Bauhinia purpurea L

[After Gaspard and Jean Bauhin, 16th century Swiss physicians and botanist and from Greek, porphura = shellfish yielding purple]

Physical description: It is a deciduous treelet native to India. The plant is ornamental and grown as such in the Asia-Pacific. Leaves: simple and stipulate. The blade is shaped like a butterfly, coriaceous, and 7 cm-10 cm and shows 9-11 pairs of secondary nerves. arranged in axillary or terminal racemes. 1.5 cm x 15 cm and woody.

Synonymy: Bauhinia castrata Blanco.

Common names: Butterfly tree; kupu kupu (Malay); mahahlegani (Burmese); kalavilaichi (Tamil).

The flowers are showy, purplish and The fruits are darkish pods which are

Pharmaceutical interest: Tannins are most probably responsible for the medicinal properties mentioned above. Note that daily administration of Bauhinia purpurea L. bark extract (2.5 mg/Kg) for 20 days stimulates thyroid function in female mice (Panda S et al, 1999). Lectins are reported (Yamamoto K et al., 1988).

Bauhinia purpurea L. will be worth investigating as the roots of Bauhinia malabarica contain racemosol, prera-cemosol A and preracemosol B, which moderately inhibit the proliferation of Plasmodium falciparum cultured in vitro. Racemosol inhibits the growth of KB and BC cells cultured in vitro with IC50 of 15 ^g/mL and 6.1 ^g/mL respectively (Prasat P et al., 2000).

Uses: In India, the roots of Bauhinia purpurea L. are used to stop flatulence. The bark is used to stop diarrhea and heal ulcers. The flowers are eaten to relieve the bowels of costiveness and the bark or the roots and flowers are mixed with rice water and used to heal boils and abscesses. In Malaysia, the leaves are used to relieve the bowels of costiveness. A paste made from the powdered leaves is used to heal boils and soothe inflammation. In Vietnam, the roots are used to treat fever.

Racemosol Preracemosol B

Preracemosol A

Racemosol Preracemosol B

Preracemosol A

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