Apama Tomentosa

Panse MV, etal. (1971) Indian J Med Res 59(8): 1190-1193.

Warning: Caution must be taken as the toxic effects of this plant are unknown.

Apama tomentosa (Bl.) O. Ktze.

[From Latin, tomentum = padding of wool]

Common name: Creeping apama.

Uses: In Indonesia, the juice expressed from the leaves and stems is drunk to relieve cough. The plant is used as an ingredient in a remedy to promote urination. Apama tomentosa (Bl.) O. Ktze. is used to counteract snake-poison. Malays use this plant to heal boils and to counteract putrefaction. The pharmacological potential of this herb is unknown.

Physical description: It is an understorey herb which grows to a height of 80cm. It is found in Malaysia, India and Indonesia. The stems are woody and tomentose. Leaves: 12cm-22cm x 9cm-14cm, simple, and without stipules. The petiole is tomentose and 2 cm long. The blade is leathery, obovate, tomentose underneath, and glabrous above except for the nerves. The apex of the blade is acute and the base cordate. The tertiary nerves are scalari-form, sunken above and filled with hairs. The margin is slightly recurved. The inflorescences are 9 cm long and tomentose racemes from the base of the stems. The flowers are tiny, dull red, and comprise of 6 stamens. The fruits are capsular (Fig. 28).

Warning: Caution must be taken as the toxic effects of this plant are unknown. Aristolochia indica L.

[From Greek, aristo = best and lochia = delivery and from Latin, indica = from India]

Physical description: It is a climber native to India. Leaves: foetid, simple, and 4cm-12cm x 1.5cm-7cm. The blade is broad or linear-oblong to obovate-oblong, subtruncate or subcordate, glabrous and the margin is undulating. The apex is obtusely acuminate and the base cuneate. The inflorescences are few flowered axillary racemes. The flowers are greenish-white with

Common name: Creeping apama.

Madhuca Indica Sanskrit Names

Common names: Indian aristolochia or Indian birthwort; ishvara (Sanskrit), adagam (Tamil).

Aristolochic Acid Inflammatory
Fig. 29. Aristolochia indica L.

a 5 cm long pipe-shaped perianth. The andrecium comprises of 6 anthers. The gynecium consists of 6 carpels united to form a compound ovary. The fruits are 6-valved, 3.5cm-5cm long, oblong or globose capsules. The seeds are deltoid-ovate, acute, flat and winged (Fig. 29).

Pharmaceutical interest: The rhizome of Aristolochia indica L. contains aristolochic acid together with other phenanthrene derivatives, N-glycosides and steroids.

Glucocorticoidalproperties: The antiinflammatory property of Aristolochia species is probably on account of a direct interaction of aristolochic acid and derivatives with the enzymes of the inflammatory process. For example, aristolochic acid inhibits in vitro and dose-dependent phospholipid hydrolysis by the human synovial fluid phospholipase A2, snake venom phospholipase A2, porcine pancreatic phospholipase A2 and human platelet phospho-lipase A2 (Vishwanath BS et a/., 1988). An ethanolic extract of rhizomes of Aristolochia indica L. given postcoitally decreases the fertility of rats and hamsters (Che CT et a/., 1984). The concomitance of both anti-inflammatory and post-coital abortive properties brings to mind the property RU486 or mifepristone, a synthetic steroid antagonist of both progesterone and glucocorticoid receptors, which is used (tablets 50 mg or 200 mg) to stop pregnancy (Fig. 30).

Aristolic acid characterized from Aristolochia indica L. is another phenanthrene derivative which has a structure similar to progesterone. This natural product

Uses: In India, the rhizome of Aristolochia indica L. is used to treat impotence, resolve inflammation, induce vomiting, treat malarial fever and to invigorate health. In Burma, the leaves are applied externally to treat skin diseases. In the Philippines, the rhizome is used to counteract insect-poison, combat fever, regulate menses, to invigorate the body, and to assuage intestinal discomfort. In Vietnam, the rhizome is used to treat malaria, dropsy and fever, and to stimulate appetite. A tincture of dried stems and rhizomes of Aristolochia indica L was used in Britain to promote digestion (British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1934).

RU486

COOH

Aristolochic acid

Progesterone

Aristolochic acid

Progesterone

Fig. 30. Note the similitude of chemical structure of RU486, aristolochic acid, and progesterone.

inhibits nidation in mice when given from the first day of pregnancy. Histological observations revealed an impairment of development (decidualization), and a decrease of the uterine weight. Aristolic acid may interfere with the steroidal conditioning of the uterus making it therefore hostile to the ovum implantation (Ganguly T et al., 1986). A methyl ester of aristolic acid is strongly aborti-facient per os (100% at 60 mg/Kg; Pakrashi A et al., 1978) as well as p-coumaric acid (single dose of 50 mg/Kg; Pakrashi A et al., 1979) and a sesquiterpene (Pakrashi A et al., 1977).

RU486

COOH

Fig. 30. Note the similitude of chemical structure of RU486, aristolochic acid, and progesterone.

Times Drugs The Future

Other pharmacological properties: Both ethanol and alkaloidal extracts of Aris-tolochia papillaris inhibit the contraction caused by oxytocin on non-pregnant rat uterus preparation. Moupinamide, coclaurine and isoboldine, 3 isoquino-line alkaloids characterized from an alkaloidal fraction of Aristolochia papillaris relax the smooth muscle of guinea-pig preparation. Propranolol inhibits the effect of coclaurine and isoboldine, suggesting a muscle relaxant property via adrenoreceptors (Lemos VS et al., 1993). An acetylated N-glycoside characterized from Aristolochia contorta inhibits significantly the proliferation of Gram-positive bacteria in vitro. (Lee HS et al., 1992.)

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