An Ethnopharmacology of Trichopus zeylanicus  Gaertn

 

Saudagar R.B.1, Sambathkumar R.2, Bachhav R.S.2*

1KCT’S R.G. Sapkal College of Pharmacy, Anjaneri, Nashik 422 213.

2JKK Nataraja College of Pharmacy, Komarapalyam, Namakal, TN

 

 

ABSTRACT:

Trichopus zeylanicus Gaertn is a perennial herb belongs to the family Trichopodaceae popularly known as “Arogyapacha” or ‘Arokyapachilai” in Malayalam literally meaning “the green that gives strength”. A critical survey of the Ayurveda classics, suggests that the ‘Arogyappacha’ may be the divine ‘Varahi’described by Sushruta. Geographically the plant is available in Agasthyar hills in the Western Ghats, Kerala, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Southwestern Ghats Mountains of South India. The herb grows on sandy soil near rivers and stream in shady places in low land and intermediate altitude forests. Various ancient Ayurveda classics, the authors have come across with some descriptions of a plant which matched strikingly with ‘ArogyappachaSushruta, while dealing with the various divine drugs along with ‘Some’ also described one ‘Varahi’ – which he described as ‘Kandha sambhava’ –rhizomatous, ‘Ekapatra’ single leaves arising from a stem and ‘Anjana samaprabha’ – shining like he grey-black stone. Ethnopharmacological studies claimed that, the oral LD50 were found to be more than 3000mg/kg, with no signs of abnormalities or any mortality observed for 15 days period. Seeds of Trichopus zeylanicus showed a potent adaptogenic or antistress properties against a variety of stresses in both rats and mice. Treatment with Trichopus zeylanicus protected mice from tumour cell growth. Trichopus zeylanicus extract has been evaluated for its antihepatotoxic and cholerectic activities in rats. The effects of Trichopus zeylanicus on reactive oxygen species induced plasmid DNA (pBR322) cleavage were also investigated. Trichopus zeylanicus contains NADH, polyphenols and sulfhydryl compounds, which have the ability to scavenge reactive oxygen species.

 

KEY WORDS: Trichopus zeylanicus, adaptogenic, analgesic, Arogyapacha.

 

INTRODUCTION:

Trichopus zeylanicus Gaertn is a perennial herb belongs to the family Trichopodaceae popularly known as “Arogyapacha” or ‘Arokyapachilai” in Malayalam literally meaning “the green that gives strength”. The plant is found in the Agasthyar hilly forest of Kerala. On scientific expedition to the Agasthyar Hills in Western Ghats in December 1987, scientist noticed that guides, belonging to Kani tribes, were very energetic in sharp contrast to themselves. The leaves and flowers of this plant shine like grey-black stone. Sushruta also described the plant that with its railing stem with the raised leaves appears–‘Krishnasarpa swarupena’ – like a black cobra with its raised hood. Sushruta ascribed great rejuvenating property to the divine ‘Varahi’ which is very true ‘Arogyappacha’.

 

 


The word ‘Arogyappacha’ means the greener of health i.e. the one that gives very good health and vitality. It is claimed by ‘Kani’ mean that one can live days together without food and still remain energetic and could perform even very rigorous physical exercise by eating few fruits of this plant daily. The ‘Kani’ tribe also claims that if one eats the fruit of ‘Arogyappacha’ regularly he will remains always healthy, agile, and young and that no disease will afflict them.

 

Pushpangadan et al1; found that, Arogyappacha’ (Trichopus zeylanicus) is an endemic to Agasthyar hills of Kerala is used by the local ‘Kani’ tribe as a health food for getting instant stamina, ever green health and vitality. The tonic effect of this plants is comparable to that of the famous health food/drug ‘Ginseng’. From the preliminary observation made by the authors the ‘Arogyappacha’ as a drug belonging to the ‘Svathahita (that which helps to maintain positive health) group of drugs. Geographically the plant is available in Agasthyar hills in the Western Ghats, Kerala, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Southwestern Ghats Mountains of South India. The herb grows on sandy soil near rivers and stream in shady places in low land and intermediate altitude forests. On the basis of reported literature, the present review deals with an Ethnopharmacological activities of Trichopus zeylanicus.

