Thevetia : Chemical Constituents, Properties and Uses

Uses of Thevetia, Lucky nut, Oleander

Uses of Thevetia, Lucky nut, Oleander

Morphology and Distribution of Thevetia:

Thevetia consists of the dried seeds of the plants Thevetia peruviana, Merrill syn., Thevetia neriifolia belonging to the family Apocynaceae.

Thevetia is also known as yellow oleander, trumpet flower and lucky nut tree.

Thevetia is found throughout the India and in other countries like West Indies, Florida, Hawaii and USA.

Thevetia is a large, evergreen shrub that grows to a height of 450-600 cm. Thevetia consists of scented bright yellow coloured flowers. Seeds of Thevetia are green to greenish black in colour with bitter taste. Thevetia produces numbness when they are chewed.

Chemical constituents of Thevetia:

The kernels of thevetia are very rich in cardio-active glycosides.

They are triosides, the aglycone of these glycosides consists of three sugar units. The major and active constituent of thevetia is thevetin. Thevetin is a mixture of two triosides namely Thevetin A and cereberoside (Thevetin B).

The monosides separated from the seeds of thevetia are cerberin, neriifolin, peruvoside, theveneriin (ruvoside) and peruvosidic acid (perusitin). Peruvoside is well absorbed and well tolerated. It shows quick action. It can be given orally and it is less accumulated. The biotransformation of peruvoside and nerrifolin from yellow oleander gives digoxin.

Uses of Thevetia:

The entire thevetia plant is poisonous. The seeds are more poisonous. The tincture of thevetia shows actions such as

  • Cathartic
  • Emetic
  • Febrifuge
Seeds are used as
  • Abortifacient
  • Purgative
  • Rheumatism
  • Dropsy
Peruvoside is useful in the treatment of mild cardiac insufficiency and weak heart. This drug has high therapeutic index compared to digoxin.
In West Germany, peruvoside is marketed under name “Encordin“.
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