Thevetia peruviana Pers K Schum

[After Andre Thevet, a 16th century French monk and plant collector; and from Latin, peruviana = from Peru]

Synonymy: Thevetia neriifolia Juss., Thevetia peruviana K. Schum.

Common names: Bastard oleander, exile oleander, yellow oleander; guinnyeh (Malay); noix de serpent (French); hpayoungban, molamiyapan (Burmese).

Fig.277. Thevetia peruviana (Pers.) K.Schum.

Physical description: It is a tree which grows to height of 6 m.The plant is native to South America. The bark is light grey and the wood, white and soft. The stems exude an abundant milky latex upon incision. Leaves: simple, few, without stipules, and spirally-arranged. The petiole is indistinct. The blade is linear, 7 cm-13 cm x 5 mm-1 cm, and glossy. The flowers are showy, 5 cm long and arranged in a few flowered and terminal cymes. The calyx is 5 mm-6 mm long, 5-lobed and persists in fruit. The corolla is golden-yellow, funnel-shaped, 6 cm long, and 5-lobed. The lobes are contorted and overlapping to the left in buds. The throat shows 5 scales arching over the 5 stamens which are inserted at the base of the corolla. A nectary disc is present. The ovary is superior and consists of a pair of free carpels united by their styles. The stigma is broad and angular. The fruits are green, glossy, broadly obovate, 4cm in diameter, and contain a corky endocarp itself, of up to 4 seeds (Fig. 277).

Pharmaceutical interest: The seeds of Thevetia peruviana (Pers.) K. Schum.



Uses: Thevetia peruviana (Pers.) K. Schum is poisonous and principally used to induce vomiting and to relieve the bowels of costiveness. In India, this plant is bitter, pungent, acrid and astringent to the bowel. It is used to treat urethral discharge, expel intestinal worms, treat skin diseases, heal wounds and piles, assuage eyes discomfort and soothe inflamed parts of the body. The plant is used to combat fever in Burma, the Philippines and in the Palau.

are known to abound with cardiac glycosides of the cardenolide type: theve-tosides and gentiobiosyl-thevetosides of digitoxigenin (thevetin B).Thevetin is digitalis-like in action, and is effective 4 to 6 hours after being taken per os. It has been used in continental Europe and is considered particularly useful for treating mild myocardial insufficiency, as well as digitalis-intolerance. Slow injection of peruvosides which are related to thevetin (600 ^g to 900 ^g) into the pulmonary artery in patients with congestive heart failures, results in an immediate and marked positive inotropic and negative chronotropic effect. It is effective in patients with congestive heart failures who received 2.4 mg followed by an average maintenance dose of 600 ^g (Bhatia ML et al., 1970).

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