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Limaciopsis loangensis Engl.

Protologue
Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 26: 414 (1899).
Family
Menispermaceae
Origin and geographic distribution
Limaciopsis loangensis occurs from Cameroon and the Central African Republic south to Gabon, Congo and DR Congo.
Uses
A decoction of the tuber is given to children against convulsions. In Gabon a tuber decoction is taken with a little salt against gonorrhoea. A decoction of the leaves or twigs is drunk to treat stomach-ache.
Properties
About 20 alkaloids have been isolated from various parts of Limaciopsis loangensis; tests for flavonoids, saponines, tannins and quinones have been negative. Per 100 g dry matter the roots contain about 1.5 g alkaloids, the stems 0.3 g, the leaves 0.02 g, whereas the fruits contain no alkaloids. The alkaloids belong to the groups characteristic of Menispermaceae: bisbenzylisoquinolines, aporphines and protoberberines. Isotetrandrine accounts for about 90% of the alkaloids, and minor alkaloids are cycleanine, nor-2-isotetrandrine, N-oxy-isotetrandrine, liriodenine, 8-oxy-palmatine, thalrugoside, thalrugosamine and berbamine. Isotetrandrine is active against catarrh, and its role in the mitochondrial respiratory chain is being investigated.
Botany
Dioecious twining liana; tuber 50–60 cm in diameter; stem up to 8 cm in diameter, hairy when young. Leaves arranged spirally, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 3–5 cm long, swollen and bent at apex, reddish brown hairy; blade elliptical to ovate-elliptical, 10–19 cm × 3–10 cm, base rounded or slightly cuneate, apex rounded with very short mucro, glabrous, leathery, palmately and pinnately veined with lateral veins in 3–5 pairs, prominent on both sides. Male inflorescence a panicle, single or grouped, 2–12 cm long, hairy, bearing many small flower heads, bracts linear, c. 1 mm long; female inflorescence a raceme. Flowers unisexual; pedicel 3–5 mm long, hairy; bracteoles 2–3, 2–4 mm long; sepals 9–10, 3 outer ones linear-oblong to oblong, 2–2.5 mm × 1–1.5 mm, inner ones larger; petals 6, c. 1 mm long, somewhat fleshy, hairy; male flowers with stamens 6(–9) in 2(–3) whorls, free, filaments 1–1.5 mm long; female flowers with superior ovary of 3–4 free carpels, silky hairy, brownish black. Fruit composed of up to 3 drupelets c. 2 cm × 2.5 cm × 1.5 cm, smooth, orange, shiny; stone spirally twisted, bony. Seeds linear, 1.5–2.5 cm × c. 0.5 cm.
Limaciopsis comprises a single species.
Ecology
Limaciopsis loangensis occurs in the undergrowth of rainforest, including secondary forest, and in fringing forest and forest relics in the savanna.
Genetic resources and breeding
Limaciopsis loangensis seems fairly common in primary and secondary forest and in forest remnants. There are no signs that it is in danger of genetic erosion.
Prospects
From the isolated alkaloids in Limaciopsis loangensis, isotetrandrine occurs in large amounts and further research seems warranted to assess its potential.
Major references
• Adjanohoun, E.J., Ahyi, A.M.R., Aké Assi, L., Baniakina, J., Chibon, P., Cusset, G., Doulou, V., Enzanza, A., Eymé, J., Goudoté, E., Keita, A., Mbemba, C., Mollet, J., Moutsamboté, J.-M., Mpati, J. & Sita, P. (Editors), 1988. Médecine traditionnelle et pharmacopée - Contribution aux études ethnobotaniques et floristiques en République Populaire du Congo. Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, Paris, France. 606 pp.
• Cave, A., Leboeuf, M., Hocquemiller, R., Bouquet, A. & Fournet, A., 1979. Alcaloides du Limaciopsis loangensis. Planta Medica 35(1): 31–41.
• Fang, L.-H., Zhang, Y.-H. & Ku, B.-S., 2005. Fangchinoline inhibited the antinociceptive effect of morphine in mice. Phytomedicine 12(3): 183–188.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• Troupin, G., 1962. Monographie des Menispermaceae africaines. Mémoires in-8. Académie Royale des Sciences d’Outre-Mer, Classe des Sciences Naturelles et Médicales, Nouvelle série 8(2), Brussels, Belgium. 313 pp.
Other references
• Troupin, G., 1951. Menispermaceae. In: Robyns, W., Staner, P., Demaret, F., Germain, R., Gilbert, G., Hauman, L., Homès, M., Jurion, F., Lebrun, J., Vanden Abeele, M. & Boutique, R. (Editors). Flore du Congo belge et du Ruanda-Urundi. Spermatophytes. Volume 2. Institut National pour l’Étude Agronomique du Congo belge, Brussels, Belgium. pp. 202–255.
Author(s)
L.P.A. Oyen
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:
Oyen, L.P.A., 2008. Limaciopsis loangensis Engl. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.