Bauhinia racemosa, commonly known as the bidi leaf tree, is a rare medicinal species of flowering shrub with religious significance. It is a small crooked tree with drooping branches that grows 3–5 metres (10–16 ft) tall and flowers between February and May. It is native to tropical Southeast Asia.
Bauhinia racemosa is not familiarly known in Asian countries due to its limited existence and lack of medicinal information. It is commonly used as a medicine, ornamental plant, fence plant, and fodder for livestock since ancient times. It is also used as a landfill tree to avoid soil erosion of the forest.
In South India, people cultivate this plant in their premises in order to protect themselves from the effects of thunder. In this review, the various research prospects of this plant have been analyzed and are summarized. The aim of this review is to provide the traditional uses, phytochemicals and pharmacological activities of B. racemosa, and to highlight the current pharmacological developments of this medicinal plant.
Only a few studies have been undertaken relating to the phytoconstituents of B. racemosa. To date, over 37 compounds have been isolated from various parts of this plant and identified. In this review, phytoconstituents in B. racemosa are comprehensively reported, including alkaloids, steroids, triterpenoids, glycosides, tannins, saponins, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, galactolipid, catechin, and others. Pharmacology
In recent years, pharmacological activities of crude extracts and metabolites of B. racemosa have been investigated as rich essential metabolites that make it a good microbicidal agent. Meanwhile, based on in vivo and in vitro experiments, the extracts of B. racemosa also promising stores of possible pharmacological effects such as anti-oxidant, antihistaminic, analgesic, antipyretic, anti-ulcer, anti-cancer, hepatoprotective, anti-diabetic, anti-HIV, and larvicidal activities.
Traditional uses in the treatment of asthma, gastrointestinal pain, piles, urinary diseases, glandular inflammation, dysentery, diarrhea, malaria, pneumonia, epilepsy, dehydration, edema, constipation, gastric dyspepsia, and convalescents have not yet been deeply studied. Also, the phytochemicals of B. racemosa are not yet studied. We, therefore, recommend that future studies should be based on verifying its traditional significance by advanced pharmacological research. In addition, the screening of the principal bioactive compounds and the mode of action has yet to be examined.
In Maharashtrian families it is customary to exchange leaves of the Aapta tree on the Hindu festive day of Dussehra. An act known as exchanging Gold—pointing to the special significance of the plant on that particular day. This is also why the tree is often referred to as Sonpatta (literal translation: leaves of gold).
The leaves are used in the production of beedi, a thin Indian cigarette.
The inner bark yields a bast fibre that can be made into rude cordage, but which soon rots in water.
It is reddish in colour, very tough and strong, and has been used in the construction of bridges.
The stems are usually cut in July or August, the outer bark being stripped off and thrown away, while the inner layers are used for rope as wanted, being previously soaked in water, and are twisted wet.
The entry is more likely to be for Bauhinia racemosa Vahl. The brown wood has irregular dark patches near the centre. It is hard. The wood is not much used, though it makes a good fuel.