Feb 12, 2014
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COLEUS BARBATUS

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Benth.

Synonym ► C. forskohlii Briq. Plectranthus barbatus Andr.

Family ► Lamiaceae.

Habitat ► The sub-tropical Himalayas of Kumaon and Nepal; cultivated in Andhra Pradesh.

Ayurvedic ► Gandira (Achyranthes aquatica Br. is also equated with Gandira). (Doubtful synonym.)

Folk ► Garmar (Gujarat), Gurmal.

Action ► Root and leaf—spasmolytic, antithrombotic, anti-inflammatory, lipolytic.

In experimental amoebiasis of rats, the root powder and ethanolic extract showed amoebicidal activity against Entamoeba histolytica.

An alcoholic extract of the roots and essential oil from it, were found to inhibit passive cutaneous anaphylaxis in the mouse and rat.

The plant produces the labdane diterpenoid, forskolin in its tuberous roots.

Forskolin was discovered during a screening of medicinal plants by Central Drug Research Institute, Luc- know, India, in 1974. (Planta Medica, 1985, 51, 473-477.) The screening revealed the presence of a hypoten- sive and spasmolytic principle, named coleonol (later the name was changed to forskolin). The basic mechanism of forskolin is the activation of an enzyme, adenylate cyclase, which increases the amount of cyclic adeno- sine monophosphate (cAMP) in cells. Raised intracellular cAMP level exhibits following physiological effects : inhibition of platelet activation and degranulation; inhibition of mast cell degranualation and histamine release; relaxation of the arteries and other smooth muscles; increased insulin secretion; increased thyroid function; increased lipolysis.

Forskolin, in clinical studies, reduced intraocular pressure when it was applied to the eyes for treating glaucoma. It has been shown to be a direct cerebral vasodilator. It has also been studied as a possible bron- chodilator (in the treatment of asthma) and has been shown to effectively reverse methacholine-induced broncho constriction in extrinsic asthmatics.

Standardized Coleus extracts containing forskolin (18% in 50 mg) find application in weight-loss programmes. (Michael T. Murray.)

Studies on forskolin and some 50 derivatives of the compound indicate that the natural product is more active than the analogs prepared from it.

The wild var. is known as Kaffir Potato.

Article Categories:
Indian Medicinal Plants

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