Family Caryophyllaceae A L de Jussieu 1789 nom conserv the Pink Family

The Caryophyllaceae is a large family which consists of about 75 genera and 2000 species of cosmopolitan, annual or perennial herbs which abound with pentacyclic triterpenoid saponins. Caryophyllaceae are easily recognized in a field collection by their heart-shaped interpetiolar internodes. The leaves of Caryophyllaceae are simple and opposite, with stipules or without stipules. The flowers are actinomorphic, hypogynous, bisexual and commonly arranged in dichasial cymes or are solitary. The calyx comprises of 5 sepals which are free or form a tube. The corolla, if present, comprises of 5 petals. The andrecium consists of 5-10 stamens arranged in 1 or 2 whorls, with free filaments and tetrasporangiate and dithecal anthers opening by longitudinal slits. The gynecium is made of 2-5 carpels, forming a superior, sessile or shortly stip-itate, single-celled or imperfectly divided ovary containing a central placenta, and developed upwards into free or connate styles. The fruits are dehiscent capsules opening by valves or apical teeth. The seeds are finely punctuated and curved.

Pharmaceutical interest: Belonging to the family Caryophyllaceae are a large number of herbs cultivated for decorative purposes such as Dianthus barbatus L. (pink, sweet William), Gypsophila elegans Bieb. (baby's breath, gypsophila) and Dianthus caryophyllus L. (carnation). Classical medicinal Caryophyllaceae are Saponaria officinalis L. (soapwort, bouncing bet, Fuller's herb), Quillaja saponaria Molina and Gypsophila paniculata (maiden's breath).

A decoction of the dried root of Saponaria officinalis L. (1 in 29; dose 15 mL-30 mL) has been used in Western medicine to promote expectoration and urination. Quillaja saponaria Molina. is occasionally used to make shampoo and is known to inhibit the intestinal absorption of cholesterol. Most medicinal Caryophyllaceae owe their properties to triterpenoid saponins, which are surface-acting agents and quite often irritating for mucosa. More interesting

R1: glucuronic acid, xylose, galactose

R2: fucose, acyl, xylose, apiose, rhamnose, glucose

R1: glucuronic acid, xylose, galactose

R2: fucose, acyl, xylose, apiose, rhamnose, glucose

Pentacyclic triterpenoid saponins of Caryophyllaceae: Quillaja saponin are the hormonal potency of saponins aglycones and the immunomodulating and even antiviral property of a number of oligosaccharides or polysaccharides characterized from them. Nearly 30 species of Caryophyllaceae are used for medicinal purposes in the Asia-Pacific. Most of these are used internally to check hemorrhages, depurate, treat fever, promote milk secretion, abortion, delivery, urination and menses, and externally to remove malignant sores and to counteract putrefaction.

Continue reading here: Drymaria cordata Willd

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