 

Figure.1. Plates of Trichopus zeylanicus Gaertn

 

Botanical Description

Kingdom: Planate

Division: Mangoliophyta

Class: Liliopsida

Order: Dioscoreales

Family: Trichopodaceae (Formerly: Dioscoreaceae)

Genus: Trichopus

Species: zeylanicus

Trichopus zeylanicus Gaertn.

 

Morphological Description1

Small perennial herbs with several slender stems (5cm to 25cm long) arising from a nodose rhizome. There is one terminal leaf on each stem. The long petiole appears like a continuation of the stem, characteristic ovate or obtuse apex.

 

Leaves: These are dark brownish to grey purple, broadly triangular, ovate with acute or obtuse apex, basally cordate with a wide sinus, and grows from rhizome. Leaf with anomocytic stomata.

 

Flowers: They are small, medium bisexual, mostly one, fascicled at the base of the leaves, extruded from between the protecting scale leaves. Perianth dark-brown, sub-equally 6-lobed, Stamen 6 with sub sessile anthers, filaments widening into broad connectives. Ovary inferior, 3 celled with two superimposed ovules in each cell. Stigma 3-lobed.

 

Fruits: They are fairly winged, triangular and indehiscent similar to a cardamom. The tender kernel of immature fruit is sweet to taste and has pleasant flavour. On ripening it becomes stony and unpalatable. A berry (trigonous, with a thick pericarp and three thick wings).

 

Seeds: Seeds are endoplasmic. Endosperms ruminate (and cartilagenous). Seeds are ovate, dorsally grooved, and rugose. Embryo is well differentiated (but minute).Cotyledons (lateral, the plumule nearly terminal). Embryo is straight. Testa without phytomelan; very thin micropyle zigzag.

 

Ethnopharmacological activities of Trichopus zeylanicus

Sharma et al2; investigated, the alcoholic extract of seeds of Trichopus zeylanicus showed a potent adaptogenic or antistress properties against a variety of stresses in both rats and mice. The extract increased the swimming performance of normal and adrenalectomized mice. Significantly; prevented a variety of stress and chemical induced ulcerations in rats and also prevented milk-induced leucocytosis in mice. The extract further reduced the gastric secretary chyme, pH and acid output in pylorus ligated rat stomach. No mortality was observed up to a dose of 3 g/kg per oral in mice. The study indicated that Trichopus zeylanicus seeds induce a state of nonspecific increased resistance against a variety of stress induced biological changes in animals.

 

Pushpangadan et al3; evaluated the effect of Trichopus zeylanicus in mice after oral administration (0.5 ml of 2% water suspension / mouse) up to 7 consecutive days markedly increased the number of thymocytes spleenic lymphocytes, total blood leucocytes and peritoneal macrophages without any effect on hemoglobin content and body weight. This increase in the proliferation of lymphocytes and macrophages could be one of the mechanisms of T.zeylanicus induced immunomodulation. Treatment with T. zeylanicus protected mice from tumour cell growth when challenged with 0.5 million of EAC ascetic tumor cells / mouse. Studies on the gastrointestinal function of this drug showed that the drug slightly reduced intestinal motility as judged from charcoal movement.

Administrations of Trichopus zeylanicus extract to mice increase the number of blood granulocytes and peritoneal macrophages4.

 

Pushpangadan et al; studied ethanol extract of leaf powder in male mice to stimulate their sexual behaviour as evidenced by an increased in number of mounts and mating performance. This activity of ethanol extract was concentration dependent and destroyed by heat treatment at 1000C for 15 min. although oral administration of single dose (200mg/kg) was effective, daily administration of extract for 6 days was found to be more effective. The pups fathered by the drug treated mice were found to be normal with reference to foetal growth, litter size and sex ratio. The water as well as n-hexane extract of plant leaf were inactive. The present study reveals for the first time the aphrodisiac activity of Trichopus zeylanicus, an endemic herb of India5.

 

Trichopus zeylanicus Gaertn. has an antimicrobial activity against B.substlis and S.auerus at a concentration 12.5 mg/ml and 25.0 mg/ml, respectively6.

