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Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology


ISSN (Print): 1389-2010
ISSN (Online): 1873-4316

“Momordica balsamina: A Medicinal and Neutraceutical Plant for Health care Management”. Comments: Biotechnological Potential of M. balsamina Revealed

Author(s): Munish Puri

Volume 11, Issue 2, 2010

Page: [229 - 229] Pages: 1

DOI: 10.2174/138920110790909696

Price: $65


This has reference to the recent review article entitled “Momordica balsamina; a medicinal and neutraceutical plant for health care management” which appeared in Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology1. The article discussed medicinal aspect i.e. anti-HIV, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycaemic, anti-bacterial, anti-plasmodial anti-diarrheal, anti-oxidant and hepatoprotective properties of M. balsamina. It is a timely article, which deserves appreciation; however by addressing few shortcomings will make it an interesting peace of research work. I complement authors for bringing about information on this plant which has skipped major international attention. The authors have concluded many properties based on the scarcely available literature which warrants urgent attention. The statement “M. balsamina is “an” (should have been “a”) miracle wild herb with anti-HIV properties2. First of all reference citation is wrong; it should have been 69(6), 1209-1214. Most importantly this reference is about identification and characterization of human retrovirus and there is no mention in this article that M. balsamina has shown some anti-HIV properties. I apprehend that such conclusions would misguide the researchers working on this plant. Such studies, where identification and usage of biological component from M. balsamina can establish anti-HIV properties are highly desirable. Furthermore, some studies have been initiated in this direction, where a low molecular weight protein purified from this novel species of Momoridca possesses ribosome inactivation property [1], this activity may be explored against viruses but same requires validation before assigning a title “anti-HIV property”. The authors interpretation is hasty as reference cited in the article3 too endorses that the effect of M. balsamina on the virus adsorption process needs to be further assessed using more sensitive techniques. In the next paragraph on same page, authors have described Momordin I and Momordin II are ribosome inactivating proteins found in Momordica sp. However, literature also states that Momordin I is a compound that has been isolated from Ampelopsis radix, a chinese herb, and found to inactivate transcription factor activator protein (AP-1) [2]. Further, structure of Momordin I (extracted from the seeds of M. charantia) should have representation in the form of helices or coils or pleats in three dimensional forms rather than a planer structure as mentioned by authors (for Momordin structure see [3]. Moreover, the structure for Momordin II represented in Fig. (2B) (on page 669) is not shown in the cited reference4 as mentioned in the article, rather amino acid sequence has been provided (as given by authors as Fig. (4) in the same article on page 678). The structures mentioned in the article are of cucurbitane-type triterpenoids isolated from M. balsamina [4]. In such a scenario; authors have misinformed the readers about structures and same needs correction in the article. The authors expressed a lot of enthusiasm towards the application of M. balsamina proteins for combating HIV/ AIDS but problems associated with toxicities and bioavailability of these proteins limit potential usefulness in such therapies. A number of critical animal toxicological and human clinical studies are not mentioned as the same have not been carried. Most of the studies that have been carried so far are inconclusive and requires further authentication before advocating this plant as a “hidden gift of nature”.

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