Alocasia macrorrhiza L G

[From Greek, kolokasia = lotus root, macros = long and rhiza = root]

Physical description: It is a robust, succulent, herbaceous plant, native to Ceylon but spreaded to the entire Asia-Pacific. The petioles are long, stout and upright.

Common names: Giant taro; keladi, birah, sebaring (Malay); sente (Javanese).

Uses: Alocasia macrorrhiza (L.) G. Don is a counter irritant remedy. In Indonesia, the leaves and tubers are used to assuage pain on the joints and to heal wounds. In Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, the juice expressed from the plant is used to heal stings. In the Philippines, the dried petioles are heated and used to assuage toothache. In Taiwan, the tubers are pounded and used to soothe swollen parts. In Vietnam and Cambodia, the tubers are used to promote urination, to soothe inflamed parts, heal boils and to treat rheumatism, diseased palms and apoplexy.

Alocasia Indica Parts

Leave: very large, peltate and connate for one tenth of its length. The spathe is pediceled. The base is convoluted and Fig. 385. Alocasia macrorrhiza (L.) G. Don. constricted above. The spadix develops cylindrical appendages and includes a large male portion and a short female portion. The ovary is oblong. The style and stigma are globose. The fruits are berries with large seeds (Fig. 385).

Pharmaceutical interest: The tubers of Alocasia macrorrhiza (L.) G. Don contain a trypsin/chymotrypsin inhibitor protein (Argall ME etal., 1994; Sumathi S et a/., 1977) and an 11 kDa anti-fungal protein: alocasin, which displays antifungal activity against Botrytis cinerea and lowers the enzymatic activity of Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 reverse transcriptase (Wang XH etal., 2003).

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