Herbs & Plants

Erythrina herbacea (Coral Bean)

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

Synonyms: Erythrina arborea – Small.

Common Names :Coralbead, Coral Bean, Cherokee Bean, Red Cardinal or Cardinal Spear

Habitat :Erythrina herbacea is native to south-eastern N. AmericaNorth Carolina to Texas. It grows on  andy soils in hummocks, the coastal plain and pinelands.

Erythrina herbacea is a Perennial low shrub or small tree, reaching around 5 m (16 ft) in height in areas that do not kill it back by freezing; elsewhere it may only reach 1.2 m (3.9 ft). Stems are covered in curved spines. The leaves are yellowish-green, 15–20 cm (5.9–7.9 in) long and 6 cm (2.4 in) wide. The leaves are divided into three 2.5–8 cm (0.98–3.1 in) arrowhead-shaped leaflets. The bark is smooth and light gray. The tubular flowers are bright red and grow in long spikes, each flower being 4–6.5 cm (1.6–2.6 in) long; the tree blooms from April to July.It is hardy to zone 8 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. They are followed by 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) pods containing bright red seeds, from which the tree gets its name. Toxic alkaloids, including erysopine, erysothiopine, erysothiovine, erysovine, erythrinine, erythroresin, coralin, erythric acid, and hypaphorine, are found throughout the plant. These cause paralysis upon ingestion, much like curare.

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Coral Bean grows best in sandy soils and has moderate salt tolerance. It can be found in open woods, forest clearings, hammocks, and disturbed areas.

Requires a moderately fertile well-drained soil in a very sunny position[200]. Best if given the protection of an east, south or south-west facing wall. Becoming a tree in the south of its range, this species is shrubby or even herbaceous towards the limits of its northerly range. It is not very hardy outdoors in Britain though the rootstock can tolerate temperatures down to about -10°c provided the stem bases are thickly mulched with organic matter such as leaf litter or sawdust and covered with bracken. Alternatively, the roots can be lifted in the autumn and stored in a cool frost-free place, replanting in the spring. Plants take 3 – 4 years to flower from seed. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Seed – pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Overwinter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer. Heeled cuttings of young growth in the spring in a frame. Overwinter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves.

Flowers – cooked. An acceptable vegetable when boiled. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Young leaves – occasionally cooked and eaten[.

Medicinal Uses:

Antiemetic; Diuretic; Narcotic; Purgative; Tonic.

The plant is narcotic and purgative. A cold infusion of the root has been used to treat bowel pain in women. A decoction of the roots or berries has been used to treat nausea, constipation and blocked urination. A decoction of the ‘beans’ or inner bark has been used as a body rub and steam for numb, painful limbs and joints. A decoction of the leaves has been used as a general tonic.

Native American people had many medicinal uses for this plant, varying between nations and localities. Creek women used an infusion of the root for bowel pain; the Choctaw used a decoction of the leaves as a general tonic; the Seminole used an extract of the roots for digestive problems, and extracts of the seeds, or of the inner bark, as an external rub for rheumatic disorders.

Other Uses:
E. herbacea can be readily grown in gardens within its natural range. Although its use in gardens is not particularly common, it is popular among those who do grow it as a source of early season color, for its hardiness (USDA Zones 7-10), and because it attracts hummingbirds.

In Mexico, the seeds are used as a rat poison, while a fish poison is made from the bark and leaves

Known Hazards : The plant contains alkaloids that have powerful narcotic and purgative effects.  The seeds contain numerous toxic alkaloids, including erysodine and erysopine. They have an action similar to curare and have been used as a rat poison

Disclaimer : 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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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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