Evaluation of Pharmacognostical Characters and Comparative Morphoanatomical Study of Saussurea costus (Falc.) Lipchitz and Arctium lappa L. Roots

  • Pandey, Madan Mohan (Pharmacognosy & Ethnopharmacology Division National Botanical Research Institute) ;
  • Rastogi, Subha (Pharmacognosy & Ethnopharmacology Division National Botanical Research Institute) ;
  • Rawat, Ajay Kumar Singh (Pharmacognosy & Ethnopharmacology Division National Botanical Research Institute)
  • Published : 2007.12.31


Saussurea costus (Falc.) Lipchitz syn S. lappa C. B. Clarke (commonly known as 'Kuth') belonging to the family Asteraceae is a well known medicinal plant which finds wide usage in different indigenous systems of medicine of India, China, Korea & Tibet. In different folk medicines the roots of S. costus are used to treat various disorders like ulcer, stomachache, malaria, leprosy, dysentery and toothache. However due to over exploitation, it has become endangered and has become the concern of different governmental bodies in India. The increasing demand of this endangered Himalayan species has resulted in a situation where it is often substituted, knowingly or unknowingly, by other morphologically similar species. Arctium lappa, belonging to the same family, is one such plant that has often been found to be present in the market samples of 'Kuth'. The present study was thus carried out and morphoanatomical characters, physicochemical as well as chemical parameters were developed for proper identification of roots of S. costus and its differenciation from A. lappa as well as authentication of the commercial market samples. The detailed morphoanatomical studies revealed that roots of S. costus can be distinguished from A. lappa on the basis of some important microscopial characters eg. the schizogenous resin ducts observed in roots of S. costus, were absent in A. lappa.. Besides, the HPTLC fingerprint profile showed a distinct band at Rf. 0.72 in S. costus, which was totally absent in A. lappa and a band at $R_f$ 0.64 in A. lappa which was absent in S. costus Chlorogenic acid, used as a chemical marker for HPTLC analysis, was estimated to be 0.077% in S. costus as compared to 0.107% in A. lappa. Thus these detailed pharmacognostical parameters can be successfully used to distinguish between roots of S. costus and A. lappa.


