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Family Hernandiaceae
Hernandia guianensis Aubl.

Scientific names  Common names 
Hernandezia sonora (L.) Hoffmans. Banung-kalauai (Tagb.) 
Hernandia guianensis Aubl. Habag (C. Bis.) 
Hernandia ovigera Linn. Kolon-kogon (Bik.) 
  Kolonkogun (Bik.)
  Kolung-kolung (Sul., Tag.)
  Koron-koron (Bik.)
  Kung-kung (Ak.)
  Malat-antangan (Tag.)
  Pantog-lubo (Tag.)
  Taba-taba (Bik.)
  Chinese lantern-tree (Engl.)
  Hernandia (Engl.)
  Jack-in-the-box tree (Engl.)
  Sea cups (Engl.)
  Sea hearse (Engl.)
Hernandia ovigera L. is a synonym of Hernandia guianensis Aubl. The Plant List
Hernandia guianensis Aubl. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: LIian ye tong, Lianxietong.
FG CREOLE: Bois banane, Mirobolan, Myrobalan.
FG PALIKUR: Maoksi adudu.
COOK ISLANDS: Puka, Puka tavovo, Pukaama.

Koron-koron is a small tree, growing to a height of 40 feet. Leaves are smooth, somewhat leathery, broadly ovate, peltate, 15 to 18 centimeters long, 8 to 10 centimeters wide, pointed at the tip, broad and rounded at the base, with petioles up to 7 to 12 inches long. Blade is 5- to 9-nerved. Inflorescence is terminal or at the axils of the leaves, 10 to 20 centimeters long. Flowers are hairy, whitish and about one centimeter in diameter. Fruit is ellipsoid or somewhat rounded and 1.5 to 3 centimeters long. Involucre is greatly enlarged.

- Found along the seashore, occasionally extending inland on slopes at low altitudes from central Luzon (Zambales and Quezon) to Palawan, Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.
- Also occurs in Sri Lanka to tropical East Africa and Madagascar, and through Malaya to tropical Australia and Polynesia.

- Fruit contains an alkaloid, 0.7 per cent, resembling berberine.
- Seeds contain an oil, 51%, used in the same way as those of Aleurites in some parts of the Dutch Indies in making candles.
- Oil is red brown; feebly drying, which contains stearin. It is inedible.
- Study of root-bark led to the isolation of eight compounds: desoxypodophyllotoxint , thalicarpine, dehydrothalicarpine, ovigerine, hemanger-ine, hemando-nine and two unknown substances, mp. 219-220" and mp. 269-270°. Desoxypodop-hyllotoxin(I) and thalicarpineflll) exhibited a distinctively cytotoxic activity against nasopharynx carcinoma was reported by S.M. Kupchan et aI. Dehydrothalicarp-ine(IV) is merely a dehydro product of thalicarpine(III) at C-6a and C-7 of aporphinemoiety.
- Study for lignoidic and alkaloidal content of leaves, stem barks and root barks of HG yielded two aryltetrahydronaphthalenes, two dibenzylbutyrolactones, and nine alkaloids. (12)
- Seeds yielded three kinds of lignans, including a new lignan, hemolactone, including six known lignans: desoxypodophyllotoxin (DPT), desoxypicropodophyllin, bursehernin, podorhizol, hernandin and dehydro-DPT. (14)
- Fractionation of ethyl acetate extract of twigs yielded two naturally occurring aryltetralin lignans (7R,8S,7‘R,8‘R)-(+)-7‘-acetyl-5‘-methoxypicropodophyllin (1) and (7R,8S,7‘R,8‘R)-(+)-7‘-acetylpicropodophyllin (2), along with eight known compounds, epiyangambin (3), caruilignan C, diasesartemin, (+)-epimagnolin A, N-methylcorydaldine, (−)-5‘-methoxyyatein, (+)-syringaresinol dimethyl ether, and (−)-yatein.

Bark and leaves considered cathartic and depilatory.

Parts utilized
Leaves, oil, roots.

