Medicinal values of Cassia auriculata
Medicinal plants are used traditionally to prevent or cure diseases all over the world. The scientific documentation of herbal remedies had proved to be beneficial in the further multidirectional researches including drug development. The medicinal values of these plants lie in bioactive phytochemical constituents that produce definite physiological action on the human body currently there is increasing focus on global searches for new drugs derived from natural plant resources.
In India history of health care goes back to 5000 years B.C, when health care needs and diseases were noted in ancient literature like "Rig Veda" and Atharva Veda. Later the texts like "Charak Samhita" and "Sushruta Samhita" were documented in about 1000 years B.C, where use of plants and polyherbal formulations was highlighted for health care.
Evolution of Ayurveda and plant -based remedies for health care through day-to-day life experiences is a part of cultural heritage of India. In almost all the traditional systems of medicine, the medicinal plants play a key role and constitute their backbone. Indian material medica includes about 2000 drugs of natural compounds almost all of which are derived from different traditional systems and folk fore practices.
Phytochemicals are compounds found in plants that are not required for normal functioning of the body, but have a beneficial effect on health or play an active role in amelioration of diseases. In fact, some people claim that many of the diseases afflicting human beings, for example, they may have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, cancer preventive, antidiabetic, and antihypertensive effects to mention but a few. The phytochemical constituent of a plant will often determine the physiological action on the human body (Pamplona-Roger, 1998).
The use of plant compounds for Pharmaceutical purpose has gradually increased. According to the world health organization, medicinal plants would be the source to obtain a variety of drugs.
India is already a major exporter of medicinal plants. Infectious diseases are one of the important health hazards all over the world, both in developing and developed countries. Several synthetic antibiotics are employed in the treatment of infections and communicable diseases.
Higher aromatic plants have traditionally been used in the folk medicine as well as to extend the shelf life of foods, showing inhibition against bacteria, fungi, and yeasts (Hulin et al., 1998). Polar solvent extracts possessed strong antibacterial activity.
Cassia species are rich sources of Polyphenols, Anthraquinone derivatives, Flavanoids, Polysaccharides, Saponins, Tannins, and Steroids. Some of the Cassia species are rich in Glycerides with linoleic, oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids .Cassia species are well known for their laxative and purgative constituents, and are also used for the treatment of skin diseases.
Cassia auriculata is one of the herbaceous plant that found throughout central and southern India, also cultivated in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The shrub usually occurs on roadsides, waste line, and railway embankments. Leaves are anthelmintic and also used to treat ulcers, skin diseases, and leprosy. An aqueous extract of leaves possesses hypoglycemic activity. The leaves are eaten as a vegetable in times of scarcity, the infusion of leaves possesses a slight purgative activity. Ethanol extract of leaves also possesses antioxidant activity.
Plant derived natural products (Drugs) may offer potential lead to new compounds, which could be act on these microbes. This review reports on the medicinal usesof Cassia auriculata leaves, flowers, and seeds.
Several plants are used in India in the form of crude extract infusion or plaster to treat common infections with out scientific evidence of efficacy. Hence, it is of interest to determine scientific basis for the traditional plants (Rao et al., 2006).
Tanner's Cassia Belongs to the Magnoliopsida Class and is from Fabaceae Family. It is one of the aurantifolia species. This herbal plant is known as Cassia auriculata in botanical science.
It is a perennial shrub growing to a height of 30 to 60 cm. It has a circular, solid and strong stem, brown in colour with several branches. It has a compound, stipulate leaves, yellowish green in colour and huge yellow flower.
The fruit of Tanner's cassia contains 7 to 10 seeds. The plant is called as "Tanner's cassia" because the bark is one of the most priceless of Indian tans containing tannin.
Tanner's cassia is extensively cultivated in area which is dry and warm. Ecologically cassia tolerates a wide range of climate and temperature, though it tends towards loving warmth.
Cassia auriculata thrives on dry stony hills and on black soils, along road side, in degraded forest, and waste land. It is the source of yellow colored dye obtained from its flowers and seeds. (Chandramouli, 1995).
In India it is found in western region like that of Rajasthan, Maharasthra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and in southern parts like Tamilnadu, Andhra etc.
Kingdom - Plantae
Division - Magnoliophyta
Class - Magnoliopsida
Order - Fabales
Family - Fabaceae
Sub family - Caesalpinioideae
Tribe - Cassieae
Subtribe - Cassinae
Genus - Cassia
TRADITIONAL USES OF CASSIA AURICULATA
According to Ayurveda, Tanner's cassia contains Gunna (properties), Laghu (light), Ruksh (dry), Rasa (taste), Kashaya (astringent), Tickta (bitter), Virya (potency), and Sheet (cold).
Tanner's cassia is well admired in the alternative medicines for its wide usage in Ayurveda, Naturopathy, and Herbal therapy. Cassia auriculata is used in traditional medicine for diabetes, fever, constipation, and urinary diseases. (Nishanta rajakaruna et al., 2002).
Cassia auriculata is used as the antifungal agent especially resistance to Candida albicans and Cryptococcus. (Deborah KB runyoro et al., 2006).
The main constituent of kalpa herbal tea has come under extensively study in the light of its antidiabetic effects (Pari and Latha, 2002).
Cassia auriculata has been widely used in traditional medicine and a potent adjunct in the treatment of rheumatism, conjunctivitis, and diabetes. (Joshi, 2000)
Seeds are used in opthalmia and dysentery (Kirtikar and Basu, 1988).Dried flowers and leaves of cassia auriculata are being used for medicinal treatment (Sawhney et al., 1978)
Plants in the Leguminosae - Caesalpiniaceae - family are increasingly being used not only as herbal remedies in complementary and alternative medicine, but also in conventional therapy in many parts of the world for many years, especially in Africa and India where they are widely distributed (Kaey, 1989) .
Cassia auriculata have been shown to possess antibacterial, antifungal (Abo et al., 2000; Nebedum et al., 2009), antiprotozoal (Obodozie et al., 2004; Moo-Puc et al., 2007), antidiabetic activities (Jalalpure et al., 2004), and larvicidal activity against mosquito species (Yang et al., 2003; Georges et al, 2008).
Cassia auriculata medicinal properties are due mainly to the content of hydroxyanthraquinone derivatives (Yang et al., 2003).Although Cassia species have been used widely to treat diseases; they have shown marked toxicity to man and livestock resulting in fatalities following overdoses of remedies involving the plants (Nwude and Parsons, 1977).
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