Bauhinia is a genus of more than 200 species. The genus was named after the Bauhin brothers, Swiss-French botanists. The
leaves share the double-leaf configuration of a heart, or more popularly,
that of a butterfly. (Also see: Alibangbang
/ Bauhinia malabarica)
The Hongkong orchid tree (Bauhinia blakeana is
named after one of the British Governors of Hongkong, Sir Henry Blake,
1898-1903) and is now the floral emblem of Hongkong. The flower looks
like an orchid, and thus has earned the name "Orchid Tree."
It is usually sterile, and debated as of hybrid origin between Bauhinia
variegata and Bauhinia purpurea.
Bauhinia variegata is a moderate sized deciduous tree growing to a height
of 10 meters or more. Leaves are alternate and lobed to one-third of their length,
heart-shaped at the base with a deep cleft that divides the apex. Flowers
are in short racemes, faintly fragrant, petals broad and overlapping,
lavender to purple or white. Pods are long, narrow, flattened,10 to 15
centimeters by 1.5 to 2.5 centimeters, containing 5 to 10 seeds.
- Yields flavonoids:quercetin, rutin, apigenin and apigenin 7-O-glucoside.
- Phytoscreening reported flavonoids, lectin and albumin.
- Stem yields sitosterol, lupeol, kaempferol-3-glucoside and 5,7-dihydroxy and 5,7-dimethoxy flavanone-4-O--L-rhamnopyranosyl--Dglucopyranosides.
- Flowers contain cyanidine-3-glucoside, malvidin-3-glucoside, malvidin-3-diglucoside, and peonidin
3-diglucoside, kaempferol-3-galactoside and kaempferol-3- rhamnoglucoside.
- Root bark yielded a new flavanone: (2S)–5,7-dimethoxy-3'- 4' -methylene dioxyf lavanone and a new dihydrobenzoxepin 5,6-dihydro-1,7dihydroxy-3,4- 2,3 dimethoxy-2-methyldibenz (b,f) oxepin.
- Phytochemical screening of leaf and bark yielded
carbohydrates, resin, saponin, terpenoids, alkaloids, steroids, flavanoids, tannins, and proteins. (40)
- Fractionation of crude petroleum ether extract of stem bark isolated heptatricontan-12, 13-diol, friedelin, n-docosanoic acid, stigmasterol, β-sitosteryl, n-hexadecanoic acid, lupeol.
A methanolic extract yielded eriodictyol and quercetin. (42)
- Phytochemical screening of bark extracts yielded steroid, phenol/tannin, glycoside/sugar, carbohydrate and terpenoids. (see study below) (46)
Bark extract showed high phenolic content (156.30 ± 0.3 mg GAE/gm) and flavonoid content )14.04 ± 1.4 mg QE/gm). (see study below) (53)
- Antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory,
- Bark is alterative, astringent and tonic.
- Studies have suggest antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anticancer, nephroprotective,
hepatoprotective, anti-obesity, antihyperlipidemic, antidiabetic, anthelmintic, immunomodulatory, antipyretic, antimutagenic, nootropic, phytotoxic properties.
Bark, leaves, flowers, roots.
- In India,
flower buds used as a vegetable dish.
- In the Philippines. infusion of new flowers used for dysentery.
- Elsewhere the bark is used for the treatment of skin diseases, scrofula
- Bark used to treat and diarrhea.
- The dried buds are used in the treatment of piles, dysentery, diarrhea
- Root is used as an antidote to snake poison.
- Decoction of the root used for dyspepsia.
- In India, powdered bark used as tonic,
for strains, ulcers, skin disease. Also, extracts of bark used for treatment of cancer. Roots used for dyspepsia and as antidote for snake bites.
- In India, Mundas women use flower decoction
as galactagogue. Dried flower buds in water used as vermifuge. Santals women use dried flower buds with paste of black pepper to regular vaginal discharge. Andh and Bhil use the leaves as laxative. (37)
- In Konkan, fresh bark juice used as expectorant. Bark used with dried ginger as internal remedy for scrofula. South Indians used leaf decoction to relieve headaches in malarial fever. (37)
- In Ayurveda, plant pacifies vitiated kapha. Used to treat , diarrhea, goiter, jaundice, Baskin diseases, rectal prolapse, diabetes, inflammation, worms, tumors, piles, menorrhagia, hemoptysis, and cervical lymphadenopathy.
- Roots used as antidote to snake poison.
