Emilia sonchifolia L DC

[From Latin, sonchifolia = having leaves like Sonchus]

Synonymy: Cacalia sonchifolia L., Senecio sonchifolius Moench, Emilia javanica (Burm. f.) C. B. Rob.

Common names: Cupiol's shaving brush; hongpei ts'ao (Chinese); petit lastron (French); ketumbit, katumbit jantan, satunbakmerah (Malay); chua le, la matgioi (Vietnamese); fua lele, fua lele lili'i (Samoa).

Physical description: It is a herb which grows to a height of 30 cm by the roadsides and vacant plots of lands in Southeast Asia and Pacific Islands. Leaves: simple, somewhat fleshy and without stipules. The basal leaves are pinnatifid and 5cm-10cm long. The cauline leaves are hastate or linear, lobed or pinnate, sessile and auricular. The inflorescences are solitary capitula, 3 cm long and thin pedicels. The involucres are cylindrical, apple green, with asymmetrical, linear oblong lobes and bracts in 1 whorl. The flowers are bisexual, tubular and white. The limb is rose pink. The stamens and styles are pink tipped crimson. The fruits are achenes which are hairy, brownish and with tiny series of white prickles between the ribs (Fig. 372).

Emilia Sonchifolia
Fig. 372. Emilia sonchifolia (L.) DC. From: KLU Herbarium 36545. Flora of Malaya. Coll.: Lynwood M. Hume. 30 Oct 1983. Geographical localization: K. Terengganu, bought in central market, sold as green vegetable, Malaysia.

Pharmaceutical interest: The anti-inflammatory property of Emilia sonchifolia (L.) DC. is confirmed: aqueous and methanolic extracts of Emilia sonchifolia (L.) DC. protect rodent against paw edema (Muko KN et a/.,

2000). Note that a methanolic extract of this plant inhibits the growth of Dalton's lymphoma, Ehrlich ascites carcinoma and mouse lung fibroblast cells

Uses: In China, a decoction of Emilia sonchifolia (L.) DC. is drunk to treat dysentery and used externally to heal abscesses, burns, soothe scalds and to treat numbness. In Indonesia, the roots are used to curb diarrhea and the juice expressed from the leaves is mixed with alcohol to apply externally to assuage backaches and to treat lumbago. In Malaysia, Emilia sonchifolia (L.) DC. is a remedy for phthisis and cough.The plant is also eaten as salad. In the Philippines, it is used to combat fever, to heal cuts and ulcers.

(L-929) cultured in vitro and extends the life span of tumor-bearing mice (Shylesh BS et al., 2000). Could pyrrolizidine alkaloids or sesquiterpene lactones be detected?

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