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Benefaction of Medicinal Plant Uraria picta

Written By

Harsha Kashyap

Submitted: January 31st, 2021Reviewed: April 14th, 2021Published: May 11th, 2022

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.97731

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Abstract

Medicinal plants are very significant as they not only maintain the health and vitality but most importantly also cure the various ailments in humans and animals without causing any toxic side effects. These are readily available and cost effective therapeutic agents. Uraria picta was first proposed by Desvaux, (1813), is highly medicinal and critically endangered plant species found throughout India and other parts of the world like Africa, Australia, Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, Nigeria etc. This herb is full of antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-emetic, aphrodisiac, analgesic, cardiovascular and expectorant properties. Due to its high therapeutic use and growing need, the plant is becoming rare and endangered, therefore it is necessary to create awareness of this plant to support its propagation in large numbers. This herb also shows properties of anti-cancer and anti-cholinergic properties hence can manage depressions, anxiety, sleeping problems. Analgesic property helps in reducing body pain.

Keywords

  • Medicinal plants
  • health
  • cost effective
  • therapeutic
  • endangered
  • awareness

1. Introduction

Medicinal plants are very significant as they not only maintain the health and vitality but most importantly also cure the various ailments in humans and animals without causing any toxic side effects. These are readily available and cost effective therapeutic agents. India is known as the “Botanical Garden of the World” as it produces largest medicinal plant wealth. Over the past few decades, herbal medicines from the medicinal plants have been accepted universally. Therefore the efforts are being taken all over the globe in exploring and documenting the ethnomedicinal and pharmacological scientific research data on plants [1].

Uraria pictawas first proposed by Desvaux, (1813), is highly medicinal and critically endangered plant species found throughout India and other parts of the world like Africa, Australia, Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, Nigeria etc. [2, 3]. The plant has been extensively used in Ayurvedic system to treat various ailments. All the plant parts are packed with therapeutic properties from flowers, leaves to the fruits and seeds. This herb is full of antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-emetic, aphrodisiac, analgesic, cardiovascular and expectorant properties [3]. This herb is a major ingredient of well-established Ayurvedic medicine called Dashamoola which is formulation of 10 herbs. The description of the plant can also be seen in classical ancient books of Ayurveda Medicines like Charak Samhita, Sushrut Samhita and Vaghabhatta. There are other formulations in Ayurveda where Prishnaparni is used like Abana, Amrutharishtha, Angamarda prashamana kashaya churna, Vyaghri taila, Madhyama Narayana taila, Dasamularishtha.

U. pictais found to be an erect [4, 5], branched, perennial herb [6, 7] (Figures 1 and 2).

Figure 1.

U. pictawhole plant.

Figure 2.

U. pictaplant roots.

Classification ofU. picta[8]:

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassMagnoliopsida
OrderFabales
FamilyFabaceae
GenusUraria
SpeciesPicta

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2. Morphology

Stem:Suffruticose undershrubs which is 1–1.9 m tall stout stem, hooked hairs.

Leaves:Alternate, compound, unipinnate, imperipinnate, 15–30 cm long approximately.

Leaflate:Subcoriaeous, 6–20 x1–4 cm rounded at base acute green blotched with white and glabrous above minutely pubescent beneath, entire margin.

Stipels:Subulate, 4.5 mm long lower leaves often 1–3 foliolate sometime 5–9 foliolate leaflet, sub orbibicular or oblong.

Flowers: Flowers in close fascicles along the rachis of spicate, cyllendric racemes 10–30 cm long curving upwards with ages pubescent. Standard 5–6 mm long pink or purple.

Pods: Pods glabrous 4–6 jointed joints smooth, polished.

Seeds: Seeds ovate, 2 mm long light brown in color.

Roots:Stout, nodulated, branched.

Synonyms.

There are various synonyms of U. pictathat are D. pictaRoxb., Hedysarum pictumJacq., U. aphrodisiacaWelw., U. leucanthaSpan., U. linearisHassk.

