Common Name: Siris
English Name: East Indian walnut, Indian siris
Botanical Name: Albizzia lebbeck Benth
Family: Leguminosae, Syn. Fabaceae
Description: Albizia lebbeck is native to deciduous and semideciduous forests in Asia from eastern Pakistan through India and Sri Lanka to Burma. Albizia lebbeck is a fast-growing, medium-sized deciduous tree with a spreading umbrella-shaped crown of thin foliage and smoothish, finely fissured, grayish-brown bark. Flowers mimosa-like, in showy,rounded clusters near stem tips, 5-6 cm (2-2.5 in) across, cream or yellowish-white, each flower with numerous long stamens. Fruit a flat, linear pod, to 30 cm (1 ft) long, with many seeds; dried pods persistent after leaf-fall, often heard rattling in the wind.
Chemical Constituents: Flowers, pods, seeds and wood of the plant contain saponins, particularly labbeekanins and sapogenins. Bark contains gum, tannins, d-catechin and d-leucocyanidin, friedelanone and ß-sitosterol, friedelan-3-one and sitosterol. Leaves contain echynocystic acid, ß-sitosterol, flavones and vicenin II. Seeds contain a mixture of sapogenins, labbekanins A (major) & B, echynocystic, oleanolic acids, triterpenoid and saponin. Flowers yield triterpenoids, saponin labbekanin D and four saponin glycosides, lebbekanins D, F, G and H. Wood contains saponin lebbekanin E, malanoxetin, d-pinitol, okanin, lucopelargonidin, melacacidin and its 3-Me ether and melanoxetin and its 3-Me ether. Lupeol, oleanolic acid, decosanoic acid, ß-sitosterol and a new acyclic ester have been isolated from the plant. The pods also yield albigenic acid, an isomer of echinosystic acid.
Property: This plant is used in Indian traditional system and folk medicine as well to treat several inflammatory pathologies such as asthma, arthritis and burns. A. lebbeck inhibited the passive cutaneous anaphylaxis and mast cell degranulation in rat. Recently, it was found that the alcoholic extract of A. lebbeck has antihistaminic property, by neutralizing the histamine directly or due to corticotrophic action as evidenced by raising cortisol levels in plasma. It is also reported in Indian folk medicine that A. lebbeck has antiseptic, antidysentric and anti-tubercular activities. It is also used in bronchitis and cough.
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