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Petchia madagascariensis (A.DC.) Leeuwenb.

Wageningen Agric. Univ. Pap. 97(2): 71 (1997).
Alyxia madagascariensis A.DC. (1844), Cabucala madagascariensis (A.DC.) Pichon (1948).
Origin and geographic distribution
Petchia madagascariensis is endemic to Madagascar.
In Madagascar a leaf decoction of Petchia madagascariensis is drunk to cure stomach-ache, gonorrhoea, rheumatism, gout and alopecia. It is also taken as a tonic, diuretic, vermifuge and for the treatment of diseases of the spinal nerves. The crushed leaves are applied to insect stings. A decoction of the stem bark is taken against malaria. A decoction of the aerial parts is drunk as an ordeal poison. The leaves and stem bark are used as a bitter ingredient for the production of rum. The fruit pulp is sweet and edible.
The root bark of Petchia madagascariensis contains the alkaloids reserpine, cabucine and cabucinine. Yohimbine has also been isolated; it has aphrodisiac properties. Reserpine is considered the first modern drug for the treatment of hypertension. It is a sympatolytic agent acting directly on the peripheral and central nerve terminals. Reserpine has important side effects, notably depression, peptic ulcer, and hypersensitivity to the alkaloid. Cabucine, a methoxyheteroyohimbine derivative, also has sympatolytic activity, but with minimal side effects.
Shrub or small tree up to 10 m tall, with white latex; bole up to 25 cm in diameter; bark smooth, often transversely fissured, pale grey and dark brown. Leaves in whorls of 3–4 or opposite, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 1–15 mm long; blade elliptical, up to 23.5 cm × 10.5 cm, base cuneate, apex acuminate to rounded, leathery, lateral veins straight, in 15–20 pairs, margins revolute. Inflorescence a terminal cyme, often several together, few- to many-flowered, lax; peduncle 2.5–6 cm long; bracts as long as the sepals. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel 2–11 mm long; sepals ovate, 1–3 mm long; corolla tube 8–25 mm × 1–3 mm, pale green or pale yellow, with a hairy belt below insertion of stamens, lobes ovate to elliptical, 3–15 mm long, creamy to yellow; stamens inserted in the upper part of the corolla tube, filaments short; ovary superior, consisting of 2 separate carpels, style slender, pistil head small. Fruit consisting of 2 follicles, cylindrical, each follicle composed of 1–13 drupes, orange, each drupe containing a single seed.
Petchia comprises 8 species: 5 are endemic to Madagascar, one to Madagascar and Comoros, one to Cameroon and one to Sri Lanka. Petchia madagascariensis is a variable species. The stem bark and root bark of Petchia cryptophlebia (Baker) Leeuwenb. are applied in Madagascar against hallucinations, malaria and hypertension, and are also used as an aphrodisiac. The leaves contain cabucine and 2 oxindole alkaloids, as well as some flavonoids. Petchia erythrocarpa (Vatke) Leeuwenb. is endemic to the Comoros and Madagascar. In Madagascar a bark decoction is drunk to cure viral hepatitis, malaria, stomach-ache and diarrhoea. The bark is used as a bitter ingredient of alcoholic beverages traditionally drunk during circumcision ceremonies as a symbol for virility, and considered strongly aphrodisiac. The crushed leaves are applied to skin infections, and a decoction is taken to treat hypertension and stomach-ache. The root, bark stem bark and leaves contain the alkaloids reserpine, cabucine, cabucinine, akuammine and vincorine (cabuamine).
Petchia madagascariensis occurs in humid evergreen forest, mostly near the coast. It grows up to 600 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Petchia madagascariensis and Petchia erythrocarpa are fairly common and not threatened by genetic erosion. Petchia cryptophlebia occurs only in the rainforest area of Madagascar, which is seriously threatened, and the species has almost stopped regenerating. Thus, measures should be taken to ensure natural regeneration so that the genetic basis stays sound.
Some of the alkaloids present in Petchia madagascariensis and related species have found their way into modern medicine. Therefore, it may be rewarding to do more research on the alkaloids of Petchia species.
