Garcinia cambogia, antiobesity, Brindle berry, brindall berry, garcinia, malabar tamarind,gambooge, gorikapuli, uppagi, garcinia kola, mangosteen oil tree

Garcinia Cambogia

Latin Name: Garcinia cambogia
Common Names: citrin, gambooge, Brindal Berry, Gorikapuli, HCA, Hydroxycitric acid, Malabar Tamarind
Synonyms: Gutta gamba. Gummigutta. Tom Rong. Gambodia. Garcinia Morella.
Saskrit name: Vrikshamla, Kankusta
Other Common Names of Garcinia Cambogia: Brindle berry, brindall berry, garcinia, malabar tamarind,gambooge, gorikapuli, uppagi, garcinia kola, mangosteen oil tree.

Introduction : Garcinia cambogia is a small, sweet, exotic fruit native to South India and Southeast Asia. Garcinia has garnered a lot of attention of late as a popular natural weight loss aid. The reason is that the rind of this pumpkin like fruit is rich in a substance called hydroxycitric acid / HCA, a principle extract of Garcinia cambogia. Garcinia is a source for a revolutionary natural diet ingredient which is currently a rage in America, Japan, Europe, and other western countries.
It flowers during the hot season and fruits ripen during the rainy season..The fruit is harvested, dried and ground into a powder.
Garcinia cambogia extract is the calcium salt of hydroxyl citric acid (Both 50% and 60% hydroxy citric acids are available), which is obtained from water extract of Garcinia cambogia fruit .
It is non-toxic, tasteless, odorless powder and found to be very effective herbal medicine for controlling obesity and cholesterol by inhibiting lipogenesis in our body. It is a well established fat burning agent all over the world.

Chemical Constituents: The plant contains various chemical constituents such as Xanthones, Benzophenones,Garcinol and plant acids like (-) Hydroxy Citric Acid, Maleic acid, Citric acid.
HCA is naturally occurring fruit acid found in the outer layer covering of the fruits of Garcinia cambogia.
HCA is highly unstable and therefore extracted as a salt of preferably as calcium or potassium.

Therapeutic Uses:
The active constituent in this herb is called Hydroxycitric acid or HCA and is gaining a reputation for assisting weight loss through appetite suppression and by reducing the body’s ability to form adipose(fatty) tissue during times of overeating.
* Garcinia has also been historically used to treat gastric ulcers. A 2002 study indicates this herb works primarily through the action of one of these plant’s constituents, garcinol.Garcinol is known to lower  acidity in the stomach and protects the gastric mucosa.
* The rind of garcinia cambogia is also astringent, which is why it was also historically used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentry as well as having the added benefit in the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers.
* The ability for Garcinia’s component, HCA, to reduce blood lipid levels and lower blood cholesterol is another feature of this amazing natural medicine.
* More recently, it has been proposed that Garcinia cambogia has a hepato protective ability against external toxins, such as alcohol. A recent study showed that Garcinia prevented liver cells from becoming fibrotic and stopped cell damage caused by high blood lipid levels.
*Garcinia cambogia, an exotic fruit grown in South India, has been used to impart a distinctive sour flavour to Indian cooking. It is the source for a revolutionary natural diet ingredient which is currently a rage in America, Japan, Europe and other western countries.
Plant Description :Garcinia cambogia is a moderate-sized, evergreen tree and the flowers are unisexual, sessile and axillary. The leaves are dark green, shining, elliptic to obovate. It bears sweet-sour mixed fruits native to SE Asia and India. The fruit may resemble a small yellow or reddish pumpkin, or it may have a unique purple color. The fruit of Garcinia cambogia has been traditionally used in food preparation and cooking, having a distinctive taste. Garcinia has garnered a lot of attention of late as a popular natural weight loss aid. The reason is that the rind of this pumpkin like fruit is rich in a substance called hydroxycitric acid / HCA.

History : In Ayurveda, it is said that the sour flavors, such as those from Garcinia, activate digestion. Garcinia has also been considered to make foods more filling and satisfying, and has been used routinely for many centuries with no known toxicity. This herb has been used historically in India to support the treatment of various health conditions.
Garcinia the ‘cambodge tree’ is a good-sized glabrous and evergreen tree belonging to the family Clusiaceae and presently known under the scientific name, Garcinia Cambogia (L.). It is commonly seen in the western ghats of Kerala, Karnataka, and in Sri Lanka. In Kerala the tree is seen in plenty in mid-Travencore tract and in Karnataka in Konkan tract. Garcinia shows wide variability in yield, growth habit, and fruit qualities. Both male and hermaphrodite trees are met with in the genus.
The tree is very much adapted to both hilltops and plain lands alike. But, its performance is best in riverbanks and valleys. It grows well in dry or occasionally water logged or flooded soils. Usually seedling takes 10-12 years to start bearing. The percentage of male trees in population varies from 50-60 per cent and this also creates much difficulty in the cultivation of the crop. Problems such as lack of high yielder, planting grafts prepared from elite mother trees can solve variability in population and occurrence of male trees.
The economic part of the plant is its mature fruit which are highly acidic. The rinds of the ripe fruit are processed and used as a condiment in fish and prawn preparations to impart flavour and taste and to improve the keeping quality. The extracts obtained from the mature fruit rind, Hydroxy Citric Acid, attracts foreign markets – thanks to its use in medicines controlling obesity. It is also one of the ingredients in many ayurvedic medicines.

Even though garcinia is one of the oldest tree spices of the State, only recently that it has attained international importance. Hence research work in the field of crop improvement and crop husbandry is very meagre. Most of the trees in the field are of seedling origin and hence they exhibit wide variability. Recently Kerala Agricultural University has identified a few promising types which are being multiplied for cultivation.

Planting Materials
Use grafts prepared through Soft grafting/ side grafting or the healthy seedlings raised in the nursery, for cultivation. If seedlings are planted, 50-60 percent will be male, and hence planting of grafts are advocated as they ensure maternal characters and early bearing tendency.
Propagation by seedlings
Selection of mother trees: Mother trees which give steady annual yield, having a mean fruit weight of 200-275g, high acid content and low tannin content are located, Seeds are collected from freshly harvested and fully ripened fruits and washed in running water and spread in a thin layer under roof. By twentieth day, seeds will be ready for sowing. Seeds at the rate two per bag are sown in poly bags during the month of August-September. It takes five to seven months for the seed to start germination. Usually seeds start sprouting in the month of December and they come above the soil surface by February. In order to avoid delayed germination, simple seed treatment methods are employed.

Method 1: Processed seeds (after drying under shade) are given a mechanical treatment. Seed coat of such seeds are removed using a sharp knife without injuring the ivory coloured cotyledon. These ivory coloured cotyledons are sown afresh in poly bags at a depth of 2 inches and they start germinating in 20-25 days after sowing.
Method 2: Seeds, after removing the seed coat, are treated with gibberelic acid @ 250 ppm for six hours, and later they are soaked in Dithane M-45 @ 4g/I for two hours. They are sown in nursery bags and irrigated daily. Seeds germinate in 16-20 days time.
Method 3: After removing the seed coat, seeds treated with gibberelic acid @ 250 ppm for six hours, and later they are soaked in Dithane M-45 @ 4g/I for two hours. These seeds are then transferred to a white poly propylene cover of the size 20 cm x 25 cm along with 30-50 ml of filtered water. The poly bag along with the air inside is tied tightly using a rubber band. Such seeds germinate in 10-12 days after sowing. In a poly bag, about 500-750 seeds can be incubated at a time. Sprouted seeds are picked up and sown in the nursery bags kept under shade.

Raising seedlings: Seedlings can be kept under open condition or under shade. They are to be watered regularly on alternate days during summer months. Those seedlings, which are kept under shade, after 3-4 months, are placed under direct sun light to trigger growth. At this age, apply FYM @ 50g per bag. In six to seven months time, seedlings will be ready for planting.
Propagation by grafting
Seedling usually takes 10-12 years for bearing. Fifty percent of the population will be male and unproductive. There will be variation in the inheritance of maternal characters in the progenies. For these reasons, grafts are preferred to seedlings. Grafts start bearing in three-four years time, true to type progenies are obtained, height of the tree can be controlled and more number of trees can be planted in a unit area. Two types of grafting methods are employed: soft-wood grafting and approach grafting.

Soft wood grafting
Scions are selected only from specific elite trees showing regular bearing tendency, yielding large sized and quality fruits.
Collection of scions: Straight growing, healthy young shoots emerging from the primary branches with whorled leaf arrangement are selected. They are cut at a length of 6-10 cm length and stored in poly bags under humid condition. Leaves are partly removed and the cut end is shaped to a wedge of three-four cm long by giving slanting cuts on the two opposite sides.

Preparation of root stock: Stock plants having 3-4 mm stem thickness is ideal for grafting. Selected plants will be deheaded at two nodes below the terminal bud and all the leaves are partly removed. Grafting is done using scion and root stock of same thickness.

Grafting: The wedge of the scion is inserted into the cleft of the root stock and the graft joint is secured firmly by black polythene tape of 1.5-2 cm wide and 30 cm long.

Care In the nursery: Immediately after grafting they are kept either in mist house or covered with transparent poly-propylene cover and kept under shade. By the thirtieth day the grafts would have established and new leaves start emerging. The grafts are then removed from the mist house or the polythene cover and kept under shade. Grafts are to be watered daily using rose can or microsprinkler. Care should be taken to remove sprouts emerging from root stock at frequent intervals. Three months after grafting the plants will be ready for planting in the main field. just before planting in the main field the grafts are left under open condition for hardening.

Approach grafting: Here also stock plants having three-four mm thickness are preferred and they are brought to the place where the mother tree is located. Grafting is done as in other crops and they are kept intact for 45 days by which time union occurs. Graft is detached from the mother tree in three steps. The main disadvantage is that only a limited number of grafts can be produced in this method. Forty five days after grafting, they will be ready for transferring to the main nursery for hardening. Grafts are to be watered daily using rose can or micro-sprinkler. Care should be taken to remove sprouts emerging from rootstock at frequent intervals. Leaf folder pests are very common in the nursery. Spray Ekalux @ 2ml/L of water at monthly intervals.

Planting and Management of Plantations
The crop can be raised as a pure or as a perennial intercrop of coconut, arecanut etc. Pits of the size 75x75x75 cm in hard and laterite soils, 50x50x50 cm in sandy and alluvial soils, at a spacing of 4m x 4m for grafting and 7m x 7m for seedlings, are prepared. In hill slopes of 15% or more, for planting grafts rows are spaced at 5 to 5.5 m and 3.5m between trees in a row. For planting seedlings, rows are spread at 8 to 12 m apart and at 6 to 8 m for trees in row. Planting is generally done during July-October months. Under existing coconut plantations of 25 years and above, spacing shall be so adjusted that it should alternate with the palms in the rows. Under Kuttanad conditions, where bunds and channels alternate, planting can be done in between two palms. Planting pits are filled with top soil and two kg of compost or well decomposed cattle manure and Iog of sevin or lindane dust, to avoid white ants attack, before planting. The graft union shall remain just above the ground level. Plants are to be supported with bamboo split of 2.5′ long. One month after planting the polythene tape around the graft union is gently removed.

