Quercus infectoria

Synonyms

Quercus tinctoria [1]

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia: Manjakani, Majakani  [2]
 English: Oak gall, Magin gall, Dyers’ Gall Magic Nut [3]
 Burma: Pinza-kanj si, Pyinthagar-ne-thi [2]
 India: Majuphal, Muphal (Hindi); Macike (Kananada), Masikka, Mayakku (Malayalam); Kaisikka, Mayaphala (Sanskrit); Masikkai, Macakkai (Tamil); Masikaya (Telagu) [3]
 Persia: Mazu [2]
Arabia:  Uffes [2]

General Information

Description

Quercus infectoria is a deciduous, semi-evergreen, small tree or shrub that grow only up to the height of 2 m. The stem is crooked. The leaves are ovate-oblong, sinuate-dentate, very smooth and deciduous. They are on short petioles, with a few short mucronate teeth on each side. The fruit is sessile, very long. The acorn is 2-3 times as long as the cupules.

Plant Part Used

It is the gall that is being used as medicine. The gall is actually an excrescence or a tumour formed at any part of the tree as a result of a puncture by an insect. These insects or gall-flies are generally of the genus Cynips. Sometimes aphids too can cause the formation of these. 

Formation of the gall is when the female insect has a special ovipositor which she bore into the foliaceous or cortical part of the tree to deposit her eggs along with an acrid liquid, into the wound. The irritation caused by this liquid cause an exudation to occur at the site of wound resulting is the formation of the excrescence or gall. Within this gall the larvae hatch and will grow nourishing on the tree sap. Upon maturation the bore a hole in the gall and emerge. The external appearance of the gall is dependent upon the type of insect that produces it. The nut gall used as medicine is produced by Cynips gallae tinctoriae on Q. infectoria only. [4] 

The best gall appears to come from Allepo. There are basically two types of gall seen in the market i.e. the black/blue gall and the white gall. The black is the better one with a stronger astringency; they are dark coloured, heavy, rough and without holes, as they were gathered before the perfect insect developed and emerged. The white gall is pale yellow, larger, lighter and pierced by a hole and are less valued. [5]

Chemical Constituents

Tannic acid, Gallic acid, Gallo-tannic acid, syringic, and ellagic acids [5]

Traditional Used:

The galls are considered as an astringent, acrid, cooling, haemostatic, constipating, vulnerary, expectorant, digestive, febrifuge, trichogenous and tonic. It is much revered for its strong astringent properties and is used mainly to treat conditions where this property is advantageous. [3] 

The powdered gall mixed with alum and tied in a muslin gauze used to be inserted into the vagina to help regression of prolapsed uterus. It is also used in the form of a vaginal douche to treat leucorrhoea, atonic menorrhagia and prolapsed of the uterus. An ointment applied in the vaginal canal was used to treat vaginal laxity. [6][7][8] 

As a strong astringent the decoction is used to treat diarrhoea and dysentery per oral. It is also used to treat all degrees of haemorrhoids, anal fissures and prolapsed rectum whence the decoction is applied locally as washings or incorporated in sitz’s bath. There are also ointments prepared with powders of Oak galls incorporated into it as a local application for these anal diseases. 

Oak gall has been incorporated into dental powders. This helps in strengthening gums and teeth. For throat infection like tonsillitis and stomatitis effectively a gargle was prescribe made from decocting oak galls. [8] 

Decoction of Q. infectoria gall is used as an antidote to various plants poisons especially those due to alkaloids eg. opium, nux-vomica, aconite. It is also used in cases of poisoning by emetine or tartar emetic. [7] 

As a strong astringent the Oak Gall has many applications in skin problems. It has been used to promote healing of wounds from cuts, skin infections. It also treats impetigo, eczema, hyperhidrosis and chapped nipples. Ringworm and alopecia was treated by Unani physicians by making use of oak gall soaked in vinegar. [8] 

