Euonymus alatus Thunb Sieb

[From Greek, eu = good and onoma = name and from Latin, alatus = wing]

Physical description: It is a shrub found in China, Korea and Japan which is often cultivated as an ornamental plant. The bark is greyish, and the stems are characteristically winged. Leaves: simple, opposite and without stipules. The petiole is very small, glabrous and channeled. The blade is 3.5 cm x 1.3 cm, thin, orbiculate, reddish, and shortly acuminate at the apex. The margin is serrulate. The midrib

Synonymy: Euonymus thunbergianus Bl., Euonymus striatus var. alatus Mak.

Common name: Winged Euonymus, cork bush, burning bush.

is raised on both surfaces, and the secondary nerves are indistinct. The flowers are solitary or cymose and axillary on 5 mm long pedicels. The corolla comprises of 4 petals which are irregular, ovate, yellow, small and nerved. The andrecium consists of 4 stamens which alternate with the petals. The nectary disc is showy and succulent (Fig. 187).

Uses: In China, the stem of Euonymus alatus (Thunb.) Sieb. is used to treat fever, expel intestinal worms, and regulate blood circulation and menses. In Korea, the stems are used to treat schizophrenia, check bleeding, lower blood pressure and assuage abdominal pain after parturition.

Fig. 187. Euonymus alatus (Thunb.) Sieb. From: KLU Herbarium 10108. Collection: 9 June 1965. Botanical identification: M Togashi. Geographical localization: Idzumino, Chino-shi, Pref. Nagano, Japan.

Pharmaceutical interest: Butanol and chloroform extracts of the stems of Euonymus alatus (Thunb.) Sieb. inhibit the growth of human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line, Hep3B cells with IC50 values of 65 ^g/mL and 85 ^g/mL respectively (Cha BY et al., 2003). Euonymus alatus (Thunb.) Sieb. increases the production of nitric oxide by macrophages. Note that nitric oxide is a potent derived effector molecule against tumors (Chung HS et al., 2002). Euonymus alatus (Thunb.) Sieb. lowers plasma HDL3-c level and slow down the progress of atherosclerosis (Wang W etal., 1991). It will be interesting to learn whether a more intensive study on Euonymus alatus (Thunb.) Sieb. will disclose any molecules of chemotherapeutic interest. Note that 3,4-dihydroxycinnamic acid from the plant inhibits the enzymatic activity of metalloproteinase inhibitor (Park WH etal., 2005).

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