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Cassia fistula, known as the golden shower tree and other names, is a flowering plant in the family Fabaceae, native to southern Asia, from southern Pakistan east through India to Myanmar and south to Sri Lanka. It’s a popular ornamental plant and is an herbal medicine. The golden shower tree is a medium-sized tree, growing to 10–20 m tall with fast growth. The leaves are deciduous, long, and pinnate with 3–8 pairs of leaflets. The flowers are produced in pendulous racemes with five yellow petals of equal size and shape. The fruit is a legume, long and with a pungent odor and containing several seeds.
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Botanical Names
Cassia fistula
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Aragvadha, Chaturangula, Kritamala, Suvarnaka Bengali : Sonalu, Bandar lathi, Amaltas Gujarati : Garmalo Hindi : Bendra lathi, Dhanbaher, Girimaloah Hindi : Amaltās Marathi : Bahava Malayalam : Kanikkonna Vishu konna Tamil : Konrai Telugu : Raela
Chemical Constituents
Primary metabolite analysis has essentially been focused on the seed, pollen, fruit, leaf and pod. The seeds are rich in glycerides with linoleic, oleic, stearic and palmitic acids as major fatty acids together with traces of caprylic and myristic acids. It has been reported that the stembark of C. fistula is also a potential source of lupeol, ß-sitosterol and hexacosanol. In an earlier study it was reported that one of the major carbohydrates in the seeds was galactomannan consisting of 8 different types of sugar moieties. A polar compound including 5-nonatetracontanone, 2- hentriacontanone, triacontane, 16-hentriacontanol and sitosterol along with oil showing antibacterial activity have also been isolated in C. fistula pods. C. fistula plant organs are known to be an important source of secondary metabolites, notably phenolic compounds. Fistucacidin, an optically inactive leucoanthocyanidin was first extracted from the heartwood. (1) A new bioactive flavone glycoside 5,3',4'-tri-hydroxy-6-methoxy-7-O-alpha-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1 --> 2)-O-beta-D-galactopyranoside with antimicrobial activity was reported. Four new compounds, 5-(2-hydroxyphenoxymethyl)furfural,(2'S)-7-hydroxy-5-hydroxymethyl-2-(2'-hydroxypropyl)chromone, benzyl 2-hydroxy-3,6-dimethoxybenzoate, and benzyl 2beta-O-D-glucopyranosyl-3,6-dimethoxybenzoate, together with four known compounds, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural, (2'S)-7-hydroxy-2-(2'-hydroxypropyl)-5-methylchromone, and two oxyanthraquinones, chrysophanol and chrysophanein, were also isolated from the seeds of Cassia fistula (2). Scientist has reported the presence of oxyanthraquinone and dihydroxyanthraquinone in the bark of the C. fistula plant. Stem bark of C. fistula has a high phenol, flavonoid, and proanthocyanidin phytochemical content. The present study investigated and compared the hypoglycemic effect of aqueous extract and gold nanoparticles synthesized from the stem bark of C. fistula in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats, based on biochemical parameters (3).
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
In Ayurvedic medicine, Cassia fistula tree is known as aragvadha, meaning "disease killer". C. fistula, a member of the Leguminosae family, is widely used for its medicinal properties. It has been extensively used in traditional Indian medicine. Different parts of C. fistula are reported to have hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, antitussive, antifungal, antitumor, antioxidant, and antibacterial activity. Cassia fistula plants to be aperients, astringent, laxative purgative and vermifuge. According to the different assays, the barks are known to have a higher antioxidant potential than other parts of the plant. The hypoglycemic and hypocholesterolemic effects of hexane extracts from C. fistula were studied and found a significant decrease in blood glucose levels and improvements in the lipid profile in comparison with the standard reference drug, insulin. Scientific results suggest that the stem barks of hexane extracts from C. fistula possess strong anti diabetic activity. C. fistula plant organs are known to be an important source of secondary metabolites. The stem bark of the plant acts as a reservoir for lupeol, β-sitosterol, and hexacosanol (3). In the Indian literature, this plant has been described to be useful against skin diseases, liver troubles, tuberculous glands and its use in the treatment of haematemesis, pruritus, leucoderm and diabetes has been suggested. C. fistula extract is used as an anti-periodic agent and in the treatment of rheumatism and the leaf extract is also indicated for its anti-tussive and wound healing properties. It has been concluded that plant parts could be used as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of hyper cholesterolaemia. There are reports indicating its antibacterial activity against a wide spectrum of bacteria namely Escherichia Coli, Bacillus mycides, Bacillus subtilis, Mycobacterium smegmatis, Klebsiella aerogenes, Pseudomonas aerogenes and Proteus vulgaris. Besides its pharmacological uses, the plant extract is also recommended as a pest and disease control agents in India. Thus C. fistula is well anchored in its traditional uses and has now found widespread acceptance across the world (1).
