Adenanthera pavonina L

[From Greek, aden = acorn and from Latin, pavoninus = peacok]

Common names: Red wood tree; Circassian seeds tree; saga (Malay); bois noir rouge, crete de paon (French); kanduri batang (Malay); alalangat (Filipino), sem (Tamil).

Physical description: It is a tree native to tropical Asia and Africa. The wood is used in cabinetry and is a source of red dye. Leaves: bipinnate, and stipulate and consist of 713 folioles. The folioles are oblong or ovate, 2.5 cm-4.5 cm x 1.5 cm-2.4cm, obtuse and glabrous. The flowers are whitish and arranged into a spike-shaped raceme. The calyx is cup-shaped and deeply 5-lobed. The corolla consists of 5 lanceolate petals. The andrecium comprises of 10 stamens. The fruits are falcate, 12 cm long pods containing several discoid seeds which are red and glossy (Fig. 152).

Pharmaceutical interest: To date not much is known about the pharmacological potential of Adenanthera pavonina L. The plant contains steroidal saponins and flavonoids (Misra G eta/., 1975; Gennaro A et a/., 1972). The seeds contain trypsin inhibitor proteins (Richardson M et al., 1986).

Fig. 152. Adenanthera pavonina L.

Uses: In Burma, a paste made from the seeds of Adenanthera pavonina L. is applied externally. In Malaysia, the leaves are used to invigorate health. In India, a decoction of the leaves is used externally to treat chronic rheumatism, gout and impotence, and to treat bleeding. The seeds are used in necklaces.

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