Asoka bark, an important drug used in Ayurveda for the treatment of uterine disorders is an ingredient of well-known formulations like “Ashokarishta” and “Ashokaghrita”. Due to dwindling availability and increasing requirement, the Ayurvedic industry is facing acute shortage of this crude drug. It is one of the most adulterated Ayurvedic raw drugs in the industry.

A scientifically validated substitute has been identified for Asoka by a group of scientists from the Centre for Medicinal Plants Research, Arya Vaidya Sala, Kottakkal. The research team led by Dr. C T Sulaiman, Senior Scientist, Phytochemistry Division under the guidance of Dr. Indira Balachandran, Project Director conducted the work with the financial assistance of National Medicinal Plants Board, Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India.

The study was carried out on the phytochemical and pharmacological evaluation of a few selected bark drugs in comparison with Asoka. Pharmacological evaluation in experimental animals showed that the bark of Shorea robusta, a tree belonging to Dipterocarpaceae family has similar biological properties as Asoka.

The research outcome of this study has been published by world renowned publisher Springer Nature in the current issue of Future Journal of Pharmaceutical sciences. Dr. K M Prabhukumar, Taxonomy division, Mrs. Jyothi C K and Mr. Jinu Krishnan Unnithan are other members of the research team.