Feb 12, 2014
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TAXUS BACCATA

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Linn.

Family ► Taxaceae.

Habitat ► Temperate Himalayas, Khasi Hills and Manipur.

English ► European Yew. Himalayan Yew is equated with Taxus wal- lichiana Zucc., synonym T. baccata Linn. subspecies wallichiana (Zucc.) Pilgoe, T. baccata Hook. f.

Ayurvedic ► Thunera, Sthauneya, Sthauneyaka, Shukapushpa, Dhaatri-patra, Vikarna. (Not a substitute for Taalisapatra.)

Unani ► Zarnab.

Siddha/Tamil ► Taaleespatri Bhedam.

Folk ► Birmi, Thuno.

Action ► Herb—CNS depressant; reduces motor activity; analgesic, anticonvulsant. Leaf used in nervousness, epilepsy, hysteria, asthma, chronic bronchitis. Leaf and fruit—antispasmodic, sedative, emmenagogue.

Berry—used in chronic bronchitis. Taxol—antimitotic; also being tried for the treatment of severe drug-resistant human malaria. (Chem Abstr, 1994, 21, 124674 j.) (The taxol content in Himalayan Yew varied with season and location from 0.045-0.130%.)

The needles contain diterpene esters of taxane-type (mixture is known as taxine 0.6-2.0%). Taxine consists of 11 compounds of which only tax- ine A and B have been characterized. Taxol, the diterpene amide, is found active against ovarian cancer in humans. (clinical results showed 24-30% response). The ester alkaloids in higher doses are cardiotoxic.

Dried needles contain biflavonoids, including sotetsuflavone, sequoifla- vone, sciadopitysin, ginkgetin, kayafla- vone, amentoflavone, beta-sitosterol, heptacosanol and surcose.

The needles gave several phenolics. Betuloside (rhododendron) exhibited hepatoprotective activity against hepa- totoxins in rats.

The seeds are poisonous and contain taxine.

The aqueous extract of leaves showed a depressant effect on the central nervous system in rats.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia ofIn- dia attributed antirheumatic, anticatar- rhal, insecticidal and wound-healing properties to the dried needles of Himalayan Yew and indicated the use of the drug in powder form (1-3 g) in disorders due to vitiated blood, tumours, dermatosis and helminthiasis.

Dosage ► Leaf—1-3 g powder. (API, Vol. III.) Leaf, bark—3-5 g powder. (CCRAS.)

Article Categories:
Indian Medicinal Plants

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