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Trichodesma africanum (L.) Lehm.

Protologue
Pl. Asperif. nucif.: 195 (1818).
Family
Boraginaceae
Chromosome number
n = 14
Synonyms
Trichodesma gracile Batt. & Trab. (1911).
Origin and geographic distribution
Trichodesma africanum occurs from Cape Verde, Mauritania and Senegal east to Ethiopia and extends into Asia up to India and Afghanistan. It is also found in Namibia and South Africa.
Uses
Leaves of Trichodesma africanum are used as a diuretic in Nigeria and Sudan. In Senegal and Nigeria the leaves are also used to treat diarrhoea, and as an emollient, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory. An infusion of the roots is used to treat hepatitis. The plant is an excellent fodder for camels, but other livestock seem to avoid it.
Properties
The pyrrolizidine alkaloid trichodesmine and 2 saponins have been isolated from Trichodesma africanum, as well as β-amyrin, β-methyl oleanate, β-sitosterol and stigmasterol.
Botany
Annual or short-lived perennial herb up to 80 cm tall, much-branched mainly from the base; stem with rigid tubercle-based prickles. Leaves simple and entire, lower leaves opposite and petiolate, upper leaves alternate and sessile; stipules absent; blade ovate to ovate-lanceolate, rarely oblong, up to 10(–12) cm × 4(–5) cm, base truncate, narrowing towards apex. Inflorescence a lax terminal or axillary, few-flowered cyme. Flowers bisexual, regular, 5-merous; calyx lobes ovate-lanceolate, 6–8 mm long, enlarging in fruit; corolla blue, tube up to 1.5 mm long, lobes 3.5–4.5 mm long; stamens with 1 mm long filaments, anthers c. 7 mm long; ovary superior, 4-lobed, up to 2 mm in diameter, glabrous. Fruit splitting into 4 ovoid, smooth, brown nutlets 4–5 mm in diameter.
Trichodesma comprises about 45 species and is confined to the Old World.
Ecology
Trichodesma africanum occurs in dry grassland, fallow land, stony wadis and sandy desert plains.
Genetic resources and breeding
Trichodesma africanum is widespread and is not threatened with genetic erosion.
Prospects
Although knowledge on several Trichodesma species is considerable, Trichodesma africanum deserves further study of its pharmacological properties.
Major references
• Aguilar, N.O., 2003. Trichodesma R.Br. In: Lemmens, R.H.M.J. & Bunyapraphatsara, N. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(3). Medicinal and poisonous plants 3. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. pp. 407–408.
• Berhaut, J., 1974. Flore illustrée du Sénégal. Dicotylédones. Volume 2. Balanophoracées à Composées. Gouvernement du Sénégal, Ministère du Développement Rural et de l’Hydraulique, Direction des Eaux et Forêts, Dakar, Senegal. 695 pp.
• Boulos, L., 2000. Flora of Egypt. Volume 2 (Geraniaceae-Boraginaceae). Al Hadara Publishing, Caïro, Egypt. 352 pp.
• 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.
• Martins, E.S., 1995. Boraginaceae. In: Paiva, J., Martins, E.S., Diniz, M.A., Moreira, I., Gomes, I. & Gomes, S. (Editors). Flora de Cabo Verde: Plantas vasculares. No 74. Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical, Lisbon, Portugal & Instituto Nacional de Investigação e Desenvolvimento Agrário, Praia, Cape Verde. 21 pp.
Other references
• Friedrich-Holzhammer, M., 1967. Boraginaceae. Prodromus einer Flora von Südwestafrika. No 120. J. Cramer, Germany. 4 pp.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• Omar, M., DeFeo, J., & Youngken Jr, H.W., 1983. Chemical and toxicity studies of Trichodesma africanum L. Journal of Natural Products 46(2): 153–156.
• Verdcourt, B., 1991. Boraginaceae. In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 125 pp.
Author(s)
C.H. Bosch
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
Photo editor
A. de Ruijter
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article:
Bosch, C.H., 2006. Trichodesma africanum (L.) Lehm. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
inflorescence
obtained from
J. De Laet


leaf
obtained from
J. De Laet


flower
obtained from
J. De Laet