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Trikatu

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Background & General Info

Trikatu is an indigenous Ayurvedic preparation comprising three powerful herbs in equal ratio, namely, fruits of long pepper (Piper longum), fruits of black pepper (Piper nigrum), and rhizomes of ginger (Zingiber officinale). [1]



Botany

A flowering climbing vine, the long pepper produces fruits consisting of several little fruits about the size of a poppy seed. These small fruits are embedded on the surface of a flower spike. Many parts of the long pepper are very finely powdery pubescent when the plant is still young. Its stem is flexuous, whereas the papery, densely glandular leaves are ovate to reniform in shape toward the base of the stem but become ovate to ovate-oblong at the stem’s apex. [2]

The black pepper is a perennial woody flowering vine that can reach a height of 10 meters because of its aerial roots. It possesses broad, shiny, alternately arranged green leaves and small flowers emerging from pendulous slender spikes at the leaf nodes. Around 20 to 30 fruiting spikes are borne from a single stem. The 0.2-inch-diameter fruits are drupes that turn into yellowish red upon maturity and contain a single seed. Their odor is distinctively aromatic and penetrating, and their taste is described as hot, biting, and very pungent. [3]

The very popular ginger is a perennial herbaceous flowering plant whose branched, fleshy, strongly aromatic rhizomes constitute a frequently mentioned spice in almost every kitchen worldwide. It's 1-meter stems hold narrow, sessile, green leaves and yellow flowers that bloom from clusters of white and pink flower buds. The leaf blades are lanceolate or linear-lanceolate in shape and are glabrous. The ovate bracts are pale green with sometimes yellowish margin. [4]

History & Traditional Use

In Indian Ayurvedic medicinal system, trikatu is a well-favored “rasayana” or potent polyherbal formulation that promotes rejuvenation and normal health and is suggested as treatment for cough, cold, fever, asthma, digestive disorders, and respiratory maladies. [5] Ancient Ayurvedic texts additionally mention trikatu as an effective prescribed remedy for fever, diabetes, nasal disorders, obesity, and anorexia, and in the Ayurvedic Materia Medica, which dates back to 6000 years BC, each of trikatu’s principal herbs was cited as vital ingredients of many formulations and prescriptions for a variety of disorders. [6]

General Herbal Uses

Trikatu is routinely prescribed as part of a multidrug prescription for a number of diseases. Each of the herbal components of trikatu have been proven in several studies to display diverse pharmacologically beneficial activities in mammalian systems. Phytochemical and biological investigations of trikatu divulge a vast array of pharmacological activities for this polyherbal formulation, including hepatoprotective, antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal, anthelmintic, anti-arthritic, adaptogenic, antihyperlipidemic, and antitumor effects. [6]



Constituents/Active Components

By virtue of being consisting of three different herbs, trikatu contains a range of alkaloids, phytosterols, triterpenes, flavonoids, and other phenolic compounds. Piperine constitutes the principal alkaloid of black pepper and long pepper and has been documented by a number of studies to be a bioavailability-enhancing, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, and antiulcer agent. [7] By employing reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) analysis, Harwansh et al. (2014) verified the existence of piperine and 6-gingerol in laboratory and marketed formulations of trikatu. Piperine is present at a percentage concentration of 7.89±2.12% (w/w) and 6.70±2.13% (w/w) in marketed and laboratory formulations of trikatu, respectively, whereas 6-gingerol is found at a percentage concentration of 5.3±1.21% (w/w) and 4.95±2.34% (w/w), respectively. [5] Piperine content of trikatu and its ingredients was determined by Sunita et al. (2011) using high-performance thin layer chromatography. [7]

Medicinal/Scientific Research

Cardiovascular

Trikatu is a powerful hypolipidemic or lipid-lowering agent that can be beneficial in reducing risk of atherosclerosis associated with consumption of a high-fat diet. In a 2004 study, feeding of trikatu to rats led to a decrease in triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and an increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol). [1]

Antioxidant

In vitro antioxidant activity of different extracts of trikatu (petroleum ether, benzene, chloroform, ethyl acetate, 70% ethanol, and aqueous extracts) has been established. Trikatu has been shown to considerably scavenge DPPH free radicals and super oxide anions, although such scavenging effect of sample was considered lower than that of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). At a concentration of 100 μg /mL, trikatu sample exhibited statistically significant DPPH free radical scavenging activity and hampered the production of superoxide anion radicals by 89.74%, suggesting strong superoxide radical scavenging activity. [8]

