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Mostuea brunonis Didr.

Vidensk. Meddel. Dansk Naturhist. Foren. Kjobenhavn 1853: 87 (1854).
Loganiaceae (APG: Gelsemiaceae)
Chromosome number
2n = 20
Origin and geographic distribution
Mostuea brunonis occurs from Ghana east to Kenya and south to Angola and Mozambique. It also occurs in Madagascar.
In the Central African Republic a root decoction or infusion is taken to treat colds, hypermenorrhoea, kidney troubles and as an aphrodisiac. A bath is taken with a root decoction to treat yellow fever. Young leaves are taken in food to treat stomach complaints and a twig decoction is taken to treat distended stomach in children. In Tanzania the root is chewed to treat stomach-ache. A root decoction or grated fresh root is taken as vermifuge. The grated root is also used to treat snakebites and it is applied as dressing to treat wounds. In Madagascar an infusion of twigs and leaves is taken to treat general pain, including intestinal pain and colitis, and dysentery. In DR Congo the root bark is used as ingredient of arrow poison.
Mostuea brunonis contains several indole alkaloids. The stems and leaves contain gelsemicine, mostueine and some related compounds. The roots contain sempervirin and the quinoline-based alkaloid camptothecin. Camptothecin and its derivatives are candidate chemotherapy drugs to treat breast and colon cancers, malignant melanoma, small-cell lung cancer and leukaemia. Its use in agricultural fungicides has been patented in China. Whole plant extracts of Mostuea brunonis contain 20-O-β-glucopyranosyl camptothecin and some related compounds, as well as the moderately cytotoxic alkaloids deoxypumiloside and strictosamide. 20-O-β-glucopyranosyl camptothecin is more soluble in alcohol and water than camptothecin, and may have value as a drug that could be more readily formulated than camptothecin.
Much branched shrub, undershrub, or occasionally liana up to 7 m tall; stems erect or overhanging, with spreading branches; twigs near the apex variously hairy or glabrous. Leaves opposite, simple and entire; stipules membranous, triangular; petiole 0.5–8 mm long; blade oblong-ovate, ovate-elliptical or elliptical, 0.5–15(–28) cm × 0.5–8(–13) cm, base cuneate, apex acuminate, variously hairy or glabrous, often with domatia beneath in the angles of some lateral veins. Inflorescence a lax to headlike axillary or terminal cyme, usually on a short lateral branch, 1–many-flowered, variously hairy. Flowers bisexual, slightly zygomorphic, 5-merous, heterodistylous; sepals fused to up to half of their length, ovate, ovate-lanceolate to ovate-linear, 1–5 mm × 0.5–1 mm, apex acute, hairy or glabrous outside; corolla white, lilac or pink, mostly with a yellow or orange base and throat, sometimes entirely yellow, orange or red, or red with yellow, tube funnel-shaped 5–13 mm long, glabrous outside, lobes 1–5 mm long; stamens free, included or slightly exserted; ovary superior, ovoid, 1–1.5 mm × 0.5–1 mm, glabrous or appressed hairy near the apex, 2-celled, style simple, shorter or longer than the stamens. Fruit a 2-lobed capsule 4–7(–13) mm × 8–14 mm, glabrous or hairy, dull, medium to dark brown when dry, 4-valved, 2–4-seeded. Seeds plano-convex, obliquely ovate-orbicular, c. 10 mm × 6 mm × 2.5 mm, pale brown.
Mostuea comprises 7 species in Africa and Madagascar and 1 in northern South America.
Mostuea brunonis occurs in gallery or rainforest, also in secondary forest, from sea-level up to 1100 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Mostuea brunonis is widely distributed and hence not threatened by genetic erosion.
The active ingredients of Mostuea brunonis found so far (camptothecin and derivatives) have interesting antitumour activity. More research into the chemical composition of the plant and pharmacological activities of the compounds seems warranted.
Major references
• Dai, J.R., Hallock, Y.F., Cardellina, J.H. & Boyd, M.R., 1999. 20-O-b-glucopyranosyl camptothecin from Mostuea brunonis: a potential camptothecin pro-drug with improved solubility. Journal of Natural Products 62(10): 1427–1429.
• De Smet, P.A.G.M., 1996. Some ethnopharmacological notes on African hallucinogens. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 50: 141–146.
• Leeuwenberg, A.J.M., 1961. The Loganiaceae of Africa 2. A revision of Mostuea Didr. Mededelingen Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen 61–4. Wageningen, Netherlands. pp. 1–31.
• Leeuwenberg, A.J.M. (Editor), 1980. Angiospermae: Ordnung Gentiales. Fam. Loganiaceae. Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien. Second Edition. Band 28 b-1. Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, Germany. 255 pp.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
Other references
• Bouquet, A., 1972. Plantes médicinales du Congo-Brazzaville: Uvariopsis, Pauridiantha, Diospyros. Travaux et Documents de l’ORSTOM, No 13. Office de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique Outre-Mer. Paris, France. 113 pp.
• Burkill, H.M., 1995. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 3, Families J–L. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 857 pp.
• Haerdi, F., 1964. Die Eingeborenen-Heilpflanzen des Ulanga-Distriktes Tanganjikas (Ostafrika). In: Haerdi, F., Kerharo, J. & Adam, J.G. (Editors). Afrikanische Heilpflanzen / Plantes médicinales africaines. Acta Tropica Supplementum 8: 1–278.
• Lorence, A. & Nessler, C.L., 2004. Camptothecin, over four decades of surprising findings. Phytochemistry 65(20): 2735–2749.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 1998. Afrikanische Arzneipflanzen und Jagdgifte. Chemie, Pharmakologie, Toxikologie. 2nd Edition. Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Stuttgart, Germany. 960 pp.
• Onanga, M., 1983. Alcaloïdes du Mostuea brunonis (Loganiacés): isolement, structure, synthèse. Thèse de Doctorat d’Etat, Université Paris 11, Orsay, France. 158 pp.
• Onochie, C.F.A. & Leeuwenberg, A.J.M., 1963. Loganiaceae. In: Hepper, F.N. (Editor). Flora of West Tropical Africa. Volume 2. 2nd Edition. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. pp. 34–47.
• Raponda-Walker, A. & Sillans, R., 1961. Les plantes utiles du Gabon. Paul Lechevalier, Paris, France. 614 pp.
• Sillans, R., 1953. Plantes médicinales d’Afrique centrale. Annales pharmaceutiques françaises 11: 364–383, 456–473.
• Vergiat, A.M., 1970. Plantes magiques et médicinales des féticheurs de l’Oubangui (Région de Bangui). Journal d’Agriculture Tropicale et de Botanique Appliquée 17: 295–339.
A. de Ruijter
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

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:
de Ruijter, A., 2007. Mostuea brunonis Didr. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
flowering stems
obtained from
B. Wursten

flowering stem
obtained from
B. Wursten