Apply 10 kg of cattle manure or compost per seedling/graft during the first year. Increase the quantity gradually till a well grown tree of 15 years and above receives 50 kg of organic manure per year. Apply NPK mixture at the rate of 20:18:50 g/plant during the first year. This is doubled in the second year and gradually increased to 500:250: 1000 g/plant/year so as to obtain full dose at 15th year onwards.

Grafts will grow fast from second year onwards. Strong support of casuarina poles are to be given at this stage. By fifth year the tree will have 3 to 4m height. From third year onwards some of the fast growing branches are to be pruned so as to balance the weight. In the fifth year the height of the plant may be maintained at 3.5 to 4m and by seventh year at 4 to 4.5m.

Pests and Diseases
Hard scales and beetles are the common pests infesting the crop. The hard scales desap the leaves and tender shoots. Both the beetles and grubs defoliate the crop inflicting heavy loss on yield. These can be controlled by spraying Rogor or Nuvacron @ 1.5 ml/l. Sooty mould is seen associated with the hard scales. Seedling blight in the nursery stage is very common and this can be controlled by spraying I% Bordeaux mixture or Dithane M 45 @ 4 g/l. Leaf folders are very common in the nursery. Spray Ekalux @ 2ml/lit at monthly intervals to control the pest.
Seed-grown plants start bearing generally at the age of 10-12 years. Grafts start bearing from the third year onwards and will attain the stage of full bearing at the age of 12 to 15 years. Flowering occurs in January-March and fruits mature in July. There are reports of off season bearers, which bear two times a year, ie., during january-july and September-February. Mature fruits which are orange yellow in colour, either drop from the tree or are harvested manually. The fruit rind is separated for processing immediately after harvest.

Separated fruit rind is first sun dried and then either smoked or oven dried. In order to increase the storage life and impart softness, the dried rind is mixed with common salt @ 150 g and coconut oil @ 50 ml per kg of dried rind.

Method for collection of the Resin : In order to obtain the gum-resin incisions are made into the tree, or a large slice is pared from the bark, from which the juice flows thick, viscid, and bright-yellow, which is scraped off and dried in the sun. If left on the tree, it speedily concretes into dry tears or irregular masses.
1.Ceylon gamboge:– It is generally collected, by making incisions into the bark, into which bamboo joints are inserted to catch the oozing fluid, which subsequently solidifies. It is removed from the bamboo by slowly rotating them over a fire until the water has dried out sufficiently to allow the receptacle to be detached from the hardened gamboge.
2.Pipe gamboge:– The best kinds are the pipe gamboge, consisting of cylindrical pieces, often cohering together, forming irregular masses weighing several pounds.

Phytochemistry : The plant contains acids tartaric, citric and phosporic. The latex of Garcinia cambogia contains two polyisoprenylated benzophenone derivatives, camboginol (I) and cambogin (II).
Chemistry : The major phytoconstituent in Garcinia cambogia is Hydroxycitric acid. This principal acid has been found to suppress the fatty acid synthesis, lipogenesis, food intake, and promotes glycogenesis, gluconeogenesis and induced weight loss.
How it works : Garcinia Cambogia fills the glycogen stores in the liver and other tissues, thereby reducing appetite while increasing energy levels. Garcinia Cambogia lowers the production of triglycerides and cholesterol and may also increase thermogenesis, the burning of calories. Unlike chemical stimulants commonly used in weight loss products, Garcinia Cambogia does not act on the central nervous system. This means that Garcinia Cambogia will not cause insomnia, nervousness, changes in blood pressure or heart rate and its effectiveness will not diminish with time.
Who can take Garcinia? Because herbal medicines are relatively mild and gentle on the human body, Garcinia can be taken by practically everyone, regardless of age and gender. Garcinia can be taken for the following reasons:
·         Helps reduce body’s ability to store fat.
·         Lowers body weight through appetite control.
·         Lowers serum triglycerides.
·         Creates a process in the body called thermogenesis.
·         Helps with catarrhal conditions of the throat, urinary system, and uterus.

Benefits & Uses :
·         Garcinia has also been considered to make foods more filling and satisfying.
·         Garcinia cambogia was able to decrease the acidity and to increase the mucosal defence in the gastric areas, thereby justifying its use as an antiulcerogenic agent.
·         Garcinia does not contain any addictive components and can be taken without fear of addiction for extended periods of time.
·         Garcinia also contains significant amounts of Vitamin C and has been used as a heart tonic.
·         Garcinia, when taken over a period of time, has the ability to slow production of fat and help the body metabolize it more efficiently.
Obesity is a major problem in the effluent societies of developing and developed world and the Health Risks associated with the obesity are Diabetes mellitus, Heart disease, High b.p.,etc.
WHO report –Globally with more than 1 billion adults overweight
– at least 300 million of them clinically obese.
Main cause of obesity is a person consumes more calories from food than he or she burns.
Now a days herbal drug are used because of its lesser side effects as compared to synthetic drugs.
This review provides complete information about the herbal drug Garcinia cambogia and its action in controlling weight.
The Garcinia fruit is a rich source of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), the active agent that aids in weight loss by inhibiting fat production and suppressing appetite.
Garcinia cambogia extract is quickly becoming a popular ingredient in many weight loss supplements.

The Garcinia fruit is a rich source of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), the active agent that aids in weight loss by inhibiting fat production and suppressing appetite.
Garcinia contains citrine, an extract that is 50-60% HCA, which inhibits an enzyme that helps the body synthesize fat for storage in adipose tissue. HCA promotes energy, inhibits lipogenesis, lowers the production of cholesterol and fatty acids, increases the production of glycogen in the liver, suppresses appetite, and increases the body’s production of heat by activating the process of thermogenesis.
Garcinia cambogia extract is quickly becoming a popular ingredient in many weight loss supplements. Many studies have been pointing to strong possibilities that it will help some people to lose weight. But like similar studies, the evidence is not conclusive. Inspite of this it is been cited in many weight loss supplements as been an active ingredient for losing weight.
Garcinia cambogia belongs to the citrus family like oranges and lemons. It is a small tropical fruit that is too sour to eat but the rind is used as a spice in Indian cooking. It is indigenous to India and Africa. The active ingredient usually accredited for weight loss in this fruit is its extract, hydroxycitric acid.
Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) unlike caffeine is not a stimulant. Neither is it an appetite suppressant, both of which work directly on the nerve centers of the brain.
Both stimulants and appetite suppressants can have undesired side effects, including causing food binges any time you stop taking them.
Instead, HCA satisfies the body’s need for energy and improves the signaling system that the body uses to tell the brain when it has eaten enough. In overweight people this response is often delayed, causing them to continue to eat more than they need.
HCA seems to work best for people who overeat when they are anxious or stressed, as it will give the same calming effect that they get from food. Generally you do not need to eat any special foods when you are taking HCA, and there are no ‘forbidden foods’. Choose healthy foods and you should find that you lose weight and fat slowly but steadily without really trying. You can take slightly smaller portions if you wish and choose fruit instead of sugary snacks but you should not need to go hungry. This is a very natural way to lose weight.
Garcinia cambogia extract (HCA) in weight loss supplements is usually combined with chromium.
Chromium is a mineral that is often lacking in our diets as we get older and a chromium deficit can contribute to weight gain and possibly diabetes. HCA and chromium seem to work in a positive synergy to regulate the body’s blood sugar levels. However if you have diabetes already, you should see your doctor before taking any products containing chromium.
Though HCA shows possibilities it is best to be cautious just like with all other weight loss supplements. For example do not take HCA if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Consult a doctor before giving it to children.
You may also want to avoid HCA if you suffer from migraine or arthritis which can be worsened by citrus fruits.
HCA has some significant advantages over many other weight loss supplements ingredients because it has been extensively tested in research laboratories on both human and animal subjects and no side effects have been found. Consequently it is considered a natural weight loss supplement.
Synthetic Drugs:
Sibutramine (usually in the form of the hydrochloride monohydrate salt) is an oral anorexiant.
Sibutramine is a neurotransmitter reuptake inhibitor that reduces the reuptake of serotonin (by 53%),norepinephrine (by 54%), and dopamine (by 16%), serotonergic action, in particular, is thought to influence appetite.thereby increasing the levels of these substances in synaptic clefts and helping enhance satiety.
Side effects
A higher number of cardiovascular events have been observed in people taking sibutramine versus control (11.4% vs. 10.0%).
In 2010 the FDA noted the concerns that sibutramine increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes in patients with a history of cardiovascular disease.
Frequently encountered side effects are: dry mouth, paradoxically increased appetite, nausea, strange taste in the mouth, upset stomach, constipation, trouble sleeping, dizziness, drowsiness, menstrual cramps/pain, headache, flushing, or joint/muscle pain.
Sibutramine can substantially increase blood pressure and pulse in some patients. Therefore regular monitoring needs to be performed.
The following side effects are infrequent but serious and require immediate medical attention: cardiac arrhythmias, paresthesia, mental/mood changes (e.g., excitement, restlessness, confusion, depression, rare thoughts of suicide).
Symptoms that require urgent medical attention are seizures, problems urinating, abnormal bruising or bleeding, melena, hematemesis, jaundice, fever and rigors, chest pain, hemiplegia, abnormal vision,dyspnea and edema.
Orlistat is used for the treatment of obesity. The amount of weight loss achieved with orlistat varies. In  one year clinical trials, between 35.5% and 54.8% of subjects achieved a 5% or greater decrease in body mass, although not all of this mass was necessarily fat.
Its primary function is preventing the absorption of fats from the human diet, thereby reducing caloric intake.
Mechanism of Action:
Orlistat works by inhibiting gastric and pancreatic lipases, the enzymes that break down triglycerides in the intestine. When lipase activity is blocked, triglycerides from the diet are not hydrolyzed into absorbable free fatty acids, and are excreted undigested instead.
Side Effects:
The primary side effects of the drug are gastrointestinal related, and include steatorrhea (oily, loose stools with excessive flatus due to unabsorbed fats reaching the large intestine), fecal incontinence and frequent or urgent bowel movements.
An analysis of over 900 orlistat users in Ontario showed that their rate of acute kidney injury was more than triple that of non-users.
The putative mechanism for this effect is postulated to be excessive oxalate absorption from the gut and its subsequent deposition in the kidney, with excessive oxalate absorption being a known consequence of fat malabsorption.
A 2006 animal study linked orlistat with aberrant crypt foci (ACF), lesions found in the colon which is believed to be one of the earliest precursors of colon cancer.
 Phentermine, a contraction of “phenyl-tertiarybutylamine”, is an appetite suppressant of the phenethylamine class.
It is an amphetamine like stimulant.
It is approved as an appetite suppressant to help reduce weight in obese patients when used short-term and combined with exercise, diet, and behavioral modification.
It is typically prescribed for individuals who are at increased medical risk because of their weight and works by helping to release certain chemicals in the brain that control appetite.
Mechanism of Action:
Phentermine works on the hypothalamus portion of the brain to stimulate the adrenal glands to release norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter or chemical messenger that signals a fight-or-flight response, reducing hunger.
Phentermine works outside the brain as well to release epinephrine or adrenaline causing fat cells to break down stored fat, but the principal basis of efficacy is hunger-reduction.
At clinically relevant doses, phentermine also releases serotonin and dopamine, but to a much lesser extent than that of norepinephrine.
Adverse Effects:
Generally, phentermine appears to be relatively well tolerated.It can produce side effects consistent with its catecholamine-releasing properties, e.g., tachycardia (increased heart rate) and elevated blood pressure, but the incidence and magnitude of these appear to be less than with the amphetamines.
Because phentermine acts through sympathomimetic pathways, the drug may increase blood pressure and heart rate. It may also cause palpitations, restlessness, and insomnia.
Additionally, phentermine has the potential to cause psychological dependence. After short term use, tolerance begins and can be followed by rebound weight gain.
More common side effects:
Cardiovascular: Primary pulmonary hypertension and/or regurgitant cardiac valvular disease, palpitation, tachycardia, elevation of blood pressure.
Central Nervous System: Overstimulation, restlessness, dizziness,insomnia, euphoria, dysphoria, tremor, headache.
Gastrointestinal: Dryness of the mouth,unpleasant taste, diarrhea, constipation, other gastrointestinal disturbances.
Allergic: Urticaria, endocrine Impotence, changes in libido.
Herbal Drugs:
Herbal Drugs is a traditional medicinal or folk medicine practice based on the use of plants and plant extracts.
Potential Side Effects of Garcinia Cambogia:
There are no known side effects for using this herb, however, it is not recommended for diabetics or people suffering any dementia syndrome, including Alzheimer’s; and in pregnant and lactating women.
Garcinia cambogia does have contraindications with certain medications, and it is important to discuss this with your health care professional.

