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Paris polyphylla: An Important Endangered Medicinal Plants of Himalayan Foothills

Written By

Arunkumar Phurailatpam and Anju Choudhury

Submitted: December 15th, 2021 Reviewed: January 27th, 2022 Published: May 5th, 2022

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.102920

IntechOpen
Medicinal Plants Edited by Sanjeet Kumar

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Medicinal Plants [Working Title]

Dr. Sanjeet Kumar

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Abstract

Paris polyphylla is an important threatened medicinal plants found mainly in the north eastern parts of India. These rhizomatic plants are in great demands and extracted injudiciously from the wild. The rhizome is the economic part which is used for its various medicinal properties. The present article gives an account of updated information on its phytochemical and pharmacological properties and its ethno medicinal uses on account of the tale from the local people and veds, literature and their conservation aspects in the region. The review reveals that wide numbers of phytochemical constituents have been isolated from these plants. The rhizomes of the several species of the genus Paris have been used as haemostatic and anti-inflammatory agent to treat traumatic injuries, snake bites, abscess, parotitis and mastitis. For the last few decades or so, extensive research work has been done to prove its biological activities and pharmacology of its extracts. Excessive injudicious collection and harvesting from the wild has pushed these species towards extinction. Domestication, cultivation and strict laws are the need of the hour to save these species from extinction.

Keywords

  • medicinal plants
  • Paris polyphylla
  • conservation
  • threatenened
  • North East India

1. Introduction

The knowledge of using of plants and herbs as medicines and for the treatment of many kinds of diseases and for healthy living is handed over from generation to generation in all the communities. Numerous traditional uses of plants and herbs for medicinal purposes have been documented and published time by time. Mankind has been continuously using the medicinal plants in several ways for treating of various ailments and for cosmetics purposes. In India, the sacred Vedas dating back between 3500 B.C and 800 B.C gave many references of medicinal plants. “Virikshayurveda is one of the oldest works in traditional herbal medicine in India, which is compiled even before the beginning of Christian era and it formed the basis of medicinal studies in ancient India. Knowledge of herbs has been handed down from generation to generation for thousands of years and herbal drugs constitute a major part in all traditional systems of medicines. Plants have been used for medicine from time immemorial because they are easily accessible and cheap and above all they were the only means for healthcare. Recently, there has been a tremendous increase in the use of herbal products in many countries, both developing and developed, which resulted in an exponential growth of herbal products globally. Herbal medicines have a strong traditional or conceptual base and the potential for them to be useful as drugs in terms of safety and effectiveness, leads for treating different diseases. Many of the population in the developing and underdeveloped countries still depend on herbal medicine where access to modern medicine is little [1]. Plants continue to serve as possible sources for developing new drugs from the chemicals derived from various parts of plants. In recent time there has been a marked shift towards herbal cures because of the adverse and noticeable side effects of modern drugs. However, due to increase in population, deforestation, roads and railways, urbanization and unsustainable harvesting and collection from the wild, many useful plant species along with their uses are disappearing every day. Unsustainable and injudicious extractions of these medicinal plants have pushed some of the important species towards extinction. An important anti cancerous plant, Taxus wallichianaZuccarini was pushed towards endangerment due to injudicious harvesting and collection of Paclitaxel (Taxol), the most effective anti cancerous compound used for treating a variety of cancers [2, 3]. This species was extracted in large scale from the wild injudiciously for its anti-cancerous properties during 1980s which led endangered status at present [4]. It has become the most threatened species and has been categorized as endangered by the IUCN [5]. Today, history is again repeating for many other species, including Paris polyphyllaSmith. In this context, I would like to bring forth an important threatened medicinal plant species (Paris polyphylla) found in North eastern part of India in the foothills of Himalayan which has been very less documented and evaluated but talking of its importance, it’s a plant with varied medicinal uses and great demand in the market.