  1. Anonymous, Official Methods of Analysis (AOAC) Virginia. Sidney Williams, 14th Edn.Association of Official Analytical Chemists Inc. U.S.A, 1984
  2. Anonymous, The useful plants of India, Publication and Information Directorate, CSIR, New Delhi, 1992
  3. Anonymous, Indian pharmacopoeia 2nd Edn. Government of India, New Delhi, 1996
  4. Anonymous, Report of the task force on conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants. Planning Commission, Government of India, New Delhi, India (2000)
  5. Beigh, S.Y., Irshad, A., Nawchao, Muhammad, I., Plants in traditional medicine of Kashmir Himalaya. J. Econ. Tax. Bot. 27, 99-104 (2003)
  6. Bruchhausen, F.Y., Dannhardt, G., Ebel, S., Frahm, A.W., Hackenthal, E., and Holzgrabe, U., Hagers Handbuch der Pharmazeutischen Praxis. Band 9, Stoffe P-Z Bandwerk Hager: Hdb pharmaz.Praxis (5.Aufl.) 5., vollstandig neubearb. Aufl., XXX, 1255 S., Geb (1994)
  7. Chen, F.A., Wu, A.B., and Chen, C.Y. The influences of different treatments on the free redical scavenging activity of burdock and variations of its active components. Food Chem. 86, 479-484 (2004) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2003.09.020
  8. Chopra, R.N., Nayar, S.L., and Chopra, I.C., Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants. Publication and Information Directorate, CSIR, New Delhi, 1956
  9. Dhar, G.H., Virjee, P., Kachroo., and Buth, G.M., Ethnobotany of Kashmir - I. Sind valley. J . Econ. Tax. Bot. 5, 668-675 (1984)
  10. Jain, S.K. and Rao, R.R., A handbook of field and herbarium methods. Today and Tomorrow's printers and publication, New Delhi, 1977
  11. Kala, C.P. and Manjerkar, N., Ethnomedicobotany of Indian Trans Himalaya. A case study from Spiti. J. Econ. Tax. Bot. 23(1), 177-183 (1999)
  12. Kala, C.P., Dhyani, P.P., and Sajwan, B.K., Developing the medicinal plants sector in northern India: challenges and opportunities. J. Ethnobiol. Ethnomed. 2, 32-47 (2006) https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-4269-2-32
  13. Kapoor, L.D., Handbook of Ayurvedic Medicinal plants. CRC Press, Washington, D.C. p. 299-300 (2001)
  14. Kaul, S.C., Some wild flowers of Kashmir and their indigenous use. J. Bomb. Nat. His. Soc. 42, 452-454 (1941)
  15. Koelz, watt, H., Notes on Ethnobotany of Lahul, a province of the Punjab. Q. J. Crude Drug Res. 17(1), 56-58 (1979)
  16. Kuniyal, C.P., Rawat, Y.S., Oinam, S.S., Kuniyal, J.C., and Vishvakarma, S.C.R., Kuth (Saussurea lappa) cultivation in the cold desert environment of the Lahaul valley, northwestern Himalaya, India: arising threats and need to revive socio-economic value. Biodiversity and Conservation 14, 1035-1045 (2005) https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-004-4365-x
  17. Lin, C.C., Lin, J.M., Yang, J.J., Chuang, S.C., and Ujiie, T., Anti – inflammatory and radical scavenge effects of Arctium lappa. Am. J. Chin. Med. 24, 127-137 (1996) https://doi.org/10.1142/S0192415X96000177
  18. Lin, S.C., Chung, T.C., Lin, C.C., Ueng, T.H., Lin, Y.H., Lin, S.Y., and Wang, L., Hepatoprotective effects of Arctium lappa on carbon tetrachloride and acetaminophen- induced liver damage. Am. J. Chin. Med. 28, 163-173 (2000) https://doi.org/10.1142/S0192415X00000210
  19. Montgomery, R., Determination of glycogen. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 67, 378-386 (1957) https://doi.org/10.1016/0003-9861(57)90292-8
  20. Nautiyal, S., Maikuri, R.K., Rao, K.S., and Saxena, K.G., Ethnobotany of the Tolcha Bhotia tribe of the buffer zone villages in Nanda Devi Bioshpere Reserve India. J. Econ. Tax. Bot. 27(1), 119-142 (2003)
  21. Pandey, M.M., Govindarajan, R., Rawat, A.K.S., Pangtey, Y.P.S., and Mehrotra, S., High performance liquid chromatographic method for quantitative estimation of an antioxidant principle chlorogenic acid in Saussurea costus and Arctium lappa. Nat. Prod. Sci. 10(1), 40-42 (2004)
  22. Pandey, M.M., Rastogi, S., and Rawat, A.K.S., Saussurea costus: Botanical, Chemical and Pharmacological Review of an Ayurvedic Medicinal Plant. J. Ethnopharmacol. 110, 379-390 (2007) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2006.12.033
  23. Rawat, G.S. and Pangtey, Y.P.S., A contribution to the ethnobotany of Alpine regions of Kumaon. J. Econ. Tax. Bot. 11, 139-148 (1987)
  24. Shafiee, M., Carbonnart, M.A., Huart, J.B., Descomps, B., and Heger, C.L., Synergistic antioxidative properties of phenolics from natural origin towards low-density lipoperties depend on oxidation system. J. Med. Food. 5, 69-78 (2002) https://doi.org/10.1089/109662002760178140
  25. Shah, N.C., Herbal folk medicines in northern India. J. Ethnopharmacol. 6, 293-301 (1982) https://doi.org/10.1016/0378-8741(82)90052-6
  26. Singh, G., Ethnobotanical study of useful plants of Kullu districts in north western Himalayas, India. J. Econ. Tax. Bot. 23(1), 185-198 (1999)