- In the Philippines, the oil is used as a hair restorer; also used for dandruff.
- The root is chewed to counter the effects of eating poisonous crabs or fish.
- Leaves and seeds, when eaten, cause purging and dizziness.
- In the Moluccas, the heartwood at the base of the trunk used for treating hemorrhages.
- The bark and leaves used as cathartic and depilatory.
- In the Guianas, juice from stem bark used as depilatory and to kill hair lice. Juice of young leaves used as depilatory. Decoction of fruit and flower used for whooping cough. Bark, young leaves and seeds used as mild purgative. (13)
- Oil: In the Dutch Indies, oil used to make candles.

Twigs Constituents: Fractionation of ethyl acetate extract of HO twigs isolated two new naturally occurring aryltetralin lignans along with 8 known compounds. Two (compounds 2 and 3) exhibited significant inhibition of the transformation of murine epidermal JB6 cells with IC50 of 0.15 and 0.4 µg/mL, respectively. (see constituents above) (1)
Antitumor: HO reported to possess alkaloid possessing inhibitory activity against the Walker intramuscular carcinosarcoma 256 test system.

Seed Constituents / Lignans: Study isolated a new lignan, hernolactone from the seeds of HO besides six previously reported lignans. (3)
Deoxypodophyllotoxin / Anticancer: The seeds of HO contain 2.4% DPT (deoxypodophyllotoxin). DPT is a form of epipodophyllotoxin, a basic skeleton of the anticancer drug etoposide. HO presents a possible source for the mass production of etoposide. (4)
Antiplatelet Aggregation / p-Quinonoide Aporphine Alkaloids: Study isolated 3 minor p-quinonoid aporphine alkaloids (sonodione, demethysonodione and norsonodione) and ovigerine, hernangerine, N-methylhernangerine, (+)-malekulatine and isovanillin from the stem bark of Hernandia sonora. Compounds 4-8 showed moderate antiplatelet aggregation activity in vitro. (5)
Tumor-Inhibitor / Thalicarpine: A tumor-inhibitor thalicarpine, the first dimeric benzylisoquinoline-aporphine alkaloid, had been isolated from the stem-bark of Hernandia ovigera.
Cytotoxicity / Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma: A 1975 study of root-bark led to the isolation of eight compounds: desoxypodophyllotoxint , thalicarpine, dehydrothalicarpine, ovigerine, hemanger-ine, hemando-nine and two unknown substances. , mp. 219-220" and mp. 269-270°. Desoxypodophyllotoxin and thalicarpine exhibited a distinctively cytotoxic activity against nasopharynx carcinoma. (7)
Cyclooxygenase-2 Inhibitory Activity: Study isolated a new dibenzylbutyrolactone lignan, (2 R,3 R)-5'-methoxyguayarol, from an ethanol extract of seeds, together with three known fatty acid derivatives and seven known lignans. (S)-coriolic acid and (+/-)-glycerol 1-monolinolate were shown to have selective inhibitory activity with cyclooxygenase 2. (9)
• Conversion of DPT to EPT / Anticancer Etoposide / Seeds: Penicillium F0543 converted deoxypodophyllotoxin (DPT), a major constituent (2.4%) of seeds of H. ovigera, to epipodophyllotoxin (EPT), a basic skeleton of the excellent anticancer agent, etoposide. (15)
• Lignans / Anti-Tumor Promoters: Seeds yielded seven lignans and were tested for inhibitory effects on Epstein-Barr virus early antigen activation induced by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate in Raji cells.  All showed inhibitory activity with IC50 of 470-590 mol ratio/32 pmol TPA. Results suggest the lignans may be valuable anti-tumor promoters. (16)


© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Updated July 2017 / January 2016

MAGE SOURCE: Photo / File:Hernandia nymphaeifolia.jpg / Hernandia nymphaeifolia, Chineze lantern tree, (fotulona) on Tongan beach / 6 Ma7 2007 / Tauʻolunga / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER MAGE SOURCE: Hernandia sonora / Plate from Descourtilz (1827) Flore Pittoresque et Medicale des Antilles / Plants of the Eastern Caribbean
OTHER I MAGE SOURCE: Hernandia sonora / Hernandia ovigera var. stokesii / TIAREDEX Index Botnique de Tahiti et Ses Iles

