A Review on Ethnobotanical, Phytochemical and Pharmacological studies of Nalpamaram

 

Sreelakshmi. K. P, Ragunathan Muthuswamy*

Department of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry Research Laboratory, Nehru College of Pharmacy, Pampady, Thiruvilwamala, Thrissur, Kerala, India.

*Corresponding Author E-mail: ragunathranilmoica@gmail.com

 

ABSTRACT:

Ayurveda is an Indian traditional system of medicine used for various disease conditions. Plants are an important source of treatments and are extensively used for the preparation of different formulations. Herbal drugs are separately or in combination used for the treatment of various ailments in the traditional system of medicines. Nalpamaram is an important group of four trees used in Ayurveda which comprises trees like Ficus racemosa, Ficus microcarpa, Ficus benghalensis, and Ficus religiosa belongs to the family Moraceae. Trees have enormous medicinal values and they are lactiferous in nature. These trees are separately or in combination used for the treatment of various ailments in the traditional system of medicines. Different plant parts like bark, leaves, and fruits of ficus species are used as astringent, hemostatic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-cancer, and it useful in pitta and Kapha. They are also effective in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, ulcers, vaginal disorders, leucorrhoea, menorrhea, and deficient lactation conditions. The barks of these trees are an important ingredient of many Ayurvedic formulations like Nalpamaradi Choorna, Nalpamaradi Tailam, Saribadyasavam, and Chandanasavam. The bark of tree is boiled with water; its decoction is used to cleanse the body of pregnant women towards reduce inflammation. This review article compiled the ethnobotanical and phytopharmacological properties of four ficus species trees of Nalpamaram.

 

KEYWORDS: Ficus racemosa, Ficus microcarpa, Ficus benghalensis, Ficus religiosa, Nalpamaram.

 

 


INTRODUCTION:

Medicinal plants have been existence since ancient times and they are widely used in the Indian traditional system of medicines like Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homeopathy.1 Ayurveda is an Indian traditional system of medicine used for various disease conditions. Plants are an important source of treatment and are extensively used for the preparation of different formulations.2

 

Herbal drugs are separately or in combination used for the different treatments in the traditional system of medicines. Nalpamaram is an important group of four trees used in Ayurveda which comprises trees like Ficus racemosa, Ficus microcarpa, Ficus benghalensis, and Ficus religiosa belongs to the family Moraceae.3 Trees have enormous medicinal values and they are lactiferous. These trees are separately or in combination used for the treatment of various ailments. Different plant parts like bark, leaves, and fruits of ficus species are used as astringent, hemostatic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-cancer, and it useful in pitta and Kapha. They are also effective in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, ulcers, vaginal disorders, leucorrhoea, menorrhea, and deficient lactation conditions. The barks of these trees are an important ingredient of many Ayurvedic formulations like Nalpamaradi Choorna, Nalpamaradi Tailam, Saribadyasavam, and Chandanasavam.4 The bark of the tree is boiled with water; its decoction is used to cleanse the body of pregnant women to reduce inflammation. This review article compiled the ethnobotanical and phytopharmacological properties of four ficus species trees of Nalpamaram.

 

Scientific classification:

Kingdom: Plantae

Subkingdom: Viridaeplantae

Infrakingdom: Streptophyta

Division: Tracheophyta

Subdivision: Spermatophytina

Infradivision: Angiospermae

Class: Magnoliopsida

Super order: Rosanae

Order: Rosales

Family: Moraceae (Fig)

Tribe: Ficeae

Genus: Ficus

Species:1) Ficus racemosa

2) Ficus microcarpa

3) Ficus benghalensis

4) Ficus religiosa.5

 

1) Ficus racemose:

Ficus racemosa is an evergreen, moderate to large sized tree present all over India and they are deciduous and lactiferous in nature. Tree parts have high therapeutic value and it is used widely in Indian traditional system of medicine.6 This tree considered as holistic tree in Hindus and Buddists.7

 

Synonym:

Ficus glomerata Roxb.7

 

Vernacular names:

Sanskrit: Jantuphala, Sadaphalah

Hindi: Goolar, Udumbara

Bengali: Dumur, Ye Thapan

English: Goolarfig, cluster fig

Malayalam: Athi

Marathi: Umbar, Audumbar

Other name: Cluster fig tree.1

 

Habitat and distribution:

F.racemosa grows all over in Indian forest and hilly areas and present near water streams. It is also cultivated for edible fruits.6This tree is distributed native to Australia, Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, Queensland, and South China to New Guinea.8

 

Morphological characteristics:

