Aerva Lanata (L.) Juss. ex Schult.: a Potentially Useful Medicinal Plant  

Ramana K.V.1 , Vikram G.2
1. Department of Microbiology, Prathima Institute of Medical Sciences, Karimnagar, Telangana, India
2. Department of Biotechnology, Vaagdevi Degree and PG College, Warangal, Telangana, India
Author    Correspondence author
Medicinal Plant Research, 2015, Vol. 5, No. 4   doi: 10.5376/mpr.2015.05.0004
Received: 07 Jun., 2015    Accepted: 15 Jul., 2015    Published: 24 Aug., 2015
© 2015 BioPublisher Publishing Platform
This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Preferred citation for this article:

Ramana K.V.and Vikram G., 2015, Aerva Lanata (L.) Juss. ex Schult.: a Potentially Useful Medicinal Plant, Medicinal Plant Research, 5(4) 1-4 (doi: 10.5376/mpr.2015.06.004)


Emergence of multi-drug resistance among various microorganisms has limited the choice of antimicrobial agents and has been responsible for severe morbidity and mortality. Bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses cause many infections in both human and animals which are now difficult to treat owing to their resistance to most of the available antimicrobial drugs. Significant time taken for the synthesis and availability of an approved allopathic drug in the market should be considered as a cause for serious concern in health care settings. Research is rigorously on for finding alternatives to allopathic antimicrobial agents, which include preparation of synthetic antibiotics, evaluating the nanoparticles for their utility in treating infections and analysing the activities of various plant extracts for their medicinal values. This review discusses the potential medicinal properties of Aerva lanata.

Aerva lanata; Medicinal properties of Aerva lanata; Antimicrobial activity of Aerva lanata plant extracts

1 Introduction
Emergence of multi-drug resistance among various microbial pathogens has been a cause of serious concern to the medical world limiting the choice of antibiotics. Considering the fact that it may take decades to synthesize a viable antimicrobial drug, today we are searching for alternatives to antimicrobial agents (Kandi V, 2015). Emergence and spread of microbes resistant to multiple antibiotics (super-bugs) due to various resistance mechanisms should be considered as a cause of deep concern. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Vancomycin- resistant Enterococci, Staphylococcus spp and Streptococcus spp, bacteria possessing New Delhi metallo-betalactamase (NDM) genes coding for resistance, carbapenem resistance in many bacteria colonizing intestinal tract and those existing in the environment (Pseudomonas spp and Acinetobacter spp) are some of the bacteria which cause infections that are hard to treat (Kalaskar and Venkataramana, 2012; Ramana et al., 2008; Ramana et al., 2009; Ramana et al., 2013; Ramana et al., 2013a; Sharada et al., 2014). Aerva lanata is a medicinal plant belonging to the family Amaranthaceae, which grows all along the plains of India. Aerva lanata is a perennial herbaceous weed growing up to 2 meters (30 cm to 2 m) tall which is present trough the warmer geographical plains of India including the states of Telangana, Andhrapradesh, Tamilnadu and Karnataka. Other countries where this plant grows include srilanka, Arabian regions, Egypt, African regions, Java and Philippines (Baladrin and Kloeke, 1988; Kareru et al., 2008).

2 The Phyto-chemical characteristics of Aerva lanata
The Aerva lanata stem branches from the bottom and leaves are oppositely whorled, woolly, sessile, sublunate, linear, abaxially, white lanose, adaxially glabrous, bracts and bracteoles lanceolate and tomentose throughout and appear smaller at the flowering branches Figure 1. Flowers are very small, sessile, bisexual, appear green to dull white in colour and appear clustered in spikes. The roots of Aerva lanata produce camphor like aroma and are believed to possess medicinal values. The plant extracts of Aerva lanata plant produces many phytochemicals that include Flavonoids, saponins, alkaloids, steroids, catachins, coumarins, steroids, terpenoids, xanthoproteins, minerals, anthra quinones, tannins and phenolic compounds. Tiliroside, coumaryl tiliroside, isorhamentin glycoside, O-acyl glycosides, β-sitosterol, daucosterol, syringic acid, vanillic acid, feruloyl tyramine, feruloyl homovanillylamine, narcissi and aervitrine are some of the phytochemicals synthesized from the stem, leaves, flowers and roots of Aerva lanata plant. Other metabolites of Aerva lanata plant having medicinal values include sitostreol palmitate, hentriacontane, D-glucoside, α-amyrin, betulin, kaempferol 3-rhamn-ogalactoside and kaempferol 3- (6” p-coumaryl) O-glucoside, saponins, sugars like fructose, galactose, rhamnose, mannose, xylose, arabinose and sucrose, canthine 6-one and 3- β-carboline 1-yl propionic acid, 10-methoxy canthin 6-one (methyl aervine), 10-hydr-oxy-canthin 6-one (Aervine), 10-O- β-D-glucopyranosyl oxycanthin 6-one (Aervoside) and 6-methoxy- β-carboline l propionic acid (Aervolanine) (Cushnie and Lamb, 2005) Table 1 .