Health Benefits
Cassia fistula tree is one of the most widespread in the forests of India, usually occurring in deciduous forests. The whole plant possesses medicinal properties useful in the treatment of skin diseases, inflammatory diseases, rheumatism, anorexia and jaundice. Cassia fistula plants are used in folk remedies for tumors of the abdomen, glands, liver, stomach and throat cancer, carcinomata and impostumes of the uterus. It is a folk remedy for burns, cancer, constipation, convulsions, delirium, diarrhea, dysuria, epilepsy, gravel, hematuria, pimples and glandular tumors. Ayurvedic medicine recognizes the seed as antibilious, aperitif carminative and laxative the root for adenopathy, burning sensations, leprosy, skin diseases, syphilis and tubercular glands the leaves for erysipelas, malaria, rheumatism and ulcers the buds for biliousness constipation, fever, leprosy and skin disease the fruit for abdominal pain, constipation, fever, heart disease and leprosy. Unani use the leaves for inflammation the flowers for a purgative the fruit as anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, abortifacient, demulcent, purgative, refrigerant good for chest complaints eye aliments, flu, heart and liver ailments and rheumatism, though suspected of inducing asthma. Seeds are considered emetic.
Research References
1. Theeshan B., Vidushi S. N. and Okezie I. A. Phytochemical constituents of Cassia fistula African Journal of Biotechnology 4(13):1530-1540, 2005 2. Raju I., Moni M. and Subramanian V. ANTI-INFLAMMATORY AND ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITIES OF CASSIA FISTULA LINN BARK EXTRACTS Afr. J. Trad. CAM (2005) 2 (1): 70 - 85 3. Daisy P. and Saipriya K. Biochemical analysis of Cassia fistula aqueous extract and phytochemically synthesized gold nanoparticles as hypoglycemic treatment for diabetes mellitus International Journal of Nanomedicine 4. Ranjith Vimalraj T., Saravana kumar S., Vadivel S., Ramesh S. and Thejomoorthy P. ANTIBACTERIAL EFFECT OF CASSIA FISTULA EXTRACT ON PATHOGENIC BACTERIA OF VETERINARY IMPORTANCE Tamilnadu J. Veterinary & Animal Sciences 5 (3) 109-113, 2009 5. NAFISA H. A., SHAHANA U. K. AND SHAHEEN F. MODULATION OF HUMORAL IMMUNITY BY CASSIA FISTULA AND AMOXY-CASSIA Pak. J. Pharm. Sci., 2008, 21(1):21-23 6. Govindarajan M. Bioefficacy of Cassia fistula Linn. (Leguminosae) leaf extract against chikungunya vector, Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae). Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2009, 13(2):99-103. 7. Manisha A. N., Navneet N., Sandeep R., Gagan S., Gaurav S. and Reni K. Phytochemical Investigation of Methanolic Extract of Cassia fistula Leaves Article Metadata, 21, 2011 | Author admin 8. Gupta M., Mazumder U. K., Rath N. and Mukhopadhyay D. K. Antitumor activity of methanolic extract of Cassia fistula L. seed against Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2000, 72(1-2):151-156