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Butea monosperma (Lam.) Taub. (Fabaceae)
1. Botanical synonyms
Butea frondosa Koenig ex Roxb; Erythrina monosperma Lamk.
1.2. Common names
Bengali: kinaka, palas, paras, polashi; English: flame of the forest; Gujarati: kakria, kesudo, khakara, khakharo, palasso, phullas; Hindi: chinchra, dhak, palas, paras; Kannada: brahmavriksha, mathuga, mutthugada mara, muttuga, palasa, plashu, thoras; Malayalam: brahmavriksham, mukkappuyam, palas, palasin samatha; Marathi: palas, paras, phulas; Oriya: kinjuko, palasa, polas, porasu; Punjabi: chachra, dhak, palas; Sanskrit: kinsuka, palasa, palasha; Tamil: murukkan, palasu, punamuruku, purasu: Telegu: modhugu, moduga, palasamu ; Urdu: palash, palashpapra.
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It is a straight, medium-sized, 12-15 m high, deciduous tree with a curved trunk and asymmetrical branches. It is slowly increasing its height and diameter year by year, at the age of 50 years its diameters would be 5 to 8 m and its height about 20 to 40 cm. The wood is greenish white in color, weighs approximately about 14 to 15 kg per cubic foot. The bark is grey colored. The leaves have 3 foliate, big and stipulate, 10−15 cm length petioles. Leaflets are obtuse, glabrous at the top, finely silky-smooth and noticeably reticulate veined bottom with cunneate or deltoid base. The calyx is dark olive green to brown in colour and densely silky outside. The corolla is lengthy with silky silvery hairs in outer surface. The bark of the palash tree is fibrous and bluish−gray to light brown in colour. When incised, it exudes a kind of red gummy juice. The leaves are compound, with three leaflets. The texture of the leaflets is rough, coriascious with the surface glabrescent on the top and hairy silky at the bottom. The figure is obliquely ovate and generally elliptic. The leaves fall off by December month and re-emerge during spring. When the tree is leafless, it generates orange to red colored flower. These flowers begin appearing in February and keep on forming up to the end of April month. The size is approximately about 2 to 4 cm in diameter. These tend to be firmly gathered on leafless branches. Flowers are large, inflexible racemes 15 cm long with 3 flowers jointly form the tumid nodes of the dark olive-green velvety rhachis. The calyx tends to be dark grayish like the supporting branch itself. The upper parts are orange red.
The flowers on the superior portion of the tree make the appearance of a fire from a distance. The fruit of the palash is a horizontal legume, pods stalked 12.5−20 by 2.5−5 cm, solidified at the sutures. Immature pods have a bunch of hair and a silky cover and mature pods fall down. The seeds are flat, from 25 to 40 mm length, 15 to 25 mm width, and 1.5 to 2 mm thickness. The seed cover is reddish-brown in colour, silky, and wrinkled, and encloses two large, leafy, yellowish cotyledons. The hilum is conspicuous, and situated near the middle of the concave edge of the seed (Mazumder, 2011).
Butea monosperma (Lam.) Taub (Syn. Butea frondosa; Family Fabaceae) generally known as ‘dhak’ or ‘palas’, usually known as ‘Flame of forest’, Bastard teak, Bengal kino (Kirtikar, 1935).This is moderate sized deciduous tree which is largely distributed in India, Burma and Sri lanka extending in the north west Himalayas (Chopra, 1958). This plant is often described as flame of forest due to its bright red-orange papilionaceous flowers (Tandon & Shivanna et.al 2003). All the parts of this plant, including flowers, seeds, leaves and barks possess medicinal properties (William Rasican & Kavya, 2011).
1.4. Alternative medicine uses
The red juice gum obtained from wounded bark of the tree known as Bengal Kino, applied externally to treat ulcers [Chopra et al., 1958]. It is a potent astringent, and orally given gum juice used to treat diarrhea and dysentery; phthisis and hemorrhages from stomach and bladder. A gum juice is applied to bruises and inflammations and ringworm [Nadkarni and Nadkarni, 1976]. In unani medicine, it is used as aphrodisiac, tonic to liver; used to treat thoracic diseases [Agharkar, 1991].
