Putrajivaka: Putranjiva roxburghii Medicinal use



Putranjivaka- Putranjiva roxburgii is an Ayurvedic Herb used for the for the treatment of eye disorders, burning sensation, elephantiasis, difficulty in micturition, azoospermia and habitual abortions. The name Putranjivaka denotes- which promotes or give life to progeny, which promotes fertility, both in men and women. 

Latin name- Putranjiva roxburgii Wall.
Family- Euphorbiaceae

Classical categorization:
Bhavaprakasha Nighantu- Vatadi varga
Kaiyyadeva Nighantu- Oushadhi varga
Raja Nighantu- Prabadradi varga

Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Jiyapeeta, Putranjeev

English name- Child life tree, Indian amulet plant
Gujarathi name- Putrajiva, Putramjeeva, Putranjiv,
Kannada name- Putrajiva, Putramjiva
Malayalam name- Pongalam
Marathi name- Putajan
Tamil name- Irukolli
Telugu name- Kuduru, Putrajivika




Garbhakar, Garbhada, Sutajeevaka – Which strengths the uterus and retains the fetus

Yashtipushpa – flowers resemble licorice
Artha Sadhaka, Mantrartha Siddhikrut – used for spiritual purposes
Kuta, Pavitra – Sacred

Morphology of Putranjiva roxburghii:
Putrajivaka is a moderate sized evergreen tree growing to a height up to 12m with pendent branches and dark grey bark having horizontal lenticels. The leaves are simple, alternate, distichous, stipule triangular, acute, caduceus, petiole 0.4-1 cm long, nearly glabrous, planoconvex in cross section. The flowers are unisexual, male flowers in axillary clusters and yellow in color.

Flowers bloom in the month of March and April. The fruits are round or ovoid in shape, 0.5-0.8 inch diameter. The seed present inside is solitary and slimy. Fruits are seen in between January to March. The tree can be seen all over India till 3000 feet altitude.


Trees, to 20 m high, bark dark grey, whitish when young with horizontal lenticels; branches generally pendent; branchlets terete, brown or blackish, slender, pubescent. Leaves simple, alternate; stipule small, lateral, caducous; petiole 5-7 mm long, slender, pubescent; lamina 3.5-12 x 1.5-4.5 cm, elliptic-oblong, base oblique, apex shortly acuminate, acute or obtuse with retuse tip; margin serrate or serrulate, glabrous, dark green, shining, coriaceous; lateral nerves 8-12 pairs, pinnate, slender, ascending, prominent, intercostae reticulate, slender, prominent. Flowers unisexual, small, yellow; male flowers: sessile, in axillary spikes, 2-2.5 mm across; pedicels 1.5-2 mm long, glabrous; tepals 3-5, oblong, puberulous without, ciliate, obtuse, imbricate; stamens 2-4, 1.5-2 mm long; filaments thick, more or less connate towards base; anthers ovate, hairy; female flowers: solitary or in 2 or 3, axillary; pedicel upto 15 mm long, puberulous; bracts lanceolate; tepals 5-6, 2-2.5 × 1-1.5 mm, unequal, oblong, puberulous without, ciliate, acute; ovary superior, 3 x 2.5 mm, globose, tomentose, 3-celled, ovules 2 in each cell; style 3, spreading, tomentose, often connate below into dilated into broad fleshy stigma; stigma crescent-shaped, glandular. Fruit a drupe, 1.3-2 x 1.5 cm, ovoid-ellipsoid, white tomentose; seed one, crustaceous; pedicels 6-25 mm long.




Rasa (Taste) – Madhura (Sweet), Katu (Pungent),

Guna (Qualities) – Guru (Heavy), Picchila (Slimy)
Vipaka – Madhura (Undergoes sweet taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Sheeta (Cold)
Karma (Actions) – Vatapitta shamaka (reduces vitiated vata and pitta dosha)

Part used- Seed, Leaf
Seed powder- 1 to 3 g

Leaf juice- 10 to 20 ml


Chemical composition:
The oil extracted from seed contains isopropyl and2-butylisothio-cyanates as the main constituents and 2-methyl-butyl isothiocyanate as a minor component. The iso-thiocyanates are produced on enzymic hydrolysis of glycosidic progenitors present in the kernels, viz. gluco putranjivin, gluco-cochlearin and gluco jiaputin respectively. An additional glucoside, gluco- cleomin has been identified in the seed kernel. A glycosidic pattern similar to that in the seed is reported in the shoots and roots. The fruit pulp contains a large portion of mannitol and small quantities of saponin glucosides and alkaloids. The seed coat gave putranjivoside, putranoside A, B, C and D, beta- sitosterol and tis beta-D-glucoside. The leaves have amentoflavone and its derivatives, beta-amyrin and its palmite, polyphenols, putranjiva saponin A,B,C, and D and stigmasterol. The bark contains friedelin, friedelanol, friedelanone, friedelan-3,7-di-one (putranjivadione), 3-alpha-hydro- xyfriedelan- 7-one (roxburgholone), carboxylic acid, putric acid, putranjivic acid.


