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Nirgundi

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Vitex negundo is generally known as Nirgundi in India. It is also known as the five-leaved chaste tree, is a large aromatic shrub with quadrangular, densely whitish, tomentose branchlets. It is widely used in folk medicine, particularly in South and Southeast Asia. It belongs to family Verbenaceae and is found in the warmer parts of India. Vitex negundo has been used for various medicinal purposes in Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine.
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Botanical Names
Vitex negundo
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Nirgundi; Sephalika; Sindhuvara; Svetasurasa; Vrikshaha Hindi : Mewri; Nirgundi; Nisinda; Sambhalu; Sawbhalu Bengali : Nirgundi; Nishinda; Samalu Gujarati : Nagoda; Shamalic Kannada : Bile-nekki Malayalam : Indrani Marathi : Nirgunda Tamil : Chinduvaram; Nirnochchi; Nochchi; Notchi; Vellai-nochchi Telugu : Sindhuvara; Vavili; Nalla-vavili; Tella-vavili
Chemical Constituents
It contains fragrant, volatile oil and resins with several reported phytomolecules e.g. nishindaside, negundoside and artemetin. Besides, several alkaloids, glycosides, flavonoids, reducing sugars, sterols, resin and tannins have also been reported. The essential oil of V. negundo has been used to reduce inflammation and swelling of joints due to rheumatism and injuries. The main constituents of the Vitex oil are sabinene, linalool, terpinen-4-ol, β-caryophyllene, α-guaiene and globulol constituting 61.8% of the oil. The principal constituents the leaf juice are casticin, isoorientin, chrysophenol D, luteolin, p–hydroxybenzoic acid and D-fructose.
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
Vitex nigundo has been claimed to possess many medicinal properties. The Vitex negundo plant is bitter, acrid, astringent in taste and cephalic, stomachic, antiseptic, thermogenic, depurative, rejuvenating, and ophthalmic in action. It is useful in the treatment of bronchitis, asthama and enlargement of spleen. Roots of this plant are tonic, febribuge, antirheumatic, diuretic, expectorant in action. Leaves of Vitex nigundo have been investigated for its anti-inflammatory activity. Fresh leaves of Vitex nigundo have been suggested to possess anti-inflammatory and pain suppressing activities possibly mediated via antihistaminic, membrane stabilizing and antioxidant activities. It has also been investigated for an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, hepatoprotective and bronchial relaxant actions. Leaves of Vitex negundo are anti inflammatory, antipyretic, febrifuge, bronchial smooth muscle relaxant, anti arthritic, antihelmintic and vermifuge in action.
Health Benefits
Vitex nigundo has been claimed to possess many medicinal properties. The Vitex negundo plant is bitter, acrid, astringent in taste and cephalic, stomachic, antiseptic, thermogenic, depurative, rejuvenating, and ophthalmic in action. It is useful in the treatment of bronchitis, asthama and enlargement of spleen. Roots of this plant are tonic, febribuge, antirheumatic, diuretic, expectorant in action. Leaves of Vitex nigundo have been investigated for its anti-inflammatory activity. Fresh leaves of Vitex nigundo have been suggested to possess anti-inflammatory and pain suppressing activities possibly mediated via antihistaminic, membrane stabilizing and antioxidant activities. It has also been investigated for an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, hepatoprotective and bronchial relaxant actions. Leaves of Vitex negundo are anti inflammatory, antipyretic, febrifuge, bronchial smooth muscle relaxant, anti arthritic, antihelmintic and vermifuge in action.
Research References
1.Yamini Bhusan Tripathi, Om Prakash Tiwari, Santosh Nagwani & Brahmeshwar Mishra Pharmacokinetic-interaction of Vitex negundo Linn. & paracetamol Indian J Med Res 2009, (130):479-483 2. Vishal R. Tandon & R.K. Gupta Vitex negundo Linn (VN) leaf extract as an adjuvant therapy to standard anti-inflammatory drugs Indian J Med Res 2006, (124):447-450 3. A. S. Vishwanathan and R. Basavaraju A Review on Vitex negundo L. A Medicinally Important Plant EJBS 2010, (1):30-42 4. R. K. GUPTA AND V. R. TANDON ANTINOCICEPTIVE ACTIVITY OF VITEX-NEGUNDO LINN LEAF EXTRACT Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 2005, 49 (2):163–170 5. Swapnadeep P., D.C.Jain and S.B.Joshi Antiinflammatory activity of Vitex negundo leaves extracts obtained through different extraction methods Drug Invention Today 2009, 1(2):157-159