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Drypetes molunduana Pax & K.Hoffm.

Protologue
Engl., Pflanzenr. IV 147 XV: 258 (1922).
Family
Euphorbiaceae (APG: Putranjivaceae)
Origin and geographic distribution
Drypetes molunduana occurs in Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon.
Uses
In Cameroon a decoction of the leafy stem is taken to treat inflammations, boils, swellings and tumours. It is also used as a pain killer.
The wood is hard and in southern Nigeria it is used for construction.
Properties
Chemical analysis of the stems revealed the presence of the sesquiterpene lactone drypemolundein A, friedelane-3,7-dione and the friedelane derivatives drypemolundein B and acetyldrypemolundein, erythrodiol, oleanolic acid, hederagenin, syringaresinol and bayogenin.
Oral administration of the stem extract showed significant anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities in rats. Drypemolundein A is mainly responsible for these activities. Drypemolundein B was found to be inactive.
Botany
Dioecious shrub or small tree up to 6 m tall; branchlets deeply grooved, short-hairy. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules 5–10 mm long, persistent; blade elliptical-oblong to obovate-oblong, 11–27 cm × 4–9 cm, base cuneate to obtuse, apex long-acuminate, margins toothed. Inflorescence a dense fascicle, cauliflorous on the main stem. Flowers unisexual, regular, sweet-scented; sepals 5, ovate, 6–9 mm × 4–6 mm, short-hairy outside, greenish to yellowish or white; petals absent; male flowers with short pedicel, stamens 12–18; female flowers with a short pedicel, extending up to 2.5 cm in fruit, ovary superior, globose, white-hairy, styles 2, triangular, persistent. Fruit an ovoid to ellipsoid drupe, c. 3 cm × 2.5 cm, orange to red when ripe, 2-seeded. Seeds compressed ovoid, pale brown.
Drypetes comprises about 210 species and is distributed throughout the tropics and subtropics. About 60 species occur in continental Africa and about 15 in the Indian Ocean islands. Drypetes staudtii (Pax) Hutch. occurs in Nigeria and Cameroon. It is listed as vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of threatened species. In Cameroon different plant parts are medicinally used in infusions and decoctions. The seeds were found to contain triterpenoids and flavonoids. One species from the Indian Ocean islands is medicinally used. The pulp made from the leafy branches of Drypetes madagascariensis (Lam.) Humbert & Leandri, endemic to Madagascar, is rubbed into scarifications to increase milk production. The fruits are eaten by children.
Ecology
Drypetes molunduana occurs in the understorey of primary forest, from sea-level up to 1000 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
There are no signs that Drypetes molunduana is threatened by genetic erosion.
Prospects
Drypetes molunduana merits further phytochemical and pharmacological research as the results so far have been promising.
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.
• 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.
• Nkeh, B.C.-A., Njamen, D., Dongmo, B., Wandji, J., Nguelefack, T.B., Wansi, J.D., Kamanyi, A. & Fomum, Z.T., 2001. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of the stem extrakt of Drypetes molunduana Pax and Hoffm. (Euphorbiaceae) in rats. Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Letters 11(2): 61–63.
• Nkeh, B.C.-A., Njamen, D., Wandji, J., Fomum, Z.T, Dongmo, A., Nguelefack, T.B, Wansi, J.D. & Kamanyi, A., 2003. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of drypemolundein A, a sesquiterpene lactone from Drypetes molunduana. Pharmaceutical Biology 41(1): 26–30.
• Wandji, J., Wansi, J.D., Fuendjiep, V., Dagne, E., Mulholland, D.A., Tillequin, F., Fomum, Z.T., Sondengam, B.L., Nkeh, B.C.-A. & Njamen, D., 2000. Sesquiterpene lactone and friedelane derivative from Drypetes molunduana. Phytochemistry 54(8): 811–815.
Other references
• Boiteau, P., Boiteau, M. & Allorge-Boiteau, L., 1999. Dictionnaire des noms malgaches de végétaux. 4 Volumes + Index des noms scientifiques avec leurs équivalents malgaches. Editions Alzieu, Grenoble, France.
• Cheek, M., 2004. Drypetes staudtii. [Internet] In: IUCN. 2006 Red list of threatened species. http://www.iucnredlist.org. Accessed June 2007.
• Leandri, J., 1958. Euphorbiacées (Euphorbiaceae). Flore de Madagascar et des Comores (plantes vasculaires), famille 111. Firmin-Didot et cie., Paris, France. 209 pp.
• McPherson, G., 2000. Drypetes (Euphorbiaceae) in Madagascar and the Comoro Islands. Adansonia séries 3, 22(2): 205–209.
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

Correct citation of this article:
Schmelzer, G.H., 2008. Drypetes molunduana Pax & K.Hoffm. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.