Garcinia pedunculata: Garcinia pedunculata is a medicinal plant commonly known as Borthekera in Assamese language. It is traditionally forbidden to eat raw but it has been found to be able to prevent heart diseases. The dried pulp of the ripe fruit of this medicinal plant has been used as a medicine according to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to reduce cardiac hypertrophy, indicators of free radical oxidative stress and inflammation of the heart.
The sun-dried pieces of the ripe fruit are used for culinary and medicinal purposes. It is known to have therapeutic properties such as anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic, antibacterial, antifungal, antidiabetic, hyperlipidemic, nephroprotective and even neuroprotective activity. With scientific interventions seeking evidence for these claims, several studies have shown that G. pedunculata itself is a rich source of antioxidants. However, its ability to protect against heart diseases is yet to be explored.
Scientists from the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), explored the potential of this medicinal plant to prevent cardiovascular diseases. In one experiment, double doses of the bioactive chloroform fraction (GC) of this herb were administered to Wister rats at 24-hour intervals (85 mg/kg body weight (BW)) for 28 days.
Isoproterenol was then injected after a model of isoproterenol-induced heart attack (myocardial infarction) to assess its therapeutic effect. All animals analyzed showed that the ST wave, which indicates the severity of the disease, myocardial infarction, was significant in such disease group and in this the ST segment represents the interval between depolarization and repolarization of the ventricles of the heart. represents and which was normalized with atenolol and GC treatment.
Cardiac hypertrophy, cardiac troponin-I, tissue lipid peroxidation, and serum inflammatory markers were all significantly increased in this disease group and were maintained at nearly normal levels in the GC pretreated groups. Endogenous antioxidants were also upregulated in the GC-treated groups.
Senior Research Fellow (SRF) Ms. Swarnali Bhattacharjee, under the supervision of Dr. Rajalakshmi Devi, attributed these improvements to the excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential of GCs that help protect the heart from isoproterenol-induced shock.
In addition, chemical characterization of the chloroform fraction revealed the presence of active phytocompounds such as hydroxycitric acid, hydroxycitric acid lactone and paravifolicquinone, as well as compounds such as GB-1a, garcinone A, 9-hydroxycalyboxone and chlorogenic acid. The therapeutic effects reported in this study are also likely due to the presence of all these compounds. All these results are available in abundance in North East India. pedunculata fruit has a strong potential to protect against cardiovascular disease.