Achyranthes bidentata Bl

Synonymy: Achyranthes mollicula.

Common names: Ox knee; niuxi (Chinese).

[From Greek, achyr = barb, anthe = flower and from Latin, bi = two and dentatus = with teeth]

Physical description: It is a slender and perennial herb which grows to a height of 1 m. It is found in moist and shady grounds in India, Southeast Asia, China and Japan. The stems are quadrangular and pubescent, and develop regular large knee-shaped nodes, hence the common name of the plant. Leaves: simple, without stipules, opposite, 5cm-12cm x 3cm-5cm, acuminate, and tomentose on both surfaces. The inflorescences are terminal or axillary of 2cm-10cm long spikes with hairy pedicels, and ovate-oblong bracts with a ciliate margin. Each flower shows a pair of 2 bracteoles which are hairy, as long as the perianth, and 4 mm-5 mm long. The andrecium consists of 5 stamens. The fruits are utricles which are 3 mm in diameter (Fig. 65).

Pharmaceutical interest: Achyranthes bidentata Bl. contains a series of oleanolic saponins which are probably responsible for the anti-inflammatory, diuretic and expectorant properties mentioned above. Note that ecdysterones characterized from Achyranthes bidentata Bl. promote the proliferation of osteoblast-like cells cultured in vitro (Gao XY et a/., 2000). Achyranthes bidentata Bl. is also known to produce emodin and physcion, which are laxative anthraquinones (Bishit G et a/., 1993). Other natural products characterized from this herb are

Uses: Achyranthes bidentata Bl. is used to promote urination and expectatory resolve inflamed parts and as an astringent remedy. In Indonesia, chewing the fresh leaves with Areca catechu treats malignant mouth ulcers. In Malaysia, Achyranthes bidentata Bl. is used to treat extreme anemia. In Vietnam, the roots are chewed to promote salivation. The roots of Achyranthes bidentata Bl. are included in the Japanese Pharmacopoeia (dose 5 g to 8 g as a decoction).

Pots Syndrome
Fig. 65. Achyranthes bidentata Bl.

flavonoids glycosides: quercetin 3-O-rutinoside, quercetin 3-O-glucoside, kaempferol 3-O-glucoside, and caffeic acid (Nikolov S et al., 1995), which abound in antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, free radicals scavenger properties and cytotoxic properties.

Cytotoxic and antiviral properties: A methyl ^^ OH

ester of achyranthoside characterized from

Achyranthes faurieri inhibits the proliferation of ho. ^ ^oh human colon carcinoma (IC50 = 5.2 ^M) and 1 1

murine melanoma (IC50 = 8.2 ^M) cell-lines (IdaY etal., 1994). Of recent interest is a series oH O

of polysaccharides, characterized from the roots of Achyranthes bidentata Bl. which inhibit the Quercetin proliferation of sarcoma-180 cells and prolong the survival of Ehrlich carcinoma-bearing mice, by enhancing both specific and non-specific immunological responses (Xiang DB etal., 1993). An extract of Achyranthes bidentata Bl. causes the early expression of the Epstein-Barr (EBV) antigen in Raji cell-line (Zeng Y et al., 1994). Polysaccharides characterized from Achyranthes bidentata Bl. display anti-Herpes Simplex Virus 1 property in vitro and immunomodulatory effects (Li ZK et al., 1997; Zheng M et al., 1997). It will be interesting to know whether further investigation on oligosaccharides from Amaranthaceae will disclose any anti-viral molecule of therapeutic value.

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