Holarrhena antidysenterica Linn. – A Review


Gopinath G, Thirumal M*, P. R. Kumar

Department of Pharmacognosy, SRM College of Pharmacy, Kattankulathur - 603203

*Corresponding Author E-mail: thirumal_sel@yahoo.co.in



Holarrhena antidysenterica belongs to the family Apocynaceae is commonly known as kurchi in Hindi, Tellicherry bark in English is a small deciduous tree which is distributed throughout the world and in India, it is found in dry forests. In Indian traditional medicine, H. antidysenterica is popularly used as a medication for dysentery, diarrhoea and intestinal worms. Plant parts such as bark are used to treat anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, analgesics, amoebiasis, chronic bronchitis, locally for boils, ulcers; a decoction of the bark is used in bleeding and piles. The phytochemicals present in the plant include coumarins, ergosterol, flavonoids, phenolic acids, resins, saponins, steroidal alkaloids, tannins, triterpenoids. Pharmacological studies include anti-amnesic, neuroprotective, acetylcholinesterase inhibitory, anti-diabetic, anti-urolithic, antibacterial activity, anti-haemorrhoidal, analgesic activity, anti-inflammatory, anti-malarial, anti-diarrhoeal, anti-mutagenic, antihypertensive activity, antioxidant/free radical scavenging property, diuretic activity, anti-amoebic, anthelminthic, anti-microbial and anti-MRSA properties of Holarrhena antidysenterica. This review article explored the detailed investigation of the botanical description, phytochemistry and pharmacological actions of Holarrhena antidysenterica to afford an objective for further research.


KEYWORDS: Holarrhena antidysenterica, alkaloids, anti-amoebic, anti-diarrhoeal.





Holarrhena antidysenterica belongs to the family Apocynaceae is commonly known as Kurchi in Hindi, Tellicherry bark in English is a small deciduous tree with white flowers. The plant is distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world and in India, it is distributed over the altitudes of up to 4000ft and also found in the dry forest.1-3 In Indian traditional medicine, H. antidysentrica is popularly used as a medication for dysentery, diarrhoea and intestinal worms.1 Plant parts such as bark are used to treat anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, analgesics,4,5 amoebiasis, chronic bronchitis, locally for boils, ulcers,6 a decoction of the bark is used in bleeding and piles.7 Root and bark were found to be an excellent remedy for acute and chronic dysentery in case of excessive blood with mucous and colic pain with stools.8


Seeds play a major role in Ayurveda for the treatment of flatulence, jaundice, piles, and worms.6 Hydro-alcoholic extracts of seeds were reported to have anti-urolithic activity in both in-vitro and in-vivo methods and it prevents the calcium oxalate crystals aggregation.9 Stem bark was used for skin disease by the tribes of Andhra Pradesh.10 Methanolic extract of stem bark was found to be effective in inflammatory bowel disease.7 Leaves of the plant were claimed to cure scabies.11 The plant is also reported to have anti-diarrhoeal, anti-helminthic, appetizing, asthma, astringent, bronchitis, bronchopneumonia, eczema, epilepsy, fever, jaundice, leprosy, piles and spermatorrhea.12,13 It also possesses immune-modulating agent, larval growth inhibitor property and acts against malaria and vaginitis.8 It contains gut stimulating and inhibitory constituents which mediates its effects through histaminergic and calcium antagonist pathways respectively.10



Holarrhena antidysenterica is a short term tree with a small to a huge height up to 30 to 40 feet producing milky white, thick and less profuse latex. Its leaves are ovate, simple, large, smooth or hairy and opposite to each other. Leaves are 15–30 cm × 4–12cm in size. Its base is obtuse, generally rounded or acute. Leaves nerves are 10 to 14 pairs, opposite and sessile. Its petioles are 1.5cm in length and cymes are 3 to 6cm in diameter. Seeds are 1-2cm long, linear or oblong with long coma shaped or boat-shaped which is light brown to brownish in color and shows epigeal germination. Hairs are present at the apex of the seeds and short-lived. The stem bark of the plant is smooth or rough, pale brown to greyish brown in color which peels off in irregular patches with bitter in taste. The root bark is reddish-brown in color. Plant flowers in the month of April to July which is white, small and arranged in a cluster and glimpse like a flattened top. Petals are disc-shaped and overlay at the right side and corolla 3-4 times longer than calyx; anthers are present inside the corolla tube. It fruits from August to October. The fruits have small, long follicles having white spots on the surface. Dried fruits when busted it releases numerous flat seeds with brown hairs.14-19