Paris polyphyllais a rhizomatous herbaceous species belonging to Melanthiaceae family. The genus comprises of 24 species, which are distributed in Bhutan, China, India, Japan, Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, Vietnam and Europe [6]. China has the highest number of species (22 species) with 12 endemic species. In India the genus is represented by 2 species, viz. P. polyphyllaand P. thibeticawith about 6 intraspecific taxa (Table 1) [6].

StateDistrictVillage/regionLocal name
Arunachal PradeshKameng, Subansiri, Kurung Kume, Siang, Lohit, Tirap and ChanglangDo-Tala
ManipurSenapatiHengbung, Maram, Purul and Ma-kui regionsSingpan
TamenglongPuilong Village
UttarakhandSatwa
Himachal Pradesh
Jammu & Kashmir
Mizoram
Sikkim
NagalandTuensangPangsha village
PhekChida region
KohimaArudara region
MokokchungLongkum village
MeghalayaWest Khasi HillNongstoin regionSohbsein

Table 1.

Geographical distribution and availability of P. polyphyllain India.

Source: [7].

As of May 2012 the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP) recognizes several varieties [8, 9].

  • Paris polyphyllavar. alba

  • Paris polyphyllavar. chinensis

  • Paris polyphyllavar. latifolia

  • Paris polyphyllavar. nana

  • Paris polyphyllavar. panxiensis

  • Paris polyphyllavar. polyphylla

  • Paris polyphyllavar. stenophyla

  • Paris polyphyllavar. yunnanensis

The Flora of China recognizes five additional varieties, three of which are placed in different species by the WCSP:

  • P. polyphyllavar. appendiculata= P. thibetica

  • P. polyphyllavar. brachystemon= P. polyphyllavar. stenophyla

  • P. polyphyllavar. kwantungensis= P. polyphyllavar. polyphylla

  • P. polyphyllavar. minor= P. delavayi

  • P. polyphyllavar. pseudothibetica= P. delavayi

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2. Taxonomic classification

Common Name—PARIS

Botanical NameParis polyphyllaSm.

Family—Melanthiaceae

Part Used—Rhizome

P. polyphyllais a shade loving herbaceous, perennial plant usually found in temperate and subtropical regions. It grows well in shady moist forest thickets and bamboo forests with moist soil. It bears rhizomes which is the economical part and has medicinal properties. It has a single unbranched stem and 2–3 whorls of leaves are present on the nodes. It flowers during the month of April. It has odd flowers with long yellow radiating anthers [10]. The morphological characteristics of the herb are given below (Figure 1):

Figure 1.

Arunkumar Phurailatpam, College of Horticulture and Forestry, Central Agricultural University, Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh, India.

Habit: Aerial, erect plant, herb, rhizomatous,.

Stem: Unbranched, non woody, smooth, 50–100 cm tall, 1–2.5 cm thick.

Leaf: Simple type, arranged in whorls and petiolate; lanceolate, reticulate with three primary veins, smooth margin, spider-like flowers.

Inflorescence: At the initial growth stage It forms a closed whorl

Flower: blooms at terminal. Flowers are solitary, yellowish green; monoecious; sepaloid outer is larger and inner is smaller, tepal 3–5.

Androecium: Stamens-free and 6–11 in numbers.

Gynoecium: 1 pistil, 3–5 carpels, syncarpous (carpels fused), ovary superior.

Seed: Reddish orange in colour; a mature fruit contains about 50–60 seeds.

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3. Habitat

P. polyphyllagrows luxuriantly under the shade with a good canopy closure at an altitude of 1300–2500 m above sea level as forest under storey. It grows mainly in a forest with bamboo groves, grassy or rocky slopes, stream-sides, mixed conifer forests and scrub thickets [6]. It is a slow germinating herb and takes about seven to eight months to sprout from the seed. It thrives well inside the deep forest cover in nature. It grows best in humus-rich and well-drained soil and waterlogging is found to be lethal for this herb. Plants that lack inflorescences are usually shorter in height. It has been reported that the plants when taken out of the natural habitat failed to either flower or set seed. This plant is a very slow growing herb and almost takes a year to increase it rhizome size from one node to another and this is one important reason for the fast disappearance of this species from the natural habitat. The rhizomes are the economic part of this plant and they are harvested from the wild injudiciously.