Figure 1 The whole plant and the flowering branches of Aerva lanata 

Table 1 Phytochemical composition and medicinal properties of various extracts of Aerva lanata 

3 Current research on the Medicinal properties of Aerva lanata plant Extracts
The various plants extracts of Aerva lanata plant was evaluated for its anti-oxidant properties, nephroprotective values, hepatoprotective properties, anti lithiatic activities (increased urinary excretion of calcium, oxalate and uric acid crystals), anti-diabetic/hypoglycaemic activities (Agrawal, 2013), anti-hyperlipidemicactivities and anti-cancer properties. Other pharmacol-ogical activities of Aerva lanata plant extracts investigated include its diuretic properties, anti-infla-mmatory activities, cytotoxic nature, anti-HIV (Gujjeti and Mamidala, 2014) and antimicrobial properties (Vetrichelvan et al., 2000; Appia Krishnan et al., 2009; Tushar et al., 2008; Nevin, 2003; Vetrichelvan and Jegadeesan, 2002; Manoharan et al., 2008; Soundararajan, 2006; Chouwdhury, 2002).

Traditionally the plant extracts of Aerva lanata are used to treat head ache, jaundice, cholera, reduce bleeding during normal deliveries, treating burns wounds and skin conditions, urinary and gall stones, nasal bleeding, cough and bronchitis, diarrhoea and dysentery, rheumatoid arthritis, fractures, and scorpion stings and snake bites (Kakrani and Sulja,1994, Vedavathy and Rao, 1990; Gupta and Neeraj, 2004; Sankaran and Alagesaboopathi, 1995; Yoga Narasimhan et al., 1979; Upadhyay, 1998; Singh and Pandey, 1980; Mukerjee et al., 1984; Sikarwar and Kaushik, 1993; Girach et al., 1994; Shah and Gopal, 1985; Mohanty et al., 1996; Deepak et al., 2009 )

Only few studies are available in literature, which have evaluated the antimicrobial properties of various extracts of this medicinal plant (Muthukumaran et al., 2001; Srujana et al., 2012; Kalirajan et al., 2013; Duraipandiyan et al., 2006; Rajesh et al., 2010; Malar et al., 2011).

4 Discussion
Aerva lanata is also called as Aerva elegans, Illecebrum lanatum and Achyranthes lanata and is commonly known as mountain knot grass. There are about 28 identified species of Aerva genus (Chawla et al., 2012). This medicinal plant is locally named as Pindidonda in Telugu, Chaya, Gorakh buti, Gorakh ganja, kapurijad, Khari and Khali in Hindi, Ciru-pulai and Ulinai in Tamil, Kapurmadhuri in Marathi, Bili Himdi Soppu in Kannada, Cherula in Malayalam, Bhuyi in Rajasthan, Chaya in Bengali, Bhui and Jari in Sindhi, Polpala in Sinhalese, Kinongo in Swahili and Bhadra, Ashmahabhedah, Gorakshaganja, Pashanabheda and Shatakabhedi in Sanskrit. Aerva lanata has been traditionally used as a medicine for treating various ailments. Increased antibacterial activities of the Aerva lanata plant extracts were observed against few potential bacterial pathogens as compared to the standard drug tested highlighting their use in treating the infections in human. Antifungal properties of Aerva lanata plant extracts were compared with the control drug and were found to possess either similar or increased activities. A previous research study has reported the antibacterial activity of whole plant extract of Aerva lanata against both multi-drug resistant (Escherechia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa which are extended spectrum beta lactamase (ESBL) producers) and common human pathogens (Salmonella typhi, Salmonella paratyphi A, Salmonella paratyphi B, Proteus spp, Streptococcus spp, Klebsiella spp, Serretia marcescens, Escherechia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa). The study revealed that ethanolic extract showed maximum zone of inhibition against Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus mirabilis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ESBL). It was also observed that ethanolic extract was ineffective against Salmonella paratyphi A. The study results also indicated that petroleum ether and benzene plant extract was ineffective against many bacterial species (Murugan et al., 2014).

5 Conclusion
Very limited studies are available in literatures which have evaluated the in-vitro and the potential in-vivo antimicrobial properties of various plants extracts of Aerva lanata. In view of emerging multi-drug resistance among various microbes isolated from human infections, extensive research on the potential antimicrobial activities of Aerva lanata plant extracts is warranted. Future studies should include evaluating the various plant extracts of A lanata for their antimicrobial activities against proven multi-drug resistant microorganisms responsible for serious infections and other potential medicinal properties both in-vitro and in-vivo.

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