Kapil Sharma, Chaitanya K Dixit and Rajneesh K Agnihotri
Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. (Dodder) is a twinning angiospermic parasite on the various types of host plants but its loves to grow on spinous trees, shrubs and herbs. Stems and seeds of this plant are reported to have very high medicinal value. In vitro studies showed that antimicrobial compounds of this plant are effective in the treatment of several infectious diseases due to their selective toxicity and reported to have the ability to injure or kill or suppress an invading micro-organism without harming the cells of the host plants. Several studies on phytochemistry have also confirmed the presence of various types of phytochemicals in this plant such as alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, phenolic compounds, steroids, carbohydrates, glycosides which have pharmacological values for biological activities such as antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, antiulcer, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancerous activities. It also affects the behavior of pollinators, seed vectors and diversity of host plant. This magic plant also affects the economy of farmer due to spread into the crop field and growth and yield of agricultural crops. Soil quality of the field is also affected by Cuscuta sps. as it decreases the aerable surface, results in loss of quantitative and qualitative crop protection and represents a vector concerning the transmission of diseases through viruses and mycoplasmas to host plant. Its impact on the diversity determines the degradation of landscapes decoration aspect. Monitoring of Cuscuta sps. and their spreading tendencies and their prevention and therapy generates positive and immediate protection system of cultures. In many countries this genus has been targeted to control and quarantine measures are settled without ignoring the fact that some species of Cuscuta may be endangered or even threatened with extinction. Since this genus has tremendous pharmacological values present in phytochemicals extracted from these elite plants, therefore, it is an urgent need to preserve this plant by adopting appropriate techniques. In this direction plant tissue culture techniques may be a suitable approach not only to preserve this wonderful plant but also to evaluate its own pharmacological values and also of host plant. Another line of futuristic research might be to know its parasitic effect on pharmacological and phytochemicals potential of host plant and on Cuscuta itself.
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