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The present study was aimed to investigate the phytochemicals present in the stem extracts of Coscinium fenestratum. The phytochemicals were further separated by TLC method using different solvents. Dried powder of the stem extracts of C. fenestratum was extracted with methanol and water and was tested for the different phytoconstituents. The stem of C. fenestratum contains phytoconstituents like Alkaloids, Flavonoids, Tannins, Steroids and fixed oils along with Carbohydrates. The compounds in both the extracts were separated by TLC and the spots were analyzed. The antimicrobial activity of the two extracts was studied against a wide variety of MTCC strains. The methanolic extract was found to be more effective in inhibiting the bacterial and fungal growth than the aqueous extract. The two extracts were then used for the analysis of the cytotoxic activity by using the Allium cepa root tips. The mitotic and cytotoxic indices were calculated. It was seen that the methanolic extract was more cytotoxic than the aqueous extract.
Coscinium fenestratum methanol extract, TLC, Onion root tip, cytotoxicity.
Coscinium fenestratum (Gaertn.) Colebr. commonly known as Daruharidhra in Hindi and Maramanjal in Tamil is a plant of South Asian origin. The stem of this plant is used in many traditional medicinal preparations. In recent years the use of herbs for medicinal use has increased tremendously. Over 50% of all the modern drugs have natural plant origin [1, 2] There are many studies that have proved the role of dietary factors in the improvement of human health and in the treatment of certain chronic diseases including cancer [3, 4] According to the WHO (1977), “a medicinal plant” is any plant which in one or more of its organ contain substances that can be used for the therapeutic purposes or which are precursors for the synthesis of useful drugs Phytochemicals present in a variety of plants are used as important components of both human and animal diets. These include fruits, seeds, herbs and vegetables.
Phytochemicals are the chemical compounds formed during normal metabolic processes. These chemicals are referred to as “secondary metabolites” of which there are several classes including Alkaloids, Flavonoids, Coumarins, Glycosides, Gums, Polysaccharides, Phenols, Tnnins, Terpenes and Terpenoids  In addition to these, plants contain other chemical compounds, which can act as agents to prevent undesirable side effects of the main active substances or to assist in the assimilation of the active substances  Coscinium fenestratum is a large woody climber which grows with a cylindrical and yellowish stem.
So far a few attempts have been made to evaluate the cytotoxic effects of Coscinium fenestratum. So the present study was aimed to investigate the cytotoxic effects of the aqueous and methanolic extracts of
C. fenestratum using Allium cepa L. root tip cells.
Plant substances continue to serve as viable source of drugs for the world’s population and several plant based drugs are in extensive clinical use. Agents capable of inhibiting cell proliferation, inducing apoptosis or modulating signal transduction are currently used for the treatment of cancer. The use of multiple chemo preventive agents or agents with multiple targets is considered to be more effective in cancer treatment.
So it is necessary to assess the phytochemical properties of a plant and screen for any active compounds present. In the present study, the screening of phytoconstituents and their separation by TLC were done using the Aqueous and Methanolic extracts of C. fenestratum.
Further, cytotoxic activity was assessed by analyzing the inhibition of microbial growth and also by the cytotoxic effect of Allium cepa L root tip cells. The results obtained are well correlated with previous reports from different plant extracts on cancer suppressing activity or Anti Carcinogenic activity.
In conclusion, this study on the cytolytic activity of C. fenestratum stem extracts should be helpful in explaining further the complex pharmacological activity of this traditional medicinal plant. This also confirms the potential use of this plant as anticancer agent.
Further extensive studies are required to isolate the specific chemical compound and the assessment of its activity to prove that as a specific cancer drug.
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