Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes mιdicinales 1
Adansonia 1: 254 (1861).
Woodland suregada (En). Mdimu msitu (Sw).
Origin and geographic distribution
Suregada zanzibariensis is distributed in the coastal belt from Somalia south to South Africa and in Madagascar.
In Ulanga, Tanzania, a root and stem bark extract is drunk to cure ankylostomiasis, which is caused by parasitic hookworms. The root extract is also drunk to cure gonorrhoea, stomach-ache, schistosomiasis, chest pain, hernia, pneumonia, chickenpox and as a purgative. The roots are chewed or a root extract is drunk to treat snakebites. Ground leaves mixed with water are applied externally against skin infections and taken in tea or porridge against poliomyelitis. Pulped leaves are taken in porridge to cure dysentery and to expel worms. The roots are used as a medicine by the Mijikenda people of Kenya to treat oedema. The use of extracts for the treatment of diabetes is aimed at symptoms such as bacterial and fungal infections, rather than the diabetes itself.
The leaves contain alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, steroids and tannins. A leaf extract of Suregada zanzibariensis showed significant activity against chloroquine resistant and sensitive strains of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum (IC50 = 1.5 μg/ml). A leaf extract also showed antifungal activity against Candida albicans in vitro.
Dioecious shrub or small tree up to 10 m tall; bark grey, smooth, scaling towards the base of the bole; branches horizontal. Leaves alternate, simple; stipules triangular-ovate, c. 1 mm long, acute, soon falling; petiole 37 mm long; blade obovate to elliptical-oblanceolate, 213 cm Χ 17 cm, base cuneate or rounded, apex abruptly acuminate, margin entire or finely and irregularly toothed, leathery, pinnately veined with 59 pairs of looping lateral veins. Inflorescence an axillary fascicle, rarely flowers solitary; bracts minute. Flowers unisexual, regular, 5-merous; pedicel 12 mm long, sepals nearly orbicular, 2.53 mm Χ 22.5 mm, with gland outside; petals absent; male flowers with usually 14 stamens, filaments 12 mm long; female flowers with 5-angular or shallowly 10-lobed disk, ovary superior, ovoid, 3-celled, c. 1.5 mm in diameter, styles 3 with 2-fid apex. Fruit a 3-lobed to almost globose capsule 7 mm Χ 8 mm, smooth, black when mature, late dehiscent, 3-seeded. Seeds ovoid, 4 mm Χ 4 mm, grey when dry and finely pitted. Seedling with epigeal germination.
Suregada comprises about 30 species, all occurring in the Old World tropics; 8 species occur in continental tropical Africa and 14 in Madagascar. Suregada adenophora Baill. and Suregada boiviniana Baill. (synonym: Suregada pycnanthera (Pax & K.Hoffm.) Croizat) occur throughout Madagascar and are used as purgatives; the fresh sap of Suregada decidua Radcl.-Sm. from West Madagascar is applied to wounds to promote healing.
Suregada zanzibariensis occurs usually on sandy soils in woodland, riverine forest, coastal forest and in salt marshes, from sea-level up to 1200 m altitude.
Genetic resources and breeding
Suregada zanzibariensis is fairly widespread and not heavily exploited; hence there are no threats at present.
The leaves of Suregada zanzibariensis show promise as a cure for malaria. Other Suregada species have antipyretic properties as well, and more pharmacological research is warranted.
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Correct citation of this article:
Bosch, C.H., 2008. Suregada zanzibariensis Baill. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes mιdicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.