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Ficus racemosa is an evergreen tree belongs to the family Moraceae. It is moderate to large sized spreading, and lactiferous, deciduous tree. Leaves are dark green, 7.5-10 cm long, ovate or elliptic. The fruits are 2-5 cm in diameter, pyriform, in large clusters, arising from main trunk or large branches. The fruits resemble the figs and are green when raw, turning orange, dull reddish or dark crimson on ripening. The seeds are tiny, innumerable and grain-like. It is also known by synonym as Ficus glomerulata.
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Botanical Names
Ficus racemosa
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Sadaphala Bengali : Jagnadumur Gujarati : Umbro Hindi : Gulara Kannada : Attihanninamara Malayalam : Athi Marathi : Umber Tamil : Atti Telugu : Atti
Chemical Constituents
Several chemical constituents have been isolated from the Ficua racemosa plant. The stem bark showed the presence of two leucoanthocyanins: leucocyanidin-3- O-β-glucopyranoside, leucopelarogonidin-3-O-α-Lrhamnopyranoside, β-sitosterol, unidentified long chain ketone, ceryl behenate, lupeol, its acetate, α- amyrin acetate. From trunk bark, lupeol, β-sitosterol and stigmasterol were isolated. Fruit of Ficus racemosa contains glauanol, hentriacontane, β-sitosterol, gluanol acetate, glucose, tiglic acid, and esters of taraxasterol, lupeol acetate, friedelin, higher hydrocarbons and other phytosterol. A new tetracyclic triterpene glauanol acetate which is characterized as 13α, 14β, 17 βH, 20 αH-lanosta-8, 22-diene-3 β-acetate and racemosic acid were isolated from the leaves. A thermo stable aspartic protease was isolated from the latex of the plant. The stem bark and fruit also showed presence of glauanol acetate (1). The leaf of this plant also contains sterols, triterpenoids in Petroleum ether extract and alkaloids, tannins and flavonoids in ethanolic extract.
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 Ficus racemosa are traditionally used as fodder, edible and ceremonial. All parts of this plant (leaves, fruits, bark, latex, and sap of the root) are medicinally important in the traditional system of medicine in India. Ficus racemosa documented to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic, antidiuretic, antibacterial, hepatoprotective and antifilarial properties. The bark of Ficus racemosa is reported to possess the antidiabetic activity whereas leaf possesses antidiarrhoeal, antihyperglycemic, hypoglycaemic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial, hepato protective activities. The fruits are considered astringent, stomachic and carminative in action. The root sap is also used for treating diabetes; both the root and fruit are credited with hypoglycemic activity (2). Apart from the usage in traditional medicine, scientific studies indicate F. racemosa to posses various biological effects such as hepatoprotective, chemopreventive, antidiabetic, anti inflammatory, antipyretic, antitussive and antidiuretic. The bark has also been evaluated for cytotoxic effects using 1BR3, Hep G2, HL-60 cell lines and found to be safe and less toxic than aspirin, a commonly consumed anti-inflammatory drug (3). Extracts of Ficus racemosa leaves were tested for antibacterial potential against Escherichia coli ATCC 10536, Bacillus pumilis ATCC 14884, Bacillus subtilis ATCC 6633, Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 25619 and Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 29737. The effects produced by the extracts were significant and were compared with chloramphenicol. The petroleum ether extract was most effective against the tested organisms (4). Ficus racemosa leaf extract also possesses antifungal activity. It has been also concluded that the oral administration of the ethanolic bark extract of Ficus racemosa significantly reduced the blood sugar level and restored the status of lipids and lipoproteins to near normal range.
