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Advances in Complementary & Alternative medicine

Two Common Medicinal Plants of Pakistan And Their Pharmacological Activities: A Mini Review

Hina Salahuddin, Riffat Batool, Qaiser Mansoor, Ammad Ahmad Farooqi and Tariq Mahmood*

Department of Plant Sciences Faculty of Biological Sciences, Pakistan

*Corresponding author: Tariq Mahmood, Department of Plant Sciences Faculty of Biological Sciences, Pakistan

Submission: September 19, 2019;Published: September 27, 2019

DOI: 10.31031/ACAM.2019.05.000610

ISSN: 2637-7802
Volume5 Issue2

Abstract

Lots of today’s synthetic medicines are created from the number of plants. A great deal of work has been done in the field of allopathic and herbal medicine, as reported by number of publications describing phytoconstituents in previous years as anti-tumor drugs, contraceptives drugs, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant drugs etc. A plant contains numerous chemical compounds, which work for different therapeutic purposes. Worldwide nearly one fourth of the prescribed drugs are originated from plants, 121 active chemical constituents of plants are currently in use. About 85,000 valuable medicinal plant species worldwide are reported. Pakistan is a rich country in terms of vegetation of medicinal and aromatic plants. Medicial plants in Pakistan are used to treat different ailments, like hepatic diseases, cardiac problems, common disorders like fever, cough, diarrhea, cold etc. with less or no side effects. Purpose of present study is to deliver information on the therapeutic potentials of two common medicinal plants (Cannabis sativa, Chenopodium album) commonly used in traditional medicines in Pakistan. Both of these plants possess different biological activities and various therapeutic uses.

Keywords: Pakistan; Medicinal plants; Phytochemistry; Cannabis sativa; Chenopodium album

Introduction

Lots of today’s synthetic medicines are created from the number of plants [1]. A great deal of work has been done in the field of allopathic and herbal medicine, as reported by number of publications describing phytoconstituents in previous years as anti-tumor drugs, contraceptives drugs, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant drugs etc [2]. According to the recent studies, in developing countries for major health related issues, maximum number of people relies on conventional physician. Along with the availability of modern medicines, herbal drugs are in use to a great extent [3]. A plant contains numerous chemical compounds, which work for different therapeutic purposes; although over-dosage of plant extracts may be toxic for human and animal bodies [4]. Worldwide nearly one fourth of the prescribed drugs are originated from plants, 121 active chemical constituents of plants are currently in use. Out of 252 majorly known medicines by the WHO, 11% are completely from plant kingdom. There are some significant medicines attained from plants are quinine and quinidine from Cinchona spp, digoxin from Digitalis spp., vinblastine and vincristrine from Catharanthus roseus, morphine and codeine from Papaver somniferum and atropine from Atropa belladonna. [5]. How one can use herbs for the cure of ailments in the field of medicine is shown in Figure 1. Sensitive bioassays are required for the extracts of medicinal plant having low concentration of active compounds which are appropriate for the extensive range of biochemical constituents and for very minor quantities of the verified samples, experiments should be producible, quick, cheap and simple producible [6,7]. Spectroscopic techniques ultraviolet spectroscopy, infrared, mass spectrum or nuclear magnetic resonance are used for structure determination of the chemical constituents after it is purified [8]. Study of herbal plants has gained importance in terms of their traditional and therapeutic usage worldwide during the last few years.

Medicinal Plants of Pakistan

Around 85,000 important pharmacological herbs worldwide are reported [9,10]. Various medicines for major ailments are very expensive to use worldwide. Due to robust medicinal importance of different plants globally a new trend is emerging to use natural products for cure. 80% world population depends on traditional system of medicine because of strong biological potential of plants; ethnobotany is main source to find medicinal herbs in developing countries [11,12]. Pakistan is an agricultural country with many class differences, various treatments are available for different diseases in Pakistan, and herbal remedies are effectively in practice especially in rural areas both for humans and livestock. The traditional medicines are cheaper, especially for those living in the rural areas with lower income. On the other hand, people living in the urban areas also consider these herbal treatments as their traditional use [13] (10 medicinal plants of Pakistan).

Figure 1:Flow chart showing the strategy of medicinal plants used in herbal medicines.


Pakistan is a rich country in terms of vegetation of medicinal and aromatic plants. Most of these plants are very well studied in terms of their properties and therapeutic use but many still have to be explored. Field of ethno-medicine in Pakistan is still not fully investegated, while 5700 species of medicinal plants are currently presently in Pakistan. About 372 species of plant are widely distributed, 456 herbal plant species are used to make more than 350 conventional formulations to cure number of diseases [14]. Like Hamdard laboratories there other few institutions which has done a great deal of scientific work to make effective and safe marketable product as herbal medicines for various ailments [13] (10 medicinal plants of Pakistan). Medicinal plants in Pakistan are used to treat different ailments, like hepatic diseases, cardiac problems, common disorders like fever, cough, diarrhea, cold etc with less or no side effects. The emphasis of present study is to deliver information on the therapeutic potential of two plants (Cannabis sativa, Chenopodium album) commonly used in traditional medicines in Pakistan. Both of these plants possess different biological activities and various therapeutic uses.

