNA) sequences to confirm the species identity. The phylogenetic analyses confirmed four distinct species of Justicia, which also revealed that J. bed-domei and J. adhatoda were sister groups with a common ancestor showing rapid parallel speciation with J. gendarussa in one clade and J. betonica in another. Madhuca insignis with extremely small population in the Western Ghats (Karnataka to Kerala) might have undergone either extensive hybridization or incipient speciation. In case of Embelia species, a greater evolutionary closeness between E. subcoraceae and E. flori-bunda was revealed, while E. ribes had a distinct clad. Both ISSR and SSR markers distinguished various genotypes of Cycas beddomei.
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Phytosterols are bioactive compounds found in foods of plant origin, which can be divided into plant sterols and plant stanols. Clinical studies consistently indicate that the intake of phytosterols (2 g/day) is associated with a significant reduction (8-10%) in levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol). Thus, several guidelines recommend the intake of 2 g/day of plant sterols and/or stanols in order to reduce LDL-cholesterol levels. As the typical western diet contains only about 300 mg/day of phytosterols, foods enriched with phytosterols are usually used to achieve the recommended intake. Although phytosterols decrease LDL-cholesterol levels, there is no evidence that they reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases; on the contrary, some studies suggest an increased risk of atherosclerosis with increasing serum levels of phytosterols. This review aims to address the evidence available in the literature on the relationship between phytosterols and risk of cardiovascular disease.
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Acanthaceae family is derived from the Scrophulariaceae or stocks ancestral to them. Hutchinson considered it as the most advanced family of his Personales. The family includes large number of ornamentals and has high therapeutic applications mainly due to alkaloids present in the leaves. Taxonomic Considerations (Phylogeny): Acanthaceae is divided into two subfamilies depending upon the presence or absence of jaculators, i.e. the curved retinacula which support the seeds. Justicia adhatoda (L.) Nees (family Acanthaceae) is a shrub widespread throughout the tropical regions of Southeast Asia. This plant has great medicinal value.
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With the aim of controlling drug resistant Plasmodium falciparum, a computational attemptof designing novel adduct antimalarial drugs through the molecular docking method ofcombining chloroquine with five alkaloids, individually is presented. These alkaloids wereobtained from the medicinal plant, Adhatoda vasica. From the obtained individual dockingvalues of important derivatives of quinine and chloroquine, as well as, individual alkaloidsand adduct agents of chloroquine with Adhatoda alkaloids as ligands, it was discerniblethat the ‘adduct agent-1 with chloroquine and adhatodine’ combination had the minimumenergy of interaction, as the docking score value of −11.144 kcal/mol against the targetprotein, triosephosphate isomerase (TIM), the key enzyme of glycolytic pathway. Drug resistance of P. falciparum is due to a mutation in the polypeptide of TIM. Moratorium of mutantTIM would disrupt the metabolism during the control of the drug resistant P. falciparum. Thisin silico work helped to locate the ‘adduct agent-1 with chloroquine and adhatodine’, whichcould be taken up by pharmacology for further development of this compound as a newdrug against drug resistant Plasmodium.
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The in vitro antibacterial activities of 29 traditional medicinal plants used in respiratory ailments were assessed on multidrug resistant Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria isolated from the sore throat patients and two reference strains. The methanolic, n-hexane, and aqueous extracts were screened by the agar well diffusion assay. Bioactive fractions of effective extracts were identified on TLC coupled with bioautography, while their toxicity was determined using haemolytic assay against human erythrocytes. Qualitative and quantitative phytochemical analysis of effective extracts was also performed. Methanolic extract of 18 plants showed antimicrobial activity against test strains. Adhatoda vasica (ZI = 17–21 mm, MIC: 7.12–62.5 μ g/mL), Althaea officinalis (ZI = 16–20 mm, MIC: 15.62–31.25 μ g/mL), Cordia latifolia (ZI = 16–20 mm, MIC: 12.62–62.5 μ g/mL), Origanum vulgare (ZI = 20–22 mm, MIC: 3–15.62 μ g/mL), Thymus vulgaris (ZI = 21–25 mm, MIC: 7.81–31.25 μ g/mL), and Ziziphus jujuba (ZI = 14–20 mm, MIC: 7.81–31.25 μ g/mL) showed significant antibacterial activity. Alkaloid fractions of Adhatoda vasica , Cordia latifolia , and Origanum vulgare and flavonoid fraction of the Althaea officinalis , Origanum vulgare , Thymus Vulgaris , and Ziziphus jujuba exhibited antimicrobial activity. Effective plant extracts show 0.93–0.7% erythrocyte haemolysis. The results obtained from this study provide a scientific rationale for the traditional use of these herbs and laid the basis for future studies to explore novel antimicrobial compounds.
The present study formulates a method for comprehensive production of vasicinone, a quinazoline alkaloid, from multiple plant parts of in vitro and in-field-grown Justicia beddomei. HPTLC analysis of plant parts was executed with methanolic extract using toluene: butanol: butyl acetate (9:0.5:0.5; v/v/v) as the solvent system. Validation of methodology was accomplished using TLC plates (silica gel 60 F254-pre-coated aluminium sheet) following the ICH manual to maintain accuracy, precision and repeatability with a linearity ranging 2–6 μg/spot. Validation data offers precision to the methodology adapted in the present study (LOD 1 μg/spot and LOQ 3 μg/spot). It was evident that in vitro samples produced relatively higher levels of vasicinone than that of their in-field counterparts. The highest vasicinone (2.07±0.025% of dry weight) production was quantified from in vitro stem, signifying a new resource for the production of vasicinone from identified parts of in vitro and in-field propagated J. beddomei plants.
In plants, sterols are found in free form (free sterols, FSs) and conjugated as steryl esters (SEs), steryl glycosides (SGs) and acyl steryl glycosides (ASGs). Conjugated sterols are ubiquitously found in plants but their relative contents highly differ among species and their profile may change in response to developmental and environmental cues. SEs play a central role in membrane sterol homeostasis and also represent a storage pool of sterols in particular plant tissues. SGs and ASGs are main components of the plant plasma membrane (PM) that specifically accumulate in lipid rafts, PM microdomains known to mediate many relevant cellular processes. There are increasing evidences supporting the involvement of conjugated sterols in plant stress responses. In spite of this, very little is known about their metabolism. At present, only a limited number of genes encoding enzymes participating in conjugated sterol metabolism have been cloned and characterized in plants. The aim of this review is to update the current knowledge about the tissue and cellular distribution of conjugated sterols in plants and the enzymes involved in their biosynthesis. We also discuss novel aspects on the role of conjugated sterols in plant development and stress responses recently unveiled using forward- and reverse-genetic approaches.
Pharmacological, animal toxicity, pharmacokinetic, formulation and stability studies carried out and reported from this Institute in recent years indicated that vasicine, the alkaloid of Adhatoda vasica, holds promise for its use as an oxytocic/abortifacient in therapeutics. This report covers the investigations on its clinical pharmacology carried out on 24 human volunteers with 0.5-16 mg dose of vasicine injected i.v. in 500 ml saline in 3 hours, with the objective of determining any acute human toxicity, tolerance, pharmacological action, any untoward effect and the safe dosage range. Vasicine tried up to a 16 mg dose on the hospital in-patients on 2nd to 8th day of normal puerperium was well tolerated and showed no undesirable effect in clinical observations, haematological and biochemical investigations and kidney and liver function tests carried out before, during and after vasicine treatment. However, the uterus became firm and contracted after vasicine treatment, which indicated its effectiveness as an oxytocic.