Coffea arabica: A wonder gift to medical science

Shradha Bisht, SS Sisodia

Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals 2010 1(1):58-65

In recent times, focus on plant research has increased all over the world and a large body of evidence has collected to show the immense potential of medicinal plants used in various traditional systems. More than 13,000 plants have been studied in recent years. Coffee is the most frequently consumed functional food around the globe. The average consumption per capita in the United States is approximately 4.4 kg annually at a cost of $164.71 per individual. These statistics provide compelling motivation to investigate the consequences of such large-scale consumption of this beverage. Coffee also has a rich medical history. The therapeutic benefits of coffee are now supported by a rapidly growing and significant level of scientific validation. Coffee is a medium-sized tree of the Rubiacea family, living up to 25 years, and grows to a height of 6-15 m. Traditionally, different parts of the coffee plants are used for influenza, anemia, edema, asthenia and rage, hepatitis and liver troubles, externally for nervous shock, as a stimulant for sleepiness and drunkenness, as an antitussive in flu and lung ailment, as a cardiotonic and a neurotonic and for asthmas. The present review on Coffea arabica aims to compile data generated through the research activity using modern scientific approaches and innovative scientific tools in recent years and potential clinical applications of the functional food that is humbly known as the coffee bean. The data in the present review have been organized in various sections according to pharmacological activities. One section in the present review deserves special mention, i.e. on diabetes, as the World Health Organization stated diabetes as a basic health indicator. The number of patients with this ailment continues to increase at the rate of about 1 million new patients per year.

Toxicological effects of the aqueous stem bark extract of Strychnos henningsii Gilg in Wistar rats

SO Oyedemi, G Bradley, AJ Afolayan

Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals 2010 1(1):33-39

Background: Strychnos henningsii Gilg is widely used in South African traditional medicine for the treatment of various ailments. However, no safety studies have been conducted on its toxicological profile. Materials and Methods: The effect of the oral administration of the aqueous bark extract of this plant at 250, 500 and 1000 mg/kg was investigated on the hematological and biochemical parameters in Wistar rats for 28 days. Results: Treatment with the plant extract did not significantly (P > 0.05) alter the levels of hemoglobin, red blood cell, hematocrit, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, large unstained cell and organs body weight ratio of the kidneys, livers, lungs and hearts. Also, the levels of eosinophils, total bilirubin, total protein, albumin, urea, creatinine, glucose, sodium as well as calcium were not significantly different from the control. Meanwhile, the concentrations of platelets, monocytes, basophils and white blood cells significantly decreased while those of the mean corpuscular hemoglobin, alanine and aspartate aminotransferases were increased. Moreover, the levels of conjugated bilirubin and mean corpuscular volume were effectively increased at specific doses. The levels of cholesterol and triglycerides as well as chlorine were remarkably decreased at the highest dose. Conclusion: The results obtained from this study suggest that sub-acute administration of S. henningsii extract may not be completely safe as oral remedy due to the impairment observed in the normal functioning of white blood cells.

Potent insecticidal activity of two Streptomyces species isolated from the soils of the western ghats of Agumbe, Karnataka

TR Prashith Kekuda, KS Shobha, R Onkarappa

Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals 2010 1(1):30-32

Background: The Western ghats, the range of hills running along India's west coast, are well known for their rich and unique assemblage of flora and fauna. The present study was performed to evaluate the insecticidal potential of Actinomycetes isolated from the soils of the Western ghats of Agumbe, Karnataka. Methods: For isolation, the serially diluted soil sample was plated on Starch casein agar and incubated aerobically. The actinomycete isolates were identified by various parameters such as colony morphology, spore arrangement, staining, and biochemical reactions. The isolates were grown in Starch casein broth for seven days, the culture broth was extracted with butanol solvent and concentrated to get crude extract. Insecticidal activity of different concentrations of butanol extract of the isolates was determined against the second instar larvae of Aedes aegypti. The larvicidal effect, in terms of mortality of larvae, of the extracts was determined by counting the number of dead larvae after 24 hours. Results: Two actinomycete isolates were recovered from the soil sample and were identified as the species of Streptomyces on the basis of phenotypic, microscopic, biochemical, and staining characteristics. The colonies of the Streptomyces isolate 1 were creamish-white with yellow pigmentation and the spore arrangement was straight, whereas colonies of the Streptomyces isolate 2 were light grey with dark green pigmentation. The spore arrangement in isolate 2 was of the open loop type. Both the isolates were Gram-positive, non-acid fast, and caused hydrolysis of starch and casein. The insecticidal activity of different concentrations, namely 1.0, 2.5, and 5.0 mg/ml, of butanol extract of the Streptomyces isolates was tested against the second instar larvae of Aedes aegypti. The insecticidal potential of butanol extracts, in terms of larval mortality, was found to be dose dependent. Among the isolates, isolate 2 showed a marked insecticidal activity than isolate 1. At a concentration of 5 mg/ml, both the isolates caused 100% mortality of the larvae. At concentrations of 1 and 2.5 mg/ml, isolate 2 exhibited a stronger larvicidal activity than isolate 1. Conclusion: The insecticidal efficacy of the Streptomyces species might be due to the presence of active constituents in the extract. Isolation and characterization of active constituents from the butanol extract possessing insecticidal potential are to be investigated.

