E-HERBARIA

  • Name : Ashoka
  • English Name :Ashoka
  • Scientific Name :Saraca asoca

 

Habitat:

It is distributed in evergreen forests of India up to an elevation of about 750 meters. It is found throughout India. Specially in Himalaya, Kerala, Bengal and whole south region. In Himalaya it is found at Khasi, Garo and Lussi hills and in Kerala region it is found in Patagiri, Kaikatty & Pothundi of Palakkad district, Thrisur, Kollam and Kannaur districts.1

 

Morphology Description (Habit):

Ashoka is a small evergreen tree 7-10 cm high. Leaves are parpinnate 15-20 cm long and the leaflets 6-12, oblong and rigidly sub-coriaceous. Leaves are narrowly lanceolate, cork like at the base and with a shot pestistipules are intra-petiolar and completely united. The bark is dark brown or grey or almost black with warty surface. Stem bark are rough and uneven due to the presence of rounded or projecting lenticles. Bark channeled, smooth with circular lenticles and traversely ridged, sometimes cracked. Fracture splinting exposing striated surface, a thin whitish and continuous layer is seen beneath the cork leaver. Flowers are fragrant. Flowers are Polygamous apetalous, yellowish orange turning to scarlet, in short laterally placed corymbose, axillary panicles, bract small, deciduous, calyx petaloid. Seeds are 4-8, ellipsoid-oblong and compressed.1

 

Parts Used:

Stem Bark

 

Phytochemistry:

The stem bark of Ashoka is rich in glycosides, flavonoids, tannins and saponins.

The Phytochemical study show in the bark of plant presence of (-) epicatechin, procyanidinp2,11'-deoxyprocyanidin B, (+) catechin, (24, ?)- 24- methyl-cholesta-5-en-3p-ol (22 E, 21?)-24-ethycholesta-5,22 dien-33-ol,(24 ?)-24- ethylcholesta-5-en-3-p-ol,leucopelargonidin-3-O-p-Dglucoside, leucopelargonidin and leucocyanidin.The flower part of plant contain Oleic, linoleic, palmitic and stearic acids,P-sitosterol, quercetin, kaempferol- 3-0-P-D- glucoside, quercetin- 3-0-P-D-glucoside, apigenin- 7-0-p-D-glucoside, pelargonidin- 3, 5- diglucoside, cyanidin-3, 5-diglucoside, palmitic, stearic, linolenic, linoleic, p and y sitosterols, leucocyanidin and gallic acid. Seed and Pod contains oleic, linoleic, palmitic and stearic acids, catechol, (-) epicatechol and leucocyanidin [2,10,11,12]. Five lignan glycosides, lyoniside, nudiposide, 5-methoxy-9-β-xylopyranosyl-(−)-isolariciresinol, icariside E3, and schizandriside, and three flavonoids, (−)-epicatechin, epiafzelechin-(4β→8)-epicatechin and procyanidin B2, together with β-sitosterol glucoside, were isolated from dried bark.1

 

As per Ayurveda:

           Rasa (Taste)                 : Bitter, Astringent

           Guna (Property)           : Light, rough

           Veerya (Potency)         : Cold

           Vipaka (End Result)      : Pungent

 

Pharmacological Actions:

As per Ayurveda, Ashoka is Kaphapittahara, especially Pittahara.

The primary pharmacological actions are summarized as under :

 

Digestive System: 

i. Possesses broad-spectrum vibriocidal activity.2

 

Endocrinal System:

i. The flowers of Ashoka have recently been studied for their therapeutic efficacy in Type-2 Diabetes mellitus. It was revealed that the flowers possess significant antioxidant, antiglycation, anti-α-amylase and anti-α-glucosidase activities.3

ii. In a 2010 study published in Journal of Pharmacy Research, significant hypoglycaemic and antidiabetic activities of the bark were well-documented as well.

 

Reproductive System:

i. Known as Female?s Best Friend, this potent antioxidant4 and uterotonic herb efficiently helps regularize menstrual cycles.

ii. Possesses antimenorrhagic and antioxytocic activities.1

iii. Checks abnormal discharges per vaginum.

 

Musculoskeletal System: 

i. Possesses significant anti-arthritic activity.5

 

Skin and Hair: 

i. Possesses significant wound healing activity.

ii. Alleviates skin disorders, eczema and pruritus.

iii. Rejuvenates skin tone and complexion.

iv. Exhibits anti-cancer effect on Skin Cancer.6

 

Others: 

i. Possesses significant antibacterial activity.

 

Indications:

Irregular Menstruation (Metrorrhagia) or Polymenorrhea

Heavy and Prolonged Menstruation (Menorrhagia)

Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding (DUB)

Painful Menstruation (Dysmenorrhea)

White Discharge per vaginum (Leucorrhea)

 

References:

1. Pradhan P, Joseph L, et al. Saraca asoca (Ashoka): a Review. Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research. 2009; 1(1): 62-71.

2. Sharma A, Patel VK, Chaturvedi AN. Vibriocidal activity of certain medicinal plants used in Indian folklore medicine by tribals of Mahakoshal region of central India. Indian Journal of Pharmacology. 2009 Jun;41(3):129-33.

3. Prathapan A, Nampoothiri SV, Mini S, Raghu KG. Antioxidant, antiglycation and inhibitory potential of Saraca ashoka flowers against the enzymes linked to type 2 diabetes and LDL oxidation. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences. 2012 Jan;16(1):57-65.

4. Sadhu Sk, Khatun A, et al. Lignan glycosides and flavonoids from Saraca asoca with antioxidant activity. Journal of Natural Medicines. 2007; 61(4): 480-482.

5. Saravanan S, Babu NP, et al. Therapeutic effect of Saraca asoca (Roxb.) Wilde on lysosomal enzymes and collagen metabolism in adjuvant induced arthritis. Inflammopharmacology. 2011 Dec;19(6):317-25.

6. Cibin TR, Devi DG, Abraham A. Chemoprevention of skin cancer by the flavonoid fraction of Saraca asoka. Phytotherapy Researh. 2010 May;24(5):666-72.

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