PHARMACOGNOSTIC, PHYTOCHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITY STUDIES OF ‘FICUS RELIGIOSA'

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Figure-1.2Possible targets of Ficus religiosa involved in the management of various disorders.

2.2 TRADITIONAL USES
Ficus religiosa has been extensively used in traditional medicine for a wide range of ailments. Its bark, fruits, leaves, roots, latex and seeds are medicinally used in different forms, sometimes in combination with other herbs (Aiyegoro and Okoh, 2009).

Leaves
The leaves alone are used to treat constipation. The leaves used together with young shoots are act as strong laxative. In Nepal leaf juice with honey is used for multipurpose such as for diarrhoea, asthma, cough, earache, toothache, and migraine, in gastric problems and in haematuria (Kunwar and Bussmann, 2006). In addition, the leaves of Ficus religiosa have also shown significant memory enhancing activity (Devi et al., 2011).

Bark
The Bark is cooling and astringent and is useful in inflammation and glandular swellings of neck. The paste of powdered bark is used in cases of anal fistula and as absorbent for inflammatory swellings and also used in burns (Nadkarni, 1954,

Warrier et al., 1995). The bark of Ficus religiosa is reported to possess antiulcer and wound healing activities (Khan et al., 2011, Kalyon et al., 2009). It is used in diabetes, diarrhoea, leucorrhoea, anxiety, for vaginal and other urinogenital disorders and to improve the complexion (Pandit et al., 2010, Ratnasooriya et al., 1998).

Fruit
The seeds and fruits are digestive, laxative and refrigerant. The dried fruit, pulverized and taken in water for a fortnight removes asthma. The ripe fruit is cold in potency and good for burning sensation. It act as cardiac tonic and is useful to cure the diseases of Vagina. It also cures vomiting, anorexia and edema (Singh, 2006). The fruit extract of plant have anti tumour and antibacterial activity (Sirisha et al., 2010).

2.3 PHARMACOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES
The Whole parts of the plant exhibit wide spectrum ofactivities such as anticancer, antioxidant, anti diabetic,antimicrobial, anticonvulsant, anthelmintic, antiulcer,antiasthmatic, anti amnesic etc.

Antiulcer activity
The term ‘peptic ulcer’ describes a condition in whichthere is a discontinuity in the entire thickness of the gastric or duodenal mucosa that persists as a result of acid and pepsin in the gastric juice. The principal pathological condition in which it is useful to reduce acid secretion is peptic ulceration (both duodenal and gastric) & reflux oesophagitis. Therapy of peptic ulcers with commercially available antiulcer drugs is usually overshadowed by various side effects. Thus there is a need to find new antiulcerogeniccompound(s) with potentially less or no side effects. One of theplants that have been traditionally used in the India and Malaysfolklore medicine to treat gastric ulcer is Ficus religiosa, The ethanol extract of stem bark of Ficus religiosaextract exhibited potential antiulcer activity. The antiulceractivity of Ficus religiosa was evaluated in vivo againstindomethacin and cold restrained stress induced gastric ulcers andpylorus ligation assay. The determination of antiulcer effect wasbased upon the reduction of ulcer index. The extract (100, 200 &400 mg/kg) significantly reduced the ulcer index in all assay used.The hydroalcoholic extract of leaves of Ficusreligiosa also exhibited antiulcer activity. The activity of extract was evaluated against pylorusligation-induced ulcers, ethanol-induced ulcers and aspirin-Inducedulcers

Anti - inflammatory activity
Inflammation is the body’s immediate response to damage to its tissue & cells by pathogens, noxious stimuli such as chemicals or physical injury. It is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli and initiate the healing process.  The various mediators involved in inflammation include cytokines & chemokines, PG’s, platelet activating factor (PAF), NO and histamine etc. PG’s are generally considered to be potent pro inflammatory mediator. Further, evidence suggests that during inflammation there is increased generation of ROS. It has been found that Mast cell degranulation also imparts a role in inflammation due to release of several mediators like Histamine, which are implicated in the inflammation and allergy. Ficus religiosa has found to be potential anti-inflammatory & analgesic property.


