The genus Plumbago comprises 10 species from the warm climate parts
of the world. Etymologically, the name derives from plumbum,
meaning lead, referring to its use for lead poisoning. Auriculata means
ear-shaped, referring to the leaf base. It was originally named Plumbago capensis by botanist Thunberg in 1794 and renamed P. auriculata by Lamarck in 1786.
Plumbago auriculata is a semi-climbing, diffusely branched perennial
shrub, growing to 2 meters. Leaves are alternate, simple, entire, oblong
or oblong-spatulate, up to 5 centimeters long, with the base tapering to a short
petiole. Flowers are short spikelike racemes; calyx is tubular, shorter
than the slender corolla. Corolla tube measures 2 to 2.5 centimeters long,
five-lobed, azure blue and spreading. Fruit is a capsule that
splits into five parts.
- Cultivated in gardens
in towns and urban-suburban areas. Used as border plant, ornamental hedge, or ground cover.
- Propagated by seeds and stem cuttings.
- Native to South Africa.
- Crude chloroform extract of roots isolated the naphthoquinones plumbagin and epiisoshinanolone the steroids sitosterol and 3-O-glucosylsitosterol, plumbagic and palmitic acids. (2)
- All parts of the plant yield the naphthoquinone plumbagin (2-methyl juglone), which may blister the skin. (10)
- GC-MS analysis of methanolic extract yielded
Z - 11-octadecen-1-yl-acetic acid derivation, C-sitosterol, heptadecanoic acid, 9 methyl, methyl ester, 4,5,7 trihydroxy isoflavone, E, E, Z, 1, 3, 12 nonadecatriene 5, 14 diol, ethanol 2, (9 octadecenyloxyl, (E), 13 docosenoic corrosive Methyl ester, (Z), bis (2 ethyl hexyl) phthalate and 10, 12, 14- nonacosatriynoic corrosive. (see study below)
- Study of flowers of P. auriculata isolated six new anthocyanins based on three new anthocyanidins with 5,7-dimethoxylated A-rings viz. 3-O-?-galactopyranosides (1,2,4) and 3-O-?-rhamnopyranosides (3,5,6) of 5,7-dimethyldelphinidin, 5,7-dimethylpetunidin, and 5,7-dimethylmalvidin. (19)
- Considered styptic, wound healing, analgesic.
- Studies have suggest various activities to Plumbagin: antimicrobial, anticancer, cardiotonic, and antifertility. (10)
- Studies have suggested anti-ulcer, antimalarial, anti-H. pylori, cytotoxic, antifungal properties.
Roots, flowers, aerial parts.
- No reported folkloric
medicinal use in the Philippines.
- Name derives from use
for lead poisoning.
- In other folklore systems, used for warts, broken bones, headaches.
- Used as an emetic and for wound healing.
- Also used for preventing nightmares and warding off lightning.
- Roots used as toothpaste and for fevers.
- In Maharashtra, India,
for acidity, root juice or extract taken before each meal for a week.
- In south Africa, decoction of aerial parts or roots used to treat blackwater fever. Root infusion used as emetic. Root powder used for warts; also used as snuff to relieve headaches. Powdered and roasted root rubbed into scarifications over fractures to promote healing. Rubbed on painful areas of the body caused by strenuous exercise. Root extract used as styptic in scrofula. Excess use may cause irritation, even death. (10)
- In Tamilnanu, India, Roots
used for piles, epilepsy and jaundice.
- Fresh cut flowers used for bruises and for soothing sunburn, burns, spots and rashes. (11)
- In Bangladesh, paste of root and bark topically applied with milk to affected areas of the skin.
Also used for jaundice, epilepsy and headache. Dried bark is powdered and taken orally with water. (14)
- In South Africa, the roots
of P auriculata and Pelargonium reniforme are soaked water for one hour,
strained and given to cows to treat diarrhea.
- Ornamental: Flowers used as ritual ornamental.
- Dye: In East Africa, dye extracted from flowers and leaves are used for textiles: beige, lemon or yellow when combined with alum; or gold when combined with chrome. The sap of roots (grey-blue) used for tattoos. (10)
• Phytochemical Study / Plumbagin:
Crude chloroform extract
study yielded the naphthoquinones plumbagin and epi-isoshinanolone,
steroids sitosterol and 3-O-glucosylsitosterol and palmitic acids. Naphthoquinones
are typical components of Plumbago species showing interesting biological
activities. (2) Study of roots of P. auriculata and P. zeylanica isolated a substance with antibacterial activity, which was found identical to plumbagin.
(n-hexane and DMC) of aerial parts of P auriculata showed moderate
activity against Plasmodium falcifarum. (4)
/ Cytotoxicity: Study in rats investigated the antioxidant properties of the leaves of P. auriculata. Results showed the ethyl acetate and ethanol crude extracts had higher antioxidant activity than petroleum ether and dichlormethane extracts. The EA and petroleum ether extracts significantly inhibited the proliferation of HeLa cells.
• Anti-H. Pyloric Activity
/ Cytotoxicity / Roots: Study evaluated detoxified ethanol root extract of Plumbago auriculata, P. indica, and P. zeylanica for possible activity against H. pylori and cytotoxicity activity. All three plants showed dose-dependent cytotoxicity in HGE-17 cell lines. P. indica showed more anti-H. pylori activity than the other two plants, with P. auriculata having the lowest zone of inhibition. (9)
• Antifungal: P. auriculata contains an antifungal protein that inhibits spore germination in Macrophomina phasiolina. (10)
• Antiulcer: Study evaluated the antiulcer effect of Plumbaginales P. auriculata, P. indica and P zeylanica. Plumbagin showed cytotoxic activity at 40.16 µg/ml. P auriculata decreased the number of ulcers and increased the percentage of gastric protection. (11)
• Anticancer / Antioxidant: Study evaluated methanolic extract of P. auriculata for antiproliferative and apoptotic activities against lung (!549) and ovarian (PA1) malignancy cell lines. Results showed significant anti-lung and anti-ovarian cancer activity at minimal concentration of 10-40 mcg. Leaves exhibited significant antioxidant activity compared to the root extract. (see constituents above) (15)
• Anti-Obesity: Study evaluated Plumbago auriculata and P. europea for anti-obesity effect through inhibition of adsorption of dietary lipids using in vitro porcine pancreatic lipase inhibitory tests.
Both plants showed potential antiobesity activity, with P. europea significantly higher than P. auriculata. Both yielded bioactive compounds that can act as lipase inhibitors with potential for the development of functional foods against obesity. (16)
Silver Nanoparticles / Antitubercular Activity/ Antioxidant / Leaves: Study reports on the biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles utilizing an alcoholic extract of P. auriculata leaves. The AgNPs showed good antitubercular activity with MIC of 1.6 µg/ml and promising antioxidant activity with IC50 of 28.2. (17)
• Plumbagin / Apoptosis in Her2-Overexpressing Breast Cancer Cells:
Study evaluated the anticancer potential of plumbagin toward Her2-overexpressing cell lines SKBR3 and BT474. The antiproliferative activity of plumbagin was associated with apoptosis-mediated cell death through the mitochondrial-
mediated pathway and suggests potential in the treatment of Her2-overexpressing breast cancer. (20)
• Plumbagin: (1) The plant has been reported to cause skin blistering, and excessive use has been reported to cause death. (2) Because of plumbagin, the use of Plumbago auriculata in traditional medicine is not without risk. Decoction of plant parts should be taken with caution. (10)