|By goGreen | June 9, 2012|
Scientific Name: Adenium obesum Forsk.
- Desert rose (Engl.)
- Kalachuchi (Tag.)
Due to its resemblance to plumeria (Plumeria obtusa, white calachuche) and being introduced from Bangkok, Thailand, the plant is called Bangkok kalachuchi in the Philippines.
Bangkok calachuche is an attractive succulent shrub with a thick or swollen trunk, growing up to 3 meters high. Stems exude a milky sap. Leaves are spatulate, dark green, deciduous, fleshy, and arranged in alternate spiral, and clustered at the tips of the shoots. Flowers are showy, funnel-shaped, with five distinct pinkish or light red lobes.
- Native to South African countries.
- Introduced to Thailand, and from there, to the Philippines.
- Common garden cultivation.
- Study has yielded some 30 cardiotoxic glycosides with actions similar to digitalis.
- Roots and stems contain the same glycosides.
- Phytochemicals of stem-bark yielded alkaloids, steroids, saponins, glycosides, anthraquinones, tannins, and flavonoids.
- Oleandrigenin has been shown to have cytotoxic effects.
- Bark, roots, sap.
- No recorded folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- In Arabian traditional medicine, sap and bark are used to treat bone dislocations, rheumatism, sprains, paralysis, swellings, wounds, skin infections.
- In Saudi Arabia and Yemen, the juice from the stem and crushed bark is applied on wounds.
- In Sahel, Africa, a decoction of roots, alone or in combination with other plants, is used for treatment of venereal diseases. Root or bark extract is used as bath or lotion for skin diseases and lice. Latex is used for decaying teeth and septic wounds.
- In Somalia, root decoction used as nose drops for rhinitis.
- In Kenya, latex is rubbed on the head for lice. The bark is chewed as abortifacient.
- In Senegal and Ethiopia, used as arrow poison.
- In Kenya, used for ethnoveterinary control of lice and fleas in livestock. Powdered stems used for skin parasites of camels and cattle.
- Used in magic potions.
- Cytotoxicity / Antitumor: (1) Phytochemical study yielded cardenolides somalin, hongheloside A, 16-acetylstrospeside, honghelin and flavonol quercetin. Ethanol extract exhibited activity against human epidermoid carcinoma of the nasopharynx test system. (2) Study showed AO exhibited very strong cytotoxicty against 2 human colon carcinoma cell lines. (3) Study yielded two pregnanes possessing a 16-en-20-one system from the leaves of A obesum which exhibited a cytotoxic activity against murine leukemia P388/S cells.
- Phytochemicals / Cardiac Glycosides: Roots and stems of A obesum yielded 30 cardiac glycosides – 15 know glycosides and 15 new combinations of aglycones and sugars. Oleandrigenin-beta-gentiobiosyl-beta-D-thevetoside was the main glycoside.
- Antibacterial: Extracts of stem-bark of Adenium obesum were tested against selected strains of gram negative bacteria – E. coli, K. pneumonia, S. typhi, N. gonorrhea, P. aeruginosa. Extracts showed significant zones of inhibition against 80% of the tested organisms.
Caution / Toxicity Concerns
- Leaves and flowers are poisonous to goats and cattle.
- Source of fish and arrow poison prepared from the latex of the bark and fleshy parts of the trunk, but always in combination with other poisons. In Africa, despite its toxicity, is used in medical applications and magic potions. source
- In a wide area of Africa, arrow poison is prepared from the root sap; sometimes from the wood or stem latex. It provides a quick kill for big game hunting. In Senegal, Nigeria and Cameroon, fish poison is prepared from a decoction of the bark and leaves.
SOURCE: Philippine Medicinal Plant
Desert rose (Engl.)