Apama corymbosa Griff Willd

[From Greek, korumbos = cluster]

Physical description: It is a shrub which grows to a height of 3 m. The plant is a common sight along the jungle tracks of Malaysia and Sumatra. The stems are glaucous, soft, zig-zag-shaped and articulate. Leaves: simple, 15 cm x 6 cm, glabrous, alternate and without stipules. The blade is lanceolate and pubescent and shows 3-5 pairs of secondary nerves. The petiole is 5 mm long. The inflorescences are terminal, pubescent, panicles of small yellowish-green flowers. The perianth comprises of 3 yellowish-green lobes around a black mouth. The andrecium consists of 1 whorl of 8-10 stamens.

Fig. 27. Apama corymbosa (Griff.) Willd.

Synonymy: Bragantia corymbosa Griff.

Common names: Akarjulong, bukit, akarsurai (Malay).

The stigma is disc-shaped. The fruits are capsular, 25cm-30cm x 4 mm, 4 keeled and contain several triangular seeds (Fig. 27).

Pharmaceutical interest: The general tendency in terms of medicinal uses suggests the anti-inflammatory potential of the plant. It would not be surprising as antibacterial alkaloids occur in Bragantia wallichii (Panse MV et a/., 1971). The same group of alkaloids is very likely to be present here and it would be interesting to assess their activity towards the enzymatic activity of phospholipase A2, or cyclo-oxygenase, key enzymes of inflammation.

Uses: In Java, the stems and leaves are applied externally to counteract snake-poison. In Malaysia, the pounded leaves are applied to the gums or laid onto the hollow of teeth to assuage toothache. The roots are mixed with the kernel of Myristica fragrans Houtt. to make a protective postpartum medicine.

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