Antibacterial And Antifungal

Results from a 2010 study published in the International Journal of Phytomedicine demonstrated the antibacterial property of extracts obtained from powdered Piper longum and Piper nigrum dried fruits and Zingiber officinale rhizomes against all enteric pathogenic bacteria tested, namely, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus vulgaris, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Salmonella typhi, Salmonella typhimurium, and Enterobacter aerogenes. In this study, aqueous, ethanol, methanol, and acetone extracts of trikatu were evaluated for their antibacterial activity using the disc diffusion method. Trikatu in itself exhibited potent antibacterial activity, which can be explained by the concerted multifunctional effect of its three plant ingredients. [9]

Based on the findings of a 2009 study by Reddy and Seetharam, trikatu churna extract proved to be more effective against various bacterial and fungal isolates than the extracts of its individual herbal components. The combination of these three plants in equal proportions synergistically improves the therapeutic efficacy of each ingredient with respect to their antimicrobial and analgesic activities. Through the agar well diffusion method to assay in vitro antibacterial and antifungal activities, trikatu churna was observed to be very effective against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus at a concentration of 500 µg. Trikatu churna and its ingredients had been shown to display antifungal activity as well. Still at a concentration of 500 µg, trikatu churna exhibited the highest antifungal activity against Aspergillus niger and Mucor species, with zones of inhibition of 6.2 ± 0.01 mm and 7.0 ± 0.05 mm, respectively. In contrast, Piper nigrum showed mild antifungal activity, whereas both Piper longum and Zingiber officinale demonstrated significant antifungal activity. [10]

Arthritis

The findings of Murunikkara and Rasoolur (2014) indicated the potential of trikatu as an anti-inflammatory agent in the management of autoimmune inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis because of its immunosuppressive property. Compared to controls, rats treated with 1000 mg/kg of trikatu in this experimental study demonstrated a significant reduction in cell-mediated immune responses, humoral immune responses in the hemagglutination titer and plaque-forming assay, and macrophage phagocytic index, suggesting an immunosuppressive effect. Treated arthritic rats also manifested a decline in the levels of circulating immune complexes and inflammatory mediators such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-1beta, which implies a significant anti-inflammatory effect. [11]

Another 2014 research demonstrated the potent anti-inflammatory effect of trikatu against the inflammation in rats induced by monosodium urate crystal. Rats in which inflammation was stimulated using monosodium urate crystals served as the experimental model for acute gouty arthritis in this study since gout is an inflammatory joint disorder marked by monosodium urate crystals precipitating in the joints. Trikatu was also revealed to display noteworthy analgesic and antipyretic properties without causing any gastric damage. Results signified a significant elevation in lysosomal enzyme levels, lipid peroxidation, and paw volume and a reversal to near normal levels of biochemical changes following administration of trikatu at a dose of 1000 mg/kg. [12]

Bioavailability Of Drugs

Results of an early evaluation of trikatu’s pharmacokinetics demonstrated that all components of trikatu can augment the bioavailability of certain drugs either by boosting fast absorption of drugs from the gastrointestinal tract, or by protecting the drugs against metabolism or oxidation in their first passage through the liver after being absorbed, or by a combination of both mechanisms. With [3H] vasicine and [3H] sparteine as test drugs, the study showed that long pepper elevated the blood levels of vasicine by nearly 233% and sparteine by more than 100% due to piperine, the active principle of Piper species. [13]

Contraindications, Interactions, And Safety

Chanda et al. (2009) conducted a chemical characterization and acute and subacute toxicity study of trikatu in rats to evaluate its safety and found excellent tolerance by the experimental animals that orally received trikatu at a dose of 2,000 mg/kg body weight. In addition, there were no changes observed in mortality, morbidity, gross pathology, gain in weight, vital organ weight, hematological and biochemical parameters such as serum creatinine, serum lipid profile, and tissue biochemical parameters. Similarly, in the subacute experiment, no significant alterations were found in most parameters when trikatu was administered daily at 5, 50, and 300 mg/kg body weight in female rats for 28 days. [14]

Rifampicin is an antibiotic prescribed as preventive and treatment drug for tuberculosis, leprosy, and Legionnaire’s disease, and trikatu has been found to reduce the rate of this drug’s bioavailability when both are co-administered, potentially decreasing the drug’s efficacy. In the study of Karan et al. (1999), treatment of rabbits with a single dose of trikatu significantly decreased the peak plasma concentration of rifampicin. [15] The bioavailability of isoniazid, another bactericidal antibiotic used for the treatment of tuberculosis, has also been found to be reduced by trikatu in experimental rabbits according to a 1998 crossover study. [16] Therefore, patients medicated with the aforementioned drugs should consult a professional healthcare provider when also taking trikatu.