 

Trichopus zeylanicus extract has been evaluated for its antihepatotoxic and cholerectic activities in rats. The plant leaf suspension (1000mg/kg; wet weight) as well as its methanolic extract (100mg/kg) showed remarkable hepatoprotective activity against paracetamol-induced hepatotoxicity judged from the serum marker enzyme, liver histology and level of lipid peroxides in liver7.

 

Pushpangadan et al8; investigated aqueous suspension leaf powder extract in mice resulted in inhibition of antigen induced degranulation of sensitized peritoneal mast cells. Further it reduced the ratio of mast cells in the peritoneal exudates cells. The plant drug treatment did not protect mice from E. coli induced abdominal sepsis. Studies in rats using mesenteric mast cells confirmed the above mast cell stabilizing property of T.zeylanicus. The activity was found in the butanol fraction of methanol extract of T. zeylanicus leaf. The treatment with this fraction also reduced the number of rat mesenteric mast cells. However, the In- vitro treatment of mast cells with the butanol fraction did not inhibit antigen induced degranulation of mast cells.

Bhutani et al9; analyzed the level of corticosterone by HPLC method in adrenal gland of a stressed (5 h constant swimming) male albino mice treated with Trichopus zeylanicus, Withania somnifera and Panax ginseng preparations and compared with non-treated stressed and normal controls. The treatments increased the corticosterone level in all the groups. The physical endurance in all the treated groups, except in the group treated Withania somnifera powder.

 

From the whole plant of Trichopus zeylanicus ssp. travancoricus five compounds6-acetyl-7-hydroxy,8-methoxy-2,2-dimethyl-3,4-dihydro-2H-1-benzipyran,β-sitosterol triacontanol, vicenin -2 and vitexin10.

 

A glyco-peptido lipid fraction from the alcoholic extracts of Trichopus zeylanicus Gaertn. was evaluated for putative antistress activity in a battery of tests. A glyco-peptido lipid fraction exhibited significant antistress activity in dose dependent manner in all the parameter studied, against different stresses used to induce non-specific stress. Ashwagandha, the commercial extract of Withania somnifera roots was used as control: A preliminary acute toxicity study in mice showed a good margin of safety, as the ALD50 value was more than 3000 mg/kg body weight p.o. with no sign of abnormalities11.

 

Subramoniam et al12; reported the effect of the antifatigue agent, Trichopus zeylanicus leaf (alcohol extract) on energy metabolism in mice during exercise and at rest. The alcohol extract of Trichopus zeylanicus leaf (100mg/kg) decreased plasma glucose level (1h after the administration) and increased swimming performance of mice which was maximum at 100mg/kg. The extract decreased plasma glucose levels and increased the level of free fatty acids without significant changes in pyruvic acid and lactic acid in resting mice. In contrast after exercise for 90 min. glucose level was found to be higher whereas the level of free fatty acid, lactic acid, and pyruvic acid were found to decrease compared to control.

 

Singh et al13; screened glyco-peptido-lipid fraction from the alcoholic extract of Trichopus zeylanicus Gaertn. They found that fraction exhibited significant anti-stress activity in a dose-dependent manner in all parameter studied against different models used to induce non specific stress viz, physical and chemically.

 

 


 

Table.1: Various Ethnopharmacological activities of Trichopus zeylanicus Gaertn.

Sr.No

Type of Extract/Fraction

Plant parts

Pharmacological activity

1.

Alcohol extract

Seed

Adaptogenic or antistress, antiulcer activity2.

2.

Water Suspensions 2%

Whole Plant

Immunomodulation3.

3.

Ethanol extract

Leaf

Aphrodisiac activity4.

4.

Aqueous suspension and methanol extract

Leaf

Hepatoprotective activity7.

5.

Butanol fraction of methanol extract

Leaf

Stabilization of rat mesentric mast cells8.

6.

Glyco-peptido lipid fraction from alcohol extract.

Whole plant

Antistress activity11.

7

Alcohol extract

Leaf

Antifatigue activity12.

8

Glyco-peptido lipid fraction from alcohol extract.

Whole plant

Antiulcer activity, immunomodulatory activity, antioxidant activity13.

9

Aqueous suspension

Whole Plant

Antifatigue activity without amphetamine –mimetic activity15.

10

Powder Paste

Fresh leaves

Used in scabies and ring worm infection16.