Figure 1.3

The mechanism underlying the effect is the inhibition of PG’s synthesis. It was found that the leaf extract of Ficus religiosa has potential anti-inflammatory activity against carrageenan induced paw oedema. The inhibitory activity was found due to inhibition of release of histamine, serotonin (5HT), Kinins and PG’s. The methanol extract of stem bark of Ficus religiosa has inhibitory effect on carrageenan-induced inflammation in rats due to the inhibition of the enzyme cycylooxygenase (COX) leading to inhibition of PG’s synthesis. Further, various studies revealed that tannin present in the bark possess anti-inflammatory effect.As already discussed mast cell degranulation cause inflammation and Ficus religiosa extract significantly reduced the percentage Of degranulation.

Anthelmintic activity
Ficus religiosa have been used to treat the parasitic infections in man and animals. Iqbal el al investigated the anthelmintic effect of methanolic bark extract of F. religiosa on the adult Haemonchus contortus Worm. Adult motile H. Contortus was collected from the gastrointestinal tract of sheep slaughtered at Faisalabad slaughterhouse. It was found that ficin is responsible for the anthelmintic effect in the methanolic extract of F. religiosa (Akhatar et al., 2000). Further, studies show that the aqueous extract of fruit of F. religiosa has shown potent Anthelmintic activity as compared to other species of Ficus against Pheretima posthuma (earthworms) Stem and bark extract of Ficus religiosa was also found lethal to Ascaridia galli (Parasitic worm belonging to phylum nematoda) . Anticonvulsant activity It is well recognised that serotonergic neurotransmission modulates a wide variety of experimentally induced seizures in the brain and is involved in seizure protection by altering various GABAergic and glutamatergic functions. In Ayurveda it is claimed that leaves of Ficus religiosa also possess anticonvulsant activity.

The anticonvulsant effect of the extract obtained from the leaves of Ficus Religiosa was evaluated against PTZ (60mg/kg, i.p) induced convulsion in albino rats. The extract was evaluated against strychnine-induced convulsions and pentylenetetrazole-induced convulsions animal models. It was found that figs of the plant contain a high serotonergic content. it was investigated that ethanol extract of leaves of Ficus religiosa have memory enhancing activity. The preliminary phytochemical screening and TLC analysis of the leaf extract of F. religiosa showed the presence of sterols, glycosides, tannins and amino acids.

According to this study the chloroform extract of the leaves of Ficus religiosa inhibited the growth of various Salmonella species, P. vulgaris, E. coli, B. Subtilis and K. Pneumonia etc which revealed the antibacterial potential of the plant.  According to another study different extracts (methanol, aqueous, chloroform) of the bark of Ficus religiosa has inhibitory effect on the growth of three enteroxigenic E.coli, isolated fromthe patients suffering from diarrhea.

2.4 Phytochemistry
Preliminary phytochemical screening of F. religiosa barks, showed the presence tannins, saponins, flavonoids, steroids, terpenoids and cardiac glycosides. The barks of F.religiosa showed the presence of bergapten, bergaptol, lanosterol, β-sitosterol, stigmasterol, Lupen-3-one, β-sitosterol-d-glucoside (phytosterolin), vitamin k1. The bark also contains tannin, wax, saponin, β-sitosterol,leucocyanidin-3-0-β-D-glucopyrancoside,leucopelargonidin-3-0-β-glucopyranoside, leucopelargonidin-3-0-α-L- rhamnopyranoside, lupeol, ceryl behenate, lupeol acetate, α-amyrin acetate, leucoanthocyanidin and leucoanthocyanin. Leaves yield campestrol, stigmasterol, isofucosterol, α-amyrin, lupeol, tannic acid, arginine, serine, asparticacid, glycine, threonine, alanine, proline, tryptophan, tryosine, methionine, valine, isoleucine, leucine, n-nonacosane, n-hentricontanen, hexa-cosanol and n-octacosan. The fruit of F.religiosa contains asgaragine, tyrosine, undecane, tridecane, tetradecane, (e)-β-ocimene, α-thujene, α-pinene, β-pinene, α-terpinene, limonene, dendrolasine, dendrolasine α-ylangene, α-copaene, β-bourbonene, β-caryophyllene, α-trans bergamotene, aromadendrene,in seeds of F. religiosa. The crude latex of F.religiosa shows the presence of a serine protease, named religiosin.