Banaba – Lagerstroemia speciosa L (anti-diabetec, glucose transport, anti-obesity)

Banaba – Lagerstroemia speciosa L

Munchausia speciosa Linn.
Lagestroemia reginae Roxb
Banaba is also knows as:
Agaro, Mitla, Bugarom, Nabulong, Pamalauagon, Duguam, Pamarauagon, Kauilan, Parasabukung, Makablos, Tabangau, Tauagnau
Banaba is a flowering plant that grows in warm climate like the Philippines, India and others. Banaba is widely used in the Philippines and as herbal medicine for diabetes. While in India, Banaba is also used in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of diabetes. The Banaba leaves and flowers contain corrosolic acid, a substance being studied for its insulin like effect of lowering the glucose in the body. Banaba is also being studied as a weight-loss supplement for its ability to delay or reduce the absorption of carbohydraes. Banaba is also rich in vitamins and minerals including zinc and magnesium. Banaba is also rich in dietary fibers.
Folkloric uses of Banaba herbal medicine include the treatment for diarrhea, constipation, inflammation of kidneys, dysuria and other urinary dysfunctions
Banaba is a tropical flowering tree that grow up to 10 meters high. Banaba has large green oblong leaves that is about 3 inches in width and 7 inches in length. The flowers or Banaba are racemes and colored pink to lavender. Banaba bears nut-like fruits that are arranged in large clumps.

A profusion of large, bright pink to lavender blooms appear in dense, foot-long, terminal panicles, making Banaba tree a spectacular specimen to look at. Putting out brilliant displays of the glorious bright flowers, the tree attracts large numbers of bees, butterflies and birds. Furthermore, a well grown tree may flower twice a year. Due to which, it will stand out in every garden and is a beautiful landscape tree. The Banaba tree can start flowering as early as three years of age.
Banaba is a drought tolerant species which is easily cared in the garden or landscape with really a low maintenance. It will grow in full sun on a wide range of well-drained soils but is not salt-tolerant. It coppices freely and is easily propagated by seeds, cuttings, root suckers.
Banaba has dense and wide spreading root system. Hence the tree is valued for erosion control. The hardy tree can even be utilised for reforestation of degraded hills.
Being one of the most beautiful trees, moreover, this tree is also medicinally valuable & famous in Ayurvedic medicine. Banaba can be used to treat number of ailments such as urinary tract infections, blood pressure & even type II diabetes mellitus. It is also believed to have anti-diabetic & weight reducing properties. Technically, the active principle is considered to be corosolic acid, which promotes glucose transport or utilization in the body cells. The current thinking is that Banaba can lower glucose independent of pancreatic insulin. This makes the active principle of the tree a natural form of insulin from plants. A tea, made from the leaves, served as a health drink. There are no known side effects or toxic reactions of Banaba. In fact, it has been reported that it can help detoxify the body and protect the liver.
The leaves of Lagerstroemia speciosa (Lythraceae), a Southeast Asian tree more commonly known as banaba, have been traditionally consumed in various forms by Philippinos for treatment of diabetes and kidney related diseases. In the 1990s, the popularity of this herbal medicine began to attract the attention of scientists worldwide. Since then, researchers have conducted numerous in vitro and in vivo studies that consistently confirmed the antidiabetic activity of banaba. Scientists have identified different components of banaba to be responsible for its activity. Using tumor cells as a cell model, corosolic acid was isolated from the methanol extract of banaba and shown to be an active compound. More recently, a different cell model and the focus on the water soluble fraction of the extract led to the discovery of other compounds. The ellagitannin Lagerstroemin was identified as an effective component of the banaba extract responsible for the activity. In a different approach, using 3T3-L1 adipocytes as a cell model and a glucose uptake assay as the functional screening method, Chen et al. showed that the banaba water extract exhibited an insulin-like glucose transport inducing activity. Coupling HPLC fractionation with a glucose uptake assay, gallotannins were identified in the banaba extract as components responsible for the activity, not corosolic acid. Penta-O-galloyl-glucopyranose (PGG) was identified as the most potent gallotannin. A comparison of published data with results obtained for PGG indicates that PGG has a significantly higher glucose transport stimulatory activity than Lagerstroemin. Chen et al. have also shown that PGG exhibits anti-adipogenic properties in addition to stimulating the glucose uptake in adipocytes. The combination of glucose uptake and anti-adipogenesis activity is not found in the current insulin mimetic drugs and may indicate a great therapeutic potential of PGG.

Type 2 diabetes has developed into a worldwide epidemic. Ironically, the dramatic increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes can be attributed to the rapid economic development and correlated to changes in lifestyle within the last 50 years. Type 2 diabetes is closely associated with obesity. Up to 90% of the patients in the US with type 2 diabetes are either overweight or obese. It seems likely that the readily available high calorie food and a sedentary life style are major causes for obesity. Obesity contributes to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Reducing obesity and stopping weight gain constitutes a way to slow down the rate of occurrence of type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, which is defined as defective insulin signaling and a decreased insulin efficiency to induce glucose transport from the blood into key target cells such as muscle and fat (adipocyte) cells. In general, obesity leads to hyperglycemia, which in turn leads to and exacerbates insulin resistance. Insulin resistance, if not treated, results in hyperinsulinemia and eventually leads to full blown type 2 diabetes. Obesity or excessive adiposity, particularly visceral adiposity, contributes to and worsens insulin resistance. Most antidiabetic drugs are hypoglycemic or anti-hyperglycemic (blood glucose level reducing). However, most of these drugs are, to different extents, weight gain promoting (adipogenic). Thus, these drugs treat one of the key symptoms of type 2 diabetes, hyperglycemia, but exacerbate the condition of being overweight or obese, one of the leading causes of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, while these drugs are beneficial over the short term, they are not optimal for long term health of type 2 diabetic patient. The most desirable situation would be the development of new types of antidiabetic drugs that are either hypoglycemic or anti-hyperglycemic without the side effect of promoting weight gain (adiposity). Herbal medicines known to be useful in diabetes treatment may be able to lead to compounds with such a combination of ideal therapeutic properties.

Lagerstroemia speciosa – Banaba
Lagerstroemia speciosa , also called banaba in the Tagalog language of the Philippines, is a tropical plant found in many parts of Southeast Asia including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and southern China. It is a tree that can grow as tall as 20m. Despite growing in several countries, only in the Philippines are the dried and shredded banaba leaves known to be used as a treatment for diabetes and kidney disease. It is not clear if banaba plants grown in different countries are equally effective in the treatment of diabetes.
Corosolic Acid and Lagerstroemin—The Most Effective Antidiabetic Compounds in Banaba Extract?
In 1993, a group of scientists from Hiroshima University used an Ehrlich ascites tumor cell line coupled with a bioassay guided fractionation to screen compounds isolated by HPLC from banaba extract in order to identify the effective antidiabetic component. Corosolic acid (2α-hydroxyursoloic acid) was identified as the effective compound in the methanol extract of banaba leaves in a glucose uptake assay. However, this result should be considered with caution since the tumor cell line used in this study is a very unusual and unconventional cell line for diabetes studies or antidiabetic compound screening. Furthermore, the result could not explain the discrepancy that both the banaba water extract and the methanol extract were active in antidiabetic and anti-obesity animal studies since corosolic acid only exists in the methanol extract.
Banaba, Herbal Medicine For Diabetes
Banaba is used as herbal medicine for the treatment of diabetes not only in India but also in the Philippines.
Studies have shown that Banaba contains corosolic acid that acts like insulin by lowering the blood sugar in the body. Corosolic acid is a triterpenoid glycoside that improves the cellular uptake of glucose.
How To Use Banaba Herb For Diabetes?
The following details the preparation and application of Banaba herbal medicine for diabetes
Although studies have shown that Banaba does not contain any toxic ingredients. It is recommended that before taking any herbal medicine for your diabetes, consult with your doctor.

Banaba Herbal Tea For Weight Loss Management
Banaba herbal tea is also used for sustained weight-loss management. The corosolic acid in Banaba leaves and flowers acts by delaying and reducing the absorption of carbohydrates by the body. Continued drinking of banaba tea causes weight loss without any side effects.
How To Use Banaba Herb For Weight Loss?
Preparation and application of Banaba herbal tea for weight loss management
1.      Dry Banaba leaves and fruits for about two weeks
2.      cut Banaba leaves and fruits into pieces
3.      Boil the dried leaves and fruits in water,
4.      one cup of dried banaba leaves and fruits to 2 cups of water.
5.      Let it seep for 30 minutes,
6.      Strain the leaves and fruits.
7.      Take the Banaba herbal tea for 4 to 6 times daily

Banaba Side Effects
Although according to studies, there were no known toxic or adverse effect from Banaba. However if discomfort occurs, stop using Banaba herbal tea.
Other Banaba Health Benefits
Banaba is also used for other folkloric herbal medicine for the treatment of the following
·         blood pressure control ,
·         kidney disorders,
·         urinary dysfunctions (helps ease urination) ,
·         controls the cholesterol levels,
·         treatment of diarrhea,
·         facilitates bowel movement
·         treatment of fevers and others.