11

Ethanol extract (70%)

Leaf

Cardioprotective activity17.

12

Alkaloid fraction  from methanol extract

Whole plant

Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activity18.

13

Saponin fraction

Whole plant

Anxiolytic and antidepressant activity19.

 

 

 


The major parameter studied were immobilization induced gastric ulceration adjuvant induced trauma (stress);humoral antibody synthesis in normal and  immunosuppressed mice and delayed type of hypersensitivity reaction, chemically stress induced alteration in hepatic function and antioxidant activity. The oral LD50 were found to be more than 3000mg/kg, with no signs of abnormalities or any mortality observed for 15 days period.

 

The Kani, a tribal high altitude living population in southern India, traditionally use the seeds of Trichopus zeylanicus to combat fatigue. In this study, the antioxidant properties of Trichopus zeylanicus were established on free radicals (DPPH and ABTS), its ability to reduce iron, lipoxygenase activity and hydrogen peroxide-induced lipid peroxidation. The effects of Trichopus zeylanicus on reactive oxygen species induced plasmid DNA (pBR322) cleavage were also investigated. Trichopus zeylanicus contains NADH, polyphenols and sulfhydryl compounds, which have the ability to scavenge reactive oxygen species suggesting antioxidant activity, may be an important mechanism of action of Trichopus zeylanicus to combat fatigue14.

 

Manyam et al15; tested the suspension of whole plant powder of Trichopus zeylanicus in Young Sprague –Dawely rats and aged normal and mutant Ames dwarf mice  for it antifatigue activity without amphetamine –mimetic activity. The Trichopus zeylanicus treatment enhanced fatigue-resistance as evidenced from the increased swim time in the forced swim test. In the aged normal mice, it increased the mobility time and total swim time also suggesting anti-fatigue effects in mice. In the mutant Ames Dwarf mice showed increased mobility time and an insignificant increased in total swim time.

 

 

Mohan et al16; carried out the study in Chinnamayilaru, Periyamyilaru, region of Agasthiyamalai biosphere, Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu. The dominant tribal group of this region is Kanikkar. The wild plants found in this region that are used especially for treating skin diseases. Ten grams of the fresh leaves of Trichopus zeylanicus are ground into a paste and externally applied twice a day to treat scabies and the ringworm infection.

 

Velavan reported, the cardioprotective effects of Trichopus zeylanicus leaves against isoproterenol-induced myocardial ischemia was studied. Wistar strain rats were pretreated with T. zeylanicus leaves (500 mg/kg body weight) for 28 days and then intoxicated with isoproterenol (20 mg/100 g, i.p. for 2 consecutive days) 17.

 

Sambathkumar investigated18; Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activity of alkaloid fraction of Trichopus zeylanicus at three different doses 75,150 and 300 mg/kg, p.o.

 

Saponin fraction of Trichopus zeylanicus showed significant anxiolytic and antidepressant activity at various studied doses19.

 

CONCLUSION:

The present review reveled that Trichopus zeylanicus has claimed potential Ethnopharmacological activities. It has an important role in Kani tribe’s. It also played a significant role in stress induced conditions.  Trichopus zeylanicus has now come in category of endangered plant species so for survival of it plant propagation methods will help to mankind for its therapeutic benefits. The present review helps to ethnobotanist and pharmacologist for its further study.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:

Authors are sincerely thankful of Dr. Pushpangadan, who provided information about the plant Trichopus zeylanicus.

 

REFERENCES:

1.        Pushpangadan P, Rajasekharan S, Ratheesh Kumar PK, Jawahar CR, et al. Aroyogyappacha (Trichopus zeylanicus Gaertn). The Ginseng of Kani Tribes of Agasthyar Hill (Kerala) for evergreen health and vitality. Ancient Science of Life. 7; 1988:13-16.

2.        Sharma AK, Pushpangadan P, Chopra CL, Rajasekharan S, Saradmmal L. Adaptogenic activity of seeds of Trichopus zeylanicus  Gaertn. The Ginseng of Kerala. Ancient Science of Life. 8; 1989:212-219.

3.        Pushpangadan P, Rajasekharan S, Subramoniam A, Latha PG, Evans DA, Valsaraj R. Further on the Pharmacology of Trichopus zeylanicus. Ancient Science of Life. 14; 1995:127-135.

