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Pharmacognosy Journal, 2013; 5(4):163-169
Original Article | doi:10.1016/j.phcgj.2013.07.004

Investigation into the pharmacognostical and phytochemical features of seeds of Ensete superbum (Roxb.) Cheesman: An unexplored medicinal plant of India

Authors and affiliation (s):

Saroj Kumar Vasundharana, Jaishanker Raghunathana, Annamalai Arunachalamb,*, Sunil Kumar Koppala Narayanac

aSchool of Ecological Informatics, Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management e Kerala, Trivandrum 695 581, India

bDepartment of Biotechnology, School of Biotechnology & Health Sciences, Karunya University, Coimbatore 641 114, Tamil Nadu, India

cPharmacognosy and Phytochemistry Division, SDM Centre for Research in Ayurveda and Allied Sciences, Udupi 574 118, India


Introduction: Ensete superbum (Roxb.) Cheesman, a wild banana species endemic to the Western Ghats, northeastern hills of India and northern Thailand. The seeds are known for their medicinal value and are widely used by indigenous healers as remedy for human disorders. Methods: Systematic pharmacognostical evaluation of seeds of the plant has been carried out with focus on physicochemical and phytochemical characterization. Results: Macroscopical and microscopical features of the seed have been documented. Preliminary phytochemical investigations indicated presence of steroid, terpenoids, alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins and sugars. HPTLC fingerprint profile was developed for identification of active compounds. Discussion: E. superbum is an under-exploited medicinal plant of immense utility. The seeds are utilized by indigenous communities to cure various human ailment without adverse or side effects The present study has unveiled standardization of macroscopic and microscopic characterizations of the seed coat, embryo and perisperm powder. Seeds of E. superbum comprises of hard seed coat, perisperm, endosperm, embryo and chalazal disk. The seed coat consists of exotesta and Mesotesta made from sclerenchyma cells. The silica layer present in seed coat increases the strength and hardness of testa. Determination of physico-chemical parameters for endosperm and testa of seeds are subjected as per standard methods. HPTLC fingerprint profile has also been recorded for identification of the E. superbum extract. Phytochemical entities such as steroid, terpenoids, alkaloids, flavanoids, tannins and sugar were detected by colour tests. The standard tests conducted in the present investigation are important and useful in determining authenticity and purity of crude seed powder drug of E. superbum. Conclusion: These parameters can be utilized for quick identification of the drug and are useful in establishing the identity of this medicinal material as whole or even in the form of powder.

Key words: Cliff banana,HPTLC,Macro-microscopy,Musaceae,Standardization.


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