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About Authors:
Sunil Roshan1, Prabhakar Sharma*1, Ramchandra Gupta1, Sudhakar Sharma2
1Department of Pharmacognosy, GRKIST (Pharmacy)
2Takshashila Institute Of Science And Technology
Jabalpur, M.P.

The traditional systems of medicine together with homoeopathy and folklore medicine continue to play a significant role largely in the health care system of the population. Butea monosperma(palas) belonging to the family leguminosae grown wildly in many parts of India. The plant is highly uses by the rural and tribal people in curing various disorders. Flowers are used as drug in many ailments like eye disease, chronic fever, enlargement of spleen, leucorrhoea, epilepsy, leprosy, antifungal activity, anti-inflammatory activity, liver disorders antifertility activity and gout etc. The plant parts are used in the form of extract, juice, infusion, powder and gum. The present paper enumerates various pharmacognostic and pharmacological aspects of the plant. This review also summaries the therapeutic potential of this plant.This is a moderate sized deciduous tree which is widely distributed throughout India, Burma and Ceylon, popularly known as 'dhak' or 'palas', commonly known as ‘flame of forest’. In this review an attempt has been done to highlight the work on Butea monosperma having pharmacological potential.


Butea monosperma(palash) belonging to family leguminosae-papilioneae is a medium-sized deciduous tree. The Butea monosperma tree is also known as ‘flame of the forest’ and bastard teak. It grows throughout all over the Indian subcontinent. It is also known as tesu, palash, mutthuga, bijasneha, dhak, khakara, chichra, bastard teak, Bengal kino by local person and tribes. normally it grows in open grasslands and scattered in mixed forest. The plantations of butea monosperma can be raised both on irrigated and dry lands [1, 2]. About the tree it is said that the tree is a form of agnidev, the god of fire and goddess Parvati punishes him (agnidev) for disturbing her and lord Shiva’s privacy. Butea monosperma tree gets up to 50 ft height, with stunning flower bunches. The leaves of tree loses with the flowers develop, in month of January - March. The leaves of butea monosperma are also used for preaparation of cheap leaf plates (pattals) and cups (donas) for rural feasts. In some parts of the India these are used for biddies manufacturing by wrapping tobacco leaf. The cattle eagerly eats the palash foliage. The bark of Butea monosperma yielding a kind of coarse and brown colored fiber and these are used for rough cordage. The gum of tree (BM) is a dried juice obtained from incisions in the stem of the tree and it posses astringent effect. The gum from the tree, called kamarkas in Hindi, is used in certain food dishes. The gum is also known as Bengal Kino, and is considered valuable by druggists because of its astringent qualities, and by leather workers because of its tannin [3].The butea gum is a good option as a substitute for kino gum. The flowers of Butea monosperma yielded an red or orange dye which is used as an insecticide and as coloring agent. The tree is a good host for the lac insect and therefore, it is useful in production of natural lac [4,5].

Fig. 1:- TreeofButea monosperma

Butea monosperma is a sacred tree, called as a treasurer of the gods. Sacred utensils are made from its wood. The flowers are used as in place of blood in sacrifice rituals to goddess kali. The dry stem pieces are offered to make sacred fire. Butea monosperma is an anthropogenic tree of several castes. The use of its gum as external astringent application is mentioned by ‘Chakradatta’. The leaves are good have astringent, depurate, diuretic and aphrodisiac in pharmacological properties. It stimulates and promotes diuresis and menstrual flow. The seed is good in anthelmintic property. The seeds are act as a rubefacient when pounded with lemon juice and applied to the skin (6).

Botanical Classification

Division: magnoliophyta

Class: magnoliopsida

Order: fabales

Family: fabaceae

Genus: butea

Species: monosperma

Plant Morphology
Butea monosperma is an erect tree with height of 12-15 m and irregular branches bark rough, ash coloured, and young parts downy.

