Caulophyllum robustum Maxim
[From Latin, caulis = stem; from Greek, phullon = leaf; and from Latin, robustus = robust]
Physical description: It is a small woody shrub native to Japan. The plant is ornamental in temperate gardens. The stems are terete and glabrous. Leaves: consist of 2 pairs of folioles and a terminal one. Some folioles are pinnate, and the terminal one is 3-lobed at the apex. The folioles are 5cm-10cm long, very thin, sessile, asymmetric and acute at the apex. Each foliole shows 2-3 pairs of secondary nerves. The margin of the blade is wavy or toothed at the apex. The inflorescences are axillary panicles of about 20 cm long. The fruits are blackish-blue berries of about 7 mm in diameter (Fig. 37).
Uses: In China, the roots are soaked for 2 weeks in wine and the liquid is used externally to treat injuries caused by machines. The rhizome and roots of Caulophyllum thalictroides (Caulophyllum, British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1934) have been used to promote urination and menses, usually in the form of a liquid extract (1 in 1; dose of 0.6 mL to 2mL).
Synonymy: Leontice robusa (Maxim.) Diels.
Common name: Blue cohosh.
Pharmaceutical interest: Cauloside C, a pentacyclic glycoside isolated from Caulophyllum robustum Maxim., inhibits the synthesis of ergosterol in Saccha-romyces carlsbergensis and inhibits the synthesis of RNA at the stage of 14C uridine incorporation into the nucleotide pool of Saccharomyces carlsbergensis (Anisimov MM etal., 1972, 1977; 1977, 1978). Cauloside C interacts with cells pH-dependently and increases potassium leakage and calcium uptake. It might be a new biochemical tool for cell permeabilisation (Aminin DL et a/., 1999). Note that cauloside C promotes the growth of fibroblasts cultured in vitro and hence has some healing properties.
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