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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 71-78  

Alstonia scholaris: It's Phytochemistry and pharmacology


1 Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, Haryana, India
2 Rayat college of Pharmacy, Ropar, Punjab, India

Date of Web Publication15-Jul-2011

Correspondence Address:
Dhirender Kaushik
Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, Haryana
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2229-5186.82970

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   Abstract 

Complementary therapies based on herbal medicines are the world's oldest form of medicine and recent reports suggest that such therapies still enjoy vast popularity, especially in developing countries where most of the population does not have easy access to modern medicine. Alstonia scholaris (L.) R.Br (Apocynaceae) is an evergreen tropical tree native to Indian sub-continent and South East Asia, having grayish rough bark and milky sap rich in poisonous alkaloid. It is reported to contain various iridoids, alkaloids, coumarins, flavonoids, leucoanthocyanins, reducing sugars, simple phenolics, steroids, saponins and tannins. It has been reported to possess antimicrobial, antiamoebic, antidiarrheal, antiplasmodial, hepatoprotective, immunomodulatory, anticancer, antiasthmatic, free radical scavenging, antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiulcer, antifertility and wound healing activities. In other parts of the world, it is used as a source cure against bacterial infection, malarial fever, toothache, rheumatism, snakebite, dysentery, bowl disorder, etc. Reports on the pharmacological activities of many isolated constituents from A. scholaris (L.) R.Br are lacking, which warrants further pharmacological studies.

Keywords: Alstonia scholaris (L.) R.Br, echitamine, pharmacology, phytochemistry, review


How to cite this article:
Kaushik P, Kaushik D, Sharma N, Rana A C. Alstonia scholaris: It's Phytochemistry and pharmacology. Chron Young Sci 2011;2:71-8

How to cite this URL:
Kaushik P, Kaushik D, Sharma N, Rana A C. Alstonia scholaris: It's Phytochemistry and pharmacology. Chron Young Sci [serial online] 2011 [cited 2018 Dec 15];2:71-8. Available from: http://www.cysonline.org/text.asp?2011/2/2/71/82970


   Introduction Top


Complementary therapies based on herbal medicines are the world's oldest form of medicine and recent reports suggest that such therapies still enjoy vast popularity, especially in developing countries where most of the population does not have easy access to modern medicine. [1] The traditional Indian system of medicine, Ayurveda, which means the science of life, is one of the world's oldest systems of medicines. Ayurveda mainly uses plant-based formulas developed through the experimentation and experiences of doctors for centuries. [2]

Alstonia scholaris (L.) R.Br (Apocynaceae) is an evergreen tropical tree native to Indian sub‐continent and South East Asia, having grayish rough bark and milky sap rich in poisonous alkaloid. This plant is a native of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, South East Asia, Africa, Northern Australia, Solomon Islands, and Southern China. [3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8] The plant is a large evergreen tree, growing up to 17-20 m in height, with a straight often fluted and buttressed bole, about 110 cm in diameter. Bark is grayish brown, rough, lenticellate abounding, bitter in taste secreting white milky latex. Leaves are 4-7 in a whorl, coriaceous, elliptic-oblong. Flowers are small, greenish white, many in umbellate panicles, corolla tube is short, very strongly scented. Fruits have follicles, 30-60 cm long. Seeds are papillose with brownish hair at each end. [4](80-83),[5](111-114)] The bark, also called dita bark, is traditionally used by many ethnic groups of North East India and other parts of the world as a source cure against bacterial infection, malarial fever, toothache, rheumatism, snakebite, dysentery, bowl disorder, etc. Also, the latex is used in treating coughs, sores and fever. [4],[9],[10] It is a beautiful foliage tree with a large canopy, and because of this, it has become a popular ornamental tree in the landscapes and gardens in the warm and temperate regions of Florida, Texas, and California in the United States. [3]

A. scholaris (L.) R.Br has been used in traditional systems of medicine for treating various ailments. The ripe fruits of the plant are used in syphilis and epilepsy. It is also used as a tonic, antiperiodic, and anthelmintic. The milky juice of A. scholaris (L.) R.Br has been applied to treat ulcers. The bark is the most intensively used part of the plant and is used in many compound herbal formulas. [4] It is a bitter tonic, alternative, and febrifuge and is reported to be useful in the treatment of malaria, diarrhea, and dysentery. [4],[7],[8],[11] Recently, the leaf extract has also been found to own antimicrobial properties. [12] A. scholaris (L.) R.Br has also been reported to inhibit liver injuries induced by carbon tetrachloride, beta-d-galactosamine, acetaminophen, and ethanol as remarked by the reduced elevation of levels of serum transaminases and histopa-thologic changes such as cell necrosis and inflammatory cell infiltration. [13]

Historically, the plant was scientifically named by Linnaeus as Echites scholaris. However, to commemorate the great botanist Professor C. Alston, the generic name was changed to Alstonia, whereas the species name scholaris was retained to signify its use in schools in South East Asia, where the wood is traditionally used to make blackboards and wooden slates. The other synonyms of the plant include Tabernaemontana alternifolia Burm, Echites pala Buch-Ham ex Spreng, and Pala scholaris (L.) Roberty. [3],[4](pp1308- 1315),[5](pp337-346)-[8]] In Sanskrit, the plant is referred to as phalagaruda, sapthaparna, and saptaparni (sapta means 7 and parna or parni means leaves) because the leaves are found in whorls of 7 [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Alstonia scholaris with fruit pods

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   Taxonomical classification of A. scholaris Linn. R.Br Top





   Phytochemistry Top


A. scholaris Linn. is known to be a rich source of alkaloids and there is interest among the scientists to use this for therapeutic purposes. Amongst the chemical classes present in medicinal plant species, alkaloids stand as a class of major importance in developing new drugs because alkaloids own a great variety of chemical structures and have been identified [Table 1] as being responsible for the pharmacological properties of medicinal plants. Almost all the parts of plant (bark, flower, root) are found to contain active principles [Table 1].
Table 1: Important chemical constituents from different parts of Alstonia scholaris


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   Pharmacology Top


Following are the pharmacological activities of the plant; it has been investigated scientifically in animal models to validate the potential of the plant in cure of variety of ailments as shown in [Table 2].
Table 2: Pharmacological activities reported from Alstonia scholaris

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   Acknowledgment Top


We would like to thank Director, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, for providing the necessary facilities for completion of this work. [107]

 
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    Figures

  [Figure 1]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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