A pharmacognostical investigation of Elaeodendron buchananii
(Loes.) Loes. has been undertaken. Phytochemical and pharmacological
properties of the active (poisonous) principles of the plant
have also been studied.
The pharmacognostical investigation of the plant involved identifying
features of the different parts of the plant using photographic
and macroscopic methods .
Results of the screening tests of the different parts of the
plant for the active constituents indicated the presence of chemical
compounds with a, b-unsaturated 6- lactone ring, possibly cardiac
glycosides. Investigation of a suitable solvent system for the extraction
of these compounds was undertaken. Of the different parts
of the plant examined for active principles , the leaves were found
to contain the highest percentage of the chemical compounds with <,
(3- unsaturated 0-- lactone ring. Isolation and purification of the
active principle(s) from the original crude plant extracts involving
the removal of pigments, tannins! resins and excess lead has been
described. Crystellisat ion of the isolated gycoside from a suitable
solvent system and the subsequent study of some of the physical l and
chemical properties of the isolated compound has been described.
From the elemental analysis and the molecular weight of the
isolated compound the molecular formula of t he compound has been
determined as C32H47011. Using the infra-red, ultraviolet, nuclear
magnetic resonance and mass spectra$ a partial molecular structure
has been suggested.
The isolated compound has been reacted with Kedde reagent and
the resulting coloured complex has been examined to see whether it
obeys Beer - Lambert law. The calibration curve obtained has been
used to determine the percentage recovery of the isolated compound
in the leaves of the plant.
The pharmacological study of the isolated compound has also
been undertaken. This study involved the investigation of the
effects of the isolated compound on the blood pressure of anaesthetised
rat and the effect of the compound on the isolated perfused
rabbi t heart.
Suggestions for further work as regards pharmacognostical investigation
of the plant together with ascertaining the exact structural
formula of the compound has been proposed.