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Helicteres isora belongs to the family Sterculiacae. It is a subdeciduous shrub or small tree of having spreading habit with stem 1- 5 inches in diameter, reaching a height of 5-15 feet. The species is native to Asia and Australia. It occurs, throughout India, from Jamuna eastwards to Nepal, Bihar and Bengal and southern India and Andaman Islands. It occurs as undergrowth, especially as a secondary growth in forests.

Listing Details

Botanical Names
Helicteres isora
Indian Names
Sanskrit :Avartani, Mrigashringa Bengali :Antamora Hindi : Bhendu, Damni, Jonka phal, Kapasi, Maror phal Kannada : Yedamuri Malayalam : Isora-murri, Valampiri Marathi : Ati, Dhamani, Kapaisi, Kewan, Muradsheng Tamil : Valampuri Telugu : Nulitada Urdu : Marorphali
Chemical Constituents
The literature survey reveals the presence of flavones, triterpenoids, cucurbitacin, phytosterols, saponins, sugars and phlobatannins in Helecteres isora plant (1). Fruits of this plant are full of medicinal activities. Its chemical composition found to contains 49-O-b -D-glucopyranosyl rosmarinic acid, 4,49- O-di-b -D-glucopyranosyl rosmarinic acid and 2R-O-(49- O-b -D-glucopyranosyl caffeoyl)-3-(4-hydroxyphenyl) lactic acid, together with rosmarinic acid (2). Major chemical constituents of Helecteres isora reported to include betulinic acid. Betulinic acid is the triterpenoidal saponin and molecular formula C30H48O3 (Mol.wt. 456.7 g/mol) (3). From the roots few compounds are isolated such as betulic acid, daucosterol, sitosterol, and isorin. Cucurbitacin B and isocucurbitacin B were isolated and reported to possess cytotoxic activity.
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, 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.
Helicteres isora is generally known as Murdasingi in India. Every part of this plant is known to possess medicinal activities. Helicteres isora is one of those plants which can be used treat number of diseases. In traditional Helicteres isora root juice is claimed to be useful in diabetes, empyema, and cure for snakebite. Helicteres isora roots possess anti diabetic property. The different extracts of the roots of Helicteres isora were tested for anti-diabetic activity, by glucose tolerance test in normal rats and alloxan induced diabetic rats (4). Helicteres isora can also treat diabetic related complications. Diabetes is associated with significant oxidative stress, and oxidative damage to tissues may be a contributory factor in several diabetic complications. Normal levels of the antioxidant defense mechanism are not sufficient for the eradication of free radical induced injury. Therefore, the administration of antioxidants from a natural origin has a promising role to play. The aqueous extract of Helicteres isora bark showed an appreciable decrease in oxidative stress. Stem bark of Helicteres isora possesses very good antibacterial and antifungal activities. The effect of H. isora extract of stem bark of Helicteres isora was investigated in five different fungus i.e. Cryptococcus neoformans, Candida tropicalis, Trychophyton rubrum, Microsporum furfure, Epidermophyton floccosum to evaluate the antifungal activity. Fruits of H. isora also have shown very important activities as antibacterial and antiplasmid. Most of the genetic determinants in microorganisms that confer resistance to antibiotics are located on R-plasmids in bacteria. An investigation was undertaken to investigate the ability of organic extract of the fruits of Helicteres isora to cure R-plasmids from certain clinical isolates. Various disease causing organisms such as Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, Bacillus cereus and E. coli (RP4) have been cured of plasmids and thus its pathogenic activity (1, 6) Helicteres isora also possesses anticancer activity. Methanolic extract of Helicteres isora display good anti tumor activity. The results strengthen that the Helicteres isora could be considered as a natural resource of anti tumor agents as well as cytoprotective to normal cells.
Health Benefits
Helicteres isora possesses many beneficial activities. The root and stem barks are considered to be expectorant, demulcent, astringent and anti-galactagogue and are useful in colic, scabies, empyema, gastropathy, diabetes, diarrhea and dysentery. The fruits are astringent, acrid, refrigerant, demulcent, constipating, stomachic, vermifuge, vulnerary, haemostatic and urinary astringent. They are useful in vitiated conditions of pitta ophthalmitis, colic, flatulence, diarrhea, dysentery, verminosis, wounds, ulcers, hemorrhages, epistaxis and diabetes. Roots of H. isora are found to be very effective in case of diabetes. It shows significant decrease in blood glucose level and increase in glucose tolerance. The blood glucose levels were reduced considerably within 60 minutes of the drug administration. In alloxan-induced diabetic rats also, both extracts have shown considerable reduction in blood glucose levels. Cucurbitacin B and isocucurbitacin B were isolated and reported to possess cytotoxic activity.
Research References
1. Badgujar V. B., Jain P. S. and Badgujar S. V. Antifungal activity of stem bark of Helicteres isora Linn. P.S. Jain et al. / Drug Invention Today 2009, 1(2):135-136 2. Toshiko S., Kohei K., Yasuhisa S., Takao H., Yasuo F., Susumu K., Yumiko K., Jun U., Hanani E. and Mansur U. Studies on the Constituents of Fruits of Helicteres isora L.1) Chem. Pharm. Bull. 1999, 47(10):1444—1447 3. Kashmir B. P., Suman. K. L., Gunvat K. Y. and Mamta. B. S. Development and Validation of HPTLC Method for Determination of Betulinic Acid in Helicteres isora root Extract International Journal of ChemTech Research 2010, 2(2):851-855 4. Sama V., Dayananda R., B.Madhava R. and Lakshman M. ANTI-DIABETIC ACTIVITY OF HELICTERES ISORA ROOT 5. Ganesan K., Gani S. B. and Arunachalam G. M. Effect of Helicteres isora bark extracts on heart antioxidant status and lipid peroxidation in streptozotocin diabetic rats J. Appl. Biomed. 6: 89–95, 2008 6. Varsha S., Sheetal J., Lathac C., Vinay K., Prashant D., Supada R. and Mahadeo G. S. Antibacterial & antiplasmid activities of Helicteres isora L. Indian J Med Res 132, July 2010, pp 94-99 7. Madhulika P., Sribhuwaneswari S., Karthikeyan D., Sunita M., Pavani S., Atul N. C., Umesh M., Kamalakannan K., Saravanankumar A. and Sivakumar T. In-vitro Cytoprotection Activity of Foeniculum vulgare and Helicteres isora in Cultured Human Blood Lymphocytes and Antitumour Activity against B16F10 Melanoma Cell LineResearch J. Pharm. and Tech. 2008, 1(4): 1-4 8. Ganesan K., Gani S. B. and Arunachalam G. M. Anti-diabetic Activity of Helicteres isora L. Bark Extracts on Streptozotocin-induced Diabetic Rats International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Nanotechnology 2009, 1.