Antibacterial, antifungal and free radical scavenging activity of Croton gibsonianus Nimm. Grah. (Euphorbiaceae)

KS Vinayaka, D Swathi, TR Prashith Kekuda, K Bhagath, N Mallikarjun

Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals 2010 1(1):46-50

Background: Croton gibsonianus Nimm. Grah is a shrub belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae and grows in the under-story of the evergreen forests of the Western Ghats. The present study was performed to investigate the antibacterial, antifungal and free radical scavenging potentials of the methanol extract of C. gibsonianus leaves. Materials and Methods: The powdered leaf material was subjected to soxhlet extraction using methanol. The antibacterial and antifungal activities of the methanolic extract were determined by the agar well diffusion method. The free radical scavenging activity was performed using the DPPH free radical scavenging assay. Results: The extract was found to cause marked inhibition of Pseudomonas aeruginosa followed by Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Among fungi, Aspergillus niger was inhibited to a greater extent, followed by Chrysosporium indicum, Candida albicans and Trichophyton rubrum. The inhibition of test fungi was dose-dependent. The radical scavenging activity was found to be concentration dependent and the IC 50 value for the extract was found to be 43.78 μg/ml. A phytochemical analysis of the extract showed the presence of saponins, tannins, glycosides and terpenoids. Conclusion: The methanolic extract of C. gibsonianus leaves could be used in the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections and damage caused by free radicals. The presence of various phytochemicals might be responsible for these activities of the extract. Further studies on isolation of constituents from the extract and their biological activities are under investigation.

The in vitro anticancer activity of the crude extract of the sponge-associated fungus Eurotium cristatum and its secondary metabolites

Ana Paula Almeida, Tida Dethoup, Narong Singburaudom, Raquel Lima, Maria Helena Vasconcelos, Madalena Pinto, Anake Kijjoa

Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals 2010 1(1):25-29

Background: Marine natural products has captivated many researchers over the years and there is always a need for sources of diverse and pharmacologically active leads in the area of anticancer drugs. Materials and Methods: The ethyl acetate extract of the fungus Eurotium cristatum (ECE), isolated from the marine sponge Mycale sp., furnished 2-(2', 3-epoxy-1',3'-heptadienyl)-6-hydroxy-5-(3-methyl-2-butenyl) benzaldehyde (1), 1,8-dihydroxy-6-methoxy-3-methyl-9,10-anthracenedione (physcion,2), and the dioxopiperazine alkaloid echinulin (3). The structures of the compounds were established by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectral analysis (1H, 13C, DEPT, COSY, HSQC, and HMBC). The ECE and its metabolites were evaluated for their growth inhibitory activity on the following three human tumor cell lines: breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7), non-small lung cancer (NCI-H460), and melanoma (A375-C5). Results: The results showed that the ECE was active in all the three cell lines, with the values of GI50 = 44.3 ± 1.2, 45.5 ± 7.5, and 71.3 ± 2.1 μg/ml for MCF-7, NCI-H460, and A375-C5, respectively. Compound 1 also exhibited moderate growth inhibitory activity against all the three cell lines (GI50 = 58.3 ± 1.2, 46.0 ± 5.5, and 116.7 ± 7.2 μM for MCF-7, NCI-H460, and A375-C5, respectively), whereas compound 3 showed only weak inhibition against MCF-7 (GI50 = 109.7 ± 0.3 μM) and NCI-H460 (GI50 = 96.7 ± 1.5 μM) but was inactive against A375-C5 (GI50 >150 μM). On the contrary, compound 2 was inactive in all the three cell lines at the highest concentration tested (150 μM). Furthermore, ECE was investigated for its effect on the cell cycle in the NCI-H460 cells. Analysis of the cell cycle profile showed that ECE was able to cause a slight cell arrest in the G1 phase, with a corresponding decrease of cells in the S and G2/M phases. Conclusion: The secondary metabolites isolated [Compound 1] from the crude ethyl acetate extract of the culture of the marine fungus E. cristatum were found as the most potent compound regarding cell growth inhibition.

Protective effects of roasted coffee drink on liver function of cirrhotic rats

Youssef A.H. Neto, Bruno A Rocha, Rodrigo N Pedroso, Marthus M.F. Neto, Fernanda B.A. Paula, Stella M.S. Duarte

Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals 2010 1(1):19-24

The role of oxidative stress as a major cause of tissue injury has been suggested and it has been demonstrated that changes in the oxidant and antioxidant mechanisms contribute largely to hepatic necrosis in these situations. However, the increased intake of foods rich in antioxidants could help minimize this damage. The aim of this present work was to evaluate the effect of coffee beverage on lipid peroxidation and markers of liver function in rats with cirrhosis induced by carbon tetrachloride. Our results demonstrated that CCl 4 is effective in the induction of liver cirrhosis and the compounds presents in coffee drink are able to decrease the hepatic lipid peroxidation induced by carbon tetrachloride, making a significant hepatoprotective effect in accordance with the liver function tests.

