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Family Amaryllidaceae / Asparagaceae
Polianthes tuberosa Linn.

Ye lai xiang

Scientific names  Common names
Agave polianthes Thiede & Eggli Azucena (Span., Tag.)
Agave tuberosa (L.) Thiede & Eggli              [Illegitimate] Baston de San Jose (Span., Tag.)
Crinum angustifolium Houtt. Nardo (C. Bis.)
Polianthes gracilis Link Polyanthus lily (Engl.)
Polianthes tuberosa Linn. Tuberose (Engl.)
Polianthes tuberosa var. gracilis (Link)  
Tuberosa amica Medik.  
Baston de San Jose lists as common names for two different plants: Cordyline fruticosa (Tungkod -pare) and Polianthes tuberosa (Azucena).
Polianthes tuberosa L. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Ye lai xiang.
FRENCH: Tubereuse.
GERMAN: Nachthyazinthe, Tuberose.
ITALIAN: Tuberosa.
SPANISH: Nardo, Nardo com.

Azucena is an evergreen, with a stout and tuberous rootstock. Basal leaves are linear, 40 to 60 centimeters long, less than 1 centimeter wide, those on the stem much shorter. The inflorescence is erect, 0.5 to 1 meter high. Flowers are fragrant, waxy white, in pairs, 5 to 6 centimeters long, and the segments, oblong-lanceolate, 1 to 1.5 centimeters long.

- Cultivated for its fragrant flowers.

- Volatile oil from the flowers isolated tuberone.
- Methyl anthranilate has been noted in the tuberose oil.
- Inulin has been reported in the bulbs,
- Leaves yielded a 9,11 dehydrohecogenin 3-O glucose xylose galactoside, Kaempferol 3-O,
α-D glucoside, Plianthoside B and C. (6)
- Essential oil from double-flower variety of tuberose were extracted by cold and hot enfleurage. The main chemical component detected in both enfleurage absolutes was methyl benzoate, while benzyl benzoate and pentacosane were the main chemical components in hexane and petroleum ether absolutes, respectively. (12)

- Diuretic, emetic, maturative.
- Considered aphrodisiac. (In India, unmarried girls are advised not be breathe its scent after dark.)

Parts utilized
Flowers, rhizomes.

• Flowers are cooked. Used in vegetable soups or added to the Indonesian soy sauce, kecap. (13)
• Flowers are source of tuberosa-flower water. (13)
• Bulbs have been used in decoction for gonorrhea.
• Poultice of bulbs employed as maturative in the formation of pus in boils or abscesses.
• In Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, rhizomes are used to calm spasms and treat malaria. In China, rhizomes are used to treat burns, infections, and swellings. (9)
• In India, flowers used as diuretic and emetic.
• In Sind, bulbs are dried, powdered and used for gonorrhea.
Perfumery: Volatile oil used in perfumery.
Aromatherapy: In aromatherapy, the warm and seductive scent is useful as a hypnotic for women suffering from insomnia and depressed with low sexual drive.
(In India, unmarried girls are advised not be breathe its scent after dark.)

Steroidal Glycosides / Cytotoxic Activity:
Study of aerial parts of Polianthes tuberosa isolated a new bisdesmosidic cholestane glycoside and 3 new spirostanol saponins along with known cholestane glycoside. The compounds were evaluated for cytotoxic activity on HL-60 human promyelocytic leukemia cells. (2)
Immunosuppressive Activity: Study yielded an acidic polysaccharide (ANK-102) from P tuberosa cells. Pretreatment with ANK-102 deteriorated the murine survival against lethal injection of Listeria monocytogenes, eliminated mainly by macrophages through T-cell mediated immune response. (1)
Spirostanol and Furostanol Glycosides / Cytotoxicity: Study yielded six new steroid glycosides - two spirostanols, polianthosides B and C, and four furostanols, polianthosides D-G - from the fresh tubers of PT, together with seven known spirostanols and a known furostanol saponins. The cytotoxic activities against HeLa cells are reported. (4)
Mosquito Larvicide: Study evaluated the larvicide and biting deterrence activity of buds of Polianthes tuberosa against Culex quinquefasciatus and Anopheles stephensi. Both crude and methanol extract showed efficient activity against Cx. quinquefasciatus suggesting use as a mosquito larvicide agent. (7)
Antibacterial: The methanol extracts of the flower of Qiusqualis indica, Calothrophis gigantea and Polianthes tuberose showed significant antibacterial activity against microbes K. pneumonia, P. aeruginosa, P. mirabiilis, E. coli, MRSA and B. subtilis. Flower extracts of both dry and wet flowers of P. tuberose showed impact only on Proteus mirabilis and E coli at higher concentrations only. (8)
• Antianxiety / Inhalation of Essential Oil / Clinical Trial: Randomized clinical trial evaluated the effect of inhalation of essential oils of P. tuberosa on test anxiety among 54 students. Results showed aromatherapy with essential oil was effective in reducing test anxiety. (14)
• Antioxidant / Cytotoxic / Antimicrobial / Membrane Stabilizing / Thrombolytic / Tuber: Study evaluated crude methanolic extract of tuber for biologic activities. In free radical scavenging assay, the extract showed significant activity with IC50 71.23 µg/ml, with high phenolic content of 113.49 mg of GAE/gm of extractives. Brine shrimp lethality assay, the crude extract and its fraction showed strong cytotoxic activity with LC50 of 3.56 and 9.31 µg/ml, respectively. In antibacterial assay, all plants samples showed mild to moderate activity against test pathogens. The plant also exhibited membrane stabilizing activity via inhibition in induced hemolysis models. In thrombolytic activity assay, crude extract showed 52.6% lysis of clot vs streptokinase at 66.8% clot lysis. (15)
• Antimicrobial / Flowers: Study evaluated flower extracts obtained by SC-CO2 extraction and solvent extractions for antimicrobial activity. The SC-CO2 and solvent extracts showed potency against S. aureus, P. aeruginosa, E. coli and C. albicans. The n-hexane extract showed the most promising result. (16)


© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Updated January 2018 / January 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: File:Starr 070906-9086 Polianthes tuberosa.jpg / Polianthes tuberosa (flowers). Location: Maui, Kula Ace Hardware and Nursery / Forest & Kim Starr / 6 September 2007 / Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 / / Wikimedia Commons / Or click on image to go to source page
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Digitally modified / PD / File:Polianthes tuberosa.jpg / Illustration of Polianthes tuberosa / John Sims (1746-1799) / Curtis's botanical magazine vol. 43 tabl. 1817 from www.botanicus.org / 1816 / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Polysaccharide (Ank-102) from Polianthes Tuberosa Cells Deteriorates the Resistance of Mice to Listeria Monocytogenes Infection / Toshiro Majima et al / Summary Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology1995, Vol. 17, No. 1, Pages 59-68 / DOI 10.3109/08923979509052720
Steroidal Glycosides from the Aerial Parts of Polianthes tuberosa
/ Yoshihiro Mimaki et al / J. Nat. Prod., 2000, 63 (11), pp 1519–1523 / DOI: 10.1021/np000230r
Intermittent insomnia: various treatment schemes in Medicina Naturale / Carlo Di Stanislao et al
Spirostanol and Furostanol Glycosides from the Fresh Tubers of Polianthes tuberosa / Jian-Ming Jin et al / J. Nat. Prod., 2004, 67 (1), pp 5–9 / DOI: 10.1021/np034028a
Polianthes tuberosa (Rajanigandha) / Common names / Zipcodezoo
Phytochemical Investigation of Polianthes tuberosa / J.Rammamurthy, S.Venkataraman, R.Meera, Satkar Prasad, A. J. M. Chiristina, P.Devi / International Journal of PharmTech Research CODEN (USA): IJPRIF, Vol.2, No.2, pp 1204-1206, April-June 2010
Mosquito larvicidal and biting deterrency activity of bud of Polianthes tuberosa plants extract against Anopheles stephensi and Culex quinquefasciatus / Anjali Rawani, Atanu Banerjee, Goutam Chandra* / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease (2012)200-204 200
Evaluation of antibacterial activity of some selected Angiosperm flower extract / K. Anu Kiruthika*, A.Amutha Jaisheeba and R. Sornaraj / Int.J. ChemTech Res.2011,3(4)

Medicinal Plants of China, Korea, and Japan: Bioresources for Tomorrow's / Christophe Wiart / Google Books
Extraction Methods for Tuberose Oil and Their Chemical Components
/ Prapassorn Rakthaworn*, Uraiwan Dilokkunanant, Udomlak Sukkatta, Srunya Vajrodaya, Vichai Haruethaitanasan, Potechaman Pitpiangchan and Putthita Punjee / Kasetsart J. (Nat. Sci.) 43 : 204 - 211 (2009)
Polianthes tuberosa L. / Synonyms / The Plant List
Extraction Methods for Tuberose Oil and Their Chemical Components / Prapassorn Rakthaworn*, Uraiwan Dilokkunanant, Udomlak Sukkatta, Srunya Vajrodaya, Vichai Haruethaitanasan, Potechaman Pitpiangchan and Putthita Punjee / Kasetsart J. (Nat. Sci.) 43 : 204 - 211 (2009)
Polianthes tuberosa / Practical Plants
The Effect of Inhalation of Essential Oils of Polianthes Tuberosa on Test Anxiety in Students: A Clinical Trial / Fereshteh Ghorat, Shamim Shahrestani, Zahra Tagabadi, and  Monir Bazghandi / Iran J Med Sci. 2016 May; 41(3 Suppl): S13. 
Evaluation of Antioxidant, Cytotoxic, Antimicrobial, Membrane Stabilizing and Thrombolytic Activities of Polianthes tuberose Linn / Farhana Rumi, Md. Ruhul Kuddus* and Sujan Chandra Das / British Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, Vol 4, Issue 17 /  DOI : 10.9734/BJPR/2014/12414
ANTIMICROBIAL ACTIVITY OF SUPERCRITICAL CARBON DIOXIDE EXTRACTS OF TUBEROSE (POLIANTHES TUBEROSA LINN.) FLOWERS AGAINST COMMON PATHOGENS / Probir Kumar Ghosh, Paramita Bhattacharjee* and Satadal Das /  International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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