Abrus precatorius commonly known as Gunja has been used for therapeutic purpose since vaidic
period. The roots, seeds and leaves are used in traditional & folklore medicine. In traditional system of
medicine, the plant is reported to possess beneficial effects as an antidote, in avabahuk, cervical adenitis,
dental caries, baldness, dandruff, erysipelas etc. Much research work has been conducted on Abrus
The pharmacological studies have shown that A.P. possesses a number of biological activities such
as anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-fertility, antimicrobial, anti-oxidant activity, antiinflammatory, anti- arthritic, antiseratonergic, nephroprotective etc.
A wide range of active components including a glucoside abrussic acid, haemagglutinin, a quantity
of urease, glycoside abralin, an albuminous substance ‘abrin’ the active principle have been isolated from
the plant. The present review is an effort to consolidate traditional, ethnobotanical, phytochemical, and
pharmacological information available on Abrus precatorius. It is considered as a valuable source of natural
products for development of medicines against various diseases.