Gymnema sylvestre, antidiabetic, obesity, Gymnemic acids, herbal drugs

GYMNEMA SYLVESTRE R.BR. Family – Asclpiadaceae

Gymnema sylvestre is regarded as one of the plants with potent anti diabetic properties. This plant is also used for controlling obesity in the form of Gymnema tea. The active compound of the plant is a group of acids termed as gymnemic acids. It has been observed that there could be a possible link between obesity, Gymnemic acids and diabetes. This review will try to put forth an overall idea about the plant as well as present a molecular perspective linking the common medicine to the most common metabolic disorders.
It is a woody climber with small yellowish flowers and simple opposite, ovate -elliptic hairy leaves. It is found wild in various deciduous forests of India. The leaves of this plant have been used in India for over 2000 years to treat madhu meha, or “honey urine.” Chewing the leaves destroys the ability to discriminate the “sweet” taste, giving it its common name, gurmar, or “sugar destroyer.”
Plant constituents include two resins (one soluble in alcohol), gymnemic acids, saponins, stigmasterol,
quercitol, and the amino acid derivatives betaine, choline and trimethylamine.1
•          Medicinal Uses: * Diabetes * Diet/weight Loss
•          Properties: * Astringent * Refrigerant
•          Parts Used: leaf
•          Plant Class: Woody Perennial
•          Etymology: From the Hindu gurmar – destroyer of sugar.
•          Flowers/Fruit/Seeds: Pale yellow, bell shaped flowers
•          Parts used: Leaf
•          Leaves: Narrow tipped, elliptic, smooth green leaves
•          Distribution: Native to the southern tropical forests of India.

Other names :
Sanskrit: Meshashringi, madhunashini,
Hindi: Gur-mar, merasingi,
Marathi: Kavali,kalikardori, vakundi,
Gujrathi: Dhuleti, mardashingi,
Telugu: Podapatri,
Tamil: Adigam, cherukurinja,
Kannada: Sannagerasehambu
LOCATION: Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, Punjab, Haryana., Tamil Nadu, Andhara Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Bihar & Bengal.

Mature seeds are collected between October-December and sown in polyboxes/bags or small plots as nursery. The seedlings raised are transplanted in field during February-March. The plant grows well with the on-set of rainy season. The climber is given proper support for its better growth and development. It can also be planted in between trees as intercropping.
The plant can also be propagated through cuttings and planted during rainy season.
Periodical weeding and hoeing is required, particularly during and after rainy season.
The medicinal plants have to be grown without chemical fertilizers and use of pesticides. Organic manures like, Farm Yard Manure (FYM), Vermi-Compost, Green Manure etc. may be used as per requirement of the species. To prevent diseases, bio-pesticides could be prepared (either single or mixture) from Neem (kernel, seeds & leaves), Chitrakmool, Dhatura, Cow’s urine etc.
Periodic irrigation as and when required may be done (weekly/fortnightly).
After one-year leaves are ready for harvesting. The leaves are usually collected during October-February and are cleaned, dried in shade. The roots are collected during summer and are cleaned, washed and cut in to pieces and dried.

Benefits and Uses of Gurmar
Gurmar (Gymnema sylvestre) has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of diabetes, upper respiratory infections, and fevers. The main point of interest in the west is gurmar leaf’s effects on insulin levels and blood sugar given the rising epidemic of adult onset type 2 diabetes. Gurmar acts to normalize blood sugar levels only lowering glucose in those who are hyperglycemic. This herb also has a positive effect on triglycerides andcholesterol levels as well. Gurmar is of interest to dieters as well. Taken over a long period of time it has been shown to reduce the sugar cravings that can hijack your sensible eating plans.

Plant description
G. sylvestre (Asclepiadaceae), a vulnerable species is a slow growing, perennial, medicinal woody climber found in central and peninsular India. It is a potent antidiabetic plant and used in folk, ayurvedic and homeopathic systems of medicine. It is also used in the treatment of asthma, eye complaints, inflammations, family planning and snakebite. In addition, it possesses antimicrobial, antihypercholesterolemic, hepatoprotective and sweet suppressing activities. It also acts as feeding deterrents to caterpillar, Prodenia eridania; prevent dental caries caused byStreptococcus mutans and in skin cosmetics.
G. sylvestre is a large, more or less pubescent, woody climber. It is occasionally cultivated as medicinal plant. Leaves are opposite, usually elliptic or ovate (1.25–2.0 inch × 0.5–1.25 inch). Flowers are small, yellow, in umbellate cymes. Follicles are terete, lanceolate, upto 3 inches in length.
Phytochemistry of G. sylvestre
G. sylvestre leaves contain triterpene saponins belonging to oleanane and dammarene classes. Oleanane saponins are gymnemic acids and gymnemasaponins, while dammarene saponins are gymnemasides. Besides this, other plant constituents are flavones, anthraquinones, hentri-acontane, pentatriacontane, α and β-chlorophylls, phytin, resins, d-quercitol, tartaric acid, formic acid, butyric acid, lupeol, β-amyrin related glycosides and stigmasterol. The plant extract also tests positive for alkaloids. Leaves of this species yield acidic glycosides and anthroquinones and their derivatives.
Gymnemic acids have antidiabetic, antisweetener and anti-inflammatory activities. The antidiabetic array of molecules has been identified as a group of closely related gymnemic acids after it was successfully isolated and purified from the leaves of G. sylvestre. Later, the phytoconstituents of G. sylvestre were isolated, and their chemistry and structures were studied and elucidated.
Mechanism of Action of Gymnemic Acids
Gymnemic acid formulations have also been found useful against obesity, according to recent reports. This is attributed to the ability of gymnemic acids to delay the glucose absorption in the blood. The atomic arrangement of gymnemic acid molecules is similar to that of glucose molecules. These molecules fill the receptor locations on the taste buds thereby preventing its activation by sugar molecules present in the food, thereby curbing the sugar craving. Similarly, Gymnemic acid molecules fill the receptor location in the absorptive external layers of the intestine thereby preventing the sugar molecules absorption by the intestine, which results in low blood sugar level.
G. sylvestre leaves have been found to cause hypoglycemia in laboratory animals and have found a use in herbal medicine to help treat adult onset diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). When Gymnema leaf extract is administered to a diabetic patient, there is stimulation of the pancreas by virtue of which there is an increase in insulin release. These compounds have also been found to increase fecal excretion of cholesterol, but further studies to prove clinical significance in treating hypercholesterolemia (high serum cholesterol) are required. Other uses for Gymnema leaf extract are its ability to act as a laxative, diuretic, and cough suppressant. These other actions would be considered adverse reactions when Gymnema is used for its glucose lowering effect in diabetes.
Gymnema leaf extract, notably the peptide ‘Gurmarin’, has been found to interfere with the ability of the taste buds on the tongue to taste sweet and bitter. Gymnemic acid has a similar effect. It is believed that by inhibiting the sweet taste sensation, people taking it will limit their intake of sweet foods, and this activity may be partially responsible for its hypoglycemic effect.
There are some possible mechanisms by which the leaves and especially Gymnemic acids from G. sylvestre exert its hypoglycemic effects are:
1) it increases secretion of insulin,
2) it promotes regeneration of islet cells,
3) it increases utilization of glucose: it is shown to increase the activities of enzymes responsible for utilization of glucose by insulin-dependant pathways, an increase in phosphorylase activity, decrease in gluconeogenic enzymes and sorbitol dehydrogenase, and
4) it causes inhibition of glucose absorption from intestine.
The gymnemic acid components are believed to block the absorption of glucose in the small intestine, the exact action being unknown. It could be involve one or more mechanisms.
One of the mechanisms responsible for adult onset diabetes mellitus is a form of insulin resistance, which is attributed to the inability of insulin to enter cells via the insulin receptor. Gymnema may overcome this resistance, but require further studies to confirm its validity and also whether the effect is clinically relevant. Should this effect be proven, Gymnema may prove useful in both adult onset (NIDDM) and juvenile onset diabetes mellitus (IDDM) to help insulin enter cells. In the case of IDDM, the insulin is injected by syringe and is not secreted from the pancreas.
The leaves are also noted for lowering serum cholesterol and triglycerides. The primary chemical constituents of Gymnema include gymnemic acid, tartaric acid, gurmarin, calcium oxalate, glucose, stigmasterol, betaine, and choline. While the water-soluble acidic fractions reportedly provide the hypoglycemic action, it is not yet clear what specific constituent in the leaves is responsible for the same. Some researchers have suggested gymnemic acid as one possible candidate, although further research is needed. Both gurmarin (another constituent of the leaves) and gymnemic acid have been shown to block sweet taste in humans. The major constituents of the plant material 3B glucuronides of different acetylated gymnemagenins, gymnemic acid a complex mixture of at least 9 closely related acidic glucosides.
The following figure could provide a diagrammatic representation for explaining the action of gymnemic acids on the intestinal receptors. The basic function of the acids is to bind to the receptor on the intestine, and stop the glucose molecule from binding to the receptor. Thus, gymnemic acids prevent the absorption of excess glucose.
Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetes mellitus can be defined as a group of syndromes characterized by hyperglycemia, altered metabolism of lipids, carbohydrates and proteins along with an increased risk of complications from vascular disease. It is characterized by polydipsia (chronic excessive thirst and fluid intake), polyphagia excessive eating), glycosuria (excessive glucose in the blood) and “acetone breath” i.e. the breath of the patient smells of acetone due to an abnormal increase of ketone bodies in the blood. The classification of diabetes can be done in two types as: Type-1 (insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, IDDM) and Type-2 (non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, NIDDM).
Herbal medicines for treatment of diabetes
The Indian subcontinent has given to the medicinal world, natural remedies such as Ayurveda, Yunaniand Siddha. Based on such systems, we can find not only new remedies; but also new lead molecules may be obtained. Though data from clinical trials are positive, further investigations coupled with extensive clinical trials are required. Most of the drugs from plant sources are secondary metabolites, which have no role in plant metabolism; but are postulated to play a significant role in the plant defense mechanism. However, not much difference is seen in the basic metabolic processes in plants as well as animals.
One of the alternative medicines to both diabetes and obesity could be G. sylvestre plant preparation, as it known to have a good effect for curbing of diabetes by blocking sugar binding sites and hence not allowing the sugar molecules to accumulate in the body.
Obesity and Its Impact on the Human Body
Obesity, technically, is characterized by the increased storage of tri glycerides (fat molecules) in the adipose tissue thereby causing insulin resistance. It could also be defined as the condition of a human being in which the body contains more fat than required and which can lead to a diseased state. Obesity is usually caused by an abnormality of feeding regulatory mechanism. This can result from either psychogenic factors that affect this regulation or actual abnormalities of regulatory system in hypothalamus. But in many cases no specific cause can be identified. Contributing factors include genetic factors, eating habits childhood over nutrition and social customs, among many others. Obesity also plays an important role in the development of diabetes. It decreases the number of insulin receptors in insulin target cells throughout the body, thus making the amount of insulin that is available, less effective in promoting its usual metabolic effects.
Exploring the link between obesity and diabetes
It is a well-known fact that molecular mechanisms underlying the link between obesity and diabetes have been elusive, but new research studies show that there could be a enzymatic link between the two most common metabolic disorders. Initially, the trend towards the link was the presence of free fatty at higher levels in obese people than in non-obese people. In 2001, there were reports of a missing link in the form of some chemical substance that proves the inability of the body insulin to control blood sugar levels.
Claire (2001) in his recent research studies suggested a new theory. It is a well-known fact that type II diabetes is the most common form of disease and when the insulin of the body loses its ability for glucose uptake, the diseased condition of the body gives way to obesity. Also, it was reported that nearly 80% of the diabetes patients are obese. The fat cells of the body were shown to produce a hormone called resistin (resisting of insulin) The energy from stored fat is transported in the body in the form of fatty acids by virtue of which the their levels increase in the body, thus causing an important factor in insulin resistance built up throughout the body. This hormone impairs insulin action and causes intolerance to glucose or blood sugar.
The following diagram would explain the relation of resistin to other parts of the body that are involved in diabetes and obesity. Thus, the newly discovered protein, resistin, could be an underlying the link between obesity and diabetes. Research scientists all over the word started studying the molecular mechanisms that lead to linkages between obesity and diabetes.

