World Journal of Agricultural Research
ISSN (Print): 2333-0643 ISSN (Online): 2333-0678 Website: Editor-in-chief: Rener Luciano de Souza Ferraz
Open Access
Journal Browser
World Journal of Agricultural Research. 2015, 3(1), 28-33
DOI: 10.12691/wjar-3-1-7
Open AccessArticle

Comparative Pharmacognostic Study of Different Parts of Withania somnifera and its Substitute Ruellia tuberosa

Luxmini. K.P.A.M.K1, Dharmadasa. R.M1, , Samarasinghe1 and K. Muthukumarana. P.R.M1

1Herbal Technology Section, Industrial Technology Institute, 363, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka

Pub. Date: February 26, 2015

Cite this paper:
Luxmini. K.P.A.M.K, Dharmadasa. R.M, Samarasinghe and K. Muthukumarana. P.R.M. Comparative Pharmacognostic Study of Different Parts of Withania somnifera and its Substitute Ruellia tuberosa. World Journal of Agricultural Research. 2015; 3(1):28-33. doi: 10.12691/wjar-3-1-7


Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal. (Solanaceae) is a therapeutically important medicinal plant widely used in Ayurveda and traditional systems of medicine in all over the world. Since this valuable plant is not commercially cultivated in Sri Lanka, traditional practitioners use Ruellia tuberosa L. (Acanthaceae) as a substitute for Withania somnifera. However, use of R. tuberosa as a substitute without scientifically proven data on important quality standards might adversely affect on the therapeutic properties of herbal drugs. Present study investigates the important pharmacognostic aspects of W. somnifera and R. tuberosa. Comparative quality parameters on morphological, anatomical, powder microscopical, phytochemical, physicochemical and brine shrimp toxicity of different parts of (leaf, bark and roots) W. somnifera and R. tuberosa by using established protocols. Results demonstrated that all major phytochemical groups tested were present in leaves, bark and roots of both plants. Physicochemical analysis exhibited the higher total ash, water soluble ash and acid insoluble ash in all parts of R. tuberosa. However, TLC profiles exhibited the higher number of spots in all 3 parts for W. somnifera over R. tuberosa. Potent of brine shrimp toxicity was increased as leaf>bark>roots for R. tuberosa and bark>root>leaf for Withania somnifera. Therefore, W. somnifer acould be differentiated from R. tuberosaby comparing polymorphic macroscopic, microscopic, phytochemical, physicochemical characters either singularly or as a whole. The presence of certain similarities in major phytochemical groups, and in brine shrimp toxicity of W. somnifera and R. tuberosa partially justifies the use of R. tuberosa as a substitute for W. somnifera in traditional systems of medicine in Sri Lanka which needs to be confirmed after further clinical trials.

Withania somnifera Ruellia tuberosa phytochemical parameters physicochemical analysis brine shrimp toxicity assay

