Atalantia monophylla DC

[From Greek, atalanta = atalanta of the golden apples, monos = alone and phullon = leaf]

Common names: Wild lime; merlimau (Malay); manawphee (Thai).

Uses: In Vietnam, the leaves of Atalantia monophylla DC. are used to treat diseases of the respiratory tract. In India, the oil expressed from the fruit is used to treat chronic rheumatism and paralysis. The juice expressed from the leaves is applied externally to treat hemiplagia.

Fig. 237. Atalantia monophylla DC.

Physical description: It is a prickly treelet of Southeast Asia. Leaves: simple, fragrant and alternate. The petiole is indistinct and shows at the base, a pair of little thorns. The blade is leathery, smooth, dotted with oil cells, and ovate to lanceolate. The base is acute, and the apex characteristically notched. The flowers are axillary; the calyx splits into a pair of irregular lobes; and the stamens are joined together into a tube. The fruits are small, globular, yellow, and succulent hesperidia (Fig. 237).

Pharmaceutical interest: Anti-herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2)-guided fractionation of the leaves of Atalantia monophylla DC. resulted in the identification of pyropheophorbide (Chansakaow S et a/., 1996). The plant is also known to produce limonoids and acridone alkaloids (Dreyer DLR et a/., 1976; Gururaj H eta/., 1981). No recent reports on the pharmacological potential are available on this interesting medicinal species.

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