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Sanskrit Name - Gandhaprasarini
Botanical Name - Paederia foetida
Family - Rubiaceae
Common Names - Pasran, Gandhaprasarni, Gandhbhadulia, Hiran-bel, gandhan, Pinrisangai, Savirel
The term prasarini (prasar = spread) indicates not only the spreading habit of the plant but the reputation of the drug for relaxing and 'spreading' parts of the body contracted by paralysis. Because of this it is regarded as a specific remedy for rheumatic conditions associated with stiffness and contraction of the joints.
Habitat - Found in the Himalayas from Dehradun eastwards, up to an altitude of 1800 m. It is also found in Bihar, Orissa, Bengal and Assam.
Botanical description - An extensive climber, leaves ovate to lanceolate, entire, about 5 cm long and 2.5 cm broad, membranous with long petioles. Purple or violet flowers are found in scorpioid cymes. The fruits are compressed, ellipsoid, red or black in colour. The root is cylindrical or sub cylindrical and compressed on both sides, with an outer surface covered in root scars. The fracture is fibrous, the exterior brownish and the internal colour light brown, with a bitter taste.
Parts used - Whole plant leaves roots
Traditional and modern - The main use of the plant is for arthritis and rheumatic disorders. The leaves, in the form of a poultice, are applied to the abdomen to relieve distension due to flatulence and in herpes infections. The roots are used as an emetic and the juice extracted from the roots is given in cases of inflammation of the spleen and for pains in the chest and liver. The fruits are used to prevent toothache. The whole plant shows tonic, astringent and antiphlogistic actions and has been used in tenesmus.Whole plant, leaves, roots.
Ethnoveterinary usage - The bark, leaf, root and whole plant have been used to treat maggots in wounds, abscesses, urethral calculi, repeat oestrus in cows and buffaloes, asthma, diarrhoea, constipation and expulsion of the placenta after miscarriage.
Major chemical constituents
The intense odour is due to methyl mercaptan. Linalool is the major component of theOil obtained from the stem, leaf and flower, together with a-terpineol and geranio1.2 The leaf and stem also contain hentriacontane, hentriacontanol and ceryl alcohol, 2,3-dihydrobenzofuran, benzofuran and the sulphur-containing compounds dimethyl sulphide and dimethyl trisulphide.
Asperuloside, paederoside and scandoside have been isolated from the leaf and stem. Triterpenoids and saponins Ursolic acid, epifriedelinol, friedelin. The leaf and stem contain sitosterol, stigmasterol and campesterol.
Embelin has been isolated from the aerial parts.
a-Paederine and β-paederine have been isolated.
The leaf contains a mixture of fatty acids including non-ionic, capric, lauric, myristic, arachidic and palmitic acids.
Carotene and vitamin C
The leaves are rich in carotene and vitamin C.
Medicinal and pharmacological activities
Antiinflammatory activity: A 50% ethanolic extract of P. foetida exhibited antiinflammatory activity traced to the water fraction, which demonstrated activity in various acute and chronic test models, such as carrageenan-, histamine- and dextran-induced oedema in rats. The activity was dose dependent and showed a remarkable increase when the extract was administered intra peritoneally. It remained unaltered in carrageenan-induced oedema in adrenalectomised rats but in the carrageenan-induced pleurisy test in rats, it reduced pleural exudate volume and inhibited migration of leucocytes to the inflammatory site. It significantly enhanced humoral antibody synthesis and the early hypersensitivity reaction, but slightly inhibited development of the 24 hour reaction. Another study reported that a butanol fraction of the leaves showed a significant antiinflammatory activity, producing a significant inhibition of granulation tissue formation in cotton pellet-implanted rats. It also decreased liver (but not serum) aspartate transaminase activity but did not affect adrenal weight and ascorbic acid content significantly. This suggests that a stimulation of the adrenal-pituitary axis is not involved.
Antiarthritic activity: Paederia foetida extract was tested for its effect on osteoarthritis-like lesions induced in the knee joints of rabbits by ananase (the proteolytic enzyme from pineapple). It reduced the degradation changes in the articular cartilage induced by ananase and in vitro studies using ananase-treated chick embryonic bones showed that the plant (at a dose of 10 mg/ml of the medium) enhanced the growth of the chick bones cultivated in this medium.
Anthelmintic activity: An aqueous extract administered orally was highly effective against Strongyloides,
Trichostrongylus and Haemonchus spp. and moderately effective against Bunostomum and Monezia spp., when given at 2-day intervals in young calves.
Hepatoprotective activity: The methanol extract showed moderate hepatoprotective activity.
Antispasmodic activity: A 50% ethanolic extract of Paederia foetida exhibited antispasmodic activity on the isolated guinea pig ileum.
Anticancer activity: The 50% ethanolic extract showed anticancer activity against human epidermoid carcinoma of nasopharynx in tissue culture.
The LDso of a 50% ethanolic extract of leaves was 1200 mg/kg in mice. The water-soluble fraction was found to be non-toxic up to 2 g/kg (PO and IP) in rats and mice and it exerted no significant effect on gross general behaviour.
Infusion: 12-24 ml Decoction: 56-112 ml Powder: 2-4 g