Gunja – Indian Wild Liquorice

Abrus precatorius Linn.

Family _ Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat _ Throughout the country, ascending to an altitude of about 1050 m in the outer Himalayas.

English _ Indian Wild Liquorice,

Jequirity, Crab’s Eye, Precatory Bean.

Ayurvedic _ Gunjaa, Gunjaka, Chirihintikaa, Raktikaa, Chirmiti, Kakanti, Kabjaka, Tiktikaa, Kaakananti, Kaakchinchi. (Not to be used as a substitute for liquorice.)

Unani _ Ghunghchi, Ghamchi.

Siddha/Tamil _ Kunri.

Folk _ Chirmiti, Ratti.

Action _ Uterine stimulant, abortifacient, toxic.

Seeds—teratogenic. A paste of seeds is applied on vitiligo patches. Along with other therapeutic applications,

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India has indicated the use of seeds in baldness.

Seeds contain abrin, a toxalbumin, indole derivatives, anthocyanins, sterols, terpenes. Abrin causes agglutination

of erythrocytes, haemolysis and enlargement of lymph glands. A nontoxic dose of abrin (1.25 mcg/kg body weight), isolated from the seeds of redvar., exhibited a noticeable increase in antibody-forming cells, bone marrow cellularity and alpha-esterase-positive bone marrow cells.

Oral administration of agglutinins, isolated from the seeds, is useful in the treatment of hepatitis and AIDS.

Theseed extract exhibited antischistosomal activity in male hamsters.

The methanolic extract of seeds inhibited the motility of human spermatozoa.

The roots contain precol, abrol, glycyrrhizin

(1.5%) and alkaloids—abrasine and precasine. The roots also contain triterpenoids—abruslactone A, methyl abrusgenate and abrusgenic acid.

Alkaloids/bases present in the roots are also present in leaves and stems.

  1. fruticulosus Wall. Ex Wight and Arn. synonym A. pulchellus Wall., A. laevigatus E. May.

(Shveta Gunjaa) is also used for the same medicinal purposes

as A. precatorius.

Dosage [1] Detoxified seed—1–3 g

powder. Root powder—3–6 g. (API Vols. I, II.)


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