It occurs abundantly as a weed throughout India, up to an altitude of 2,000 m in the Himalayas. It is also cultivated to some extent in West Bengal.
A diffusely branched, pubescent or glabrous, prostrate herb. The rootstock is stout, fusiform and woody; the stems are creeping, often purplish, swollen at the nodes; the leaves are long-petioled, ovate or oblong-cordate, entire or sinuate; the flowers are red, pink or white, in small umbels; the fruits are ovate, oblong, pubescent, five-ribbed, glandular anthocarps.
The roots contain alkaloids (0.05%), triacontanol hentriacontane, ß-sitosterol, ursolic acid, 5,7-dihydroxy-3,4-dimethyoxy-6,8-dimethyl flavone, and an unidentified ketone (m p 86°). The roots contain the rotenoid boeravinones AI, BI, C2 , D, E and F besides the new dihydroisofurenoxanthin, borhavine and an antifibrinolytic agent, punarnavoside. Two lignans, liriodendrin and syringaresinol mono-ß-D-glucoside, have also been reported in the roots1.
The chloroform and methanol extracts of the roots and aerial parts of B.diffusa exhibited hepatoprotective activity against carbontetrachloride intoxication in experimental rats. The rotenoid, steroid and flavone isolated from the plant exhibited lowering of enzyme GOT2.B.diffusa exhibits differential effects on the GABA levels in various regions of the brain of experimental rats3.
The ethanol extract of B.diffusa (BDE) was administered daily in a dose of 250mg/kg, body weight p.o., to pregnant albino female rats during the entire period of gestation. BDE was found to be devoid of any teratogenic effect as litter size and survival rate of fetuses were the same as for the normal control group and no fetal anomaly could be detected4.
The roots are credited with anti-convulsant, analgesic, alzative, laxative, and expectorant properties. They also have diuretic and hepatoprotective actions.
- Chem Abstr, 1991, 114, 3388; Lami et. al., Chem Pharm Bull, 1990, 38, 1558; Lami et. al., ibid, 1991, 39, 1551, 1869; Jain & Khanna, Indian J Chem, 1989, 28B, 163; Ahmed & Chung-Ping Yu, Phytochemistry, 1992, 31, 4382.
- Chakraborti, K.K. and Handa, S.S, Indian Drugs, 1989, v., 27(3), 161-166.
- Sharma, K. et. al., Conference of Pharmacology and Symposium on Herbal Drugs. (New Delhi), March 1991, P31.
- Singh, A. et. al., Planta Medica, 1991, v., 57(4), 315-316.