Pharmacognostical and Preliminary Phytochemical Studies of Leaves of Memecylon edule Roxb (Melastomataceae)


N. Dorababu1, Saritha Kodithala2*, B. Uma Mahesh3

1Department of Pharmacognosy and Phyto chemistry,  Division, AU Pharmaceutical   sciences, Andhra University,   Vishakhapatnam -530003, AP, India.

2Department of Pharmacognosy, Nizam Institute of Pharmacy, Deshmukhi, Nalgonda.

3Department of Pharmacology, St.Johns College of Pharmacy, Emmiganur, Kurnool.




The present study is designed to determine the Pharmacognostical and preliminary phytochemical studies of Memecylon edule. Roxb (Melastomataceae). Pharmacognostical studies involve the Microscopy- transverse section of leaf, powder analysis, phyto chemical studies revealed the  presence of carbohydrates, gums and mucilage, tannins and saponins. Physico chemical evaluation includes ash values, extractive values, moisture content, fluorescence analysis. These findings will be useful towards establishing standards on identification, purity, quality and classification of the plant, which is gaining relevance in the plant drug research.


KEYWORDS: Memecylon edule, Melastomataceae, Pharmacognostical studies, Physicochemical evaluation, preliminary phytochemical screening



Memecylon edule (Melastomataceae) is a small evergreen tree native to India, especially the Deccan Plateau, including most of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and parts of Tamil Nadu. Common names include kaayam, delek bangas, delek air, miat, and nemaaru. The tree grows on rocky soils and blooms once or twice per year. The fruit is about a centimeter long and green, turning red then black as it ripens. The tree has a thin bark, so it is sometimes also called nipis kulit or "thin-skinned" in Malay. This tree is valued as an ornamental and a source of wood for construction. The leaves are thick and leathery. They contain glucosides, resins, colouring pigments, gums, starches, and malic acid. They are rich in aluminum. Yellow color dye can be extracted. Leaves and roots are used as a medicine for dysentery and as an astringent.(1-4)


Fruits of this plant were act as a cooling astringent and leaves were used for the treatment of anti leucorrhoeic, spasmolytic, hypoglycaemic and lotion prepared from leaves was used for ophthalmia and conjuctivities. A decoction prepared from leaves of Memecylon edule was used internally for gonorrhea. Roots of this plant were used for excessive menstrual discharge (5). Leaves of M. edule have strong anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity (6).  A survey concerning the secondary metabolites of Memecylon edule showed the presence of flavonoids and triterpenes in crude ethyl acetate extract of leaves and no biological report was present in the literature, an old phytochemical study of this whole Memecylon genus evidenced the presence of 13 fatty acids, 12 methyltetradeconate, glucose, amino acids, carotenoids,

a phenolic glycoside and possibly undefined saponins. The chloroform and ethyl acetate extracts were also evaluated for antimicrobial activity(7,8).  It was reported that four sequential extract of M.edule obtained with hexane, ethyl acetate, ethanol and 50% ethanol were studied for it Anti inflammatory and analgesic activities.(9), and evaluated that petroleum ether, chloroform and ethanol extract of Memycelon malabaricum leaves were tested for anti microbial activity(10). It was found that oral administration of an alcoholic extract of the leaves of Memecylon umbellatum led to a significant lowering of serum glucose levels in normal and alloxan induced diabetic mice.(11, 12), free radical scavenging activity  (13), significant lowering of serum glucose levels (14, 15,16).  The present study is designed to determine the Pharmacognostical and preliminary phytochemical  studies  of Memecylon edule. Roxb (Melastomataceae)



Collection and Authentication of the leaf material

The plant material for the proposed study  leaves were collected from Thirupathi, Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh,  selected  healthy plant leaves were authenticated by the Botanist Dr. P. Jayaraman (MSc., Ph. D), Director, Plant Anatomy Research Center (PARC), Medicinal Plant Research Unit, Tambaram, Chennai. The leaves of the plant were shade dried and ground to get coarse powder.



Table no 1: Microscopic studies of the leaf Memecylon edule. Roxb


Ab E- Abaxial epidermis, Abs- Abaxial side, Ad G- Adaxial groove,  Ads- Adaxial side; 

Ep- Epidermis, MT- Mesophyll tissue, Ph- Phloem, Sc- Sclerenchyma, X- Xylem,

EC-  Epidermal cells, Dr-Druses, MT- Mesophyll tissue, SC-Subsidiary cells, St- Stomata.



