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Celastrus paniculatus back  |  home
Latin Names English Names Sanskrit Names Hindi Names
Celastrus paniculatus
Willd. (Celastraceae)
Climbing Staff Tree, Intellect Tree,
Black-Oil Plant
Katabhi, Jyotishka, Kanguni
Kondgaidh, Malkangni, Sankhu
Celastrus PaniculatusHabitat
It grows almost all over India, up to an altitude of 1,800 m. It is also found in the Middle and South Andamans.

Morphology Description (Habit)
A large, woody, climbing shrub. The leaves are ovate, oblong-elliptic; the flowers are unisexual, small, greenish white or yellowish green; the capsules are globose, yellow, 1-6 seeded and transversely wrinkled; the seeds are ellipsoid or ovoid, yellowish- or reddish-brown in color, enclosed in scarlet aril, which stains yellowish orange.

Principal Constituents
The seeds are reported to contain the alkaloids celastrine and paniculatin.

The oil obtained from the seeds of the plant produced sedation in the rats in a dose of 1g/kg intramuscularly. On intraperitoneal administration, the same dose of oil produced sedation but the effect was not so marked. The oil showed anticonvulsant activity in rats. The oil (as emulsion in between 80 and water), at a dose of 50-100 mg/kg, produced a gradual fall in the blood pressure of cats. At a dose of 20mg/kg, the oil produced a fall in cardiac output, bradycardia and a marked increase in pulse pressure on isolated heart lung preparation1.

The oil of Celastrus paniculatus was fractionated into polar and semipolar compounds and these fractions were injected to rats for one month. Serum transaminases (SGOT and SGPT), alkaline phosphatase, calcium, creatinine, uric acid and blood urea of treated rats were estimated. These oil fractions were not found to be harmful in the long run2.

The seeds constitute the drug; they are bitter, and have an unpleasant odor. They possess emetic, diaphoretic, febrifugal and nervine properties and are used for sharpening the memory; and also used to cure sores, ulcers, rheumatism and gout.

  1. Gaitonde et. al., Curr.Med. Pract., 1957, 1, 619.
  2. Bidwai, P.P. et. al., Fitoterapia, 1990, v. 61(5), 417-424.
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