Pharmacognostic and preliminary phytochemical screening of Cassytha filiformis


Bincy Raj1*, Jagadeesh Singh S.D.2, Soosamma John2 and Ayesha Siddiqua1

1Dayananda Sagar College of Pharmacy, Kumaraswamy Layout Bangalore- 560 078

2East Point College of Pharmacy, Bangalore- 560049



Cassytha filiformis is a parasitic plant belonging to the family Lauraceae. It is widely distributed in India, South Africa and Malaya. In India it is used for relief of ulcer, veneral discharge, haemorrhoids, cough and tonic. Vasorelaxing activity, cytotoxic effect and diuretic activity of Cassytha filiformis has been reported. Many phytoconstituents has been isolated from cassytha filiformis like aporphine alkaloid, oxo-aporphine alkaloidm, cassythaformine, filiformine, cathaformine, lignan, actinodophine etc. From literature survey it is revealed that there are no reports regarding the standardisation parameter for checking the identity and purity of Cassytha filiformis. So in present study standardisation of Cassytha filiformis is done on the basis of morphological evaluation, physicochemical parameter like loss on drying, ash value, extractive value, preliminary phytochemical screening. Thus these standardisation parameters will be helpful for identification of this endangering plant.




Herbal remedies are commonly employed in developing countries to treat various diseases. There is limited scientific evidence regarding the safety and efficacy to support the continued therapeutic application of this drug. Hence there is a need of standardization for traditionally used drugs. Ethno botanical survey reveals that Cassytha filiformis have many traditional uses. Hence in the present study standardisation of Cassytha filiform is done on the basis of morphological, microscopical, physicochemical evaluation along with preliminary phytochemical screening.



Whole plant of Cassytha filiformis is collected from Tirupati Andhra Pradesh and authenticated by Dr. Madhava Chetti, Professor of Botany, Voucher specimen No is 312.


Pharmacognostical studies:

Stem of Cassytha filiformis is green in colour and glabrous. Leaves are reduced to minute scale. Flowers are sessile with small penicles. Fruit is small, fleshy and berry like bearing a single spherical seed. Microscopical studies were carried out by taking a thin hand section of Cassytha filiformis. The section and powdered drug were cleaned with chloral hydrate and treated with phloroglucinol and Conc. HCl to reveal lignified elements for microscopical observation.



Physical evaluation:

Moisture content:

2 gm of powdered drug was transferred into a shallow weighing bottle and the contents were distributed evenly to a depth not exceeding 10mm. The loaded bottle was heated at 105c in hot air oven and weighed at different time intervals until a constant weight was obtained.


Total ash value:

About 2gm of powdered drug was weighed accurately into a tared silica crucible and incinerated at 450c in muffle furnace until free from carbon. The crucible was cooled and weighed. Percentage of total ash was calculated with reference to air-dried substance


Extractive values:

Alcohol soluble extractive value:

5 gm of powdered drug was macerated with 100ml of alcohol in a stoppered flask with frequent shaking during first 6 hrs and allowed to stand for 18 hrs. It was filtered after 24 hrs. 25ml of the filtrate was evaporated in a tared dish at 105c and weighed. Alcohol soluble extractive values were calculated.


Water soluble extractive:

5gm of powdered drug was treated with 100ml of water at 80c in a stoppered flask with frequent shaking during first 6 hrs and allowed to stand for 18 hrs. It was filtered after 24 hrs. 25ml of the filtrate was evaporated in a tared dish at 105c and weighed. Water-soluble extractive values were calculated.


Preliminary phytochemical analysis:

For preliminary phytochemical analysis, extract was prepared weighing 500gm of the dried powdered whole plant and were subjected to hot successive continuous extraction with different solvents like Benzene, chloroform and methanol. The extracts were filtered in each step, concentrated and the solvents were removed by rotary evaporator. The extracts were dried over dessicator and the residue was weighed. The presence or absence of the primary and secondary phytoconstituents were detected.



Fig 1 T.S of Cassytha filiformis EP: Epidermis, CO: Cork,


Stem of Cassytha filiformis is green to orange and filiformis. Leaves are reduced into small minute scale. Flowers are sessile and born in small penicles. Fruit is small fleshy and bearing single spherical seed. Stem powder is bitter in taste.


Fig 2: Powder microscopy


T.S of Cassytha filiformis showed a single layer of epidermis with stomata. Cork is located next to that and 4-7 layer of cork is seen. Collateral and open vascular bundles are present. Pith is small and made up of paranchymatous tissue.


Moisture content, ash values, alcohol soluble extractive and water soluble extractive value are given in the Table No 1.Phytochemical investigation revealed that methanolic extract showed maximum amount of constituents. And it contains phenols, tannins, flavonoids, alkaloid and saponins. Results are given in Table No.2


Table No 1: Physical parameters for Cassytha filiformis

Sl. No

Physical parameters

Values in %


Moisture content



Alcohol soluble extractive value



Water soluble extractive value



Total ash value



Water soluble ash value



Acid insoluble ash value



Table No 2: Chemical constituents present in Cassytha filiformis

Chemical constituents

Benzene extract of CF

Chloroform extract of CF

Methanol extract of CF































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Received on 02.04.2011

Accepted on 10.06.2011

A&V Publication all right reserved

Research Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 3(4): July- August 2011, 151-153