Common Name   :Amaltas

Plant Parts Used  : Root bark, Root, Pulp, Leaves and Flowers

Description         :

A medium sized deciduous tree, 6-9 meters tall with a straight trunk and spreading branches (Fig. 1). Stem bark is pale grey, smooth and slender when young and dark brown and rough when old. Leaves alternate 20-40 em long, paripinnate,long stalked stipulate petioles 6-9 mm long, leaflets 5-15 cm long, ovate, acute stalked. Flowers-large bright yellow in long axillary racemes. Fruit -a pod 30-60 cm long and over 30 cm thick

Characteristics and Constituents :

The leaves of Cassia fistula contain free rhein, glucoside and sennosides A and B. A butanol extract of the powdered stem bark contained tannins while the benzeme extract yielded lupeol, ?-sitosterol and hexacosanol. From the alcoholic extract of the pods an anthraquinone (fistulic acid) was obtained and identified as 1, 4-dihydroxy-6, 7-dimethoxy,2-methylanthraquinone-3-carboxylic Acid. Kaempferol and a proanthocyanidin have been isolated from the flowers and leucope-largonidin trimer from the bark.

Actions and Uses :

Anti-bacterial activity was found in the leaves, stem bark and fruit pulp, the last being the most potent. The ether extract of the pulp exhibited the maximum activity, and in vitro, the extract inhibited the growth of Staph aureus, Staph albus, B. megatherium, Sh. flexneri, Sh. shiga and S. typhi.The extract was found to be more potent than chloramphenicol.The ether extract of leaves also showed activity against Staph aurous and Staph albui. Alcohol and acetone extracts of stem bark were found active against Staph. aureuy, Staph. Album and B. inegathmum. The root buk was found to he inactive. In vitro, 100 mg of acetone extract of root and stem bark showed-antifungal action against T. tonsurans, T. rubrum and T.megnini and was more potent than 16g of griscofulyin. Two flavonoid glycoside fractions isolated from the acetone extract of the root bark also possessed marked antifungal activity against M. gypseum T. mentagrophytes T. rubrum and T. tonsurans. The plant has been shown to possess antiviral activity against Vaccinia and Newcastle isease viruses. The extracts inhibited the cytopathy of most viruses and also their replication in the cells of the host. The fruit pulp has laxative activity. In a pilot study 542 patients with various types of dermatoses were treated with Cassia fistula bark prepared and administered according to the classical ayurvedic pharmacopoeia. Clinical improvement, observed in these patients was encouraging. The same authors studied 30 patients of pyoderma (17 with folliculitis and 13 with impetigo) with topical use of the fraction isolated from the acetone extract of Cassia ffituu Organisms responsible for the lesions were coagulase-positive Staphylococci, haemolytic Streptococci and Klebsiella Majority of these organisms were resistant to penicillin, streptomycin, terramyein, and chloramphenicol.Lesions healed in 20 out of 30 patients within 6 to 13 days though marked improvement was observed after 2 to 5 days. The fruit pulp of amaltas is widely prescribed as a mild laxative for children. The plant was well tolerated by a group of 542 patients with various types of dermatoses. Topical use also did not show anyallergic manifestations. The plant is commonly prescribed,even for women and children.

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