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4. Morphology

P. polyphyllais a perennial, rhizomatous, herbaceous plant with green and unbranched aerial parts which grows upto 50–100 cm. It has a erect smooth stems with a rhizome. The leaves are arranged in whorl and usually 6–7 in numbers. The leaves has parallel reticulate venation and lanceolate in shape. The flowers are borne above the leaves whorl and are yellow green in colour. The Inflorescence is solitary. Flowers are bisexual and the perianth is of two series. The outer sepaloid is larger as compared to the inner one. The tepals may be 3, 4 or 5. It contains 6–11 Androceum and the stamens are free. It contains one gynoecium and a pistil with 3–5 carpels. The ovary is superior. It blooms in the month of April–June in the region and flowering may last up to 3–4 months. The capsules split when it got ripened in late summer. A mature fruit contains 50–60 red seeds.

Different varieties of P. polyphyllahave been identified. Some of them are given below (Table 2).

VarietyDescription
P. polyphyllavar. albaStyle and apical part of ovary white
P. polyphyllavar. chinensisAnthers about twice as long as filaments
P. polyphyllavar. kwantungensisFilaments can grow to about 10 mm; stigma lobes
P. polyphyllavar. latifoliaOvary and capsule tuberculate
Ovary and capsule smooth
P. polyphyllavar. minorFilaments 1–2 mm; anthers around 6 mm
P. polyphyllavar. nanaPlants about 10 cm tall; free portion of anther connective inconspicuous
P. polyphyllavar. polyphyllaLeaf blade oblong, elliptic, or obovate—lanceolate, 2.5–5.0 cm wide
P. polyphyllavar. stenophyllaLeaf blade lanceolate to linear-lanceolate; 1.5–2.5 cm wide
P. polyphyllavar. yunnanensisInner tepals are 3–5 mm wide; distally widened sometimes; narrowly spatulate

Table 2.

Different varieties of P. polyphylla.

Source: Flora of China (online),eFloras.org, retrieved 11 February 2015.

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5. Ethno medicinal uses

This plant has many uses in traditional health care in many countries especially in China and Nepal. Some of the uses are as/in analgesic, removes heat, antispasmodic, antitussive, depurative, snake bites, boils and ulcers, diphtheria and epidemic Japanese B encephalitis, stomach ache, appendicitis, tonsillitis, insect bites, boils. It also counteracts toxicity, causes the subsidence of swelling, alleviates pain and relieves convulsions, boils, carbuncles, sore throat, traumatic pain, convulsions. It also has anti-tumor action.

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6. Pharmacology

6.1 Anti tumour activity

Lee et al. [11] of the Department of Biochemistry, the Chinese University of Hong Kong reported that the steroidal saponin of Paris polyphylla,polyphyllin D, could served as a candidate for breast cancer treatment. It was found that treatment of MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells with polyphyllin D resulted in the inhibition of viability and induction of apoptosis in a dose dependent manner. Mechanistically, polyphyllin D dissipates the mitochondrial membrane potential, induces a down regulation of anti-apoptotic Bcl 2 expression and an up-regulation of pro-apoptotic Bax-expression and activate caspase 9.

Yan et al. [12] of Tianjin University, China has reported that (Diosgenin-3-α-L-arabinfuranosyl (1-4)-[α-L-rhamnopyanosyl (1-2)]-β-D-Glycopyranoside), the main steroidal saponin of Paris polyphyllashowed remarkable cytotoxicity and caused typical apoptosis in a dose dependent manner. Rhizoma Paridis saponins showed anti-cancer activity against lung adenocarcinoma cell lines, both in-vivoand in-vitro.