Fig. 2:- Leaves of Butea monosperma

The Leaves of plant are 3-foliate, with 10-15 cm long petioles and stipules linear lanceolate, all obtuse, glabrous above when old, finely silky and conspicuously reticulate veined beneath, petioles 6 mm long, stout-stipels subulate, deciduous. The coriaceous (the terminal 10-20 cm long, broadly ovate Leaflets from a cuneate base, the lateral smaller, 10-15 by 7.5 – 10 cm, obliquely rounded at the base, equilateral, the lower side the larger) (1). The Calyx of flower is 13 mm long, dark rachis, pedicels about twice as long as the calyx, densely brown-velvety bracts and flowers are large, in a rigid racemes 15 cm long, deciduous, olive-green, densely velvety outside, clothed with silky hairs within teeth short, the 2 upper connate, the 3 lower equal, deltoid and the corolla is 3.8-5 cm long, clothed with silky, silvery hairs at outside. Orange or salmon colored, standard 2.5 cm broad, keel semi-circular, beaked, veined.

Fig. 3:- Flowers of Butea monosperma

Pods stalked are 12.5-20 by 2.5- 5 cm, and thickened at the sutures, reticulate veined argenteocanesent stalked 2 cm long(7).

Chemical Constituents(8, 9)

Leaves: The leave sof Butea monosperma containsGlucoside, Kino-oil containing oleic and linoleic acid, palmitic and lignoceric acid.

Bark: Kino-tannic acid, Gallic acid, pyrocatechin. The plant also contains palasitrin, and major glycosides as Butrin, butolic acid, cyanidin, histidine, lupenone, lupeol, (-)-medicarpin, miroestrol, palasimide and shellolic acid.

Stem: Stigma sterol-e-D-glucopyranoside and nonacosanoic acid, 3-Z-hydroxyeuph-25-ene and 2, 14-dihydroxy- 11, 12- dimethyl-8-oxo-octadec-11 enylcyclohexane.

Flower: monospermoside (butein 3-e-d-glucoside) and isomonospermoside, chalkiness’, aureoles, flavonoids (palasitrin, prunetin) and steroids, triterpene, butein, butin, isobutrin, coreopsin, isocoreopsin (butin 7-glucoside), sulphurein,

Gum: tannins, mucilaginous material, pyrocatechin.

Seed: A nitrogenous acidic compound, along with palasonin is present in seeds. It also contains monospermoside (butein 3-e-d-glucoside) and so monospermoside, oil (yellow, tasteless), proteolytic and lypolytic enzymes, plant proteinase and polypeptidase.

Resin: from seed coat allophanic acid, Z- Amyrin, e-sitosterone its glucoside and sucrose; lactone-nheneicosanoic acid-delta-lactone, jalaric esters i, ii and laccijalaric esters iii, IV.

Sap: colourless isomeric flavanone and its glucosides, butrin, chalcones, butein, butin.

Ayurvedic Properties(10)
Rasa    : Katu, Tikta, Kashaya
Guna   : Lakhu, Rooksha
Virya   : Ushna
Vipaka: Katu

Pharmacological Activity
Different part of and extract of Butea monospermashows various biological and pharmacological activities such as antimicrobial, antifertility, anticonvulsive, antihelmintic, antidiarrhoeal, antimicrobial, wound healing, antigiardiasis and hepatoprotective, antihypertenstive, antitumor, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, free radical scavenging activity(11).

Antidiabetic Activity
The ethanolic extract of Butea monosperma (200 mg/kg, p.o.) Significantly improves glucose tolerance and causes reduction in blood glucose level in alloxan-induced diabetic rats in Single dose treatment. Ethanolic extract of seeds (300mg/kg b.w.) Exhibits significant antidiabetic, hypolipidemic and antiperoxidative effects in non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus rats(12). Butea monosperma seeds at the dose of 300mg/kg b.w., exhibits significant antidiabetic, hypolipaemic and antiperoxidative effects in non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus rats(13). Ethanolic extract of leaves also have antidiabetic and antioxidant potential in alloxan-induced diabetic mice(14).


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