Isolation of human erythrocyte agglutinins from marine algae

Sudhir Kumar, Urmila Barros

Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals 2010 1(1):51-54

Marine algae are found in abundance along the shore of Goa, and have not been utilized. This is a report of hemagglutinins isolated from these marine algae. Phosphate-buffered saline extracts from six marine algae were tested for their agglutination activity using human blood cells by a slide assay. The extracts from four species revealed hemagglutinating activity against the tested human erythrocytes. However, the results obtained did not indicate specificity toward any particular human blood group. Further, one extract that showed good agglutination was processed for ammonium sulfate precipitation. The precipitated product was assayed for hemagglutination titer and sugar-binding specificity. The hemagglutination activity of the Sargassum cinnerium extract was observed to be specifically inhibited by one of the tested sugars. Because agglutination is a characteristic of “lectins,” the results obtained are indicative of these marine algae being a rich source of products/novel substances having biotechnological applications.

Phytosomes in herbal drug delivery

Sunitha Manthena, Prathima Srinivas, Sadanandam

Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals 2010 1(1):14-18

Phytoconstituents, despite having excellent bioactivity in vitro, demonstrate less or no in vivo actions due to their poor lipid solubility or improper molecular size or both, resulting in poor absorption and poor bioavailability. Lipid solubility and molecular size are the major limiting factors for molecules to pass the biological membrane and to be absorbed systematically following oral or topical administration. Some phytoconstituents are destroyed in the gastric environment when taken orally. The term “phyto” means plant, while “some” means cell-like. Therefore, phytosome is a “phytophospholipid complex” resembling a small cell. Phytosomes are produced by a patented process whereby standardized plant extracts or their constituents are bound to phospholipids, mainly phosphatidylcholine, producing a lipid-compatible molecular complex. Phytosomes exhibit a better pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profile than conventional herbal extracts. The phytosome technology markedly enhances the bioavailability of phytomedicine and has effectively enhanced the bioavailability of many popular herbal extracts, including Milk thistle, Ginkgo biloba, Grape seed, Green tea, Hawthorn, Ginseng etc., and can be developed for various therapeutic uses or dietary supplements.

Prominent wound healing properties of indigenous medicines

Nilesh Gupta, UK Jain

Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals 2010 1(1):2-13

Wound, a clinical entity, is as old as mankind and often possesses problems in clinical practice. Naturally, the investigative curiosity to promote healing continues since ages. A lot of research has been envisaged to develop better healing agents and it has been a challenging task to generate them and keep pace with the problems encountered. Several drugs of plant, mineral, and animal origin are described in the Ayurveda for their wound healing properties. Most of these drugs are derived from plants. Some of these plants have been screened scientifically for the evaluation of their wound healing activity in different pharmacological models. Some Ayurvedic medicinal plants, namely Argemone mexicana, Boerhaavia diffusa, Catharanthus roseas, Diospyros cardifolia, Eclipta alba, Ficus religiosa, Hypericum perforatum, Lawsonia inermis, Merremia tridentate, and Swertia chirata, were found to be effective in experimental models. The rapidity of wound healing depends, to a considerable extent, on the contraction that begins a few days after injury and continues for several weeks. In the present review, attempts are made to understand various aspects of wound healing in terms of percentage closure of wound, period of complete epithelialization, tensile strength, histopathology, and weight of granuloma in different wound models.

Evaluation of the DPPH radical scavenging activity, total phenols and antioxidant activities in Indian wild Bambusa vulgaris "Vittata" methanolic leaf extract

Arvind Kumar Goyal, Sushil Kumar Middha, Arnab Sen

Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals 2010 1(1):40-45

Background: Antioxidants have the ability to protect organisms from damage caused by free radical-induced oxidative stress. A lot of research is being carried out worldwide directed toward finding natural antioxidants of plant origin. The antioxidant activity of the methanolic extract of Bambusa vulgaris “Vittata” (BVV) leaves is reported along with screening for photochemical constituents of the Indian, wild BVV methanolic leaf extract. Materials and Methods: The antioxidant activity was tested spectrophotometrically, measuring the ability of the plant extract to scavenge a stable DPPH• free radical and the total phenolic and flavonoid contents. Results: Preliminary studies show the presence of carbohydrates, reducing sugars, flavonoids, steroids, saponins, alkaloids, tannins, anthraquinones and glycosides. The antioxidant activity of the investigated extract has a scavenging ability of hydroxyl peroxide radicals (421.74 ± 25.61 mg/ml) and DPPH

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