Feb 12, 2014
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MELIA AZEDARACH

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Linn.

Habitat ► Cultivated and naturalized throuhout India. Wild in the Sub-Himalayan tract up to 1,800 m.

English ► Persian Lilac, Pride of India.

Ayurvedic ► Mahaanimba, Ramyaka, Dreka. (Neem is equated with Azadirachta indica.)

Unani ► Bakaayan.

Siddha/Tamil ► Malaivembu.

Action ► Leaf—diuretic, anthelmintic, antilithic. Leaf and flower—febrifuge, sedative, em- menagogue. Leaf, fruit and stem bark—antileprotic. Leaf, flower, fruit, root bark—deobstruent, resolvent. Seed oil—antirheumatic, insecticidal. Leaves, bark and fruit—insect repellent. Gum— used in spleen enlargement. Heart- wood—an aqueous extract, used in asthma.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia ofIn- dia indicated the use of the dried stem bark in increased frequency and turbidity of urine, skin diseases, nausea, emesis, asthma, gastroenteritis, giddiness and vertigo.

The bitter constituents are present exclusively in the pericarp, not in the kernel as in the case of Neem fruit. Bakayanin has been isolated from the pericarp (bitter in dilutions of 1 in 10,000).

The heartwood also yielded bakaya- nin and a lactone, bakalactone. Leaves gave quercitrin and rutin and tetranor- triterpenoids, salanin and vilasinin.

An infusion of the bark is effective against ascariasis. The activity resides in the inner bark which is bitter but not astringent (outer bark contains tannins and is astringent).

The ethanolic extract of the leaves is fungicidal and antibacterial. The activity is attributed to azadrine and me- liotannic acid.

The fruits are considered poisonous to man and animals; contain melianon- inol, melianol, melianone, meliandi- ol, vanillin and vanillic acid. Vanillic acid analogues show micro- and macro-filaricidal activity.

Gedunin, present in the plant, inhibits Plasmodium falciparum, while the seed extract does not show anti- malarial activity against P. berghei.

The plant exhibited sedative and psychostimulant properties. Antitu- mour and antiviral activities have also been reported. Intraperitoneal administration of partially purified extracts of fresh green leaves reduced the spread of Tacaribe virus (that causes typical encephalitis) to kidneys, liver and brain in inoculated neonatal mice.

Dosage ► Stem bark—5-10 g (API, Vol. IV.); leaf, seed, root—50- 100 ml decoction; 3-5 g powder. (CCRAS.)

Article Categories:
Indian Medicinal Plants

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