• Name : Rakta Gunja
  • English Name :Indian Licorice, Jequirity
  • Scientific Name :Abrus precatorius



Gunja consists of seeds of Abrus precatorius Linn. (Fam. Leguminosae): a climber met with all along Himalayas ascending to 900 m, spreading throughout plains, flowering in August-September, and fruits ripen during winter.1


Morphology Description (Habit):

Characterised by smooth, glossy surface and bright scarlet colour with black patch hilum, ovoid or sub-globular, 5-8 mm long, 4-5 mm broad.1


Parts Used:

Seed, Leaves



An albuminous substance (abrine and abralin).


As per Ayurveda:

           Rasa (Taste)                 : Bitter, astringent

           Guna (Property)           : Light, rough and sharp

           Veerya (Potency)         : Hot

           Vipaka (End Result)      : Pungent


Pharmacological Actions:

Rakta Gunja is Vatapittahara.

Abrus precatorius Linn. popularly known as Crab's eye is a slender, woody perennial climber reported to have antioxidant, antibacterial, cytotoxic, anti-diabetic, anti-tubercular and anti-plasmodial activities.2

Its primary pharmacological actions are summarized as under:


Respiratory System:

i. The leaves possess bronchodilator activity.3

ii. Leaves possess anti-asthmatic potential.4


Digestive System:

i. The leaves have been observed to prevent the development of experimental peptic ulcer by virtue of its antioxidant, antisecretary and cytoprotective mechanisms.5


Reproductive System: 

i. Exerts antifertility activity.6


Skin and Hair: 

i. Exhibits significant hair growth promoting activity.2



i. Abrus agglutinin inhibits the growth and progression of HepG2 (Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma)cells by inducing caspase-mediated cell death.7



Seeds - Abnormal hair fall

Leaves - Asthma and Respiratory disorders



1. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Part-1, Vol-1.

2. S. Sandhya, J. Chandrasekhar, Banji David, K. R. Vinod. Potentiality of Hair Growth Promoting Activity of Aqueous Extract of Abrus precatorius Linn. on Wistar Albino Rats. Journal of Natural Remedies. 2012; 12(1).

3. Mensah AY, Bonsu AS, et al. Investigation of the bronchodilator activity of Abrus precatorius. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research. 2011; 6(2): 9-13.

4. Taur DJ, Patil RY. Mast cell stabilizing and antiallergic activity of Abrus precatorius in the management of asthma. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2011 Jan;4(1):46-9.

5. Gund KA, et al. Gastroprotective effect of Abrus precatorius on ethanol-induced and aspirin+pylorus ligation-induced peptic ulcer in rats. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research. 2014; 7(1).

6. Okoko II, Osinubi AA, Olabiyi OO, et al. Antiovulatory and anti-implantation potential of the methanolic extract of seeds of Abrus precatorius in the rat. Endocr Pract. 2010 Jul-Aug;16(4):554-60.

7. Mukhopadhyay S, Panda PK, Das DN, et al. Abrus agglutinin suppresses human hepatocellular carcinoma in vitro and in vivo by inducing caspase-mediated cell death. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2014 Jun;35(6):814-24.


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