Aerva lanata L Juss

[From Arabic, erwa = Aerva lanata (L.) Juss. and from Latin, lanatus = woolly]

Physical description: It is a common tropical herb which grows to a height of 90 cm. The stems are terete and woolly. Leaves: simple, alternate, without stipules, and 1.8cm-4cm x 3cm-4mm. The blade is elliptic, obovate, obtuse or

Synonymy: Achyranthes ianata L.; Aerva floribunda Wight.

Common names: Wool plant; astmabayada (Sanskrit); sirupuiai (Tamil).

acute, entire, pubescent above, and more or less woolly beneath. The petiole is short. The flowers are white or greenish and packed in small, dense, axillary, and woolly 5 mm-1 cm long heads or spikes, forming globose clusters. In these heads, the bracteoles are ovate and very small. The perianth consists of woolly, small and oblong sepals. The stamens are united into a tube with interposed stamin-odes shorter than the filaments, and the ovary is subglobose, and develops upward into a very small style and 2 stigmas. The fruits are very small utricles, containing a few sub-reniform, black, smooth and glossy seeds (Fig. 67).

Pharmaceutical interest: The antiinflammatory and antidiabetes properties of Aerva lanata (L.) Juss. mentioned above are probably due to saponins or flavonoids glycosides. An aqueous extract and the fresh juice expressed from Aerva lanata (L.) Juss. inhibits carrageenan-induced edema in rodent (Amin KMY etal., 1994) and an ethanolic extract of the plant protects rodent against alloxan poisoning (Vetrichelvan T et al., 2002).

Fig. 67. Aerva lanata (L.) Juss.

Uses: In Indonesia, an infusion of Aerva lanata (L.) Juss. is used to treat sudden swollen areas. In the Philippines, an infusion of Aerva lanata (L.) Juss. is drunkto promote urination and to treat gonorrhea. In India, healers use Aerva lanata (L.) Juss. to treat renal and prostate ailments, as well as diabetes.

Of particular interest is canthine-6-one, characterized /^^X

from Aerva lanata (L.) Juss., which may contribute to the /N

antimicrobial and antitumoral properties displayed by a | | \—'-i crude methanolic extract of this herb (Chowdhury D et a/., n \

2002; Zapesochnaya GG et a/., 1997). The presence \_(f of canthine-6-one in this plant is somewhat surprising J

and should stimulate further research on the psychotropic O

potential. Note that canthine-6-one is known to occur in Canthine-6-one members of the order Sapindales (Subclass Rosidae). Narcissin (isorhamnetin-3-rutinoside), aervitrin (isohamnetin-3-rhamnosyl ruti-noside), and a small amount of ecdysterone were characterized from Aerva lanata (L.) Juss. (Baltaev VA eta/., 1992; Pervykh LN eta/., 1992).

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