By Ashwani Kumar
| December 23rd 2010 04:12 AM | Print
Ethnopharmacological importance of Asparagus racemosus : A review
Manorma Sharma, Archana Sharma1 and Ashwani Kumar2
Tuberous plants are the vital source of medicinal drugs. Among these Asparagus racemosus is an important herb which is well known for its pharmacological applications. A lot of medicinally importance attributes have been assigned to this herb. It has been used by tribes located in distinct area of India from primeval time. Key component of this herb is saponins. Recent developments in transgenic research have opened up the possibility of the metabolic engineering of biosynthetic pathways to produce these high-value secondary metabolites. The present review is a pragmatic approach to accrue the findings on this very important herb.
Key words: Asparagus racemosus, Saponins, Ethnopharmacology, Disease
Use of plants as a source of medicine has been inherited and is an important component of the health care system in India. India is one of the 12 mega biodiversity centers having 45,000 plants species, its diversity is unmatched due to the 16 different agro climatic zones, 10 vegetative zones and 15 biotic provinces. “The world Health Organization" estimates that up to 80 % of people still rely mainly on traditional remedies such as herbs to cure their disease. The World Health Organization (The World Health Report, 2003) has estimated that 80% of the population of developing countries being unable to afford pharmaceutical drugs relies on traditional medicines (Bopana and Saxena 2007). In the Indian system of medicine, most practitioners formulate and dispense their own recipes (Sharma et al., 2005). The age-old tribal knowledge of plants is an important aspect of ethno botanical research. The tribal tracts are the storehouse of information and knowledge on the multiple uses of plants (Singh, et al., 2002). Potential plants for Ayurvedic medicines have been reported by Kumar (2008).
These plants are not only used for common diseases but also for fetal diseases. Among these plants Asparagus racemosus is an important medicinal plant which has been used world wide. The Asparagus genus (Asparagaceae) has over 300 species, which are widely distributed in temperate and tropical regions. Asparagus racemosus Willd. or "Satavar" is a creeper of the plant genus Asparagus. Its medicinal properties are reported in traditional systems of medicine such as Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani (Sharma 1970). Ayurveda, describes Asparagus racemosus as rasayana and galactogogue, which is used to treat various diseases such as ulcer, dyspepsia and debility. It contains adventitious root system with tuberous roots. These tuberous roots after proper processing and drying are used as ayurveda medicine, with the name of Shatavari. Its leaves are reduced to form cladodes. Branches contain spines on them. In Indian medicine it is well known as an antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, demulcent, diuretic, galactogogue and refrigerant. It is also used in the treatment of diarrhea, rheumatism, diabetes and brain complaints (Chadha 2003). During previous investigations influence of fertilizers on growth (Vijay and Kumar, 2005) and biochemical composition ( Vijay, Kumar and Bhoite, 2009) and in vitro propagation of Asparagus racemosus ( Kumar and Vijay , 2008) was studied.