Indian Podophyllum

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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Resins

Indian podophyllum consists of the dried pieces of rhizomes and roots of Podophyllum hexandrum Royle, belonging to family Berberidaceae.


INDIAN PODOPHYLLUM

 

 

Synonyms

 

Rhizoma Podophylli Indici, Indian podophyllum.

 

Biological Source

 

Indian podophyllum consists of the dried pieces of rhizomes and roots of Podophyllum hexandrum Royle, belonging to family Berberidaceae.

 

Geographical Source

 

The plant grows abundantly in the higher slopes of the Himalayas in India and Pakistan. It is also found in Afghani-stan and Tibet.

 

Collection and Preparation

 

The plants which grow as a perennial herb are dug up in the autumn. The rhizomes are generally collected from above two years old plant. The rhizomes are washed with water, cut into small pieces, and dried in the sun.

 

Characteristics

 

Indian podophyllum rhizomes are subcylindrical, flattened pieces with a very short internode as compared to American podophyllum. The pieces are about 2–4 cm long and 1–2 cm in diameter, it shows the scars due to cutting of branches and roots. Rhizomes are brownish coloured with characteristic odour and acrid, bitter taste. It breaks with horny fracture but very hard. The transversely cut surface shows a ring of vascular bundle and central pith.

 

             Podophyllum hexandrum


Microscopy

 

A transverse section of the Indian podophyllum rhizome shows the thin-walled, tubular cork. Cortex is made up of cellular parenchyma containing large number of starch grains and cluster crystals of calcium oxalate. The vascular bundles are arranged in a ring with phloem on the outer side and a bit irregular xylem at the inner side. In certain regions fibrovascular bundles are found entering the aerial stem. The central pith shows the crystals of calcium oxalate. The major distinguishing features in P. hexandrum and P. peltatum are the size of the starch grain and the crystals of calcium oxalate.

 

Chemical Constituents

 

The most of the chemical constituents of Indian podophyllum are similar to that of P. peltatum. Podophyllum resin present to the extent of 6–12% which contains about 40% podophyllotoxin.

 

Chemical Tests

 

The reaction of podophyllum resin alcoholic extract with strong solution of copper acetate develops brown precipitate for Indian podophyllum, whereas Ameri-can drug produces green colour without precipi-tate.

 

 

Uses

 

P. hexandrum closely resembles P. peltatum in its pharma-cological activity. It is largely used for the preparation of podophyllum resin.

 

Marketed Products

 

It is one of the ingredients of the preparation known as Podowart (Shalaks Pharmaceuticals).

 

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