piątek, 18 grudnia 2015

Bougainvillea spectabilis, Bougainvillea glabra - Paper Flower

Polska wersja

         PLANT PROFILE  
   Bougainvillea spectabilis is a shruby climbing perrenial plant native to South America. Because of the astonishing beauty of its flowers it has been distributed all around the world, grown in many gardens in warm regions and kept as houseplant wherever it is too cold. There are many cultivars of this plant, with inflorescences that are coming in many shades of red, pink, orange, golden, violet, magenta and pure white.
Botanists around the world are usually using names Bougainvillea spectabilis and Bougainvillea glabra for those charming ornamentals, with indication that first one is more robust and called Great Bougainvillea, while second grows smaller. But in reality it is hard to indentify and segregate those hundreds of hybrids, in other order than by its flower's colour. Only white varieties have always longer more oval leaves, most of the other have rather more or less heart shape. Even though it was introduced to Europe around two hundreds years ago and soon was spread around the world, becoming one of most popular cultivated plants. It is still widely known only as an ornamental. Knowledge about its medicinal values didn't spread that easily. Very few people are using it in India, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia, but only in South and Central America to Mexico, traditional use of this plant for healing have any popularity. In recent years there were quite few studies made in few different countries, conducted to test Bougainvillea medicinal values, that confirmed in laboratory tests its healing powers. But that still didn't make it popular as a herb. Its colourful inflorescence are sometimes used for dye.
  Beside of many variations of name Bougainvillea, like: Buganvilea (Brasil), Bougainvillier (French), Bogambilia (Spanish), Booganbel (Hindi), Baganbilas (Bengali), Bongabilya (Tagalog). This plant is also commonly called : Paper Flower, Glory of the Garden, Cansarina, Ceboleiro, Juvu (Brasil), Tres-Marias (Portuguese), Santa Rita, Trinitaria (Spanish), Drillingsblume (German), Sekku-Pan (Burmese), Ye Zi Hua (Chinese), Kembang Kertas (Indonesia), Bunga Kertas (Malaysia), Shpupu-Kutshanat (Mexico), Fuengfa (Thai), Hoa Giay Nhan (Vietnam), Livetso (Congo), Ikada-kazura (Japan)


  Bougainvillea spectabilis is a woody perrenial plant with tendencies to climb. On its own it can create around 4m height wide bush with weeping branches. But when planted next to tall tree or with other type of support, its stems can climb on it even up to 15m height. There are dwarf cultivars as well. It grows best in temperatures above 18'C, and dies when it is not much less than 0'C ( if your plant has been killed by frost, there is still chance that the roots survived, and it will sprout back when temperature will rise ). In regions with very dry season it often lose leaves and stay dormant till rains come. It flowers better when it has a bit of seasonal drought or chilly temperatures time than when it is in all year round humid tropical area. It can have flood of flowers for around half of the year or even all year round (equatorial regions). It loves strong sun. It grows best on fertile, well watered and well drained soils but can cope even on pore dry sandy or claish ground, and have high salt tolerance. If your plants are not making flowers or have just few, but have lushy growth, it means its overfed and over watered and you should starve it a bit. Bougainvillea should to be propagated from cuttings to keep original colour of flowers, as it is crosspolinates easily, creating hybrids with new shades. It should be maintained with care as its thorns, hiding under leaves, can have from 1 to 2 cm and can cause serious harm, but rare cultivars without thorns also can be found. It can be grown in containers and is cultivated as a house plant in cold climate regions. Many people are using its strong adaptation skills and toughness to turn it into beautiful bonsai.
  Bougainvillea spectabilis leaf extract is highly effective in reducing yellow vein mosiac infection in okra and inhibited tomato spotted wilt and spovirus on capsicum annum, thanks to antiviral protein it contain. Methanolic extracts of flower bracts of Bougainvillea spectabilis are very good pH indicators.

  Flowers of Bougainvillea are edible, it can be eaten fresh and have gently bitter taste, thats gives feeling of refreshment. It is used in salads and drinks (violet flovers color drinks violet ), including tea for coughs. It can also be turned into a snack, by frying whole flower clusters dipped in batter.


