Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1
Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 18(3): 101 (1916).
2n = 40
Boerhavia plumbaginea Cav. (1793).
Origin and geographic distribution
Commicarpus plumbagineus is widespread from southern Spain throughout Africa to South Africa and Madagascar, extending in the east to Palestine, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
The roots and leaves of Commicarpus plumbagineus are expectorant and in large doses emetic, and are widely used to treat asthma. In West Africa the leaves are boiled and made into poultices for application to ulcers and Guinea worm sores. In Ghana the crushed roots are applied to treat yaws, whereas in Nigeria a poultice from the roots is used by Hausa people to treat leprosy. In Ethiopia a decoction of the leaves is taken to treat jaundice. A leaf decoction and the ash of burned stems are applied to wounds. In Ethiopia and Kenya ground leaves are applied to burns. In Kenya crushed leaves are rubbed on swollen glands. In Madagascar a decoction of the whole plant is used as laxative. In Ethiopia Commicarpus plumbagineus is used in veterinary medicine to treat skin diseases of cattle. In Kenya an infusion of the whole plant is used as an insecticide, e.g. against lice in humans and against other insects on camels. In DR Congo a decoction of the leaves is given as a laxative to cattle.
In northern Nigeria Commicarpus plumbagineus is sometimes grazed by livestock. In Kenya the plant is used as forage for all livestock, but is said to make the milk taste bitter.
Shrub, with stem base and roots woody; stem procumbent or scandent up to 4(–10) m long, much branched, glabrous or hairy. Leaves opposite, simple; stipules absent; petiole up to 4 cm long; blade ovate, 1.5–12 cm × 0.5–8 cm, base cordate, truncate or rounded, apex acute, apiculate, margins entire or wavy, slightly fleshy. Inflorescence an axillary or terminal irregular umbel, laxly flowered; bracts 1.5–4 mm long, linear-lanceolate, hairy. Flowers bisexual, regular; pedicel 1–5 mm long; perianth trumpet-shaped, 8–15 mm long, distinctly constricted above ovary, lower part surrounding the ovary with viscid glands, especially around the apex, glabrous to shortly hairy, upper part 7–12 mm long, 5–9 mm wide, lobes spreading, white, densely shortly hairy to glabrescent; stamens 3–5, long-exserted, joined at base into a short tube around the ovary; ovary superior but seemingly inferior, ellipsoid, stipitate, glabrous, 1-celled, style 15–18 mm long, long-exserted, slightly curled. Fruit an achene enclosed by the thickened lower part of the perianth (anthocarp), anthocarp cylindrical, fusiform to club-shaped, 7–11 mm × 1–2 mm, glabrous to hairy with numerous viscid glands concentrated towards apex, 1-seeded. Commicarpus comprises about 25 species and occurs throughout the tropics, but mainly in Africa. In Namibia a root decoction of Commicarpus pentandrus (Burch.) Heimerl mixed with Thesium lineatum L.f. is taken orally to treat gonorrhoea. Also in Namibia, a hot water extract of leaves and roots of Commicarpus fallacissimus (Heimerl) Pohnert is taken orally or as an enema to treat pain moving from the back to the legs.
Commicarpus plumbagineus occurs in forest and grassland, often along water courses on a variety of soils up to 1800 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Commicarpus plumbagineus is widespread and hence not threatened with genetic erosion.
In view of the many medicinal uses and the complete lack of chemical and pharmacological data, research into the properties of Commicarpus plumbagineus may prove worthwhile.
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Correct citation of this article:
de Ruijter, A., 2007. Commicarpus plumbagineus (Cav.) Standl. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
obtained from B. Wursten
obtained from B. Wursten
obtained from B. Wursten