Scientific Name Corallium rubrum L. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Family (Phylum Colelenterata)
Used Part Corals are the calcareous skeletons of the minute marine organisms of polyps (Phylum, Coelenterata) and used part is calcareous shell.
Distribution Area They are common throughout the tropical seas, and are regular components of the fauna of coral reefs. The Milleporesare common near Singapore and are mostly white, buff or yellowish in colour, while the Stylastersare often of pink red or purple hue.
Common Uses . In Indian medicine the calcined form of
precious corals are used to treat a variety of disorders such as
diabetes, bleeding piles and urinary diseases. Coral powder is also used in dental filling. Ian antitumor drug from tobacco leaves containing coral powder as one of the constituents is effective on tumors of stomach, pylorous, oesophagus and duodenum.
Pharmacological Effect Coral are osteoconductive. They are used as an
alternative to bone auto-, allo- and xenographs. A composition, Hydroxyapatite obtained from the coral calcite is found to be a potential bone substitute for implants. Coral implants are sterilizable, inert, biodegradable and well-reossifying and economical which can be used without complication. Extract of alcyonarian soft coral inhilbit sperm motility in rats, indicating a new potentially useful vaginal contraceptive agent. Extract of the Gorgonian Acalycigorigia sp. is shown to have anti-tumor activity against P388 mouse leukemia cells. Sarcophytol `A', another potential anti-tumor compound which inhibits this tumor promoter, teleocidin has been isolated from the soft coral, Sarcophyton glaucum. 15R-PGAL, isolated from Plexaura homomalla is shown to have a number of cardiovascular effects like, increased heart rate, myocardial contraction, etc. Diterpenoids from Gorgonian coral Pseudopterogorgia sp. are being used in the development of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs. Venoms from the hydrozoan corals Millepora platyphyllia Hemp.&Ehrenb. and M. dichotoma (Forsk.) have been shown to be lethal with haemolytic and oedema- forming activities.
Others The precious red coral (Corallium rubrum L.) has its stem, a fused stonelike mass carved into beads and other ornaments. They are also used in decorating walls, pipes, weapons and trappings. Liquid transparent resins containing waste red coral powder when coated oncoral sculptures, make them more attractive and increase their value.
In agriculture, corals are used in fertilizers, animal (mineral) feed, poultry, grits and as neutralising agents. Drinking water when passed through a bed of coral sand, obtained from the living corals, gets filtered and becomes pure, neutral and disinfected.
In the present day context coral reefs serve as a biological indicator for global warming.