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Constituents of the twigs of Hernandia ovigera that inhibit the transformation of JB6 murine epidermal cells. / Gu JQ, Park EJ et al / J Nat Prod. 2002 Jul;65(7):1065-8.
/ DOI10.1021/np020042w
Alkaloids: Chemistry and Pharmacology / Arnold Brossi
Studies on the Constituents of the Seeds of Hernandia ovigera L. VI. Isolation and Structural Determination of Three Lignans (Pharmacognosy,Chemical) / Chemical & pharmaceutical bulletin • 35(10) pp.4162-4168 1987102

Microbial production of anticancer drug etoposide from insecticidal active substance Deoxypodophyllotoxin (DPT). Studied from nature and learning from human / Inamori Yshihiko et al / Medicine & Drug Journal, VOL.37;NO.4;PAGE.1350-1356(2001)
New p-Quinonoid Aporphine Alkaloids and Antiplatelet Aggregation Constituents of Hernandia-sonora / Ih-Sheng Chen, Jih-Jung Chen et al / Planta Med. 61 (1995) 537- 539
Studies on the constituents of Hernandia ovigera L. / Tsang-Hsiung Yang, Sheng—Teh Lu and Shih—Chih Liu / JOURNAL or THE TAIWAN PHARMACEUTICAL ASSOCIATION, Vol. 25 No. 1,2 (1973)
Hernandia nymphaeifolia (C. Presl) Kubitzki (accepted name) / Chinese name / Catalogue of Life, China
Constituents of the seeds of Hernandia ovigera with inhibitory activity against cyclooxygenase-2 / Dae Sik Jang, Muriel Cuendet, Bao-Ning Su, Steven Totura, Soedarsono Riswan, Harry H. S. Fong, John M. Pezzuto, A. Douglas Kinghorn / Planta Med 2004; 70(10): 893-896 / DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-832612
Synthetic Study of 4-Aza-4-deoxypodophyllotoxins / Masao ARIMOTO*, Atsushi MIYAMOTO, Hirofumi NAKAYAMA, Tadashi OKANO, Haruko MIYOSHI, Azusa IWAI, Masako YAMANAKA, Fumie HIRANO, Ayaka TASAKA, Ami OHGURO, Hayato ICHIKAWA, and Yoshihide USAMI* / Bulletin of Osaka University of Pharmaceutical Sciences 3 (2009)
Hernandia guianensis / Synonyms / The Plant List
Studies on hernandiaceae VI. Lignans and alkaloids of Hernandia guianensis. / Richomme P, Lavault M, Jacquemin H, Bruneton J. / Planta Med. 1984 Feb;50(1):20-2.
Hernandia guianensis Aublet / Robert A. DeFilipps, Shirley L. Maina and Juliette Crepin / MEDICINAL PLANTS OF THE GUIANAS (GUYANA, SURINAM, FRENCH GUIANA
Studies on the Constituents of the Seeds of Hernandia ovigera L. VI. Isolation and Structural Determination of Three Lignans / Mariko Tanoguchi, Masao Arimoto, Hideyuki Saika, Hideo Yamaguchi / Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, Vol 35 (1987), No 10, Pp 4162-4168
Conversion of Deoxypodophyllotoxin to Podophyllotoxin-related Compounds by Microbes / Kazuhiko Kondo, Masaru Ogura et al /  Biological Chemistry / http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00021369.1989.10869355
Lignans as Anti-Tumor-Promoter from the Seeds of Hernandia ovigera / Chihiro Ito, Masataka Itoigawa, Masakazu Ogata, Xiao Yang Mou, Harukuni Tokuda, Hoyoku Nishino, Hiroshi Furukawa / Planta Med 2001; 67(2): 166-168 / DOI: 10.1055/s-2001-11501

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