   Bougainvillea has long tradition of medicinal use in south, central America and Mexico, that is very seldom known in India and other tropical countries where it is popular as an ornamental plant. All parts of plant including roots are used in forms of infusions (mostly flowers) decoctions (stems, leaves, roots) and tinctures (all parts). It is most commonly used as a tea for cough, sore throat, flu, fever, diarrhoea, and diabetes (it contain pinitol - chemical that mimicing insulin). And is also used for hepatitis and liver problems (it protects liver thanks to esculetin content), asthma, bronchitis, to reduce stomach acidity, dissolve blodcloths, to regulate menstruation and stop leucorrhea (white vaginal discharge), and for anemia associated with gastrointestinal bleeding and epigastric pain. Infusion from flowers is drunk as a remedy for low blood pressure.

   Even though nowadays cultivars of plants called Bougainvillea spectabilis, B. glabra and their hybrids, called Bougainvillea specto-glabra cannot be indentified by differences in features. Scientists are ussually unaware of that fact or too afraid to call them synonyms. In fact they just stick to spectabilis or glabra name that was passed to them from the source of the plant, without focusing on the most significant feature that differentiate those beautiful plants - flowers colour. Sadly even in descriptions of plant material that was used in tests on bioactivity of Bougainvillea flowers, its colour is mostly not mentioned. It is known though that violet, magenta and deep red coloured flowers (more exactly flower bracts, that looks like petals) contains more healthy anthocyanins, than those brighter ones. It is obvious that like every herb, Bougainvillea spectabilis/glabra has many different chemotypes. But no matter which of those two names is on the title of research, its results are always proving one medicinal pattern for Bougainvillea s/g stems and leaves, that contains : anthraquinones, saponins, triterpenoids, flavonoids, phenols, sterols, glycosides, alkaloids, tannins, furanoids, antiviral proteins, pinitol, esculetin, kaempferol, myricetin, quercetin, apigenin, rutin, sinapic acid, p-coumarin acid, p-hydroxy benzoic acid, ferulic acid, gallic acid, protocatechiuc acid, chlorogenic acid, vanillic acid, caffeic acid, oxalic and syringic acid. And confirmed actiones : antioxidant, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antidiarrhoeal, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, expectorant, antitumor (antiproliferate activity against several cancer cell lines), antithrombic, antiulcer, antiasthmatic, laxative, hepatoprotective, anti-atherogenic, nematicidal, larvicidal, analgesic, wound healing, antialergenic, antimutagenic and amylase inhibition.
   In tests, water extracts significantly lower testosterone level in male, and estrogen in female mice. Alcohol extract reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases and reduces bad cholesterol level. Tests on effect of ethanolic extract of Bougenvillea leaves, showed it significantly reduces serum calcium and potassium and significantly increase phosphate concentration, serum urea and creatinine concentration. Therefore continous usage of EEBSL might adversly affect normal functions of kidney and liver.


'' Edible Medicinal and Non Medicinal Plants : volume 8, Flowers '' - T. K. Lim, Springer Science & Business Media 2014
'' CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants '' - Umberto Quattrocchi, CRC Press 2012
'' Medicinal Plants of the Borderlands '' - Antonio Noe Zavaleta, Ph. D., AuthorHouse 2012
'' Medicinal Plants in Australia  Volume 4 - An Antipodean Apothecary '' - Cheryll Williams, Rosenberg Publishing 2013
'' Medicine in Mexico: From Aztec Herbs to Betatrons '' - Gordon Schendel, Jose Alvarez Amezquita, Miguel E. Bustamante, University of Texas Press 2014
'' Compedia of World's Medicinal Flora '' - Amritpal Singh, CRC Press 2006