Yellow dock (Rumex crispus

Yellow Dock Root (Rumex crispus) is quite a common weed which is native to Europe as well as throughout parts of Asia. However it is grown as a vegetable in Europe, and it is used as a medicinal herb in Asia.The Yellow Dock Root may also be known as Curly Dock, Yellow Dock or Narrow Dock. The plant is reddish brown, which grows in stalks about a meter high. It has very smooth leaves with distinctive curls around the edges. There are flowers that grow on these stalks that have seeds that get caught on wool and animal fur to be distributed elsewhere to grow. It thrives in moist and heavy soils along the roadsides and in some fields.The Yellow Dock Root has many benefits. From being regarded as a general health tonic, it is also used for many digestive tract disorders, various skin conditions and also for illnesses of the respiratory tract.

Ancient UsesIn ancient times, Yellow Dock Root was used in traditional herbal medications as a health tonic to relive stress and invigorate the body. It was also used as a poultice for common skin disorders and for wounds. It significantly reduced skin inflammation and skin irritation.Modern UsesThe modern use of the Yellow Dock Root is to relieve common digestive tract disorders. It has a laxative effect due to the anthraquinone glycosides content that this herb has. This content actually works to stimulate the release of bile and various digestive enzymes to relieve constipation and minor digestive disorders. Drinking Yellow Dock Root tea preparations daily has also been known to cleanse your entire digestive system to encourage healthy digestion and better absorption of nutrients. The Yellow Dock Root is also a diuretic to relieve water retention and to facilitate removal of toxins that can bring harm to the body organs. In the relief of some minor respiratory illnesses, Yellow Dock Root is an expectorant that can loosen phlegm and help relieve symptoms of colds, influenza and other lower respiratory tract infections. Studies have also shown that Yellow Dock Root has anti inflammatory properties that can alleviate the pain and swelling of joints common in cases of arthritis and rheumatism.

Yellow dock (Rumex crispus) is leafy-green plant distinguished by its yellow carrot-shaped root. In herbal medicine, it has a long history of use as a detoxifying herb, as well as to support the skin and liver; for those purposes it is often combined with dandelion root. A mild laxative, it contains anthraquinone glycosides, the active ingredients also found in senna leaf. A rich source of iron, yellow dock root has been traditionally used to supply iron to the diet. 

Rhizophora mangle – Kaler Kanda "FOOL YOUR STOMACH" – antiobesity

Properties of Kandal
Botanical name
Rhizophora mangle
Sanskrit Synonyms
Agnimukha, Agnisikha
Ayurvedic Medicinal Properties
Tikta, Kashaya
Lakhu, Rooksha
Name of the herb in other languages
Other Names : Kandal, Chuvanna kandal, Agnimukha
Description of the Plant
A large shrub or small tree with numerous supporting stilt roots, and breathing roots. Leaves simple, opposite, ovate-lanceolate, glabrous and acute. Flowers terminal in umbels. Fruits capsules, contain single seed, sprouts even before it fall off from the tree.
Medicinal Properties of the Plant
Plant pacifies vitiated pitta, inflammation, diarrhea, dysentery, menorrhagia, leucorrhea, wounds, boils, and viral infections. Plant has aphrodisiac property.
Useful parts of the herb : Leaves, Bark


This plant first become known in December 2010 at a Conference on the Science of Botanicals in California (US).

Kalir-kanda is an effective appetite suppressant because it is capable of inhibiting the absorption and synthesis of fat and cholesterol, it is particularly recommended for diets. It is considered the best natural fat burner. Leaves of the kalir-kanda containing unique acid. The acid of the leaves has a capital and main activity in regulating appetite and body weight. Indeed, the active ingredients of the kalir-kanda occur within the cell, decreasing the rate of acetyl-CoA in the heart of the metabolism of sugars and fats. Recent studies in people not wishing to lose a few pounds or even in the obese, the acid of the leaves kalir-kanda that enable them to reduce their body weight, reduce the size of fat cells, adipocytes, and resulted in the decrease of sugar cravings and cholesterol synthesis. *National Geographic mag.

Rhizophora Mangle – Fool The Stomach
Kandal Plants contain a satiety property which leaves your stomach with a feeling of overindulgence. Kandal’s botanical name is Rhizophora mangle.
Kandal Plants contain a satiety property which leaves your stomach with a feeling of overindulgence. Kandal’s botanical name is Rhizophora mangle. It is widely used in Ayurvedic medicines and is a Ayurvedic Medicinal Plant in the family of Rhizoporaceae. It is also known as Agnimukha/Agnisikha. In Malayalam it is called as Kandal (mangroves) or Chuvanna kandal (red mangroves). The taste of the leaves are Tikta (strong) and Kashaya (sour).
The Natural History Museum of Bombay has several collections of Kandal samples and reference sources and explains the Natural History of this plant.
Kandal or mangrove is commonly falls to the plant group of Macaranga peltata and widely grows in India. In India it is locally known as “fool the stomach” and taking 1 or 2 kalir (fresh blooming leaves) of Kanda plant will leave humans with a feel of overindulgence in the stomach throughout a week.
Kanda is a plant which was widely used in the epic period of India among the soldiers in war. This plant is one among the other many trees and plants which are poisonous.
The leaves of this plant create a sensory perception in the body to leave the effect of a filled stomach. The satiety property of this plant made it popular among the obese people. It is widely used in the manufacture of tablets for weight reduction. The extracts of leaves are widely used by people suffering from excess weight and successful results have been reported in several occasions.
Indian plant Kalir Kanda makes people beautiful, slim and healthy. And all because people change habits, eliminating dependence on food.

Leaves Kalir Kanda burn fat
In this case, the body will draw energy from its own reserves, burning with many hated fat. It is worth mentioning that for the Indians this plant is not a panacea for weight loss, but rather a chance to feel at least a false satiety. That would take and swap places with them. They hamburgers, and we – the leaves Kalir Kanda with their false satiety.  And everyone would be happy.
According to statistics, the number of fat and very fat people is growing exponentially. While the globalized world of thoughts, fashions and attitudes drew his image of modern man. And this image is far from reality. Fat and a little bit plump people are outside the norm. This is especially felt in the capital of our country. Given the promotion of healthy lifestyles, people even with a little overweight are trying by all means to bring themselves in shape, lose weight. That’s why Kalir Kanda in Moscow is extremely popular.

Kalir tree-Kanda is the fruit of happiness
Leaflets kalir kanda is an effective way to reset a few extra pounds of weight in a very short period of time. Such a diet should be observed for at least a week. Then the effect will be stunning. However, the approach to this kind of diet is carefully, slowly, including common sense. You should not refuse food and rely on Kalir Kanda. Leaves Kalir Kanda selling slowly – this is the slogan of this plant dealers. After all, if you do not comply with the dosage a person can completely abandon the usual food. And it will have consequences. Not worth the risk to health in order to get into a pair of jeans in sizes smaller. The leaves of the plants need to be used in a strictly limited doses. 

Cosmetic Herbs

Herbs for Beauty Care
Herbs and spices have been used in maintaining and enhancinghuman beauty since time immemorial. Indian women have long used herbs such as Sandalwood and Turmeric for skin care; Henna to color the hair, palms and soles; and natural oils to perfume their bodies. Not too long ago, elaborate herbal beauty treatments were carried out in the royal palaces of India to heighten sensual appeal and maintain general hygiene. Rightly said, beauty is very much an inner thing. First beautify from within. A large number of cosmetic and toiletry formulations have been developedbased on Indian Herbs recently. Apart from traditionally documented applications, some modern trialshave also established the utility of Indian herbs in Personal Care products. Below is a partial list of herbs with Cosmetic applications.
Cosmetic Herbs
Latin name
Common name
Part used
Acorus calamus
Sweet flag
Aromatic, Dusting powders, Skin lotions
Allium sativum
Promotes skin healing, Antibacterial
Aloe vera
Moisturizer, Sun screen, Emollient
Alpinia galanga
Aromatic, Dusting powders
Avena sativa
Moisturizer, Skin tonic
Azadirachta indica
Antiseptic, Reduce dark spots, Antibacterial
Calendula officinalis
Skin care, Anti-inflammatory, Antiseptic, Creams
Centella asiatica
Gotu kola
Wound healing, Reduce stretch marks, Creams
Cichorium intybus
Clears skin of blemishes
Citrus aurantium
Skin creams, Anti acne, Anti bacteria
Curcuma longa
Anti bacterial, Anti microbial, Skin creams
Cyperus rotundus
Suntan, Astringent, Anti-inflammatory
Daucus carota
Natural source of Vit A, Creams
Euphorbia hirta
Spurge Herb
Skin diseases, Cracked lips

Glycyrrhiza glabra
Anti inflammatory, Decrease pigmentation marks
Marticaria chamomilla
Skin cleanser
Mesua ferrea
Cobras saffron
Moringa oleifera
Suntan lotions
Ocimum sanctum
Entire herb
Antibacterial, Decrease dark spots
Pongamia glabra
Externally for skin disorders
Rubia cordifolia
Wound healing, Lighten pigmentation marks
Terminalia chebula
Triticum sativum
Wheat germ
Natural source of Vit E
Zizyphus jujuba
Skin care
Acacia concina
Natural cleansing agent, Detergent, Dandruff
Aloe vera
Moisturizer, Shampoos
Azadirachta indica
Anti-fatigue, Graying of hair, Alopecia
Bacopa monneri
Entire herb
Hair growth, Good for sleep, Shampoos
Cedrus deodara
Soaps, Shampoos
Centella asiatica
Gotu kola
Hair care, Darkening of hair, Hair oil
Citrus aurantium
Soaps, Shampoos
Citrus limon
Prevents hair loss
Eclipta alba
Promoting hair growth, Shampoos, Hair oil
Emblica officinalis
Hair care, Prevents grayness, Anti stress
Hibiscus rosa sinensis
China rose
Improves hair, Prevents premature greyness
Lawsonia alba
Hair growth, Natural conditioner, Natural dye
Marticaria chamomilla
Hair tonic
Moringa oleifera
Hair oils
Sapindus trifoliatus
Soap wort
Natural detergent, Shampoos
Triticum sativum
Wheat germ
Natural source of Vit E, Shampoos
Wedelia calendulacea
Entire herb
Hair care, Shampoos
Rosa centifolia
Coolant, Antifatigue

Terminalia belerica
Hair tonic , Used for graying of hair
Sesamum indicum
Hair tonic, Check hair fall, Relieves headache
Acacia arabica
Teeth disorders
Azadirachta indica
Toothache, Antibacterial, Dental carries
Barleria prionitis
Entire herb
Strengthens teeth, Tooth ache
Syzygium aromaticum
Toothache, Antiseptic
Glycyrrhiza glabra
Natural sweetner and flavour
Salvadora persica
Anti microbial
Bixa orellana
Red, Orange
Beta vulgaris
Beet root
Curcuma longa
Yellow, Orange
Caesalpinia sappan
Red, Violet

Elephant apple (DILLENIA INDICA L.)

