Pharmacognosy of Chlorophytum tuberosum
Pharmacognosy of Chlorophytum tuberosum Family Liliaceae This is a genus of two hundred species and twelve are native to India. These are rhizomatous herbs and roots fascicled, often thick fleshy and tuber like. It is a rhizomatous herb. Leaves are suberect lanceolate and many nerved. Inflorescence is an erect, dense-flowered racemes. Flowers are star like, white upto 2 cm across, sepals are acute, anthers are longer than filaments are green or yellow in colour, bracts are long. Seeds are black in colour with angular edges. Organic rich well drained sandy loamy soil and warm humid climate is suitable for its cultivation. Plants are propagated by seeds and by division of rhizomes. Seeds remain dormant for nearly ten months. Germination of seeds take two weeks time and about 20% germination is reported. The dry roots possess less than 5% moisture. It contains carbohydrates, proteins, root fibres, saponins and minerals. Dry roots of these plants constitute the drug and is used in powdered form. It is a well known tonic and aphrodisiac and used to treat general debility. Leaves of this plant are also eaten as vegetable. The tubers of about 20 g is boiled with milk and is taken twice a day for a month in cases of impotency and weakness. Ethnobotany is a distinct branch of natural science dealing with various aspects such as anthropology, archaeology, botany, ecology, economics, medicine, religious, cultural and several other disciplines. This term was coined by J.W. Harshberger in 1895 to indicate plants used by the aboriginals. It deals with the study and evaluation of plant-human relations in all phases and the effect of plant environment on human society. Pharmacognostic study of root tubers of Chlorophytum tuberosum. “Safed Musali”. Introduction The plant Chlorophytum family Liliaceae is a suberect or prostrate annual herb. It is densely villous or almost glabrous, distributed in western Peninsular India. The leaves are sessile, radical and few cauline, 6-10 in × 1/3-1 in; often purple beneath, linear or ensiform and villous. Upper cauline leaves are much short. Tuberous roots are fusiform in shape. The present investigation includes detailed pharmacognostic studies on Chlorophytum, a precious ayurvedic drug. Material and Methods The plant material was collected from Department of Botany, U.O.R. Jaipur. Efforts were made to collect this plant in flowering and fruiting conditions for correct botanical identification. For macroscopical studies free hand sections of the tuberous roots were taken from fresh material. These were further dehydrated, stained in alcoholic safranin and light green and finally mounted in Canada balsam. Macroscopic and microscopic characters were studied as per Wallis and Trease and Evans. Histochemical tests were carried out according to Krishnamurthy. Macroscopic characters : The plant is suberect or prostrate and creeping below, densely villous or almost glabrous. The roots are tuberous and fusiform. The length is varying form 1-2 in. and measuring about 1/6 –1/4 in. in diameter. It is immediately swollen near the stem base. Microscopic characters: In transverse section, root tuber shows circular outline. The outermost layer is piliferous layer (epiblema) provided with unicellular root hairs. Immediately below epiblema a massive cortex is present which is divided into two distinct zones. The peripheral zone walled parenchymatous cells without intercellular spaces. The second zone of cortex is comparatively larger and made up of parenchyma cells with intercellular spaces. Starch grains are abundantly present in the cortical cells. The innermost layer of cortex, the endodermis, is composed of barrel shaped compact cells. Passage cells are observed in endodermis. The pericycle is single layered and interrupted by the differentiation of xylem and phloem. The vascular tissue consists of alternate strands of xylem and phloem. Vascular bundles are numerous and exarch. The central part of the stele is occupied be well-developed pith. Histochemistry: For the detection of active principles inside the tissue or the root histochemical tests were carried out on starch, proteins, sugars, tannins and alkaloids. These tests were carried out by following Krishnamurthy and the results are shown in Table-14. Phytochemistry :- Phytochemical tests were carried out on water extract for starch, proteins, saponins, tannins, reducing sugars and antroquinones and alcoholic extract for alkaloids, flavonoids and glucosides. These tests were carried out according to Harborne. The results are shown in table- 15. Safed musali is very rich in proteins, raphides and spheraphides.