Major references
• Boiteau, P., Boiteau, M. & Allorge-Boiteau, L., 1999. Dictionnaire des noms malgaches de végétaux. 4 Volumes + Index des noms scientifiques avec leurs équivalents malgaches. Editions Alzieu, Grenoble, France.
• Douzoua, L.L., Mansour, M., Debray, M., Le Men-Olivier, L. & Le Men, J., 1974. Alcaloïdes du Cabucala erythrocarpa var. erythrocarpa. Phytochemistry 13: 1994–1995.
• Leeuwenberg, A.J.M., 1997. Craspidospermum Boj. ex A. DC., Gonioma E. Mey., Mascarenhasia A. DC., Petchia Livera, Plectaneia Thou., and Stephanostegia Baill. In: Leeuwenberg, A.J.M. (Editor). Series of Revisions of Apocynaceae 44. Wageningen Agricultural University Papers 97–2. Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen, Netherlands. 124 pp.
• Pernet, R. & Meyer, G., 1957. Pharmacopeé de Madagascar. Publications de l’Institut de Recherche Scientifique Tananarive-Tsimbazaza. Pierre André Impr., Paris, France. 86 pp.
• Rasoanaivo, P., Ratsimamanga-Urverg, S., Ramanitrahasimbolo, D., Rafatro, H. & Rakoto-Ratsimamanga, A., 1999. Criblage d’extraits de plantes de Madagascar pour recherche d’activité antipaludique et d’effet potentialisateur de la chloroquine. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 64: 117–126.
Other references
• Andriamanga, N., 1995. Les plantes médicinales anthelmintiques Malagasy. FOFIFA, DRZV (Direction des Recherches Zootechniques et en Vétérinaires), Antananarivo, Madagascar. 100 pp.
• Boiteau, P. & Allorge-Boiteau, L., 1993. Plantes médicinales de Madagascar. Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, Paris, France. 135 pp.
• Douzoua, L.L., Debray, M., Bellet, P., Olivier, L. & Le Men, J., 1972. Chemotaxonomic study of the Cabucala genus: alkaloids of root barks of C. madagascariensis (A.DC.) Pichon: reserpine, cabucine and cabucinine. Annales Pharmaceutiques Françaises 30(3): 199–204.
• Groebel, A., Lenoir, D. & Pernet, R., 1970. Ueber ein neues Alkaloid aus Cabucala madagascariensis Pich. Planta Medica 19(1): 1–5.
• Gurib-Fakim, A. & Brendler, T., 2004. Medicinal and aromatic plants of Indian Ocean Islands: Madagascar, Comoros, Seychelles and Mascarenes. Medpharm, Stuttgart, Germany. 568 pp.
• Laivao, M.O., 1999. Contribution à l’étude de la flore médicinale de Bemaraha et leurs caractéristiques écologiques. Mémoire de DEA, option Ecologie Végétale, Faculté des Sciences, Université d’Antananarivo, Antananarivo, Madagascar. 104 pp.
• Mansour, M., Le Men-Olivier, L., Lévy, J. & Le Men, J., 1974. Structures de la cabuamine et de la vincorine. Phytochemistry 13: 2861–2863.
• Rajerison, R., 1999. Impacts de l’utilisation de quelques plantes médicinales dans la région de Manongarivo. Mémoire de DEA, option Ecologie Végétale, Faculté des Sciences, Université d’Antananarivo, Anatananarivo, Madagascar. 95 pp.
• Ramananjanahary, R.H., 2002. Etude éthnobotanique, biologique et écologique de quelques espèces anti-diarrhéiques d’Ankarafantsika et d’Antrema. Mémoire de DEA, option Ecologique végétale, Faculté des Sciences, Université d’Antananarivo, Antananarivo, Madagascar. 83 pp.
• Rasoanaivo, P., Gallo, F.R., Palazzino, G. & Federici, E., 2001. 7-Epimer oxidole alkaloids of Cabucala cryptophlebia: their 13C-NMR and CD data. Fitoterapia 72: 588–590.
M.J. Boone
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

Correct citation of this article:
Boone, M.J., 2006. Petchia madagascariensis (A.DC.) Leeuwenb. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.