Family Caesalpiniaceae R Brown in Flinders 1814 nom conserv the Caesalpinia Family

Physical description: The family Caesalpini-aceae consists of about 150 genera and 2200 species of trees, shrubs and herbs, often producing anthraquinone glycosides and tannins. This family is the oldest family in the Fabales and is thought to have originated from the family Mimosaceae.The leaves of Caesalpiniaceae are pinnate, bipinnate or less frequently simple, and stipulate. The flowers are conspicuous, racemose, and zygomorphic. The calyx consists of 5 sepals which are imbricate and free. The

Caesalpiniaceae Family Characteristics

corolla consists of 5 petals, the adaxial petal overlapped by a pair of lateral petals. The andrecium consists of 10 stamens, the anthers of which are tetrasporangiate, dithecal, and open lengthwise or by a terminal or basal pore. The gynecium is curved and consists of a single carpel, forming a unilocular ovary containing 2 to several ovules attached on a marginal placenta. The fruits are pods.

Pharmaceutical interest: Classical examples of Caesalpiniaceae are Ery-throphloeum guineense G. Don (sassy bark), Hymenaea courbaril L. (locust) and Copaifera pubiflora Benth. (purple heart wood).The pods of Cassia senna L. (Alexandrian senna) and Cassia angustifolia Vahl (Tinnevelly senna) have been used from time immemorial to relieve the bowels of costiveness on account of laxative anthraquinone glycosides. Tamarindus indica L. (tamarind) has been used for the same purpose but on account of organic acids. Caroub flour, obtained from the seeds of Ceratonia siliqua L., is an effective absorbent to stop diarrhea in infants. The seeds of Trigonella foenum graecum L. (fenugreek) are of dietetic value as the galactomannans they abound with lower gly-caemia, cholesterolaemiaand lipidaemia. Of relatively recent interest is cesalin characterized from Caesalpinia gilliesi which has been scheduled for use in pharmacology as a chemotherapeutic agent. Medicinal Caesalpiniaceae often owe their properties to laxative anthraquinones glycosides, tannins which are astringent, and saponins.

H OH

H OH

Bauhinia Purpurea Caesalpinia Gulral

HO H

Sennoside A: a laxative anthraquinones glycoside from Cassia senna L.

HO H

Sennoside A: a laxative anthraquinones glycoside from Cassia senna L.

Continue reading here: Bauhinia purpurea L

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