czwartek, 12 listopada 2015

Eupatorium capillifolium - Dogfennel Eupatorium leptophyllum - False Fennel

Polska wersja

   I first found this plant in Baguio City, north Philippines, where it was sold as a Fennel and sometimes a Dill, among other herbs on flower stalls. Even though it's young stems look to me more like the ones of some artemisias (like Artemisia abrotanum), I couldn't deny my senses. It smells and tastes like some kind of fennel or a dill, with closest resemblance to endemic Bulgarian Fennel but with more pungent smell note and bitterness characteristic for Artemisia abrotanum and related artemisia species is also clearly noticeable. As it grew bigger I've suspected it to be some uncommon kind of artemisia even more, with it's typical artemisia stems structure. But it was a supprise when I saw it bloom, as It's flowers differ from artemisias flowers, and look more like... Eupatorium ( many plants from this genus are used in traditional medicine in many countries ). So after quite of a time, since I've bought it and started to carefully use in my kithen, I've finaly indentify this plant as a Eupatorium capillifolium - Dogfennel. But, wait a minute. Many people are describing Dogfennel to have rather unpleasant smell. While I've found mine, just like plants growers and sellers in the Philippines to be nice. Esspecialy its flowers, with sweet, honey and coumarin aroma reminding me that of the flowers of Sweet Clover. The answer for that might be that it is in fact different chemotype of Dogfennel, called - False Fennel, named in latine Eupatorium capillifolium var. leptophyllum or just Eupatorium leptophyllum.
    Both plants looks like indentical and are short live perennials, native to southeast of North America, where sometimes it become obnoxsious weed. There's a lack of information about culinary or medicinal use of Eupatorium leptophyllum and scarce about Eupatorium capillifolium. Both are quite pretty, easy to maintain, and sometimes planted as a ornamental plants, that can be bought under the name '' Elegant Feather '' ( which relate to its especially beautiful during and after flowering ). Misslabeling of those Eupatoriums as Fennel or Dill is a serious crime, Fennel is generally beneficial to liver, while Dogfennel consumed freely can severly damage liver, as it contain toxic alkaloids.
Eupatorium capillifolium have also other common names - Summer Cedar and Cypressweed.
   Dogfennel has proven to be potent insecticide, esspecialy for Lace Bug (Stephanitis pyrioides ) and weak fungicide. This plant is also placed in houses for its insect repelent action.


   Eupatorium capillifolium is perrenial but short living bush, that can reach over 2m height. It like sunny places, cope well with seasonal drought and poor soils but thrive in wet, compost soils. Dogfennel can be propagated from seeds and rootstock. It is hardy to -10'C. Young leaves and shoots can be used in kitchen, but during flowering time it might taste more bitter and less aromatic ( also probably contain more pyrrolizidine alkaloid ). It is best to be used fresh.


   Dogfennel contain pyrrolizidine alkaloid that is damaging liver, therefore it cannot be consumed continously or in big quantities. Many people though (including myself) found it safe to be used sporadicaly, in small doses, as a tasty fennel-like spice, good for sandwiches, salads, boild potatoes etc. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, and anyone with weak liver should avoid this herb.

            MEDICINAL USES

   Eupatorium capillifolium is not widely used in herbalism, but it has long local traditions of medical applications atribute mainly to its antimicrobial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
   Lumbee Indians have been using Dogfennel for reproductive system ailments, like male sexual organ and gland disorders, also consider it to be sex tonic and aphrodisiac. They made tea from Dogfennel for fever. Crushed leaves are applied on fungal infections on skin and reptile and insect bites, it is also used as a insect repellant, especially against mosquitoes. Native Americans used this plant also to treat epilepsy and sore throat.
   In Cuba decoction of E. capillifoliun is used to stop dysentery and other intestinal problems, it is also used to treat arthritis and considered hemostatic.
  There are different chemotypes of Eupatorium capillifolium, and of course different climate and soil shape different chemical balance in plants. That is why tested plant material from USA, Cuba and Mexico have big differences in amounts of its main biochemicals, which contain : thymol methyl ether, 2,5-dimethoxy-p-cymene, myrcene, cymene, ocimene, limonene, camphene, germacrene , astragalin, hyperoside, phellandrene, borneol, limonene, taraxasterol and costic acid.
   Dogfennel can not be consumed in big quantities or over long period of time, as it contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids that are harmfull to the liver. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as anyone with weak liver should avoid this herb.


'' Forest Plants of the Southeast and Their Wildlife Uses '' - James Howard Miller, Karl V. Miller, University of Georgia Press 2005
'' CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants '' - Umberto Quattrocchi, CRC Press 2012
'' Herbal Remedies of the Lumbee Indians '' - Arvis Locklear Boughman, Loretta O. Oxendine, Mcferland 2004
'' Adverse Effects of Herbal Drugs 2 '' - Peter A. G. M. Smet, Konstantin Keller, Rudolf Hansel, R. Frank Chandler, Spring Science & Business Media 1993
'' Medical Botany : Plants Affecting Human Health '' - Walter H. Lewis, Memory P. F. Elvin-Lewis, John Wiley and Sons 2003
'' Florida Ethnobotany '' - Daniel F. Austin, CRC Press 2004
'' Issues in Materials and Manufacturing Research : 2011 Edition '' - Scholarly Editions 2012