Randia esculenta Lour Merr

[After Isaac Rand, 18th century London apothecary and director of the Chelsea Physic Garden and from Latin, esculentus = fit for food]

Physical description: It is a treelet of the lowland and the rainforests of the hills of the Asia-Pacific. Leaves: simple, decussate and stipulate. The stipules are interpetiolar, narrowly triangular, cuspidate and 2mm-4mm long. A pair of 1 cm long prickles is present on the leaf axil. The blade is elliptic to ovate, 3cm-12cm x 1 cm-5cm, pointed at the apex and hairy below. The blade shows 4-9 pairs of secondary nerves. The inflorescences are terminal. The corolla is 2cm-5cm long, yellowish, 5-lobed with the lobes at1 cm-3cm long.The andrecium consists of 5 stamens which are longer than the corolla tube. The fruits are 1 cm-2cm long berries, embedded in the persistent calyx cup and containing 5 mm-7 mm of triangular seeds.

Synonymy: Randia fasciculata DC., Genipap esculenta Lour.

Common name: Akarduri (Malay).

Uses: In Malaysia, a paste of the powdered leaves is applied externally to heal wounds and to soothe sores. In Vietnam, a decoction of the wood is used to stop convulsion and to treat nervous diseases.The juice expressed from the roots is used to combat fever. The prickles are used to treat bleeding and to regulate menses.

Pharmaceutical interest: The therapeutic potential of Randia esculenta (Lour.) Merr. remains unexplored. Note that oral administration of Randia siamensis dose-dependently protects rodent against the pain occasioned in the writhing and in the hot plate tests (Reanmongkol W et a/., 1994). Randia species are known to produce iridoid glycosides such as randi-noside (Hamerski L eta/., 2003).

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