Health Benefits
Most parts of this plant are being used traditionally for the treatment of various diseases. In ancient literature of Ayurveda it has been mentioned for therapy of various disorders like diabetes, amlapitta, asthma, dysentery, menorrhagia, sore throat etc. The root is very useful in dysentery, as a powerful tonic and in diabetes. The therapeutic benefit of medicinal plants is often attributed to their antioxidant properties. The alcoholic extracts of the stem bark of the plant possessed anti- protozoal activity against Entamoeba histolytica and its use in the treatment of mumps, smallpox, heamaturia and inflammatory conditions were reported. The ethanolic extracts of bark and fruit were reported to have significant analgesic activity. Hypoglycaemic and in vitro antioxidant activities of Ficus racemosa fruits ethanolic extracts were reported earlier (1). The milky juice (latex) from the plant Ficus racemosa is reportedly used for treating piles and diarrhoea. Both the fruits and bark are used extensively in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine. In siddha the bark, fruits and latex are used to treat constipation, anaemia and dysentery (2). Several species belonging to the genera of Ficus were reported to contain furano coumarin which is an important plant phototoxins. Antioxidants from figs can protect lipoproteins in plasma from oxidation and produce a significant increase in plasma antioxidant capacity.
Research References
1. Abu H. Z., Moni R. S., Shammy S., Laizuman N., Kaiser H. and Sohel R. Hypoglycemic and in vitro antioxidant activity of ethanolic extracts of Ficus racemosa Linn. Fruits AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SCIENTIFIC AND INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH Am. J. Sci. Ind. Res., 2011, 2(3): 391-400 2. Patil V. V., Pimprikar R. B., Sutar N.G., Barhate A. L., Patil L. S., Patil A. P., Chaudhari R. Y. and Patil V. R. Anti-Hyperglycemic activity of Ficus racemosa Linn leaves Journal of Pharmacy Research 2(1) 3. Arunachalam A., Venkatesan N., Senthilraj R., Vijayakumar G., Karthikeyan M. and Ashutoshkumar A. PHYTOPHARMACOGNOSTICAL PROPERTIES OF Ficus racemosa Linn. Pharmacie Globale (IJCP) 2010, 5 (04) 1 4. Mandal S. C., Saha B. P. and Pal M. Studies on antibacterial activity of Ficus racemosa Linn. leaf extract Phytother Res. 2000, 14(4):278-80. 5. Deraniyagala S. A., Wijesundera R. L. C. and Weerasena O. V. D. S. J. Antifungal activity of Ficus racemosa leaf extract and isolation of active compound. J. Natn. Sci. Coun. Sri-Lanka 1998 26(1):19-26 6. Sophia D. and Manoharan S. HYPOLIPIDEMIC ACTIVITIES OF FICUS RACEMOSA LINN. BARK IN ALLOXAN INDUCED DIABETIC RATS Sophia and Manoharan. Afr. J. Trad. CAM (2007) 4 (3): 279 – 288 7. Veerapur V. P., Prabhakar K. R., Vipan kumar P., Machendar R. K., Ramakrishana S., Mishra M., Satish Rao B. S., Srinivasan K. K., Priyadarsini K. I. and Unnikrishnan M. K. Ficus racemosa Stem Bark Extract: A Potent Antioxidant and a Probable Natural Radioprotector Advance Access Publication eCAM 2009;6(3)317–324 8. Chandrashekhar C. H., Latha K. P., Vagdevi H. M. and Vaidya V. P. Anthelmintic activity of the crude extract of Ficus racemosa. International Journal of Green Pharmacy 2007. 9. Subhash C. M., Tapan K. M., Das J., Pal M. and Saha Reader B. P. Hepatoprotective activity of Ficus racemosa leaf extract on liver damage caused by carbon tetrachloride in rat Phytotherapy Research 1999, 13(5): 430–432 10. Bhaskara R., Murugesan T., Sanghamitra S., Saha B. P., Pal M. and Subhash C. M. Glucose lowering efficacy of Ficus racemosa bark extract in normal and alloxan diabetic rats Phytotherapy Research 2002, 16(6):590–592 11. Abdul R., Venkatesan P., Kannappan G., Geetha G., Bagavan A. and Kamaraj C. Mosquito larvicidal activity of gluanol acetate, a tetracyclic triterpenes derived from Ficus racemosa Linn Parasitology Research 103(2):333-339