formed one of the important plants in Hindu medicine. It was
one of the ten roots, the Dhasamoola. It was described as pungent,
bitter, digestive, diuretic, alterative, astringent and anthelmintic.
It was used in fever, cough, flatulence, costiveness and heart
disease. In practice the drug was generally combined with other
expectorants, demulcents and aromatics. Fumigation with the
vapour of the burning seeds of this plant was in high repute
to cure toothache. When smoked like tobacco, the natives believed
that the smoke killed the insects, which they assumed caused
the pain. In Bengal the plant was used as a diuretic in dropsy.
The root paste was utilised by the Mukundara tribals of Rajasthan
for the treatment of hernia.
in Southeast Asia, Malaya and tropical Australia. Very commonly found
throughout India in plains from seashore to hills up to 1000 m high.
Morphology Description (Habit)
a very prickly perennial herb somewhat with woody base. Stem branched
much and younger ones clothed with dense, stellate and tomentose hairs.
Prickles are compressed straight, glabrous and shining, often 1-3
cm long. Leaves ovate or elliptic, sinuate or subpinnatifid, obtuse
or subacute, stellately hairy on both sides, armed on the midrib and
often on the nerves with long yellow sharp prickles. Petiole is long,
stellately hairy and prickly. Flowers are in cymes or some times reduced
as solitary. Calyx tube is short, globose and lobes linear-lanceolate,
acute, densely hairy and prickly. Corolla purple, lobes deltoid, acute,
and hairy outside. Anther filament is long, glabrous and anthers open
by a pore. Ovary is ovoid and glabrous. Berry yellow, green-blotched
and sorrounded by enlarged calyx. Seeds are glabrous.
solasodine is the principal alkaloid. Alcoholic extracts of the plant
contain fatty and resinous substances. Solasonine is present in fruits.
The glycoalkaloid content of fruits collected from plants growing
in Jammu & Kashmir is reported to be 3.5 per cent (total alkaloids:
1.1%). The plant samples collected from Calcutta contained solasodine
of 0.0287%. The presence of diosgenin in the plant has been reported1.
Seeds yield 19.3 % of a greenish yellow, semi-drying oil with a characteristic
odour. The unsaponifiable matter of fruits contains two sterols, one
of which is carpesterol2.
studies on this herb have shown that aqueous and alcoholic extracts
of the plant possess hypotensive effect, which is partly inhibited
by atropine. The more persistent secondary fall in the blood pressure
and broncho-constriction are inhibited by the antihistamine drugs.
Both glycoalkaloid and fatty acid fractions of the extract cause liberation
of histamine from chopped lung-tissue. The beneficial effect of the
drug on bronchial asthma may be attributed to the depletion of histamine
from bronchial and lung-tissue3. Solasodine is teratogenic
in rats and guinea-pigs.
There is no adverse effect was reported on
use of this herb as drug.
Stem, flowers and
fruits are bitter and carminative. It is employed in cough, asthma
and pains in chest, being used in the form of a decoction. They are
prescribed for relief in burning sensation in the feet accompanied
by vesicular watery eruptions. Leaves are applied locally to relieve
pain. The juice of berries is used in sore throat. Like roots, seeds
are also administered as an expectorant in asthma and cough. The plant
is credited with diuretic properties and is used to cure dropsy. Its
juice is mixed with whey and ginger and given in fevers. The juice
of the leaves, mixed with black pepper, is prescribed in rheumatism.
An Ayurvedic compound Arkadhi, with this herb is useful in dengue
fever, acute bronchitis and fevers accompanied by chest-affections.
The macerated plant in coconut oil is given to cattle at the time
of calf delivery. A decoction of roots or crushed fruits with mine
salt is given to cattle for stomachache or constipation. It forms
a constituent of herbal cough remedy koflet (Himalaya) and is reported
to promote expectoration4.
Pendse, Indian J. med. Res., 1932, 20, 663; Gupta et. al.,
ibid. 1967, 55, 723; Chaudhary et. al., Curr. Sci., 1958,
27, 409; Chopra & Handa, loc. cit. Briggs et. al.,
J. chem. Soc. 1961, 4645.
Gupta & Dutt, J. Indian chem. Soc., 1936 13, 613; Eckey,
Gupta et. al., Indian J. med. Res., 1967, 55, 723; Gupta
& Gupta, Indian J. med. Sci., 1967 21 , 795; Dhar et. al.,
Indian J. exp. Biol., 1968, 6, 232; Joshi & Magar, J. sci.
industr. Res., 1952, 11B, 261.
Dagar & Chagtai, J Econ Taxon Bot, 1991, 15, 603; Bhasin,
Probe, 1991, 31, 23; Gupta et al, Int J Pharmacogn, 1993, 31,
15; Banik et. al., Sci & Cult, 1990, 56, 214.