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


Figure of 3


[1]  Gokhale, S.B, Pharmacognosy, 29th ed. NiraliPrakashan. 2009.
[2]  Sprinqfield, E.P., Eagles, P.K. and Scott, G, ‘‘Quality assessment of South African herbal medicines by means of HPLC fingerprinting,’’ J Ethnopharmacol, 101 (1-3). 75-83.2005.
[3]  Thomas, S., Patil, D.A., Patil, A.G. and Chandra, N, ‘‘Pharmacognostic evaluation and physicochemical analysis of Averrhoacarambola L. Fruit,’’ J Herb Med Tox, 2 (2). 51-54. 2008.
[4]  Nisa Raj, R.S. and Radhamany, P.M, ‘‘Pharmacognostic and physicochemical analysis on the leaves of Brunfelsia americana L.,’’ Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, S305-S307. 2012.
[5]  WHO, ‘‘Quality control methods for herbal matreils’’. 1998.
[6]  Chan, T.Y. and Critchley, J.A, ‘‘Usage and adverse effects of Chinese herbal medicines,’’ Human and Experimental Toxicology, 15 (1). 5-12. 1996.
[7]  Dennis V.C. Awang, ‘‘Standardization of Herbal Medicinal Products,’’ in XXVI IHC-Future for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. Eds. L.E. Craker et al. Acta Hort. 629, ISHS. 2004.
[8]  Bargagna Mohan, P., Hamza, A., Kim, Y.E.,Ho, Y.K., MorVaknin, N., Wendschlag, N., Liu, J., Evans, R. M., Markovitz, D.M., Zhan, C. G., Kim, K. B. and Mohan, R, ‘‘The Tumor Inhibitor and Antiangiogenic Agent Withaferin A Targets the Intermediate Filament Protein Vimentin,’’ Journal of Chemistry & Biology, 14 (6). 623-634. 2007.
[9]  Anon, ‘‘Withania somnifera,’’ Indian Herbal Pharmacopoeia, IDMA, Mumbai. 2002.
[10]  Singh, B., Saxena, A.K., Chandan, B.K., Gupta, D.K., Bhutani, K.K. and Anand, K.K, ‘‘Adaptogenic activity of anovelwithanolide free aqueous fraction from the roots of Withania somnifera Dunal.,’’ Phytotheropy Research, 15 (4). 311-318. 2001.
[11]  Bhattacharya, S.K, Traditional medicine, Mukhajee, B. (Eds), IBH Publishing Company, New Delhi. 1993.
[12]  Nadkarni, K.M, ‘‘Withania somnifera Dunal-2625,’’ The Indian Materia Medica, 1.1292-1294. 1976.
[13]  Shohat, B., Gitter, S., Abraham, A. and Lavie, D, ‘‘Antitumor activity of Withaferin A (NSC-101088),’’ Cancer Chemotherapy Reports, 51. 271-276. 1967.
[14]  Singh N., Agarwal A.K., Lata A. and Kohli R.P, ‘‘Evaluation of Adaptogenic properties of Withania somnifera,’’ in Proc Ind Pharmacol Soc. 21. 1976.
[15]  Singh, N., Singh, S.P., Sinha, J.N., Shanker, K. and Kohli, R.P, ‘‘Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) A rejuvenator herbal drug which enhances survival during stress (An adaptogen),’’ Int. J. Crude Res, 3. 29-35. 1982.
[16]  Singh, N, ‘‘A pharmacoclinical evaluation of some ayurvedic crude plant drugs as antistress agents and their usefulness in some stress diseases of man,’’ Ann Nat AcadInd Med, 2 (1). 14-26. 1986.
[17]  Davis, L. and Kuttan, G, ‘‘Effect of Withania somnifera on cell mediated immune responses in mice,’’ J ExpClin Cancer Res, 21 (4). 585-590. 2002.
[18]  Bhattacharya, A., Ghosal, S. and Bhattacharya, S.K, ‘‘Antioxidant effect of Withania somnifera glycowithanolides in chronic foodshok stress induced perturbation of oxidative free radical scavenging enzymes and lipid peroxidation in rat frontal cortex and striatum,’’ J Ethanopharmacol, 74 (1). 1-6. 2001.
[19]  Bhattacharya, S., Satyan, K.S. and Ghosal, S, ‘‘Antioxidant activity of glycowithanolides from Withania somnifera,’’ Ind J Exp Biol, 35 (3). 236-239. 1997.
[20]  Kaur, K., Rani, G., Widodo, N., Nagpal, A., Taira, K., Kaul, S.C. and Wadhva, R, ‘‘Evaluation of the anti proliferative and antioxidative activity of leaf extract from in vivo and in vitro raised Ashwagandha,’’ Food ChemToxicol, 42 (12). 2015-2020. 2004.