Pre-Clinical Data

Pharmacology


Antimicrobial activity 

A study on the antibacterial potentials of the gall of Q. infectoria was done and it was shown that the aqueous and acetone extracts inhibited gram positive bacteria better than it does gram negative ones. The following bacteria was found to be inhibited: Streptococcus aureus, Baccilus subtilis, Staphylococcus epidermidi, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. They have attributed the antibacterial activity of these extracts to the high contents of tannin in the extracts. Tannic being a precipitator of proteins probably cause the surface protein of the bacteria to denature and cause its destruction. [10] 

In a study to test if some natural dyes have inherent antimicrobial activity the investigators found that Q. infectoria dye was most effective and showed maximum zone of inhibition against common pathogens Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus vulgaris and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. [11] 

Extracts of Q. infectoria galls at a concentration of 500mg and 250mg/kg per day were given to mice preinfected with Entamoeba histoytica. It was found that 20% and 13% of mice were cured respectively. [12]

A number of studies on effects of extracts of Oak galls on different stains of E. coli had been carried out. Amongst 38 medicinal plants used to treat gastrointestinal infections in Thailand, extracts from Q. infectoria proved to be the most superior against E. coli 

Both the aqueous and the ethanolic extracts were found to be equally effective. [13] The same investigator subsequently determined the mode of action as being due to its bacteristatic and bactericidal activity and no relationship to anti cell aggregative properties. [14] In their most recent studies on the exact mechanism of action of Q. infectoria extracts against E. coli, they found that it was the disruption in the outer wall and cytoplasmic membranes, especially at the polar regions of the cells occurred and some vacuolization that had caused the death of the microorganism. [15]

Two extracts of Q. infectoria which are aqueous and methanol, were exposed to Hepatitis C virus and it was found that they successfully inhibit this virus. [16] 

The recent outbreak of hospital infection due to Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) had initiated the search for an alternative natural lead molecule to combat this infection. Several studies on the possibility of extracts of Q. infectoria to cause inhibition of growth of MRSA were done. Ten Thai medicinal plant extracts were tested against MRSA it was found that the ethanolic extract of Q. infectoria was one of the most effective amongst these. [17] The same investigator recently determined the active principle in this action to be gallic acid and tannic acid found in the ethyl-acetate fraction of the ethanol extract. Their tests indicated that the extract may interfere with staphylococcal enzymes including autolysin and beta-lactamase. [18] 

Antisnake venom activity 

The polyphenols isolated from Q. infectoria inhibited phospholipase A(2), proteases, hyaluronidase and L-amino acid oxidase of Naja naja kaouthia Lesson (NK) and Calloselasma rhodostoma Kuhl (CR) venoms by in vitro tests. It was also shown to inhibit the haemorrhagic activity of Calloselasma rhodostoma Kuhl and the dermonecrotic activity of Naja naja kaouthia Lesson. The investigators believe these effects are primarily due to the anti-inflammatory, anti-haemorrhagic and anti-necrotic activity of these polyphenols. [19] 

Another study done by the same investigators demonstrated the antivenom effects of Q. infectoria gall’s and other plant extracts showed that the possibility of the effects to be selectively blocking the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and non-selectively by precipitation of the venom proteins. [20] 

Alpha glycosidase inhibitory activity 

There had been reports of traditional use of Oak gall to treat diabetes. A study was done to see if the extracts of Oak gall does have antidiabetic activities. The investigators found that the compound Hexagalloyglucose isolated from the methanol extract showed inhibitory activities against a-glycosidases like sucrose, maltase and isomaltase in a similar manner as arcabose. It was also found that it’s a-amylase inhibition was very much lower than arcabose thus hexagalloyglucose might be able to reduce the side effects seen in arcabose. [21]