Kingdom            :  Plantae

Subkingdom     :  Tracheobionta

Super division   :  Spermatophyta

Division              :  Magnoliophyta

Class                   :  Magnoliopsida

Subclass             : Asteridae

Order                  :  Gentianales

Family                :  Apocynaceae

Genus                 :  Holarrhena

Species               :  antidysenterica



Bengal                :  Kurchi, Kureya

Bombay            :  Pandhra, Kura

English               :  Kurchi, Conessi Or Tellicherry Bark

French                :  Ecoore-De Codagapala

Gujarat              :  Indrajavanu

Hindi                  :  Karchi, Kura

Punjab               :  Kewar, Kura

Sanskrit:            :  Kutaja, Kalinga, Vatsika, Girimallika

Tamil                  :  Kashappu, Vetpalarishi, Veppalai

Telugu                :  Kaka, Kodise



Chemical constituent’s present in Holarrhena antidysenterica was found mostly in the stem, leaves, bark, and seeds. The primary phytoconstituents are coumarins, ergosterol, flavonoids, phenolic acids, resins, saponins, steroidal alkaloids, tannins, triterpenoids.21-23 The alkaloids discovered from different parts of plants are indexed below.


From stem bark and seeds:

20-Aminoconanines, 3-Aminoconanines, 3,20-Diaminopregnanes, 3-Aminopregnans, Conanines, Conarrhimine [C21H34N2], Conessimine/Isoconessimine [C23H38N2], Conessine [C24H40N2], Isoconessine [C24H40N2] and their derivatives. A new steroidal alkaloid was also extracted, characterized and named as holadysenterine corresponded to the molecular formula [C23H38N2O3].24,25


From stem bark:

(20)-N-Methylholarrhimine [C22H38N2O], (3)-N-Methylholarrhimine[C22H38N2O], 3a-Aminoconan-5-ene [C22H36N2], 7α-Hydroxyconessine [C24H40N2O], Conamine [C22H36N2], Conessidine [C21H32N2], Conkurchine [C20H32N2], Conkurchinine [C25H36N2], Di-hydro-isoconessimine [C23H40N2], Holacetine [C21H32N2O3], Holacine [C26H44N2O2], Holadiene [C22H31NO], Holadysenterine [C23H38N2O3], Holadysone [C21H28O4], Holafrine [C29H46N2O2], Holarrhenine [C24H40N2O], Holarrhessimine [C22H36N2O], Holarrhidine [C21H36N2O], Holarrhimine/Kurchicine [C21H36N2O], Holarrhine [C20H38N2O3], Holarrifine [C24H38N2O2], Holonamine, Kurchamide, Kurchamine [C22H36N2], Kurchenine [C21H32N2O2], Kurchessine [C25H44N2], Kurchilidine [C22H31NO], Kurchimine [C22H36N2], Kurchinidine [C21H29NO2], Kurchinine [C19H24O3], Kurcholessine, Lettocine [C17H25NO2], Neoconessine (isomer of conessine) [C24H40N2], NNN’N’-Tetramethylholarrhimine [C25H44N2O], Norholadiene [C21H29NO], Pubadysone [C21H26O3], Pubamide [C21H27NO3], Pubescimine [C24H40N2O], Pubescine [C22H26N2O4], Puboestrene [C20H24O3], Regholarrhenine A [C22H31NO2], Regholarrhenine B [C21H29NO2], Regholarrhenine C [C22H34N2], Regholarrhenine D [C23H38N2O], Regholarrhenine E [C25H44N2O2], Regholarrhenine F [C25H44N2O], Trimethylconkurchine [C24H38N2].5,22-24,26-30


From leaves:

Following compounds were isolated and reported from the leaves namely Holarosine A [C30H47NO6], Holarosine B [C30H47NO6], Holarricine [C21H32N2O3], Holantosine-A [C28H47NO6], Holantosine-B [C28H45NO5], Holantosine-C [C28H47NO6], Holantosine-D [C28H45NO5], Holantosine-E [C28H47NO6], Holantosine-F [C28H45NO5],21 Kurchiphyllamine, Kurchaline,31 Kurchiphylline [C23H47NO2].27


From seeds:

Antidysentericine [C23H36N2O],24,32 Conimine [C22H36N2]33 were isolated and reported.



