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Family Myrsinaceae

Coral berry
Ardisia crenata Sims

Yun chi zi jin niu

Scientific names Common names
Ardisia crenata Sims Christmas berry (Engl.)
Ardisia crenulata Lodd. [Illegitimate] Coral berry (Engl.)
Ardisia elegans Andrews Coral bush (Engl.)
Ardisia lentihginosa Ker Gawl. Hen's eyes (Engl.)
Ardisia mouretii Pit. Scratch throat (Engl.)
  Spice berry (Engl.)
Ardisia crenata Sims is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINA: Yun chi zi jin niu.
HONGKONG: Chu sar gun.
FRENCH: Arbre a noel.
KOREA: Baek-ryang-geum.
MALAYSIA: Mata ayam, Mata itek.

Coral berry is an evergreen glabrous shrub with many branches, growing to a height of 1.5 meters. Leaves are alternate, simple, dark green, leathery, elliptic lanceolate or oblanceolate with crenate or undulate margins. Flowers are small, white or pink. Fruit is a drupe, coral red and single-seeded.

- Cultivated in gardens for its decorative red fruits.
- A popular pot plant.

- In some countries, considered an invasive weed.

- Study yielded nine compounds: 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furalclehyde(1), ethyl-beta-D-fructopyranoside(2), syringic acid(3), n-butyl-beta-D-fructofuranoside(4), n-butyl-alpha-D-fructofuranoside(5), methyl-alpha-D-fructofuranoside(6), (+)-bergenin(7), ardisiacrispins B(8), asperuloside acid(9). (see study below) (8)
- Leaves yielded a novel cyclic depsipeptide, designated FR900359, with the molecule containing two cis peptide bonds. (9)
- Roots yielded four components: bergenin, friedlin, ß-sitosterol and rapanone. (15)

- Studies suggest anodyne, depurative, febrifugal, antidotal, and diuretic properties.

Parts utilized

• No folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
• Elsewhere, root is considered anodyne, depurative, febrifuge; used to stimulate blood circulation.
• In traditional Chinese medicine, roots used for treatment of tonsillitis, toothaches, arthralgia, respiratory infections, and menstrual disorders.
• Provides a dense canopy.

Triterpenoid Saponins / Ardisiacrenoside / Cytotoxicity: Study isolated two novel triterpenoid saponins – ardisicrenoside A and adrisicrenoside B – and two known triterpenoid saponins, ardisicrispins A and B. (1)
Potential Source of Therapeutic Agents: There are more than 500 species of Ardisia throughout the tropical and subtropical regions, several used as ornamentals, food and medicines. Species of Ardisia are rich in novel and biologically potent phytochemical compounds such as bergenin and ardisin. The report presents the potential of the genus as a source of therapeutic agents. (2)
Bergenin / Pharmacologic Activities: Study isolated a new bergenin derivative from the root of A crenata – 11-o-syringylbergenin. Other compounds identified were spinasterol, fatty acids, beta-sitosterol-beta-D-glucoside, norgergenin and sucrose. (3) Study isolated four components from the roots of A. crenata: bergenin, friedelin, β-sitosterol and rapanone. Friedelin was isolated for the first time. (12) Studies have shown bergenin to possess a wide range of biological activities: antiulcer, hepatoprotective, antiviral, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, among others.
Ardisiacrispin A and B / Pro-Apoptotic / Anticancer: Study investigating the anticancer activity of ardisiacrispin A+B on several human cancer lines showed it could inhibit the proliferation of Bel-7402 cells by inducing apoptosis and dissembling microtubule. (4)
Anti-Thrombin Activity: In a study of 30 plants from central Florida for its antithrombin activity, Ardisia crenata was one of seven that demonstrated activity of 80% or higher in a chromogenic bioassay system.
Ardisiacrenoside / Cytotoxic Triterpenoid: Ardisiacrenoside, a new triterpenoid pentasaccharide was isolated from A crenata with five closely related triterpenoid saponins. Their cytotoxic activities were evaluated against human tumor cell lines. (7)
Anti-Tumor Metastasis: Study evaluated the anti-tumor metastatic constituents from Ardisia crenata. Study yielded nine compounds: 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furalclehyde(1), ethyl-beta-D-fructopyranoside(2), syringic acid(3), n-butyl-beta-D-fructofuranoside(4), n-butyl-alpha-D-fructofuranoside(5), methyl-alpha-D-fructofuranoside(6), (+)-bergenin(7), ardisiacrispins B(8), asperuloside acid(9). The isolated compounds (1-9) showed positive anti-tumor metastatic activities, and compounds 1, 5, and 8 showed significant anti-tumor metastatic activities. (8)
Depsipeptide FR900359 / Leaves: FR900359, isolated from leaves, was found to inhibited platelet aggregation in rabbits, decrease blood pressure and induce hypotension in anesthetized, normotensive rats. (11)
Antibacterial: An ethanol extract of A. crenata exhibited significant antibacterial activity against α-streptococcus hemolyticus, ß-streptococcus hemolyticus and Staphylococcus aureus in vitro. (11)
Stimulation of Melanogenesis in Melanoma Cells: Study evaluated the effect of a methanol extract of Ardisia crenata on melanogenesis in B16F10 cells. Treatment of cultured B16F10 cells with extract showed concentration dependent increase in melanin levels, without cytotoxicity. There was also increase in protein expression of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor.
AC stimulated melanogenesis by increasing tyrosinase expression via inhibition of ERK and Akt. Results suggest a potential in the treatment of hypopigmentation diseases and skin tanning cosmetic products. (14)


