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Taxus Wallichiana Zucc. (Himalayan Yew) - Effects Of Its Anti-Microbial And Pharmacological Properties

The Taxus wallichiana Zucc., (Himalayan Yew) is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree that reaches heights of 10 to 20 meters. In exceptional cases, it can grow up to 28 m tall. Flat, deep green leaves with a spiral arrangement are present on the stem.

T. wallichiana is found to have a wide growth range in Asia, extending from Afghanistan through the Himalayas to the Philippines, depending on taxonomic treatment.

Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, and Vietnam are among the countries where it is grown.

Traditional uses of this plant include the management of excruciating inflammatory diseases and high fevers. To treat indigestion and epilepsy, this plant's leaves are used to make herbal tea.

There have been reports of immunomodulatory, antibacterial, antifungal, analgesic, anti-pyretic, and anticonvulsant activities for T. wallichiana in previously published literature.

The drug Zarnab, which is prescribed as a sedative, aphrodisiac, and a treatment for bronchitis, asthma, epilepsy, snake bites, and scorpion stings, is made in India from extracts from the plant's bark and leaves.

Analgesic And Anti-Inflammatory Activities

The bark extract of T. wallichiana was used to isolate tasumatrol B, 1,13-diacetyl-10-deacetylbaccatin III, and 4-deacetylbaccatin III. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties were evaluated for each compound. All of the substances, but particularly tasumatrol B, demonstrated notable analgesic activity. In this instance, the well-known acetic acid-induced abdominal writhing model—a visceral pain model—was applied. Arachidonic acid is released by acetic acid through the prostaglandin and cyclooxygenase biosynthetic pathways. Thus, acetic acid is important for nociception. Due to their inhibitory effect on the biosynthesis of arachidonic acid metabolites, high doses of T. wallichiana were found to produce significant analgesia.

Likewise, in carrageenan-induced models, all of the test substances—particularly tasumatrol B—exhibited notable anti-inflammatory activity. In order to assess the anti-inflammatory effects of novel investigational agents, carrageenan-induced paw oedema, an in vivo investigational model for acute inflammation, has been used extensively.

Another chemical found in the T. wallichiana bark extract is called taxusabietane A. Using the carrageenan-induced paw oedema model and the lipoxygenase inhibition assay, it was examined for its anti-inflammatory effects both in vitro and in vivo. With an IC50 (half maximal inhibitory concentration) value of 57 ± 0.31 μM, the results showed significant lipoxygenase inhibitory activity. An IC50 value of 22.1 ± 0.03 μM was found for the common substance baicalein. Taxusabietane A demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity when produced by carrageenan (at doses of 5 mg/kg and 10 mg/kg).

These results showed that T. wallichiana had the potential to be investigated further as a new lead for the treatment of inflammation and pain.

Anti-Fungal And Anti-Bacterial Activities

According to a review of the literature, little has been written about the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of T. wallichiana. However, using the hole diffusion and macro-dilution techniques, Nisar et al. tested methanol extracts of the leaf, bark, and heartwood of T. wallichiana against six bacterial and six fungal strains. All extracts and fractions exhibited strong anti-microbial properties. The bioactive taxoids taxol and related from T. wallichiana may be the cause of the antimicrobial effects seen. The presence of alkaloids, phenols, polyphenols, saponins, tannins, anthraquinones, steroids, and particularly diterpenes in the extract may also be responsible for these effects. These groups of phytochemicals and families of natural products are well known for their antimicrobial properties.

Anti-Convulsant And Anti-Pyretic Activities

To establish the scientific foundation for T. wallichiana's use as an anti-convulsant and anti-pyretic drug, Nisar et al. conducted a study. They discovered that the plant extract prevented mice from experiencing convulsions caused by pentylenetetrazol. They demonstrated that intraperitoneal doses of the extract at 100 mg/kg and 200 mg/kg significantly (p 0.05) inhibited mioclonus and clonus, but that the inhibition of tonus and hind limb tonic extension was much more significant (p < 0.01). The GABAA agonist diazepam, a potent anti-epileptic drug, was used to compare the anti-convulsant effects of T. wallichiana with its ability to prevent seizures brought on by pentylenetetrazole. Future research examining the mechanisms of action of the T. wallichiana extract and/or its constituents may focus on the benzodiazepine site in the GABAA receptor and T-type Ca[2+] currents.

