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Kigelia pinnata DC. (Sausage Tree) - A Medicinal Plant with great future perspectivesBY: Dr. Dinesh Chand | Category: Agriculture | Submitted: 2017-04-12 01:58:26
Article Summary: "This article gives an account of botanical description, phyto-chemical contents, medicinal and traditional uses of Kigelia pinnata or Sausage tree. Besides its use as a street tree/garden tree, it is known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial properties. .."
Kigelia pinnata DC. (Sausage Tree) - A Medicinal Plant with great future perspectives
Authors: Dinesh Chand, Nilamani Dikshit, Smita Shingane and Sunil Gomashe
National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, Regional Station, Dr. PDKV Campus, Akola-444104, Maharashtra
Kigelia pinnata DC (Synonym- Crescentia pinnata Jacq.) belongs to family Bignoniaceae is a medium to large sized, evergreen tree with spreading crown. It is commonly known as African sausage tree, Cucumber tree, Fetish tree, Zumbar. There are many medicinal claims for the sausage tree and research has identified several interesting compounds. Many of which are known to have medicinal properties like anti- microbial, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial , anti-inflammatory, plant dietary supplements and many more traditional uses.
Plants and plant based products have been used traditionally by native inhabitants in India from ancient times. A variety of uses pertaining to plants, appears in the ancient Indian Sanskrit literature like“Rigveda” (4000-1500 B.C.), “Atharvaveda” (1500 B.C.), “Upnishada ” (1000-600 B.C.), “Mahabharata and Puranas ” (700-400B.C.) etc. These include uses of plants for worship, medicines, food, fuel and tools used in Agriculture. Two major important literature on medicinal plants “Charaka Samhita” and “Sushruta Samhita” were published during (1000 B.C. to 600B.C.). India is amongst the few pioneers in the development and practice of well documented indigenous systems of medicine, the more important being “Ayurveda” and “Unani”. From the ancient times , the Indian population have largely depended upon plant based crude drugs for the treatment of a variety of ailments. Ayurveda has incorporated a number of plant species in the control of a variety of domestic ailments of human beings. Homoeopathy, which is largely plant based, uses a number of Indian plants. The allopathic system still has a number of plant based drugs. Modern phytochemical and pharmacological studies have confirmed the therapeutic potential of many plant species used in medicinal biochemistry, formulation of modern medicines, modern researches and many more. The genus Kigelia consists of economic, medicinal and ornamental plants and also has great cultural importance. So keeping in view of the importance of Kigelia pinnata as medicinal crop of the future, the information mainly based on available literature are compiled and presented.
It is a medium to large sized, evergreen tree with spreading crown belonging to family Bignoniacae. It is commonly known as African susage tree, Cucumber tree, Fetish tree, Zumbar. The bark is rough, creamy white. The leaves are large with about 7-12cm in length and 4-6cm in width, imparipinnate, leaflets 6-10, oblong- ovate, coriaceous, obtuse, crowded near the ends of the branches in opposite manner. The flowers are large, showy, some what cup shaped, scarlet or deep maroon coloured with a foetid smell, arising on 0.8 to 1.5 cm long racemes at the ends of rope-like long flowering stems about1.0 mt.- 2.3mt. long from the base of the branch. The flowers borne in clusters usually cluster of three, out of which only one or two flowers open at a time. They bloom at night and fall down before the following noon. The flower with bell - shaped calyx which is 3 to 5 lobe, Calyx 4 fused sepals (length 3.6 cm and width 1.8 cm), corolla so consists of 5 fused petals (length 8.7 cm and width 10.9 cm) which are yellow at the base red on the top with a cylindrical tube, bilabiate limb with 3 lobed lower lip and 2 lobed upper lips and androecium (stamens) 4 in numbers. Outer two are big (5.6 cm) in size and inner two are small (5.0 cm) in size. Light purple in colour, exerted; Anthers are dorsifixed and the (length 1.2cm in size while the width is 0.4 cm) in size. Gynoecium (length 10.5 cm) is purple at the base and creamish white in the middle. The ovary bicarpellary syncarpus, one celled. The fruits are large, sausage shaped or gourd like brown, whitish-grey, 20-32 × 7.26-9.0cm, indehiscent pod, hanging on cord-like stalks. Seeds are embedded in a fibre pulp. Flowering occurs from February to September. Fruit can be seen hanging for long time. It is commonly grown in the plains in avenues and in garden.
Traditional Medicinal Uses:
Sausage tree has various uses as described on the basis of personal experiences by the users (Jackson, 1995; Jackson et al. 1996 and Saini et al. 2009). Few uses include application of plaster prepared from mature fruits and green fruits to treat wounds and rheumatism. Paste of leaves is also used to treat backache. A blended mixture consisting of powdered roots, bark and fruits for treatment of abdominal illness and pneumonia in children (Watt and Breyer- Brandwijk, 1962). This is also useful to treat epilepsy (Gelfand et al.1985). Roots of this tree are used for gynecological disorders, abdominal discomfort and tape worm treatments. The fruit is said to be purgative in nature and unripe fruit is reported as highly poisonous if taken orally (Watt and Breyer- Brandwijk, 1962). Fruit may cause blisters on tongue and skin showing allergic reaction (Roberts, 1990; Vercourt and Trump 1969).
Non-Medicinal uses: While baboons are known to eat the fruits, the pulp of unripe fruits are said to be poisonous to humans. However, slices of mature baked fruits are used to ferment and flavour traditional African beer (Laswai, 1997).The seeds of ripe fruits can also be roasted in warm ash and consumed and are reported to be energy-rich, with significant amounts of phosphorus, protein and lipids. In turn, the seed oil is rich in oleic acid and essential fatty acids, and has potential to be an important nutritional resource (Chivandi et al. 2011). Additionally, the leaves of Kigelia pinnata have been positioned as an important nutritional resource, comparable to other green leafy vegetables such as spinach (Glew et al.2010). They are consumed by lactating woman in various parts of sub-Saharan Africa as they are thought to enhance the volume and quantity of breast milk. The dried leaves contain levels of essential amino acids that may provide beneficial health benefits as well as other mineral and nutrients including calcium, magnesium and iron.
Table 1. Phytochemicals compositions of Kigelia pinnata DC
Table 2. Nutritional uses of Kigelia pinnata
Table 3. Traditional uses
Table 5. Commercial Applications of Kigelia pinnata (Fruit Extracts )
Disclaimer: The information given in the above article regarding various uses of Sausage tree is merely a compilation of information from various research articles, web pages and books available online. Authors are not responsible for the medicinal or any other use reported here.
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About Author / Additional Info:
Working as a Senior Scientist (Economic Botany & Plant Genetic Resources) at ICAR-NBPGR, Regional Station, Akola, Maharashtra
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