Pterocarpus santalinus Linn. f. (Rath handun): A review of its botany, uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology

  • Kodithuwakku Kankanange Indika Upali Arunakumara
  • Buddhi Charana WalpolaEmail author
  • Siripala Subasinghe
  • Min-Ho Yoon


Pterocarpus santalinus Linn.f., commonly known as Red sanders, belongs to the family Fabaceae. It is endemic to India and considered globally endangered, with illegal harvest being a key threat. The plant is renowned for its characteristic timber of exquisite color, beauty, and superlative technical qualities. The red wood yields a natural dye santalin, which is used in coloring pharmaceutical preparations and foodstuffs. In the traditional system of medicine, the decoction prepared from the heartwood is attributed various medicinal properties. It has been used in inducing vomiting and treating eye diseases, mental aberrations, and ulcers. The heartwood of Red sanders is known to have antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic, tonic, hemorrhage, dysentery, aphrodisiac, and diaphoretic activities. It has also been used as a cooling agent. Ethanol extract of stem bark was reported to possess anti-hyperglycaemic activity. The wood in combination with other drugs is also prescribed for snake bites and scorpion stings. Phytochemical investigations of aqueous and ethanol extracts of stem bark revealed the presence of alkaloids, phenols, saponins, glycosides, flavonoides, triterpenoides, sterols, and tannins. The heart wood contains isoflavone glucosides and two anti-tumour lignans, viz., savinin and calocedrin. However, the species has remained unexplored for many pharmacological activities claimed. The present paper reviewed botany, uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacology of P. santalinus.

Key words

pharmaceutical preparations Pterocarpus santalinus traditional medicine 


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Copyright information

© Korean Society for Applied Biological Chemistry and Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kodithuwakku Kankanange Indika Upali Arunakumara
    • 1
  • Buddhi Charana Walpola
    • 2
    Email author
  • Siripala Subasinghe
    • 1
  • Min-Ho Yoon
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Crop Science Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of RuhunaMapalana, KamburupitiyaSri Lanka
  2. 2.Department of Soil Science, Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of RuhunaMapalana, KamburupitiyaSri Lanka
  3. 3.Department of Bio-Environmental Chemistry, College of Agriculture and Life SciencesChungnam National UniversityDaejeonRepublic of Korea

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