A Review on Phytochemical and Pharmacological Profile of Cassia tora Linn



Nachiket S Dighe*1, Shashikant R Pattan1, Sunil A. Nirmal 2, Vipul.V. Dhasade2 Shruti G Dake1, Madhuri U Shelar1, Mangesh B Hole1and Vinayak Gaware1

Pravara Rural College Of Pharmacy, Pravaranagar, M.S, India




Cassia tora Linn (Leguminosae) is a shrub, extensively used in traditional medicine in tropical and warm substropical countries. C. tora commonly found in waste grounds and secondary forest. The chemical constituents reported from this plant belong to different classes such as glycosides, tannins, flavonoides, steroids, resins, mucilage and sugars. C. tora has number of medicinal uses, many of which have been verified by scientific methods. This review article summarizes the chemistry and pharmacological profile of C. tora.


KEYWORDS: Cassia tora, phytochemistry, pharmacological activity, anthraquinone glycoside.




Cassia tora Linn (family :Leguminosae) is a foetid annual shrub. This is very common weed throught India, Ceylon and tropics generally. It is commonly known as takala (Marathi), ayudham (Sanskrit), fetid cassia (English ). The pinnate leaves bearing three pairs of ovate oblong leaflets (two pair of leaflets have glands at their bases.) bright yellow flowers in pairs and stout long pods containing 25-30 green seeds. Seed contains Cinnamaldehyde, tannins, mannitol, coumarins, essential oils sugars, resins, mucilage, [1]. Naptho-alpha-pyrone-toralactune, chrysophenol , physcion , rubrofusarin, emodin , alaternin , gluco-obtusifolin, cassiaside , gluco-aurantio-obtusin , toralactone gentiobioside, chrysophanol triglucoside , anthraquinone glycoside[2-4], rubrofusarin-6-O-β-D-gentiobioside, and toralactone-9-O-β-D-gentiobioside, β -sitosteral- β -D-glucoside, freindlen, palmitic, stearic, succinic d-btartaric acids, quercitrin and isoquercitrin Chrysophonic acid-9-anthrone


Leaves contains Emodin, tricontan-1-0l, stigmasterol, β -sitosteral- β -D-glucoside, freindlen, palmitic, stearic, succinic and d-tartaric acids uridine, quercitrin and isoquercitrin . The roots having 1, 3, 5-trihydroxy-6-7-dimethoxy-2-methylanthroquinone and β -sitosterol. Decoctions of parts of Cassia tora are uses as an analgesic, anticonvulsant, antipyretic, antifungal, anthelmint, diuretic, expectorant, laxative, purgative, treatment of glaucoma and hypertention, treatment of skin disease, ringworm and itch. [1-2]


Traditional medicinal uses:

According to Ayurveda the leaves and seeds are acrid, laxative , antiperiodic, anthelmintic, liver tonic, cardiotonic and expectorant. The leaves and seeds are useful in the treatment of leprosy, ringworm, flatulence, colic, dyspepsia, constipation, cough, bronchitis and cardiac disorders. 5-7


Pharmacological activity:

1. Fungicidal activity:

The ethanol extracts of C. tora have potent antifungal activities against Microsporum canis and Candida albicans and low potency against Aspergillus fumigatus. Fugicidal activity of chrysophanic acid-9-anthrone from C. tora have been reported. 8-11


2. Antibacterial activity:

C. tora aqueous extract exhibited good antibacterial activity in terms of zone of inhibition as compared to other extracts against both gram positive and gram negative organisms except Bacillus subtillus. Staphylococcus aureus was the most susceptible to the aqueous extract. 12-15