While investigating the anti-cancer activity of 15 traditional Chinese medicines which are usually used for tumour patients in China, using MTT(methyl thiazolylt diphenyl-tetrazolium bromide) method on 6 human digestive tumour cell lines-human liver carcinoma cell lines (HepG2) and SMMC-7721), human gastric cancer cell lines (BGC-823), human colon adenocarcinoma cell line (LoVo and W-116) and oesophagus adenocarcinoma cell line (CaEs-17), it was found t ha t Paris polyphyll ashowed a predominant inhibitory effect on all the cell lines with IC50 values ranging from 10 μg/mL to 30 μg/mL. The finding suggested the potential of Paris polyphyllaSmith against digestive cancer [13].

Anti tumour constituents from Paris polyphyllavar. yunanensis isolated by column chromatography with silica gel and purified by Sephadex LH20 column chromatography and reverse phase preparative HPLC [14] are:

  1. Diosgenin-3-O-α-L-arabinofuranosyl (1-4) β-D-glycopyranoside

  2. Pennogenin-3-O-α-L-arabinofuranosyl (1-4) β-D-glycopyranoside

  3. Isorhamn etin-3-O-β-D-glycopyranoside

  4. Ethyl-α-D-fructofuranoside

  5. Pennogenin-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl (1-4)[ α-L-rhamnopyranosyl(1-2)] β-D-glycopyranoside, and6.Pennogenin-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl (1-4) [α-L-rhamnopyranosyl (1-4)] α-L-[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl(1-2)] β-D-glycopyranoside.

6.2 Immuno-stimulating properties

In the study of three diosgenyl saponin compounds is olated from Paris polyphyllai.e. (1)3-O-α-1-rhamnopyranosyl (1-4)-α-1-rhamnopyranosyl (1-4)-[α-1-rhamnopyranosyl (1-2)-α-d-glucopyranoside, (2)Diosgenin-3-O-α-1-rhamnopyranosyl (1-2)-α-1-arabinofuranosyl-β-d-glucopyranoside and (3)Diosgenin on the immuno-modulatory activity about phagocytosis, respiratory burst and nitric oxide (NO) production, it was found that (1)and (2)exhibited significant enhancement of phagocytosis, respiratory burst and NO product ion in RAW 264.7 cells (mouse macrophage cells) but (3)only showed great augmentation of phagocytotic function. (3)Neither showed respiratory burst response nor increases the production of NO. It was concluded that the presence of glucoside moieties of diosgenyl saponins is essential for the activation of immunological reactions, especially during the period of oxygen consumption such as in the process including inflammation and microbial activity although diosgenin (3)could only stimulate the macrophages phagocytosis including elimination of foreign or denatured substance [15].

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7. Anti-bacterial action

The roots have shown anti bacterial action against Bacillus dysentery, B. typhi, B. paratyphi, E. coli, Staphylacoccus aureas, Haemolytic streptococci, Meningococcietc. [16].

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8. Spermicidal action

The plant extract showed effective spermicidal activity against rat and human sperms. The vaginal application of the plant’s extract (100 mg/animal) prevented pregnancy up to 60% of the rabbits tested [17].

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9. Anti fungal

Deng et al. in 2008 evaluated the anti-fungal activity of Paris polyphyllasaponin against Cladosporium cladosporioidesand Candida speciesand showed comparable activity to chemicals used in some commercial products.

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10. Others

The rhizome of the plant contains sugars (7.9%) and two glycosides viz a-paridin (m.p. 244–46°) and a-paristypnin (m.p. 147–49°) which produces a tingling sensation on the tongue. α-Paristypnin has a depressant action on carotid pressure, myocardium and respiratory movements. It produces vasoconstriction in kidney, vasodilation in the spleen and limbs and stimulates the intestines [17].

11. Chemical composition

Devkota [17] isolated 6 (six) compounds from Paris polyphyllacollected from Parbat district Nepal.

