Bupleurum flacutum Linn

Family ► Umbelliferae; Apiaceae.

Habitat ► The Himalayas from Kashmir to Bhutan and the Khasi Hills, at 1,000-4,000 m.

Folk ► Shingu (Himachal Pradesh), Sipil (Punjab), Thaanyo (Garhwal).

Action ► Roots—anti-inflammatory, haemolytic, antipyretic. Used in inflammations, muscle stiffness, neurosis, pain and pyrexia. Roots resolve inflammations of costal margin and diaphragm.

Key application ► Extracts have been used for the treatment of chronic hepatitis, nephrotic syndrome and auto-immune diseases (WHO.).

Therapeutic properties are attributed to saikoside or saikosaponins (yield from roots 2.06-3.02%), a complex mixture of triterpenic saponins. Saponin content varies with age. Saikos-aponins are analgesic, antipyretic as well as antitussive; anti-inflammatory on oral administration. In Japan and China, roots have been used traditionally in auto-immune diseases. Saikos-aponins form an ingredient of anti-tumour pharmaceuticals. A water-soluble crude polysaccharide fraction, prepared from the root, was reported to prevent HCl/ethanol-induced ulcero-genesis in mice significantly. Saiko-saponin-d, at a concentration of more than 5 ^m, inactivated measles virus and herpes simplex virus at room temperature.

Several sterols, possessing metabolic activities and plasma cholesterol-lowering activity, have also been isolated from the root.

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