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Calotropis procera

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Botanical Name : Calotropis procera
English Name:  Swallow-Wort, Sodom Apple, Dead Sea Apple   
Sanskrit Name: Arka, Alarka
Family: Asteraceae    

Plant Part Used: Flower  , Root            

Description of Calotropis procera:

It is found in most parts of the world in dry, sandy and alkaline soils and warm climate. In India it is found from Punjab and Rajasthan to Assam and Kanyakumari. Up to an altitude of 1050 m. It grows abundantly in Rajasthan. It is found in its waste lands and grows as a weed in agricultural lands. It grows well on rubbish heaps, waste and fallow lands, roadsides and sand dunes.

Erect, tall, large, much branched and perennial shrubs or small trees that grow to a height of 5.4 m., with milky latex throughout. Bark is soft and corky. Branches stout, terete with fine appressed cottony pubescence (especially on young). Leaves sub-sessile, opposite, decusate, broadly ovate-oblong, elliptic or obovate, acute, thick, glaucous, green, covered with fine cottony pubescent hair on young but glabrous later and base cordate. Flowers in umbellate-cymes and tomentose on young. Calyx glabrous, ovate and acute. Corolla glabrous, lobes errect, ovate, acute, coronal scales 5-6, latterly compressed and equally of exceeding the staminal column. Folicles are sub-globose or ellipsoid or ovoid. Seeds broadly ovate, acute, flattened, minutely tomentose, brown coloured and silky coma is 3.2 cm long.



Principal Constituent:

In leaves mudarine is isolated as principal active constituent. Besides a yellow bitter acid, resin and 3 toxic glycosides calotropin, uscharin and calotoxin. In latex a powerful bacteriolytic enzyme, a very toxic glycoside calactin (which concentration is increased on insect or grass hopper attack as defense mechanism), calotropin D I, calotrapin D II, calotropin F I, calotropin F II and a non toxic protealytic enzyme calotopin (2-3%) had been identified This calotopin is more proteolytic than papain, and bromelain and coagulates milk, digests meat, gelatin and casein. whole plant contains a- and b-amyrin, b-amyrin, teraxasterol, gigantin, giganteol, isogiganteol, b-sitosterol and a wax.



The crude extract of C.procera and its protein fraction were found to possess high fibrinolytic and anticoagulant activity in rabbit and human plasma.The alcoholic extract of leaves and roots were found to have anticancer activity against human epidermal carcinoma of the nasopharynx in tissue culture. The aqueous and alcoholic extract has slight depression followed by stimulation of the rate and force of myocaedial contraction of isolated frog's heart. It also induce increase in blood pressure in dog, marked contractions in rabbit duodenum, rat's ileum and uterine horn of virgin rat. Aqueous extract has mild diuretic effect on rat. Latex has anti-inflammatory properties. Petroleum ether extract of flowers showed abortifacient activity.


in higher doses root bark causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Prolonged higher doses cause head ache, burning micturition and leucorrhoea. The latex contains some poisonous constituents due to which it has a caustic effect on mucous membrane and tender skin. It increases heartbeat and respiration in animals leading to distress and death. Accidental splashing of latex in to the eye causes congestion of the eye with tear and local anaesthesia, followed by deeper effect due to absorption. Caloropin is one of the most violent poisons substances known. It is 15-20 times more toxic than strychnine.

Medicinal Uses:

The medicinal properties are similar to C.gigantea. It has bitter, healing, laxative and anthemintic properties that relieves strangury, cures ulcers, acts as an expectorant. Its leaves are used to relieve stomach pain. Its flower is a tonic, appetiser, stomachic, that cures piles, asthma and wounds. Its milky juice is a blistering agent. Its flowers are useful in cholera.

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