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Albertisia delagoensis (N.E.Br.) Forman

Protologue
Kew Bull. 30(1): 83 (1975).
Family
Menispermaceae
Synonyms
Epinetrum delagoense (N.E.Br.) Diels (1910).
Origin and geographic distribution
Albertisia delagoensis occurs in Mozambique and eastern South Africa.
Uses
In Mozambique the root of Albertisia delagoensis is used to treat fever. In South Africa a root extract is taken to treat diarrhoea, vomiting, menstrual pain, chest problems, body pain caused by influenza, back pain and antenatal problems, and it is used as an anthelmintic, appetite stimulant and to improve sexual performance in men. A root and leaf extract is given orally to babies for cleansing the stomach. The ash of burnt roots is applied to heal sores.
Properties
The stems and roots of Albertisia delagoensis contain as major compounds the bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids O-methylcocsoline and cissacapine, and small amounts of cocsoline, cocsuline, cycleanine and 2 unidentified alkaloids. The aporphine alkaloid dicentrine was also isolated as minor component. The leaves contain O-methylcocsoline and cycleanine and small amounts of the other alkaloids. The alkaloid yield of the roots is 1–2.2 mg/g dry weight, of the stems 0.3–0.8 mg/g and of the leaves 1.1–2.7 mg/g. The alkaloid composition varies between plants. The large amounts of alkaloids make the plant bitter, which explains its use as an appetite stimulant. Tested on chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum, methanol extracts of the leaves and roots exhibited antiplasmodial activities of IC50 4.1 μg/ml and 1.6 μg/ml, respectively. Cocsoline showed strong antiplasmodial activity (IC50 = 1 μM) in vitro; cycleanine showed selective antiplasmodial and antiprotozoal activities as well as spasmolytic activity in vitro, and also antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities. Dicentrine exhibited antibacterial and antifungal activities in vitro. In-vitro tests showed a low cytotoxicity against the Graham cell line for leaf extracts.
Botany
Dioecious small shrub or liana; branches greyish hairy. Leaves alternate, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 1–1.5 cm long; blade oblong-elliptical to broadly elliptical, 4–9 cm × 2–5 cm, base cuneate, apex acute, mucronate, leathery, glabrous except on the veins above, short-hairy below, pinnately veined with 2–3 pairs of lateral veins, but also with 3–5 basal veins. Male inflorescence an axillary, 1–3-flowered cyme with short peduncle, female flowers solitary. Flowers unisexual, regular; pedicel 2–3.5 mm long; sepals 6 in 2 whorls, 3 outer sepals narrowly lanceolate or ovate, 1.5–2.5 mm × c. 1 mm, 3 inner sepals 4.5–6 mm × 2.5–3.5 mm; petals 6, kidney-shaped, 0.5–1 mm × 0.5–1 mm; male flowers with c. 20 stamens fused into a staminal column 3–4.5 mm long, anthers fused into a conical head c. 2 mm long; female flowers with superior ovary consisting of 6 silky hairy carpels. Fruit composed of 2–6 sessile drupes, each drupe ellipsoid, c. 2.5 cm × 1.5 cm, short-hairy, orange, 1-seeded. Seed ovoid, curved, c. 1.5 cm × 1 cm.
Albertisia comprises 18 species, 13 in Africa and 5 in tropical Asia.
Ecology
Albertisia delagoensis occurs on well drained littoral sand, in open grassy fields or in open spaces between trees.
Genetic resources and breeding
Although the natural distribution of Albertisia delagoensis is restricted, it does not seem to be in danger of genetic erosion.
Prospects
The low cytotoxicity of the leaf extract coupled to the significant antiplasmodial activity indicates that Albertisia delagoensis has potential as an antimalarial plant.
Major references
• de Wet, H., 2005. An ethnobotanical and chemotaxonomic study of South African Menispermaceae. PhD Thesis, Faculty of Science, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa. 450 pp.
• de Wet, H., van Heerden, F.R., van Wyk, B.E. & van Zyl, R.L., 2007. Antiplasmodial activity and cytotoxicity of Albertisia delagoensis. Fitoterapia 78(6): 420–422.
• Troupin, G., 1962. Monographie des Menispermaceae africaines. Mémoires in-8. Académie Royale des Sciences d’Outre-Mer, Classe des Sciences Naturelles et Médicales, Nouvelle série 8(2), Brussels, Belgium. 313 pp.
Other references
• Jansen, P.C.M. & Mendes, O., 1983. Plantas medicinais, seu uso tradicional em Moçambique. Volume 1. Gabinete de Estudos de Medicina Tradicional, Ministério da Saúde, Maputo, Moçambique. 216 pp.
• Marshall, S.J., Russell, P.F., Wright, C.W., Anderson, M.M., Phillipson, J.D., Kirby, G.C., Warhurst, D.C. & Schiff, P.L., 1994. In vitro antiplasmodial, antiamoebic, and cytotoxic activities of a series of bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 38: 96–103.
• Rondanelli, R., Guaglio, R., Guarnone, E., Brè, E., Olliaro, P. & Benzi Cipelli, R., 1986. Cytotoxic activity of some alkaloids from Epinetrum delagoense Diels: electron microscopy studies. II. Farmaco 41(6): 190–196.
• Rondanelli, R., Guaglio, R., Sartirana, E., Zizzi, E., Olliaro, P. & Benzi Cipelli, R., 1986. Evaluation of the cytotoxic activity of some alkaloids from Epinetrum delagoense Diels. I. Farmaco 41(6): 185–189.
• Schiff, P.L., 1987. Bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids. Journal of Natural Products 50: 529–599.
• Schiff, P.L., 1991. Bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids. Journal of Natural Products 54: 645–749.
Author(s)
A. de Ruijter
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands


Editors
G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
A. Gurib-Fakim
Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius, Réduit, Mauritius
Associate editors
C.H. Bosch
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
M.S.J. Simmonds
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB, United Kingdom
R. Arroo
Leicester School of Pharmacy, Natural Products Research, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH, United Kingdom
A. de Ruijter
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
General editors
R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
L.P.A. Oyen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article:
de Ruijter, A., 2008. Albertisia delagoensis (N.E.Br.) Forman. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.