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About Authors:
*1Krishna Das Gupta, 2Dileep Bharti
1M.Pharm(P'cology), NRI Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences(NIPS), Bhopal
2Asst professor, NIPS, Bhopal(MP)

Inflammation is defined as the local response of living mammalian to injury due to agent. It is a body reaction in order to eliminate or limit the spread of injurious agent as well as to remove the consequent necroses cells and tissues.
Inflammation is protective and defensive mechanism of the body. During inflammatory conditions various pathological changes are take place. The production of active inflammatory mediators is triggered by microbial products or by host proteins such as proteins of the complement, kinins and coagulation systems that are themselves are activated by microbes and damaged tissues.

The inflammatory process is closely intertwined with the process of repair. Both of these processes proceed simultaneously; however the repair activities of either tissue regeneration or scarring predominate after the injurious agent has been eliminated. The inflammatory process may be destructive to tissues when activated repeatedly or in appropriately such as in autoimmune diseases in which native antigens are recognized as foreign by the individual’s immune system.


Normally, the inflammatory-anti-inflammatory cycle is somewhat like an “on-off” switch: inflammation is turned on when needed for healing and repair (by inflammatory chemicals), then turned off when not needed (by anti-inflammatory chemicals).

The inflammatory response consists of a vascular and a cellular reaction. These reactions are mediated by chemical factors derived from plasma proteins or cells. The classic signs of inflammation are redness, swelling, heat, pain and loss of function. The physiologic explanations for these signs appear in Table I. Other signs of inflammation include fever, leucocytosis or an increase in the number of circulating white blood cells, the presence of acute-phase proteins including C-reactive proteins (CRP), fibrinogen and serum amyloid A protein (SAA), and sepsis.

There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is characterized by a rapid onset and short duration. It manifests with exudation of fluid and plasma proteins, and emigration of leukocytes, most notably neutrophills. Chronic inflammation is of prolonged duration and manifests histologically by the presence of lymphocytes and macrophages and results in fibrosis and tissue necrosis. When inflammation continues for prolonged periods of time, it can be thought of as the healing process in overdrive, and deleterious changes can occur to localized tissues as well as the entire body.

These inflammatory mediators come from plasma proteins or cells including mast cells, platelets, neutrophils and monocytes/macro-phages. They are triggered by bacterial products or host proteins. Chemical mediators bind to specific receptors on target cells and can increase vascular permeability and neutrophil chemotaxis, stimulate smooth muscle contraction, have direct enzymatic activity, induce pain or mediate oxidative damage. Most mediators are short-lived but cause harmful effects.1 Examples of chemical mediators include vasoactive amines (histamine, serotonin), arachadonic acids (prostaglandins, leukotrienes) and cytokines (tumor necrosis factor and interleukin–1).

Acute inflammation is the body’s initial response to a physical or chemical stress that requires healing and repair. Chronic inflammation is an abnormal condition that can cause or is associated with ill health and disease. When acute inflammation does not, or cannot, complete its task, chronic inflammation results. This transition may take place due to continued physical or chemical stress, such as smoking, or infection. More often it’s due to biochemical influences such as the imbalance of dietary fats, absence of specific substances that adversely affect our anti-inflammatory production, and specific nutrient problems.

1.1 SIGNS OF INFLAMMATION:-There are 4 cardinal signs of inflammation which was named by Roman Writer Celsus as:
(1)   Rubor (redness)
(2)   Tumor (swelling)
(3)   Calor (heat)
(4)   Dolor (pain)


2.1 Taxonomical classification
·         Kingdom:        Plantae
·         Phylum:           Angiosperm   
·         Class:               Eudicots
·         Sub-class         Asterids
·         Order   :           Gentinales
·         Family:           Apocynacae
·         Subfamily:      Asclepiadaceae
·         Genus  :           Calotropis
·         Species:           gigantea

2.2 Botanical description
The plant is a large erect shrub or small tree up to 3m high. Two varieties of the plant are described by Sanskrit writer, viz; the white flowered or “alarka” (Calotropis procera) and the purple or red flowered or “arka” (Calotropis gigantea).The leaves are opposite, broad and sub sessile glaucous green and 5-20cm by 3.8-10cm. Flowers are 3.8-5cm diameter, inodorous, purplish (Calotropis gigantea) or white (Calotropis procera).Seeds are numerous, 6-5mm, broadly ovate, flattened, narrowly margined, minutely tanentose, brown, coma 2.5-3.2 cm long. It is found chiefly in waste land in Lower Bengal, Himalayas, Punjab, Assam, Madras, South India, Ceylon, Singapore, Malay Island and South China [7-11].

2.3 Synonyms
The plant is known by various names in different languages:
·         Sanskrit: Arka, Alarka
·         English: Gigantic swallow wort, Mudar
·         Hindi: Madar
·         Kannada:Ekkemale
·         Telugu: Mandaramu, Ekke, Jilledu, Arka
·         Malayalam: Errikka

2.4 Traditional uses
It has been reported as traditional medicinal plant in Ayurveda, Unani and Homeopathic system of medication for the treatment of different ailments [12, 13]. According to Ayurveda the milky juice of the plant is bitter, heating, oleaginous, purgative, cures leucoderma, tumors, ascites, and disease of the abdomen. According to Unani the milk is caustic, acrid, expectorant, depilatory, anthelmintic, useful in leprosy, scabies, ring worms of the scalp, piles, eruptions on the body, asthma, enlargement of spleen and liver, drop-sy, and also applied to painful joints and swelling. The root bark is diaphoretic, cures asthma, elephantitis, cough and syphilis (Ayurveda). The dried bark of the root is an excel-lent substitute for Ipecacuanha for the treatment of dysentery in small doses, but in large doses it is an emetic. Root bark is tonic, antispasmodic, expectorant, anthelmintic and laxative [7- 9]. In syphilitic infection it is regarded as a great remedy so much so that it is called as vegetable mercury. The mixture of the powder of root bark with black pepper twice a day is also used to cure jaundice [8]. As per Ayurveda the flowers are bitter, digestive, astringent, stomachic, anthelmintic, tonic and analgesic, normally used to cure inflammation, tumors, kapha, asthma, loss of appetite and ascites [7-9, 14-16]. According to Unani the flowers are stomachic and good for the liver, dried flowers in 1 to 2 grains doses with sugar is given in leprosy, secondary syphilis and gonorrhoea with milk diet [7, 8]. According to Unani the leaves are useful in the treatment of paralyzed parts, the oil in which leaves have been boiled, is also applied to paralyzed parts. The leaves are also used in the treatment of arthralgia, swelling and intermittent fever [7]. The powder of the dried leaves is dusted upon wounds and ulcer to prevent excessive granulation and promote healthy action [8]. Its expectorant, depurative, anthelmintic, fungicidal and insecticidal properties are also reported in Ayurveda which makes the plant medicinally most useful.



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