Family: Dilleniaceae

Bengali/vernacular name: Chalta, Chalita.
Tribal name: Ulugach, Dabrusi (Chakma); Kra Aning (Marma); Jhaipola (Tipra); Thabru, Dabru, Chauralei (Murong).
English name: Elephant apple.
Description of the plant:
A medium-sized, semi deciduous tree, branches spreading. Leaves fascicled at the end of the branches, oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, 20-30 cm long, sharply serrate. Flowers white, large, up to 15 cm diam., solitary, towards the end of each branchlets. Fruit large, 7.5-10 cm diam., subglobose.
Indian Catmon is a more or less deciduous tree growing up to 10 meters or more in height, with a few wide-spreading branches. Leaves are alternate, mostly terminal, oblong or broadly lanceolate, 20 to 30 centimeters long, 6 to 12 centimeters wide, stiff, curving outward, with toothed margins, and beautifully ribbed, with 30 to 40 pairs of side veins. Flowers are very large, 15 to 20 centimeters across, solitary at the ends of the twigs, are facing downward. Sepals are rounded and yellowish green, while the petals are white, free, obovate, and 5 to 7.5 centimeters wide. Fruit, which is made of ripened carpels and enclosed by greatly enlarged and thickened imbricating sepals, is large, somewhat rounded or broadly ovoid, 12.5 to 15 centimeters in diameter, yellowish green hard, and tough. Seeds are numerous and compressed, with a hairy margin.


Using information:
The fruits are tonic and laxative; used in diarrhoea, dysentery and burns in Khagrachari. The fruit juice is used as a cooling beverage in fevers and as an expectorant in cough mixture. The bark and leaves possesses astringent properties (Yusuf et al. 2009).
Seed extract possesses antimicrobial activity.

Chemical constituents:
Chief contents of the fleshy sepals are tannins, malic acid, arabinogalactan and glucose. They also contain an arabinogalactan, betulin, betulinic acid and flavonoids. Bark and wood contain flavonoids, betulin, betulinic acid, betulinaldehyde, lupeol, β-sitosterol, myricetinhydroxy-lactone, dihydroisorhamneti, dillentin and glucosides. Leaves contain flavones, cycloartenone, betulinic acid, n-hentriacontanol and β-sitosterol. Stem bark contains betulinaldehyde, betulin, lupeol, β-sitosterol, myricetin, a new hydroxylactone, dihydro-isorrhamnetin, dillentin and glucosides.
– Fruit is very watery, 86.4% water, with 10% insoluble matter, and very little of that is nutritious.
– Calyces of the fresh ripe fruit yields: moisture 86.40%, alcohlic extract 3.0 %, water extract 0.37%, and insolubles 10.23%.
– Composition of an alcoholic extract was: Moisture 8.20, tannin 1.40, glucose 12.15, mallic acid 2.21, petroleum ether solubles (fats, etc.) 0.72, albuminoids 0.85, ash 12.63, and pectous matter, etc., 61.84.
– Kernel of D. indica yielded antioxidant compounds 1-Dotriacontano and BHT.
– Phytochemical screening have yielded lupeol group of triterpene-like betulinic acid and betulin, and flavonol such as myricetin.
– Yields flavonoids: kaempferol, quercetin, isorhamnetin, naringenin and phenolic materials.
– Stem extract yielded four compounds: lupeol, betulinaldehyde, betulinic acid and stigmasterol.
– A phytochemical screening yielded steroids, terpenoids, saponins, fatty acids, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, glycosides and carbohydrates.

– Bark and leaves are astringent.
Parts utilized
Fruit, bark, leaves.
– In Malaya, fruit is used as flavoring with curries. Also made into jam.
– Bark and leaves are astringent.
– Fruit is slightly laxative; in excess, may induce diarrhea.
– Fruit used for relieving abdominal pains.
– Mixed juices of leaf and bark taken orally for treatment of cancer and diarrhea.
– Juice of the fruit, mixed with sugar and water, used as a cooling beverage in fevers and as a cough mixture.
– In Sabah, young leaves or stem bark pounded and applied as paste on swellings and wounds.
– In Thailand, fruit pulp used in washing the hair.
– Fruit juice used as cardiotonic.
• Red dye: A red dye is obtained from the tree bark.

• CNS Depresssant: Alcoholic extract has shown central nervous system depressant activity.
• Chemical Constituents / Triterpenoids / Flavonoids: (1) Study isolated four compounds from the n-hexane and chloroform fractionates: 3,5,7-trihydroxy-3’4′-dimethoxy flavone, betulinic acid (dillenetin), ß-sitosterol and stigmaterol. Results indicate Dillenia indica may provide a rich source of triterpenoids and flavonoids. (2) Contains the lupeol group of triterpene (betulinic acid, betulinaldehyde, betulin) and flavonol (myricetin). Stem bark contains myricetin, isorrhamnetic, dillenetin and glucosides.
• Betulinic Acid / Anti-Leukemic: The methanolic extract of D indica fruit showed significant anti-leukemic activity in human leukemic cell lines. Betulinic acid, the major compound isolated, could explain the anti-leukemic activity.
• Anti-Inflammatory: The anti-inflammatory activities of the methanol extract of Dillenia indica leaves were observed in various models related to inflammation. The findings support the folkloric use of Dillenia indica in diseases related to inflammatory processes.
• Antioxidant: Study of extracts of Dillenia indica fruits antioxidant activity to be highest in the methanol extract, followed by ethyl acetate and water extracts. Results indicate the extent of antioxidant activity correlated with the amount of phenolics present and that D. indica is rich in phenolics and may provide a good source of antioxidants.
• Anti-Diabetic / Antihyperlipidemic: It also showed significant reduction in serum cholesterol, triglycerides, and serum transaminases levels, with improvement in HDL levels.
• Antimicrobial: Study of methanolic extracts and fractions of the bark of DI showed remarkable activities against all test bacteria. An n-Hexane fraction showed highest activity against Shigella dysenteriae. A methanol extract showed highest activity against fungus Candida albicans.
enhanced serum insulin levels in diabetic rats.
• Antimicrobial / Antioxidant / Cytotoxicity: Crude methanolic extracts showed weak antimicrobial activity against bacteria and fungi. Extractives exhibited significant cytotoxic activity on brine shrimp lethality bioassay. Extractives also exhibited significant free radical scavenging activity.
• Anxiolytic: Study of a hydroethanolic leaves extract showed prominent anxiolytic activity in mice. Diazepam was used as the standard drug.
• Free Radical Scavenging Activity: Study of methanolic leaves extract showed significant reducing power and concentration-dependent free radical scavenging effect. Total phenolic contents of the leaves extract were gallic acid equivalents and total flavonoids were catechin equivalents.

Milk thistle, Silybum marianum, hepatoprotective, silymarin, seeds, antioxidant

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum, Asteraceae) seeds have been used for over 2000 years
as remedy for several diseases especially for liver and still widely used. The active
constituents of milk thistle seed are three flavonolignans viz. silibinin, silychristin, and
silidianin collectively known as silymarin extracted from milk thistle seeds, available
commercially as standardized extract. Milk thistle seed extract (silymarin) and its
constituents (mainly silibinin) act as antioxidant and hepatoprotective; effective in
treating toxin poisoning, hepatitis, cirrhosis, fibrosis of liver; stimulate liver
regeneration. However, human studies regarding management of alcoholic cirrhosis and
hepatitis are equivocal. Milk thistle seed has anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory,
lipid and biliary effects. It also has antiviral, antitumor and other therapeutic
properties. Milk thistle preparations are safe, well tolerated and cause no serious side
effects except mild gastrointestinal and allergic reactions. Milk thistle seed is a very
promising herbal drug. More research is warranted to substantiate its broad ranging
phytotherapeutic effects. 
Key words: Milk thistle, Silybum marianum, hepatoprotective, silymarin, seeds,
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum L. Gaert., Asteraceae) seeds have been used for
centuries as herbal medicine mainly for the treatment of liver diseases. The common
name, milk thistle, is derived from the ‘milky white’ veins on the leaves, which, when
broken open, yield a milky sap. The therapeutically active constituents of milk thistle
seeds are three isomeric flavonolignans namely silibinin (silybin), silychristin, and
silidianin collectively known as silymarin extracted from the dried milk thistle seeds.
Silibinin is the most biologically active. The seeds also contain other flavonolignans,
betaine, apigenin, silybonol, proteins, fixed oil and free fatty acids, which may
contribute to the health giving effects of milk thistle seeds. [1, 2] Present review
attempts to provide a brief overview of the recent advances in the pharmacological and
therapeutic aspects of milk thistle seeds.

