Dr Vikas Sharma & Shilpa Raina
Cordia dichotoma commonly known as ‘Lasoda’ is another plant from the Jammu subtropics, a member of the Boraginaceae family and has been historically used to treat a number of human ailments in India. It is most widespread in tropical / subtropical regions and is found in the sub-Himalayan and outer ranges. It can be found in a variety of forests, from the dry deciduous forests of Rajasthan to the wet deciduous forests of India’s Western Ghats. The species is common in the Philippines and can be found in thickets. It is also found in Southern China and Formosa, as well as in other places such as Peninsular Malaysia, Tropical Australia and Polynesia. The species is propagated by seeds. It’s a small to medium-sized deciduous tree with a bent trunk, a low bole and a sprawling crown. The leaves are elliptic-lanceolate to long ovate, simple, entire and slightly dentate, with a round and cordate base. The bark on the stem is grayish brown and smooth or wrinkled longitudinally. Flowers have small stalks, are bisexual and range in color from white to pinkish. Fruits with a sticky flesh mass are edible. The whole plant of C. dichotoma is edible and used as food. Immature fruits are pickled and used as vegetables. According to ethnopharmacological studies, the plant has anticancer, antimicrobial, antibiotic-modifying, anti-inflammatory, anti-nociceptive, anti-fertility, anti-snake bite, hypolipidemic, immunomodulatory, insecticidal and antioxidant properties.
Experiments have shown the detection of several groups of secondary metabolites in lasoda. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids, coumarins, flavonoids, saponins, terpenes and sterols were found in the fruits and leaves. The plant’s polysaccharide gum is used in a variety of medicinal applications. The fruit contains chromium, which has anti-diabetic properties. Fruit also includes antinutritional elements including phytic acid, phytate, phosphate and oxalic acid. Lasoda seeds have been shown to contain a number of chemicals, fatty acids such as palmitic acid, stearic acid, arachidic acid, behenic acid, oleic acid and linoleic acid as well as ?-amyrins, betulin, octacosanol, lupeol-3-rhamnoside, ?-sitosterol, ?-sitostero-l3-glucoside, hentricontanol, hentricontane, taxifolin-3,5-dirhamnoside, hesperitin-7-rhamnoside. Seed also contains four flavonoid glycosides (robinin, rutin, rutoside, datiscoside and hesperidin), a flavonoid aglycone (dihydrorobinetin) and two phenolic derivatives (chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid). Seeds have important anti-inflammatory activity due to ?-amyrins and taxifolin-3,5-dirhamnoside (71.4 percent and 67.8 percent respectively).
Anti-cancer Role: Cancer is a lethal illness that is afflicting mankind today, and it has arisen as a major health issue in both developed and emerging countries, as well as being recognised as a major cause of morbidity, death and disability in India. Cancer-related mortality has increased in J&K in recent years, but most cancer chemotherapy medications show cell toxicity and can cause genotoxic, carcinogenic and teratogenic effects in non-tumor cells. As a result, one significant research area is the quest for natural-source alternative medicines that are less harmful, have less adverse effects and are more potent in their mode of action. Lasoda has promising anticancer efficacy against various human cancer cell lines and induces apoptosis in them, including breast cancer (MCF-7), prostate cancer (PC-3), cervical cancer (HeLa) and lung cancer (A-549). What is interesting in these discoveries is that it is a plant with anti-disease potential. Since a variety of active constituents are yet to be studied, natural products derived from this plant may include new sources of drugs. As a result, attempts are still being made to find successful naturally occurring anti-carcinogens that can deter, delay or reverse the progression of cancer. Although the Jammu Division has a rich botanical diversity, this kandi belt plant has not been subjected to agreed scientific assessment for its possible anticancer effects. The Division of Biochemistry at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology of Jammu (SKUAST-J) is conducting research in partnership with the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, Jammu (IIIM-CSIR) to identify the different sections of this plant from the Jammu subtropics that have anticancer potential and can be used to treat cancer.
(The writers are from SKAUST-J).