|Year : 2016 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 167-171
Pharmacognostical and phytochemical evaluation of Cactus grandiflorus (L.) Britton and Rose
Rajat Rashmi, Divya Mishra
Department of Pharmacognosy, Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia Laboratory, Government of India, Ministry of AYUSH, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
|Date of Web Publication||11-Aug-2016|
Pharmacognosy Section, Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia Laboratory, Government of India, Ministry of AYUSH, Near National Test House, Kamla Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad - 201 002, Uttar Pradesh
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background: Cactus grandiflorus (L.) Britton and Rose, Family: Cactaceae is an evergreen shrub with creeping aerial roots, used in Homoeopathy for atheromatous arteries, angina pectoris, and constriction of heart muscles, endocarditis, and heart weakness due to arteriosclerosis. Flowering stems are used in the preparation of medicine. Objective: The pharmacognostic and phytochemical studies are carried out to facilitate identification of correct species and standardized raw materials. Materials and Methods: Pharmacognostic studies of stem of authentic samples of Cactus grandiflorus (L.) Britton and Rose have been carried out according to Trease and Evans, 1983, and Youngken 1959. To determine physicochemical constants, Indian Pharmacopoeia, 1970, was consulted and preliminary phytochemical properties were studied as per methods described by Trease and Evans, 1983. Results: Stem available in segments of variable length and thickness, roundish structure with 5 or 6 ridges and furrows with aerial roots, isodiametric cavities in cortex containing mucilage; aggregates of acicular and rhomboidal calcium oxalate crystals scattered in parenchymatous region are the key identification characteristic. Thin layer chromatography of chloroform extract of mother tincture reveals five spots with blue and violet colors. Conclusion: The macroscopic, microscopic, physicochemical, and phytochemical analysis of the authentic raw material were indicative to establish the standards for ensuring quality and purity of the drug.
Keywords: Cactus grandiflorus (L.) Britton and Rose, Homoeopathy, Pharmacognosy, Physicochemical studies, Phytochemical studies
|How to cite this article:|
Rashmi R, Mishra D. Pharmacognostical and phytochemical evaluation of Cactus grandiflorus (L.) Britton and Rose. Indian J Res Homoeopathy 2016;10:167-71
|How to cite this URL:|
Rashmi R, Mishra D. Pharmacognostical and phytochemical evaluation of Cactus grandiflorus (L.) Britton and Rose. Indian J Res Homoeopathy [serial online] 2016 [cited 2021 Jun 24];10:167-71. Available from: https://www.ijrh.org/text.asp?2016/10/3/167/188225
| Introduction|| |
Family Cactaceae composed of about 130 genera and nearly 1500 species belonged to arid lands and adopted to diversity of climates in all over the world, including India. ,,,
Cactus grandiflorus (L.) Britton and Rose (synonyms: Selenicereus grandiflorus L., Cereus grandiflorus Mill) is a native of Mexico and introduced in Indian gardens, commonly known as night-blooming cereus. It is an evergreen, succulent shrub with creeping aerial roots and is usually a "functional epiphyte" meaning the plant can thrive either as an epiphyte or a terrestrial plant. Stem green to bluish-green, becoming purplish along the ribs, branching, succulent, 5 or 6 angled and armed with clusters of short radiating spines or bristles. The prefix "Seleni" in the botanical name refers to the moon, in allusion to the nocturnal blooms, which are very large and full-bodied, terminal or lateral from the cluster of spines, large having a sweet-smelling vanilla-like fragrance, white in color, about 30 cm in diameter, opening only once in evening and closing again before morning [Figure 1]a. 
History shows the traditional use of night blooming cereus for the treatment of hemoptysis (coughing up blood from the lungs) and edema (swelling of soft tissues due to the accumulation of excess water). The indigenous people of America have used the night blooming cereus as a topical remedy for rheumatism and itchy rashes; it is also used as internal herbal remedy for worms, cystitis, and fever. The Death Valley Shoshone tribe called this plant "pain in the heart" and used for heart diseases and several other tribes of native Americans use the stem to treat diabetes. 
Drug contains about 8 glycosylated flavonoids: narcissin (isorhamnetin-3-β-rutinoside), cacticin (isorhomnetin- 3-β-galactoside), rutoside (rutin or quercetin-3-rutinoside), hyperoside (hyperin or quercetin-3-β-D-galactopyranoside), kaempferitrin (kaempferol-3-β-L-arabinoside), isorhamnetin-3-O-β (xylosyl)-rutinoside, and isorhamnetin-3-O-β-(galactosyl)-rutinoside. In addition, biogenic amines such as tyramine, N-methyltyramine, and N, N-dimethyltyramine (hordenine) have also been found. Further constituents of C. grandiflorus (L.) Britton and Rose are mucus, fat, wax, and resinous glycosides. 
