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Chrozophora brocchiana (Vis.) Schweinf.

Protologue
Pl. quaed. nilot.: 9 (1862).
Family
Euphorbiaceae
Origin and geographic distribution
Chrozophora brocchiana occurs from Cape Verde and Mauritania throughout the Sahel region east to Sudan, and is also found in Algeria and Egypt.
Uses
In the Hoggar region of Mali and Niger, the plant ash is applied to sores of humans and camels. In Niger the Hausa people rub crushed leaves on the affected sites to treat stitch in the side. The aerial parts are taken in decoction to strengthen lactating mothers and their children, and to treat fever and dysentery. In Benin powdered dried leaves in water are taken to treat diarrhoea. Root sap in water is used as ear drops to treat otitis.
In Senegal the plant is not browsed by most stock, except occasionally by sheep and goats, as it causes vomiting and diarrhoea. In Niger though, it is sought after by goats and at certain times of the year also by cattle. It is not suitable for making hay or silage. In central Sudan a sweet, non-drying oil is pressed from the seeds.
Properties
Analysis of the chemical content of the aerial parts revealed an unusually high silica content. The aqueous methanol extract of the aerial parts contains brocchiana carboxylic acid, an analogue of brevifolin carboxylic acid, as well as gallic acid, methyl gallate, ethyl gallate, ellagic acid, mono- and di-methoxy ellagic acid, apigenin and luteolin 7-O-glucoside.
The analysis of the fatty acid composition of the seed oil showed linoleic acid as the major component, followed by palmitic, oleic and stearic acids.
Botany
Monoecious, shrubby herb up to 60(–150) cm tall; taproot stout and very long; stem ascending, knotty, much-branched from the base, white-velvety hairy with stellate hairs. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules small; petiole long; blade angular-ovate to triangular-ovate, 2.5–4 cm × 1.5–3 cm, base deeply cordate with 2 glands, apex rounded, margins undulate, upper surface sparsely hairy, lower surface velvety hairy, 3-veined at base. Inflorescence a condensed axillary raceme, with male flowers at the top and female flowers at the base; bracts small. Flowers unisexual, regular, 5-merous; calyx velvety hairy, petals deep red; male flowers with short pedicel, stamens up to 10, filaments fused into a column; female flowers with pedicel elongating in fruit to 6 mm long, petals smaller than in male flowers, ovary superior, 3-celled, styles 3, fused at base, 2-fid at apex. Fruit a 3-lobed capsule c. 1 cm long, densely covered with white or violet-tinged, shiny stalked scales, 3-seeded. Seeds ovoid, smooth, yellowish brown, covered by a thin, pale, shiny aril.
Chrozophora comprises 7–8 species and is distributed in Africa, southern Europe and Asia.
Ecology
Chrozophora brocchiana grows on sandy soils in dry regions. It resprouts throughout the dry season.
Genetic resources and breeding
Chrozophora brocchiana is common in its distribution area and not in danger of genetic erosion.
Prospects
Chrozophora brocchiana has several interesting medicinal uses, e.g. against diarrhoea, but no pharmacological studies have been effected to elucidate effects of the isolated compounds. The plant is important as a fodder of cattle in some times of the year although there is contradiction concerning the toxicity of the aerial parts. It would therefore be interesting to investigate Chrozophora brocchiana phytochemically.
Major references
• Burkill, H.M., 1994. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 2, Families E–I. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 636 pp.
• Hawas, U.W., 2006. Brocchiana carboxylic acid; the analogue of brevifolin carboxylic acid, isolation and identification from Chrozophora brocchiana. Planta Medica 72(11). Poster 013.
• Keay, R.W.J., 1958. Euphorbiaceae. In: Keay, R.W.J. (Editor). Flora of West Tropical Africa. Volume 1, part 2. 2nd Edition. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. pp. 364–423.
• Mirghani, M.E.S., Hussein, I.H., Dagne, E. & Bekele, T., 1996. A comparative study of seed oils of Chrozophora brochiana and Guizotia abyssinica. Bulletin of the Chemical Society of Ethiopia 10(2): 161–164.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 1996. African ethnobotany: poisons and drugs. Chapman & Hall, London, United Kingdom. 941 pp.
Other references
• Adam, J.G., Echard, N. & Lescot, M., 1972. Plantes médicinales Hausa de l’Ader. Journal d’Agriculture Tropicale et de Botanique Appliquée 19(8–9): 259–399.
• Adjanohoun, E.J., Ahyi, M.R.A., Aké Assi, L., Dan Dicko, L., Daouda, H., Delmas, M., de Souza, S., Garba, M., Guinko, S., Kayonga, A., N'Golo, D., Raynal, J. & Saadou, M., 1985. Médecine traditionnelle et pharmacopée - Contribution aux études ethnobotaniques et floristiques au Niger. Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, Paris, France. 250 pp.
• Bartha, R., 1970. Fodder plants in the Sahel zone of Africa. Weltforum Verlag, München, Germany. 306 pp.
• Prain, D., 1918. The genus Chrozophora. Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information Kew 1918(2–3): 49–120.
Author(s)
G.H. Schmelzer
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
Photo editor
A. de Ruijter
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article:
Schmelzer, G.H., 2007. Chrozophora brocchiana (Vis.) Schweinf. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
plant habit
obtained from
Sahara Nature


flowering stems
obtained from
Sahara Nature


inflorescence
obtained from
Sahara Nature


infructescence
obtained from
Sahara Nature