Main constituents:


Figure 1.4

3. Review literature

Review On Ethanomedicinal And Pharmacological Properties Of Ficus Religiosa
Amandeep Kaur, A. C. Rana, Vineeta Tiwari, Ramica Sharma and Sunil Kumar
Ficus religiosa (Bo tree) is the most popular member of the genus Ficus, commonly named as Peepal. Various parts of the plant, like bark, fruit, leaves and seeds are widely used in indigenous system of medicine. F. religiosa showed a wide spectrum of pharmacological activities like, anticonvulsant, anthelmintic, anti-amnesic, anti-anxiety, anti-asthmatic, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiulcer. The present review is an attempt to provide a detailed survey of the literature on traditional uses and pharmacological properties of the plant.

Phytochemistry and Pharmacological properties of Ficus religiosa
Inder Kumar Makhija*, Indra Prakash Sharma, DevangKhamar.Manipal.P.h sciences.
Ficus religiosa Linn is a large evergreen tree found throughout India, wild as well as cultivated. It is popular indigenous system of medicine like Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homeopathy. In traditional system of medicine, various parts such as stem bark, root bark aerial roots, vegetative buds, leaves, fruits and latex are used in diabetes, vomiting, burns, gynaecological problems, dysentery, diarrhea, nervous disorders, tonic and astringent. Phytochemical investigation of plant barks, showed the presence tannins, saponins, flavonoids, steroids, terpenoids and cardiac glycosides. According to Ayurvedic system of medicine, F. religiosa (Peepal tree) is well known to be useful in diabetes. The present work is an attempt to compile an up-to-date and comprehensive review of F. religiosa that covers its ethnobotanical, natural product chemistry, pharmacological data.

Anti-ulcer activities of Ficus religiosa stem bark ethanolic Extract in rats
Mohammed Safwan Ali Khan, Syed Ahmed Hussain,Malaysia
Ficus religiosa is being used in Ayurvedic and Malay traditional medicine for the treatment of various diseases including gastric ulcer. Considering the above claims, the present work was undertaken to validate the anti-ulcer potential of the ethanol extract of stem bark of F. religiosa against in vivo indomethacin- and cold restrained stress-induced gastric ulcer, and pylorus ligation assays. The extract (100, 200 and 400 mg/kg) significantly (P<0.05) reduced the ulcer index in all assays used. The extract also significantly (P<0.05) and increased the pH of gastric acid while at the same time reduced the volume of gastric juice and, free and total acidities.

Wound Healing Potential of Leaf Extracts of Ficus Religiosa on Wistar albino strain rats
Kalyon Roy*, H.Shivakumar ,Sibaji Sarkar S.C.S College of pharmacy, Harpanahalli,Karnataka.
Ficus religiosa (Family- Moraceae) which is commonly known as Pepal tree, is abundantly distribute throughout in India. Ficus religiosa leaf is reported to have wound healing, inflammatory, analgesic, anti lipid- peroxidation activity. Hence the present study was aimed to investigate the wound healing activity by excision and incision wound models to evaluate the wound-healing activity of Ficus religiosa extracts, prepared as ointment form (5 and 10%) and applied on Wistar albino strain rats of either sex. Povidine iodine 5% was used as Standard drug. The healing of the wound was assessed by the rate of wound contraction, period of epithelialisation, skin breaking strength. Both the extracts as ointments (5% and 10%) of Ficus religiosa leaf extract promoted the wound-healing activity significantly in all the wound models studied. High rate of wound contraction, decrease in the period for epithelialisation, high skin breaking strength were observed in animals treated with 10% leaf extract ointment when compared to the control group of animals. So leaf extracts of Ficus religiosa in the form of 10% ointment promote wound-healing activity better than the former concentration, 5%.

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