3. Used for conjunctival congestion and blurred vision:

Being so bitter and cold as to purge heat and so sweet and salty as to replenish yin (body fluids), this herb can not only clear and purge fire from the liver, but also nourish the liver and the kidneys. As the liver has its orifices open on the eyes and the pupils correspond to the kidneys, this herb is excellent for the improvement of eyesight and can be used for eye ailments of both the excess and deficiency types. It is often used together with self-heal spica (Spica Prunellae), cape jasmine fruit (Fructus Gardeniae), etc., for conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelids and is continued over the forepart of the eyeball) and photophobia, or intolerance to light, due to fire of excess types in the liver channel. It is also often used together with chrysanthemum, mulberry leaves, etc., for headache with conjunctival congestion due to upward attacks of pathogenic wind-heat. It is frequently used together with milk vetch seed (Semen Astragali Complanati), etc., for blurred vision due to yin deficiency of the liver and kidneys. 12-15




Sr. no.


Chemical constituents




Cinnamaldehyde, gum, tannins, mannitol, coumarins, and essential oils (aldehydes, eugenol, and pinene), sugars, resins, and mucilage, among other constituents [1].

Cassia contains 1-2 % volatile cassia oil, which is mainly responsible for the spicy aroma and taste[1].

Naptho-alpha-pyrone-toralactune, chrysophenol (I), physcion (II), rubrofusarin.

Emodin , alaternin , gluco-obtusifolin, cassiaside , gluco-aurantio-obtusin , cassitoroside , toralactone gentiobioside, chrysophanol triglucoside , quercetin, 2-hydroxyemodin 1-methylether and anthraquinone glycoside

torachrysone 8-O-[beta-D-glucopyranosyl(1-->3)-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl (1-->6)-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside] (1) and toralactone 9-O-[beta-D-glucopyranosyl - (1-->3)-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-(1-->6)-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside] [2-4].

Three naphthopyrone glucosides, cassiaside, rubrofusarin-6-O-β-D-gentiobioside (III) , toralactone-9-O-β-D-gentiobioside (IV), β -sitosteral- β -D-glucoside, freindlen, palmitic, stearic, succinic, d-tartaric acids, quercitrin (V) and isoquercitrin (VI)

Alaternin 2-O-β-d-glucopyranoside (VII) and uridine (VIII) [4].

Chrysophonic acid-9-anthrone (IX)




Emodin, tricontan-1-0l, stigmasterol, β -sitosteral- β -D-glucoside, freindlen, palmitic, stearic, succinic and d-tartaric acids uridine, quercitrin and isoquercitrin.[1-2]




1, 3, 5-trihydroxy-6-7-dimethoxy-2-methylanthroquinone (X) and β -sitosterol. [1-2]



4. Hypolipidemic activity:

Ethanol extract of seeds of C. tora L. and its fractions were investigated for hypolipidemic activity on triton induced hyperlipidemic profile. Ethanolic extract and its ether soluble and water soluble fraction decreased serum level of total cholesterol by 42.07, 40.77 and 71.25%, respectively. On the other hand ethanolic extract, ether soluble fraction and water soluble fraction increased the serum HDL-cholesterol level by 6.72, 17.20 and 19.18%, respectively. Ethanolic extract, ether fraction and water fraction decreased triglyceride level by 26.84, 35.74 and 38.46%, respectively. The reduction in LDL-cholesterol level by ethanolic extract, ether soluble fraction and water soluble fraction were 69.25, 72.06 and 76.12%, respectively16.


5.   Antioxidant and Cytotoxic activity:

Preliminary phytochemical analysis of leaf showed the presence of polyphenols (3.7 mg gallic acid equivalent per gram dried leaves). Phenolic compounds are responcible for its antioxidant and antiproliferative potential. C. tora methanolic leaf extract (CTME) was evaluated for its nitric oxide scavenging activity and reducing power assays using Rutin and BHT as standards. The extract was studied for its lipid peroxidation inhibition assay using rat liver and brain. In all assays, a correlation existed between concentration of extract and percentage inhibition of free radical, reducing power and inhibition of lipid peroxidation. The antiproliferative activity of CTME with Cisplatin, anticancer drug was studied using human cervical cancer cells (HeLa). Proliferation of HeLa was measured by MTT assay, cell DNA content by modified diphenylamine method and apoptosis by Caspase 3 activity. The plant extract induced a marked concentration dependent inhibition on proliferation, reduced DNA content and apoptosis in HeLa. These results clearly indicate that C. tora is effective against free radical mediated disease. 17