[21]  Mohan Kumar, K.P, ‘‘Association of M Dopa with recovery following Ayurveda medication in Parkinson Disease,’’ J Neurol Sci, 176 (2). 124-127. 2000.
[22]  Ahmad, M., Saleem, S., Ahmad, A.S., Ansari, M.A., Yusuf, S., Hoda, M.M and Islam, F, ‘‘Neuroprotective effect of Withania somnifera on 6-hydroxydopamine indused Parkinsonism in rat,’’ Hum ExpToxicol, 24 (3).137-147. 2005.
[23]  Singh, N., Agarwal, A.K., Lata, A. and Kohli, R.P, ‘‘Experimental evaluation of 'adaptogenic' properties of Withania somnifera,’’ in 7th Scientific Seminar on Indian Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences. Varanasi. 4. 1977.
[24]  Panda, S. and Kar, A, ‘‘Withania somnifera and Bauhinia pupurea in the regulation circulating thyroid hormone concentration in female mice,’’ J Ethanopharmacol,’’ 67. 233-239. 1999.
[25]  Chothani, D.L., Patel, M.B., Mishra, S.H. and Vaghasia, H.U, ‘‘Review on Ruellia tuberosa (Cracker plant),’’ Pharmacognosy journal, 2 (12). 506-12. 2010.
[26]  Farnsworth, N.R, ‘‘Biological and phytochemical screening of plants,’’ Journal of pharmaceutical sciences, 55 (3). 225-76. 1965.
[27]  Stahl, E, ‘‘Thin layer chromatograpphy,’’ In A Laboratory hand book. 2nd ed., Springer international student edition, 854-59. 1969.
[28]  Michael, A.S., Thompson, C.G. and Abramovitz, M, ‘‘Artemia salina as a test organism for a bioassay,’’ Science, 123. 464-464. 1956.
[29]  Dharmadasa, R.M., Hettiarachchi, P.L. and Premakumara, G.A.S, ‘‘Geographical distribution and conservation of a rare medicinal plant Munronia pinnata (wall.) theob. (meliaceae) in Sri Lanka,’’ Bangladesh j. plant taxon, 18 (1). 39-49. 2011.
[30]  Muthukumarana, R. and Dharmadasa, R.M, "Pharmacognostical investigation of Plectranthus hadiensis (Forssk.) Schweinf. ex Sprenger. and Plectranthus amboinicus (Lour.) Spreng." World Journal of Agricultural Research, 2.5. 240-246. 2014.
[31]  Dharmadasa R.M., Samarasinghe K., Adhihetty P. and Hettiarachchi P.L, ‘‘Comparative Pharmacognostic Evaluation of Munronia Pinnata (Wall.) Theob. (Meliaceae) and Its Substitute Andrographis paniculata (Burm.f.) Wall. Ex Nees (Acanthaceae),’’ World journal of agricultural research, 1 (5). 77-81. 2013.
[32]  Ayesa, B., Rahman, M. O. and Begum, ‘‘M.Stomatal and trichome diversity in sennamill from Bangladesh. Bangladesh J. Plant Taxon. 21 (1). 43-51. 2014.
[33]  Meyer, B.N., Ferrigni, N.R., Putnam, J.E., Jacobsen, L.B., Nichols, D.E. and McLaughlin, J.L, ‘‘Brine shrimp: A convenient general bioassay for active plant constituents,’’ Plant Med, 45. 31-34. 1982.
[34]  Carballo, J.L., Hernández-Inda, Z.L., Pérez P. and García-Grávalos, M.D, ‘‘A comparison between two brine shrimp assays to detect in vitro cytotoxicity in marine natural products,’’ BMC Biotechol, 2. 17. 2002.
[35]  Vivas, L., Easton, A., Kendrick, H., Cameron, A. and Lavandera, J.L, ‘‘Plasmodium falciparum: Stage specific effects of a selective inhibitor of lactate dehydrogenase,’’ Exp. Parasitol,111. 105-114. 2005.
[36]  Prabu, P.C., Panchapakesan, S. and Raj, C.D, ‘‘ Phytother Res, 1169-78. 2013.
[37]  Siriwardane, A.S., Dharmadasa, R.M., and Samarasinghe, K, ‘‘Distribution of withaferin A, an anticancer Potential agent, in different parts of two varities of Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal. grown in Sri Lanka,’’ Pakistan journal of biological sciences, 16 (3). 141-44. 2013.
[38]  Sharmin, T., Islam, F., Kaisar, M.A., Uddin, M.G. and Rashid, M.A, ‘‘Antioxidant, thrombolytic and cytotoxic activities of Picrasma javanica,’’ Dhaka University Journal of Pharmaceutical Science, 11.71-74. 2012.