- Dye: Bark reported to be used in dyeing, yielded various fast shades of brown color. (37)
• Antibacterial: Evaluation
of antibacterial activity and phytochemical analysis of Bauhinia variegata
L. bark: Defatted acetone and methanol extracts showed the
most antibacterial activity. (1) The aqueous and methanol extracts of 12 plants from different families was studied for antibacterial activity against B cereus, S epidermis, E aerogenes, P vulgari and S typhimurium. Among the plant screened, B variegata bark showed the best antibacterial activity. (12)
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study isolated six
flavonoids and one triterpene caffeate. The seven compound significantly and dose-dependently inhibited function involved in the inflammatory processes. Results support the folkloric
use of BV in its use for inflammatory conditions.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Flavonol Glycoside: Study yielded a novel flavonol glycoside 5,7,3',4'-tetrahydroxy-3-methoxy-7-O-alpha-L-rhamnopyranosyl(1-->3)-)-beta-galactopyranoside from the root which showed anti-inflammatory activity. (6)
• Hepatoprotective: Hepatoprotective
Properties of Bauhinia variegata Bark Extract: In carbon tetrachloride intoxicated rats, extract of stem bark of Bv showed
significant hepatoprotective activity and a promising agent for that
• Chemopreventive / Cytotoxic: Chemoprevention
and cytotoxic effect of Bauhinia variegata against N-nitrosodiethylamine (DEN)
induced liver tumors and human cancer cell lines: Results showed
chemopreventive and cytotoxic effect of ethanol extract of BV against induced DEN liver tumor
and human cancer lines. (14)
• Antitumor / Cytotoxic: Ethanol extract of B variegata evaluated against Dalton's ascitic lymphoma in Swiss albino mice showed significant enhancement of survival time and reverse hematologic parameters consequent to tumor inoculation. (5)
• Antioxidant / Antihyperlipidemic: Study of alcoholic and aqueous extract of Bv effectively decreased plasma cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, VLDL and increase HDL levels and also showed significant antioxidant activity. EBV was found to be a potent cytotoxic toward EAC tumor cell. (9)
• Pharmacognosy / Phytochemicals: Study yielded steroid, saponin, flavonoids, alkaloids and tannins.
• Immunomodulatory: Study on the ethanolic extract of the stem bark of Bv showed significant increase in the primary and secondary humoral antibody response and show promise as an immunomodulatory agent, probably through stimulation of both the specific and nonspecific arms of immunity.
• Immunomodulatory: Study evaluating the immunomodulatory activity of stem bark extracts showed predominantly significant activity on in vitro human neutrophils in all parameters. Results suggested a possible immunostimulating effect. (10)
• Anti-Diabetic: Study showed the presence of insulin-like properties in the leave of Bv. The activity of this insulin-like protein on serum glucose levels in diabetic mice was similar to that of commercial swine insulin used a control.
• Anthelmintic: Study showed significant anthelmintic activity by methanolic extract of B variegata against both mature male and female Haemonchu contortus.
• Hypolipidemic: Study of extracts of bark of Bauhinia variegata showed significant reduction in total cholesterol and LDL in Triton-induced hyperlipidemia in rats. The HDL increase was not significant.
• Anti-Obesity Effect / Hypolipidemic / Root / Stem and Root Bark: Study of root extract showed an anti-obesity activity attributed to its hypophagic, hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effect. (16) Study evaluated the antiobesity effect of methanolic stem and root barks of B. variegata in female rats fed with hypercaloric diet. Results showed increased brain serotonin level and HDL with decrease in TC, triglycerides and LDL. The antiobesiety effect may be attributed to the presence of ß-sitosterol in the stems and the tendency of the extract to reduce lipid profile and affect brain serotonin level. (49)
• Nephroprotective / Gentamicin Toxicity / Antioxidant / Roots: Study of ethanol and aqueous roots extracts in gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity in rats showed significant nephroprotective activity. Antioxidant activity was shown on a DPPH assay model.
• Chemopreventive: Study of B. variegata bark in mice showed a chemopreventive potential against DMBA-induced skin carcinogenesis. (18)
• Antimutagenic: Study of bark extract B. variegata
showed a preventive potential against cyclophosphamide-induced micronucleus formation in Swiss mouse bone marrow cells.
• Antipyretic: Study of ethanolic extract
showed antipyretic activity probably through inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis in the hypothalamus. (19)
• Anti-Eosinophilic: Study
of aqueous and ethanol extracts of BV against milk-induced leucocytosis and eosinophic in mice showed a significant dose-dependent reduction in total leukocyte and eosinophil counts suggesting an antieosinophilic activity. (20)
• Anti-Ulcer / Analgesic: Study of root extracts showed significant dose-dependent analgesic and significant anti-ulcer activity. The activities were attributed to the presence of flavonoids. (21)
• Chemopreventive / Cytotoxic: Study of ethanol extract of BV showed significant chemopreventive and cytotoxic effect against DEN (N-nitrosodiethylamine)-induced liver tumor and human cancer cell lines. (22)
• Antioxidant / Free Radical Scavenging / Leaves / Bark: Study showed the extract of leaves of G. pentaphylla and Bauhinia variegata inhibited free radical scavenging activity. The effect was attributed to flavonoids, phenolics and other phytochemical constituents. (24) Study evaluated aqueous and ethanolic bark extracts for in vitro free radical scavenging activity by DPPH, NO, OH radical and reducing power assays. The ethanolic extract showed significant NO scavenging activity while the aqueous extract showed great potential against ROS (reactive oxygen species) and RNS (reactive nitrogen species). Results suggest a source of natural antioxidants which protect against oxidative stress. (46)
• Antipyretic: Study of ethanolic extracts of B. variegata and G. pentaphylla exhibited significant antipyretic activities in Brewer's yeast induced pyrexia in rats. Activity was attributed to inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis in the hypothalamus.
