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Int J Pharm Biomed Res 2010, 1(1), 24-27

International Journal of
PHARMACEUTICAL
AND BIOMEDICAL
RESEARCH
ISSN No: 0976-0350

Research article

Pharmacognostical and preliminary phytochemical screening of the root and


rhizome of Corallocarpus epigaeus
C. Nisha Shri*, J. Balaji, S. Venkatramanan, K.L. Madhumathi
K.K. College of Pharmacy, 1/161 Sankaralinganar road, Gerugambakkam (K.R.A. Campus), Mangadu, Chennai-602 101, Tamil Nadu, India

Received: 10 Feb 2010 / Revised: 16 Feb 2010 / Accepted: 17 Feb 2010 / Online publication: 24 Feb 2010

ABSTRACT
The aim of the study is to cover the pharmacognostical and preliminary phytochemical screening of Corallocarpus
epigaeus. The root and rhizome of Corallocarpus epigaeus belonging to the family Cucurbitaceae is a widely grown plant
throughout India. The plant has many valuable medicinal properties. The plant was collected from the local regions and was
authenticated by the botanist. Pharmacognostical study included macroscopical characters, microscopical characters,
physico-chemical constants and fluorescence analysis. Preliminary phytochemical screening includes phytochemical
extraction, phytochemical testing and thin layer chromatography (TLC). Macroscopical study of the rhizome revealed that it
is napiform, smooth with membranous peeling leaving a white surface. It has initially sweet and then intensely bitter taste.
Transverse section showed presence of simple and compound starch grains. The total ash value of 3.695% and sulphated ash
value of 4.17% was obtained. Loss on drying showed presence of 3.89% of moisture content. While performing the
successive solvent extraction, the maximum extractive value of 25.7% was seen in aqueous extract. When exposed to UV
light ethyl acetate extract, methanol and aqueous extract showed green fluorescence. Preliminary phytochemical studies
show the presence of carbohydrates, flavanoids, alkaloids, mucilages, proteins and amino acids. Performing TLC of
methanolic extract using methanol: chloroform (3:17) as solvent system, three alkaloids were identified. The study helps in
the correct identification of the herb. The presence of alkaloids and flavanoids explains that the plant must have valuable
medicinal properties which must be explored.
Key words: Corallocarpus epigaeus, Macroscopical studies, Phytochemical screening, Simple and compound starch grains.

1. INTRODUCTION
Herbal medicine is the oldest and still the most widely
used system of medicine in the world today. They are made
exclusively from plants. Herbal medicines have several
advantages which are also very well researched. If we pool
the knowledge from diverse traditions, we have a cure for just
above every illness known to man. In order to quench the
thirst for a new drug for an ailment from herbal origin the
plant Corallocarpus epigaeus has been chosen. Ethno
medical information suggests that the root and rhizome parts
are used as laxative and antihelminthic. Powder of root and
rhizome is used for treating syphilitic rheumatism, veneral
*Corresponding Author. Tel: +91 44 32546162, Fax: +91 44 23821272
Email: nisha_5585_sri@yahoo.co.in

2010 PharmSciDirect Publications. All rights reserved.

complaints and also in later stages of dysentery. Literature


review reveals that it could also been used as a remedy for
snake bite [1,2].
2. MATERIALS AND METHODS
The plant was collected from Tamil Nadu forest
department, Mooligai pannai, Moonzhoorpet, Vellore, during
the month of December 2005. The plant was identified,
confirmed and authenticated by comparing with an authentic
specimen. The collected plant was washed with distilled
water to remove the dust and adhering materials and then was
dried under shade. The shade-dried material was powdered
by means of mechanical grinder and the powder was allowed
to pass through sieve no. 60 for powder microscopy. The
coarse powder was used for extraction.
The macroscopic characters of both drug and powder
were observed. For microscopical examination the sections

C. Nisha Shri et al., Int J Pharm Biomed Res 2010, 1(1), 24-27

Fig.1. External features and Marketed sample of tuber

a)

b)

