Botanical Description

Salacia reticulata has a pale yellow bark. Leaves are simple, opposite, ovate or obovate-oblong, coriaceous, shortly acuminate, glabrous and shining. Flowers are yellowish green in color and fascicled on woody axillary tubercles. Fruits are large, tuberculate, and bright pinkish orange. Each fruit contains 1-4 seeds immersed in the pulp.

Anthocyanidins, catechins, phenolic acids, quinones, friedo-oleananes, triterpene quinone-methides, and related triterpenoids (celastroloids), mangiferin, gutta-percha, and dulcitol have been isolated from plants of the Salacia species. Phytochemical studies conducted on Salacia reticulata lead to the isolation of gutta-percha, sitosterol pristimerin, mangiferin, three catechins (-)-epicatechin, (-)-epigallocatechin, and (-)-4-O-methylepigallocatechin), two catechin dimers, epi-kokoondiol, salacenonal, salaciquinone, and two novel quinonemethide triterpenoids (celastroloids), isoiguesterinol and 30-hydroxypristimerin, from the root bark and iguesterin, pristimerin and epi-kokoondiol from the stem bark. Salacinol and kotalanol have been identified from both the roots and stems of S. reticulata.

Mangiferin (a xanthone from the roots) and sulfonium ion derivatives, kotalanol (from the roots and stems) and salacinol (from the roots and stems), have been identified as the antidiabetic principles of S. reticulata through pharmacological studies. Mangiferin, salacinol and kotalanol are potent a-glucosidase inhibitors that have been shown to inhibit increases in serum glucose levels. Mangiferin also inhibits aldose reductase activity, thereby delaying the onset or progression of diabetic complications (e.g. diabetic neuropathy and nephropathy). The polyphenol constituents of
S. reticulata, the catechins, also contribute to the antidiabetic property of the plant.

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