E-ISSN No: 2455 - 7218

P-ISSN No: 0019 - 4468

Listed in UGC Care

Plant profile, phytochemistry, pharmacology and genetic diversity of Saraca asoca: a vulnerable medicinal tree of India

Shukla Saluja*, Yogendra K. Gautam

Saraca asoca, commonly known as ‘Ashoka’, is an important ancient and indigenous medicinal plant, found throughout India. The word ‘Ashoka’ means ‘remover of sorrow’ in Sanskrit, with reference to its bark keeping women healthy and youthful. It is also an important sacred and religious tree. Although the bark is most useful, every part of the plant including flower, leaves, root and seeds has medicinal properties and has been used in Ayurvedic medicinal preparations for centuries. The bark contains glycoside, tannins, flavanoids, saponins, esters and primary alcohols which contribute to its medicinal properties. Overexploitation, unethical harvesting and deforestation of natural habitats have reduced its population in the wild, and consequently the species is being listed in the ‘globally vulnerable’ category by the IUCN. Increased market demand has resulted in adulteration with substitutes. This review is an attempt to consolidate the current knowledge of scientific information on the therapeutic properties, phytochemistry, pharmacology, relationship among related taxa and genetic diversity of the species

Keywords Alternative medicine, Ashoka, Genetic variation, Medicinal plant, Pharmacology, Phytoconstituents