Botanical descriptions
Milk thistle is an annual or biennial plant. It is erect, stout, 5-10 feet tall with large
prickly leaves, large purple flowering heads and strongly spinescent stems .
When broken the leaves and stems exude a milky sap. The glabrous leaves are dark
green, oblong, sinuate-lobed or pinnatified with spiny margins. The leaves have milkwhite
veins. White veins give the leaves, which initially form a flat rosette, a diffusely
mottled appearance. During flowering season, from June to September each stem bears
a terminal head containing a single, large, purple, slightly fragrant flower ending in
sharp spines. The reddish purple flowers are ridged with sharp spines. The achenes, 6-
7 mm in length and transversely wrinkled, are dark in colour, grey flecked with a yellow
ring at the apex. Attached to the achene is a long white pappus. The fruits are glossy
brown or grey with spots. 
Traditional cultivation and usage
Milk thistle was once cultivated in Europe as vegetable. The de-spined leaves were used
in salads and as spinach. The stalk, root and flowers were also consumed. He roasted
seeds were used as coffee substitute. Preparations of milk thistle seeds have been used
medicinally from as early as fourth century B.C. and first reported by Theophrastus.
Traditionally the seeds have been used in Europe as galactogogue in nursing mothers,
bitter tonic, and antidepressant, in liver complications (including gallstones), dyspepsia,
spleenic congestions, varicose veins, diabetes, amenorrhea, uterine hemorrhage and
menstrual problems. Its use as liver protectant can be traced back to Greek and Roman
references of first century A.D.
Present day cultivation and usage
Milk thistle is indigenous to Kashmir (India), Southern Europe, Southern Russia, North
Africa, and Asia Minor. It was introduced to most areas of Europe, North and South
America and Southern Australia and cultivated mainly in dry rocky soils of European
countries, Australia, Canada, China, North and South America as medicinal plant. It is
also grown widely as ornamental plant for its attractive foliage. The seeds are collected
ripe during late summer. Presently milk thistle seed, its purified extracts and its active
constituents are mainly used in liver diseases. It is the most widely used
hepatoprotective agent, in chronic inflammatory hepatic disorders including hepatitis,
jaundice, alcohol abuse, fibrosis, cirrhosis and fatty infiltration; in hepatotoxicity by
mushroom poisoning and by industrial pollutants. It is also widely used as
nutraceuticals agent. In homoeopathy the seed tincture has been used in liver
disorders, jaundice, gall stones, peritonitis, haemorrhage, bronchitis and varicose veins.
Extracts, tablets or capsules containing standardized extract of milk thistle seeds are
available commercially.
Phytotherapeutic applications
The seeds of milk thistle can be consumed raw (usually freshly milled), made into a tea
or used as a hydro-alcoholic extract for medicinal use. Silymarin is included in the
pharmacopoeia of many countries. Average adult dose of powdered seed is 12-15 g/day;
as dry standardized seed extract (silymarin): 200-400 mg/day; as liquid seed extract: 4-
9 ml/day. Silymarin is very poorly soluble in water, so milk thistle seed is not much
effective in the form of tea. Extracts from the seed are generally marketed as tablet and
encapsulated form for oral use, usually containing concentrated seed extract
standardized to 70-80 % of silymarin. Silymarin is also administered by parenteral
route. The effects of silymarin (the standardized extract from milk thistle seed) are
discussed below.
Milk thistle seed’s therapeutic and health promoting efficacy involves a variety of
molecular mechanisms. Its primary activities are of use as antioxidant and

Antioxidant: Silymarin has been reported to act as an excellent antioxidant,
scavenging free radicals (reactive oxygen species) and inhibiting lipid peroxidation
thereby protecting cells against oxidative stress. It augments the non-enzymatic and
enzymatic antioxidant defense systems of cells involving reduced glutathione,
superoxide dismutase and catalase. It can protect the liver, brain, heart and other vital
organs from oxidative damage for its ability to prevent lipid peroxidation and
replenishing the reduced glutathione levels. Silibinin exhibits membrane protective
properties and it may protect blood constituents from oxidative damage.
Hepatoprotection: Use of milk thistle seeds as liver protectant dates back to the first
century. Antioxidant activity is one of the important factors in hepatoprotection.
Antihepatotoxic potential: Silymarin protects liver cells against many hepatotoxins in
humans and animals. Some mushrooms (e. g. Amanita phalloides, the death cup
fungus and A. virosa) contain two toxins: phalloidine and α-amanatine which destroy
hepatocyte cell membrane and block hepatic protein synthesis leading to severe liver
damage and death. Silymarin effectively prevents both of these effects by blocking the
toxin’s binding sites, increasing the regenerative capacity of liver cells. Silibinin was
found to be an effective measure against liver damage if it is administered intravenously
within 24 hours after mushroom ingestion. In one study, 60 patients with severe
Amanitia poisoning were treated with infusions of 20 mg/kg of slibinin with excellent
results showing no death of the patients treated. Sliymarin is often used as supportive
therapy in food poisoning due to fungi.
Silymarin also offers liver protection against tetracycline, d-galactosamine and thalliuminduced
liver damage and erythromycin estolate, amitryptiline, nortryptiline and tertbutyl
hydroperoxide exposure of neonatal hepatocytes. It reduces liver damage due to
long term treatment with phenothiazine or bytyrophenone. Silibinin significantly
inhibits concanavalin A-induced liver disease. It also provides heparoprotection against
poisoning by phalloidin, halothane, thioacetamide, acetaminophen and carbon
tetrachloride. It also protects liver from ischaemic injury, iron overload and radiation.
Silymarin is used for the treatment of several liver diseases characterized by
degenerative necrosis and functional impairment including chronic liver disorders. The
German Commission E endorses use silymarin for the treatment of liver diseases,
including hepatitis A, alcoholic cirrhosis, and chemically induced hepatitis.
Alcoholic liver disease/cirrhosis: Ethanol metabolism involves formation of free radicals
leading to oxidative stress in liver. Silymarin successfully opposes alcoholic cirrhosis
with its antioxidant and hepatoprotective mechanisms restoring the normal liver
biochemical parameters. Silymarin also ameliorates cytolysis in active cirrhosis
patients. However use of silymarin is inadvisable in decompensated cirrhosis.
Hepatitis: In patients with acute viral hepatitis, silymarin shortens treatment time and
shows improvement in serum bilirubin, and serum liver enzymatic levels. Biochemical
values are restored to normal sooner in silymarin-treated patients. In chronic active
hepatitis silymarin treatment improves liver function tests. Histological improvement is
observed in sliymarin-treated patients with chronic hepatitis. Silymarin causes stable
remission of alcoholic hepatitis normalizing the liver biochemical parameters. [10]
Liver fibrosis: Liver fibrosis can result in remodeling of liver architecture leading to
hepatic insufficiency, portal hypotension and hepatic encephalopathy. The conversion
of hepatic stellate cells into myofibroblast is condidered as central event in fibrogenesis.
Sliymarin treatment markedly inhibits this process in liver fibrosis patients showing
antifibrotic potential.
Liver tissue regeneration: Silymarin stimulates liver tissue regeneration by increasing
protein synthesis in the injured liver. In in vivo and in vitro experiments performed in
the liver of rats from which part of the organ (liver) was removed, silibinin produces a
significant increase in the formation of ribosomes and in DNA synthesis, as well as an
increase in protein synthesis. Interestingly, the increase in protein synthesis is induced
by silibinin only in injured livers, not in healthy ones.
There are a number of systematic reviews regarding the applications of milk thistle
seeds in liver diseases but most of the human studies done to date are of such variable
design, quality and results that no definitive conclusions about degrees of effectiveness
in the treatment or prevention of alcoholic cirrhosis and hepatitis can yet be made.
Better quality clinical trials are necessary.
Anti-inflammation:Milk thistle seed and its active extract silymarin have antiinflammatory
and anti-arthritic effects due to excellent antioxidant property, scavenging
free radicals which act as pro-inflammatory agents. Silymarin was found to be more
effective in cases of developing arthritis compared to developed arthritis. Silymarin and
silibinin hinder inflammatory process by inhibiting neutrophil migration and Kuppfer
cell inhibition. They also inhibit the formation of inflammatory mediators viz.
prostaglandins and leukotrienes especially (by inhibiting 5-lipoxigenase pathway) and
release of histamine from basophils. Therefore, milk thistle seed may possess antiallergic
and anti-asthmatic activities.
Immunomodulation: Sliymarin’s immunomodulatory activity in liver disease patients
may also be involved in its hepatoprotective action. Sliymarin protects experimental
rodents from ultraviolet radiation-induced immunosupression. [14] Silibinin inhibits
activation of human T-lymphocyte, human polymorpho-nuclear leucocyte. Silymarin
significantly suppresses the inflammatory mediators, expression of histocompatibility
complex molecules and nerve cell damage. Long term administration of sliymarin
improves immunity by increasing T-lymphocytes, interleukins and reducing all types of
immunoglobulins. Sliymarin can be useful in development of therapeutic adjuvant in
which immunosupression is required including autoimmune and infectious diseases.
Liver lipidaemic control: It was found that silymarin and silibinin reduce the
synthesis and turnover of phospholipids in the liver. Silibinin neutralizes ethanolinduced
inhibition of phospholipids synthesis and the reduction in glycerol
incorporation into lipids of isolated hepatocytes. Furthermore, silibinin stimulates
phosphatidylcholine synthesis and increases the activity of choline phosphate
cytidyltransferase in rat liver both in normal conditions and after galactosamine
intoxication. Silymarin significantly inhibits hepatic lipid peroxidation and may
diminish triglyceride synthesis in liver. Impairments in the liver lipid profile caused as a
result of prolonged effect of ethanol, anti-tubercular drugs (isoniazid, rifampacin), and
liver toxicants (acetaminophen, halothane, microcystin) are effectively improved by
Blood (plasma) lipidaemic control:Administration of silymarin to type II
hyperlipidemic patients resulted in slightly decreased total cholesterol and high-density
lipoprotein levels in blood plasma. Silymarin reduces plasma levels of cholesterol and
low-density lipoprotein levels in hyperlipidaemic rats, whereas silibinin does not reduce
plasma levels of cholesterol in normal rats; however, it reduces total phospholipid
levels. Biliary cholesterol and phospholipid concentrations in rats are also slightly
reduced. Silymarin-induced reduction of biliary cholesterol and phospholipids in both
rat and human may be in part due to decreased liver cholesterol synthesis. Silymarin
could represent a novel agent in the prevention and therapy of hypercholesterolemia
and atherosclerosis.
Biliary effect:  Silymarin undergoes excessive enterohepatic circulation, which allows a
continuous loop between intestine and liver. It prevents the disturbance of bile
secretion, thereby increasing bile secretion, cholate and bilirubin excretion.
Anti-viral effect:Although silymarin does not affect viral replication it has beneficial
role in viral hepatitis by its inhibitory action on inflammatory and cytotoxic processes
induced by viral infection. Silibinin strongly inhibits growth of both HepG2 (hepatitis B
virus negative; p53 intact) and Hep3B (hepatitis B virus positive; p53 matured) cells
with relatively more cytotoxicity in Hep3B cells which is associated with apoptosis
induction. Silymarin also showed inhibitory activity against other viruses in different
cell lines.
Antitumor and anticarcinogenic effects: Silymarin significantly inhibits tumor
growth and also cause regression of established tumors. It is associated with in vitro
anti-proliferative, pro-apoptopic and anti-angiogenic efficacy in prostate tumor.
Silymarin feeding during the promotion phase of 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide-induced rat
tumorigenesis exerts chemopreventive activity against tongue squamous cell carcinoma.
The cancer chemopreventive and anticarcinogenic effects of silymarin in long term
animal tumorigenesis models and in human prostate, breast, and cervical carcinoma
cells are also reported. Treatment with silibinin results in a highly significant inhibition
of both cell growth and DNA synthesis with loss of cell viability in case of cervical
carcinoma cells.
It is well demonstrated that ultraviolet light-induced immunosuppression and oxidative
stress play an important role in the induction of skin cancers. Topical or dietary
administration of silymarin to mouse skin prevents photocarcinogenesis by significantly
inducing apoptosis, increase in catalase activity and induction of cylo-oxygenase and
ornithine decarboxylase activity. Similar results are also obtained in other chemical induced
skin carcinogenesis models. Prevention of ultraviolet light-induced
immunosuppression and oxidative stress by silymarin may be associated with the
prevention of photocarcinogenesis.
Silibinin significantly induces growth inhibition, a moderate cell cycle arrest and a
strong apoptotic cell death in small cell and non-small cell human lung carcinoma cells.
Silibinin inhibits the growth of human prostate cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo.
Silymarin and silibinin have strong anti-angiogenesis effect on the colon cancer cell line
and effective against chemical-induced bladder carcinogenesis in mice and
hepatocellular carcinoma in rats.
Neuroprotection:Silymarin was found to be useful in prevention and treatment of
neurodegenerative and neurotoxic processes due to its antioxidant effects. Silymarin
can effectively protect dopaminergic neurons against lipopolysaccharide-induced
neurotoxicity in brain .
Cardioprotection:During cancer therapy, the use of certain chemotherapeutic agents
like doxorubicin is limited by cardiotoxicity that is known to be mediated by oxidative
stress and apoptosis induction. Silibinin has such cardioprotective properties due to its
antioxidant and membrane protective actions.
Miscellaneous effects:Silymarin helps to maintain normal renal function. Silibinin
reduces oxidative damage to kidney cells in vitro. In rats, silibinin prevents cisplatininduced
nephrotoxicity, but does not prevent cyclosporine-induced glomerular damage.
As an antioxidant, silymarin can protect the pancreas against certain forms of damage.
In a controlled trial of human diabetics treated with silymarin, patients experienced
decreases in blood glucose and insulin requirements. It exhibits anti-ulcer activity in
rats.  In one study of post parturient cattle given milk thistle seed meal, milk
production was increased and ketonuria reduced, as compared to controls. [19]
The value of silymarin in the treatment of psoriasis may be due to its ability to improve
endotoxin removal by the liver, inhibition of cyclic adenosine monophosphate
phosphodiesterase, and leukotriene synthesis. Abnormally high levels of cyclic
adenosine monophosphate and leukotrienes are observed in patients with psoriasis and
normalization of these levels may improve the condition.
Adverse effects
Human studies performed with milk thistle seeds indicated little need for concern with
adverse effects. Human studies demonstrate that milk thistle seed extract (silymarin) is
safe and well tolerated. It is generally nontoxic and causes no side effects when
administered to adults in a dose range of 200-900 mg/day in two or three divided
doses. Higher dose (> 1500 mg/day) could produce minor gastrointestinal disturbances
involving mild laxative effect which may be due to increased bile secretion and flow.
Mild allergic reactions (pruritus, urticaria, arthralgia) are observed, but rarely enough to
discontinue. Commonly noted adverse effects such as bloating, dyspepsia, epigastric
pain, flatulence, nausea, irregular stool and laxation are observed in 2-10 % of patients
in clinical trial. Headaches and dermatological symptoms are also noted.
Silymarin was found nontoxic in rats and mice after oral doses of 2500 or 5000 mg/kg
body weight without producing any unwanted symptoms. Similar reports were also
obtained for rabbits and dogs. No evidence of ante- or postnatal toxicity in animals was
reported. These data reveal that the acute toxicity of silymarin is very low. [3,7]
It was found that silymarin at higher concentrations have an inhibitory effect on both
phase I and phase II hepatic drug metabolizing (biotransformation) cytochrome enzyme
systems. But the plasma concentrations at therapeutic doses are very less as compared
to that needed for the inhibition. So it exhibits no beneficial or harmful drug
interactions at normal doses.
Safety of milk thistle seed in pregnancy and lactation was not studied in humans.
Traditionally has been considered safe in lactation, however, no clinical studies have
been performed. Safety in children also has not been studied yet. No known
contraindications have yet been reported.
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) seeds have been used for over 2000 years as natural
remedy for the treatment of several diseases especially for liver and still widely used for
the same. The active constituents of milk thistle seed are three isomeric flavonolignans
viz. silibinin or silybin, silychristin, and silidianin collectively known as silymarin
extracted from the milk thistle seeds, available commercially as standardized extract.
Milk thistle seed extract (silymarin) and its constituents (mainly silibinin) act as
antioxidant and hepatoprotective and effective in treating toxin poisoning, hepatitis,
cirrhosis, and fibrosis of liver; stimulate liver regeneration. Although the human studies
regarding management of alcoholic cirrhosis and hepatitis are equivocal. Milk thistle
seed demonstrates anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, lipid and biliary effects. It
also has antiviral, antitumor and other therapeutic properties. Milk thistle seed
preparations are safe, well tolerated and cause no serious side effects in humans except
mild gastrointestinal and allergic reactions.
Milk thistle seed shows great promise to be a superior herbal drug. Its good safety
profile, better standardization and quality control, easy availability and low cost are
added advantages. More definitive research is warranted to corroborate its wide range of
phytotherapeutic effects. Further research on milk thistle seed may make a
breakthrough as a new approach in disease prevention in addition to liver