• Chemopreventive / DBMA-induced Skin Carcinogenesis: Study investigated the anticarcinogenic activity of B. variegata bark extract in a skin papilloma model in Swiss albino mice. Results showed a chemopreventive role for bark extracts against DBMA-induced skin carcinogenesis in mice with decrease in rate of tumor incidence, number of papillomas, tumor yield and tumor burden.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study investigated
the anti-inflammatory potential of leaves, barks, and roots using three in vivo animal models: carrageenan induced rat paw edema, cotton pellets induced granuloma formation, and adjuvant induced arthritis in rat. An ethanol extract and petroleum ether extract demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity in the three bioassays. (27)
• Analgesic / Antifungal / Cytotoxic: Study investigating an ethanolic extract of the plant showed analgesic activity by eddy's hot plate method, in vitro cytotoxicity against DLA cells lines by Typan blue assay method, and good antifungal activity against Aspergillus fumigatus and Candida albicans. (28)
• Radical Scavenging / Natural Antioxidant: Study of leaf, stem bark, floral buds extracts showed remarkable concentration dependent free radical scavenging and reducing power. Results suggest a potential source of natural antioxidant.
• Antibacterial / Anticancer / Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated the phytochemical, antimicrobial, and anticancer activities of B. variegata leaf extracts. Petroleum ether and chloroform fractions showed considerable inhibition against Klebsiella pneumonia. An ethanol extract showed the lowest MBC
(3.5 mg/mL) against Pseudomonas spp. Dose dependent response was observed in reducing power of the extracts. Many extracts showed significant antioxidant response in beta carotene bleaching assay. Aqueous fraction showed pronounced cytotoxic effect against against DU-145, HOP-62, IGR-OV-1, MCF-7, and THP-1 human cancer cell lines with 90–99% cell growth inhibitory activity. (32)
• Nephroprotective / Leaves: Study of methanolic extract of leaves showed nephroprotective activity in gentamicin induced nephrotoxicity. The extract showed a very good protective effect (p<0.001) in the control of creatinine, urea, and uric acid. (33)
• Cytotoxic Activity / HeLa Cell Line: Study investigated the in vitro anticancer activity of a flavonoid rich fraction of an ethanolic bark extract on HeLa cell lines. Results confirm the induction of apoptosis by in malignant HeLa cell lines at a dose level of 191.5 µg/ml and also arrested the replication of cells at G0/G1 phase. (34)
• Acute and Repeated Dose Toxicity / Leaves / Stem Bark: Study investigated the safety of a methanolic extract of leaves after acute and repeated dose administration in rodents. NOAEL (no-observed adverse effect level) of the ME was found to be 2000 mg/kg. In repeated dose toxicity study, no mortality was seen during a 28-day period. Histopathology of important organs showed normal structure. Results showed the leaves to be safe in acute and repeated dose toxicity studies in mice and rats. (35) Study evaluated the toxicity of aqueous extract of stem bark of Bauhinia variegata in Sprague-Dawley rats. Results showed maximally tolerated dose (MTD) of 5,000 mg/kg in acute toxicity study and lowest observed adverse effect level of 1,000 mg/kg in repeated-dose toxicity study. (50)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory activity of a leaf extract using three in vivo animal models: carrageenan induced rat paw edema, cotton pellets induced granuloma formation, and adjuvant induced arthritis in rats. Both ethanol extract and PE fraction demonstrated activity in all three bioassays. The activity compared favorable with diclofenac. (36)
• Antimicrobial / Leaves: Study of an ethanol extract of leaves of B. variegata showed varying degrees of inhibitory activity against all tested bacteria and fungi. The extract showed maximum activity against Salmonella typhi (27mm) followed by Vibrio cholera, K. pneumonia, E. coli and S. aureus. Extract was very effective against dermatophyte, T. mentagrophytes and plant pathogen, Mucor hiemalis. (38)
• Antitumor Potential / Melanoma Tumor: Study evaluated hydromethanolic extracts of leaf, stem bark, and flower of B. variegata for antitumor activity against melanoma tumor (B16F10) in C57BL mice. Results showed significant effect evidenced by a dose dependent response in tumor volume, inhibition rate, life span time and antioxidant parameters. The extracts showed to be relatively safe from toxic effects. (39)