A 200 mg/kg dose demonstrated a very significant (p < 0.01) inhibition in the yeast-induced pyrexia model, whereas 50 and 100 mg/kg doses resulted in a less significant (p < 0.05) inhibition.

Alkaloids, phenols, polyphenols, saponins, tannins, anthraquinones, steroids, and especially diterpenes (also known as taxoids), which are present in the crude extract, may be responsible for the anti-nociceptive and anti-pyretic effects overall.

Anti-Cancer Activities

The chemical components obtained from various parts of T. wallichiana were subjected to systematic studies by Chattopadhyay et al. Five of the taxoids they isolated and identified were brand-new molecules. Taxoids come in a variety of structural types. From the plant's heartwood, they isolated three lignans that were found to have anti-cancer properties. These three lignans have been identified by their spectral properties as taxiresinol 1, isotaxiresinol 2, and secoisolariciresinol 3. Among these substances, taxiresinol 1 in its absolute form exhibited noteworthy in vitro anti-cancer activity against colon, liver, ovarian, and breast cancer cell lines.

People Also Ask

What Are The Medicinal Uses Of Himalayan Yew?

The native populations have used it to treat common colds, coughs, fevers, and pain. Ayurveda and Unani medicine both outline its applications. It has gained attention recently because taxol, a potent anticancer drug, was discovered to be primarily found in the leaves and bark of this plant.

What Is The Importance Of Himalayan Yew?

  • The bark, needles, twigs, and roots of this tree can be used to make "toxol," a chemical that is used to treat cancer.
  • There are several locations in Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh where you can find the Himalayan Yew plant.
Branches of the Himalayan Yew tree without its fruits
Branches of the Himalayan Yew tree without its fruits

What Are The Benefits Of The Yew Tree?

Yew is a tree. Medicine is made from the bark, branch tips, and needles. Yew is prescribed to treat liver disorders, tapeworms, swollen tonsils (tonsillitis), epilepsy, rheumatism, urinary tract problems, and diphtheria despite serious safety concerns.

Is Himalayan Yew Poisonous?

In contrast to popular belief, the Himalayan Yew is not poisonous like its relatives the European Yew. The bark, roots, and seeds of the tree are some of the parts that should not be eaten.


In this insightful review, various biological activities of the isolated lignans from T. wallichiana have been compiled. Using tried-and-true techniques, these lignans had a variety of biological effects. Their high activity was discovered, particularly as analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-convulsant, antipyretic, and anti-cancer agents. Further research should be done on these lignans in order to create safe agents that can be used in contemporary therapy. To better understand these lignans' potential role in human physiology, more research should be done to determine how they function.

About The Authors

Suleman Shah

Suleman Shah - Suleman Shah is a researcher and freelance writer. As a researcher, he has worked with MNS University of Agriculture, Multan (Pakistan) and Texas A & M University (USA). He regularly writes science articles and blogs for science news website immersse.com and open access publishers OA Publishing London and Scientific Times. He loves to keep himself updated on scientific developments and convert these developments into everyday language to update the readers about the developments in the scientific era. His primary research focus is Plant sciences, and he contributed to this field by publishing his research in scientific journals and presenting his work at many Conferences. Shah graduated from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (Pakistan) and started his professional carrier with Jaffer Agro Services and later with the Agriculture Department of the Government of Pakistan. His research interest compelled and attracted him to proceed with his carrier in Plant sciences research. So, he started his Ph.D. in Soil Science at MNS University of Agriculture Multan (Pakistan). Later, he started working as a visiting scholar with Texas A&M University (USA). Shah’s experience with big Open Excess publishers like Springers, Frontiers, MDPI, etc., testified to his belief in Open Access as a barrier-removing mechanism between researchers and the readers of their research. Shah believes that Open Access is revolutionizing the publication process and benefitting research in all fields.

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