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Hunteria zeylanica (Retz.) Gardner ex Thwaites

Protologue
Enum. pl. zeyl. 3: 191 (1860).
Family
Apocynaceae
Chromosome number
2n = 22
Synonyms
Hunteria corymbosa Roxb. (1824).
Vernacular names
Mziwaziwa (Sw).
Origin and geographic distribution
Hunteria zeylanica is widely distributed in eastern Africa, from southern Somalia to Mozambique, and in tropical Asia.
Uses
In Kenya a leaf decoction of Hunteria zeylanica is drunk to cure stomach-ache. Pounded leaves mixed with water are given as a galactagogue to cows.
The hard, whitish to yellowish wood is used for handles of knives, swords or axes, combs, boxes, sheaths and bows, and as firewood. The latex is used as a substitute for rubber. The tree is used as an ornamental because of its dark green shiny leaves and sweet-scented white flowers.
Properties
Over 20 indole alkaloids have been isolated from Hunteria zeylanica. The alkaloid corymine was extracted from the leaves. This compound aggravated convulsions induced by either picrotoxin or strychnine. In tests with mice, a crude methanol extract of the leaves produced biphasic effects on the central nervous system, depression and stimulation, whereas corymine only had a stimulatory effect. A stem bark extract showed anti-inflammatory activity in mice, and an inhibitory effect on 5-lipoxygenase activity in vitro, but neither (–)-eburnamine nor pleiomutinine, major constituents of the alkaloid extract, were responsible for these activities. This extract also exhibited antinociceptive and antipyretic effects in mice and rats; the former effect may be mediated by the anti-inflammatory action. The results of tests with mice suggest that a stem bark extract has peripheral analgesic and mild antipyretic effects, with strictosidinic acid as the major active constituent.
Botany
Evergreen shrub or small to fairly large tree up to 15 m tall, with colourless or milky latex in all parts; bole sinuous or straight, up to 30 cm in diameter, fluted; bark smooth or slightly fissured, grey, inner bark bright orange. Leaves opposite, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 1–1.5 cm long; blade elliptical to oblong or obovate, up to 21 cm × 7 cm, cuneate to rounded at base, rounded to acuminate at apex, leathery, glabrous, pinnately veined. Inflorescence a terminal, compound, dichasial cyme, many-flowered; peduncle 1–4 cm long. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous, fragrant; pedicel 4–10 mm long; sepals free, 1–2.5 mm long, with colleters inside, ovate to triangular or elliptical, obtuse to shortly acuminate at apex; corolla white to pale yellow, with almost cylindrical tube 6–10 mm long, pubescent inside below the stamens, lobes twisted in bud; stamens inserted in upper part of corolla tube, filaments short; ovary superior, composed of 2 separate carpels united at the extreme base by a disk-like thickening, style up to 7 mm long, terminating in a stigmatic globose basal part and a stigmoid apex. Fruit composed of 2 separate, obovoid to globose mericarps up to 3 cm long, stiped at base, yellow or orange, smooth, usually 2-seeded. Seeds oblong to ellipsoid, 1–1.5 cm long, smooth, orange; cotyledons thin, leafy.
Hunteria zeylanica flowers in January–February in Mozambique, in September–January in Kenya and all year round in Tanzania.
Hunteria comprises 12 species, which all occur in Africa. Only Hunteria zeylanica extends to tropical Asia. Hunteria is related to Pleiocarpa and Picralima.
Ecology
Hunteria zeylanica occurs in dry coastal forest, mixed evergreen forest, gallery forest and wooded bushland. Along the coast it grows on sandy soil or coral rock, but it is also found on sandy gravelly soils along rivers inland, up to 350 m altitude. The trees can withstand waterlogging and salinity.
Genetic resources and breeding
Hunteria zeylanica is locally common but restricted in its range in Africa and may therefore be threatened. There are no known accessions in genebanks.
Prospects