The compounds are

  1. Przewalskinone B (1,5-Dihydroxy-7-methoxy-3-methylanthraquinone) which has a anthraquinone skeleton Polyphyllin C (Diosgenin-3-O[α-Lrhamnopyanosyl(1-3)-β-D-glucopyranoside) which has a steroidal skeleton.

  2. Polyphyllin D (Diosgenin-3-O[α-Lrhamnopyanosyl (1Rha-2Glu)-α-Larabinofuranosyl (1Ara-4Glu)]-β–D-Glucopyranoside) which has a steroidal skeleton

  3. Saponin-1 (Diosgenin-3-O[α-L-rhamnopyanosyl (1Rha-2Glu)-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl (1Ara-4Glu)]-β-D-Glucopyranoside) which has a steroidal skeleton

  4. Stigmasterol which is a steroid, and

  5. Stigmasterol-3-O-β-D-glucoside.

A new saponin-polyphyllin A-H has been isolated from the rhizome of Paris polyphyllaof which first six are spirostanol steroidal saponins and remaining two are furastanol steroidal saponins [18].

A novel steroidal saponin along with the 12 known compounds were separated from Paris polyphyllavar. chinensis [19]. The novel compound was obtained as an amorphous solid and spectral data including two dimensional NMR showed the structure as 3b,21-dihydroxypregnane-5-en-20S-(22,16)-lactone-1-O-a-L-rhamnopyrnosyl(1®2)-[b-D-xylopyranosyl(1®3)]-b-D-glucopyranoside.The 12 known compounds are known steroids and their structures were identified by 13C NMR spectrum as

  1. Diosgenin

  2. Pennogenin

  3. Diosgenin-3-O-a-L-rhamnopyranosyl(1→2)-b-D-glucopyranoside

  4. Pennogenin-3-O-a-L-rhamnopyranosyl(1→2)-b-D-glucopyranoside

  5. Diosgenin-3-O-a-L-rhamnopyranosyl (1→2)[a-Larabinofuranosyl(1→4)]-b-D-glucopyranoside

  6. Pennogenin-3-O-a-Lrhamnopyranosyl (1→2)-[a-Larabinofuranosyl(1→4)]-b-D-glucopyranoside

  7. Diosgenin-3-O-a-L-rhamnopyranosyl (1→2) [b-Dglucopyranoside(1→3)]-b-D–glucopyranoside

  8. Diosgenin-3-O-a-L-rhamnopyranosyl (1→4)-a-Lrhamnopyranosyl (1→4)[a-L-rhamnopyranosyl (1→2)]-b-D-glucopyranoside

  9. Pennogenin-3-O-a-Lrhamnopyranosyl (1→4)-a-Lrhamnopyranosyl (1→4) [a-L–rhamnopyranosyl (1→2)]-b-D-glucopyranoside

  10. 3-O-a-Larabinofuranosyl(1→4)[a-Lrhamnopyranosyl (1→2)]-b-D-glucopyranoside-b-D-chacotriosyl-26-O-b-D-glucopyranoside

  11. 2b,3b,14a,20b,22a,25b hexahydroxycholest-7-en-6-one, and

  12. 2b,3b,14a,20b,24b,25b hexahydroxycholest-7-en-6-one (Table 3)

.