Last Updated July 2015

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Triterpenoid saponins from Ardisia crenata / Zhonghua Jia et al / Phytochemistry • Volume 37, Issue 5, November 1994, Pages 1389-1396 / doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)90418-7
The genus Ardisia: a novel source of health-promoting compounds and phytopharmaceuticals / Hideka Kobayashi and Elvira de Mejia / Journal of Ethnopharmacology . Volume 96, Issue 3, 15 January 2005, Pages 347-354/ doi:10.1016/j.jep.2004.09.037
Studies on the chemical constituents of Ardisia crenata Sims / Han L, Ni MY. / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 1989 Dec;14(12):737-9, 762-3.
Pro-apoptotic and microtubule-disassembly effects of ardisiacrispin (A+B), triterpenoid saponins from Ardisia crenata on human hepatoma Bel-7402 cells / Min Li et al / Journal of Asian Natural Products Research, Volume 10, Issue 8 August 2008 , pages 729 - 736 / DOI: 10.1080/10286020802016198
Ardisia crenata - Sims. / Coralberry / Plants For A Future
Antithrombin activity of medicinal plants from central Florida / Natalya Chistokhodova et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology . Vol 81, Issue 2, July 2002, Pages 277-280/ doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(02)00097-1
Cytotoxic triterpenoid saponins from the roots of Ardisia crenata / Zhong-Fei Zheng et al / Journal of Asian Natural Products Research, Volume 10, Issue 9 September 2008 , pages 833 - 839 / DOI: 10.1080/10286020802102568
Studies on anti-tumor metastatic constituents from Ardisia Crenata. / Wang X1, Tang S, Zhai H, Duan H. / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2011 Apr;36(7):881-5.
Structural studies of FR900359, a novel cyclic depsipeptide from Ardisia crenata sims(Myrsinaceae) / Akira Miyamae, Mamoru Fujioka, Shigetaka Koda and Yukiyoshi Morimoto / J. Chem. Soc., Perkin Trans. 1, 1989, 873-878 / DOI: 10.1039/P19890000873
Ardisia crenata / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED
Ardisia crenata / Edible Medicinal And Non-Medicinal Plants: Volume 4, Fruits
/ T. K. Lim / Google Books
Studies on the Chemical Constituents of Ardisia crenata Sims
/ By STMOPEN.net on Thursday, April 18, 2013 / China Journal of Chinese Materia Medica
Ardisia crenata Sims / Synonyms / The Plant List
Ardisia crenata extract stimulates melanogenesis in B16F10 melanoma cells through inhibiting ERK1/2 and Akt activation / Yao; Jin; Oh; Oh; Park; Chung / Molecular Medicine Reports, Volume 11, Number 1, 2015, pp. 653-657(5)
Studies on the Chemical Constituents of Ardisia crenata Sims / China Journal of Chinese Materia Medica

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