Alkanna tinctoria L Tausch

Family ► Boraginaceae.

Habitat ► Cultivated in Central and southern Europe.

English ► Alkanet, Dyers' or Spanish Bugloss.

Unani ► Ratanjot. National Formulary of Unani Medicine equated Ratanjot with Onosma echioides Linn., found in Kashmir and Kumaon.

Siddha/Tamil ► Ratthapaalai, Surul-pattai, Dineshavalli.

Action ► Astringent, antimicrobial (used for indolent ulcers, wounds, erysipelas).

The root contains up to 5% alkan-nins, which are lipophilic isohexenyl-naphthazarin red pigments; tannins and wax. A pyrrolizidine (hepatotox-ic) alkaloid has also been isolated from the herb. The alkannins have antimicrobial and wound-healing properties and are non-toxic in mice. They have been used clinically for indolent ulcers.

Family ► Apocynaceae.

Habitat ► Native to Central America and Brazil. Grown in Indian gardens.

English ► Golden Trumpet.

Folk ► Zahari Sontakkaa. (Maharashtra).

Action ► Leaves—cathartic (in moderate doses; emetic in large doses). Bark—hydragogue, in ascites.

The purgative property of the aqueous extract of leaves was confirmed pharmacologically in rats. The extract also showed antifungal activity against ringworm causing fungi. Flower extract inhibits fungal growth.

EtOH extract of roots showed in-vivo activity against P-388 leukaemia in mouse and in vitro against human carcinoma cells of nasopharynx (KB). The root contains antileukaemic iri-doid lactone, allamandin and two other iridoids, allamandicin and allamdin.

The stems and leaves contain beta-amyrin, beta-sitosterol and ursolic acid. Petals gave flavonoids—kaem-pferol and quercetin.

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