Toxicities

No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

No documentation

Age Limitations

Neonates / Adolescents

No documentation

Geriatrics

No documentation

Chronic Disease Conditions

No documentation

Interactions

Interactions with drugs

No documentation

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation

Contraindications

Contraindications

No documentation

Case Reports

No documentation

References

  1. George Bacon Wood, Franklin Bache. The dispensatory of the United States of America. Philadelphia: J.P. Lippincott and Co; 1858.373.
  2. H. Panda. Herbs cultivation and medicinal uses. Delhi: National Institute Of Industrial Research; 2000. 493.
  3. P. K. Warrier, V. P. K. Nambiar, C. Ramankutty, R. Vasudevan Nair. Indian medicinal plants: a compendium of 500 species. Volume 4. Chennai: Orient Longmans; 2002. 403.
  4. Jonathan Pereira. Elements of materia medica and therapeutics. Philadelphia: Blanchard & Lea; 1854.320 – 321.
  5. John Birkbeck Nevins. A translation of the new London pharmacopoeia. London: Longman, Brown Greens and Longmans; 1854.753.
  6. William Frazer. Elements of materia medica. London: John Churchill and Son; 1864.343.
  7. Edward John Waring. Pharmacopœia of India. London: W.H. Allen; 1868. 210.
  8. C. P. Khare. Indian herbal remedies. Verlag Berlin; Springer: 2004.395.
  9. Kanny Lall Dey. The indigenous drugs of India. Calcutta: Thack, Spinl and Co; 1867.100.
  10. Dayang Fredalina Basri, SH Fan. The potential of aqueous and acetone extracts of galls of Quercus infectoria as antibacterial agents. Indian Journal of Pharmacology 2005. 37(1):26 – 29.
  11. Rajni Singh, Astha Jain, Shikha Panwar, Deepti Gupta and S.K. Khare Antimicrobial activity of some natural dyes. Dyes and Pigments August 2005. 66(2):99-102.
  12. Nongyao Sawangjaroen, Kitja Sawangjaroen and Pathana Poonpanang. Effects of Piper longum fruit, Piper sarmentosum root and Quercus infectoria nut gall on caecal amoebiasis in mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology April 2004. 91(2-3):357-360.
  13. Voravuthikunchai S, Lortheeranuwat A, Jeeju W, Sririrak T, Phongpaichit S, Supawita T. Effective medicinal plants against enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7. J Ethnopharmacol. Sep 2004;94(1):49-54.
  14. Voravuthikunchai SP, Limsuwan S. Medicinal plant extracts as anti-Escherichia coli O157:H7 agents and their effects on bacterial cell aggregation. J Food Prot. 2006 Oct; 69(10):2336-2341.
  15. Suwalak S, Voravuthikunchai SP. Morphological and ultrastructural changes in the cell structure of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 following treatment with Quercus infectoria nut galls. J Electron Microsc (Tokyo). 2009 Oct; 58(5):315-320.
  16. Hussein G, Miyashiro H, Nakamura N, Hattori M, Kakiuchi N, Shimotohno K. Inhibitory effects of sudanese medicinal plant extracts on hepatitis C virus (HCV) protease. Phytother Res. Nov 2000;14(7):510-516.
  17. Voravuthikunchai SP, Kitpipit L. Activity of medicinal plant extracts against hospital isolates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Clin Microbiol Infect. Jun2005;11(6):510-512.
  18. Chusri S, Voravuthikunchai SP Quercus infectoria: a candidate for the control of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections. Phytother Res. Apr2008;22(4):560-562.
  19. Leanpolchareanchai J, Pithayanukul P, Bavovada R. Anti-necrosis potential of polyphenols against snake venoms. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2Jun2009.
  20. Pithayanukul P, Ruenraroengsak P, Bavovada R, Pakmanee N, Suttisri R, Saen-oon S. Inhibition of Naja kaouthia venom activities by plant polyphenols. J Ethnopharmacol. 21Mar2005;97(3):527-533.
  21. Hwang JK, Kong TW, Baek NI, Pyun YR. alpha-Glycosidase inhibitory activity of hexagalloylglucose from the galls of Quercus infectoria. Planta Med. Apr 2000;66(3):273-274.