Thesis on the Chemical Constituents and Hypoglycemic and Other Pharmacological Properties

Thesis on the Chemical Constituents and Hypoglycemic and Other Pharmacological Properties Of “Gurmar Capsule”, An Antidiabetic Unani Formulation Of Harmdard

Gurmar capsule is a new polyherbal Unani formulation, developed by the Research and Development (R&D) Department of Hamdard Laboratories (waqf) Bangladesh for the management and treatment of diabetes. The present study was designed to investigate the phytochemical constituents, cytotoxic, analgesic, neuropharmacological and hypoglycemic properties of the Gurmar capsule. In order to determine the chemical constituents of the formulation the phytochemical study was done by conducting preliminary phytochemical group tests of the methanol extract of the Gurmar capsule. The methanol extract of the Gurmar capsule was found to contain alkaloids, tannins, saponins, carbohydrates, steroids, glycosides and resins. 
The analgesic and neuropharmacological activities of the methanolic extract of Gurmar capsule were investigated at the doses of 100 mg/Kg, 200 mg/Kg and 400 mg/kg of body weight on mice. Analgesic potential of the extract of Gurmar capsule was evaluated for centrally acting analgesic property using tail immersion method and peripheral pharmacological actions using acetic acid-induced writhing test. In acetic acid-induced writhing test, extract at 400 mg/kg dose exhibited significant reduction (38% inhibition) of writhing response in a dose dependent manner. In tail immersion method, extract caused a significant increase in latency time and the results were comparable to the standard drug nalbuphine. In addition, neuropharmacological property of Gurmar capsule was carried out by hole cross and open field test. Extract, at the dose of 400 mg/kg, displayed a dose dependent suppression of motor activity, exploratory behaviour (in hole cross and open field tests). Furthermore, the extract was subjected to Brine Shrimp lethality bioassay for primary evaluation of cytotoxicity, where the extract was found to be highly toxic to Brine Shrimp nauplii, having LC50 values of 3.16 μg/ml while the LC50 of the reference anticancer drug vincristine sulphate was 0.66 μg/ml. Finally, the hypoglycemic effect of Gurmar capsule was determined by oral glucose tolerance test at the doses of 100 mg/Kg and 200 mg/Kg of body weight on mice. The formulation also showed its effectiveness as hypoglycemic drug by lowering the blood glucose level in glucose tolerances test and the effect was compared with the standard potent oral antihyperglycemic drug Metformin hydrochloride. These results suggest that Gurmar capsule possesses analgesic, cytotoxic, CNS depressant as well as hypoglycemic properties.

In the past, modern science has considered methods of traditional knowledge as primitive and during the colonial era traditional medical practices were often declared as illegal by the colonial authorities. Consequently doctors and health personnel have in most cases continued to shun traditional practitioners despite their contribution to meeting the basic health needs of the population, especially the rural people in developing countries. However, recent progress in the fields of environmental sciences, immunology, medical botany and pharmacognosy have led researchers to appreciate in a new way the precise descriptive capacity and rationality of various traditional taxonomies as well as the effectiveness of the treatments employed. Developing countries have begun to realize that their current health systems are dependent upon technologies and imported medicine that end up being expensive and whose supply is erratic. 

Relegated for a long time to a marginal place in the health planning of developing countries, traditional medicine or more appropriately, traditional systems of health care have undergone a major revival in the last twenty years. Every region has had, at one time in its history, a form of traditional medicine. We can therefore talk of Chinese traditional medicine, Arabic traditional medicine or African traditional medicine. This medicine is traditional because it is deeply rooted in a specific socio-cultural context, which varies from one community to another. Each community has its own particular approach to health and disease even at the level of ethno-pathogenic perceptions of diseases and therapeutic behavior. In this respect, we can argue that there are as many traditional medicines as there are communities. This gives traditional medicine its diverse and pluralist nature (http://www.africanconservation.org/dcforum/DCForumID27/9.html)

Plants have been the basis of many traditional medicine systems throughout the world for thousands of years and continue to provide mankind with new remedies. Plant based medicines initially dispensed in the form of crude drugs such as tinctures, teas, poultices, powders, and other herbal formulations, now serve as the basis of novel drug discovery (Jachak and Saklani, 2007). Phytomedicine, popularly known as herbal medicine, refers to the use of plant seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers for medicinal purposes. It has long reputation as “the people’s medicine” for its accessibility, safety and the ease with which it can be prepared. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), from 119 plant-derived medicines, about 74% are used in modern medicine in ways that correlate directly with their traditional uses. WHO also estimates that 4 billion people, 80% of the world's population, presently use herbal medicine for primary health care. Herbal medicine is a common element in Unani, Ayurvedic, Homeopathic, Naturopathic, Traditional oriental, Native American and Indian medicine. Even among prescription drugs, about 25% contain at least one compound derived from higher plants. The percentage might be higher if we include over-the counter (OTC) drugs (Barrett et al., 1999).