The results of pharmacological research, mainly from Thailand, show several interesting activities of Hunteria zeylanica extracts: anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic activities. These warrant more investigation towards the possible development of Hunteria zeylanica as a medicinal plant of importance.
Major references
• Leeuwenberg, A.J.M., Kupicha, F.K., Barink, M.M., Beentje, H.J., de Kruif, A.P.M., Plaizier, A.C. & Zwetsloot, H.J.C., 1985. Apocynaceae. In: Launert, E. (Editor). Flora Zambesiaca. Volume 7, part 2. Flora Zambesiaca Managing Committee, London, United Kingdom. pp. 395–503.
• Omino, E.A., 1996. A contribution to the leaf anatomy and taxonomy of Apocynaceae in Africa. Wageningen Agricultural University Papers 96–1. Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen, Netherlands. 178 pp.
• Omino, E.A., 2002. Apocynaceae (part 1). In: Beentje, H.J. & Ghazanfar, S.A. (Editors). Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 116 pp.
• Sriana Azis, 2003. Hunteria zeylanica (Retz.) Gardner ex Thwaites. In: Lemmens, R.H.M.J. & Bunyapraphatsara, N. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(3). Medicinal and poisonous plants 3. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. pp. 247–248.
Other references
• Endress, M.E., Sennblad, B., Nilsson, S., Civeyrel, L., Chase, M.W., Huysmans, S., Grafström, E. & Bremer, B., 1996. A phylogenetic analysis of Apocynaceae s.s. and some related taxa in Gentianales: a multidisciplinary approach. Opera Botanica Belgica 7: 59–102.
• Kokwaro, J.O., 1993. Medicinal plants of East Africa. 2nd Edition. Kenya Literature Bureau, Nairobi, Kenya. 401 pp.
• Leewanich, P., Michihisa, T., Kinzo, M., Subhadhirasakul, S., Takayama, H. & Watanabe, H., 1996. Behavioral studies of alkaloids extracted from the leaves of Hunteria zeylanica. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 19(3): 394–399.
• Leewanich, P., Tohda, M., Matsumoto, K., Subhadhirasakul, S., Takayama, H., Aimi, N. & Watanabe, H., 1997. Inhibitory effects of corymine, an alkoloidal component from the leaves of Hunteria zeylanica, on glycine receptors expressed in Xenopus oocytes. European Journal of Pharmacology 332(3): 321–326.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 1998. Afrikanische Arzneipflanzen und Jagdgifte. Chemie, Pharmakologie, Toxikologie. 2nd Edition. Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Stuttgart, Germany. 960 pp.
• Omino, E.A. & Kokwaro, J.O., 1993. Ethnobotany of Apocynaceae species in Kenya. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 40: 167–180.
• Reanmongkol, W., Matsumoto, K., Watanabe, H., Subhadhirasakul, S., Takayama, H. & Sakai, S., 1995. Inhibitory effect of alkaloids extracted from the stem bark of Hunteria zeylanica on 5-lipoxygenase activity in vitro. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 18(6): 910–912.
• Reanmongkol, W., Subhadhirasakul, S., Kongsang, J., Tanchong, M. & Kitti, J., 1995. Effects of alkoloids extracted from the stem bark of Hunteria zeylanica on acute inflammation in experimental animals. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 18(1): 33–36.
• Reanmongkol, W., Subhadhirasakul, S., Kongsang, J., Tanchong, M. & Kitti, J., 2000. Analgesic and antipyretic activities of N-butanol alkaloids extracted from the stem bark of Hunteria zeylanica and its major constituent, strictosidinic acid, in mice. Pharmaceutical Biology 38(1): 68–73.
Sources of illustration
• Sriana Azis, 2003. Hunteria zeylanica (Retz.) Gardner ex Thwaites. In: Lemmens, R.H.M.J. & Bunyapraphatsara, N. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(3). Medicinal and poisonous plants 3. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. pp. 247–248.
Author(s)
M.J. Boone
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
Based on PROSEA 12(3): ‘Medicinal and poisonous plants 3’.

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:
Boone, M.J., 2006. Hunteria zeylanica (Retz.) Gardner ex Thwaites. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
1, flowering branch; 2, opened corolla; 3, pistil; 4, fruiting branch.
Source: PROSEA



top of flowering branch