Artabotrys suaveolens Bl
[From Greek, artao = support and botrys = bunch of grapes and suavis = sweet]
Physical description: It is a rainforest climber of Burma, Java, Moluccas and the Philippines. The bark is blackish and smooth and the stems are hooked.
Leaves: simple, alternate and exstip-ulate. The petiole is glabrous, channeled and 3 mm-5 mm long.The blade is dark green, glossy, glabrous, leathery, elliptic and 8.5cmx3.5cm-5cmx 3 cm. The apex of the blade is acute-acuminate; the base is tapering; and the margin is entire and slightly acuminate. The flowers are 1 cm long, whitish and tomentose.The calyx comprises of 3 sepals which are ovate, acute and 2.5 mm long. The corolla comprises of 2 distinct whorls of 3 petals which are valvate. The petals are dilated at the base, and develop a cylindrical limb and a recurved apex. The fruits are green, glossy, ellipsoid, 1.4 cmx 5 mm ripe carpels, each containing a single seed (Fig. 6).
Common name: Akarcenana (Malay).
Uses: In Malaysia and Indonesia, an infusion of the leaves provides an aromatic drink used to treat cholera. In the Philippines, a decoction of the bark and roots is drunk to promote menses and to aid recovery from childbirth.
Pharmaceutical interest: The pharmacological properties of Artabotrys suaveolens Bl. are unexplored. One might set the hypothesis that isoquino-line alkaloids, such as artabotrine, suaveoline and artabotrinine, could be responsible for both antibacterial and emmenagogue properties (Maranon J, 1929; Barger G et al., 1939; Santos AC et al., 1932). Artabotrine from Artabotrys zeylanicus alleviates yeast cells cultured in vitro (Wijeratne EMK etal., 1995). Both liriodenine and atherospermidine characterized from Artabotrys uncinatus are cytotoxic in vitro (Wu YC et al., 1989). The leaves of Artabotrys odoratissimus display an antifertility property (Chakrabarti B etal., 1968). Norstephalagine and atherospermidine characterized from the bark of Artabotrys maingayi relax rat uterine KCl- and oxytocin-induced contractions induced by potassium chloride and the rhythmic contractions induced by oxytocin (Cortes D etal., 1990).
Antiplasmodialproperty: An interesting feature of the genus Artabotrys is the production of antimalarial sesquiterpenes peroxides. One such compound is yingzhaosu A, from Artabotrys uncinatus, a plant used in India to make aromatic tea. Arteflene, a synthetic peroxide developed from yingzhaosu A given (single oral dose 25 mg/Kg) in a phase 3, open-labeled randomized clinical trial, was not effective in curing Plasmodium falciparum malaria (Radloff PD et al., 1996).
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