Microscopical techniques provide detailed information about the crude drugs by virtue of its two main analytical uses. Firstly, its property to magnify permits the fine structures of minute objects to be visualized and thereby confirm the structural details of the plant drugs under evaluations.


Table no 2: Determination of leaf constants


Parameter studied

Total No.






Stomatal Number

Upper surface

Lower surface


Stomatal index

Upper surface

Lower surface



12 5



5.13- 10.13

6.11- 11.84


Secondly, these techniques can be used in the determination of the optical as well as micro-chemical properties of the crude drug specimen under study. Showed in Table no 1 and 2.



Preparation of leaf extract: leaf were shade dried, made into powder and soxhlet extractor used for the extraction. Aqueous (MWE-8.4g) and alcoholic(MAE-6.3g) extracts were prepared for the activity.


Table no 3:  Physico-chemical constants of leaf powder of M. edule

S. No.













Ash values

               Total ash

               Acid insoluble ash

               Water soluble ash

               Sulphated  ash

Extractive values

              Alcoholic-soluble extractives

              Water- soluble extractives


Loss on drying


11.8  %

1.90  %

8.80 %

7.03 %


12.58 %

28.80 %


89.6 %


Table No 4:  Fluorescence analysis of  M. edule leaf powder on treatment with different chemical reagents in  UV and visible light.


Powder + Reagents

Visible light

UV light


Powder  alone


Light green



50% HNO3


Dark brown



1N HCl





1N NaOH (Aque.)


Light brown



1N NaOH (Alc.)

Dark green




  5% Fecl3


Reddish brown


Determination of total ash, water soluble ash, acid insoluble ash, sulphated ash, loss on drying, alcohol soluble extractive, water soluble extractive. All the physicochemical constituents results were tabulated in Table no.3. Determination of fluorescent analysis data showed in Table No. 4 and the observations of the Preliminary Phytochemical screening of the leaf extract were shown in Table No.5.


Table no 5: Preliminary phytochemical screening of  the leaves extract of M. edule.


Aqueous Extract

Methanolic extract













Fixed oils









Proteins and Amino acids



Gums and Mucilage











Microscopic studies of the leaf (17)

The leaf is thick, leathery with smooth and even defocus. The midrib has wide shallow adaxial concavity and slight convex abaxial side (fig 1), the midrib is 1.3mm thick is vertical axis and 1.2mm in horizontal axis.



The lamina is uniform thickness it is 500 micrometer thick. The adaxial epidermis as square shaped, thick walled cells with thick cuticle (fig 2).



Sclerides of varying shape and size are abundant in the leaf, they  are long and filiform, irregular globed, occur beneath the epidermis and parallel to the surface(fig 3,4,8)


Crystal distribution

Calcium oxalate crystals are abundant in the leaf, they are spheroid crystals are located along the lower border of the lamina and above the epidermis(fig 5,6,9)



In the adaxial side  stmota have short elliptical with guard cells. The stomata are paracytic type, each stomata 2 parallel subsidiary cells, one on either side of the guard cells. The epidermal cells are rectangular in outline and they have simple pits (fig 7)



The correct identity of the crude herbal material or the botanical quality is of prime importance in establishing the quality control of an herbal drug. Quality control of herbal drugs has traditionally been based on appearance and today microscopic evaluation is indispensable in the initial identification of herbs as well as in identifying small fragments of crude or powdered herbs (26-30). In the present work the plant material used was subjected to pharmacognostical evaluation as a tool of standardization which included anatomical studies of whole leaf and powder determination of leaf constituents (Stomatal Number-Upper surface:110, Lower surface:125, Stomatal index-Upper surface: 5.13- 10.13, Lower surface: 6.11- 11.84). Physicochemical constituents of the leafAsh values-Total ash: 11.8  %, Acid insoluble ash: 1.90%, Water soluble ash: 8.80 %, Sulphated  ash: 7.03 %. Extractive values-Alcoholic-soluble extractives: 12.58 %  These findings will be useful towards establishing standards on identification, purity, quality and classification of the plant, which is gaining relevance in the plant drug research.



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Received on 16.10.2012

Modified on 25.10.2012

Accepted on 11.11.2012

© A&V Publication all right reserved

Research Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 5(1): January–February 2013, 30-33