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Karanj

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Pongamia glabra is a small evergreen tree, which is widely distributed in India, Bangladesh, China, and Australia. Pongamia glabra is a species of tree in the pea family Fabaceae. It is often known by the synonym Pongamia pinnata. It is a legume tree that grows to about 15–25 meters in height with a large canopy which spreads equally wide. It may be deciduous for short periods. The leaves are a soft, shiny burgundy in early summer and mature to a glossy, deep green as the season progresses. Flowering starts in general after 3–4 years. Cropping of pods and single almond sized seeds can occur by 4–6 years.
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Botanical Names
Pongamia glabra
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Karanja, Naktamāla Hindi : Karanj Marathi : Karanj Bengali : Karanj Kannada : Honge Tamil : Pungai Telugu : Kānuga Malayalam : Ponnu, Unnu
Chemical Constituents
Fruit of Pongamia pinnata contains furano-flavonoids, pongapinnol A–D, and a new coumestan, pongacoumestan. Its oil mainly consists of furan flavones, karanjin, pongapin, kanjone and a diketone pongamol and mature seeds have recently gained a great commercial relevance owing to their high oil content, which is explored as an alternate source of fuel and energy. Phytochemical investigation indicated the preparation of different extracts using different solvents and phytochemical tests for confirmation of the presence of alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids, steroids, glycosides & carbohydrates. P. glabra has been reported to contain a large number of furanoflavonoids e.g. karanjin, pongapin, Kanjone, pongamol, and pongaglabrone, along with a number of simpler flavonoids and lipid like arachidonic acid (1).
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
Pharmacology
Different parts of the plant have been recommended in Ayurvedic literature as a remedy for various ailments. Pods of Pongamia pinnata showed significant anti inflammatory, anti filarial and analgesic activity. Flower of Pongamia pinnata showed significant anti-hyperglycemic, anti-lipid per-oxidative and antioxidant activity. The seed and seed oil have been used for treating various inflammatory and infectious diseases such as leucoderma, leprosy, lumbago, and muscular and articular rheumatism. The leaves are hot, digestive, laxative, anti -helmintic and cure piles, wounds and other inflammations (2, 3).
Health Benefits
Pongamia pinnata is commonly known as Karanj. It has been recognized in different system of traditional medicines for the treatment of different diseases and ailments of human beings. Traditionally, its bark is used in pile; leaves are effective as medicated bath and rheumatic pains; and the seeds are used in hypertension, bronchitis, whooping cough, skin diseases and rheumatic arthritis. In primitive areas of Malaysia and India, root extracts are applied to abscesses; other plant parts, especially crushed seeds and leaves are regarded as having antiseptic properties. The plants have been described as a useful remedy for foul ulcer, fistulous sores, gonorrhea and urethritis (4). The medicinal properties of seed oil of Pongamia glabra are well known in traditional Indian medicine. It has antimicrobial activity against several organisms. It is used in the treatment of herpes and scabies and, systemically, it is also used in the treatment of dyspepsia with sluggish liver (5). Different parts of the plant have been recommended in Ayurvedic literature as a remedy for various ailments. P. glabra roots have been described as a useful remedy for foul ulcers, fistulous sores, gonorrhoea, urethritis etc. The seeds and seed oil have been used for treating various inflammatory and infectious diseases such as leucoderma, leprosy, lumbago, and rheumatism. The ulcer protective and healing effects and anti- inflammatory activity of alcoholic extract of P. glabra seeds and root have been reported. Flowers of the plant are rich in bioflavonoids and extensively used in various skin diseases, diabetes and renal disorders (6, 7).
Research References
1. Anupriya P., Pankaj K., Rakesh P., Vaibhavi J. and Sonu PHARMACOGNOSTIC AND PHYTOCHEMICAL EVALUATION OF PONGAMIA PINNATA LINN FAMILY FABACEAE International Journal of Pharma. Research and Development IJPRD2011, 3(2):11-19 2. Joseph I. and Ranjit Singh A. J. A. Antimicrobial Activity of Selected Medicinal Plants, Craetva magna (Linn.), Pongamia glabra (Linn.) and Areca catechu (Linn.) Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12: 995-1002. 2008. 3. Prabha T., Dorababu M., Goel S., Agarwal P. K., Singh A., Joshi V. K. and Goel R. K. Effect of methanolic extract of Pongamia pinnata Linn seed on gastro-duodenal ulceration and mucosal offensive and defensive factors in rats. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 2009, 47:649-659 4. Susan G. and Vincentb S. Comparative efficacy of Annona squamosa Linn. and Pongamia glabra Vent. to Azadirachta indica A. Juss against mosquitoes J Vect Borne Dis, 2005 42:159–163 5. Chande H. S., Singhai A. and Nayak S. Preparation and Estimation of Metal Complexes of Glabrin from Pongamia glabra Linn. Seeds Ancient Science of Life 2005, XXV (1):1-5 6. Bandivdekar A. H. and Moodbidri S. B. SPERMICIDAL ACTIVITY OF SEED OIL OF PONGAMIA GLABRA 2002, 48(1):9-13 7. Chopade V. V., Tankar A. N., Pande V. V., Tekade A. R., Gowekar N. M., Bhandari . R. and Khandake S. N. Pongamia pinnata: Phytochemical constituents, Traditional uses and Pharmacological properties: A review. International Journal of Green Pharmacy 2008
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