Phytochemistry, traditional uses, and pharmacological activities of Azima tetracantha Lam. (Salvadoraceae) - An updated review

Dr. H. L. Raghavendra


Plants form an integral part of daily life of human beings. The term ethnobotany refers to relationships and interactions between people and plants. Worldwide, plants are being used as sources of food, medicine, dyes, and timber. Traditional medicinal practitioners and indigenous systems of medicine (such as Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani) make use of several plant species to treat a range of ailments of humans and livestock. The therapeutic potential of plants lies in the presence of secondary metabolites such as alkaloids, terpenes, and polyphenolic compounds. Azima tetracantha Lam., belonging to the family Salvadoraceae, is a small, armed shrub with quadrangular branches. The present review is a compilation of available data on the ethnomedicinal uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacological activities of A. tetracantha. Phytochemical investigations on the plant revealed the presence of chemicals such friedelin, euphanol, gallic acid, genstisic acid, cinnamate, ferulic acid, azimine, azcarpine, and carpaine. An extensive literature survey was carried out to compile data on traditional uses, phytochemicals, and the pharmacological activities shown by A. tetracantha. It is evident from the literatures that the plant is versatile with respect to its traditional uses as a remedy for various illnesses and disorders in humans and animals. The plant is used for treatment of asthma, cold, cough, rheumatism, diabetes, dysentery, fever, toothache, dog bite, snake bite, and liver diseases. It is experimentally shown that the plant exhibits pharmacological activities such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic, antivenom, hepatoprotective, antiepileptic, diuretic, antiulcer, antiasthmatic, antidiarrheal, analgesic, nephroprotective, antipyretic, and insecticidal activity. The nanoparticles synthesized from A. tetracantha have shown antimicrobial, antioxidant, and insecticidal properties. A pentacyclic triterpenoid friedelin isolated from the plant is shown to exhibit many bioactivities such as antimicrobial, hypolipidemic, antidiarrheal, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, insecticidal, gastroprotective and antiradical activity. The therapeutic potential and pharmacological properties of A. tetracantha could be ascribed to the presence of a wide array of phytochemicals in it. The pharmacological activities of the plant reported justify the traditional use of A. tetracantha in treating several diseases or disorders.

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