Research on the purification process described in ancient Ayurveda classics for Bhallathaka, an important Ayurveda drug, provided valuable information that may lead to the new insight for Cancer research. A group of Scientists from Centre for Medicinal Plants Research, Arya Vaidya Sala Kottakkal conducted the study. Scientifically, Bhallathaka is commonly known as “Marking Nut” is Semecarpus Anacardium, a medicinal plant of the family Anacardiaceae.
In Ayurveda, the Fruit of Bhallathaka is used either as a single drug or as an ingredient in many compound formulations to cure diseases like nervous debility, rheumatism, epilepsy, sciatica, asthma, etc. When used in raw form, it has been reported to cause irritation, blisters, toxicity and contact dermatitis and hence it is advised to be used for medicine preparation only after undertaking a specific purification process known as Shodhana in Ayurveda.
Chemical comparison of raw and purified samples showed that the purification process imparted chemical transformations to toxic compounds and then converted them to nontoxic forms. Pharmacological and toxicological studies in experimental animals showed that purification reduced the toxic effects and enhanced its anti-cancer activity.
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 Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust, Mumbai.
The present study revealed that the traditional system of purification can impact the chemical, pharmacological and toxicological profile of herbal drugs and thus beneficial in increasing their safety and efficacy, said Dr. Indira Balachandran.
The research outcome of this study has been published by world-renowned publisher Elsevier in its international Journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology released from the USA. Mr. Deepak M, Ms. Lijini K R, Phytochemistry division, Dr. Anandan E .M Product Development department of AVS, Dr. Praveen T K, JSS College of Pharmacy Ooty are the other members of the research team