Anti-amnesic activity:

Ethanolic extract of seeds administered for 28 days to the independent groups of STZ moderately diminished the level of AChE when compared to the diseased group, blocked the elevation in MDA levels and GSH reduction in a dose-dependent manner. Cholinergic dysfunction was resolved by acetyl cholinesterase activity. Decreased level of AChE, prevented levels of MDA and Glutathione exhibited the anti-amnesic property of Holarrhena antidysenterica.34


Neuroprotective activity:

Treatment with Methanolic Extract of Holarrhena antidysenterica (MEHA) moderately prevented in bodyweight reduction when compared to the diabetic control group, rise in blood glucose and moderate depletion in plasma cholesterol. HbA1C level was studied as a key indicator of AGEs and in the present study treatment with MEHA inhibited this raised level of HbA1c. MEHA treated rats demonstrated development in locomotion when compared to their non-treated group indicate the avoidance of diabetic neuropathy.35


Acetylcholinesterase inhibitory:

The alkaloidal extract of seed was found to have 91% inhibition of acetylcholine esterase.36,37 The entire alkaloid extract from seeds actively inhibits the acetyl cholinesterase with an inhibitory concentration of 6.1 μg/mL, except huperzine A which shows inhibition at an inhibitory concentration of 0.015μg/mL.25


Anti-diabetic activity:

Plant Extracts contains a potential anti-diabetic effect.38,39 Ethanolic extract of plant moderately decreased plasma glucose levels 30mins after administration to rats which has normal glucose level. The total cholesterol, triglyceride, AST, ALT, urea and serum creatinine and blood glucose level was decreased by both ethanolic and methanolic extract of the plant.5,40 These parameters indicate that plant possess better metabolic control and potent anti-diabetic effect.


Hepatic glucose-6-phosphatase is an essential enzyme in glucose homeostasis which is regulated by insulin in a negative way.41,42 Due to inulin recovery, the significant recovery of these biosensors was observed post administration of aqueous extract of the plant.43 Phenolic compounds and flavonoids present in the plant extracts are responsible for the resistance of α-glucosidase activity and subsequently suppress glucose absorption in regarding the control of postprandial hyperglycemia.44,45


Anti-urolithic activity:

Hydro-methanolic extracts of seed moderately reduce the intensity of calcium oxalate crystals and convert them into calcium oxalate dehydrate from calcium oxalate monohydrates (COM) in vitro and thereby conceal COM induced cell toxicity and lactate dehydrogenase production. After administration of extract in male Wistar rats, there is a considerable reduction in polyuria, water consumption, calcium ions excretion and crystal formation.8


Anti-bacterial activity and anti-haemorrhoidal action:

Bark, seeds, callus extracts of the plant possess promising antibacterial activity over Staphylococcus, Salmonella and E. coli.7 The plant also inhibited adhesion of enteropathogenic E.coli on host epithelial cells.46,47


“Kutaja tvak churna” an ayurvedic preparation of stem bark extract exhibited healing property in bleeding piles.48


Analgesic Activity and Anti-inflammatory:

Carrageenan induced rat paw edema was inhibited by the methanolic leaf extract of the plant. Furthermore, it also suppressed the writhing response in a dose-dependent manner induced by acetic acid and demonstrated the analgesic efficacy by improving tail-flick latency.15,49 Ethanolic plant extract showed an analgesic effect by suppressing writhing response in albino mice.50,51 H. antidysenterica treatment also prevented rupture of goblet cells, inflammatory cellular infiltration and inflammation in mucosal layer.6


Anti-malarial property:

Conessine extracted from the stem bark of the plant exhibited the effective anti-plasmodial property, with the reproducible inhibitory concentration of 1.3μg/ml in-vitro experiments and in-vivo experiment 88.95% suppression of parasitemia when administered at 10 mg/kg. Bark extract exhibited significant results in-vitro study and exhibited anti-malarial property resistance to Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium berghei affected albino mice in-vivo.33 Due to malarial infection, increased level of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and bilirubin were observed which indicates the hepatocytic damage.52,53


Anti-diarrhoeal activity:

Castor oil and E.coli induced diarrhoea in rats when treated with ethanolic extract of seed exhibited an increase in density of their dry feces and suppression in defecation drops.15 Aqueous extract and alcoholic extracts of bark were well-known to resist entero invasive E. coli (EIEC), Salmonella enteritidis, Shigella boydii, and Shigella flexneri.54 In rats diarrhoea were induced by castor oil, a marketed preparation of H. antidysenterica, kutaja parpati vati revealed significant reduction in watery diarrhoea and motility of small intestine content. Moreover, it showed significant 67.55% protection against castor oil-induced enter polling.55


Anti-mutagenic and Anti-hypertensive Activity:

Methanolic extract of plant bark was found to exhibit anti-mutagenic efficiency in mutagenicity induced Salmonella typhimurium strains.56 Inhibition of adequate 24% angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), after administration of ethanolic extracts of plant seed, was revealed.57 For antihypertensive activity, Endophytes were obtained from the fungal extract of H. antidysenterica and dissolved in 20% methanol, which exhibited 60% angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition.58


Antioxidant/free radical scavenging property:

Oxidative damage of the tissues was healed and protected by free radical scavenging compounds.  In a recent study methanolic leaf extracts of plant exhibits the anti-oxidant property that scavenges superoxide ions and OH­- ions with less ability to convert ferric ion to ferrous ion. Further, these effects were observed to be equivalent to the concentration of the extract.14 Aqueous methanolic extract of seed was observed to inhibit deoxyribose degradation by OH- ions, deterioration of H2O2, nitrite formation by facing O2and lipid peroxidation, all the above from the fraction extracted from ethyl acetate.59


Diuretic activity:

Excess of urine output was recognized in Wistar rats after application of aqueous seed extracts of the plant at dose varied from 30 to100mg/kg. A considerable rise in the volume of sodium and potassium ions released through urine was observed.60,61


Anti-amoebic activity:

Routine consumption of the bark powder for two weeks entirely retained patients with amoebiasis. “Amoebian cap”, a medication for amoebiasis contains one of the constituents from plant H. antidysenterica was studied for its therapeutic effect against amoebiasis.62,63


Anthelminthic and anti-microbial activity:

Aqueous extract and ethanolic extracts of plant bark on earthworm exhibited considerable outcome in-vitro activity. Ethanolic extracts of seed exhibited resistance to EPEC bacteria depending on the concentration of extract. Since EPEC exhibited resistance to numerous antibiotics, the ethanolic extract is investigated as a potent antibacterial agent.48,64 In a later study, pet.ether bark extract was found to inhibit E. coli at a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 50mg/ml simultaneously methanol and chloroform extracts inhibit at higher concentrations. Yet Holarrhena antidysenterica exhibited significant activity when compared to other plants.65


Anti-MRSA activity:

Plant bark extract was found to possess Anti-methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (Anti-MRSA) property at inhibition zone size varied from 11- 44mm and minimum inhibitory concentration ranged from 0.32-3.25mg/mL.66


Hepatoprotective effect and Anti-convulsant activity:

A study revealed that treatment of plant likely to reduce the severity of liver damage, the formation of fibrous septa and also restricts liver weight loss induced by PCM. Therefore, the plant is considered as prevailing hepatoprotective agent.67 Ethanolic extract of the plant exhibited the anticonvulsant activity in mice and hence possesses promising anticonvulsant activity against MES and PTZ induced seizures.68



Ailments have been related to people since their existence. There are enormous measures of natural medications that are stay covered up for the decades. Holarrhena antidysenterica is a promising medicinal plant with a wide scope of pharmacological activities which could be used in a few therapeutic applications due to its efficacy and safety. H.antidysenterica has been generally used to treat ailments like looseness of the bowels, diarrhoea, inflammation, anti-oxidant and against the malarial activity. This plant contains unidentified chemical constituents that are valuable for pharmacists to synthesize and formulate novel medications for different infections.



The authors are grateful to the Dean and faculties of SRM College of Pharmacy SRMIST, Kattankulathur for the facilities.



The authors declare no conflict of interest.



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Received on 17.08.2019         Modified on 31.10.2019

Accepted on 12.11.2019         © RJPT All right reserved

Research J. Pharm. and Tech. 2020; 13(4): 2011-2016.

DOI: 10.5958/0974-360X.2020.00362.5