Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1
Fl. trop. Afr. 1: 49 (1868).
Origin and geographic distribution
Triclisia patens occurs from Senegal east to Ghana and Benin.
In Côte d’Ivoire root pulp is rubbed in or root sap is rubbed into scarifications to treat rheumatism, arthritis, anaemia and sleeping sickness. A decoction of the root is drunk to treat fever and malaria. A root decoction is also taken as an emmenagogue and abortifacient. A leaf or root decoction is used as a wash against palpitations, as it has a sedative effect on the heart. Leaf sap has a soothing effect on cough. A decoction of the stem is drunk against stomach-ache and a decoction of the leaves and twigs is drunk, or leaf pulp is rubbed in, to treat oedema of the legs. In Sierra Leone a leaf decoction is used as a nasal or ocular instillation and as a purgative or bathe against epilepsy. Stem bark is powdered and applied to syphilitic sores and leprosy; the bark pulp is used as a purgative. Leaf or root juice mixed with salt in palm wine is drunk against cough and bronchial disorders.
In Sierra Leone the stems are made into slings used for climbing oil palms, while sections of the stem or parched, scraped roots are added to palm wine to make it more intoxicating.
Production and international trade
Triclisia patens is commonly sold on local markets.
From a methanol extract of dried leaves of Triclisia patens the bisbenzyl-isoquinoline alkaloids phaeanthine, aromoline, N,N’-dimethylphaeanthine and pycnamine, and the dioxin derivatives of bisbenzyl-isoquinoline alkaloids cocsuline and trigilletimine were isolated.
A methanol extract of dried leaves showed significant antiprotozoal activities against Leishmania donovani (IC50 = 1.5 μg/ml) and the blood stream form of Trypanosoma brucei brucei (IC50 = 31 μg/ml). Phaeanthine was three times more active (IC50 = 2.4 μM/ml) than Pentostam, a standard drug for the treatment of leishmaniasis, but at this concentration it is reported to be toxic to mammalian macrophages. In contrast, cocsoline (IC50 = 12.3 μM/ml) was as active as the standard drug, and was not toxic to macrophages at this concentration.
Both phaeanthine and aromoline showed antiprotozoal activity against Trypanosoma brucei but less strongly than the standard drug. Crude ethanolic extracts of the wood and bark showed significant antiplasmodial activity, but no significant anti-amoebic effect. Phaeanthine was effective against chloroquine-resistant and non-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum in vitro; at the used concentrations the alkaloid was found to be non-toxic to mammalian cells. An aqueous extract of the root showed antispasmodic activity on the respiratory tract and intestinal smooth muscle tissue of several test animals, which supports the use of the root against bronchial and intestinal problems.
Dioecious liana up to 12 m long; stem up to 6 cm in diameter; branchlets puberulous. Leaves alternate, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 5–10 cm long; blade ovate to elliptical, 10–18 cm × 2–12 cm, base cuneate to slightly cordate, apex triangular-acuminate, leathery, pinnately veined with 3–4 pairs of lateral veins, of which the lowest pair basal, densely short-hairy on main veins below. Inflorescence an axillary umbel-like cyme, 2.5–8 cm × 2–12 cm or a false panicle up to 20 cm long; female inflorescence more compact than male one; branchlets and pedicels finely grey hairy. Flowers unisexual; bracts 2, tiny; sepals 6–9, yellow to orange, outer ones very small, slightly concave, 1–1.5 mm long, inner ones oblong to lanceolate, 2–5 mm × 1.5–2 mm, with recurved apex, all densely short-hairy outside; petals 1–3, much reduced or absent; male flowers with 3 stamens 2–2.5 mm long, free, with thick filaments; female flowers with staminodes, ovary superior, composed of 6–40 carpels, short-hairy, styles cylindrical. Fruit composed of ellipsoid, flattened drupes 1–2.5 cm × 1–1.5 cm on a stipe 3–5 mm long, short-hairy, yellow, stone wrinkled, 1-seeded. Seed with endosperm.
Triclisia comprises about 20 species, approximately 12 in mainland tropical Africa, 7 in Madagascar and 1 in Mayotte.
Triclisia macrophylla Oliv. has a sketchy distribution from Sierra Leone to Cameroon and Bioko (Equatorial Guinea); a root decoction is drunk to treat hernia. It is listed in the IUCN Red List as critically endangered because of habitat loss. Triclisia subcordata Oliv. occurs throughout West and Central Africa, and has similar medicinal uses to Triclisia patens. A methanolic leaf extract showed significant anti-ulcer effects in rats. The stems are used as rope. The fruits are reported as edible.
Triclisia patens occurs in rainforest and gallery forest, and is also common in secondary forest and on fallow land, at low and medium altitudes.
Genetic resources and breeding
Triclisia patens has a fairly wide distribution and grows in both primary and secondary vegetation; there are no indications that it is endangered.
Triclisia patens has shown strong antiprotozoal and antiplasmodial activities and is widely used in traditional medicine. Further pharmacological research into its uses and active compounds is therefore warranted. The genus Triclisia is in need of a revision.
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Correct citation of this article:
Mosango, D.M., 2008. Triclisia patens Oliv. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.