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All you would like to know about widely used herb in Diabetes.

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Pterocarpus marsupium Roxb. (Fabaceae) commonly known as Bijasal, Vijaysar or  Indian Kino is important plant used traditionally for the treatment of Diabetes. Several chemical constituents like pterostilbene, epicatechin, pterosupin, marsupsin, etc., have been identified and isolated. Pterocarpus marsupium extract shows promising results in cataract and hypertriglyceridaemia. This plant has various pharmacological activities like anti-diabetic, antifungal, antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective etc.

Classification & Common Name:

Botanical name : Pterocarpus Marsupium

Sanskrit Name   : Asana, Beejaka

Family Name      : Fabaceae

Other Names      : Vijayasar, Vijaysaar, Vijaysar, Bijasal, Indian Kino Tree,Malabar Kino Tree, Kino, Bija Saar, Bila, Asana,Beejaka, Petaca, Bandhukavriksha, Venga etc.

Parts Used           : Heart Wood.


Bio energetics of Vijaysar (Indian Kino/Pterocarpus Marsupium):

Rasa (Taste) Kashaya (Astringent), Tikta (Bitter)
Guna (Characteristics) – Lakhu (Light), Ruksha (Rough)
Veerya (Potency) – Sheeta (Cold)
Vipaka (Post digestion effect)-  Katu (Pungent)

Effect of Vijaysar (Indian Kino/Pterocarpus Marsupium) on Tridosha (Three bio humors):

Vijaysar pacifies Kapha and Pitta Doshas so it can be used effectively in management of the diseases which originate from aggravation of Kapha/ Pitta or both.  The heart wood is astringent, bitter acrid, anti inflammatory, anthelmintic, anodyne. The aqueous extract from the heart wood of the tree demonstrates to reduce the glucose absorption from the gastrointestinal tract, and improve insulin and pro-insulin levels. It also said to be effective in beta-cell regeneration.

Chemical composition: 

Pterocarpus Marsupium Roxb. is reported to be a rich source of polyphenolic compounds. [Seshadri T R, Phytochemistry, 11 (1972) 881] Various researchers have isolated a number of compounds from extracts of Pterocarpus marsupium, viz. pstilbene, pterostilbene ,β-eudesmol, triterpene alcohol, erythrodiol-3-monoacetate, catechin, epicatechin, pseudobaptigenin, liquiritigenin, garbanzol,5-deoxykaempferol, chalcone, isoliquiritigenin,dihydrochalcone, pterosuprin and aromatic aldehyde, p-hydroxy benzaldehyde, marsupol (4,4 dihydroxy- L-methylhydrobenzoin), pterocarpols A and B(ref.9) and other phenolic compounds

Five new flavonoid C-glucosides, 6-hydroxy-2-(4-hydroxybenzyl)-benzofuran-7-C-beta-d-glucopyranoside (1), 3-(alpha-methoxy-4-hydroxybenzylidene)-6-hydroxybenzo-2(3H)-furanone-7-C-beta-d-glucopyranoside (2), 2-hydroxy-2-p-hydroxybenzyl-3(2H)-6-hydroxybenzofuranone-7-C-beta-d-glucopyranoside (4), 8-(C-beta-d-glucopyranosyl)-7,3',4'-trihydroxyflavone (5) and 1,2-bis(2,4-dihydroxy,3-C-glucopyranosyl)-ethanedione (6) and two known compounds C-beta-d-glucopyranosyl-2,6-dihydroxyl benzene (7) and sesquiterpene (8), were isolated from an aqueous extract of the heartwood of Pterocarpus marsupium.

[Phytochemistry 04 Apr;65(7):915.20. Constituents of Pterocarpus Marsupium : An Ayurvedic Crude Drug.Medicinal Chemistry Division, Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow-226 001, India. ]

Therapeutic Usage of  Vijaysar

It is popular belief among Ayurveda Practitioners since ancient times that aqueous infusion of heartwood of vijaysar herb significantly reduces blood sugar levels in diabetes.  The blood sugar in diabetes is by usage of aqueous infusion may be possibly due to the transfer of the active anti-diabetic contents into aqueous infusion.  Wood of the tree is useful in making the water tumbler for the diabetic patients [Reddy, 2008]

P. marsupium (Vijaysar / Indian Kino) decreased the blood glucose levels both in normal and non-insulin dependent diabetic (NIDDM) rats .[ Joshi et al., (2004) ]


ICMR study group (2005) has evaluated the efficacy of Vijaysar (P. marsupium) in newly non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. They reported that blood glucose level and mean HbAlc levels were decreased significantly from 151-216mg/dl to 32-45mg/dl and 9.8 to 9.4 % respectively indicating the utility of Vijaysar in NIDDM patients.

It is reported that aqueous extract of Pterocarpus Marsupium (Indian Kino, Vijaysar) given orally is effective in lowering blood sugar among diabetic patients without any toxic symptoms. [Ojha K N, Pabrai Paramjit R & Venkatachalam K, Indian J Pharmacology II, (1949) 188. ]

Due overexploitation of the tree for its various useful applications coupled with low germinability, Pterocarpus marsupium has been included in the list of depleted plant species(Choudhuri and Sarkar, 2002) IUCN Red List has put Pterocarpus Marsupium (Vijaysar, Indian Kino) to Vulnerable (VU) – High risk of endangerment in the wild. The tree is enrolled in the “Red list” due to over-exploration for its various medicinal applications and is on the verge of extinction.

