PROTA homepage Prota 11(2): Medicinal plants/Plantes mιdicinales 2
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Kanahia laniflora (Forssk.) R.Br.

Protologue
in Salt, Voy. Abyss. App.: LXIV (1814).
Family
Asclepiadaceae (APG: Apocynaceae)
Chromosome number
2n = 22
Origin and geographic distribution
Kanahia laniflora occurs from Cτte d’Ivoire 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.
Uses
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.
Properties
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 = 27–60 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.
Botany
Erect, multi-stemmed, glabrous shrub up to 2.5 m tall; latex in all parts. Leaves opposite, simple and entire; petiole 3–6 mm long, with some bristles at base; stipules absent; blade lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 6–15(–20) cm Χ 0.3–1.5(–2.5) cm, base tapering into the petiole, apex long-acuminate. Inflorescence an axillary to extra-axillary indeterminate condensed spiral, many-flowered; peduncle 1.5–9 cm long, rather stout, bracts linear, 4–15 mm long. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel 1–2 mm long; sepals lanceolate to ovate, 4–10 mm long, acuminate; corolla campanulate, lobes ovate to elliptical, 7–10(–13) mm Χ 2.5–5 mm, apex almost acute, woolly hairy inside at base, cream or white; corona lobes almost globose, 2–4 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, 3.5–6 cm Χ 1–2 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.
Ecology
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.
Prospects
More phytochemical and pharmacological research has to be effected on the different plant parts of Kanahia laniflora, to evaluate its potential as medicinal plant.
Major references
• Burkill, H.M., 1985. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 1, Families A–D. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 960 pp.
• Clarkson, C., Staerk, D., Hansen, S.H. & Jaroszewski, J.W., 2005. Hyphenation of solid-phase extraction with liquid chromatography and nuclear magnetic resonance: application of HPLC-DAD-SPE-NMR to identification of constituents of Kanahia laniflora. Analytical Chemistry 77(11): 3547–3553.
• Desta, B., 1994. Ethiopian traditional herbal drugs. Part III: Anti-fertility activity of 70 medicinal herbs. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 44(3): 199–209.
• Field, D., Friis, I. & Gilbert, M.G., 1986. A new species of Kanahia (Asclepidiaceae) with a reconsideration of the genus. Nordic Journal of Botany 6(6): 787–792.
• Kruger, A.M.C. & Gerritsma-Van Der Vijver, L.M., 1986. A chemical and biological evaluation of Kanahia laniflora, Asclepiadaceae. Suid Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie 5(1): 46–52.
Other references
• Albers, F., Gilbert, M., Goyder, D., Liede, S. & Venter, J., 2003. Asclepiadaceae. In: Hedberg, I., Edwards, S. & Sileshi Nemomissa (Editors). Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Volume 4, part 1. Apiaceae to Dipsacaceae. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Department of Systematic Botany, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. pp. 99–193.
• Beentje, H.J., 1994. Kenya trees, shrubs and lianas. National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya. 722 pp.
• Blomley, T. & Mbogo, N., 1992. Use and management of indigenous trees and plants by the people of Tharaka, Meru. ICRAF, Nairobi, Kenya. 33 pp.
• Bullock, A.A., 1952. Notes on African Asclepiadaceae 1. Kew Bulletin 1952: 405–426.
• Clarkson, C., Mellor, I.R., Lambert, M. & Jaroszewski, J.W., 2006. 5-Alpha-cardenolides from Kanahia laniflora inhibit ionotropic acetylcholine receptors. Planta Medica 72(15): 1418–1420.
• Giday, M., Teklehaymanot, T., Animut, A. & Mekonnen, Y., 2007. Medicinal plants of the Shinasha, Agew-awi and Amhara peoples in northwest Ethiopia. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 110: 516–525.
• Ichikawa, M., 1987. A preliminary report on the ethnobotany of the Suiei Dorobo in northern Kenya. African Study Monographs, Supplement 7: 1–52.
• Kapur, B.M., Allgeier, H. & Reichstein, T., 1967. Die Glykoside der Wurzeln von Kanahia laniflora (Forssk.) R.Br.). 1. Isolierungen. Helvetica Chimica Acta 50(7): 2147–2171.
• Kapur, B.M., Allgeier, H. & Reichstein, T., 1967. Die Glykoside der Wurzeln von Kanahia laniflora (Forssk.) R.Br. 2. Struktur von Kalanosid-H und Kalanosid-K. Helvetica Chimica Acta 50(7): 2171–2179.
• Mothana, R.A.A., Grόnert, R., Bednarski, P.J. & Lindequist, U., 2009. Evaluation of the in vitro anticancer, antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of some Yemeni plants used in folk medicine. Pharmazie 64(4): 260–268.
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, Rιduit, Mauritius
Associate editors
• R. Arroo
Leicester School of Pharmacy, Natural Products Research, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH, United Kingdom
Photo editor
• G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

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 mιdicinales 2. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.

obtained from Zimbabweflora




obtained from Zimbabweflora




obtained from Zimbabweflora




obtained from The Asclepiad Exhibition