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Tephrosia purpurea is a species of flowering plant in the pea family, Fabaceae that has a pantropical distribution. It is a common wasteland weed. In many parts it is under cultivation as green manure crop. It is found throughout India and Sri Lanka in poor soils. Tephrosia purpurea is a polymorphic, much-branched sub erect perennial herb. The plant is a small herb about 1 m in height and is popularly known as Sarponkha. It is widely distributed in Central India and also found in wild habitats, waste lands and along the road side.

Listing Details

Botanical Names
Tephrosia purpurea
Indian Names
Bengali : Bannilgach Gujarati : Ghodakan Hindi : Ban-nil, Sarphonk, Sharpunkha Kannada : Empali, Koggili, Phanike Malayalam : Kozhinjil Marathi : Sharpankha, Unhali Sanskrit : Sarapunkha Tamil : Kavali, Kolluk-kay-velai Telugu : Vempali
Chemical Constituents
The plant is known to contain bioactive compounds like‐ pongamol, β‐sitosterol, ursolic acid, spinosterol, α‐ tetratriacontane, ratenone, tephrosine, betutinic acid, 12 a‐ hydroxyl retanone and dimethyl glabranin. In addition, epoxy flavonone‐5,7‐dimethyl‐8‐(2,3‐epoxy‐3‐methylbutyl)‐2‐phenyl‐2,3‐dihydro‐4‐H‐1‐benzopyran‐4‐one have also been isolated from the plant. T. purpurea is reported to contain three novel flavonoids, (+)-tephrorins A and B and (+) – tephrosones. An isoflavone,7,4’-dihydroxy-3’,5’- dimethoxyisoflavone and a chalcone, (+)- tephropurpurin, both novel compounds, as well as six constituents of known structures, (+)-purpurin, pongamol, laceolatin B, (-)-maackiain, (-)-3- hydroxy-4-methoxy-8,9-methylene-dioxypterocarpan, and (-)-medicarpin were obtained as active compounds from T. purpurea.(1) Some medicinal plants of the genus Tephrosia, reinvestigation of the methylenechloride/methanol extract of the aerial parts of Tephrosia purpurea yielded an aromatic ester, a sesquiterpene and prenylated flavonoid (2).
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs hence it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health
It is used traditionally as folk medicine. According to Ayurveda, the plant is anti helmintic, alexiteric, alterative, and antipyretic; it is used in the treatment of leprosy, ulcers, asthma, and tumors, as well as diseases of the liver, spleen, heart, and blood. Experimental studies suggest that Tephrosia purpurea exerts anti-ulcer, anti-oxidant, hepato-protective and hypoglycemic activities. Among the medicinal herbs, Tephrosia purpurea is a medicinal weed well known for its pharmaceutical potential, it possess the anti‐microbial activities of natural extracts in many instances attributed to the presence of terpenoid saponin. These terpenes are known to be active against a broad range of micro‐organisms, including gram‐positive, gram‐negative bacteria and fungi, and are widely reported in plant system having pharmaceutical potential. Scientific studies showed that plant juice is used for curing rheumatism, hyperacidity and hypoglycemic activity. In diabetic rabbits, the extract exerted 60‐70% hypoglycemic effect as compared to tolbutamide. Aqueous extract of the roots possesses anti‐hepatotoxic property. Keeping in view the above reports the present research work was carried out for the bioassay directed isolation studies on the seeds (2).
Health Benefits
T. purpurea used for mediated chain reaction has been implicated in the centuries of Indian traditional medicine for the treatment various inflammatory disorders. It is considered beneficial for liver, spleen and kidney disorders and also it has property to cure all types of wounds. The roots, leaves, seeds and bark were used medicinally. According to ayurveda, T. purpurea is used as digestible, anti- helmintics, alexiteric, antipyretic, astringent, thermogenic, acrid and also used to cure diseases of liver, spleen heart, blood, tumours, ulcers, leprosy and asthma. Unani system of medicine describes the roots as diuretic, allays thirst, enriches blood, and cures diarrhoea, useful in bronchitis, liver, inflammations, boils and pimples.(1) A decoction of the roots is given in dyspepsia, diarrhea, rheumatism, asthma and urinary disorders. The root powder is salutary for brushing the teeth, where it is said to quickly relieve dental pains and stop bleeding. Different parts of T. purpurea have been used for diabetes mellitus in Ayurvedic and Siddha medicine. It is considered beneficial for liver, spleen and kidney disorders. Experimental studies have demonstrated its anti-ulcer and hepato-protective effects (3). Indian traditional practitioners treat various types of diseases using Tephrosia purpurea as folklore medicine. It is a perennial herb found throughout India and considered beneficial for the remedy of various disorders such as inflammation, fever, bronchitis, kidney disorders and diabetes mellitus. A few scientific studies have demonstrated its hepatoprotective and antiulcer effects. The scientific study has demonstrated that T. purpurea has prominent anti-hyperglycemic and anti-hyperlipidemic effects in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats (4). Herbal medicines derived from plant extracts are being increasingly utilized to treat a variety of clinical diseases, though relatively little knowledge about their mode of action is available. There is growing interest in pharmacological evaluation of various plants used in Indian traditional system of medicine. Therapeutic effects of medicinal plants depend upon their chemical constituents. Many phytochemical and pharmacological studies were carried out in T. purpurea (6).
Research References
1. Praveena R., Amarnath P. and Jegadeesan M. PHYSICO-CHEMICAL PROPERTIES OF TEPHROSIA PURPUREA L. ROOT Plant Archives 2011, 11(2)707-709 2. Ali K.K., Afifi H.Y., Abeer M.E., Mohamed H.A., Mohamed E.F.H. and Abou-El-Hamd H.M.Chemical constituents of Tephrosia purpurea2010 (2)2:72-75 3. Noor Afshan K. In vitro antimicrobial activity of triterpenoid saponin from Tephrosia purpurea seeds extract European Journal of Chemistry 2011, 2 (2): 189-192 4. Gopalakrishnan S, Vadivel E and Dhanalakshmi K Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities of Tephrosia purpurea Linn. aerial and root extracts Gopalakrishnan S et al. / Journal of Pharmacy Research 2010, 3(5),1103-1106 5. P. Pavana, S.Sethupathy and S. Manoharan ANTIHYPERGLYCEMIC AND ANTILIPIDPEROXIDATIVE EFFECTS OF TEPHROSIA PURPUREA SEED EXTRACT IN STREPTOZOTOCIN INDUCED DIABETIC RATS Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, 2007 / 22 (1) 77-83 6. P. Pavana1, S. Manoharan, G. L. Renju and S. Sethupathy2 Antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic effects of Tephrosia purpurea leaf extract in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats Journal of Environmental Biology 2007, 28(4) 833-837 (2007) 7. Jain V., Jat R. C., Dubey S., Bhardwaj S. and Jain S. Immunomodulatory effect of aerial part of Tephrosia purpurea (Linn) Journal of Pharmacy Research 2010, 3(1), 156-158 8. Kavitha K, Manoharan S. Anticarcinogenic and antilipidperoxidative effects of Tephrosia purpurea (Linn.) Pers. in 7, 12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) induced hamster buccal pouch carcinoma. Indian J Pharmacol 2006;38:185-189 9. R. Shanmugapriya, G.Umamaheswari, P.Thirunavukkarasu, G.Renugadevi and T.Ramanathan, "CYTOTOXIC EFFECT OF TEPHROSIA PURPUREA EXTRACTS ON HELA CERVICAL CANCEROUS CELL LINE ", Inventi Rapid: Molecular Pharmacology ,2011