β sitosterol is one of the main subcomponents of a group of plant sterols known as phytosterols that are very similar in composition to cholesterol. It is found to be present in many plant tissues like the leaves, roots, fruits and also seeds. These plant sterols are the active components in various pharmacological activities including anti-oxidant, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. β sitosterol, especially, has been investigated for its anti-fertility effects in the male reproductive system of mice and rats. In the present study, crude seed extracts of Carica papaya, Momordica charantia and Abrus precatorius were studied for their β sitosterol content using HPTLC technique. All of the three plants have been mentioned in several records of traditional medicine and pharmacopoeias for their various pharmacological effects including male anti-fertility activity. The confirmed presence of β sitosterol and its quantification in the crude extracts of these seeds gives us a fair idea of its involvement in their efficacy as agents of male contraception.
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