Feb 12, 2014
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Synonym ► Frangulapurshiana (DC) A. Grey.

Family ► Rhamnaceae.

Habitat ► Native to Europe; introduced in Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Bhutan and the Nilgiris.

English ► Buckthorn (related species), Cascara Sagrada, Sacred Bark.

Action ► Bark—stool-softener, non-habit forming stimulant laxative, pancreatic stimulant. Used for dyspepsia and habitual constipation.

Key application ► In occasional constipation. (German Commission E, ESCOP, WHO.) As a stimulant laxative. (The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)

The bark contains up to 10% an- thraquinone glycosides, consisting of the cascarosides A, B, C and D, about 70% of the total; other glycosides in minor concentrations include barbaloin, frangulin, chrysanol, glycosides based on emodin, aloe-emodin, emodin- oxanthrone and chrysophanol; dianthrones, and free aglycones.

The cascarosides act on large intestines and stimulate peristalsis. The emodin exhibits antispasmodic activity in isolated rat intestine. Its anti- inflammatory and antiseptic action was also demonstrated.

Rhamnus catharticus Linn., is equated with common Buckthorn, R. purpurea Edgew. with Purple Buckthorn. R. purpurea is found in the Himalayas from Kashmir to Nepal.

Dried bark of Rhamnus frangula L. (Alder Buckthorn) and dried ripe berries of Ramnus catharticus are also used against constipation. (German Commission E, WHO.)

Long term use or excessive amounts may cause albuminuria, haematuria, slowing ofintestinal transit and cardiac irregularities. (Sharon M. Herr.)

Rhamnus triquetra Brandis (known as Gudlei, Fagoraa, Gardhan in Punjab; Gaunt in Garhwal and Kumaon and Katheraa in Jaunsar) is found in the Himalayas from Kashmir to Nepal. The bark is used as a tonic, astringent and deobstruent. Kaempferol, its 7-O- methyl ether and 4′-O-methyl ether, physcion-8 beta-D-glucoside, emodin and its 8 beta-D-glucoside were isolated from the whole plant. Emodin exhibited CNS depressant activity. (Fi- toterapia, 65, 1994.) The plant exhibited significant anti-inflammatory and a nonspecific antispasmodic activity. It induced cardio-stimulation which might be due to the endogenous release of catecholamines.

Rhamnus napalensis Wall. ex M. Laws. (known as Archal in Nepal; Biringa and Birringguli in Assam) is found in eastern Himalayas and the hills and plains ofAssam, Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and northern Andhra Pradesh, ascending up to an altitude of 2,000 m. The fruit, pounded and macerated in vinegar, is prescribed for the treatment of herpes.

Article Categories:
Indian Medicinal Plants

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