Coldenia procumbens (PROTA)

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Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
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Coldenia procumbens L.


Protologue: Sp. pl. 1: 125 (1753).
Family: Boraginaceae

Origin and geographic distribution

Coldenia procumbens is found throughout Africa including Cape Verde and Madagascar. It is also widespread in tropical Asia and Australia.

Uses

In Sudan fresh leaves of Coldenia procumbens are pulped and applied to rheumatic swellings. Similar use is reported from India. The dried plant, mixed with an equal amount of fenugreek seed (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.), is powdered and applied to mature abscesses in Sudan. Fresh leaves are put as a poultice on mature abscesses in the Philippines.

Production and international trade

Coldenia procumbens is offered for sale on the international market from India but quantities involved are unknown and are probably modest.

Properties

Pharmacological screening of an ethanolic extract of whole Coldenia procumbens plants showed depression of the central nervous system in mice and prolongation of the pentobarbital-induced sleeping time in rats. Extracts exhibited some analgesic effects but had no anticonvulsant effects, did not alter the body temperature and did not abolish conditioned avoidance responses. The mechanism of the analgesic activity may possibly involve opioid receptors and enhancement of the pain threshold. Acetone, ethanol and water extracts of dried aerial parts have shown weak angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition in vitro.

Description

Annual, prostrate herb with compressed, ascendingly branched stems up to 50 cm long, greyish hairy. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules absent; petiole up to 0.5 cm long; blade asymmetric, oblong or obovate, 0.5–3 cm × 0.5–1.5 cm, margin crenate, veins in 4–6 pairs, impressed above, prominent below. Flowers solitary, extra-axillary, bisexual, 4-merous, almost sessile, small; calyx c. 1.5 mm long, slightly accrescent in fruit; corolla up to 2 mm long, with cylindrical tube and small lobes, white; stamens inserted at about the middle of the corolla tube, included; ovary superior, style bifid nearly to the base. Fruit initially splitting into 2 halves, later each half into 2 one-seeded nutlets with a distinct beak.

Other botanical information

Coldenia comprises a single species. Several American species previously included have been transferred to the genus Tiquilia.

Ecology

Coldenia procumbens is found in seasonally wet or flooded locations such as muddy river banks and lake shores, black cotton soil, rice fields and depressions. In tropical Africa it is found at altitudes up to 750 m. The wall of the nutlet is partly thick and corky, which enables dispersal by water.

Genetic resources

As Coldenia procumbens is common, widespread and adapted to anthropogenic habitats, it is locally considered a weed and not subject to genetic erosion.

Prospects

Although information on the pharmacological properties of Coldenia procumbens is limited, the obvious analgesic effects justify further research.

Major references

  • Aguilar, N.O., 2003. Coldenia procumbens L. In: Lemmens, R.H.M.J. & Bunyapraphatsara, N. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(3). Medicinal and poisonous plants 3. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. pp. 129–130.
  • Burkill, H.M., 1985. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 1, Families A–D. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 960 pp.
  • Naga Rani, M.A., Vijayasekarani, V. & Kameswaran, L., 1991. Central nervous system effects of Coldenia procumbens. Indian Journal of Pharmacology 23(4): 261–263.
  • Verdcourt, B., 1991. Boraginaceae. In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 125 pp.

Other references

  • Broun, A.F. & Massey, R.E., 1929. Flora of the Sudan. Thomas Murby, London, United Kingdom. 502 pp.
  • Martins, E.S. & Brummitt, R.K., 1990. Boraginaceae. In: Launert, E. & Pope, G.V. (Editors). Flora Zambesiaca. Volume 7, part 4. Flora Zambesiaca Managing Committee, London, United Kingdom. pp. 59–110.
  • Senthamarai, R., Kavimani, S., Jaykar, B. & Uvarani, M., 2001. Analgesic effects of Coldenia procumbens Linn. Hamdard Medicus 44(3): 20–23.
  • Somanadhan, B., Varughese, G., Palpu, P., Sreedharan, R, Gudiksen, L., Wagner-Smitt, U. & Nyman, U., 1999. An ethnopharmacological survey for potential angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors from Indian medicinal plants. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 65: 103–112.

Sources of illustration

  • Aguilar, N.O., 2003. Coldenia procumbens L. In: Lemmens, R.H.M.J. & Bunyapraphatsara, N. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(3). Medicinal and poisonous plants 3. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. pp. 129–130.

Author(s)

  • C.H. Bosch, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article

Bosch, C.H., 2006. Coldenia procumbens L. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. Accessed 20 November 2020.