Health Benefits

A.Role in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels

Extracts of P.marsupium were tested on the serum lipid levels of rats. The results were as follows:

The ethyl acetate-soluble fraction of an aqueous decoction of P. marsupium’s heartwood significantly reduced the serum cholesterol, triglyceride, LDL, and VLDL of hyperlipidemic rats who received an oral dose of 120 mg/kg body weight. Significant reductions were also observed in rats that received the aqueous decoction (1 ml/kg body weight).

Pterosupin and liquiritigenin, two active principles of P. marsupium, were also effective in reducing diet-induced hyperlipidemia in rats. These constituents reduced total cholesterol, LDL, and the atherogenic index and raised HDL and the HDL/total cholesterol ratio. Pterosupin’s activity was comparable to cholestyramine, a well known hypocholestrolemic agent (Figures 1-4).

Effect of oral administration of major flavonoid constituents of Pterocarpus
            marsupium heartwood on Total Cholesterol, HDL-Cholesterol and Triglyceride levels in rats fed hyperlipidemic diet

Figure 1: Effect of oral administration of major flavonoid constituents of Pterocarpus marsupium heartwood on Total Cholesterol, HDL-Cholesterol and Triglyceride levels in rats fed hyperlipidemic diet

Effect of oral administration of major flavonoid constituents of Pterocarpus marsupium heartwood on LDL-Cholesterol and VLDL-Cholesterol levels in rats fed hyperlipidemic diet

Figure 2: Effect of oral administration of major flavonoid constituents of Pterocarpus marsupium heartwood on LDL-Cholesterol and VLDL-Cholesterol levels in rats fed hyperlipidemic diet

Effect of oral administration of major flavonoid constituents of Pterocarpus marsupium heartwood on Atherogenic Index in rats fed hyperlipidemic diet*

Figure 3: Effect of oral administration of major flavonoid constituents of Pterocarpus marsupium heartwood on Atherogenic Index in rats fed hyperlipidemic diet*

Effect of oral administration of major flavonoid constituents of Pterocarpus marsupium heartwood on HDL-Cholesterol/Total Cholesterol ratio in rats fed hyperlipidemic diet*

Figure 4: Effect of oral administration of major flavonoid constituents of Pterocarpus marsupium heartwood on HDL-Cholesterol/Total Cholesterol ratio in rats fed hyperlipidemic diet*

Cholestyramine dose: 150 mg/kg body wt/day for 14 days Liquiritigennin, Marsupin, Pterosupin: each at 40 mg/kg body wt/day for 14 days

Reduction in HDL/total cholesterol ratio is of great importance because it is a major factor in predicting coronary heart disease in human beings. An increase in this ratio is believed to furnish a beneficial effect.

B.Antimicrobial Properties

Ointments prepared from alcoholic and aqueous extracts of P. marsupium wood furnished considerable antifungal activity in fifty patients suffering from skin diseases caused by infection with microscopic fungi, Tinea cruris and Tinea carporis.

The therapeutic effectiveness of the ointments was evaluated by the appearance of the lesions and graded on a scale of excellent to poor (poor (no response), moderate (symptoms disappeared but disease persisted), good (symptoms as well as vesiculation and exfoliation disappeared but mild inflammation persisted), and excellent (disease was completely cured) (Figure 5).

Evaluation of the antifungal activity of aqueous and alcoholic extracts of P. marsupium

Figure 5: Evaluation of the antifungal activity of aqueous and alcoholic extracts of P. marsupium

The cure rate was 64% and 55% only after 3 days of treatment with the alcoholic and aqueous based ointments, respectively.

Cure rates of 78% and 93% were observed in patients who received the alcoholic extract for 7 and 10 days, respectively.

No side effects were reported after continuous use of the drug for 10 days.

Antimicrobial experiments were conducted in vitro with ethanol extracts of the bark and heartwood of P. marsupium. Eight gram positive, three gram negative bacteria, and twelve strains of fungi were tested. Both extracts of P. marsupium exhibited considerable antimicrobial activity, but overall the ethanol extract of the heartwood furnished more pronounced effects against the fungi.

Eight compounds, pterostilbene, isoliquiritigenin, liquiritigenin, carpusin, propterol, propterol-B, oleanolic acid, and marsupol, were isolated from the heartwood of P.marsupium and tested for their antibacterial activity against Streptococcus faecalis R (gram positive), Staphylococcus aureus R (gram positive), and Escherichia coli (gram negative). The compounds were more active against the gram positive organisms. In comparison to penicillin G, propterol was nearly 36-60% effective in inhibiting Streptococcus faecalis R. and Staphylococcus aureus R. The P. marsupium compounds did not only inhibit the growth of the gram positive organisms but adequate concentrations (50-80 m g/ml) actually killed them (Figure 6).

Antibacterial activity of compounds isolated fromP. marsupium(N=3)

Figure 6. Antibacterial activity of compounds isolated fromP. marsupium(N=3)