Uses of Putranjivaka:

  • Ayurvedic classics have highlighted the importance of Putranjivaka as the one which helps in progenation. The powder of the seed is given in a dose of 1-3 g with milk to improve the sperm count in males and help in maintain the fetus in pregnant women.
  • The paste of the leaf is applied over the area affected with burning sensation.
  • Fresh juice of Putranjivaka is given in a dose of 10-15 ml to treat elephantiasis and the paste of the leaf is applied over the affected leg.
  • Cold infusion prepared from the leaves of Putranjiva roxburghii is given in a dose of 20-30 ml to treat difficulty in micturition.
  • The seeds of the seed of Putranjivaka is made into paste and applied as collyrium to treat eye diseases.



Traditional uses: 
Vrushya – aphrodisiac, improves vigor
Guru – heavy to digest
Vishtambhi – constipative.
Srushtavinmutra – causes production of urine and feces
Hima – coolant
Kaphavata prada – can increases Kapha and Vata Dosha
Pittashamana – balances Pitta Dosha
Dahahara – Relieves burning sensation, as in gastritis, neuropathy, burning sensation in eyes etc
Trushnahara – Relieves thirst

Adverse effects: No adverse effect is known or reported after the normal use of Putranjivaka.

Ayurvedic Medicines containing Putranjivaka:
Lucap capsule: This is a proprietary ayurvedic medicine useful to treat dysmenorrhea, iron deficiency anemia, vaginitis and menorrhagia and corrects post-partum disorders.



Research articles related to Putranjiva roxburghii:
Hypoglycemic activity: In the present study diabetes was induced in albino rat models with alloxan monohydrate. Putranjiva roxburghii Wall. has been claimed to possess antidiabetic properties by many of leaves of Putranjiva roxburghii. The results showed that it has significant antihyperglycemic effect in experimental model of diabetes mellitus.

Anti- bacterial and Anti- oxidant activity: For antibacterial activity the methanolic extracts of 12 plants leaves were extracted. The antibacterial testing in vitro was done following disc diffusion method against Bacillus subtilis, Erwinia herbicola, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, Pseudomonas putida Staphylococcus aureus Klebsiella pnemoniae ,Vibrio cholera.Amongst the leaf methanolic extracts tested, the extracts of Aegle marmelos (L.) Corre, Anethum graveolens L and Eupatorium capillifolium (Lam.) Small showed significant antibacterial activity against the bacterial pathogen. Putranjiva roxburghii Wall showed highest antibacterial activity followed by Artabotrys hexapetalus (L.f.) Bhandari. The 2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging assay was used to determine the antioxidant activity of potent extract. Putranjiva roxburghii Wall showed the appreciable antioxidant activity.

Cytotoxic action: The present study was designed to investigate the cytotoxicity of methanol extract of seeds of Putranjiva roxburghii Wall (Euphorbiaceae). The preliminary phytochemical screening of methanol extract showed the presence of phenols, alkaloids, saponins, steroids, flavonoids and glycosides. The extract showed cytotoxicity with LC50 of 427.74 μg/ml in brine shrimp lethality assay.


The attainment of new function by a protein is achieved through convergent/divergent evolution. In present work, the sequence analysis of a 34kDa protein from Putranjiva roxburghii, earlier reported as a potent trypsin inhibitor, showed resemblance to some of the wound inducible and vegetative storage proteins. A detailed sequence analysis revealed that these proteins belong to PNP-UDP family. In case of P. roxburghii protein, an approximately 46 residue insert disrupts the PNP domain. Similar disruption of PNP domain is observed in related plant proteins. The characterization of recombinant full length and truncated (without 46 residue insert) forms of P. roxburghii PNP family protein (PRpnp) unraveled that trypsin inhibitory active site is located within the insert. The truncated form containing uninterrupted PNP domain showed strong PNP enzymatic activity where it hydrolyzed the N-glycosidic bond of inosine and guanosine. The full length protein, however, showed weak PNP enzyme activity which may be due to presence of the insert. These results indicate towards the neofunctionalization of PRpnp to a potent trypsin inhibitor through an insert containing inhibitory residue to cater to the needs of plant defense. The similar wound inducible and vegetative storage proteins may have also evolved due to evolutionary needs.





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