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Family Rubiaceae
Malakafe
Canthium dicoccum (Gaertn.) Merr.
CEYLON BOX WOOD

Scientific names Common names
Canthium dicoccum (Gaertn.) Merr. Bogas (P. Bis.)
Canthium didymum Gaertn.f. Luing-luing (P. Bis.)
Plectronia dicocca (Gaertn.) Merr. Malakafe (P. Bis.)
Plectronia didyma Elm. Tandan (Mag.)
Psydrax dicoccos Gaertn. Ceylon boxwood (Engl.)

Other vernacular names
TAMIL: Nallamandharam.

Botany
Malakafe is an unarmed, smooth shrub 3 to 4 meters or more in height. Leaves are extremely variable, ovate, elliptic, ovate or somewhat rounded, 5 to 15 centimeters long, 1.5 to 10 centimeters wide, leathery, shining above, and usually pointed at both ends. Flowers are white, with very slender stalks, 5 to 10 millimeters long, and borne in compressed, short-stalked cymes. Calyx is cut off at the end or obscurely toothed. Corolla is bell-shaped, with a 4- to 6-millimeter tube, and five somewhat pointed lobes. Fruit is rounded, ellipsoid or obovoid, 6 to 10 millimeters long, slightly flattened and obscurely 2-lobed.

Distribution
- In secondary and primary forests at low altitudes in Benguet, Pangasinan, Zambales, Bataan, Rizal and Batangas Provinces in Luzon; and in Mindoro, Ticao, Palawan, Negro, Guimaras, and Mindanao.
- Also from southeast China to tropical Asia.

Constituents
- Study yielded ursolic acid, rutin and 7-O-(5-O-benzoyl-ß-D-glucopyranosyl)-rutin.
- Study yielded major chemical components viz. Spathulenol (20.76 %), Caryophyllene oxide (19.25 %), Cedren-13-ol (10.62 %), Ledene oxide (5.24 %), m-mentho-4, 8-diene (6.41 %) and 2-furancarboxaldehyde (4.51 %). (See study below) (7)

Properties
Febrifuge, antidiarrheal.

Parts used
Bark, roots.

Uses

Folkloric
- In India, bark is used for fever.
- Decoction of roots used for diarrhea.


Studies
Flavonol Glycoside:
Study yielded a new flavonol glycoside, 7-O-(5-O-benzoyl-ß-D-glucopyranosyl)-rutin.
(1)
Antifungal:
Diglycosides, rutin and its benzoic derivative,
7-O-(5-O-benzoyl-ß-D-glucopyranosyl)-rutin from C dicoccum and kaempferol 3-ß-D-rutinoside from C rheedii strongly inhibited all test fungi. (2)
Anti-Inflammatory: Study evaluated an ethanolic extract of whole plant of Canthium diococcum for anti-inflammatory activity in Wistar albino rats in various models of anti-inflammatory activity viz. Carrageenan induced paw edema, Formalin induced paw edema, fresh egg white induced paw edema and cotton pellet induced granuloma model. Results showed the extract with anti-inflammatory activity and suggests a potential alternative to NSAIDS like diclofenac. (4)
Anti-Diabetic / Nephroprotective: Study evaluated an ethanolic extract of Canthium diococcum for anti-diabetic in an alloxan induced diabetic rat model. Results showed a significant drop in fasting blood sugar in a dose-dependent manner, with an effect on the beta-cell population in the pancreas. The extract showed almost equipotent antidiabetic activity compared to standard drug Glibenclamide. (5)
Anti-Arthritic: Study evaluated an ethanolic extract for anti-arthritic activity in albino rats. Results showed significant anti-arthritic activity against Egg-albumin induced arthritis model. (6)
Bioactive Components: Study of an ethanolic extract of leaf yielded major chemical constituents viz. Spathulenol (20.76 %), Caryophyllene oxide (19.25 %), Cedren-13-ol (10.62 %), Ledene oxide (5.24 %), m-mentho-4, 8-diene (6.41 %) and 2-furancarboxaldehyde (4.51 %). Some on the constituents provide scientific bases and evidence for antimicrobial, anti-tumor, immunomodulatory, and antioxidant properties of the plant. (7)

Availability
Wild-crafted.

Last Update April 2014

IMAGE SOURCE: Line Drawing / Canthium dicoccum (Gaertn.) Teysmann et Binnedijk / Zhiwutong

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
7-O-(6-O-Benzoyl-β- -glucopyranosyl)-rutin from leaves of Canthium dicoccum /
R. Gunasegaran, K. Subramani, P. Azantha Parimala et al / Fitoterapia, Vol 72, No 3, March 2001, Pages 201-205 / doi:10.1016/S0367-326X(00)00302-6
(2)
ANTIFUNGAL ACTIVITY OF THE CONSTITUENTS OF THE SPECIES OF CANTHIUM /
(3)
GC-MS Analysis of bioactive components from the ethanolic leaf extract of Canthium dicoccum (Gaertn.) Teijsm & Binn. / Raja Rajeswari. N, RamaLakshmi. S and Muthuchelian. K / J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2011, 3(3):792-798
(4)
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY ACTIVITY OF ETHANOLIC EXTRACT OF CANTHIUM DICOCCUM / Bhaargavi Vuyyuri / INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHARMACEUTICAL AND PHYTOPHARMACOLOGICAL RESEARCH, Vol 3, No 3, 2013.
(5)
EVALUATION OF ANTI-DIABETIC AND NEPHRO PROTECTIVE ACTIVITY OF 95% ETHANOLIC EXTRACT OF CANTHIUM DICOCCUM WHOLE PLANT BY USING ALBINO RATS / SANTHAN S*, JANARTHAN M, ZUBER ALI M / Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vol 6, No 4, Oct-Dec 2013
(6)
Evaluation of Anti-Arthritic Activity of Ethanolic Extract of Canthium diococcum in Albino Rats / B. Murali Reddy*, C.Stalin, E.Penchala Narasimhulu, V.Gunashekar / International Journal of Novel Prospects in Pharmaceutical Research


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