Herbs & Plants

Erythrina variegata

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Botanical Name :Erythrina variegata
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Erythrina
Species: E. variegata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Scientific names:
Erythrina variegata Linn. var. orientalis (Linn.)
Erythrina corallodendron Linn. Bagbag (Ilk.)
Tetradapa javanorum Osbeck
Erythrina indica Linn.
Erythrina carnea Blanco

Common Names:Indian Coral Tree.,Andorogat (Bik.),Merr. Andorogat (Bik.),Bagbok (Ibn.),Dapdap (Tag., Pamp., Bik., Bis.), Dubdub (Ilk.) ,Kabrab (Bik.) ,Karapdap (Tag.) ,Kasindak (Tag.) ,Sabang (Bon.) ,Sulbang (Pamp.) ,Vuvak (Ibn.) , Tiger’s claw (Engl.) ,Indian coral tree (Engl.) ,Hai tong pi (Chin.)

It is known as the Roluos Tree in Cambodia, deigo on Okinawa, drala on Fiji, madar in Bangladesh, Modar in Assam, man da ra ba in Tibet, as thong lang in Thailand and as vông nem in Vietnam.

Habitat :Erythrina variegata is   native to the tropical and subtropical regions of eastern Africa, southern Asia, northern Australia, and the islands of the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean east to Fiji.

Along the seashore and frequently planted inland hroughout the Philippines.
– Occurs in India to Polynesia.

Dapdap is a deciduous tree reaching a height of 15 meters, the branches and the branchlets stout and armed with short, few to many sharp prickles. Leaflets are broadly ovate and 8 to 18 centimeters long, with pointed tip and broad base. Racemes are terminal, hairy, dense, and up to 2.5 centimeters long. Flowers are papillonaceous, large and numerous. Calyx is about 4 centimeters long and minutely 5-toothed at the tip, the mouth being very oblique. Petals are bright red and shorter than the calyx, the standard being 7 to 9 centimeters long and the wings and keels subequal. Stamens are 10, upper filaments free nearly to the base or more or less connate with others. Ovary many-ovuled, style incurved. Racemes terminal, hairy, dense and up to 2.5 cm long. Fruits are pods, 10 to 25 centimeters long, 1.5 to 2 centimeters in diameter, and distinctly constricted between the seeds.

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• Seeds yield an alkaloid, a fatty oil, and a saponaceous glucoside.
• The alkaloid has properties identical to hypaphorine.
• Leaves and bark yield an a poisonous alkaloid, erythrinine, which acts on the nervous system with effects similar to the alkaloid cytisine.
• Bark, leaves and seeds yield saponin.
• Hydrocyanic acide is found in the leaves, stems, roots, and fruit.
Phytochemical screening yielded eight spiromaine alkaloids and 3 carboxylated indole-3-alkylamines.
• Dried bark yields erythraline, hypaphorine, amino acids, organic acides, erythrinin, erybidin and saponins.

• Prepared drug tastes bitter, neutral in effect.
• The bark is bitter, acrid, thermogenic, anti-inflammatory, sedative, carminative, digestive, anthelminthic, rejuvenating, laxative, diuretic and expectorant.
• The leaves are bitter, diuretic, laxative, emmenagogue, stomachic and anthelmintic.
• Erythrina has a narcotic and depressant action on the central nervous system.

Medicinal Uses:
Part utilized:
Bark and leaves.
Remove spines from bark after collection, rinse, sun-dry.

Folkloric :
• In the Philippines, a sweetened decoction of bark and leaves used as expectorant. Bark also used to facilitate the maturation of boils.
• Leaves and roots used as febrifuge.
• Decoction of leaves used for coughs and asthma.
• Dried bark decoction or infusion in alcohol used for lumbar and leg pain.
• In the Malay Peninsular, bark used for curing toothaches, rounded and pusjhed into the cavity or hollow tooth.
• In the Moluccas, bark chewed for dysentery.
• Pulverized leaves in the form of snuff used for Infantile convulsion and ascariasis.
• Wood rasped in water used for hematuria.
• Bark considered as antibilious and febrifuge.
• In the Peninsula and Indo-China, leaves used for poulticing sores.
• Seeds used internalluy and externally for cancer; externally for abscesses.
• In China, bark used as febrifuge and expectorant.
• In India and China, the bark and leaves are used in many traditional medicinal concoctions. Paribhadra, an Indian preparation, destroys parasites and relieves joint pains. Honeyed leaf juice is used for tapeworm and roundworm diseases. The juice also helps stimulate lactation and menstruation. A poultice of leaves is used for rheumatic join