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3. Geographical distribution

U. picta is widely distributed throughout India [2]. It is commonly found in dry grasslands, growing densely and producing poorly viable seeds and it also extend upto Tarai Region of the Himalayas [9]. Apart from India it can also be found in various parts of Asia including China, Japan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan and Nepal. The plant is also found in regions of Africa like Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Congo, South Africa, Queensland Australia [10], and in Philippines, Malaysia [3].

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4. Plantation and agroclimatic factors

The plant can grow well in tropical and subtropical regions. It can germinate in humus and sand in comparison to red earth [5]. Loam to clay-loam soil is suitable for its cultivation and the species can grow in the soil pH upto 8.5 [9]. Okusanya et al. (1991) found that the species showed a significantly better growth in wet and moist soil conditions than dry and waterlogged conditions. They also reported that the species responded identically to pH range 3.5, 5.5 and 7.5. The plant also has salinity tolerance [5].

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5. Ethnomedicinal importance

According to Charak Samhita this is one of the major ingredient for Dashamoola, Angamardhaprashmana- group of herbs that help to relieve bodyaches, Shothahara- group of herbs having anti-inflammatory properties, Sandhaneeya-group of herbs that are used in fractures and dislocations. Charak suggested liquid formulation cooked with Prishnaparni for diarrhea, cooked with Prishnaparni, parched paddy and processed with S. cordifoliafor bleeding piles and hemorrhage. According to Sushruta, for gout, milk cooked with Prishnaparni added with honey was given, and promoting adhesion of fractured bones, powdered roots of the Prishnaparni were given [11, 12]. The root decoction of this plant is being used to treat Fever, cough and cold [2, 4, 11, 13]. Yusuf et al. (2007) suggested leaf paste can be applied on boil to burst [14]. Igboechi et al. (1989) studied the ethnomedicinal properties of the plant in Nigeria, can be used in the control of ectoparasites in men and domestic animals [15]. Plant was also assessed for acaricidal activity on Ixodes ricinus. According to Billore et al. (2004) the plant can be used for gynecological disorders [16]. The plant is also effective for the treatment of gonorrhea [17]. Leaves of the plant are used as a diuretic, aphrodisiac, general antiseptic and to cure oral sores [5]. Whole plant shows the antivenom activity against Echis carinata[2, 18]. Extract of dried arboreal parts of plant species reported to show antimicrobial properties [719]. This herb also used to cure malarial fever. Also shows cardiovascular properties. This also used to maintain the good HDL level in body and lowers level of LDL and maintains the healthy blood pressure in body. This herb also shows properties of anti-cancer and anti-cholinergic properties hence can manage depressions, anxiety, sleeping problems. Analgesic property helps in reducing body pain.

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6. Phytochemical constituents

Phytochemical constituents show specific physiological action individually or in combination with other constituents on human body [20]. Phytochemical constituents include both Primary and secondary metabolites and hence form the backbone of the modern medicine [21]. Important Phytochemical constituents of U. pictainclude alkaloids, flavonoids, steroids, terpenoids, pterocarpans, saponins, phenols, tannins, carbohydrates, proteins, cardiac glycosides etc. [22, 23]. Various mineral components or inorganic nutrients are also required for the human health. This herb is packed with essential minerals that are Sodium, Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium and Phosphorus [24]. Among these phytochemicals, flavanoids, alkaloids and pterocarpans are the bioactive compounds (Figure 3).

Figure 3.

Chemical structures of active phytochemical constituents representatives isolated fromU. picta.

Quantitative phytochemical studyby Madhikatti, 2011 shows that the U. pictais packed with primary and secondary metabolites [23] (Figure 4).

Figure 4.

Graphical representation of the quantitative data of phytochemical constituents.

Saxena et al. 2014 studied the mineral contents (Figure 5.) of the U. pictain different plant parts which showed the ample amount of mineral elements. This becomes useful when requirements of these minerals in the body are considered [20].

Figure 5.

Macro elements (mineral content) in different plant parts ofU. picta.

