Letter to the editor

Preventive role of Sapindus species in different neurological and metabolic disorders

Sarita Rawat1, Gaurav Gupta2[*],3, Anurag Mishra4, Sachchidanand Pathak5, Lakshmi Thangavelu6, Sachin Kumar Singh7, Niraj Kumar Jha8, Deepak Kumar9, Poonam Negi10, Avvaru Praveen Kumar11, Dinesh Kumar Chellappan12, Kamal Dua13,14

1Faculty of Pharmacy and Sciences, Amrapali Group of Institutes, Shiksha Nagar, Lamachaur, Haldwani, 263139, Nainital, Uttarakhand, India

2School of Pharmacy, Suresh Gyan Vihar University, Jagatpura 302017, Mahal Road, Jaipur, India

3Department of Pharmacology, Saveetha Dental College, Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Science, Saveetha University, Chennai, India

4Nims Institute of Pharmacy, NIMS University, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

5Kashi Institute of Pharmacy, Varanasi, UP, India

6Center for Transdisciplinary Research (CFTR), Department of Pharmacology, Saveetha Dental College, Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, Saveetha University, Chennai, India

7School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Lovely Professional University, Phagwara, Punjab, 144411, India

8Department of Biotechnology, School of Engineering and Technology (SET), Sharda University, Uttar Pradesh, Greater Noida, India

9Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Shoolini University, Solan - 173229, India

10Department of Pharmacy, Shoolini University, Solan - 173229, India

11Department of Applied Chemistry, School of Applied Natural Science, Adama Science and Technology University, P.O.Box 1888, Adama, Ethiopia

12Department of Life Sciences, School of Pharmacy, International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur 57000, Malaysia

13Discipline of Pharmacy, Graduate School of Health, University of Technology Sydney, NSW 2007, Sydney, Australia

14Faculty of Health, Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo NSW 2007, Australia

EXCLI J 2022;21:Doc354


Sapindus, also known as soap nut is rich in saponins. The tree belongs to the family Sapindaceae which has six to twelve closely related species, primarily comprising of shrubs and small trees. Being one of the world's oldest cultivated medicinal plants, Sapindus boasts of various therapeutic uses. The use of this valuable tree has been traced back to the period of Ancient India, which is estimated to be around 5000 years ago. It is a deciduous tree with moderate length that grows naturally in the Southern states of India and also in some regions of Northern India. Sugars, fatty acids, trifoliosides, tannins, phenolic acids, steroids, carbohydrates, and triterpenoids are the primary phytoconstituents derived and reported from different parts of the plant (Arul et al., 2004[1]). Sapindus is also used in Ayurvedic composition of shampoos and cleansers as an important component. Some tribes in India, use a decoction of the plant's aerial parts for the treatment of diabetes mellitus, as described in traditional reports. Contemporarily, Sapindus trifoliatus (ST) has been used for decades to treat colds caused by infection and inflammation, and is also used in combination with standard medicine to treat a variety of malignancies and conditions such as diabetes mellitus (Arulmozhi et al., 2004[2]). Soap nut powder contains potent antimicrobial activity and because of this it is widely used in cosmetic and contraceptive creams. Arthritis, common cold, constipation, nausea, and dental caries are also treated by using powdered seeds of the plant. It is also beneficial for skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis (Arulmozhi et al., 2004[4]). In addition, Sapindus species has also been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine to treat excessive salivation, epilepsy, chlorosis, and neuroleptic diseases (Arulmozhi et al., 2005[3]). Current biological and pharmacological updates on Sapindus trifoliatus have been reviewed below (Table 1(Tab. 1); References in Table 1: Arul et al., 2004[1]; Arulmozhi et al., 2004[2][4], 2005[3][5]; Bera et al., 2019[6]; Bodhankar et al., 1974[7]; Borad et al., 2001[8]; Chaudhary et al., 2019[9]; Chen et al., 2019[10]; Desai, et al., 1986[11]; Dixit and Gupta, 1982[12]; Gandreddi et al., 2015[13]; Grover et al., 2005[14]; Hu et al., 2018[15]; Kamboj and Dhawan, 1982[16]; Lal et al., 1976[17]; Lu et al., 2016[18]; Polli et al., 2021[19]; Pore et al., 2010[20]; Porsche et al., 2018[21]; Samiksha et al., 2019[22]; Sirisha et al., 2018[23]; Tiwari et al., 2008[24]; Tungmunnithum et al., 2018[25]; Wei et al., 2021[26]).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.