25

and the powder was stained with phloroglucinol and


concentrated hydrochloric acid to study the lignified cells like
xylem and sclerenchymatous tissues. They were also stained
with iodine solution to detect presence of starch grains. The
section and small portion of solution of powder was mounted
in chloral hydrate to identify calcium oxalate crystals [3,4].
Ash value represents the inorganic salts naturally
occurring in the drug and adhering to it. Total ash is the
residue remaining after incineration. The acid insoluble ash is
the part of total ash which is insoluble in dilute hydrochloric
acid. Mixing of sulphuric acid with powdered crude drug
before ashing and this sulphated ash is normally less fusible
than ordinary ash. The moisture content was determined in
reference to air-dried sample by loss on drying method.
Extractive value which is an indicative of approximate
measures of chemical constituents and nature of the
constituents was performed using ethanol and chloroform
water as solvents [5,6].
Successive extraction was done in soxhlet extractor
using the following solvents: petroleum ether, ethyl acetate,
chloroform, methanol and chloroform water. For all the five
extracts qualitative phytochemical analysis for alkaloids,
carbohydrates, glycosides, phytosterols, saponins, tannins and
phenolic compounds, proteins and free amino acids, gums
and mucilages, flavanoids, fixed oil fats and volatile oils [6].
Ascending thin layer chromatography was performed for
the separation of alkaloids. The extracts which showed
presence of alkaloids were subjected for chromatographic
separation using silica gelG as stationary phase and various
mobile phases to identify the number of alkaloids present in
each extract. The mobile phases used were, Toluene: Ethyl
acetate: Diethyl amine (7:2:1), Chloroform: Diethyl amine
(9:1), Methanol: ammonia (200:3) and Methanol: Chloroform
(3:17). Dragendorffs reagent was used as locating reagent
[7,8].
3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

c)

Fig.2. Structure of three zones of tuber. a) Periderm and cortex;


b) Meristamatic zone and phloem and c) Inner ground tissue with scattered
nest of xylem elements
Fi-Fissure, Pe-Periderm, PM- Phellem, Pd- Phelloderm, Co-Cortex,
Ph-Phloem, Mz-Meristamatic zone, X- Xylem, GT-Ground tissue.

The root and rhizome of Corallocarpus epigaeus


belonging to the family cucurbitaceae is a widely growing
plant throughout India. The plant also has many valuable
medicinal properties. Our literature review revealed that so
far no works has been done on the root and rhizome of
Corallocarpus epigaeus. Hence, this study deals with the
pharmacognostical
identification
and
phytochemical
screening of the selected plant.
A detailed study was done on this plant. The
macroscopical finding of the rhizome reveals that it is
brownish yellow in color, napiform in shape (Fig.1) with
characteristic odour. It tastes sweet initially and then becomes
intensely bitter. The transverse section of the rhizome shows
superficial periderm, homogenous parenchyma with scaly
vascular elements. Cortex consists of tangentially stretched
elongated cells which have undergone radial divisions. Small
nest xylems are seen in thin radial chain. Simple and
compound starch grains are seen (Fig.2 and Fig.3). In the

C. Nisha Shri et al., Int J Pharm Biomed Res 2010, 1(1), 24-27

Fig.3. Starch grains distribution in the tuber under polarized light microscope.
SG-Starch grains, VE- Vessel Elements, SSG- Simple Starch grains, CSG-Compound starch grains

a)

b)

Fig.4. Transverse section of a thin root. a) Outer zone; b) Inner zone


Ep-Epidermis, Co-Cortex, SPh- Secondary Phloem, XF- Xylem fibres, Ve-Vessel, SX-Secondary xylem, XR-Xylem Rays, PX-Protoxylem.

Fig.5. Crystals and Starch grains distribution in root under polarized light microscope.
Pe-Periderm, Co-Cortex, Cr-Crystals, SG-Starch grains, SC-Sclereids

26

C. Nisha Shri et al., Int J Pharm Biomed Res 2010, 1(1), 24-27
Table 1
Ash values, moisture content and extractive values of root and rhizome of
Corallocarpus epigaeus
S. No
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Constants
Total ash
Acid insoluble ash
Water soluble ash
Sulphated ash
Loss on drying
Alcohol soluble extractive
Water soluble extractive

Values (%)
3.695
0.24495
0.8933
4.17
3.89
2.704
20.776

Table 2
Solvent extractive values of root and rhizome of Corallocarpus epigaeus
S. No
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Solvent extracts
Petroleum ether extract
Ethyl acetate extract
Chloroform extract
Alcohol extract
Aqueous extract

