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Family Dracaenaceae
Espada
Sansevieria cylindrica Bojer ex Hook.
SPEAR PLANT

Scientific names Common names
Acyntha cylindrica (Bojer ex Hook.) Kuntze Espada (Tag.)
Cordyline cylindrica (Bojer ex Hook.) Britton Bow string hemp (Engl.)
Sansevieria angolensis Welw. ex Carriere Cylindrical snake plant (Engl.)
Sansevieria cylindrica Bojer ex Hook. Spear plant (Engl.)
Sansevieria cylindrica var. patula N.E.Br. Spear sansevieria (Engl.)
Sansevieria livingstonia Rendle Snake plant (Engl.)
Sansevieria cylindrica Bojer ex Hook. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
MYANMAR: Sin swe gamon.
SINHALA: Visha harana.
SPANISH: Lanca de sao jorge, Lanca espdada.

Botanical snippet
- Genus "Sansevieria" was named after Count Pietro Sanseverino of Naples, Italy. He was a patron of horticulture in the late 1700s. "Cylindrica" refers to the rigid and cylindrical leaves.

Botany
Espada is a cylindrical, succulent perennial herb. Leaves are are green, swordlike, cylindrical and rigid, furrowed or grooved along its entire length, with pointed tips, sometimes with a dark green striped pattern, growing to a height of 2 feet or more, up to about 3 centimeters thick. Flowers are very small, white, fragrant, and crowded in small inflorescences (cymes), greenish or tinged with red, blooming once a year.

Distribution
- Recently introduced to the Philippines.
- Planted as an ornamental.
- Native to Nepal and South Africa.

Constituents
- Microstructural analysis of leaves of S. cylindrica showed the presence of structural fibers and arch fibers. (4)
- Study yielded three steroidal saponins from aerial parts.
- Study of methanol extract of aerial parts isolated a new steroidal saponin, β-hydroxy-kryptogenin-1-O-α-l-rhamnopyranosyl-(1 → 2)-α-l-arabinopyranoside (1), a new homoisoflavanone, (3S)-3,7-dihydroxy-8-methoxy-3-(3′,4′-methylenedioxybenzyl) chroman-4-one (2) and the known saponin alliospiroside A (3). (see study below) (8)
- Phytochemical screening of leaves yielded steroids, flavonoids, saponins, tannins, and phenolic acids. (see study below) (9)
- Study of aerial parts isolated a new dihydrochalcone (1) and two new steroidal saponins (2 and 3), along with three known steroidal saponins (4-6). (see study below) (10)
- Proximate analysis of air-dried nonflowering aerial parts yielded a moisture content of 7.52%, total ash 9.83%, water soluble ash of 2.94$, acid-insoluble ash 3.42%, crude fiber content of 13.43%, and methanolic extractive value of 35%. Phytochemical screening of extract yielded sterols, carbohydrates and/or glycosides, flavonoids, coumarins and saponins. Total phenolic content was 4.82 mg GAE/g, and total flavonoid content was 5.13 mg QE/g d.w. (see study below) (11)

Properties
- Study of Sansevieria cylindrica showed the flexural modulus of Sansevieria cylindrica fiber composite is much higher than those of jute or silk fiber composites. (see study below) (3)
- Considered diuretic, laxative, anthelmintic, anti-rheumatic.

Parts utilized
- Leaves, tubers.

Uses
Folkloric
- No known folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- Used as anthelmintic, laxative, and diuretic.
- In Myanmar, used for dysentery and diarrhea. (6)
- In Sri Lanka, used for snake bites, dental caries, headache.


Studies
Steroidal Saponin / Inhibition of Capillary Permeability:
Study yielded a new steroidal saponin from the leaves of Sansevieria cylindrica. The saponin showed no haemolytic effects in the in vitro assays and demonstrated inhibition of the capillary permeability activity. (1)
Air Cleaning Plant: Sansevieria species are believed to have air purifying properties, removing indoor toxins like formaldehyde, trichlorethylene, benzene, xylene, toluene.
Natural Fiber / Potential Commercial Applications:
Study evaluated the tensile, flexural and dielectric properties of composites made by reinforcing Sansevieria cylindrica as a new natural fiber into a rubber based polyester matrix. Results showed Sansevieria cylindrica with a unique dielectric strength with potential for electrical insulation applications, in addition to fabrication of lightweight materials in automobile building, packaging industry, partition panes, etc. (3)
Hybrid Fibers:
Study reports on use of hybrid fibers such as Sansevieria cylindrica and tamarind fruit fibers to reinforce the epoxy matrix on mechanical and thermal properties. Epoxy filled with Tf and Sc showed remarkable improved in flexural strength and modulus. Hybrid reinforcement of filler in polymer shows significant improvement in dielectric strength of composites. (4)
Antitrypanosmoal Activity:
Study showed antitrypanosomal activity against T. evansi with IC50 (µg/ml) of 208.6±29.5. (6)
Antibacterial:
Extracts of S. cylindrica showed good antibacterial potential against Staphylococcus aureus, S. epidermis and S. pyogenes and against gram-negative bacteria viz. Salmonella spp. and Shigella dysenteriae. (7)
Radical Scavenging Activity:
Study of aerial parts yielded a new steroidal saponin (1) , a new homoisoflavanone (2), and the known saponin alliospiroside A (3). Compound 2 exhibited radical scavenging activity comparable to ascorbic acid. (see constituents above) (8)
• Antioxidant / Antidiabetic / Leaves:
An ethanol extract and its methanol fraction of S. cylindrica leaves showed significant antioxidant and antidiabetic activities. The methanol fraction showed maximum phenolic content. The ethanol extract showed 80.5% inhibition of of DPPH radicals at 100 µg/mL concentration. The methanol fraction exhibited 57.9% inhibition of glucose-6-phosphatase enzymes at 100 µM concentration. (9)
• Cytotoxic Dihydrochalcone and Steroidal Saponins / Aerial Parts:
Study of aerial parts isolated a new dihydrochalcone (1) and two new steroidal saponins (2 and 3), along with three known steroidal saponins (4-6). The compounds were assayed for cytotoxicity against three human tumor cell lines HT116, MCF7, and HepG2. Compound 1 showed cytotoxicity against MCF7. Compounds 1, 3, and 6 showed moderate cytotoxicity against the three cell lines while compound 66 showed marked cytotoxicities against all tested cell lines. (10)
• Antioxidant / Anti-Inflammatory / Antiulcer / Aerial Parts:
Study of air-dried non-flowering aerial parts showed no toxicity up to 1 g/kbw. Methanolic extract showed significant central and peripheral analgesic effect. On carrageenan-induced rat paw edema assay, the extract showed inhibition but lower than reference drug indomethacin. In the ulcer model induced by indomethacin, there was significant protection against ulcer formation. In thioacetamide-induced acute hepatopathic encepalopathy model, extract treated rats showed significant improvement in plasma AST and ALT. (see constituents above) (11)
• Textile Properties of S. cylindrica:
Study reports on the spinning of S. cylindrica fiber to determine the physical properties of blended S. cylindrica yarn in terms of breaking force, actual blend ratio, yarn and twist direction. Results showed the blended yarn exhibited yarn realization and possessed acceptable properties comparable to polyester/pineapple and polyester/water hyacinth which have been successfully used for clothing and apparels. Study suggests other natural fibers may be blended with S. cylindrica. (12)