Insulin plant Costus pictus

The present study was carried out to evaluate the antidiabetic activity of Costus pictus (C.pictus) D. Don, on alloxan induced diabetic rats. Oral administration of fresh leaf extract (200 and 400 mg/kg body weight) for 60 days treatment resulted in significant decrease in blood glucose level and lipid profiles.  There were also significant changes observed in carbohydrate metabolizing enzymes and antioxidants. The nitrogenous wastes such as urea, uric acid and creatinine were also found decreased after the treatment. The study clearly shows that the effect of the drug (400 mg/kg body weight) was equally effective with the standard drug glibenclamide. To find out the biomarkers, pharmacognostic and phytochemical studies were carried out . The leaf of C. pictus is characterized by simple unicellular, pointed non-glandular trichomes, absence of palisade layer and hypodermal layers containing shattered crystals. Micromorphological characters of the leaf are also given.  The leaves are found to contain flavonoids such as kaempferol, 3’, 4’-di O-Me-quercetin and 4’-OMe-Kaempferol and  phenolic acids such as gentisic, 2, 5-dihydroxy benzoic acid, o-coumaric, melilotic, α-resorcyclic, 3,5-dihydroxy benzoic acid, p- hydroxy benzoic acid, cis and trans-p-coumaric acid.

Diabetes mellitus is a disorder very well known and widespread all over the world. Different types of oral hypoglycemic agents such as insulin, suphonylurea etc. are used for the treatment of this disease, but they cause side effects on continued use. There is a growing interest in phytomedicine because of their effectiveness, fewer side effects and low costs. Many Indian medicinal plants are reported   to   be   useful   in   diabetes.   C.   pictus   D.Don. (Costaceae) an ornamental plant of Mexico, is one such plant newly introduced to India.  It is an erect herb growing up to 3 meters tall,  having stem horizontally striped at base; leaves narrowly lanceolate, dark green above, lighter green below; small leaves are present on the basal part; bracts green, with outer margin coloured maroon. Flowers yellow; lip with maroon striations, darker yellow stripe down the middle region; anther cream coloured. This plant is distributed along the coast from Mexico to Costa Rica and is locally known as cana agria or cana de jabali in Mexico. In Mexico, it is used to treat diseases of the kidney. It is reported to have effects on renal functions and its anti-inflammatory and hypoglycemic  actions.  The  practitioners  in  Mexico used an infusion of this plant in the treatment of renal disorders; the plant also possesses diuretic activity. The plant was reported to contain flavonoids, saponins, reduced sugars and tannins.
The present study was undertaken to test the plant for its antidiabetic activities, toxicity of the extract on normal rats and the effect of the extract on the antioxidant enzymes, non- enzymatic  antioxidant,  carbohydrate metabolizing  enzymes and   lipid   profile.   Pharmacognostic   and   phytochemical analysis of the leaves were also conducted.
Insulin plant is a relatively new entrant to Kerala and India. Insulin plant has not got a Malayalam name yet, except the occasional use of insulin chedy or insulin chedi, where chedy means a plant. The catchphrase of this plant is ‘a leaf a day keeps diabetes away’.
The plant is characterized by large fleshy looking leaves. It grows very quickly. Propagation is by stem cutting. It grows in slightly shady areas.
Diabetes patients are advised to chew down a leaf in the morning and one in the evening for a month. Allopathic doctors too recommend it and it is found to be effective in bringing blood sugar levels under completely under control. There is also dried and ground powder of the leaves now available in the market.
* With FBS below 200, take ONE leaf daily before breakfast and drink a glass of water
* With FBS above 200, take TWO leaves in the morning and TWO at night on a daily basis.
 Preparation of aqueous extract
The leaves of C. pictus (Costaceae) were collected from Vadodara City, Gujarat. A Voucher specimen was deposited in the herbarium of the Botany department of M. S. University. For preparing the extract, 500 g of Fresh leaves were boiled in water for 30 min. The extract was then filtered and the process of boiling was repeated three times with the residue, each time collecting the extract. The collected extract was  pooled  and  passed  through  a  fine  muslin  cloth.  The filtrate upon evaporation at 40°C yielded 14.5% semi solid extract.
Lipids in the diabetic subjects is mainly due to an increase in the mobalization of free fatty acids from the peripheral fat deposit [34]. The hypolipidemic effect of C. pictus could be explained as a direct result of the reduction in blood glucose concentration.
The present findings suggest that the plant extract is non- toxic, since no marked changes were observed in the normal rats fed with the extract.  Thus, at normal therapeutic doses, the extract was considered to be safe for long-term treatment in diabetic condition. The leaf extract showed potent antidiabetic activity and the dose 400mg/kg body weight was more effective than 200 mg/kg body weight. 400 mg dose was all most equally effective with the standard drug glibenclamide.   Apart   from   this   the   plant   extract   also improved the activity of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants, thereby scavenging the free radical that initiates the lipid peroxidation. The decreased level of urea, uric acid and creatinine in the treated rats clearly shows that the plant extract, protects the diabetic rats from alloxan induced renal damage.  The  plant  extract  also  lowered  the  plasma  lipid levels,   the   antihyperlipidemic   effect   of   the   extract   in particular can be considered as a possible therapeutic value. The result observed in all these parameters were statistically significant (p<0.05). Thus all these activities exhibited by the extract can be attributed to the presence of the active constituent of the plant. Longer duration studies of C. pictus extract and its isolated compounds are necessary to develop a potent antidiabetic drug.
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