F.racemosa tree about 10-16 meters in height and evergreen, moderate to large-sized, spreading, lactiferous without many prominent aerial roots and the figs or fruits grow on or close to the tree trunk.6Leaves are dark green 7.5-10cm long, ovate or elliptic, lamina grooved minutely hairy. Fruit receptacles 2-5cm in diameter, pyriform in large clusters and green in color when raw and turns to orange, dull reddish, or dark crimson on ripening. The bark is reddish grey, uniformly hard, and non-brittle. Seeds are innumerable, tiny, and grain-like. Flowers are sessile, united, pedicellate, glabrous style, stigma simple. Roots are irregular in shape, characteristics odor, and slightly bitter in taste.9

 

Traditional uses:

Tender leaf bud paste used to improve complexation and decoction of the wound for washing wounds for better cleansing and healing.6 Leafs are used for the treatment of dysentery astringent to bowel, for bronchitis, and as a mouthwash for spongy gum.10 Fruits are used for diarrhoea, leprosy, menorrhagia, circulatory and respiratory disorder. The bark is acrid, galactagogue, and good for skin diseases, urinary disorders, gynecological disorders, asthma, piles, diabetes, and efficacious in threatened abortion. Latex (milky juice) is used for the treatment of hemorrhoids, traumatic swelling, toothache, vaginal disorders, healing of wounds, and piles. Roots used to treat pectoral complaints of diabetes, act as a powerful tonic and for hydrophobia.11,12, 13

 

Phytoconstituents:

1.    Leaf: Sterols, tannins and flavonoids, lanosterol, tetracyclic glauanol acetate, race mosaic acid, and alkaloids.10

 

2.    Stem-bark: Tannin, wax, saponinlauanolacetate, β-sitosterol, leucocyanidin-3-O-β-D-glucopyrancoside, leucopelargonidin-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranoside, lupeol, lupeolacetate, β-sitosterol, cerylbehenate, and leucoanthocyanidin.10

 

3.    Trunk-bark: Upenol, β-sitosterol, and stigma sterol.10

 

4.    Fruit: Glauanol, glauanol acetate, glucose, tiglic acid, lupeol acetate, higher hydrocarbons esters of taraxasterol, and other phytosterol.10

 

5.    Root: Cycloartenol, taraxerone, euphorbol and its hexacosanoate, ingenol, and its triacetate.10

 

6.    Latex: α-amyrin, β-sitosterol, cycloartenol, palmitic acid, tirucallol euphorbinol, and trimethyl ellagic acid. 6

 

Pharmacological activities:

1.    Anti-cancer activity:

F.racemosa extracts show lowering of xanthine oxidase, lipid peroxidation, γ-glutamyl transpeptidase, and antioxidant enzymes generated by potassium bromate and hydrogen peroxide generation with reducing in renal glutathione content, which investigated by inducing renal carcinoma in the rat by a nephrotoxic agent at doses of 200 and 400mg/kg.8

 

2.    Hypolipidemic activity:

Fruits fiber content has a Hypolipidemic effect when fed to rat in diet and its increased faecal excretion of cholesterol as well as bile acids.8

 

3.    Wound healing activity:

Ethanolic extract of stem bark illustrated wound healing property in excised and incised wound model in rats.8

 

4.    Anti-bacterial activity:

Leaves extract shows the antibacterial effect against Escherichia coli, Bacillus pumitis, Bacillus subtilis, andPseudomonas aures.14

 

5.    Anti-ulcer activity:

50%ethanolic fruit extract of F.racemosa shows the anti-ulcer or gastro-protective effect was studied in different gastric ulcer models in rats. The Study is based on the extract prevent the oxidative damage of gastric mucosa by blocking lipid peroxidation and a considerable decrease in superoxide dismutase.15

 

6.    Anti-tussive activity:

Stem bark methanolic extract shows the anti-tussive effect was studied in cough induced model by sulphur dioxide gas in mice at a dose of 200mg/kg.16

 

2) Ficus macrocarpa:

Ficus microcarpa is a traditionally used medicinal plant is distributed all over the hotter areas of India. Tree parts have high therapeutic values and are used in various ailments in traditional and folklore practices in various countries.17

 

Synonym:

Ficus retusa.17

 

Vernacular names:

Sanskrit: Gajapadapu, plaksah

Hindi: Kamarapu

Manipuri: Khongnang

English: Chinese-banyan, Indian laurel

Malayalam: Ithi, Ithiyal

Telungu: Plaksa

Others: Kallicci, Kallchi.18

 

Habitat and distribution:

F.microcarpa is a hard tree found in almost lowland rain forests, mangrove forests, freshwater swamp forests, riverbanks, tidal flood plains, etc. This tree is distributed from the south, southeast, and East Asia through Australia and the Pacific Islands. F.microcarpa is considered as a sacred tree found near the temples.18

Morphological characteristics:

F.microcarpa is an evergreen tree that grows up to 30m height with characterized dangling aerial roots and white latex oozes out when cut the surfaces. Leaves are leathery, stalked, alternate, glossy green, simple, broadly elliptic to slightly obovate leaf blade 2-14cm long and 1-8cm in wide. Flowers are unisexual, tiny, and 5-10mm in a wide structure called a syconium. Fruits are small and pink in colour and turn to purple colour when it is ripe.18

 

Traditional uses:

In South Asia, plant parts are used for various disease conditions like type-2 diabetes mellitus. In China, plant parts are used for the conditions like flu, malaria, bronchitis, acute enteritis, rheumatism, and other ailments. Dried plant parts are used as folk medicines in Japan for controlling perspiration, alleviating fever, and relieving fever.19

 

Phytoconstituents:

1.    Heart-wood: Ficusone, ficusic acid,4, 5-dihydroblumenol, lignans like ficusal, and fiscusesquilignans a,b.19

 

2.    Leaves: FicuschlorinsA-D, Ficuschlorins AC, ficuflavoside, iso-saponarin, iso-vitexin, orientin, vitexin, syringing, daucosterol, catechin, epicatechin, megastigmanes like bridelionoside B and dihydroalangionoside A.19

 

3.    Bark: Marmesin, catechin, epicatechin, ficuisoflavone, methyl-4-hydroxybenzoate, methoxybenzoate, coumaran, chlorogenicacid, methylchlorogenate, procyanidinsB1, B3, sterols like erogosterol peroxide and β-sitostenone.19

 

4.    Ariel-roots: Epicatechin, quercetin, gallicacid, isovanillicacid, vanillin, α-tocopherol, acetylbetulinicacid, acetylursolicacid, betulonicacid, lupeolacetate, and oleanolic acid.19

 

Pharmacological activities:

1.    Antioxidant activity:

Methanolic extracts of Bark, leaves and fruits of F.microcarpa, shows the potent anti-oxidant activities of ABTS, DPPH and superoxide radical scavenging. Flavonoids like fiaflavoside, catechin, epicatechin, Isovitexin, luteolin 6-O-β-D glucopyranoside, and Isosaponarin shows potent antioxidant activity.19

 

2.    Anti-diabetic activity:

Ethanolicleaves extract of F.microcarpa showed hypoglycemic activity investigated by using alloxan-induced diabetic rats at a dose of 200mg/kg.19

 

3.    Anti diarrhoel activity:

Leaf extract of F.microcarpa showed anti-diarrheal activity was studied in castor oil-induced diarrhea in rats and at a dose 300 and 600mg/kg given orally.19

 

4.    Anti-bacterialactivity:

Methanolic extracts of bark, fruits and leavesand its ethyl acetate fraction of bark showed potent antibacterial activity against Gram-positive bacteria of Bacillus Brevis, B.subutilis, B.cereus, and Gram- negative bacteria like Escherichia coli using disc diffusion method.20

 

5.    Anti-cancer activity:

11-triterpenes present in aerial roots of F.microcarpa possess cytotoxic efficacy was investigated by using methylene blue assay and tested against HONE-1(epithelial tumor cell lines) nasopharyngeal carcinoma, KB(subline of the ubiquitous keratin-forming tumor cell lines) oral epidermoid carcinoma, and HT29 (cell line) colorectal carcinoma a human cancer cell lines.21

 

3) Ficus benghalensis:

Ficus benghalensis is a large, evergreen, fast-growing tree widely present in India and used in the traditional system of medicine. Plant parts have high medicinal values and used for various disease conditions. F.benghalensis is commonly called an Indian banyan tree.22

 

Synonyms:

Ficus banyana OkenandFicus karet Baill.22

 

Vernacular names:

Sanskrit: Nyagrodhah, Bhupada

Hindi: Bargad, Bat

Bengali: Bar, Bot

English: Banyan tree

Malayalam: Peral, Vatavriksham

Marathi: Vad

Other names: Vad, Vada, Al, Peddamarri.22

 

Habitat and distribution:

F.benghalensis is present throughout the forest tract of India and also found in hardy, monsoon, rain forest, and drought-resistant forest.22 This tree is distributed in the common plains of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Thailand, Malasia.23 It is also grow in tropical, semitropical regions in the world. The tree is considered holistic and being planted near-religious important places.24