Studies :-
• Antibacterial: Antibacterial activity of isoflavonoids isolated from Erythrina variegata against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: 16 isoflavonoids isolated from Erythrina variegata was screened for antibacterial activity against methicillin-resistant Staph aureus. Of the active compounds, erycristagallin and orientanol B showed the highest anti-MRSA activity.
• Antibacterial / Erycristagallin / Dental Caries Prevention: Study isolated compounds from EV with antibacterial property against cariogenic oral bacteria. Among them was erycristagallin, a potential phytochemical agent for the prevention of dental caries by inhibiting the growth of cariogenic bacteria.
• Anti-osteoporotic Effect: Study showed that E. variegata could suppress the high rate of bone turnover induced by estrogen deficiency and improve the biomechanical properties of bone in the lab rats.
• Alkaloids / Nervous System Effects: The study isolated eight spiroamine alkaloids and three carboxylated indole-3-alkylamines and showed characteristic pharmacological effects: (1) neuromuscular blocking, (2) smooth muscle relaxant, (3) CNS depressant, (4) hypocholeretic, and (5) anticonvulsant effects supporting the indigenous use of the plants.
• Trypsin / Proteinase Inhibitors: Study indicate that E. variegata proteinase inhibitors possess different potency toward serine proteinases in blood coagualation and fibrinolytic systems.
• Antimicrobial / Cytoxicity: Study isolated five compounds from the methanol extract of stem bark of EV: epilupeol, 6-hydroxygenistein, 3ß, 28-dihydroxyolean-12-ene, epilupeol, stigmasterol. Diiferent partitionates showed mild to moderate antimicrobial activity and varying degrees of cytotoxicity.
• Antioxidant / Smooth Muscle Inhibitory Activity: Three new and 14 known compounds were isolated from E variegata. The smooth muscle studies on crude extract and their fractions showed inhibitory response, possibly with involvement of both muscarinic and adrenergic receptors. Significant antioxidant activity and a CNS depressive effect were also noted.
• Lectin / Cytoxicity: Study isolated a human erythrocyte specific lectin from the seeds of E. variegata. The purified lectin was a glycoprotein which induced transformation of peripheral blood lymphocytes in cultures.
Anti-Cancer: Study of methanol extract of the root bark of EV in Swiss albino mice showed a protective effect against Dalton’s Ascitic Lymphoma (DAL) with evidence of a significant increase in life span, decrease in cancer cell number and tumour weight and normalization of hematologic parameters.
• Antioxidant / Hypolipidemic: Study showed the protective effect of seeds of EV on high fat induced hyperlipidemia with lowering of total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, and VLDL. The effect may be attributed to decrease cholesterol synthesis, increase cholesterol excretion and expression of LDL receptor and catabolism. The antioxidant effect may play a role in retarding or preventing cardiovascular complications secondary to hyperlipidemia.
• Hypoglycemic Effect: Study concluded that E. variegata demonstrated promising hypoglycemic action in stretozotocin-induced diabetic rats.
• Antibacterial / Mupirocin Synergism: Study isolated an isoflavone, bidwillon B which inhibited the growth of 12 MRSA strains at minimum inhibitory concentrations. Combined with mupirocin, synergistic effects were observed for 11 strains of MRSA. Both compounds act on MRSA via different mechanisms. Bidwillon B presents as a potent phytotherapeutic and/or combination agent with mupirocin in the elimination of nasal and skin carriage of MRSA.

Other Uses:

It is valued as an ornamental tree. Several cultivars have been selected, including ‘Alba’ with white flowers.

It was designated the official flower of Okinawa Prefecture in 1967. The deigo flower features in the popular song Shima Uta by The Boom, one of the most well-known songs associated with Okinawa. In addition, the use of the wood of the deigo tree is one of the unique characteristics of Ryukyuan lacquerware.

In Vietnam, the leaves are used to wrap fermented meat (Vietnamese: nem).

The Tamils call it as “mullu murukkan” . In Siddha medicine it is used especially for menstrual disorders and fissures at penis tip .

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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