Family: Flacourtiaceae
Genus: Hydnocarpus
Botanical name: Hydnocarpus wightiana
Sanskrit: Tuvaraka, Kushtavairi
English: Jangli badam, Chalmugra, Chaulmoogra
Hindi: Chalmogara
Malayalam: Marotti, Neeratti, Neervatti, Neeralam
Jangli Almond is a tree up to 10 m tall. Bark is brownish, fissured; blaze pinkish. Branchlets are round, minutely velvet-hairy. Leaves are simple, alternate, carried on 0.7-2.2 cm long stalks. Leaves are 8-23 x 3.5-10 cm, usually oblong to elliptic-oblong, tip long-pointed, often falling off, base narrow, margin toothed, papery, hairless. Midrib is raised above, secondary nerves 5-7 pairs. Flowers are borne in short cymes or solitary, in leaf axils. Petals are white. Berry is woody, round, 6-10 cm across usually brown tomentose, black when young; seeds numerous. Jangli Almond is endemic to the Western_Ghats- very common in South and Central Sahyadris.
The active ingredient that produces antimicrobial activity has been identified as hydnocarpic acid, a lipophilic compound. It acts by being an antagonist of biotin. The oil was used intravenously or intramuscularly in the early part of the twentiety century against leprosy. An ethyl ester of the oil was prepared by Burroughs Wellcome and marketed in the early 1920s. This was also used intravenously for leprosy patients often producing local reactions. The oil was also often obtained directly from India by several doctors in Africa, such as the East African Rift. The doctors would locally prepare ethyl esters to treat their patients. In June 1927, Burroughs Wellcome released the commercial preparation, sodium hydnocarate marketed as Alepol, which produced lesser disagreeable symptoms of pain, swelling, irritating cough and blocking of the veins. In May 1928, doctors reported cure of leprosy in some patients after treatment with alepol.
The oil contains 5′-methoxyhydnocarpin, an amphipathic weak acid. Although a minor component in the oil with no antimicrobial activitiy on its own, it plays a role in preventing multidrug resistance among some bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus. It potentiates the action of berberine by preventing its removal from within bacteria thus leading to accumulation of berberine in the cells. Several berberis medicinal plants producing berberine also synthesize an inhibitor of the multidrug resistance pump of a human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. Berberine alkaloids, which are cationic antimicrobials produced by a variety of plants, are readily extruded by multidrug resistance pumps. They are constituents of several Native American herbal medicinepreparations. By extracting and using hydnocarpic acid only, western medicine could not utilise the action of the other ingredients of the oil which have been now shown to have synergistic antimicrobial activity.
Most of the important medicated oil made from Marotti plant in toxicology.
Hydnocarpus wightiana
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