Family Rubiaceae

Habitat ► Hills of Assam, in damp places and in the Andamans.

Sarcococca saligna (D. Don) Muell.-Arg. 583

Action ► Leaf—carminative, eaten to relieve flatulence and stomachache. A poultice is used after parturition.

Saraca asoca (Roxb.) De Wilde.

Family ► Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat ► Throughout India, except Northwestern India, up to 750 m.

English ► Ashoka tree.

Ayurvedic ► Ashoka, Ashoku, Hempushpa, Taamrapallava, Pindapushpa, Gandhapushpa. (Polyalthia longifolia Benth. & Hook. f., an ornamental roadside tree, is wrongly called Ashoka.)

Siddha/Tamil ► Asogam.

Action ► Bark—uterine tonic (imparts healthy tone to uterus), used for suppressed menses, leucorrhoea, menstrual pain, menorrhagia, complaints of menopause. Also used for dyspepsia, biliousness, colic, burning sensation. Flowers—pounded and mixed with water, used in haemorrhagic dysentery, bleeding piles and retention of urine.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia ofIn-dia recommends the bark in metro-hhagia, menorrhagia, chronic lymphadenitis and inflammations.

The flowers contain fatty acids and gallic acid; apigenin-7-O-beta-D-glucoside, cyanidin-3,5-diglucoside, kaempferol 3-O-beta-D-glucoside, pe-largonidin-3,5-diglucoside, quercetin and its 3-O-beta-D-glucoside and sitosterol.

The bark yields alkanes, esters and primary alcohols. It gave n-octacosa-nol, tannin (6%), catechin, (+)-cate-chol, (-)-epicatechin, (-)-epicatechol, leucocyanidin, leucopelargonidin, pro-cyanidin derivatives, methyl-and eth-ylcholesterol derivatives.

Quercetin and its 3-O-rhamnoside, kaempferol-3-O-alpha-L-rhamnoside, amyrin, ceryl alcohol and beta-sitos-terol have been isolated from leaves and stems.

Alcoholic extract of the bark is reported to be active against a wide range of bacteria. The aqueous extract has been found to enhance the life span of mice infected with Ehrlich ascites carcinoma by 24%.

Pure phenolic glucoside (P2), isolated from stem bark, exhibited highly potent oxytocic activity on different mammals and was similar in nature to pitocin and ergometrine.

Dosage ► Dried stem bark—20-30 g for decoction. (API, Vol. I.)

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