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Caralluma Pharmacological Attributes

Nageena Qayyum*, Humera Rani, Khush Bakhat Mir and Abdul Qadir Khan

Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Nutrition Science, University of Agriculture Peshawar, Pakistan

*Corresponding Author:
Nageena Qayyum
Department of Food Science and Technology
Faculty of Nutrition Science
University of Agriculture Peshawar, Pakistan
Tel: +923479067651
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: November 14, 2018; Accepted date: November 21, 2018; Published date: November 28, 2018

Citation: Qayyum N, Rani H, Mir KB, Khan AQ (2018) Caralluma Pharmacological Attributes. J Food Nutr Popul Health Vol.2 No.2:13

Visit for more related articles at Journal of Food, Nutrition and Population Health


Caralluma genus having different nutritional, pharmaceutical value and important phytochemical ingredients which have various healing activity, most important Caralluma species claimed to have antidiabetic properties. Traditionally it is used in raw form for treatment of diabetes because of its hypoglycemic activity, having key active compound that having fruit full effects against diabetes.


Caralluma; Antidiabetic properties; Hypoglycemic activity; Phytochemical study


The Caralluma spp. grown in Asia and Mediterranean region [1]. More than 200 species of the genus Caralluma grow throughout Africa and Asia [2]. The genus Caralluma belongs to the Asclepiadaceae family, which is also known as the milkweed family because many of its members contain milky latex [3,4]. Important phytochemical ingredients of Caralluma include pregnane aglycones, flavone glycosides, bitter principles, pregnane glycosides, saponins, triterpines and various flavonoids that were explore for various healing purposes against different infectious agents and metabolic disorders (Table 1). Caralluma is famous for hypoglycemic, weight reduction and anti-rheumatic effects. It also used as vegetable during famine, worldwide it is neglected genus and not cultivated on commercial scale [1].

Table 1 Key Active compound in Caralluma [4].

Pregnane glycosides Appetite suppressants
Flavone glycosides Antioxidants
Megastigmane glycosides Anti-inflammatory
Polyphenols Antioxidants
Flavonoids Antioxidants
Saponins Immune system enhancers
Bitter principles Protectors of digestive system and pancreas

Due to recent DNA analysis and morphological studies, Asclepiadaceae have been classified as a sub-group of the family Apocynaceae [5]. Plants of the genus Caralluma are perennial, small and usually leafless [6,7]. Some of these plants are edible and succulent [8,9]. Caralluma fimbriata is an endemic, succulent cactus and wild medicinal plant in the family Apocynaceae, growing in dry places, and various medicinal uses of Caralluma spp. in traditional medicine such as treatment of cancer, diabetes, tuberculosis, snake and scorpion bites, skin rash, scabies, fever and inflammation [10]. Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder which is associated by hyperglycaemia with multiple disorders. A major metabolic defeat associated with diabetes is the failure of peripheral tissues in the body to utilize glucose that ultimately leads to chronic hyperglycaemia and further to other diabetesrelated complications [11]. Caralluma attenuata consume in raw form for diabetes treatment and its juice with addition of black pepper used for migraine cure [12]. A global survey has stated that one forty-two million people are suffering from diabetes in the world and this figure will possibly double in the year 2030. Over 90 percent of diabetic patients are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. For the cure of diabetes mellitus, different kinds of synthetic hypo-glycaemic agents are used like sulphonyl-urea and biguanides but these have side effects related to their usages. Therefore, it is a basic need to explore drugs from natural source which has lesser side effects. Different types of plants including Caralluma used to cure the serious diseases such as diabetes. Traditionally, Caralluma spp. claimed to have antidiabetic properties, but there are only few scientific reports prove the same [13,14] (Table 2). Hypoglycemic synergistic consequence was noticed when C. edulis and C. attenuate used in combination with the extract of phlorizin for reduction of urine and blood glucose level [15]. The phytochemical study showed the presence of polyphenols suggesting it may have hypoglycaemic activities, the plant polyphenols are known to have hypoglycaemic activities [16,17]. In Indian tribals and hunter Caralluma fimbriata extract used to suppressant appetite and weight loss promoter [18]. Caralluma fimbriata and Caralluma siniaca also play key role to reduce blood glucose level and body weight [14,19] (Tables 3 and 4). Wild form Caralluma umbellate is very useful for treatment of abdominal and stomach problems [20].

Table 2 Pharmacological activities of Caralluma spp. [1].

Caralluma species Pharmacological activity
Caralluma tuberculata Diabetes, cancer, malaria, ulcer and fever
Caralluma attenuate Migarine and antinociceptive
Caralluma fimbrita and C. siniaca Appitite suppressant and weight loss promoter
Caralluma Edulis Diabetes and anti obesity

Table 3 Aerial parts of Caralluma adscendens var. Caralluma fimbriata [19].

Proximate composition  
Moisture 82 ± 0.5
Lipid 5.6 ± 0.1
Carbohydrates 55.4 ± 0.4
Protein 3.5 ± 0.7
Total free amino acid 27.5 ± 0.5
Crude fibre 15.3 ± 0.2
Ash 2.1 ± 0.8

Table 4 Amino acid composition (mg/100 g dry weight) of aerial parts of Caralluma adscendens var. Caralluma fimbriata [19].

Aspartic acid Glutamic acid Alanine Methionine Tyrosine Lysine Theronine Proline
21.6 negligible 120.72 22.56 130.08 316.56 negligible 483.8
Isoleucine Phenylalanine Tryptophane Glycine Arginine Histidine Valine
1578.24 141.58 157.36 108.29 51.58 84.48 342.95


This mini review of genus Caralluma conducted to explore the different nutritional and pharmaceutical vale of Caralluma. Different type of plant having medicinal value including Caralluma used for treatment metabolic disorders, Caralluma species claimed to have antidiabetic properties, having hypoglycemic activity.


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