1. Arul B, Kothai R, Jacob P, Sangameswaran B, Sureshkumar K. Anti-inflammatory activity of Sapindus trifoliatus Linn. J Herb Pharmacother. 2004;4(4):43-50
2. Arulmozhi DK, Sridhar N, Bodhankar SL, Veeranjaneyulu A, Arora SK. In vitro pharmacological investigations of Sapindus trifoliatus in various migraine targets. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;95:239-45
3. Arulmozhi DK, Veeranjaneyulu A, Bodhankar SL, Arora SK. Effect of Sapindus trifoliatus on hyperalgesic in vivo migraine models. Braz J Med Biol Res. 2005;38:469-75
4. Arulmozhi DK, Veeranjaneyulu A, Bodhankar SL, Arora SK. Investigations into the antinociceptive activity of Sapindus trifoliatus in various pain models. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2004;56:655-61
5. Arulmozhi DK, Veeranjaneyulu A, Bodhankar SL, Arora SK. Pharmacological studies of the aqueous extract of Sapindus trifoliatus on central nervous system: possible antimigraine mechanisms. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005;97:491-6
6. Bera I, Tyagi P, Mir N, Begum J, Dev K, Tyagi P, et al. Effect of dietary saponin rich soapnut ( Sapindus mukorossi ) shell powder on growth performance, immunity, serum biochemistry and gut health of broiler chickens. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr. 2019;103:1800-9
7. Bodhankar SL, Garg SK, Mathur VS. Antifertility screening of plants. Part IX. Effect of five indigenous plants on early pregnancy in female albino rats. Indian J Med Res. 1974;62:831-7
8. Borad VP, Barve DM, Macwan SJ, Mehta AR. Regeneration of plantlets in Sapindus trifoiatus L. Indian J Exp Biol. 2001;39:1288-92
9. Chaudhary SK, Mandal AB, Bhar R, Gopi M, Kannan A, Jadhav SE, et al. Effect of graded levels of soapnut (Sapindus mukorossi) shell powder on reproductive performance in broiler breeders. Asian-Australas J Anim Sci. 2019;32:118-25
10. Chen CC, Nien CJ, Chen LG, Huang KY, Chang WJ, Huang HM. Effects of Sapindus mukorossi seed oil on skin wound healing: in vivo and in vitro testing. Int J Mol Sci. 2019;20(10):2579
11. Desai HV, Bhatt PN, Mehta AR. Plant regeneration of Sapindus trifoliatus L. (soapnut) through somatic embryogenesis. Plant Cell Rep. 1986;5:190-1
12. Dixit VP, Gupta RS. Antispermatogenic and antiandrogenic activity of Sapindus trifoliatus fruit extract in intact and castrated male gerbils. Planta Med. 1982;46:242-6
13. Gandreddi VD, Kappala VR, Zaveri K, Patnala K. Evaluating the role of a trypsin inhibitor from soap nut (Sapindus trifoliatus L. Var. Emarginatus) seeds against larval gut proteases, its purification and characterization. BMC Biochem. 2015;16:23
14. Grover RK, Roy AD, Roy R, Joshi SK, Srivastava V, Arora SK. Complete 1H and 13C NMR assignments of six saponins from Sapindus trifoliatus. Magn Reson Chem. 2005;43:1072-6
15. Hu Q, Chen YY, Jiao QY, Khan A, Li F, Han DF, et al. Triterpenoid saponins from the pulp of Sapindus mukorossi and their antifungal activities. Phytochemistry. 2018;147:1-8
16. Kamboj VP, Dhawan BN. Research on plants for fertility regulation in India. J Ethnopharmacol. 1982;6:191-226
17. Lal J, Chandra S, Raviprakash V, Sabir M. In vitro anthelmintic action of some indigenous medicinal plants on Ascardia galli worms. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1976;20(2):64-8
18. Lu W, Li S, Li J, Wang J, Zhang R, Zhou Y, et al. Effects of omega-3 fatty acid in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a meta-analysis. Gastroenterol Res Pract. 2016;2016:1459790
19. Polli AD, Ribeiro M, Garcia A, Polonio JC, Santos CM, Silva AA, et al. Secondary metabolites of Curvularia sp. G6-32, an endophyte of Sapindus saponaria, with antioxidant and anticholinesterasic properties. Nat Prod Res. 2021;35:4148-53
20. Pore S, Rashinkar G, Mote K, Salunkhe R. Aqueous extract of the pericarp of Sapindus trifoliatus fruits: a novel 'green' catalyst for the aldimine synthesis. Chem Biodivers. 2010;7:1796-800
21. Porsche FM, Molitor D, Beyer M, Charton S, André C, Kollar A. Antifungal activity of saponins from the fruit pericarp of Sapindus mukorossi against Venturia inaequalis and Botrytis cinerea. Plant Dis. 2018;102:991-1000
22. Samiksha, Singh D, Kesavan A, Sohal S. Exploration of anti-insect potential of trypsin inhibitor purified from seeds of Sapindus mukorossi against Bactrocera cucurbitae. Sci Rep. 2019;9:17025
23. Sirisha GVD, Vijaya Rachel K, Zaveri K, Yarla NS, Kiranmayi P, Ganash M, et al. Molecular docking and in vitro studies of soap nut trypsin inhibitor (SNTI) against phospholipase A(2) isoforms in therapeutic intervention of inflammatory diseases. Int J Biol Macromol. 2018;114:556-64
24. Tiwari P, Singh D, Singh M. Anti-trichomonas activity of Sapindus saponins, a candidate for development as microbicidal contraceptive. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2008;62:526-34
25. Tungmunnithum D, Thongboonyou A, Pholboon A, Yangsabai A. Flavonoids and other phenolic compounds from medicinal plants for pharmaceutical and medical aspects: an overview. Medicines (Basel). 2018;5(3):93
26. Wei MP, Zhu X-w, Yu H, Xie Y-f, Guo Y-h, Cheng Y-l, et al. Isolation of two sesquiterpene glycosides from Sapindus mukorossi Gaertn. with cytotoxic properties and analysis of their mechanism based on network pharmacology. Nat Prod Res. 2021;35:4323-30

Table 1: Current biological and pharmacological updates on Sapindus species

[*] Corresponding Author:

Gaurav Gupta, School of Pharmacy, Suresh Gyan Vihar University, Jagatpura 302017, Mahal Road, Jaipur, India, eMail: gauravpharma25@gmail.com