Anti-rheumatic agents: Pharmacognosy

Anti-rheumatic agents Pharmacognosy

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that affects millions of people globally. Joint pain, inflammation, fatigue, anemia, and malaise are the frequent symptoms of this disorder.  So how can we treat this? Well, since this disorder cannot be completely cured, we can only try to reduce the symptoms. For this, immunosuppressive agents and anti-inflammatory drugs are frequently used. But these again have their side effects by altering the immunity of the individual.

Then, what exactly is safe? Should we shift over to herbs for treatment? Despite being unbelievable, a wide variety of potent herbal drugs do exist to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Now, let’s look into two of the most popularly prescribed natural anti-rheumatics.

Anti-rheumatic agents

Anti-rheumatic agents Pharmacognosy-

  • Guggul:

Commiphora wightii or Indian bdellium-tree is a plant that produces an oleo-gum-resin called guggul. On making deep incisions in the basal part of the stem bark, guggul oozes out.


This resin has been in use for the past 3000 years in India. It is also mentioned in the Atharvaveda, Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita for its various medicinal properties.


This plant is native to the arid zones of Africa like Kenya, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe. However, it is also cultivated in the subtropical regions of India.

Organoleptic evaluation:

Since the active constituent occurs in the form of a gum-resin, evaluation of its characters are done as follows:

  • Brown to pale yellow color
  • Aromatic and balsamic odor
  • Characteristic bitter taste
  • Appears as agglomerated tears that are brittle and have a waxy surface
  • On trituration with water, a white emulsion is formed

Chemical constituents:

It contains steroids, diterpenoids, carbohydrates and aliphatic esters. The therapeutically active steroids are Z-Guggulosterone, E-Guggulosterone and guggulsterone-I, II, III.

Chemical test for guggul:

Add acetic anhydride and sulphuric acid to the ethyl acetate extract of the drug. Green color develops at the junction of the two sterols.


  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-rheumatic
  • Hypolipidemic


  • Colchicum:

This plant grows from a bulb-like corm and belongs to the family Liliaceae. The therapeutically active part of this plant is its dried ripe seeds. However, the corms are also used occasionally.


Despite being identified from the time of Dioscorides, this plant was not used medicinally owing to its toxic nature. However, it was later on used for treating gout by the Arabian people and slowly entered Europe in the 17th century.


It is predominantly cultivated in Europe, especially in England, Czechoslovakia, Holland, and Yugoslavia and also in India.

Organoleptic evaluation:

The seeds are characterized as follows:

  • Hard with reddish-brown testa
  • Strophiole, an outgrowth of testa is seen
  • A bitter and acrid taste
  • Odorless
  • The corms are ovate and have a short fracture on its surface

Chemical constituents:

Amino alkaloids are the main components. Colchicine and demecolcine are predominantly found in the seeds and corms.

Active Drug (colchicine) + 70% sulphuric acid, turns yellow, that is the chemical test.


  • Anti-rheumatic
  • Treatment of gout


1 responses on "Anti-rheumatic agents: Pharmacognosy"

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