For preparation of medicines in Homoeopathy, Flowering Stem is used.  Its authority was mentioned in Allen, T. F., Encyclopedia of Pure Materia-Medica, 1874; Boericke W. Pocket Manual of Homeopathic Materia Medica and Repertory, 2000; Bradford, T. L., Index to Homoeopathic Provings, 1901; Clarke, J. H., A. Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica, 1900 ,,, for action in the incipiency of cardiac incompetence, heart weakness of arteriosclerosis, on circular muscular fibers, and hence constrictions. It is the heart and arteries, especially that at once respond to the influence of C. grandiflorus (L.) Britton and Rose, producing very characteristic constrictions as of an iron band.  In view of the importance of the drug, pharmacognostic and phytochemical studies of stem are carried out to lay down the standards.
| Materials and Methods|| |
The authentic sample of stem of C. grandiflorus (L.) Britton and Rose was taken from repository and herb garden of Homoeopathic Pharmacopeia Laboratory, Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh), India. All the chemicals and reagents used in the study were of extra pure and of analytical grade. Dried samples of the stem were spread on a clean dry plastic sheet and were investigated for different organoleptic features, namely, condition, thickness, color, odor, taste, and fracture by repeated observations up to 2-3 times using a magnifying glass (where required) and recorded. Free-hand section was taken, stained with safranin and fast green and examined under digital microscope and photographed as per Trease and Evans 1983  and Youngken 1959.  To determine physicochemical constants for finished product (mother tincture), Indian Pharmacopoeia 1970,  was consulted and mother tincture is prepared as per Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of India (1978).  Preliminary phytochemical properties were studied as per methods described by Trease and Evans 1983, and Youngken 1959. ,
| Observation and Results|| |
Stem available in segments of variable length, thickness, with 5 or 6 angles or ribs, having tufts or clusters of 9-15 acicular spines, spines up to 2-5 mm in length and bears aerial roots, color dark green; odor not peculiar; taste mucilaginous and acrid [Figure 1]b.
Epidermis in surface view shows sunken, diacytic stomata, simple circular or oval dermal pores; spine multicellular, multiseriate, containing elongated tapering cells with micro hairs; transection shows roundish structure with 5 or 6 ridges and furrows; epidermis single layer of papillose cells, covered with thick cuticle; followed by three or four layers of sclerenchymatous hypodermis; cortex consists of loosely arranged, irregular shaped parenchyma and oval, isodiametric cavities containing mucilage; aggregates of acicular and rhomboidal calcium oxalate crystals scattered in parenchymatous region; vascular bundles conjoint, collateral, open and arranged in a ring; cambium three or four layered; pericycle sclerenchymatous; phloem containing phloem parenchyma, sieve tube; companion cells; xylem with thick-walled xylem parenchyma, vessels with scalariform thickening; medullary rays 6-8 seriate with lignified cells; pith small, parenchymatous containing mucilage cavities and aggregates of acicular and rhomboidal calcium oxalate crystals [Figure 2] and [Figure 3].
|Figure 2: (a) Transection of stem through ridge. (b) Outer cortex of stem with large rhomboidal crystal|
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|Figure 3: Transection showing Stellar region. (a) Enlarged view of stele. (b) Enlarge vascular bundles showing acicular crystal in medullary rays|
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Physicochemical analysis (for finished product standard)
The analytical values in respect of physicochemical constant of finished product were established and results of alcohol content, pH, specific gravity, total solid, and λ max are listed in [Table 1].
|Table 1: Physicochemical properties of Mother Tincture (ø) of Cactus grandiflorus (L.) Britton and Rose|
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Preliminary phytochemical test
Phytochemical screening for the presence and absence of alkaloids, flavonoids, phenolics, sterols, saponins, carbohydrates, fixed oil and fats, proteins and amino acids, anthraquinone, gum and mucilage, tannins, and starch with specific reagents. Results are tabulated in [Table 2].
|Table 2: Phytochemical screening of stem of Cactus grandiflorus (L.) Britton and Rose|
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Thin layer chromatography
Extract the powdered drug with 70% ethanol. Evaporate 20 ml mother tincture on water bath to remove alcohol. Make it alkaline with ammonia solution and extract with 3 × 20 ml chloroform. Concentrate the chloroform layer to 1 ml and carry out thin layer chromatography of chloroform extract of mother tincture on silica gel 60 F 254 precoated aluminum plate using chloroform: methanol (9:1 v/v) as solvent system. Under ultraviolet light (366 nm) five spots appear at Rf = 0.26 (blue), 0.31, 0.39 (both violet), and 0.59 and 0.72 (both blue). After spraying the plate with anisaldehyde-sulfuric acid reagent, five spots appear at Rf = 0.44 (purple), 0.50 (blue), and 0.58, 0.72, and 0.83 (all purple). Results are tabulated in [Table 3] and [Table 4].
|Table 3: Rf values of Mother Tincture (ø) of Selenicereus grandiflorus (L.) Britton and Rose (CHCl3: CH3OH; 9:1 v/v)|
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|Table: 4: After spraying the plate with anisaldehyde sulphuric acid reagent|
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| Discussion|| |
As the drug is very rare, it is generally adulterated with frequently found other species of Cactus, Opuntia, etc., in India. , Some spiny Euphorbia species such as Euphorbia royleana Boiss are also added as an adulterant.  Morphologically, it can be differentiated by the presence of aerial roots, number of stem angles and arrangement of spines on stem. Microscopical key characteristic features are the presence of rhomboidal Ca-oxalate crystals and large mucilage cavity in comparison to other Cactus species. Euphorbia species can be identified by the absence of mucilage as the latex is a characteristic feature of Euphorbiaceae.  Details are given in [Table 5].
| Conclusion|| |
The present study on pharmacognostical and phytochemical characters of C. grandiflorus (L.) Britton and Rose stem provides useful information with regard to its correct identity and helps to differentiate it from the closely related other species of Cactus, Opuntia, and spiny Euphorbia, and it will help to achieve the desired therapeutic value of the drug.
The authors acknowledge Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy, New Delhi, India, for the financial assistance and are grateful to the Director HPL, Ghaziabad, for providing facilities.
Financial Support and Sponsorship
Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy, New Delhi.
Conflicts of Interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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[Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]
[Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]