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Anthocleista schweinfurthii Gilg

Protologue
Engl., Bot. Jahrb. 17: 579 (1893).
Family
Loganiaceae (APG: Gentianaceae)
Vernacular names
Mkungu maji, mtambuu mwitu (Sw).
Origin and geographic distribution
Anthocleista schweinfurthii occurs from Nigeria east to Ethiopia and south to Tanzania, Zambia and Angola.
Uses
In Gabon the Bapunu people use Anthocleista schweinfurthii as a galactogenic. In Congo a stem bark decoction of Anthocleista schweinfurthii is taken to treat hernia and female sterility. A root decoction is taken to treat stomach-ache in women, ovarian problems, venereal diseases, hernia, bronchitis and fever, and also as a purgative and to induce labour. In Tanzania a root decoction is taken to treat malaria, hard abscesses and as an anthelminthic.
Sap of young leaves, root powder or bark pulp is used to treat sores, abscesses, as a haemostatic and for cicatrization. Sap is applied topically to treat otitis and ophthalmia. In Central Africa a decoction of leaves and roots is used as an enema to treat pain in the side. A bath is taken in a leaf decoction to treat vaginal prolapse. A decoction of twig bark and leaves or the sap is taken to treat fever, or used as an enema.
In the Central African Republic Anthocleista schweinfurthii is used to prepare arrow poison.
The wood is very soft and is used in Tanzania for firewood. The tree is planted for amenity purposes and shade in Tanzania. In Cameroon pole-cuttings are used to establish hedges or living fences.
Properties
Anthocleista schweinfurthii contains the secoiridoid glycoside swertiamarin. The bark contains traces of alkaloids and the roots contain up to 3% alkaloids. The leaves, bark and roots contain steroids and terpenes.
Botany
Medium-sized tree up to 30 m tall; bole up to 70 cm in diameter; twigs often with small broadly conical cushions. Leaves opposite, simple and entire; petiole up to 10 cm long, auricled; blade oblong-obovate to oblanceolate, 7–45 cm × 3.5–18 cm, in young plants up to 100 cm × 30 cm, base cuneate, apex rounded, sometimes acute, margin revolute, papery to leathery. Inflorescence an erect terminal dichasial cyme 12–30 cm long, many-flowered; peduncle and branches thickened at the nodes. Flowers bisexual, regular; sepals 4, free, orbicular, 8–13 mm long; corolla with cylindrical tube 25–37 mm long, contracted at base when young, lobes 10–11, lanceolate, 21–28 mm long, reflexed, obtuse, greenish white to creamy; stamens as many as corolla lobes and alternating with them, exserted, filaments fused; ovary superior, ovoid, 5–7 mm × 3–4 mm, 4-celled, stigma obovoid-cylindrical, notched at apex. Fruit a globose to ellipsoid berry 2.5–4.5 cm × 2–3 cm, rounded or apiculate at apex, smooth, thick-walled, green or yellow, many-seeded. Seeds obliquely ovoid-globose, c. 2 mm × 1.5 mm, brown.
Anthocleista comprises 14 species and occurs in tropical Africa, including Comoros and Madagascar.
Ecology
Anthocleista schweinfurthii occurs in secondary forest, gallery forest, in thickets and sometimes in savanna or rainforest, usually not in moist localities, at 400–1800 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Anthocleista schweinfurthii is widespread and not under pressure from genetic erosion. It is common in Central and southern Africa, but rare in Nigeria.
Prospects
In view of the medicinal uses on record, the limited chemical and pharmacological data available and the many uses of other Anthocleista species, research into the properties of Anthocleista schweinfurthii may prove worthwhile.
Major references
• 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.
• Leeuwenberg, A.J.M., 1961. The Loganiaceae of Africa. 1. Anthocleista. Acta Botanica Neerlandica 10: 1–53.
• 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.
• Leeuwenberg, A.J.M., 1983. Loganiaceae. In: Launert, E. (Editor). Flora Zambesiaca. Volume 7, part 1. Flora Zambesiaca Managing Committee, London, United Kingdom. pp. 327–374.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
Other references
• Bouquet, A., 1969. Féticheurs et médecines traditionnelles du Congo (Brazzaville). Mémoires ORSTOM No 36. Office de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique Outre-Mer. Paris, France. 282 pp.
• Bouquet, A., 1972. Plantes médicinales du Congo-Brazzaville: Uvariopsis, Pauridiantha, Diospyros. Travaux et Documents de l’ORSTOM, No 13. Office de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique Outre-Mer. Paris, France. 113 pp.
• Bourobou Bourobou, H., Mounzeo, H., Mbatchi, B. & Posso, P., 1996. Quelques plantes galactogènes utilisées par les Bapunu au Gabon. Revue de Médecines et Pharmacopées africaines 10(1): 71–78.
• Gautier, D., 1995. The pole-cutting practice in the Bamileke country (western Cameroon). Agroforestry Systems 31: 21–37.
• Haerdi, F., 1964. Die Eingeborenen-Heilpflanzen des Ulanga-Distriktes Tanganjikas (Ostafrika). In: Haerdi, F., Kerharo, J. & Adam, J.G. (Editors). Afrikanische Heilpflanzen / Plantes médicinales africaines. Acta Tropica Supplementum 8: 1–278.
• 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.
• Latham, P., 2004. Useful plants of Bas-Congo province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. DFID, London, United Kingdom. 320 pp.
• Moundipa, P.F., Melanie Flore, K.G., Bilong Bilong, C.F. & Bruchhaus, I., 2005. In vitro amoebicidal activity of some medicinal plants of the Bamun region (Cameroon). African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines 2(2): 113–121.
• Nkounkou-Loumpangou, C., Binimbi-Massengo, A., Nzonzi, J., Ouamba, J.M., Abena, A.A. & Diatewa, M., 2005. Inventaire des plantes médicinales utilisées dans le traitement de l’infertilité féminine à Brazzaville. Phytothérapie 6: 252–259.
• Tchouto, M.G.P., 2004. Plant diversity in a Central African rain forest: implications for biodiversity conservation in Cameroon. Tropenbos Cameroon Series 7, Tropenbos International, Wageningen, Netherlands. 208 pp.
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., 2007. Anthocleista schweinfurthii Gilg. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.