Pedalium murex (P. murex) is a member of the sesame family, Pedaliaceae. It is found in different parts of the world such as tropical Africa, Srilanka, India, Mexico and Pakistan. In India, it occurs mainly in the Western and Corommandal coasts as a weed of waste places and is generally called under the Hindi name “Gokhru or gokhar” and in Sanskrit as “gaja-daunstraka, gokshura or tittagokshura”. Its names vary from one region to another ranging from North to South and from East to West part of the country. It is also called in Kannada (doddaneggilu), Malayalam (motha-malvi-gokharu), Tamil (Ananerinnil), Marathi (Gokhara), Gujarati (Gokhura), Oriya (Yanai nerunjil), Arabic (Khasake kabir), Burmese (Sulegi), Singapore (Ati neranchi), Persian (Khasake Kalan).
P. murex is a shrubby herb having a stiff-stemmed. It is a diffuse annual, much branched, spreading, succulent, glandular plant up to 50 cm tall. Leaves alternate, repandangulate, flower axillary, pedicel with a pair of yellow glands. The plant is classified and placed taxonomically under the Kingdom- plantea, division- magnoliophyta, class- magnoliopsida, order- lamiales, family- pedaliaceae, genus- Pedalium L. Microscopic studies of the leaf of P. murex showed prominent midrib, slightly thicker lateral veins, uniformely thick lamina with smooth surface, spindle shaped thin walled epidermal cell, flat petiole with slight concavity on the adaxial, glandular type of trichomes on both abaxial and adaxial sides, reticulate venation with thick and straight veins and anisocytic type stomata was found to present in the abaxial surface.
Generally there are more than hundred species present and they differ taxonomically from each other in various ways. Among the subtypes of longitudinal dehiscence, latrorse type is most common found in 114 species, followed by extrorse and introrse types in 49 and 28 taxa respectively. The poricidal anther types were specific for only few genera such as Pedalium.
Pharmacological activity of Pedalium murex
The acute toxicity studies of the P. murex plant were reported to be safe up to the dose level of 2 260 mg/kg, p.o. in mice. The study were performed on the male Swiss albino mice (20-25 g) which was orally administered with ethanolic extract of P. murex and observed for any symptoms of toxicity for 48 h as per CPCSEA guidelines. LD50 were estimated by Karber’s method and were reported to be 2 260 mg/kg, p.o. Based on these results, the dosages for further pharmacological study were fixed at 250 mg/kg, p.o.. Administration of alcoholic extracts of P. murex orally to male Swiss albino mice produced no observable side effects up to 2 260 mg/kg, p.o. body weight even after 48 h of observation. An acute toxicity study of P. murex mucilage showed no manifestations of toxic syndromes and has been found to be safe. (LD50 > 2 000 mg /kg).
Aqueous extract of leaves of P. murex on ethanol induced gastric lesions at a dose of 200 mg/kg, p.o. in a single schedule and 100 mg/kg, p.o. for 15 and 30 days treatment was investigated and was found to possess significant effect in the treatment of gastric ulceration by ascertaining the content of total acid, acid volume, total protein, ulcer index and glutathione where famotidine used as a reference drug.
The nephron-protective activity of the ethanolic extract of the dried fruits of P. murex were evaluated in Cisplatin induced renal damage model on Wistar rats using serum creatinine, blood urea and change in body weight as indicators of kidney damage. Cystone was used as standard drug. The results revealed that there was a significantly change in body weight, serum creatinine and urea levels at a dose of 250 mg/kg, p.o. it was reported that the ethanolic extract of dried fruits of P. murex showed significant nephroprotective when compared to cystone. The ethanolic and aqueous extracts of fruits of P. murex (300 and 600 mg/kg, p.o. body weight) were also evaluated against cadmium chlorideinduced (3 mg/kg/s.c.) renal toxicity in rats, using blood urea nitrogen, serum creatinine, urinary protein, urine to serum creatinine ratio, lipid peroxidation, gluthione, catalase in kidney as the main parameter. The result reveals that ethanolic and aqueous extract with CdCl2 significantly prevented the renal injury in dose dependent manner.
Anti hyperlipidemic activity
The anti-hyperlipidemic potential of the ethanolic extract of fruits (P. murex) in high fat diet fed rats had been reported. The study revealed that at doses level of 200 and 400 mg/kg, p.o. of the ethanolic extract was reported to show a significant decrease in triglycerides, low density lipoprotein (LDL), very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), total cholesterol (TC), and a significant increase in high density lipoprotein (HDL) level at the tested doses. The studies were done by comparing with standard drug treated group (Gemfibrozil and Atorvastatin)
The aphrodisiac activity of the petroleum ether extract of P. murex was evaluated and found that it has ability to increase aphrodisiac activity and to cure ethanol induced germ cell damage and infertility in male rat models. Different doses level (200 mg/kg and 400 mg/kg, p.o.) of petroleum ether extract of P. murex showed a positive significant increase in mating, mounting behavior, total body weight, percentage of pregnancy, sperm motility, litter size as compared with the ethanol-treated group. Moreover, the total protein, total cholesterol and testosterone were also reported to have increased significantly. Histopathological study of the testes of animals treated with 400 mg/kg, p.o. petroleum ether extract of P. murex revealed that it exhibits a significant restoration and recovery of germinal cells and the luminal spermatozoa.
Benzene, butanol and dimethylformamide extracts of the leaves of P. murex were tested against three Aspergillus species viz. A. flavus, A. fumigatus and A. niger by disc diffusion assay. The aqueous extract contributes minimum activity whereas organic solvent extracts were reported to have moderate to least activity against most of the organisms tested. P. murex leaf extracts were reported to have antifungal activity and were tested against the fungal strain Magnaporthe grisea, the causative organism of blast disease of rice and found to control the disease in a significance level. Based on all these observations, it was suggested that P. murex extract could be used as source of pesticide of plant origin to combat blast disease of rice in the field.
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