Health benefits of Enicostemma littorale

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Enicostemma littorale Quick Facts
Name: Enicostemma littorale
Shapes 0.4–0.5 mm. in diameter, subglobose
Enicostemma littorale is a perennial herb that belongs to Gentianaceae family is cultured in India. It acts as a laxative, rheumatism, helps in curing fever, abdominal disorders, skin diseases, obesity, snake bite and regulate blood sugar levels. Plant constituents possess antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, hepatoprotective, hypolipidaemic and hypoglycemic properties.

Enicostemma littorale is an erect and perennial herb which grows 5 to 30 cm tall and is simple or branched at the base. It has glabrous and cylindric stems with decurrent ridge below leaf. Leaves are sessile narrowed into petiole like base and longer than internodes. Lamina is 5-8 × 0.3-1 cm, linear to lanceolate or narrowly oblong. Inflorescence is found in many auxiliary clusters and diverse in axils of each pair of leaves. Usually flowers are white with green lines, sessile or subsessile. Bracts are long and shorter than calyx, lanceolate to acuminate and carinate.

  1. Prevention of microbes

Enicostemma littorale has reported antifungal activity. The chloroform extracts exhibits activity against Aspergillus niger and negligible activity against Candida albicans at concentration of 100, 200 µg/mL. The Ethyl acetate extract displays slight activity against A.niger and moderate activity against C.albicans. It observed antimicrobial activity against many pathogenic microorganisms with use of different solvents such as ethyl acetate, chloroform, petroleum ether and methanol. Ethyl acetate and methanolic extract showed extrusive antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhi, Pserudomonas aeruginosa, Shigella sonnei and antifungal activity against C.albicans and Aeromonas hydrophila.

2. Anthelminthic activity

Enicostemma littorale has antihelminthic properties. Petroleum extracts and ethanolic extracts of E. littorale was evaluated to determine antihelminthic effect on an adult Indian earthworm. Five contrasting concentrations of each extracts were used to learn antihelminthic activity in which death of worm and time of paralysis was observed. Results showed ethanolic extract of E. littorale was potent than petroleum ether extract.

3. Antinociceptive

Indian medicinal plants contain high content of swertiamarin, secoiridoid which provides relief from pain. Variety of medicinal plants contains iridoids that possess high medicinal properties. In vivo anti-nociceptive activity of swertiamarin isolated from E. axillare was carried with the use of three different methods in mice. In a hot plate, significant increase was observed for treating with swertiamarin at 100 and 200 mg/kg body weight after 30 and 45 minutes.

4. Acts as antioxidant

Hyperlipidaemia is a condition of alcohol induced liver injury as it assembles and triglycerides in liver as well as in blood results in several complications. The hyperlipidaemic condition or antioxidant effects on injured male albino rats by administering with E. littorale extract at dose of 250 mg/kg body weight. It lowers the levels of triglycerides, cholesterol and fatty acids reduced in serum and activity levels of TBARS and lipid peroxidation levels were lowered and CAT, SOD, GPx were extended in liver tissue. Also the restorative effect on aqueous leaf extract on oxidative stress and hyperlipidaemic. Oxidative stress is responsible for nephrotoxicity. The role of E. littorale Blume as an antioxidant therapy in gentamicin induced nephrotoxicity in rats. E. littorale improves antioxidant defense system of mitochondrial fraction with better progress in mitochondrial fraction. The extract is used in antioxidant therapy to neutralize mitochondrial and post-mitochondrial oxidative stress formed in kidney and also prevent nephrotoxicity.

5. Anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer

A. littorale are used against ethanol, aspirin and pyloric ligation in rats and bovine serum slbumin denaturation. Extract was administered to overnight fasted rats preliminary to aspirin or alcohol or pyloric ligation challenge. Tissue GSH levels, ulcer index and lipid peroxidation levels in all models of ulcers and volume of gastric secretion, pH and acidity in pyloric ligation model of ulcers. The extract of E. littorale displayed dose dependent reduction in ulcer index against aspirin, pyloric ligation and ethanol challenge. It also lowered total acidity, volume of gastric secretion, free acidity and elevated gastric pH. Moreover, it also inhibits the serum albumin denaturation in dose dependent manner. The methanolic extract shows anti-ulcer activity.

6. Anti-tumor

Methanolic extract of E. littorale shows anti-tumor activity that has been evaluated against Dalton’s ascetic lymphoma in Swiss albino mice. The methanolic extract treated tumor in mice concerning to control group. When used E. littorale on animals it inhibited tumor cell growth. The methanolic extract is able to reverse chance in haemotological parameters, protein to tumor inoculation.

7. Hepatoprotective activity

The experiment was conducted to find out the hepatoprotective effects of medicinal plant extracts. Highly reactive trichloro free radical formation attacks polyunsaturated fatty acids of endoplasmic reticulum. It forms hepatotoxicity by altering liver microsomal membranes during experiments. E. littorale acquire a chemical compound known as swertiamarin that has hepatoprotective and antioxidant properties against D-GaIN induced hepatoxicity. It provides a rationale use of E.littorale in liver disorders. The alkaline phosphatase, alanine transaminase, gamma glutamyl transpeptidase, acid phosphatase, sorbitol drhydrogenase, lactate dehydrogenase, total protein, total bilirubin and albumin in serum were restored to normal level dose dependently after E. littorale extract when compared to respective controls.

8. Antihyperlipidaemic activity

A. littorale lowers serum cholesterol level in rats with hepatoma that promotes hypercholesterolaemia. The component promotes cholesterol acyltransferase by esterification of free cholesterol in HDL. The study shows that new property of swertiamarin as a lipid lowering agent when being compared to atorvastatin and also contributes antiatherosclerotic and cardioprotective role effects. It lowered total serum cholesterol and triglycerides. Antioxidant and hypolipidemic effects are evaluated by allocating an aqueous extract of E. littorale to rats. When treated with this extract lowers activities of erythrocyte CAT, LPO and SOD levels with increment in reduction of glutathione levels, liver or kidney cholesterol levels were also lowered in E. littorale treated rats.

9. Hypoglycemic activity

Diabetic rats were treated with E. littorale whole plant extract regularly for 45 days lowered blood glucose, SOD, TBARS, GPx and CAT. E. littorale extract was effective in comparison to standard drug insulin. Also observed that insulin to alloxan prompt diabetic rats for 45 days that brought back all parameters to normal. The extract of dose 2 g/kg is considered to be effective with hot or cold aqueous extracts of E. littorale in type 1 diabetic rats for three weeks. Treatment with hot aqueous extract lowered food and water intake and glucose or AUC glucose levels and reduced serum glucose, triglyceride and serum cholesterol levels.

Traditional uses

  • Roots and leaves are used to treat several ailments such as skin diseases, malaria, diabetes, leprosy etc.
  • In India, it is used as bitter tonic, stomachic and carminative to lower fever and also a tonic for loss of appetite.
  • It is used for treating type 2 diabetes as it has a crucial role in lowering blood glucose and promotes serum insulin level and improves kidney functions and lipid profile.
  • It is used to treat tooth decay, fever, obesity, rheumatism, skin diseases, snake bite, abdominal disorders and regulation of blood sugar levels.






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