TEPHROSIA PURPUREA (L.) Pers.

Family: Fabaceae

Bengali/Vernacular Name: Ban Nil, Lohamori, Sarpunkha.

Tribal Name: Dummuijja (Chakma), Rhoya-boung (Marma).

English Name: Wild Indigo.

Description of the Plant:
A copiously branched herbaceous perennial, 30-60 cm high; branches spreading. Leaves 5-10 cm long, imparipinnate; leaflets 11-21, oblanceolate, obtuse or retuse, mucronate, 2-2.8 cm long. Flowers purplish-pink, in leaf-opposed lax racemes, 7.5-12.5 cm long. Pods 3-4.5 cm long, linear, slightly curved.

Using Information:
Dried herbs possess tonic, laxative, diuretic and deobstruent properties. It is given for the treatment of bronchitis, bilious attacks, boils, pimples and bleeding piles; useful in cough and kidney disorders. It is useful for the treatment of general liver disorders. The leaves are useful in jaundice. Roots are diuretic; decoction is given in dyspepsia, diarrhoea, rheumatism, asthma and urinary disorders. Roots and their barks are useful in obstinate colic, leprous wounds, eruption of skin and elephantiasis. The roots and seeds are insecticidal. Extract of pods is used as a cure for pains and inflammations; decoction to stop vomiting. Seed oil is said to be specific against scabies, itch, eczema and other skin diseases. In Khagrachari, pills made from the root and leaves are prescribed in jaundice by the Chakma.

Alcoholic extract of the twigs with flowers, fruits and leaves possesses moderate antibacterial and antifungal properties (Dutta, 2006). The rotenoids present in the plant posses strong nematocidal activity (Ghani, 2003). Clinical trials of the entire dried plants conducted on patients of bronchitis have shown improvement in their condition (Karnick, 1979). Oral administration of the aqueous extract of seeds led to marked lowering of blood glucose levels in normal and alloxan-induced diabetic rabbits (Rahman et al., 1985). Chewing of fresh roots relieved the inflamed tonsils and adenoids in 25 days (Karnick et al., 1983). Seed extract has shown insecticidal and insect repellent properties. The ethanolic extract of the plant exhibited cytotoxic activity to KB cells in culture (Zafar and Mujeeb 2000).

Chemical Constituents:
Leaves and roots contain glycosides, which include osyritin, rutin and tephrosin, deguelin, isotephrosin and rotenone, three crystalline compounds, maxima substance A, B and C, which are chemically related to the isoflavonic compound rotenone. Leaves also contain rutin, β-sitosterol, and lupeol. Roots also contain pongamol, rotenone, rotenolone, methyl pongamol, elliptone and a new flavanone. Pods contain purpurin A, purpurin B, maximin and lanceolatin-A. Aerial parts have been reported to contain lanceolatin B, α -toxicarol, O-methylobovatin, dehydro-deguelin, pongamol, β-sitosterol, ursolic acid and spinasterol. Caffeic acid isolated from seeds. Seeds also contain pongamol, solonchcarpin, karanjin, lanceolatin-B, kanjone, sitosterol, a new flavone purpurine, two new prenylated flavonoids pupuritenin and purpureamethide. Delphinidin chloride and cyanidin chloride have been isolated from flowers (Ghani, 2003; Rastogi & Mehrotra, 1993; Zafar and Mujeeb 2000).

Distribution:
Throughout the country in fallow lands.


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