4.        Pushpangadan P, Sharma AK, Rajasekharan S. Ethnopharmacology of Trichopus zeylanicus The Ginseng of Kerala: a review. In: Pushpangadan, P., Nyman, U., George, V. (Eds.), Glimpse of Indian Medicinal Plant of Indian Ethnopharmacology. TBGRI Publication, Trivandrum, India: 1995 b. pp. 137-145

5.        Subramoniam A, Madhavachandran V, Rajasekharan S, Pushpangadan P. Aphordisiac property of Trichopus zeylanicus extract in male mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacol ogy. 57;1997:21-27.

6.        Valsaraj R, Pushpangadan P, Smitt UW, Adsersen, Nyman U. Antimicrobial Screening of selected medicinal plants from India. Journal of Ethnopharmacol ogy. 58; 1997:75-83.

7.        Subramoniam A, Evans DA, Rajasekharan S, Pushpangadan P. Hepatoprotective activity of Trichopus zeylanicus extract against paracetamol-induced hepatic damage in rat. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology. 36;1998:385-390.

8.        Subramoniam A, Evans DA, Valsaraj R, Rajasekharan S, Pushpangadan P. Inhibition of antigen–induced degranulation of sensitized mast cells by Trichopus zeylanicus in mice and rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacol ogy. 68;1999:137-143.

9.        Bhutani KK,  Saxena E, Singh A. Adrenocorticosterone alteration in male, albino mice treated with Trichopus zeylanicus, Withania somnifera and Panax ginseng preparations.Phytother Research. 14; 2000:122-125.

10.     Susan Chacko, Sethuraman MG, George V, Pushpangadan P. Phytochemical constituents of Trichopus zeylanicus ssp. travancoricus. Journal of Medicnal Aromatic Plant Sciences. 24; 2002:703-706.

11.     Singh B, Gupta DK, Chandan BK. Adaptogenic activity of a glycol-peptido-lipid fraction from the alcoholic extract of Trichopus zeylanicus Gaertn. Phytomedicine. 8(4); 2001: 283-291.

12.     Subramoniam A, Evans DA, Rajasekharan S, Pushpangadan P.Effect of Trichopus zeylanicus leaf extract on the energy metabolism in mice during exercise and at rest. IndianJournal of Pharmacology. 34; 2002:32-37.

13.     Singh B, Sharma N, Singh S, Chandan BK, Khajuria A, Gupta DK,. Adaptogenic activity of a glycol-peptido-lipid fraction from the alcoholic extracts of Trichopus zeylanicus Gaertn. (Part II) Phytomedicine. 12;2005:468-481.

14.     Tharakan B, Dhanasekaran M, Manyam BV. Antioxidant and DNA protecting properties of anti-fatigue herb Trichopus zeylanicus. Phytotherapy Research. 19(8); 2005:669-673.

15.     Manyam BV, Dhanasekaran M, Holly M, Tharakan B, Brown-Borg, Trichopus zeylanicus combats fatigue without amphetamine-mimetic activity. Phytotherapy Research . 20;2006: 165-168.

16.     Mohan VR, Anitha B, Perumalsami Athi, Sutha S. Ethnomedicinal  Plants used by the Kanikkars of Tirunelveli District,Tamilnadu, India, to treat skin disease. Ethnobotanical Leaflets. 12;2008:171-180.

17.     Velavan S, Selavrani S, Adhitan A. Cardioprotective effect of Trichopus zeylanicus against myocardial ischemia induced by isoprotorenol in rats. Bangladesh Journal of Pharmacology. 4; 2009:88-91.

18.     Sambathkumar R, Perumal P, Bachhav RS.Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activity of alkaloid fraction of Trichopus zeylanicus Gaertn. International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical  Sciences. 4(2); 2012: 632-635.

19.     Rishikesh B, Perumal, Sambathkumar R. Anxiolytic and antidepressant activity of saponin fraction of Trichopus zeylanicus Gaertn in mice. International Journal of  Phytopharmacology. 3(3):2012; 3;269-274.

 

 

Received on 24.12.2012

Modified on 10.06.2013

Accepted on 20.07.2013

© A&V Publication all right reserved

Research Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 5(5): September – October 2013, 258-262