Ajuga bracteosa (Ratti Buti/ Jan-e-Adam): Introduction, Scientific Classification, Geographic distribution, Morphological description, Active ingredients and Uses
Ajuga belongs to the family Lamiaceae. This is one of the largest families among dicotyledons represented by 220 genera and more than 4000 species. Ajuga bracteosa is commonly known as “bungle” in English and “Jan-i-adam” in Kashmiri. It is a perennial erect or ascending hairy herb, often prostrate with oblanceolate or sub-spathulate leaves and grows up to 5-50cm tall. A.bracteosa is distributed in subtropical and temperate regions from Kashmir to Bhutan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and Malaysia. This plant has also been used traditionally for curing several diseases like fever, and a variety of neuro and inflammatory disorders. The herb is in use since ancient times and is recommended in Ayurveda for the treatment of rheumatism, gout, palsy and amenorrhea. It is also credited with astringent, febrifugal, stimulant, tonic, and diuretic properties. The juice of the leaves is used as a blood purifier and in powdered form for burns and boils. Leaves are employed for application on blisters, venereal and skin diseases, malarial fever, eruptions and fissures on skin, jaundice and leucorrhoea, diabetes and body swellings. Anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties of Ajuga bracteosa have been reported. Investigators have also reported anti-malarial activities. It could also be an alternative to Artemisia currently being used as an anti-malarial. In vitro, the evaluation of the antihelmentic efficacy of Ajuga bracteosa on Ascaridia galli (a poultry worm) has also been studied. During the present study in vitro propagation of this plant species was carried out because of its tremendous medicinal importance and tough habitat conditions.
Species: Ajuga bracteosa
Common Names: It is commonly called “Bungle” in English, “Nilkanthi” in Sanskrit and “Jan-i-adam” in Kashmiri.
Ajuga bracteosa is indigenous to the high-altitude regions of the Himalayas, primarily found in India, Pakistan, and Nepal. It thrives in alpine meadows, rocky slopes, and forest clearings at elevations ranging from 2,500 to 4,500 meters above sea level. The plant’s adaptation to harsh environmental conditions has contributed to its resilience and survival in these regions.
A. bracteosa is commonly known as kauri booti and it belongs to the family Lamiaceae. It is a perennial herb growing wild in the Punjab plains, upper Gangetic plains and from Kashmir to Nepal in Western Himalaya. A. bracteosa is a prised medicinal, aromatic, villous, soft and decumbent herb which is about 10–30 cm in height. It is established on grassland, exposed slopes and open fields in temperate and subtropical regions of the world at an elevation of 1 300 to 2400 m.
1. It is a perennial prolixly branched evergreen herb that remains flattened to the pulverised.
2. It forms dense clusters of erect stems arising from a basal rosette.
3. Its yellowish flowers are congested in axillary spirals.
4. Ajuga bracteosa is a low-growing herbaceous perennial that typically reaches a height of 20 to 30 centimetres.
5. A. bracteosa has usually woodier rootstock, leaves often larger up to 9.0 cm × 3.5 cm but usually much less with a more crenate to lobed margin, calyces 3.0–4.5 mm, corollas 10 mm, stamens usually exserted, and nutlets longer and broader (eflora of Pakistan).
6. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs along the square-shaped stems and are typically lanceolate or ovate.
7. They have a glossy texture and are often marked with purple or maroon colouration.
8. During the flowering season, Ajuga bracteosa produces dense spikes of tubular flowers, ranging in colour from pale lavender to deep blue-purple. These flowers attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. After the flowering period, the plant develops small, ovoid fruits containing tiny seeds.
Ajuga bracteosa is known for its rich phytochemical composition. Various bioactive compounds have been identified in different parts of the plant, including alkaloids, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, triterpenoids, and essential oils. These compounds contribute to the plant’s medicinal properties and are of interest to researchers exploring its potential applications in health and wellness. Cytotoxicity level was evaluated using a skin carcinoma cell line and it was found that ergosterol-5,8- endoperoxide and neo-clerodane diterpenoids were not cytotoxic at higher concentrations used for antiplasmodial activity.
Traditional Medicine: Ajuga bracteosa has a long history of use in traditional medicine systems. It is valued for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. It is traditionally used for treating respiratory disorders, digestive issues, skin ailments, and rheumatic conditions. The plant extracts are often prepared as decoctions, infusions, or poultices for therapeutic use.
Ayurvedic Medicine: In Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine, Ajuga bracteosa is known as “Jan-e-Adam” and is considered a potent herb for treating various ailments. It is believed to have rejuvenating properties and is used to enhance vitality, improve memory, and alleviate conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and fever.
Pharmacological Research: The bioactive compounds present in Ajuga bracteosa have attracted the attention of researchers in the pharmaceutical industry. Studies have focused on its potential applications in the development of drugs for cancer, inflammation, microbial infections, and neurodegenerative disorders. Ongoing research aims to explore the plant’s therapeutic potential and unlock its medicinal benefits.
Ornamental Plant: Ajuga bracteosa’s attractive foliage and vibrant flowers make it a popular choice for ornamental gardens. It is often cultivated as a ground cover or used in landscaping due to its ability to form dense mats, suppress weed growth, and provide visual interest.
Ajuga bracteosa, commonly known as Ratti Buti or Jan-e-Adam, is a medicinal plant native to the Himalayan regions of India, Pakistan, and Nepal. With its diverse phytochemical composition and long-standing traditional uses, this plant holds promise for its therapeutic applications in various fields, including traditional medicine, Ayurveda, and pharmaceutical research. Further exploration of its properties and active compounds may lead to the development of novel drugs and enhance our understanding of its medicinal potential.