Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1
Fl. cap. 1: 11 (1860).
Cissampelos angustifolius Burch. (1822).
Origin and geographic distribution
Antizoma angustifolia occurs in Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and northern South Africa.
A root infusion is drunk as an emetic and purgative, to purify the blood in the treatment of boils, and also to treat stomach-ache, stomach ulcers, colic, diarrhoea and dysentery, kidney stones, liver, gallbladder and bladder complaints, general pain and cough. Women drink a root decoction during pregnancy to keep the foetus mobile and to facilitate childbirth as well as the expulsion of the afterbirth. A decoction from the leaves or roots is drunk or leaves and roots are chewed to treat digestive problems, against general malaise and AIDS.
Antizoma angustifolia contains large amounts of alkaloids, in the leaves 4.7–10.5 mg/g dry weight. The diversity of alkaloids present is remarkable. The leaves contain the proaporphines crotsparine, pronuciferine and traces of glaziovine and the bisbenzyl-isoquinoline dioxines cissacapine and insularine. The stem contains crotsparine and glaziovine. The root contains crotsparine, glaziovine, pronuciferine, the aporphine bulbocapnine and the morphinane salutaridine. Traces of other alkaloids were also found, but could not be identified. Crotsparine seems to be the main alkaloid in the leaves, accounting for 72% of the total alkaloids. Populations from different provenances vary considerably in their alkaloid content; salutaridine was found in only one sample plant from Pretoria (South Africa).
Dioecious evergreen shrub up to 3 m tall, sometimes with long, rambling branches; young stems longitudinally striped, glabrous to densely hairy. Leaves alternate, simple and entire, grey-green; stipules absent; petiole up to 5 mm long, glabrous or hairy, with a dorsal spine on the stem just below the insertion; blade oblong to obovate, up to 8 cm × 2 cm, base obtuse to truncate, apex rounded to slightly notched, with mucro, leathery, hairy, palmately veined in broader leaves, pinnately in narrow leaves. Male inflorescence a condensed axillary fascicle, sometimes strongly branched; female inflorescence a few-flowered axillary fascicle on short side-branches or flowers solitary. Flowers small; pedicel up to 2.5 mm long, with joint at base; male flowers with (3–)4(–5) fused sepals, broadly obovate to spatulate, 1–2.5 mm × 0.5–2 mm, pale green or pale brown, glabrous or slightly short-hairy outside, petals 4, fused into a cup or saucer 0.5–2 mm in diameter, stamens (2–)4–5(–7), fused into a column 0.5–1 mm long; female flowers with 2(–4) sepals, rhomboid to obovate, 1–2 mm × 1–1.5 mm, slightly hairy outside, petals 2(–4), broadly oblanceolate to broadly obovate, 0.5–1.5 mm long, staminodes sometimes present, ovary superior, c. 1 mm long, glabrous or hairy, transversely grooved, style short, stigma lobed. Fruit an ovoid drupe; stone horseshoe-shaped, 1-seeded. Seed horseshoe-shaped, cotyledons appressed.
Antizoma angustifolia flowers from October to April. It is frost tender.
Antizoma is closely related to Cissampelos and comprises 3 species, which all occur in southern Africa. Antizoma angolensis Exell & Mendonça is endemic to Angola. Antizoma miersiana Harv. is endemic to southern Namibia and western South Africa; a root decoction is drunk to treat stomach ulcers. Antizoma miersiana is similar to Antizoma angustifolia in its rich diversity of isoquinoline alkaloids.
Antizoma angustifolia occurs in dry bushland, usually associated with Acacia species, at 750–1700 m altitude.
Antizoma angustifolia is only collected from the wild.
Genetic resources and breeding
Antizoma angustifolia is fairly widely distributed and does not seem to be in danger of genetic erosion.
The diversity of traditional uses and of the alkaloids present in Antizoma angustifolia warrants further pharmacological research.
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• de Wet, H., van Heerden, F.R. & van Wyk, B.E., 2005. Alkaloids of Antizoma miersiana (Menispermaceae). Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 33(8): 799–807.
• Leistner, O.A., 2000. Seed plants of southern Africa: families and genera. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria, South Africa. 775 pp.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• SEPASAL, 2008. Antizoma angustifolia. [Internet] Survey of Economic Plants for Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (SEPASAL) database. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. http://www.kew.org/ ceb/sepasal/. Accessed February 2008.
Correct citation of this article:
Oyen, L.P.A., 2008. Antizoma angustifolia (Burch.) Miers ex Harv. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.