Roka tree

L An extract or decoction of the root is used in West African local medicine as a purge and emetic, and the pounded bark and seeds are applied in the form of an ointment in parasitic skin diseases (ringworm, etc.). In Senegal, T. roka has also been reported to be used in skin diseases and to act as a tonic, to stimulate bronchial secretion and to have an antiepileptic effect, whilst the related T. prieuriana A. Juss. is considered in Senegal to have antipyretic, purgative and anti-arthritic actions (Kerharo and Adam, 1974). Also in India Trichilia spp. are used for skin diseases (Chopra et al., 1956).

C In the root bark of T. roka, a bitter principle related to calicedrin has been found (Paris and Moyse-Mignon, 1939) as well as resin and a tannin. In the Nigerian species of T. prieuriana, a meliacine called prieurianine was isolated by Bevan et al. (1965). The seeds of Trichilia spp. yield 49-60% of fat which is used in candle-making. It consists of palmitic, linoleic and oleic acids (Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk, 1962). The analysis of the bark of T. heudelotti has revealed an orange bitter principle, sterols and 10.2% of pyrocatechuic acid (Planche, 1949).

P The seeds are purgative and emetic and the toxicity of the seed-cake for cattle has been repeatedly reported (Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk, 1962).

Crossopteryx febrifuga (Afzel. ex Don) Benth. syn. (Rondeletia febrifuga Afzel. ex Don, C. kotchyana Fenzl, R. africans Winterb.) RUBIACEAE

L In local medicine the roots and bark are used in the treatment of fever, and a decoction of the roots is used in the treatment of coughs and gastrointestinal complaints (Dalziel, 1937). In Zambia the extracts have been used in trials by ordeal (Marwick, 1963).

C A glycoside and an alkaloid have been isolated from the bark. The glycoside has been identified as /3-quinovin and the alkaloid has been called crossoptine (Blaise, 1932). Raymond-Hamet (1940) considered that the characteristics of the alkaloid described by Blaise are those of mitrinermine, later identified with rhynchophylline. The presence of an alkaloid in the Nigerian species has been confirmed by Persinos et al. (1964). A phytosterol and a phlobaphene have also been found in the bark (Caiment-Leblond, 1957).

P The alkaloid isolated by Blaise shows no toxicity upon ingestion in the dog at doses up to 14 mg/kg; it has a slight hypotensive effect and produces vasoconstriction in the kidneys. It does not appear to modify the hypertensive action of adrenaline and seems pharmacodynamically different from quinine and yohimbine (Blaise, 1932). A survey for supposed antimalarial activity gave negative results (Spencer et al., 1947b).

Pauilinia pinnata L. (Fig. 4.8) SAPINDACEAE

A flavotannin extracted from the leaves of this plant also has a cardiotonic effect (see Chapter 2, CV).

C The root bark of P. pinnata collected in Brazil is said to contain a bitter principle, timboin, and an oily substance, timbol, which act as a violent nerve poison producing paralysis preceded by convulsions (Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk, 1962). An alkaloid, ichthyonine, a resin and a pigment have also been reported, but the botanical identity of the plant appears uncertain (Kerharo et al., 1960, 1961, 1962).

P A saponoside with a triterpenic aglycone, present in the leaves and twigs of the plant in West Africa, could account for its toxicity (Boiteau et al., 1964) (the plant had caused a number of deaths when it had been used as an abortifacient). Kerharo et al. (1960,1961,1962) think that the saponin is probably also the responsible constituent for the toxicity of Paullinia towards protozoa (Paramecia were killed in 1 h by a concentration of 1:500).

For a more comprehensive list of plants with antiprotozoal action, see Table 4.4.

Fig. 4.8. Paulliniapinnata L.

Fig. 4.8. Paulliniapinnata L.

Table 4.4. Antiprotozoal plants


Part used

Active constituents)

Acts on/action


Acacia nilotica Albizia lebbeck

Ale hornea cor difolia

Alstonia boonei Argemone mexicana

Bixa orellana Brucea antidysenterica,

B.guineensis Carica papaya

Chasmanthera dependens

Cinchona spp. Euphorbia hirta

Khaya senegalensis

Mitragyna inermis,

M. stipulosa Newbouldia laevis

Nymphéa lotus Paullinia pinna ta

Pauridiantha lyalli (not in West Africa)

Phyllanthus niruri L.

Tiliacora funifera Trichilia roka

Urginea indica

Leaves Pods


Tryptamine, tetrahydroharmane Saponins (genins are triterpenoids, echinocystic acid, etc.)

Alchornine (alkaloid)

Bark Echitamine, plumeried?

Leaves, stems Berberine

Seed-coat Wax-like substance

Bruceolides (bruceantin, bruceantinol, dehydrobruceins) Leaves Carpaine (alkaloid)

Root Berberine

Bark Quinine

Plant Euphorbon (triterpene)

Bark Meliacin

Rootbark Rhynchophylline

Bark Harmane derivatives, harmine, harmol

Rhizomes Nymphaeine

Bark leaves Triterpenic saponins

Bark Harmane derivatives, harmine, harmol

Plant Flavonoids

Leaves Funiferine

Rootbark Meliacins, catechuic tannins

Bulb Scillarenin

Entamoeba hystolytica Antiprotozoal


Filariasis (Calabar swellings) Leishmania tropica, Trypanosoma lewisi and antibacterial Paralyses intestinal parasites Plasmodium bergki, also antifungal Strongly amoebicidal, also inhibits Mycob. tuberculosis

Leishmania tropica, trypanocidal

Plasmodium, anti-amoebic Anti-amoebic

Paramecia (Balantidium coli) Antiprotozoal

Protozoicidal and anthelmintic

Mycob. tuberculosis, Mycob smegmatis Paramecia (in vitro)


Entamoeba histolytica, also anthelmintic and antibacterial Antimalarial Antimalarial

Antiprotozoal, inhibits rhinovirus

Bhakuniefa/. (1969) Dhar etal. (1968) Kaleyra(1975)

Tripathi and Dasgupta (1974)


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