Cannabis sativa L. (Bhang)

It belongs to a family Cannabinaceae, flowering period is from April to October. Plants parts which are mostly used in herbal remedies are leaves and flowering tops. It is very common and mostly present in moist waste places. In folk medicine it is used in the form of hot or cold drink of dry powdered leaves due to sedative property. The plant is used as tonic and as a relaxing agent or sedative drug [15]. In general cannabis is an annual dioecious species having male and female plants. Male cannabis

plant is short lived than female plant with maximum pollen production in end weeks of its life cycle. Female plant produces number of fertile seeds. Cannabnoid is a chemical constituent which is unique to this plant, along with terpenes it is present in all the upper portions of this herb but most of the cannabinoids are present in female flowers [16]. Cannabis sativa is a multi-purpose plant; it can be used to make medicine, fuel, food and fuel. For arthritis or joint pain root of cannabis is used as an old folk medicine [17]. In Argentina cannabis sativa is considered as a wonder drug for the treatment of tetanus, swelling of liver, colic people, sterility, abortion, asthma, gonorrhea, tuberculosis of lungs, in spring season root-bark of the plant has been collected and used as anti-fever drug, tonic and to cure dysentery and gastralgia, either in powder from or in form of decoctions. Powdered form of root can be used for the treatment of burns to relieve the pain. For the treatment of cancer oil from the seeds has been frequently used [18]. Number of phytochemicals are present in plant e.g., sugars, flavonoids, hydrocarbons, terpenes, amino acids, nitrogen compounds and steroids. Out of all the phytoconstituents C21 terpenophenolic cannabinoids are unique to this plant [19]. Some of the 483 phytoconstituents are unique to cannabis sati, e.g. more than 60 cannabinoids and 140 members of terpenes form the most abundant class are widely distributed in plant kingdom [20].

More than 25 diseases can be cured by leaves of cannabis [21]. Along with the medicinal importance cannabis sativa can also induce some mental disorders especially in youths [22,23]. It has been used as Anthelmintic [24], has anticancer activity against cancerous cell lines and also show antimicrobial activity [25,26], can be used as a parturifacient [27], as an abortifacient [28] can be used for inflammation [29], fresh leaves are mostly used for hemorrhoids [30], skin disorders are treated with external fruit use [31]. It is also used in various ayurvedic medicines in India [32]. Recent researches on cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body of humans and animals, which react pharmacologically to Cannabis, have discovered its uses in wide range of medicine. Due to its great medicinal importance further therapeutic research of cannabis sativa is warranted [33].

Chenopodium album L. (Bathueya, Batho)

Chenopodium album L. belongs to a family chenopodiaceae, its flowering period is from February to March. Whole plant is used in the field of herbal medicine. C. album is commonly present in garbage containing moist places. The use of this plant in folk medicine is as laxative and anthelmintic; used in hepatic ailments and enlarged spleen. The roots of C. album are used in hepatic diseases like jaundice, rheumatism and for urinary diseases. The fruits and roots of the plant are recognized as an antitoxin to snake venom [14].

Chenopodium album L. is herbaceous plant commonly known as Bathua, used as food. It is cultivated herb grown in pots and gardens. It is green and reddish, upright, inodorous, stem is mostly striped, leaves are of different size and shape, completely annular embryo. The plant is used as appetizer. Traditionally the plant has laxative, anthelmintic, diuretic and aphrodisiac action. It is also used to treat various diseases like throat troubles, abdominal pains, piles, eye infections, blood, heart and spleen disorders and biliousness [34]. Leaves and seeds are the main medicinal organ of the plant. Leaves are rich in essential oil, a significant quantity of albuminoids, mineral matters, particularly in potash salts and other compounds are nitrogen [35], a phenolic amide and saponins has been isolated from the roots of C. album [36,37], sitosterol and oleanolic acid in flowers [38]. Hindu physicians suggested this plant for treatment of liver diseases and splenic enlargement [35]. It is found in areas around Mumbai, Kashmir, Sikkim and throughout Pakistan [39]. Phytochemical study shown the presence of alkaloids [40,41], apocarotenoids [42], flavonoids [43], phytoecdysteroids [44-46] and an unusual xyloside [47] in the plant. Different solvents like methanol, ethanol, choloroform, acetone, petroleum ether and benzene are used to extract these phytoconstituents [48].

Ethanolic and aqueous extract of the leaves of C. album were screened for their anticancer properties, both the extracts inhibited cell growth [49]. Aqueous and alcoholic extracts of aerial parts of C. album significantly restore physiological integrity of hepatocytes, when paracetamol and alcohol are used as hepatotoxins [50,51]. They also have spasmolytic and analgesic activity [39] and also show antiulcer activity [52] Ethanolic leaf extracts of C. album were tested against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria in humans and yeasts, ethanolic, aqueous, and methanolic extracts show strongest action on numerous strains of gram-negative and gram positive bacteria [53,54]. Methanolic and ethanolic extracts of flowers and leaves of C. album do not show any antibacterial activity against different bacterial strains [55]. Essential oils present in the leaves of Chenopodium album also show anti-inflammatory activity in mice [56]. The pharmacological studies shown in this review shows the medicinal importance of widely distributed Chenopodium album, due to its great pharmacological activity it is worth to use this plant in future for number of medicines.

Conclusion

Herbal medicine system is in use for hundreds of years, plants are the main source of natural products in 60% of medicine now days. Plants have formed the basis of sophisticated traditional medicine systems that have been in existence for thousands of years and continue to provide mankind with new remedies. The pharmacological studies of cannabis sativa and chenopodium album reported in this review confirm their therapeutic value. Medicinal properties of these two common Pakistani plants are due to the presence of number of chemical constituents in plants. They show different biological activities against different diseases in humans and livestock. The present study will be helpful in future in ethnopharmacology as a reference tool.

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© 2019 Tariq Mahmood. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and build upon your work non-commercially.



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