Kerala

Research identifies plant’s anti-cancer property

Bhallataka or marking nut.   | Photo Credit: Naha

A group of researchers from Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala’s Centre for Medicinal Plants Research (CMPR) has come up with evidence to prove that a poisonous medicinal plant available in the State can be effectively used against several illnesses, including cancer, after purification.

A study conducted by a team led by C.T. Sulaiman, senior scientist

at CMPR’s phytochemistry division, found that the traditional

purification process suggested by Ayurveda classics for Bhallataka or ‘marking nut’ could not only do away with its toxicity, but also

drastically enhance its anti-cancer properties. “This finding can lead to new insights into cancer research,” said Dr. Sulaiman.

Locally known as cheru or varnish tree, Bhallataka is widely found

across the country and its medicinal properties have been well

established. The Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940 has classified Bhallataka as a poisonous plant. Its fruit is used in Ayurveda to treat diseases like nervous debility, rheumatism, epilepsy, sciatica and asthma. But if used raw, it can cause irritation, blisters, toxicity and contact dermatitis.

The CMPR study has validated the purification process named Shodhana suggested by Ayurveda classics. Chemical comparison of raw and purified samples of Bhallataka showed that the traditional purification process imparted chemical transformations to toxic compounds and converted them to non-toxic forms.

“Pharmacological and toxicological studies in experimental animals showed that purification reduced the toxic effects and enhanced its anti-cancer activity,” said Indira Balachandran, project director who supervised the research supported by the Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust, Mumbai.

Dr. Indira said that the traditional system of purification could

positively impact the chemical, pharmacological and toxicological

profile of herbal drugs.

Renowned publisher Elsevier has published the study in its

international journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology released from the U.S.

The other members of the research team are Deepak M., Lijini K.R. and Anandan E.M. from Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala and Praveen K.T. from JSS College of Pharmacy, Ooty.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 6:31:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/research-identifies-plants-anti-drug-property/article33998080.ece

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