Leptadenia Reticulata Wight & Am. (Asclepiadaceae)
Known as jivanti (or svarnajivantz) in Sanskrit literature, the name (jiv = life) indicates that the plant is considered to have the ability to bestow health and vigour. It is considered to be a rasayana and included among the 10 drugs constituting the]ivaniya gana or 'vitalising group.
Found in the sub-Himalayan tracts of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh and throughout the Deccan peninsula up to an altitude of 900 m and found particularly in hedges. It is also distributed throughout Mauritius, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, the Himalayas and Burma.
A twining shrub, with numerous branches, the stems of which have a cork-like, deeply cracked bark, glabrous in the younger ones. Leaves coriaceous, ovate, acute, glabrous above, finely pubescent below. Flowers greenish-yellow, in lateral or subaxillary cymes, often with small hairs. Fruit follicles may be woody. The external surface of the root is rough, white or buff coloured with longitudinal ridges and furrows, and in transverse section, the wide cork, lignified stone cell layers and medullary rays can be seen.' In commerce, the root samples vary from 3 to 10 cm in length and 1.5 to 5 cm in diameter.
Leaf, root, whole plant.
Traditional and modern use
The plant is a stimulant and restorative. The leaves and roots are used in skin affections such as ringworm, wounds, nose and ear disorders, asthma, cough and in the treatment of habitual abortion in women.
The bark, leaves and the whole plant are used to improve decreased milk flow in ruminants. The whole plant is also used to stimulate heat and prevent abortion.
Major chemical constituents
Phytosterols and triterpenoids
The leaves and twigs contain stigmasterol, l)-sitosteroV leptadenoV hentriacontanol, a-amyrin, I)-amyrin and tocopherols.
Diosmetin and luteolin are present in the leaves and twigs and quercetin, isoquercitrin, rutin and hyperoside in the pericarp of the follicles:
Medicinal and pharmacological activities
Antibacterial activity: Aqueous and ethanolic extracts of L. reticulata roots showed antibacterial activity against various pathogens including Streptococcus pyogenes var. a- and f3-haemolyticus, Salmonella typhi, S. paratyphi, S. schottmulleri and Escherichia coli.
Antifungal activity: Activity was observed in the aqueous and 50% ethanolic extracts of the leaf and root of L. reticulata against Trichophyton rubrum. The alcoholic extract was the more active.
Hypotensive activity: An aqueous extract of L. reticulata showed potent and prolonged hypotensive action in anaesthetised dogs, the initial hypotension followed by a complete recovery and a secondary progressive hypotension. It did not possess parasympathomimetic or adrenolytic actions but blocked pressor response to nicotine.
Spasmogenic activity: The alcoholic extract of L. reticulata showed spasmogenic action on isolated guinea pig ileum and uterus.
Lactogenic activity: Stigmasterol and the ether fraction of L. reticulata were tested on lactating rats. Both showed lactogenic properties as assessed by parameters including pup weights, body weight of mother rats, protein and glycogen contents of mammary glands, photomicrographic studies and secretory rating of lactating mammary glands.'° In another study L. reticulata powder was administered to goats, sheep, cows and buffaloes to assess its lactogenic propertieso The powdered drug was administered at a dose of 536 mg per day in goats and sheep, 1840 mg per day in cows and buffaloes, and produced a significant galactopoietic response. No significant changes were observed in the composition of milk or blood in goats.
Increased egg production in hens: L. reticulata powder and stigmasterol were found to increase egg yield.
The LDso of the 50% alcoholic extract of whole plant of L. reticulata (excluding root), when given to mice via the IP route, was found to be > 1000 mg/kg body weight.
Root powder: 1-3 g Decoction: 30-60 ml
Rasa: Madhur (sweet)
Guna: Laghu (light), snigdha (unctuous)
Veerya: Shita (cold)
Vipaka: Madhur (sweet)
Dosha: Balances tridosha