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Holarrhena antidysenterica back  |  home
Latin Names English Names Sanskrit Names Hindi Names

Holarrhena antidysenterica
(Linn) Wall. (Apocynaceae)

Connessi Bark,
Coneru, Tellicherry Bark
Kutaja, Vatsaka Kura, Kora, Kureya, Kurchi
Holarrhena AntidysentericaHistory
The connessi tree is popular for its numerous medicinal properties. Considered to be one of the most valuable medicinal products of India , finding mention in Hindu mythology, the seeds and bark of the tree have been used in the British Materia Medica for a long time. The tree forms part of several indigenous systems of medicines, where is has been used in the treatment of dysentery and diarrhea. Several Indian tribes have used the plant in ailments like anemia, epilepsy, stomach pain and cholera. In the Ayurvedic system of medicine, Kurchi is used as an antihelminthic, for diarrhoea and skin diseases.

It grows throughout India up to an altitude of 4,000 ft. It is especially abundant in the sub-Himalayan tract.

Morphology Description (Habit)
H.antidysenterica is a deciduous shrub or small tree. The bark is rather rough, pale brownish or greyish; the leaves are opposite, subsessile, elliptic or ovate-oblong, membranous; the flowers are white, in terminal corymbose cymes; the follicles, divaricate, cylindric and usually white spotted; the seeds are light brown.

Principal Constituents
The principal alkaloid of kurchi is conessine. The other alkaloids reported to be present in the bark are: conamine, conkurchine, connessimine, kurchine, conarrhinine, holarrhinene and isoconcessimine.

Various fractions of H.antidysenterica showed promising activity against experimental amoebiasis in rats and hamsters1. The fruit extract (50% ethanolic) showed antiprotozoal effect against Ent. histolytica strain STA, Trypanosoma evansi; anticancer effect against human epidrmoid carcinoma of the nasopharynx in tissue culture and hypoglycemic activity in rats2.

Clinical Studies
Clinical tests with connessine on patients with intestinal and hepatic amebiasis have been found to give results, comparable to those obtained with emetine3

Use of connesine must, however, be closely supervised, as in some cases it can produce neurological troubles like Vertigo, sleeplessness, agitation, anxiety and delirium4.

The bark has astringent, antidysenteric, anthelmintic, stomachic, febrifugal and tonic properties. It is used in the treatment of amebic dysentery and diarrhea.

  1. Dutta, N. K and Iyer, S. N., J. Ind. Med. Assoc., 1968, 50, 349.
  2. Dhar, M. L, et. al., Ind. J. Exp. Biol., 1968, 6, 232.
  3. Signier, F. et. al., 1949. Medicine Tropicale, 9, 99-109, Tanguy, et. al., 1948, ibid, 8, 12-31.
  4. Oliver, B.B. (1986). Medicinal Plants in Tropical West Africa, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 163.

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