Bengal Kino, used to treat leucorrhoea [Agarwal, 1997; Dhiman, 2003] haemorrhoids, haemoptysis, diabetes, leprosy, skin diseases, pharyngodynia, general debility, hyperacidity, dyspepsia and fever [Bhattacharjee, 2001; Varier, 1993].The stem bark is used as astringent, bitter tonic, emollient, aphrodisiac, appetizer, digestive, and anthelmintic [Varier, 1993]. Orally given bark decoction used to treat catarrh, cold and coughs [Nadkarni and Nadkarni, 1976].
Bark is used to treat liver disorders, dysmenorrhoea and gonorrhea in Unani medicine [Mhasker et al., 2000]. The leaves used as astringent, tonic, diuretic and aphrodisiac properties [Mhasker et al., 2000]. Externally applied leaves juice used to boils, pimples tumours haemorrhoids and orally given juice to treat flatulence, colic, worms infestations and piles [Nadkarni and Nadkarni, 1976].
The root bark is utilized as an aphrodisiac and as an analgesic and anthelmintic. It is also used to treat, piles, ulcers, tumour and dropsy [Dhiman, 2003]. Seeds are used as anthelmintic for roundworms. Externally applied paste made with lemon juice to treat skin diseases [Agharkar, 1991]. Seeds contain fixed oil called as Moodsga oil. In Ayurveda seeds are used to cure skin diseases, tumours abdominal troubles; orally given seed for scorpion-sting and seeds useful in piles, eye diseases, inflammation in Unani medicine [Mhasker et al., 2000].
The flowers used as an astringent, diuretic, depurative, aphrodisiac and tonic; In Unani medicine the flowers are used to relieve biliousness, inflammation and gonorrhoea and in Ayurveda flowers used to treat leprosy, gout, skin diseases, and their juice for eye diseases [Mhasker et al., 2000]. Among tribal population in Madhya Pradesh, externally applied flower paste over chest to treat asthma and aqueous juice of flower drink given for the treatment of sunstroke. A decoction of the petals is given to treat diarrhoea and to puerperal women [Dey, 1980]. Flowers decoction applied as poultice they reduce inflammation and facilitate diuresis and menstrual flow. Orally given aqueous extract of flower used to difficult micturition [Nadkarni and Nadkarni, 1976].
It grows all over India and South Asia isthmus, many parts of this plant such as flower, bark, leaf and seed gum are used in traditional medicine. The Ayurvedic formulations made from this plant are used to reduce the Vata and Kapha in tridosha of Ayurvedic medicine. Butea monosperma is widely used in ayurveda, unani and homeopathic medicine. Flowers are astringent to bowel, in heal “Kapha”, leprosy, strangury, gout, skin diseases, thirst sensation; flower juice is used to treat eye diseases. Flower is bitter, aphrodisiac, expectorant, tonic, emmenagogue, diuretic, and good in biliousness, inflammation and gonorrhoea. They are used to diminish swelling and to regularize menstrual cycle. Orally given flower juice is used for the treatment of diarrhea. In addition flower juice help to treat males urinogenital tracts diseases (Sharma, 2011).
Flower extract of Butea monosperma exhibited anticonvulsive activity, because of the presence of a triterpene (Kasture et al., 2002) and antifertility activity demonstrated by alcoholic extract of Butea monosperma flowers has also been reported (Razdan et al., 1970), and butrin illustrated both male and female contraceptive activity (Bhargava,1986).
Previously many biological activities of the flower extracts with its isolated chemical constituents were studied and it was reported as to have anticancer activity, prophylaxis against inflammation and cancer was studied with butein a isolated chalcone; Inhibition of inflammatory gene expression from the extract of flower with its phytocontituents butein, butrin, iso butrin and isocoreopsin; antioxidant activity of flower extract with its isolated content rutin; Anti inflammatory activity, anti-diabetic effect; anticonvulsant activity and hepatoprotective effect of methanolic extract and its isolated phytochemicals isobutrin and butrin (William Rasican et al., 2011).
