Anthocleista procera (PROTA)

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Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
Introduction
List of species


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Anthocleista procera Lepr. ex Bureau


Protologue: Fam. Logan.: 74–77, f. 60–62 (1856).
Family: Loganiaceae (APG: Gentianaceae)

Vernacular names

  • Cabbage tree, candelabrum tree (En).
  • Arbre chou (Fr).
  • Papae um eve (Po).

Origin and geographic distribution

Anthocleista procera occurs from Senegal east to Nigeria.

Uses

Anthocleista procera is widely used throughout its distribution area as a strong purgative and diuretic. A root decoction is commonly taken to treat constipation, to regulate menstruation and as an abortifacient. It is used as a wash or bath, or as a vapour bath to treat leprosy, venereal diseases, oedema and scrotal elephantiasis. A decoction of the bark is used against fever and as a stomachic. A seed or bark decoction is a strong purgative and should be used with caution and only if a strong effect is desired. Pulp of sun-dried bark mixed with palm oil is taken to treat constipation. In Senegal leaf sap is applied to the nostrils to provoke sneezing as a treatment of common cold. A leaf decoction is used as a face wash to treat dizziness.

The leaves are used as wrapping material.

Properties

Anthocleista procera contains the secoiridoid glycoside swertiamarin. Swertiamarin is used in traditional Asian medicine, e.g. in hepatitis medicines. The fruits of Anthocleista procera contain c. 4.7% of the triterpene acid anthocleistin. Bark extracts have been tested for activity on avian malaria, but only the chloroform extract gave a slight response.

Description

Small to medium-sized tree up to 20 m tall; bole up to 50 cm in diameter; twigs without spines. Leaves opposite, simple, sessile; blade oblong-obovate to oblanceolate, 40–45 cm × c. 20 cm, in young plants up to 145 cm × 45 cm, base cuneate, auricled, apex rounded, margin entire or minutely crenate, brittle, leathery or papery. Inflorescence an erect terminal dichasial cyme 30–60 cm long, many-flowered; peduncle and branches pale green, thickened at the nodes. Flowers bisexual, regular; sepals 4, free, orbicular or broadly ovate, 9–10 mm × 7–8 mm; corolla with cylindrical tube 35–55 mm long, lobes c. 9, oblong, 10–15 mm long, obtuse, white; stamens as many as corolla lobes and alternating with them, exserted, filaments fused; ovary superior, obovoid to cylindrical, c. 7 mm × 3.5 mm, 4-celled, stigma obovoid-cylindrical, apically slightly notched. Fruit an ellipsoid berry c. 3 cm × 2 cm, pale green, shining, rounded at the apex, thick-walled, many-seeded. Seeds obliquely ovoid-globular, 1.5–2 mm × 1–1.5 mm, dark brown.

Other botanical information

Anthocleista comprises 14 species and occurs in tropical Africa, including Comoros and Madagascar. The 4 West African species have the same vernacular names and are used by local practitioners for the same medicinal purposes.

Ecology

Anthocleista procera occurs in open, usually swampy localities at low elevations.

Genetic resources

Anthocleista procera occurs in a large area of West Africa and there are no signs that the species is in danger, except for some areas where the population pressure is high. In Senegal Anthocleista procera has almost disappeared from the Dakar area but for 1 relic population. In Mali Anthocleista procera has been listed as a species in need of special attention. Care should be taken to protect the species from overexploitation.

Prospects

In view of the medicinal uses on record, more research into the chemical composition and pharmacological activities of the compounds of Anthocleista procera seems warranted.

Major references

  • Berhaut, J., 1979. Flore illustrée du Sénégal. Dicotylédones. Volume 6. Linacées à Nymphéacées. Gouvernement du Sénégal, Ministère du Développement Rural et de l’Hydraulique, Direction des Eaux et Forêts, Dakar, Senegal. 636 pp.
  • Burkill, H.M., 1995. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 3, Families J–L. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 857 pp.
  • Claude, F. & Claude, A.L., 1947. Survey of plants for anti-malarial activity. Lloydia 10: 145–174.
  • Dalziel, J.M., 1937. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. Crown Agents for Overseas Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. 612 pp.
  • Jensen, S.R. & Schripsema, J., 2002. Chemotaxonomy and pharmacology of Gentianaceae. In: Struwe, L. & Albert, V. (Editors). Gentianaceae - Systematics and Natural History. Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom. pp. 573–631.
  • Leeuwenberg, A.J.M., 1961. The Loganiaceae of Africa. 1. Anthocleista. Acta Botanica Neerlandica 10: 1–53.
  • Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.

Other references

  • Carrière, M., 1994. Plantes de Guinée à l’usage des éleveurs et des vétérinaires. [Internet] Ministère de de la Coopération & CIRAD-EMVT, Maisons Alfort, France. 235 pp. http://perso.orange.fr/ a.i.r.e./ guilex.htm. December 2006.
  • Keay, R.W.J., 1989. Trees of Nigeria. A revised version of Nigerian trees (1960, 1964) by R.W.J. Keay, C.F.A. Onochie and D.P. Stanfield. Clarendon Press, Oxford, United Kingdom. 476 pp.
  • Leeuwenberg, A.J.M. (Editor), 1980. Angiospermae: Ordnung Gentiales. Fam. Loganiaceae. Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien. Second Edition. Band 28 b-1. Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, Germany. 255 pp.
  • Plat, M., Koch, M., Bouquet, A., Le Men, J. & Janot, M.M., 1963. Présence d’un hétéroside générateur de gentianine dans l’Anthocleista procera Leprieux ex Bureau (Loganiacées) : monoterpènoïdes 1. Bulletin de la Société Chimique de France 3917: 1302–1305.

Author(s)

  • A. de Ruijter, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article

de Ruijter, A., 2007. Anthocleista procera Lepr. ex Bureau. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. Accessed 8 February 2019.