Pharmaceutical interest

Anti-inflammatory properties: The anti-inflammatory properties of the fruits of Coix lacryma-jobi L. are confirmed: a methanol extract of seeds inhibits nitric oxide and oxygen production by murine macrophage-like RAW 264.7 cells mediated via suppression of inducible nitric oxide syn-thase mRNA expression (Seo WG et al., 2000). Benzoxazinoids isolated

Fig. 405. Coix lacryma-jobi L.

Uses: The Arab travelers in the East became acquainted with the fruits and named them "Damu Daud" (David's tears) and afterward Damu AyUb (Job's tears). Es-Saghani, who died about the year 1260, mentions them in the Obab as strenghtening and diuretic. The Arabs introduced the plant in Spain and Portugal, where it became naturalized as "lagrima de Job". The fruits of Coix lacryma-jobi L. are used as food, to promote urination, appetite, to combat fever, to treat anxiety, rheumatism, dropsy, gonorrhea and to remove warts throughout China, Japan, India and Southeast Asia. In India, the fruits are used to loose weight, to strengthen and to promote urination, while the roots are used to assuage menstrual discomforts.

from the roots, inhibit the release of histamine from rat mast cells, stimulated with concanavalin A and sensitized with immunoglobulin E. (Otsuka H et a/., 1988).

Dietetic properties: There is an expanding body of evidences to suggest that the consumption of fruits of Coix lacryma-jobi L. could be of dietetic value, since it lowers fibrinogen levels and fibrinolytic activity in Wister rats (Check JB et a/., 1995). The fruits protect Sprague-Dawley male rats against plasma and liver hypercholesterolemia experimentally by lard-enriched diet (Park Y et a/., 1988). Note that a number of glycans with hypoglycaemic activity are known to occur in the seeds (Takahashi M et a/., 1986).

Neurological properties: The quieting property of Coix lacryma-jobi L.could be attributed to coixol (6-methoxybenzoxazolone), which displays central muscle relaxant and anti-convulsing effects. When administered intraperitonneally at dose of 50mg/Kg-100mg/Kg, it decreases locomotor activities and produce hypothermia in rats. Coixol potentiates thiopental-induced sleep and attenuates the writhing syndrome induced by 1% acetic acid and increases the threshold to jumping response induced by foot shock (Takahashi M et a/., 1986).

Other pharmacological properties: Coixenolide extracted from the fruits of Coix lacryma-jobi L. inhibits the growth of tumors (Ukita T et a/., 1961).

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