References:

[1] V. Sivakumar and S. Sivakumar, "Effect of an indigenous herbal compound preparation 'Trikatu' on the lipid profiles of atherogenic diet and standard diet fed Rattus norvegicus," Phytotherapy Research, vol. 18, no. 12, p. 976–981, 2004. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15742354

[2] "Piper longum Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 29. 1753.," Flora of China. http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200005574

[3] "Black pepper," Encyclopædia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/plant/black-pepper-plant

[4] "Zingiber officinale: Ginger," Encyclopedia of Life. http://eol.org/pages/987032/details

[5] R. Harwansh, K. Mukherjee, S. Bhadra, et al., "Cytochrome P450 inhibitory potential and RP-HPLC standardization of trikatu—a Rasayana from Indian Ayurveda," Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 153, no. 3, p. 674–681, 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24690772

[6] V. Sharma, K. Hem, N. K. Singh and D. N. S. Gautam, "Phytochemistry and pharmacology of trikatu," Indian Journal of Agriculture and Allied Sciences, vol. 1, no. 4, p. 193–199, 2015. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/289299101_PHYTOCHEMISTRY_AND_PHARMACOLOGY_OF_TRIKATU

[7] S. Shailajan, N. Sayed, H. Joshi and B. Tiwari, "Standardization of an Ayurvedic formulation, trikatu churna, using bioanalytical tools," International Journal of Research in Ayurveda and Pharmacy, vol. 2, no. 6, p. 1676–1678, 2011. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235992377_STANDARDIZATION_OF_AN_AYURVEDIC_FORMULATION_-_TRIKATU_CHURNA_USING_BIOANALYTICAL_TOOLS

[8] N. Jain and R. Mishra, "Antioxidant activity of Trikatu mega Ext.," International Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, vol. 2, no. 2, p. 624–628, 2011. https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/45533008/antioxidant-activity-of-trikatu-megaext-international-journal-of-/3

[9] S. Dahikar, S. Bhutada, S. Vibhute, et al., "Evaluation of antibacterial potential of Trikatu churna and its ingredients: an in vitro study," International Journal of Phytomedicine, vol. 2, p. 412–417, 2010. http://www.arjournals.org/index.php/ijpm/article/view/139

[10] B. Reddy and Y. Seetharam, "Antimicrobial and analgesic activities of trikatu churna and its ingredients," Pharmacologyonline, vol. 3, p. 489–495, 2009. http://pharmacologyonline.silae.it/files/archives/2009/vol3/050.Reddy.pdf

[11] V. Murunikkara and M. Rasool, "Trikatu, an herbal compound as immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory agent in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis—an experimental study," Cellular Immunology, vol. 287, no. 1, p. 62–68, 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24394943

[12] V. Murunikkara and M. Rasool, "Trikatu, a herbal compound that suppresses monosodium urate crystal-induced inflammation in rats, an experimental model for acute gouty arthritis," Cell Biochemistry and Function, vol. 32, no. 1, p. 106–114, 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23674350

[13] C. Atal, U. Zutshi and P. Rao, "Scientific evidence on the role of Ayurvedic herbals on bioavailability of drugs," Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 4, no. 2, p. 229–232, 1981. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7311598

[14] D. Chanda, K. Shanker, A. Pal, et al., "Safety evaluation of Trikatu, a generic Ayurvedic medicine in Charles Foster rats," The Journal of Toxicological Sciences, vol. 34, no. 1, p. 99–108, 2009. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19182439

[15] R. Karan, V. Bhargava and S. Garg, "Effect of trikatu, an Ayurvedic prescription, on the pharmacokinetic profile of rifampicin in rabbits," Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 64, no. 3, p. 259–264, 1999. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10363842

[16] R. Karan, K. Bhargava and S. Garg, "Effect of Trikatu (piperine) on the pharmacokinetic profile of isoniazid in rabbits," Indian Journal of Pharmacology, vol. 30, no. 4, p. 254–256, 1998. http://www.ijp-online.com/article.asp?issn=0253-7613;year=1998;volume=30;issue=4;spage=254;epage=256;aulast=Karan;type=0

Article researched and created by Dan Albir for herbs-info.com. © herbs-info.com 2018

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