Pterocarpus Marsupium: Best Herb for Diabetes and Obesity (Indian Kino)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Vernacular Names
3. Synonyms
4. Distribution
5. Morphology
6. Ayurvedic Properties
7. Chemical Constituent
8. Identity, Purity, and Strength
9. Ayurvedic and Pharmacological Actions
10. Health Benefits
11. Therapeutic Uses
12. Official Part Used
13. General Doses
14. Toxicity and Side Effects

1. Introduction

Pterocarpus Marsupium is commonly called Indian Kino tree (English) and Bijasal (Hindi). It is native to India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, where it exists in parts of the Western Ghats. The bark of Pterocarpus Marsupium is known for its antidiabetic activity. Traditionally, the plant material has been used as a cooling for external application in headache, inflammations, as antipyretic, anthelminthic, aphrodisiac, mental aberrations, and ulcers.

The bark is used for the treatment of stomachache, cholera, dysentery, urinary complaints, tongue disease and toothache.

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2. Vernacular Names

Bengali – Piyasala, Pitasala

Assamese – Ajar

Kannada – Bijasara, Asanmara

Gujrati – Biyo

Kashmiri – Lal Chandeur

Marathi – Bibala

Punjabi – Chandanlal

Tamil – Vengai

Oriya – Piashala

Malayalam - Venga

3. Synonyms

Asna – It alleviates diseases like diabetes.

Bandhukpushpa – this plant bears flowers like Bandhuka.

Karsya – It removes obesity.

Mahasarja – This is a big plant resembling Sarja.

Peetsaar – The heartwood is yellow.

Peevara – It has thick stem.

Priyaka – It makes the physique charming.

Sugandhi – The flowers have a good fragrance.

Tishya – It blossoms in winter.

4. Distribution

Pterocarpus Marsupium is growing in defoliate and evergreen jungles of Southern, Western and Central regions of India. It is native to India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. In India, it is found in Gujrat, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Western Ghats, Kerala, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Generally, it is found on hills or undulating lands or rocky grounds up to a height of 150 to 1100 meters.

The usual rainfall in its habitat ranges from 750 to 2000mm and maximum temperature ranges from 35°C to 48°C and minimum from 0°C to 18°C. It favors well-drained sandy and sedimentary soil to loamy soil. The species is adequate light loving and the young seedlings are frost tender.

5. Morphology

It is a medium-to-large sized deciduous tree of about 15 to 30m height. Stem bark is thick, dark brown to gray in color, with vertical cracks, exfoliating in thin flakes. On injury, a reddish-brown gummy exudate comes out from the bark which is known as Malabar Kino.

Leaves – Alternate, compound, imparipinnate, leaflets are five to seven, coriaceous, oblong, obtuse, emarginated or even bilobed at the apex, and glabrous on both surfaces. The petioles are round, smooth, and there are no stipules.

Flowers – Flowers are 1.5 cm long, white with a minor yellow tinge in the terminal and lateral panicles. Stamens are 10, united near the base, but soon dividing into two parcels of 5 each, anthers are globose and two-celled, cells are transverse and one-seeded. Style is ascending.

Fruits – The legume, which is borne on a long petiole is three-fourths orbicular, flat, winged, indehiscent pod of about 5 cm in diameter, membranous wing, swelled, rugose, woody in the center, where the seed is lodged without any opening.

Seeds – Single-seeded, convex, bony and reniform,

Heartwood – It consists of irregular pieces of variable size and thickness. It is golden yellowish brown in color with darker streaks.

6. Ayurvedic Properties

Rasa (Taste) – Kashya, Tikta

Virya (Potency) – Sheet (cool)

Guna (Qualities) – Ruksha, Laghu

Vipaka (Post-digestive Effect) – Katu (Bitter)

7. Chemical Constituent

Literature surveys indicated the presence of flavonoids, alkaloids, resin, fixed oil, saponin, tannin, mucilage, isoflavon glycosides, and polyphenol compounds in various parts of the plant.

Early research revealed that the plant is a very rich source of flavonoids and polyphenolic compounds. All the active phytoconstituents of Pterocarpus Marsupium were thermostable. It contains pterostilbene, alkaloids (0.4%), tannins (5%) and protein.

The primary phytoconstituent were liquiritigenin, isoliquiritigenin, pterostilbene, pterosupin, epicatechin, catechin, kinotannic acid, kinon, kino red and carsupin.

8. Identity, Purity, and Strength

Foreign Matter – Not more than 2%

Total Ash – Not more than 2%

Acid-insoluble ash – Not more than 0.5%

Alcohol-soluble extractive – Not less than 7%

Water-soluble extractive – Not less than 5%

(Source: The Ayurvedic Pharmacopeia of India 1989)

9. Ayurvedic and Pharmacological Actions

Ayurvedic Actions

Bhavaprakash Nighantu has mentioned Pterocarpus Marsupium as skin tonic, hair tonic, rejuvenator. Other actions are antidermatosis, anthelminithic, blood purifier, antiobesity.

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Pharmacological Actions

The pharmacological actions are antidiabetic, antifungal, analgesic, antibacterial, anticancer, anticataract, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, aphrodisiac, cardiotonic, antidiarrheal, hepatoprotective. Other actions reported are antimicrobial, hypoglycemic, cytotoxic and anticataract activity.

It is a drug that is believed to have some unique features such as beta-cell protective and regenerative properties apart from blood glucose reduction.

10. Health Benefits

Since time immemorial Vijaysar has been used as a prime drug for the treatment of diabetes. To control blood sugar level, diabetic patients drink water kept in wooden glasses or vessels made from the heartwood of Vijaysar.

Charka has used its heartwood and bark for skin diseases, and it is exudate for shirovirechana. It is used for the treatment of skin diseases, bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, heavy periods, diabetes, erysipelas, leukoderma, helminthiasis.

The bark and resin decoction of Pterocarpus Marsupium is astringent and used for the treatment of severe diarrhea, dysentery, tumors of the gland,

urethral discharge, ringworm of the scalp and chronic ulcers, abortifacient.

The heartwood is astringent, bitter acrid, anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic, anodyne. It is good for leukoderma, diarrhea, rectalgia, cough and grayness of hair. It is safe and effective in wounds, fever, stomachache, diabetes, jaundice and antiulcer.

Various parts of this plant are used for various diseases like:

  • Leaves for boils, sores, skin diseases and stomach pain.
  • Flower for fever.
  • Gum for diarrhea, dysentery and leucorrhea.
  • Bark as astringent and for toothache.

11. Therapeutic Uses

Diabetes – Take decoction of Indian Kino bark, twice a day.

Obesity – Intake of Pterocarpus Marsupium mixed with honey in the morning in reducing excessive weight.

For Improving Vision – Sesame oil, Bibhitaka oil, Bhringaraj swaras and asana kwath all cooked together in iron vessel is used as Nasya for improving eyesight.

Bleeding Disorders – Alkali of Madhuka and Asana is used to prevent bleeding in Raktapitta.

Anemia – Bijakarishta is prescribed in anemia.

Vitiligo – Bhringaraj cooked with oil in an iron pan and taken orally followed by intake of milk cooked with bijaka alleviates vitiligo.

12. Official Part Used

Heartwood, gum, bark.

13. General Doses

Decoction – 50 to 100ml

Powder – 3 to 6g

Gum – 1 to 3g

14. Toxicity and Side Effects

It is not advised during constipation because of its astringent property. As the herbal treatment for diabetes is given for a longer duration, the genotoxic assessment of Pterocarpus Marsupium was done using both somatic and germ cells.

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