Medicinal application of plant is wide. Kamala is one such plant which has many health benefits. The botanical name of Kamala is Mallotus philippensis, which belongs to family Euphorbiaceae. Kamala is a fruit-bearing perennial shrub or small tree. These plants are widely grown on limestone hills, mountain valleys, river valleys, and forests at an altitude of 300–1600 m. This evergreen plant is found in the forest of East Asia, India, China, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, the Solomon Isles, and the Philippines to Australia.
In the Ayurvedic medicinal system, Kamala is used in different therapeutic purposes. A different part of this plant has different medicinal application in Ayurveda. For example, leaves are recommended as a bitter, appetizer and cooling agent; fruit has a heating property and used as purgative, anthelmintic, decreases pus discharge, and accelerate wound healing, carminative, effective against poison. This herbal remedy is recommended to treat bronchitis, spleen enlargement, abdominal diseases, etc. Every part of this plant is useful to treat a variety of disease conditions.
In folk medicinal practice, the bark of Kamala as meningitis and typhoid remedy.
- The hairs of Kamala fruit and glandular structure inside the fruit are used to eradicate gut worms. These parts of Kamala is also useful purgative.
- The oil extracted from the Kamala seeds is applied to nonhealing dermal wounds.
- Kamala leaves also externally applied to cure skin infections and wounds.
- In different traditional medicinal practitioners mix fruit pulp with coconut oil for wound and skin burn dressing purposes. Application of this herbal remedy helps to clear out chronically infected wounds.
- Kamala external formulations are also effective to treat an oozing type of wound.
- All the plant parts externally applied to treat parasitic skin infections.
- The bark and fruits of Kamala are used as an anthelmintic against tapeworm and treat stomach ulcers.
- Kamala leaves decoction preparation is used for diarrhea treatment.
- Chewing of a combination of small sectioned Kamala root with betel mixture is acts as a contraceptive for women.
- The leaves and flower extract of Kamala plant has anesthetic properties and is used as a traditional medicinal substance to treat flu, cough, stomatitis, rabies diseases, tuberculosis, and throat complaints.
- It is an effective remedy to treat fever and rheumatism. It has strong diuretic activity and can dissolve urinary calculi.
- In India, traditionally Kamala was used to dye silk and wool and imparted a bright orange color. This dye is also added to color soaps, oils, and other cosmetic items.
- In the food industry, the dye made up of Kamala herbal content to brighten ice-cream and drinks.
Phytochemicals present in Kamala
The different major phytochemicals present in Kamala are phenols, flavonoids, diterpenoids, triterpenoids, steroids, cardenolides, coumarin, and isocoumarins. Along with these specific phytochemicals, tannins are also present in Kamala fruits and bark.
Mechanism of action of Kamala
- The reddish-brown colored Kamala fruit has three-lobed structure has a covering of minute hairs with a powdery substance. The rottlerin and isollorotterin active constituted present in this have an anthelmintic property against hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms.
- Tannins have potent antioxidant property.
- Kamala fruits seed extract showed anti-fertility effect as it reduces serum FSH and LH levels by suppressing hypothalamic/pituitary axis. An animal research study showed that this herbal treatment may cause poor quality of eggs, reduces follicular development and corpus luteum formation.
- Kamala is also known as dye yielding plant due to the presence of different natural coloring agents. Rottlerin and isorottlerin are two different resinous colored material present in Kamala. Other significant colored materials are homorottlerine, volatile oils, red role 50%, yellow role 5%, manure 2%, oxalic acid, gum, citric acid, and tannin.
- Rottlerin present in Kamala has potent bactericidal effect with minimal bactericidal concentration.
- Kamala has an antioxidant property which can scavenge 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH).
- Kamala containing rottlerin has protein Inhibitory effect, which is responsible for anticancer activity.
- Kamala leaves reduce the elevated level of hepatic biochemical parameters to provide hepatoprotective activity.
- Presence of rottlerin in Kamala helps to modulate the mast cell-mediated allergic disorders.
- The bark extract of Kamala helps to proliferate cells and effective to heal the wound.
- Kamala has a potent anti-inflammatory property and also acts as an immunomodulator. It inhibits nitric oxide (NO) production. It also down-regulates cyclooxygenase-2 gene, interleukin-1b gene, and interleukin-6 gene expression.
Different dosage forms
Kamala oil: The oil is extracted from the seeds of Kamala. This cool kamala oil is a solidified formed. This oil is used as a food dye. But the current application of this oil is limited. This oil is expensive than other synthetic food dye materials. Kamala oil can be extracted by mixing with linseed oil or other vegetable oils and heating and filtering the mixture.
In Ayurvedic medicine, Kamala powder is often mixed with other herbs and formulate different powdered dosage forms. Following are three kamala powder containing dosage forms:
- Chandanadi Churna: Jeerna jwara, Kasa, Kamala, prameha, and Swasa.
- Navayasa Churna: Hrudroga , Kamala, kustha, Pandu, and Prameha pidaka,.
- Rajanyadi Churna: Agnimandya, Atisara, Grahani, Kamala, and Pandu, etc.
Uses of Kamala
Infection Disease Treatment and Prevention
- Kamala leaves have potent antimicrobial property effective against Streptococcus pneumoniae and thus prevent and treat this organism causing infections like pneumonia, septic, brain abscesses, etc. Septicemia and urinary tract infections are very harmful to health. But this leaves treatment helps to prevent Proteus vulgaris, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection causing germs. Kamala leaves extract is also recommended to treat typhoid fever, as it is effective against Salmonella typhi. It also suppresses Vibrio species and treats diarrheal infections. The potent antimicrobial effect of Kamala leaves effective against fungal infection like Candida albicans. Kamala leaves also has anti-filarial action.
- Not only leaves, but the stem of Kamala also has an inhibitory effect against fungi A. flavus and C. albicans.
- The phytochemicals present in Kamala have suppressive effective against HIV.
The kamala root is effective against leukemia due to its anti-proliferative activity. The antileukemic effect of Kamala is tested and the test result showed that Kamala can up-regulate protooncogenes within 24 hours of treatment and allow to limit leukemic cell cycle progression.
The stem bark of Kamala root inhibits the effect of antigen derived from Epstein-Barr virus. The antitumor property of Kamala is more potent than another well established herbal constituent like curcumin. An animal research study confirmed the anti-tumor activity of Kamala.
Multiple phytochemicals present in this plant is effective against Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
The anti-oxidant property of Kamala is effective to provide a hepatoprotective effect. The leaves of Kamala correct the liver functioning related biomarkers and showcase the functional improvement of the liver.
Kamala leaves act as an immuno-regulator and improves the overall immune functioning of the body.
Side Effects and Precautionary Measures
An animal research study reported Kamala hurts fertility. The toxic effect of Kamala is found in frog and fish. In Sumatra, this herbal preparation is used as fish poisoning. Administration of overdose of Kamala formulation can cause nausea in human treatment.