6.   Antipsoriatic activity :

Aqueous extracts of C. tora have been reported to be used as decoctions and infusions for treating skin infections and other skin diseases such as psoriasis. According to American association of Dermatology, antibacterial therapy is included in treating psoriasis and many of the antibacterial agents, including those obtained from the herbal source are used for treating different skin diseases like psoriasis.[18-27]

7. Estrogenic and anti-estrogenic activities of Cassia tora phenolic constituents:

The estrogenic activity of the fractions and the isolated compounds were investigated using the estrogen-dependent proliferation of MCF-7 cells. In addition, the yeast two hybrid assay expressing estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) and beta (ERbeta) and the ERalpha competitor screening assay (ligand binding screen) were used to verify the binding affinities of the isolated compounds to ER. Furthermore, a naringinase pre-treatment of the 70% alcoholic extract of C. tora seeds resulted in a significant increase in its estrogenic activity. From the naringinase pre-treated extract six compounds were isolated, among which 6-hydroxymusizin and aurantio-obtusin showed the most potent estrogenic activity, while torachrysone, rubrofusarin and toralactone showed a significant anti-estrogenic activity. 28-29


8.   Inhibitory activity on advanced glycation end products (ages) formation:

The ethanol-soluble extract of the seeds of C. tora as active constituents, using an in vitro bioassay based on the inhibition of advanced glycation end products (ages) to monitor chromatographic fractionation.30


9.   In vitro Anthelmintic activity:

Alcohol and aqueous extracts from the seeds of C. tora were investigated for their anthelmintic activity against Pheretima posthuma and Ascardia galli. 31-33


10. Used for constipation due to intestinal dryness:
With its cool and moistening properties, this herb can clear heat from the bowels and loosen them to relieve constipation. It is often used with hemp seed, Mongolian snake gourd seed (Semen Trichosanthis), etc., for constipation due to interior heat and intestinal dryness. In addition, Ju Ming Jiang Ya Pian made from this herb in combination with chrysanthemum has a certain curative effect on high blood pressure, and sickle senna seed decoction, syrup and tablets are effective for hyperlipemia, the presence of excess fat or lipids in the blood. 34


11. Inhibitory Activities on Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme:

The mathanol extracts from the raw and roasted C. Tora exhibited significant inhibitory properties against ACE, demonstrating more than 50% inhibition at a concentration of 163.93 g/ml. Only anthraquinone glycoside demonstrated marked inhibitory activity against ACE, with an IC50 value of 30.24 0.20 m. Conversely, aurantio obtusin , obtained from the acid hydrolysis of gluco-aurantioobtusin, showed no activity. Further inhibitory kinetics analyzed from Lineweaver-Burk plots showed 7 to be a competitive inhibitor with a Ki value of 8.3 10-5 M. Moreover, compound gluco-aurantio obtusin showed marked inhibitory and scavenging activities with an IC50 value of 49.64 0.37 m (positive control; trolox: 26.07 1.05 m) for total reactive oxygen species generation, and 4.60 1.12 m (positive control; penicillamine: 0.24 0.04 m) for ONOO-. 35


12. Antidiabetic activity:

C. tora L. seeds have previously been reported to reduce blood glucose level in human and animals with diabetes. In the present study, the effects of C. tora L. seed butanol fraction (CATO) were studied on postprandial glucose control and insulin secretion from the pancreasof the normal and diabetic rats.36-39



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Received on 02.10.2009

Accepted on 06.11.2009

A&V Publication all right reserved

Research Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 1(3): Nov. Dec 2009, 173-176