• Nootropic: Study evaluated the nootropic potential of B. variegata in rats using elevated plus maze, rotating rod apparatus, baclofen-induced catatonia, and diazepam-induced amnesia testing. Overall, the flavonoid-rich fraction was found to enhance the performance of murine models. Study concludes that B. variegata possess nootropic potential which can be attributed to the presence of flavonoids. (41)
• Mast Cell Stabilizing / Potential for Asthma Treatment
/ Stem Bark: Study evaluated stem bark extracts of B. variegata for mast cell stabilizing activity and the basis of its used in the treatment of asthma and other respiratory conditions in Ayurvedic medicine. Results showed significant protection of mouse mast cell from degranulation (71.18%) and reduced mortality (50%) in mice treated with toxicant (compound 48/90). Results showed potent mast cell stabilizing activity suggesting potential for use in the treatment of asthma. (43)
• Antimicrobial / Antioxidant / Phytotoxic / Immunomodulatory: In antimicrobial assay, the plant showed highest zones of inhibition against B. cereus (12mm) and Rhizopus (11mm). In antioxidant assay, it showed highest radical scavenging at 43.48% compared to ascorbic acid at 89.25%. Immunomodulatory assay at highest concentration of 250 µg/mL showed 75.1% effect suggest potential anti-inflammatory activity. In phytotoxicity assay, B. variegata showed 20% activity. (44)
• Antiviral / Treatment of Coxsackievirus B3 Infection / Leaves: Coxsackievirus B3 is a common viral myocarditis in humans, especially infants and young children. Study evaluated the antiviral activities of B. variegata extracts against CVB3 infection in vitro and in vivo. A methanol extract of leaves showed highest in vitro antiviral effect probably by blocking viral receptors. The extract reduced morbidity and mortality, viral titers, and histopath changes in heart tissue of infected mice, while maintaining AST, CK, and LDL enzymes at normal levels. Results suggest a potential role in the treatment of CVB3 infection. (45)
• Silver Nanoparticles
/ Antibacterial / Bark: Study reports on the green eco-friendly, cost-effective biogenic synthesis of silver nanoparticles using B. variegata bark extract as reducing, stabilizing, and capping agent. The synthesized silver nanopartilces exhibited very effective antibacterial activity against pathogenic bacteria i.e., B. subtilis, E. coli, P. aeruginosa and S. aureus. (47)
• Antimicrobial / Anticancer Activities: Study evaluated extracts of B. variegata generated through in vivo and in vitro processes for antibacterial and anticancer activities. Activity was greater against gram positive bacteria compared to gram negative bacterial. In vitro cytotoxicity screening showed same degree of inhibition of EAC mouse cell lines from both in vivo and in vitro sources. (48)
• Biodiesel Potential: Study reports on the use of B. variegata oil as source of biodiesel synthesis.
5.1%.At optimum conditions, the Bauhinia variegata methyl ester (BVME/biodiesel) yield was 9Engine performance and combustion curves of biodiesel blends were similar to diesel. (49)
• Molluscicidal / Leaves: Study of B. variegata leaf and Mimusops elengi bark showed molluscicidal activity against vector snail Lymnacea acuminata. Toxicity was time and concentration dependent. Ethanol extracts showed more toxicity than other extracts. The 24h LC50 of B. variegata was 20.3 mg/L. (51)
• Chronic Toxicity Study
/ Stem Bark Powder: Study evaluated the toxicity of stem bark powder suspension in TED (Therapeutic Equivalent Dose) of 350 mg/kg/day and five fold TED (1800 mg/kg/day) for 60 days in albino rats. Results of toxicity profile showed B. variegata bark is likely to produce toxic effect when administered in a five-times dose in powder form. (52) (see toxicity study 35 and 50 above)
• Antioxidant / Phytotoxic / Antimicrobial / Bark: Study evaluated a methanolic extract of B. variegata bark for antioxidant, antimicrobial, and phytotoxic activity. Results showed potent antimicrobial activity against S. aureus, S. typhi, B. subtilis and E. coli with zone of inhibition of 14, 12, 12, and 11mm, respectively. DPPH radical scavenging assay showed an IC50 f 6.48±0.08 µg/mL compared to IC50 of standard ascorbic acid of 45.93 µg/mL. Extract showed moderate phytotoxic activity of 65, 40, and 25% growth regulation with number of fronds 07, 12, and 15, respectively, comparable with standard drug paraquat. (see constituents above) (53)