Availability

Ornamental cultivation.
Plants in the cybermarket.

© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D. / StuartXchange

Updated July 2018 / November 2014

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
A new bioactive steroidal saponin from Sansevieria cylindrica / Alexandra da Silva Antunes et al / Phytotherapy Research.Volume 17, Issue 2 , Pages 179 - 182

(2)
Sansevieria cylindrica Bojer ex Hook. is an accepted name / The Plant List
(3)
Fabrication and performance of natural fibers: Sansevieria cylindrica, waste silk, jute and drumstick vegetable fibres (Moringa Oleifera) reinforced with rubber/polyester composites / M. ASHOK KUMAR*, G. RAMACHANDRA REDDY, K.R.VISHNU MAHESH, THIMMAPURAM HEMANTH BABU, G.VASANTH KUMAR REDDY, H.DASARATHA AND Y.V.MOHANA REDDY / International Journal of Fiber and Textile Research 2011; 1(1): 15-21
(4)
Biodegradable Sansevieria cylindrica Leaves fiber/ Tamarind fruit fiber based Polymer hybrid composites on characterization / G. Ramachandra Reddy, Mala Ashok Kumar,* Jarugala Jayaramudu / International Letters of Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, 20(2) (2014) 116-128
(5)
Steroidal Saponins from Aerial Parts of Sansevieria cylindrica / Mimaki Yoshihiro, Kuroda Minpei, Yokosuka Akihito, Sashida Yutaka / Natural medicines 52(4), 374, 1998-08-20
(6)
Studies on Antitrypanosomal Activity of Medicinal Plants / Saw Bawm / In partial fulfilled of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Veterinary Medicine)
(7)
Antibacterial potential of the extracts derived from leaves and in vitro raised calli of medicinal plants Pterocarpus marsupium Roxb., Clitoria ternatea L., and Sanseveiria cylindrica Bojer ex Hook / Shahid M, Shahzad A, Anis, M / Oriental Pharmacy and Experimental Medicine, Vol 9, No 2, 2009, pp 174-181.
(8)
Steroidal saponins and homoisoflavanone from the aerial parts of Sansevieria cylindrica Bojer ex Hook
. /
Ataa Said, Elsayed Ali Aboutabl, Farouk Rasmy Melek, Gehad Abdel Raheem Abdel Jaleel, Mona Raslan / Phytochemistry Letters, Volume 12, Pages 113-118 (June 2015)
(9)
Phytochemical Analysis, Total Phenolic Content, Antioxidant and Antidiabetic Activity of Sansevieria cylindrica Leaves Extract / Tanveer A, Devendra Singh N, Mohammad Faheem Khan / Journal of Natural Products and Resources, 2017; Vol 3, Issue 2: pp 134-136 / DOI: 10.21767/2472-0151.100026
(10)
New cytotoxic dihydrochalcone and steroidal saponins from the aerial parts of Sansevieria cylindrica Bojer ex Hook / Mona A Raslan, Farouk R Melek, Ataa a Said, Abdelsamed I Elshamy, Akemi Umeyam, Marwa M Mounier / Phytochemistry Letters, Dec 2017; Vol 22: pp 39-43 / https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phytol.2017.08.004
(11)
Proximate analysis, phytochemical screening, and bioactivities evaluation of Cissus rotundifolia (Forssk.) Vahl. (Fam. Vitaceae) and Sansevieria cylindrica Bojer ex Hook. (Fam. Dracaenaceae) growing in Egypt / Ataa A Said, Elsayed ali Aboultabl, Sally A El Awda, Mona A Raslan / Egyptian Pharmaceutical Journal, 2015; Vol 14, Issue 3: pp 180-186 / DOI: 10.4103/1687-4315.172864
(12)
TEXTILE PROPERTIES OF SANSEVIERA CYLINDRICA / Elizabeth B. Tumbaga, Priscilla I. Gesta, & Florentina A. Corpuz / International Scientific Research Journal, 2013; Vol 5, Issue 1

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