The name Lodhra comes from its reputed remedy as a cure for ophthalmia. It is an ingredient of many rasayanas. A yellow dye is extracted from the leaves which, in combination with other plants, is used for dyeing silk.
It is found commonly in the plains and hills of northern India and other Asian countries, up to a height of 1400 m.
It is a small evergreen tree reaching a height of 6-8.5 m (Plate 58). The leaves are leathery, orbicular and dark green in colour. The flowers are white or cream, in axillary, simple or compound racemes. The fruit is a purplish black drupe containing 1-3 seeds.
Traditional and modern use
The bark is astringent and therefore used to treat diarrhoea and dysentery and also liver complaints and dropsy. It is used as a tonic, antioxytocic, amoebicide and in conjunctivitis and ophthalmia. A decoction of bark is used to treat bleeding gums, menorrhagia and other uterine disorders.
Bark is used in stomach troubles, sores and eye diseases.
Major chemical constituents
Betulin, betulinic acid, acetyloleanolic acid, oleanolic acid and others have been isolated.
Flavonoids and anthocyanins
3-Monoglucofuranoside of 7 -O-methyl leucopelargonidin glucosides, symposide.
Ellagic acid has also been reported from the bark.
The bark has yielded loturine, loturidine and colloturine.
Medicinal and pharmacological activities
Antimicrobial activity: A crystalline fraction obtained from the ethanolic extract of the bark of S. racemosa exhibited the inhibition of the growth of Staphylococci, Escherichia coli and other dysenteric organisms.
Antijibrinolytic activity: Symposide showed antifibrinolytic activity.
Antispasmodic activity: The alcoholic extract reduced the frequency and intensity of contractions in vitro in both pregnant and non-pregnant uteri. Antagonisation of acetylcholine-induced contractions and prolongation of the quiescent period were also observed.
The LDso of the 50% ethanolic extract of the whole plant (excluding roots) was found to be 750 mg/kg in adult male albino rats.
- Powder: 1-3 g
- Decoction: 56-112 ml
- Rasa: Kashaya (astringent)
- Guna: Laghu (light), ruksha (dry)
- Veerya: Ushna (hot)
- Vipaka: Katu (pungent)
- Dosha: Balances kapha and pitta
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