Ilexpubescens Hook

[From Latin, ilex = Quercus ilex and from

Synonymy: Ilex trichoclada.

Physical description: It is a small and evergreen rainforest shrub found in China and Taiwan. Leaves: 4 cm-5.5 cm x 1.5cm-2cm and simple. The blade is oblong or lanceolate, and the apex of the blade acute. The margin is subentire or remotely serrate. The secondary nerves are indistinct. The flowers are arranged in axillary cymes. The fruits are globose, 4mm-5mm berries containing 4-5 pyrenes.

pubescere = soft down]

Uses: In China and Taiwan, a decoction of the leaves is drunk to invigorate health, stop flatulence, lower body temperature, expel impurities, promote urination and to abort a pregnancy. A paste made from the leaves is used to treat skin diseases, counteract snake-poisoning and heal poisoned wounds. In China, the plant is used to stimulate blood circulation and treat coronary diseases.

Pharmaceutical potential: Generally speaking, the Ilex species owe their pharmacological potential to tannins, flavonoids, triterpenoid saponins and purine bases (caffeine and theobromine).

Antioxidant/antiradical properties : Hyperoside, rutoside and chlorogenic acid characterized from Ilex aquifolium L. inhibit non-enzymatic lipid peroxydation in model membrane (Muller K etal., 1998). The intraperitonneal injection of an aqueous extract of Ilexparaguariensis inhibits dose-dependently the oxidation of low density lipoproteins (Gugliucci A etal., 1995). The same aqueous extract given to healthy humans who fasted, inhibits copper-induced autoxidation of low density lipoproteins in the whole plasma (Guggliucci A, 1996). This aqueous extract inhibits the contraction caused by methoxamine in a mesenteric arterial bed, and this effect is reversed by N-(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester suggesting the involvement of nitrous oxide of endothelial reserve (Mucillo-Baisch AL etal., 1998).

Cardiovascular properties: Ilexpubescens Hook. & Arn. is interesting because it contains a series of triterpenoid saponins such as ilexonin A, which could hold some potential for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases (Wang Z etal., 1993). Ilexonin A inhibits the aggregation of platelets and calcium influx in platelets. Thrombin significantly reduces the level of platelet cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) while ilexonin A and the calcium-channel blocker verapamil antagonize this effect. Ilexonin A inhibits platelet phosphodiesterase more potently than verapamil, which is currently used to treat angina pectoris, hypertension and arrhythmia.

Other properties: Asprellic acids A and B, triterpenoids characterized from Ilex asprella, inhibit the growth of RPMI-(7951) cell-line (0.62 ^g/mL and 5.5 ^g/mL) and KB cells (3.75 ^g/mL and 2.86 ^g/mL) cultured in vitro (Kashi-wada KL etal., 1993). Ilexoside XLVIII and cynarasaponin C inhibit in vitro acyl



CoA cholesteryl acyl transferase, a key enzyme in the synthesis of cholesterol (Nishimura K etal., 1999). Rotundic acid, a triterpene characterized from Ilex integra, inhibits in vitro the proliferation of a broad spectrum of microbes (Haraguchi H et al., 1999). The antidepressant property of the plant has been substantiated experimentally in rodent (Xu C et al., 2004).

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