Plant speciesIsolated compounds
P. polyphyllaParis saponin I (diosgenin3-O-α-L-rha-(1→2)-[α-L-arab-(1→4)]-β-D-glu)
Paris saponin I (diosgenin3-O-α-rha-(1→4)-α-L-rha-(1→4)-[α-L-rha-(1→2)]-β-D-glu)
Paris saponin III (diosgenin 3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→2)-[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→4)]-β-D-glucopyranoside)
Polyphyllin VI (pennogenin-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→2)-β-D-glucopyranoside)
Polyphyllin VII (pennogenin-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→4)-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→4)[O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-(1→2)]-β-D-glucopyranoside)
P. polyphyllaSaponin-1 (diosgenin-3-O[α-L-rhamnopyanosyl (1Rha-2Glu)-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl (1Ara-4Glu)]-β-glucopyranoside)
Polyphyllin C (diosgenin-3-O[α-L-rhamnopyanosyl(1→3)-α-D-glucopyranoside)
Polyphyllin D (diosgenin-3-O[α-L-rhamnopyanosyl (1Rha-2Glu)-α-L-arabinofuranosyl (1Ara-4Glu)]-β-D-glucopyranoside)
Przewalskinone B (1,5-Dihydroxy-7-methoxy-3-methylanthraquinone)
Stigmasterol
Stigmasterol-3-O-β-D-glucoside
P. polyphyllavar. chinensisDiosgenin
Pennogenin
Diosgenin-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl (1→2)-β-D-glucopyranoside
Pennogenin-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl(1→2)-β-D-glucopyranoside
Diosgenin-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl(1→2)[-α-L-arabinofuranosyl(1→4)]-β-D-glucopyranoside
Pennogenin-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl(1→2)[-α-L arabinofuranosyl (1→4)]-β-D-glucopyranoside
Diosgenin-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl(1→2)-[β-D-glucopyranoside(1→3)]-β-D-glucopyranoside
Diosgenin-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl (1→4)-α-L rhamnopyranosyl (1→4)[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl (1→2)]-β-D-glucopyranoside
Pennogenin-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl(1→4)-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl (1→4)[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl (1→2)]-β-D-glucopyranoside
3-O-α-L-arabinofuranosyl(1→4)[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl(1→2)]-β-D-glucopyranoside-β-D-chacotriosyl-26-O-β-D-glucopyranoside
2β, 3β, 14α, 20β, 22α, 25β hexahydroxycholest-7-en-6-one
2β,3β,14α, 20β,24β,25β hexahydroxycholest-7-en-6-one
P. polyphyllavar. chinensis3b, 21-dihydroxy pregnane-5-en-20S-(22,16)-lactone-1-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl (1→2)-[β-D-xylopyranosyl (1→3)]-β-D-glucopyranoside.
P. polyphyllaSmith var. yunnanensis(25R)-spirost-5-en-3b,7b-diol-3-O-α-L-arabinofuranosyl-(1→4)-[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→2)]-β-D-glucopyranoside
(25R)-spirost-5-en-3b,7a-diol-3-O-α-L-arabinofuranosyl-(1→4)-[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→2)]-β-D-glucopyranoside
26-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-(25R)-Δ 5(6) 17 ( 20)-dien-16,22-dione-cholestan-3b,26-diol-3-O-α-L-arabinofuranosyl-(1→4)-[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→2)]-β-D-glucopyranoside
P. polyphyllaSmith var. yunnanensis26-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-(25R)-5-ene-furost-3β,17α, 22α, 26-tetrol-3-O-α-L-arabinofuranosyl-(1→4)-[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→2)]-β-D-glucopyranoside
26-O-β-Dglucopyranosyl-(25R)-5, 20 (22)-diene-furost-3β, 26-diol-3-O-α-L-arabinofuranosyl-(1→4)-[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→2)]-β-D-glucopyranoside
(25R)-spirost-5-ene-3β, 12α-diol-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→4)-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→4)-[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→2)]-β-D-glucopyranoside
P. polyphyllavar. stenophylla24-O-β-D-galactopyranosyl-(23S,24S,25S)-spirost-5-ene-1b,3b,21,23,24-pentol-1-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→ 2)-[β-D-xylopyranosyl-(1→3)]-β-D-glucopyranoside
21-O-β-D-galactopyranosyl-24-O-β-D-galactopyranosyl-(23S,24S)-spirost-5,25(27)-diene-1b,3b,21,23,24-pentol-1-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→ 2)-[β-D-xylopyranosyl-(1→3)]-β-D-glucopyranoside

Table 3.

Some chemical constituents isolated from the rhizomes of P. polyphylla.

Source: [7].