Indian Kino, Pterocarpus marsupium belonging to the family fabaceae is scared potential anti-diabetic drug since ancient times. The heart wood of this leguminous tree is medicinally important and possess novel anti-diabetic principle. Different flavons and flavonoids have been isolated and characterized as main phyto constituents responsible for the well-known sugar lowering effect possessed by this plant. The plant possess various pharmacological properties and the drug is used as astringent, anti-inflammatory, haemostatic, anthelmintic, in chest pain, body pain and in indigestion, in diabetic anemia, elephantiasis, erysipelas, urethrorrhea, anti-cataract, hyperglycemic, anti-hyperlipidemic , cardiotonic activities, hepato-protective and pthalmopathy.

Pterocarpus marsupium a plant drug belonging to the group called rasayana in ayurvedic system of medicine [Agnivesha, Prameha Chikitsa. Charaka Samhita. 5th ed. Varanasi: Choukamba Sanskrita Samsthana; 2001. p. 446-447]

Antidiabetic activity

Aqueous extract of Pterocarpus marsupium at both doses, i.e., 100 and 200 mg/kg, decreased the fasting and postprandial blood glucose in type 2 diabetic rats. The 200 mg/kg had more effect on postprandial hyperglycemia. The drug also improved the body weight of diabetic an imals. Cytokine TNF-αwas found to be elevated in untreated diabetic rats due to chronic systemic inflammation. The aqueous extract at both doses significantly (P < 0.001) decreased the elevated TNF-α level in type 2 diabetic rats .

[Chakravarthy Bk, Gupta S, Gambhir SS, Gode KD. Pancreatic beta cell regeneration a novel antidiabetic mechanism of  Pterocarpus marsupium Roxb. Indian journal of pharmacology. 1980; 12(2): 123-127 ]

Garud N, Garud A, Balakrishnan N, Tomar V.Antidiabetic activity of ethanolic extract of Trigonella foenium seeds and Pterocarpus Marsupium wood. An international Biannual journal. 2009 ;17:45]


Hepatoprotective activity

Methanol extract of the stem bark of P.marsupium possesses hepatoprotective activity. In methanol extract treated animals, the toxic effect of CCl4 was controlled significantly by restoration of the levels of serum bilirubin, protein and enzymes as compared to the normal and the standard drug silymarin-treated groups. Histology of the liver sections of the animals treated with the extracts showed the presence of normal hepatic cords, absence of necrosis and fatty infiltration, which further evidenced the hepato protective activity.

[Rane G ND. Hepatoprotective activity of Pterocarpus marsupium and Butea koen-ex-Roxb. Ind J Pharm Sci 1998; 5: 182-184]


Anti-hyperglycemic and hypoglycemic activity

The hypoglycemic effect of the aqueous extract of the bark of  Pterocarpus marsupium was  investigated in both normal and alloxan-induced diabetic rats. The Aqueous extract of Pterocarpus marsupium reduced the blood sugar levels from 72.32±5.62 to 61.35 ±1.2 mg% 2 h after oral administration of the extract and also significantly lowered the blood glucose in alloxan diabetic rats from 202.91±5.44 to 85.22±11.28 mg% 21 days after daily oral administration of the extract (P<0.001)

[Vats V, Grover JK, Rathi SS. Evaluation of anti-hyperglycemic and hypoglycemic effect of Trigonella foenum-graecumLinn, Ocimum sanctum Linn and Pterocarpus marsupium Linn in normal and alloxanized diabetic rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology . 2002; 79(1):95-100.

Dhanabal SP, Kokate CK, Ramanathan M, Kumar EP, Suresh B. Hypoglycaemic activity of Pterocarpus marsupium Roxb. Phytother apy Research 2006; 20: 4-8]


Anti-hyperinsulinaemic and anti-hypertriglyceridaemic activity

The aqueous extract of Pterocarpus marsupium bark substantially prevented insulin resistance (hyperinsulinaemia) and hypertriglyceridaemia. The ethyl acetate extract of heartwood of Pterocarpus marsupium was given to rats for 14 consecutive days. The results proved that there is a significant reduction of serum triglyceride, total cholesterol, LDL -and VLDL -cholesterol without any significant effect on the level of HDL –cholesterol.


[Jahromi MAF, Ray AB. Antihyperlipidaemic effect of flavonoids from Pterocarpus marsupium . J Nat Prod. 1993;56 (7): 989-994.

Grover JK, Vats V, Yadav SS. Pterocarpus marsupium extract (Vijayasar) prevented the alteration in metabolic pattern induced in the normal rat by feeding an aqueous diet containing fructose as sole carbohydrate. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2005; 7(4): 414-420]


Genotoxic assessment

Since the plant is used as an antidiabetic agent for a longer duration, studies were undertaken to evaluate the genotoxicity of this extract using both somatic cells and germ cells. Results obtained clearly demonstrate that the extract by itself is not genotoxic. Additionally it reduced the genotoxic effect of cyclophosphamide in a dose dependent manner which was comparable to a known antimutagen, vitamin C. Thus this data clearly demonstrates that there are no genotoxic effects after administration of this drug in mice.

[Mahnaz M, Swapnil S, Devasagayam, Ghaskadbi, Saroj S. Genotoxic Assessment of Pterocarpus marsupiumExtract. Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine 2010;7(1):14]