Prota 11(2): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 2
in Salt, Voy. Abyss. App.: LXIV (1814).
Asclepiadaceae (APG: Apocynaceae)
2n = 22
Origin and geographic distribution
Kanahia laniflora occurs from Côte dIvoire east to Cameroon, and from Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia south to Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa. It also occurs in Egypt, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
In Ethiopia a root extract is taken with honey to induce abortion. The latex is applied as ear drops to treat ear infection. In Kenya the Pokot people take a plant decoction to treat epileptic attacks. In Uganda the latex is applied to sores. In Tanzania a root decoction with leaf sap is given to children with convulsions caused by malaria.
In Kenya cattle and goats browse the plants. The Suiei Dorobo people in northern Kenya use the hairs of the seeds as pillow stuffing.
Previous phytochemical studies on the roots showed the presence of small quantities of cardenolides as well as larger amounts of pregnane glycosides; tests on different parts of the plant have also suggested the presence of flavonoids. Different plant extracts showed an indication of sympathetic stimulation, central nervous system depression, diuretic activity, peripheral vasodilatation, and slight psychotropic activity and metabolic poisoning. In a later test four flavonol glycosides and three 5α-cardenolides were identified from different parts of the plant. 5α-Cardenolides are inhibitors of muscle-type nicotinic acetylcholine receptors expressed in vitro, with IC50 = 2760 μM, as determined by whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiological experiments. A methanolic extract of the aerial parts demonstrated a noteworthy growth inhibitory effect against several human cancer cell lines.
An aqueous root bark extract did not show any uterotonic or anti-implantation effect in vitro.
Erect, multi-stemmed, glabrous shrub up to 2.5 m tall; latex in all parts. Leaves opposite, simple and entire; petiole 36 mm long, with some bristles at base; stipules absent; blade lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 615(20) cm × 0.31.5(2.5) cm, base tapering into the petiole, apex long-acuminate. Inflorescence an axillary to extra-axillary indeterminate condensed spiral, many-flowered; peduncle 1.59 cm long, rather stout, bracts linear, 415 mm long. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel 12 mm long; sepals lanceolate to ovate, 410 mm long, acuminate; corolla campanulate, lobes ovate to elliptical, 710(13) mm × 2.55 mm, apex almost acute, woolly hairy inside at base, cream or white; corona lobes almost globose, 24 mm long, fleshy, 2-lobed, white; stamens fused into a staminal column up to 6 mm long, fused to stigmatic head; ovary superior, 2-celled, style columnar, stigmatic head large, flattened. Fruit a pair of standing follicles, each cylindrical, 3.56 cm × 12 mm, apex acuminate, glabrous, slightly rough, many-seeded. Seeds ovoid, c. 4 mm long, tapering into a short beak, channelled on one side, smooth, with a coma of whitish hairs.
Kanahia comprises 2 species, which both occur in tropical Africa. Kanahia laniflora is widespread and variable, whereas Kanahia carlsbergiana D.V.Field, Friis & M.G.Gilbert is endemic to southern Ethiopia and rare.
Kanahia laniflora occurs in sand or among rocks along (seasonal) streams or lakes in dry areas, from sea-level up to 1800 m altitude. It is considered a rheophyte.
Genetic resources and breeding
As Kanahia laniflora has a wide distribution area and is not rare, it is probably not threatened by genetic erosion.
More phytochemical and pharmacological research has to be effected on the different plant parts of Kanahia laniflora, to evaluate its potential as medicinal plant.
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Correct citation of this article:
Schmelzer, G.H., 2010. Kanahia laniflora (Forssk.) R.Br. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(2): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 2. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
obtained from Zimbabweflora
obtained from Zimbabweflora
obtained from Zimbabweflora
obtained from The Asclepiad Exhibition