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7. Pharmacological properties

The medicinal value of the plant is characterized by the phytochemical constituents and their pharmacological properties. Alkaloids possess various pharmacological properties such as antiarrhythmic, anticholinergic, analgesic, antitumor, antihypertensive, antipyretics, antimalarial, stimulant, anti-HIV, antileukemic etc., and are often utilized as recreational drugs [20, 25]. Flavonoids are the commonly found polyphenolic compounds in the human diet and these are present all over the plant. The pharmacological property of flavonoids include CNS activity, cardiotonic, lipid lowering, antiulcer, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, antineoplastic, antimicrobial, antioxidant and hypoglycemic activity. Intake of food containing Flavonoids lowers risk of certain free radical related pathophysiology [26]. Therapeutic uses of terpenoids include antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antihyperglycemic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, antiparasitic, immunomodulatory, and as skin permeation enhancer. Luo et al. (1999) have reported terpenoids can decrease the blood sugar level in animals. Steroids can possess the analgesic properties [27]. They are also used to treat a variety of inflammatory diseases and conditions. Cardiac Glycosides also show therapeutic properties and are used in the treatment of congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia [28]. Phenols or phenolic compounds show antimicrobial, antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, or antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory effects. Also contribute to their inducing apoptosis by arresting cell cycle, regulating carcinogen metabolism and ontogenesis expression, inhibiting DNA binding and cell adhesion, migration, proliferation or differentiation, and blocking signaling pathways [29]. Saponins are being used commercially as dietary supplements and nutraceuticals in traditional medicine preparations. They also show hypocholesterolemic and antidiabetic properties [20]. As all these phytochemical constituents are present in the U. picta,all the pharmacological properties associated with these chemical compounds are found to be present in the plant as well. The earlier study conducted by Odubanjo et al. (2013) shows the plant possess the “Anticholinesterase property”. They analyzed this property against two enzymes namely AchE (Acetylcholinesterase) and BchE (Butyrylcholinesterase). Here the aqueous extract of the plant and tested for the amount of IC50 Value. The result of the experiment showed the ample amount of dose dependent AchE and BchE inhibitory activity at the highest tested concentration [30]. Numerous studies have been done on “Antioxidant effect” of U. picta. Patel and Kamariya et al. (2011) studied the antioxidant behavior of aqueous extract of the plant. They analyzed the result statistically using regression method [31]. The significant antioxidant effect was calculated based on IC50 Value in presence of phenolic, flavonoid, sterol and terpene derivatives [8]. Methanol extract of U. pictashowed the “Myocardial protection” [8] upon Rat Ischemic Reperfusion Injury Model by invigorating Muscarinic Receptors. To explore the hepatoprotective effect of U. picta, Hem, et al. (2017) used PCM-induced liver injury model. The experiment showed the ability of the extract to reduce the serum liver enzymes level ALT (Alanine Transaminase) and AST (Aspartate AminoTransferase) in the blood. They also studied the “Anti-Inflammatory properties” of the plant in dose dependent manner where the aqueous decoction of roots and aerial parts showed the significant activity against egg albumin-induced and formalin induced rats paw edema. Both pre-clinical and clinical experiments suggested that the plant possesses the quick fracture healing effect due to deposition of phosphorous and calcium [22, 32].

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8. Conclusion and future aspects

This report is based on the comprehensive study conducted on U. picta,which summarizes the botany, geographical distribution, propagation, phytochemical constituents and pharmacological properties of plant. This shows that the plant treasures a great medicinal wealth as each part of the plant reportedly has various phytochemical constituents having their respective pharmacological properties. These pharmacological properties are providing the evidence to various ethnomedicinal uses of the plant which have been in practice in many continents for centuries. Hence the whole plant plays an important area of research and developmental properties for pharmacologists and researchers. Due to its high therapeutic use and growing need, the plant is becoming rare and endangered; therefore it is necessary to create awareness of this plant to support its propagation in large numbers.

The development of modern drugs from less toxic plant products with proven medicinal properties is now being supported globally. There is no doubt that the products of this plant consecrate bright prospects as a reliable cure for various ailments.

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Acknowledgments

The author is grateful to Professor Aditya Shastri, Vice-Chancellor, Banasthali Vidyapith, Rajasthan and Bioscience and Biotechnology Department, Banasthali Vidyapith for providing research facilities and constant motivation.

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Written By

Harsha Kashyap

Submitted: January 31st, 2021Reviewed: April 14th, 2021Published: May 11th, 2022