Pale Catechu Biological Sources, Morphological Features, Chemical Constituents, Uses and Multiple Choice Questions

Pale Catechu Biological Sources, Morphological Features, Chemical Constituents, Uses and Multiple Choice Questions

Pale Catechu

Synonyms:- Gambier

Biological source:- It is an aqueous extract prepared from the leaves and young shoots of Uncaria gambier Roxburgh.

Family: Rubiaceae.

Geographical source:- It is a climbing shrub native to Malay Archipelago and largely cultivated on islands of Singapore and Sumatra. This drug was used in India for the chewing purpose with Piper betle (betel) leaf.

Cultivation and Collection:-

  • Plantation is done in damp soil and at an altitude of 500 ft above the sea level.
  • The nursery raised seedlings of about 9 months are planted at about 3 metre distances in between. When the plant reaches height of about 2 meter coppicing has been done.
  • From about eight years after plantation to twenty years age of plant, the yield is at its maximum.
  • The shoots are cut down with a broad bladed knife and put it in special type of vessel known as ‘Cauldron’ which is made of hard wood with an iron bottom.
  • The leaves and young shoots are boiled in ‘Cauldron’ for about three hours with continuous stirring of the content.
  • The decoction is evaporated till it becomes thick and pasty with yellowish green colour.
  • The contents transferred into wooden tubs and allow cooling. After about ten minutes the semi crystallised magma is poured into wooden trays to settle down.
  • It is cut into cubes with a wooden knife while the preparation is still moist and sun dried. Much amount of Gambier is filled into kerosene tins to solidify to obtain large blocks which are marketed.
  • The cube shape of Gambier is preferred for pharmaceutical purpose.

Description:-

Form: Cubes, rectangular blocks or irregular broken pieces.

Colour: Dark reddish brown.

Odour: None. Taste: First bitter and astringent afterwards sweetish.

The surfaces of cubes are even with minute cavities, slightly concave, breaks easily and are friable.

Chemical Constituent:-

The drug mainly contains (+)-catechin (7-33%), catechutannic acid (22-50%). Other constituents are catechu red, quercitin and gambier fluorescin, a fluorescent substance.

Chemical Test:-

1. Dip a matchstick in the test solution, dry it and moist it with concentrated hydrochloric acid. Then warm the stick near flame. The colour of the wood changes to pink due to the formation of phloroglucinol.

2. When drug is treated with vanillin and hydrochloric acid, it produces pink or red colour due to the presence of catechin.

3. Add sodium hydroxide to the alcoholic extract of drug and add few drops of petroleum ether in it, stirr the solution and kept it aside for some time. Green fluorescence observed in layer of petroleum ether.

Uses:- It is used medicinally as an astringent in the treatment of diarrhoea and a local astringent in the form of lozenges. It is also used for tanning and dyeing

Adulterant:- The starch, astringent extracts and mineral matters like clay, ferric hydroxide etc has been added as an adulterant.

MCQ. 1. Pale catechu is belong to family

A. Solanaceae

B. Rubiaceae

C. Liliaceae

D. Ginsengacea

2. Which of the following is adulterant of pale catechu ?

A. Clay

B. Ferric hydroxide

C. Astringent extract

D. All of the above

3. Which of the following is true sentence about  Pale catechu ?

A. Pale catechu is cultivated in Thailand.

B. Pale catechu is belong to family Polygonaceae.

C. Pale catechu has adulterated by ferric hydroxide.

D. Pale catechu has arjunolic acid.

4. Which of the following is use of pale catechu ?

A. Diarrhoea

B. Local Astringent

C. A and B

D. None of the above

5.Which of the following is adulterant in pale catechu ?

A. Clay

B. Ferric hydroxide

C. Astringent extract

D. All of the above

6. Which of the following is not use of Black catechu?

A. Diarrhoea

B. Astringent

C. Dyeing

D. Constipation

7. Pink colour is observed when drug and Vanillin is mix. So which drug is present ?

A. Ellagic acid

B. Catechu

C. Bita sitosterol

D. l-hyoscyamine

8. Which of the following Chemical Constitution is present in pale catechu ?

A. Catechu tannic acid

B. Arjunolic acid

C. Arjunolone

D. Ellagic acid

9. Which of the following is not fluorescent compound ?

A. Catechin

B. Catechu tannic acid

C. Quercitin

D. Gambier

10. How many percentage of catechin present in pale catechu ?

A. 2-33%

B. 5-15%

C. 20-25%

D. 15-25%

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Answer Key :-

1. B

2. D

3. C

4. C

5. D

6. D

7. B

8. A

9. B

10. A

Reference :-

Catechu review article

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/catechu  

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