Connarus monocarpus L

[From Greek, konaros = a spring tree, monos = alone and karpos = fruit]

Physical description: It is a small shrub found in the South Asian rainforest. Leaves: pinnate, consists of 3-5. The petiolules are 3 mm-5 mm long. The folioles are glabrous, 7.5cm-10cm x 3.2cm-4.5cm, and show 3-5 pairs of secondary nerves. The blade is glossy, and elliptic or elliptic-lanceolate, round or acute at the base and the apex is obtusely acuminate. The flowers are 5 mm long and crowded in upright pyramidal densely pubescent terminal panicles. The flower pedicels are short, stout and articulate. The calyx consists of 5 ovate-oblong, subacute and densely pubescent sepals. The corolla comprises of 5 petals which are much longer than the sepals, linear-oblong and more or less pubescent outside. The andrecium comprises of 10 stamens. The gynecium includes 5

pubescent carpels, among which only a single one is perfect. The fruits are free, bright red follicles seated on a persistent but non-accrescent calyx (Fig. 143).

Fig. 143. Connarus monocarpus L.

Rapanone Bergenin

Pharmaceutical interest: One might set the hypothesis that the anti-inflammatory property mentioned above could be attributed to bergenin and leucopelargoni-din (Aiyar SN et a/., 1963), as well as rapanone. Note that Connarus mono-carpus L. contains rapanone which is anthelmintic, oral contraceptive, antimicrobial and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (IC50 = 36 ^M; Lund AK et a/., 1998; Calle J et a/., 2000). It will be interesting to learn whether more intensive future research on bergenin will disclose any therapeutic properties. Note that rapanone and bergenin occur also in the family Myrsinaceae. Do Myrsinaceae and Connaraceae share common ancestors in the Magnoliidae?

Uses: In Malaysia, the pounded roots are applied externally to soothe inflamed areas and a decoction of the bark is drunk to assuage stomachache. In India, a decoction of the bark is used to treat syphilis and the pulp of the fruit is applied to diseased eyes.

Continue reading here: Connarus semidecandrus Jack

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