Immunomodulating agents of plant origin. I: Preliminary screening

J Ethnopharmacol. 1986 Nov;18(2):133-41. doi: 10.1016/0378-8741(86)90025-5.


The immunobiological activity was investigated of certain medicinal plants widely used in the Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine for treatment of chronic infections and immunological disorders. The effect of an ethanolic extract of each drug was studied on delayed type hypersensitivity, humoral responses to sheep red blood cells, skin allograft rejection, and phagocytic activity of the reticuloendothelial system in mice. Picrorhiza kurroa was found to be a potent immunostimulant, stimulating both cell-mediated and humoral immunity. Tylophora indica, Aconitum heterophyllum and Holarrhena antidysenterica appeared to stimulate phagocytic function while inhibiting the humoral component of the immune system. Tinospora cordifolia and Ocimum gratissimum appeared to improve the phagocytic function without affecting the humoral or cell-mediated immune system. Hemidesmus indicus suppressed both the cell-mediated and humoral components of the immune system.

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic*
  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation / drug effects
  • Graft Rejection / drug effects
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed
  • Immune System / drug effects*
  • Immunity, Cellular / drug effects*
  • India
  • Mice
  • Phagocytosis / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plants, Medicinal*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Plant Extracts