Trianthema portulacastrum L

[From Greek, treis = three and anthemon = flower and from Latin, portulacastrum = portulaca-like]

Common name: Horse-purslane.

Physical description: It is a tropical herb which grows to a height of 1 m. The stems are glabrous and fleshy. Leaves: simple, opposite, without stipules and 3 cm-7 cm x 1.5cm-4.5cm. The petiole is 8mm-2cm long, sheathing at the base and channeled. The blade is 2 cm-4.4 cm x 1.5 cm-4.5 cm, orbicular and succulent. The apex is round or notched. The base is tapered and asymmetrical. The midrib is showy and flattened on both sides of the blade which shows 45 pairs of secondary nerves. The tertiary nerves form characteristic spiral patterns (Fig. 57).

Fig. 57. Trianthema portulacastrum L.

"OH Trianthenol 1

"OH Trianthenol 1

Pharmaceutical interest:

Hepatoprotective properties: Daily oral feeding with an ethanolic extract of this plant (150mg/Kg) protects hep-atocytes against carbon tetrachloride poisoning (Sarkar A. et al., 1999). A chloroformic extract of Trianthema portulacastrum L. protects male Sprague-Dawley rats against L-diethylnitroso-amine-induced and ph-enobarbital-promoted hepatocarcino-genesis (Battacharya S et al., 1999). These effects could be mediated by trianthenol 1, a carotenoid which was first isolated as antifungal principle (Nawar HR etal., 2001).

Other properties: This plant contains an alkaloid with similar properties to punarvanine from Boerhaavia diffusa (Family Nyctaginaceae; Basu et al., 1947). The diuretic, uterotonic and abortive properties of this plant have not yet been substantiated experimentally.

Uses: The fresh or dried plant of the white variety of Trianthema portulacastrum L. (Trianthema, Indian Pharmacopoeia, 1967) is used in India to promote urination, in the form of a liquid extract (2 in 1, dose 2mL to 8 mL). A decoction of the roots causes mild contraction of the uterus, but in large doses it is abortive. In the Philippines, a decoction of the roots is drunk to promote menses and to abort a pregnancy.

Continue reading here: Family Cactaceae A L de Jussieu 1789 nom conserv the Cactus Family

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