Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1
Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 28: 398 (1900).
Caesalpiniaceae (Leguminosae - Caesalpinioideae)
Origin and geographic distribution
Bauhinia kalantha is endemic to Tanzania where it is restricted to the Dodoma, Morogoro and Iringa Regions.
In the area around Dodoma (Tanzania), the sliced roots of Bauhinia kalantha are boiled together with chicken and eaten as a treatment for schistosomiasis. Young, tender leaves are cooked alone or with other leaves as a vegetable. Bauhinia kalantha produces good firewood and a dye used in basketry. Ropes are made from the bark fibre.
Active compounds have not been reported for Bauhinia kalantha, but other Bauhinia species are known to contain glucosides of flavones and flavonols.
Shrub up to 3 m tall, glabrous except stamens and ovary. Leaves alternate, simple; blade 1–4.5 cm × 1.5–4 cm, deeply 2-lobed to one-fifth from base, lobes rounded at the apex. Flowers solitary, bisexual, almost regular, 5-merous; hypanthium 3–4 mm long; sepals narrowly ovate to lanceolate, 13–17 mm long; petals obovate, 2.5–3.5 cm × 1–2 cm, yellow; stamens 10, all fertile, hairy; ovary superior, hairy, stigma c. 3 mm in diameter. Fruit an oblong pod c. 1.5 cm wide, woody, dehiscent, few-seeded. Seeds 7–8 mm × 6–7 mm, deep brown.
Bauhinia is a widespread tropical genus with about 250 species. Bauhinia urbaniana Schinz is also used in traditional medicine. It is restricted to Zambia, Angola, Namibia and Botswana on Kalahari sands in woodland at around 1000 m altitude. In Namibia the cut fresh roots are cooked in water and the decoction is taken as a strengthening tonic for adults in case of any serious sickness. The dried, powdered roots are mixed with vaseline and babies are rubbed with the mixture as a protection against sickness.
Bauhinia kalantha occurs in deciduous woodland and thickets, often on stony soils, at 600–1000 m altitude.
For all uses, plant material is only collected from the wild. The edible leaves are collected from November till April.
Genetic resources and breeding
Although it has a limited distribution, Bauhinia kalantha apparently is common in its range.
The chemical and pharmacological properties of Bauhinia kalantha have not been analysed and it is therefore impossible to judge its value as a medicinal plant and vegetable.
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Correct citation of this article:
Bosch, C.H., 2008. Bauhinia kalantha Harms. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.