Values (%)
0.825
1.0241
1.1110
3.826
25.7

Table 3
Fluorescence characteristics of different extracts of root and rhizome of
Corallocarpus epigaeus
S. No
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Extracts
Petroleum ether extract
Ethyl acetate extract
Chloroform extract
Alcohol extract
Aqueous extract

Day light
Yellow
Yellow
Pale yellow
Reddish brown
Pale yellow

UV light
Green
Green fluorescence
Green
Green fluorescence
Green fluorescence

Table 4
Preliminary phytochemical screening of various root and rhizome extracts of
Corallocarpus epigaeus
Constituents

Petroleum
ether
extract

Ethyl
acetate
extract

+
+

Chloroform Alcohol
extract
extract

Carbohydrates

Alkaloids
+
Proteins & amino

acids
Saponins

Tannins &

phenolic
compounds
Phytosterols

Fixed oils

Glycosides

Flavanoids

+
Gums & mucilage

+ = presence of constituent; = absence of constituent

Aqueous
extract

+
+
+

+
+
+

+
+

+
+

transverse section of root, secondary xylem and secondary


phloem which are of anomalous type are seen. Starch grains
are abundant in parenchyma (Fig.4 and Fig.5).
The macroscopic as well as microscopic studies of
Corallocarpus epigaeus revealed that by using their
diagnostic features one can identify this plant very easily for
further investigations. The information obtained from ash
values and extractive values are also useful during the
collection and also during the extraction process. These
values are helpful to identify the sample of genuine drug
(Table 1). The coarse powder of the shade dried root and
rhizome of the plant were extracted successively with

27

Table 5
Rf values of solutes separated from the various extracts of root and rhizome
of Corallocarpus epigaeus
Solvent system

Extracts

Toluene: Ethyl acetate:


Diethyl amine (7:2:1)

Ethyl acetate extract


Chloroform extract
Alcohol extract
Aqueous extract
Ethyl acetate extract
Chloroform extract
Alcohol extract
Aqueous extract
Ethyl acetate extract
Chloroform extract
Alcohol extract
Aqueous extract
Ethyl acetate extract
Chloroform extract
Alcohol extract
Aqueous extract

Chloroform: Diethyl
amine (9:1)
Methanol: Ammonia
(200:3)
Methanol: Chloroform
(3:17)

Number
of spots
1
3
-

Rf value
0.84
0.69, 0.80, 0.90
-

different solvents viz. petroleum ether, ethyl acetate,


chloroform, methanol and water (Table 2). The different
crude extracts were also examined under day light and UV
light to find out the presence of fluorescence compound
within them (Table 3). All the extracts were subjected to
preliminary identification of phyto constituents which
showed the presence of carbohydrates, flavonoids, alkaloids,
mucilages, proteins and amino acids (Table 4). All the
extracts were subjected to thin layer chromatography by
using different solvent systems. One spot was located in the
solvent systems methanol: ammonia (200:3) of alcohol
extract and three spots were located in solvent system of
methanol: chloroform (3:17) of the alcohol extract. This
further indicates the presence of alkaloids (Table 5).
4. CONCLUSIONS
The pharmacognostical study which includes
macroscopy, microscopy, physic chemical constants and
fluorescence analysis gives valuable information. This will
help for correct identification of this plant for future
investigation. The preliminary phytochemical studies show
the presence of carbohydrates, flavanoids, alkaloids,
mucilages, proteins and amino acids.
REFERENCES
[1] Chopra, R.N., Nayar, S.C., Chopra, I.C., Glossary of Indian Medicinal
Plants, Council of scientific and industrial research, New Delhi 1956.
[2] Kirtikar, K.R, Basu B.D., Indian Medicinal Plants, International Book
Distributors, Dehradun 1988.
[3] Wallis, T.E., Text Book of Pharmacognosy, CBS publishers, 1985.
[4] Iyengar, M.A., Nayak, S.G.K., Pharmacognosy Lab Manual, 1994.
[5] Kokate, C.K., Purohit, A.P., Gokhale, S.B., Text Book of
Pharmacognosy, Nirali Prakashan 2007.
[6] Kokate, C.K., Practical Pharmacognosy, Vallabh prakashan, New Delhi
1994.
[7] Randerath, K., Thin Layer Chromatography, Academic press, New
York 1966.
[8] Harborne, J.B., Phytochemical Methods. A Guide to Modern Techniques
of Plant Analysis, Chapman and Hall, New York 1992.