The family Costaceae consists of four genera and about 200 species. The genus Costus is the largest in the family, with about 150 species of mainly tropical distribution. (14)
Costus igneus is a perennial, upright, spreading plant growing to a height of 2 feet, with the tallest stems falling and lying on the ground. Leaves are simple, alternate, entire, oblong, 4-8 inches long with parallel venation, spirally arranged around the stems. Large, fleshy, smooth, and dark green leaves have a light purple underside. Flowers are orange, 1.5 inches in diameter, on cone-like head at the tips of branches. Fruits are green colored, less than 0.5 inch.
- Native to South and Central America.
- Widely cultivated in India.
- Leaves are rich in protein, iron, ad antioxidant components such as ascorbic acid, a-tocopherol, ß-carotene, terpenoids, steroids, and flavonoids.
Ethanol extract of leaves yielded tannins, phlobatannins, saponin, flavonoids, terpenoids, and cardiac glycosides. (9)
- Study for essential oil yielded the following major constituents in %: (Stem) hexadecanoic acid (28.3), 9,12-octadecadienoic acid (18.33), dodecanoic acid (5.62), linalyl propanoate (6.03), tetradecanoic acid (4.82), A-eudesmol (3.55), y-eudesmost (3.21) 4-ethoxy phenol (3.06); (Leaf) hexadecanoic acid (24.51), 2.pentanol (22.41), dodecanoic acid (3.96), ß-ionone (8.69), farnesyl acetone (7.04), a-ionone (8.01; (Rhizome) hexadecanoic acid (25.26), 9,12-octadecadienoic acid (7.74), dodecanoic acid (16.56), tetradecanoic acid (10.20), linalool (8.48), a-terpinol (4.44). (14)
- Studies have suggest antimicrobial, antidiabetic, antiproliferative, hepatoprotective properties.
- In the Philippines, becoming increasingly popular as an antidiabetic herbal medicine.
In Siddha medicine, used for diabetes; leaves chewed twice daily, or dried powder of leaves taken 1/2 to 1 gram twice daily.
- Used by tribal people of Kolli hills of Tamilnadu for diabetes.
Leaves consumed as fresh, dried and powder leaf forms.
- In Mexico, infusion of aerial parts used for treatment of renal disorders. (14)
• Anti-Hyperglycemic / Dexamethasone Induced Hyperglycemia / Leaves: Study evaluated the effect of Costus igneus leaves on dexamethasone-induced hyperglycemia in male Wistar rats showed reduction in fasting and postprandial blood sugar levels. 250 mg and 500 mg/kg/day of powdered leaves was comparable to Glibenclamide 500. (3)
• Antidiabetic / Acute Oral Toxicity Study / Leaves: Study evaluated the antidiabetic activity of C. igneus in alloxan induced diabetic albino rats. The ethanolic extract showed significant (p<0.001) antidiabetic activity. (4)
• Effect of Prediabetes and Diabetes in Neonatal STZ Rats: Study evaluated the effect of pre-treatment and post-treatment with isolated fraction of C. igneus on prediabetes and diabetes in neonatal streptozotocin induced T2DM. Treatment with CIF is beneficial in diabetic rats and can reduce the changes of progression of pre-diabetes into T2DM. Effect may be due to increase in peripheral utilization of glucose and insulin mimetic effect. (5)
• Acute Oral Toxicity Study: Acute oral toxicity studies of CIF fraction of chloroform extract showed no abnormal or toxic symptoms in mice treated with 5, 50, 500, 2000 mg/kg. LD 50 value is above 2 g/kg. (5)
• Anti-Proliferative / Apoptotic / Leaves: Study evaluated the anti-proliferative and apoptotic potential of ME of Costus igneus on in vitro MCF-7 Breast cancer cell line. Results showed reduction of tumor size without affecting the normal cells. (6)
• Antidiabetic / Hypolipidemic / Rhizomes: Study evaluated the antihyperglyceic and hypolipidemic activities of methanol extract of rhizomes in STZ induced diabetic albino rats. Results showed significant (p<0.05) decrease in FBS, TC, TG, LDL, and VLDL levels, with significant (p<0.05) increase in HDL levels. (7)
• Antimicrobial / Rhizome: Study evaluated the rhizome extract of three Costus species (C. speciosus, C. pictus, and C. igneus) for antimicrobial activity. The rhizome extract of the three species inhibited the growth of all the test fungi. The C. igneus extract showed higher activity against S. aureus, followed by P. aeruginosa, E. coli, and B subtilis. (8)
• Amylase Inhibitory Activity / Leaves: Study evaluated the amylase inhibitory activity of methanol leaf extract of C. igneus by Chromogenic DNSA assay. The extract showed dose dependent α-amylase inhibition of 65.48, 35.72, and 3.57% at 500, 250, and 100 µg concentration. (10)
• Silver Nanoparticles / Antidiabetic: Study reports on the simple and cost-effective synthesis of silver nanoparticles using C. igneus extract. The C. igneus mediated nanoparticles showed high antidiabetic activity and maximum amylase inhibition concentration of 87% at 100 µg. The AgNPs showed good antidiabetic activity than the plant extracts. (11)
• Hepatoprotectiive / Paracetamol Induced Liver Damage: Study evaluated the hepatoprotective activity of C. igneus in paracetamol induced hepatic damage. Administration of C. igneus extract prior to acetaminophen effectively (p<0.05) prevented the induction of damage by acetaminophen. The 400 mg/kg dose of C. igneus was comparable to the standard drug silymarin. (12)
Potential Anticancer Source: Study evaluated the cytotoxicity activities of crude ethanolic extracts from Chaemaecostus subsessilis and C. cuspidatus and six fractions against a panel of six human cancer cell lineages (HL60, Jurkat, MDA-MB231, MCF-7, HCT, THP-1). Cytotoxic effects in the HL60, Jurkat and THP-1 lineages were mediated via an apoptotic mechanism. (13)
• Antidiabetic / Antioxidant / Antimicrobial
/ Leaves: Study of an aqueous leaf extract of C. cuspidatus showed antidiabetic against streptozotocin induced diabetic mice. Antioxidant activity was evaluated using DPPH, superoxide anion scavenging activity, hydroxyl radical scavenging activity and reducing power assays. Antibacterial activity was tested against S. aureus, B. subtilis, E. coli and antifungal activity against A. flavus and C. albicans. (16)
Gold Nanoparticles / Antidiabetic / Leaves: Study reports on the green synthesis of gold nanoparticles using insulin plant Chamaecostus cuspidatus leaf powder extract. The gold nanoparticles exhibited 50% inhibition of free radicals. Treatment of diabetic mice with the gold nanoparticles restored blood glucose, glycogen, and insulin level. (17)
• Toxicity Studies: Acute oral toxicity studies of aqueous extract of C. pictus at various doses from 5, 10, 20, and 40 g/kg body weight. None of the extract doses produced mortality or any behavioral disorders. Administration of 1 g/kbw per day for 30 days, likewise, produced no mortality or behavioral effects. An ethanolic extract of leaves from 50 mg/kbw up to 5000 mg/kbw showed no mortality or significant toxicity. (15)
- Increasing availability in herbal gardens.
- Powdered leaves, rhizomes, capsules in the cybermarket.