 

Morphological characteristics:

F.benghalensis is a fast-growing, evergreen tree and attains a height of about 100 feet tall with its massive limbs supported by prop roots, and spread over an area of several acres. Mature bark is ashy white, light bluish-green, slightly curve, smooth and thickness varies with the age of the tree. Leaves are 2-6cm in long, 1.5-2cm in diameter, glossy, leathery and glabrous, lamina coriaceous, ovate or ovate to elliptic, sessile, scarlet, and red when ripe. Male and female flowers are present, males are crowded near the mouth of the receptacle, and female flower is shorter perianth and style long. Gall flowers are also present have sepals about 34, small, ovary withelongated style numerous pedicellate. Fruits have fleshy pericarp, globose to depressed, pinkish-red hairs, and 1.5-2.5cm in diameter.25

 

Traditional uses:

Tree parts have different medicinal values. Bark infusion used for the burning sensations, seminal weakness, menorrhagia, leucorrhoea. Decoction of buds in milk used for the treatment of hemorrhage. Ariel roots are applied topically for pimples and as anti-emetic in actions, in syphilis, dysentery. Leaf buds are astringent and leave paste is used for healing wounds for promoting suppuration. Latex and seeds are used for rheumatic inflammations, ulcers, and soreness. Latex is aphrodisiac, vulnerable, and useful in piles, gonorrhea in the Unani system of medicine.23

 

Phytoconstituents:

1.    Stem-bark: Consist of anthocyaninderivatives (methyl ethers of leucodelphinidin-3-O-L-rhamnoside, leucopelargonidin-3-O-L-rhamnoside Lecocyanidin-3-O-D-galactosylcellobioside), aliphatic long chain ketones (pentatriacontan-5-one, tetratriacont-20-en-2one and heptatriacont-6-en-10-one), betasitosterol, glucoside, and mesoinsitol. Leucodelphinidinderivative, bengalenoside: Aglucosise, Leucopelargonin derivative, leucocyanidin derivative, and glycoside of leucopelargonidin.22

 

2.    Leaves: Ethanol extract and aqueous extract contains sterols, flavonoids, phenol, tannins and saponins in large amount.9.63% crude portion, 26.84% crude fibers, 2.53%calcium oxalate, and 0.4%phosphorous. Flavanols are quercetin-3-galactoside and rutin.24

 

Pharmacological activities:

1.    Anti-hyperglycemic activity:

α-amyrin acetate from aerial roots of F.benghalensis showed anti-hyperglycemicactivity was investigated in STZ(streptozocin)-induced diabetic rats at a dose of 50mg/kg.23

 

2.    Anti-hyperlipidemic and Hypocholesterolemic activity:

α-amyrin acetate isolated from the ariel roots showed lowers total plasma cholesterol and LDL (low density lipoprotein) level significantly but also increasing HDL (high density lipoprotein) level and HDL-C/TC ratio. Aqueous extract of stem bark also shows hypolipidemic and anti-oxidant effects at a dose of 50mg/kg.23

3.    Anti-arthritic activity:

Methanolic extract of stem bark at the dose level of 400mg was studied in formalin and complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) induced arthritis.23

 

4.    Anti-inflammatoryactivity:

Methanolic extract of stem bark and leaves showed anti-inflammatory activity, was studied in carrageenan-induced and formalin-induced hind paw edema in rats compare to the potent drugs diclofenac sodium and aspirin.26

 

5.    Anti-bacterialactivity:

Methanol extract of leaves contains catechin and genistein, was studied by using the disc diffusion method and at a dose of 100µg/ml. Aqueous extract of stem bark, leaves, and roots shows anti-bacterial effect done by agar diffusion technique.27

 

4) Ficus religiosa:

F.religiosa is a large perennial tree, present throughout all the plains of India. This tree is considered a sacred tree. Tree parts have high medicinal values and are widely used in Indian traditional medicines for various ranges of ailments.28

 

Synonyms:

Ficus caudate Stokes, and Ficus peepul Griff.28

 

Vernacular names:

Sanskrit: Bodhivriksha, pippula, Aswatha

Hindi: Pipul, Pipur

Bengali: Asvattha, Ashud

English: Pipul, Peepal tree

Malayalam: Arasu, Arayal

Marathi: Pipal, Pimpal

Other names: Ravichettu.29

 

Habitat and distribution:

F.religiosa is growing in very large with wide-spreading branches and brown coloured bark, present in almost all the plain of Himalaya of India about 170m altitude.29 The tree is mainly distributed native to Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West China, and Indo China.30

