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Toxicity of Gunja (Abrus precatorius) Seeds With Special Reference to Abrin: A Review

* Dr. Rajni Devi, P.G. Scholar, Department of Agada Tantra, RGGPGAC, Paprola, H.P.
*Dr. Munna Lal Prajapati, Reader, Department of Agada Tantra, RGGPGAC, Paprola, H.P.
* Porf. (Dr). Jaram Singh, HOD, Dept. of Agada Tantra, RGGPGAC, Paprola, H.P.
Dr. Rajveer Singh, Asst. Professor, Dept. of Agada Tantra, RGGPGAC, Paprola, H.P.
*Corresponding author: [email protected]
Received on: 28-05-2022           Accepted: 21-06-2022           Corrected: 15-07-2022

Abstract: Background: Gunja is plant drug mentioned as main Visha among group of eight in Sthavara Visha in Sushruta Samhita as seeds of plants have toxic effects on multiple organs. Abrin and agglutinin-I are major compounds having toxic effects. Various workers have shown that the ingestion pulverized seeds causing pulmonary edema, seizures and deaths in some of the cases.
Materials and Methods: Various databases, websites of concerned departments, classical texts and scientific books were systematically reviewed.
Result: The seed contains 3.22% oil, 92% protein and 4.8$ starch. 0.15% of crystalline lectin (abrin) is present. Other compounds present with drugs includes flavonoids, alkaloids, gallic acid, glucosides etc.
Toxicities of seeds reveals vomiting, loose stool, difficulty in breathing, pulmonary edema, seizures, tremor, spleen damage, hypotension, kidney damage etc.
Abrin is heterodimeric protein with several isoforms as abrin-a, abrin-b, abrin-c and abrin-d. Agglutinin-I is weaker in action compared to abrin. The regulation of various pathways through microarray data is reported for genesis of toxicological systems as Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction, calcium signalling pathway, Janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription (Jak-STAT) signalling pathway and natural killer cell mediated toxicity.
Discussion and Conclusion: Swedana is suggested for the purification of drugs in Ayurveda. Even the effects of heat treatment are shown to reduce the toxicological effects of abrin. The detailed study based on pharmacological experiments and in terms of chemically structural changes are required.
Key words: Gunja, Abrin, Agglutinin, Sthavara visha, Upavisha………

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