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Family Menispermaceae
Pycnarrhena manillensis Vidal.

Scientific names  Common names 
Pycnarrhena manillensis Vidal. Ambal (Tag.) 
  Haluot (C. Bis.)
  Huluot (Bis.) 
  Mamañgal (Tag.)
Pycnarrhena manillensis S.Vidal is an unresolved name. The Plant List

Ambal is a half-erect or climbing shrub growing to a height of one meter or more. Leaves are rather leathery, shining, elliptic-ovate to oblong-elliptic, 13 to 30 centimeters long, with a pointed tip. Flowers are crowded, small and yellowish. Fruit is ellipsoid-globose, 10 to 15 millimeters long.

- Endemic in thickets and forests at low and medium altitudes in Nueva Ecija, Rizal, Quezon, Laguna, Batangas, and Sorsogon Provinces in Luzon; and in Alabat; Samar, Leyte; Negros; and Mindanao.

- Yields six alkaloids: pycnarrhine, ambaline and ambalininine are non-phenolic; pycnaminde, pycnarrhinine, and pycnarrhenamine are phenolic.
- Chromatography of ethanolic extract yielded phaeanthine-2-α-N-axide (1) and pycmanilline (2), characterized as new bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids. Compound 1 was reduced to phaeanthine (3), while compoun 2, a secobisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloid was prepared via oxidation of phaeanthine. (1)
- A dichlormethane methane extract of air-dried leaves yielded stigmast-4-en-3,6-dione (1) and stigmast-4-3n-3-one (2). (see study below) (3)

- Root is tonic, cicatrizant, vulnerary, febrifuge and emmenagogue.
- Also considered abortifacient.

Parts used
Roots and stems.

- Warm infusion applied on skin ulcers.
- Powdered roots used to treat cholera and other intestinal diseases.
- Powdered roots taken internally as a tonic.
- Infusion used by pregnant women in parturition.
- Warm infusion used as vaginal wash after childbirth.

- For wound healing: used as cicatrizant and vulnerary.
- Used for fever and to stimulate menstruation.
- Used for snakebites and wounds; also, as tonic.

Bisbenzylisoquinoline Alkaloids:
An ethanolic extract of pycrarrhena manillensis yielded bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids, phaeanthine-2'α-N-axide and pycmanilline. (see constituents above) (1)
• Antimicrobial Activity / Sterols / Leaves: A dichlormethane methane extract of air-dried leaves yielded stigmast-4-en-3,6-dione (1) and stigmast-4-3n-3-one (2). Both compounds exhibited moderate antifungal activity against C. albicans and low antibacterial activity against E. coli and P. aeruginosa. Compound 2 showed slight activity against S. aureus. (3)


Updated October 2018 / April 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: / Photo / Flowering twig / Menispermaceae : Pycnarrhena manillensis det. Pat Malabrigo 18-Jul-12 / Copyright © 2012 by P.B. Pelser & J.F. Barcelona (contact: pieter.pelser@canterbury.ac.nz) [ref. DOL52278] / PhytoImages.siu.edu / Click on image to go to source page
Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Phaeanthine-2'a-N-oxide and Pycmanilline, New Bisbenzylisoquinoline Alkaloids from Pycnarrhena manillensis / Jacinto C. Regalado, Jr., Cong-yuan Gao, Emil Fu, Fu-tyan Lin, Mei-chao Lin, Lan K. Wong, and Paul L. Schiff, Jr. / Heterocycles, Vol 26, No 10, 1987 / DOI: 10.3987/R-1987-10-2573
On the alkaloids of Pycnarrhena manillensis Vidal. Pycnamine, a new alkaloid of the berbamine series of biscoclaurine alkaloids / VON BRUCHHAUSEN F, AGUILAR-SANTOS G, SCHAFER C / Archiv der Pharmazie 293/65: 1960 Apr pg 454-6
Antimicrobial Activities of Sterols from Pycnarrhena manillensis / Ragasa C Y, Tepora M M, Rideout J A / ACGC Chemical Research Commincations, 2009; 23: pp 21-34

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