12. Propagation

P. polyphyllagrows well in humus-rich moist soil in full or partial shade. Prolonged seed dormancy and slow germination is the real challenge for regeneration through seed. It is mainly propagated by rhizomes though propagation by seed is also possible. Hence rhizomes from the wild are the only source for propagation as well as for medicinal purposes. Slow regeneration, long dormancy period, slow growth period along with over exploitation are the main reasons for decline in the population of P. polyphyllain the wild. It is on the verge of extinction due to its excessive illegal collection for many years [15]. Moreover, this perennial plant can only be harvested after growing for 5–7 years, which aggravates the shortage of its resource [20].

To preserve this natural resource and ensure a stable and renewable source of P. polyphyllafor medicinal purposes, successful propagation is imperative [21].

This calls for an urgent need to discover alternate resources from which the continuous supply can be obtained. Domestication of this plant and cultivation in large scale in those areas similar to natural habitat is the only solution to save this plant from extinction. Propagation by tissue culture is another prospective for the propagation and conservation of this endangered plant species.

13. Conservation

Paris polyphyllaSm. (Satuwa) is one of the medicinal plants listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. Seed viability was found to be low and the seeds did not germinate in laboratory conditions even under different chemical treatments. The growth of the rhizome is very slow and takes almost a year to increase its node number. There seems to be a need for raising awareness amongst people living near the plant habitat on Paris polyphyllapropagation. Scientists must make aware the sustainable use of the rhizome and its cultivation practice for the conservation of this plant. If some part of the rhizome containing the bud is left underground, the plant would become more sustainable and would help in conserving its population in the future. It was observed in a study done in Nepal, that overharvesting, unscientific collection of rhizomes, harvesting of plants before seed maturity, low viable seed production and long dormancy of seeds are some of the major threats to the plant's propagation. Paris polyphyllais considered to be a highly traded plant and have become less abundant in the past decade and this could be due to deforestation. It is found out that during the harvesting process, the whole plant is often uprooted to collect the rhizome, which leads to the destruction of the stock. During harvesting or collection from the wild the every plant is uprooted for its rhizomes irrespective of its maturity. This unsustainable harvesting practice, combined with illegal/cross-border trades of rhizome, and habitat destructions were common in their natural habitat. Old growth habitat decline and fragmentation were major threats to the population of P. polyphylla.Market driven collection resulted in rushed and premature collection and habitat degradation. Cultivation of the species coupled with in-situconservation could be a solution to address the escalated herbal demand.

Local communities opined that the need of the risen market demand for its medicinal, biological and pharmaceutical purposes can be met once the P. polyphyllacan be sustainably harvested and cultivated with the active involvement of local communities and application of sustainable harvesting guidelines. Works are progressed at College of Horticulture and Forestry, Central Agricultural University, Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh, India for the conservation of this vulnerable species. Tissue cultured plants are produced in the laboratory from the rhizomes of Paris polyphyllacollected from natural habitat. Then the tissue cultured plants are planted in the wild in their natural habitat or similar habitat so that it can grow and increases its population in nature without interference from human.

14. Conclusion

Paris polyphyllais an important medicinal plants found in the North Eastern part of India which are threatened by the over exploitation and lack in cultivation efforts. This species have many medicinal properties for the treatment of many ailments. Due to their less population and availability these plants fetch a very good price in the market. Most of these plants are sold in the black market and due to its great demand the plants are collected or harvested injudiciously from the wild which push them towards threaten stage. P. polyphyllausually grows in high altitude and temperate region as forest understory. In natural habitat the propagation of this species takes much long time which also makes difficulty in propagation and multiplication in nature. Due to its great demand in the world market the species is collected from the wild injudiciously and causes the decline in population. This species comes under threatened species under IUCN. There is also a great demand in the market for this plant and many of which is met from cultivation. It’s the need of the hour for the policy makers and scientist to frame policies and research work for the conservation of these two species before it is too late.

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Written By

Arunkumar Phurailatpam and Anju Choudhury

Submitted: December 15th, 2021 Reviewed: January 27th, 2022 Published: May 5th, 2022