 

Morphological characteristics:

F.religiosa grows up to 30m in length has irregularly shaped with wide-spreading branches and without aerial roots from the branches. The bark is shattered and the color is white or brown. Leaves are dark green, glossy, alternate, thin, leathery, broadly ovate. Fruits are small and ˝ inch in diameter, green in color, and turn black when ripe. Flowers are unisexual, axillary, and sessile, figs are pairs, and rounded petioles are slender.28

 

 

Traditional uses:

In traditional treatments, F.religiosa is used in breast cancer cell lines, induces apoptosis, wound healing, anti-diabetic, anti-convulsant, anti-bacterial, anti-cholinergic, antiprotozoal, antidiarrheal, astringent, and also for gonorrhoea, amnesia. Latex is used as a tonic and dried fruit powder is used in asthmatic conditions. The bark is for the cure of skin diseases, bone fractures, mouth ulcers, cervical cancers, epilepsy, and inflammations. Leaves for vomiting, gonorrhoea, anti-venom and regulates the menstrual cycle and its juice is used for asthma, cough, and diarrhea.31

 

Phytoconstituents:

1.    Stem bark: Phenols, tannins, steroids, alkaloids and flavonoids, β-sitosterol-D-glucoside, vitamin K, n-octacosanol, methyl oleaonolate, lanosterol, stigmasterol, and lupen-3-one.31

 

2.    Root bark: β-sitosteryl-D-glucoside.31

 

3.    Fruits: Flavanols likekaempeferol, quercetin, and myricetin.31

 

4.    Seeds: Phytosterolin, β-sitosterol and its glycosides, albuminoids, carbohydrates, fatty matter, coloring matter, and caoutchoue 0.7-5.1%.31

 

Pharmacological activities:

1.    Anti-microbialactivity:

Ethanol extract of F.religiosa activity showed against Protease vulgaris, Enterococcus fecalitis, Shigella flemmeri, Shigella sonnie, and Shigella dysenteriae, was done by MIC at the range of 250-500µg/ml.32

 

2.    Anti-Parkinson’s activity:

A study was done by using in vivo behavioral parameters like catalepsy, muscle rigidity, and locomotors activity and its effect on neurochemical parameters (MDA, CAT, SOD, and GSH) in rat with petroleum ether extract of F.religiosa.33

 

3.    Acetyl cholinesterase inhibitory effect:

A study has done methanolic extract of stem bark of Ficus religiosa, used for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.34

 

4.    Hepato, nephron and diuretic protectiveactivity:

Methanolic extract of F.religiosa shows the hepatoprotective effect was investigated by using the isoniazid, rifampicin, and paracetamol-induced hepatotoxicity at the dose of 100, 200 and 300mg/kg.35

 

CONCLUSION:

Nalpamaram is an imperative group of four trees is used in Ayurveda which encompasses Ficus racemosa, Ficus microcarpa, Ficus benghalensis, and Ficus religiosa belongs to the family Moraceae and they are lactiferous. This review gives information about the scientific classification, habitat and distribution, morphological characteristics, traditional uses, phytoconstituents, and pharmacological activities of Ficus species. These Ficus species of trees have enormous medicinal values. These are used separately or in combination for the treatment of various ailments in the traditional system of medicine. Different plant parts like bark, leaves, and fruits of Ficus species are used as astringent, hemostatic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-cancer, and it useful in pitta and Kapha. They are also effective in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, ulcers, vaginal disorders, leucorrhoea, menorrhea, and deficient lactation conditions. This review will act as an eye-opener to the ethnobotanical and phytopharmacological properties of four ficus species trees of Nalpamaram and helps to encourage further research on the phytoconstituents and other unexplored medicinal values.

 

CONFLICT OF INTEREST:

No.

 

ABBREVIATIONS:

ABTS: (2, 2-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid)).

DPPH: 2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl.

HDL-C/TC: Total cholesterol-to high density lipoprotein ratio

MDA: Malondialdehyde.

CAT: Catalase.

SOD: Superoxide dismutase.

GSH: Glutathione.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:

The authors are acknowledging The Chairman and Managing Trustee, Adv. P. Krishnadas, Nehru College of Pharmacy, Pampady, Thiruvilwamala, Kerala, for providing all the support.

 

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Received on 12.04.2021        Modified on 08.05.2021

Accepted on 28.05.2021  ©AandV Publications All right reserved

Res. J. Pharmacognosy and Phytochem. 2021; 13(3):136-142.

DOI: 10.52711/0975-4385.2021.00023