1.5. Chemical constituents
Phytochemical evaluation of Butea monosperma extract showed the presence of flavanols, flavones and chalcones, isoflavones, pterocarpans, leucocyanidin tetramer, as well as triterpenes and sterols (Zafar Rashed et al., 2010). B. monosperma flowers possess many classes of constituents, including flavonoids butein, butin, butrin (1.5%), isobutrin, palasitrin coreopsin, isocoreopsin, sulfurein, monospermoside, isomonospermoside, dihydrochalcone, dihydromonospermoside isoliquiritigenin, (-)-liquiritigenin, mononetin, afrormosin and formononetin-7-O-β-D-glucopyranoside,3’,4’,7-trihydroxyflavone and 3′,4′,7-trihydroxy flavanone 3′,7-di-O-β-D-glucopyranoside), steroids (stigmasterol-3ï¢D-gluco pyrano side), sugars and free amino acids (glucose, fructose, histidine, aspartic acid, alanin and phenyl alanin) saponin and triterpene (Ajay Kumar et al., 2011; William Rasican et al., 2011; Wagner et al., 1986 ; Gupta et al., 1970; Chokchaisiri et al., 2009).
1.6. Pharmacological activities
Butein (3, 4, 2’, 4’- tetrahydroxychalone Figure-1), a plant polyphenol, is one of the major biologically active components of the bark and stems of Rhus verniciflua Stokes. Far Eastern countries such as Korea, Japan, and China, the compound have been traditionally used for treatment of pain, thrombotic disease, gastritis, stomach cancer, and parasitic infections. In Korea, it has also long been used as a food additive (Michael Samoszuk et al., 2005).
It has been reported to possess beneficial effects, including antioxidant (Cheng et al.,1998; Anuradha, Vijay Kumar, 2012), inhibition of protein kinase (Yang et al., 1998), and inhibition of HIV-1 protease (Xu et al., 2000), anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer (Pandey et al., 2007) and anti-ï¬brogenic effects of hepatic ï¬brosis (Woo et al., 2003) and anti-bacterial activities (Chokchaisiri et al., 2009). Butrin and isobutrin have been demonstrated to possess hepatoprotective activity (Wagner Geyer, & Fiebig, 1986) and butrin, isobutrin, and butein selectively inhibit nuclear factor- kB in activated human mast cells (Zafar et al., 2010).
Anti-inflammatory activity has been demonstrated on the methanolic extract of Butea mono sperma Lam. flower (V.M. Shahavi et al., 2008). Previous studies report have shown that the anti-inflammatory activity of some flavonoids probably by inhibiting enzyme activity involved in arachidonic acid cascade associated enzymes such as phospholipaseA2 (PLA2), cyclooxygenase (COX) and lipoxygenases (LOXs) (Celotti F 2001; Della Loggia A, 1968). Flower and its constituents butrin, isobutrin, and butein has probable therapeutic value for the treatment of inflammatory and related diseases in which activated mast cells play a role (Rasheed, Z.,2010).
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Butein demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting or modulating iNOS, phospho diesterase IV, glutathione-S-transferase, 12-lipooxygenase, glutathione reductase, COX-1 and direct inhibition of Ik-Bα kinase that led to the suppression of NF-kB pathway and its regulated gene products and the enhancement of apoptosis provoked by inflammatory cytokines (Pandey et al., 2007). The current study demonstrates the anti-nociceptive effect of ethyl acetate extract (EABM) and total flavonoids (TFBM) prepared from the ethyl acetate extract of B. monosperma flowers and isolated compound butein from ethyl acetate fraction in mice by using thermal and chemical nociception models.
The current study also assessed the total flavonoid obtained from the flower of Butea monosperma and its isolated compound chalcone butein shows anti-inflammatory activity by using chronic inflammatory animal model (Formalin test) and also by acute model (Carrageenan induced paw edema).The formalinâ€triggered paw edema assessment is one of the principal convenient technique to monitor anti-arthritic and antiâ€inflammatory agents, as it shows similarity to human arthritis. Besides, formalinâ€induced arthritis is a model which is applied for the evaluating a drug with possible anti proliferative activity. This experiment is closely related with the proliferative phase of inflammation (Shastry VM, 2011).
Indian National medicinal plant board has been encouraging, the researchers by giving funds to develop standardization methods of selected medicinal plants of potential therapeutic significance. Obviously, in this vision the Microscopic standardization on Butea monosperma is a significant milestone. The current study was aimed to evaluate the histology of the much used flower of Butea monosperma to improve the existing pharmacopoeia standards.
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