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Family Camelinaceae
Bangka-bangkaan
Rhoeo discolor (L'Her.) Hance
MOSES-IN-THE-CRADLE

Scientific names Common names
Ephemerum bicolor Moench Bangka-bangkaan (Tag.)
Rhoeo spathacea (Sw.) Stearn Boat lily (Engl.)
Rhoeo discolor (L'Her.) Hance. Moses-in-the-cradle (Engl.)
Tradescantia discolor L'Her. Oyster plant (Engl.)
Tradescantia spathacea Sw. Rheo (Engl.)

Zi bei wan nian qing (Chin.)

 
Rhoeo discolor (L'Hér.) Hance is a synonym of Tradescantia spathacea Sw. The Plant List
Tradescantia spathacea Sw. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CUBAN: Cordoban.
KHMER: Toem pradl lk'
NIUEAN: Laupapaki.
SPANISH: Canoa Di San Pedro, Señoritas Embarcadas.
VIETNAMESE: Cay le ban, Lao ban, So huyet.

Etymology
- Tradescantia is named after John Tradescant senior, gardener to Charles I. He collected the first tradescantia from Virginia in the USA. Spathacea refers to the spatula-like leaves. Its common names are Moses-in-the-cradle, Oyster Plant and Boat Lily.
- Moses in a Cradle: The small white three-petaled flowers (Moses) arise from within the boat-shaped purple bracts (the cradle) nestled between the leaf axils.

Botany
Bangka-bangkaan is a stout perennial herbaceous, somewhat fleshy plant, 0.5 meters in height or less, the stem thick and unbranched. Leaves are lanceolate, acuminate, 40 to 60 centimeters long, 4 to 6 centimeters wide, fleshy, the upper surface dark green, the lower purple.  Flowers are numerous in each inflorescence, fascicled, white, about 1 centimeter in diameter. Inflorescence, axillary, short, peduncled, the flowers surrounded by 2 large, imbricate, laterally compressed, distichous, 3 to 4 centimeters long purplish bracts.

Distribution
- Ornamental cultivation.
- Scarcely established.

Constituents
• Phytochemical studies yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, steroids, saponins, cardiac glycosides, terpenoids, tannin and phenolic compounds and oil
.

Properties
• Decongestant, expectorant, blood refrigerant, antidysenteric.
• Reported anti-inflammatory, anticancer, insecticidal, antimicrobial, antifertility properties.

Parts utilized
Flowers, leaves.
Collect the whole year round. Sun-dry.

Uses
Folkloric
· Used for cough, colds, hemoptysis, whooping cough, nose bleed.
· Bacillary dysentery, blood in the stool.
· Used for lymphatic tuberculosis.
· Dosage: use 30 to 60 gms fresh material, 15 to 84 gms dried material or 20 to 30 pieces dried material in decoction.
· In Singapore, sold in markets as both ornamental and medicinal: Boiled in water, it is believed to have cooling properties.

· In Thai medicine, used for fever, cough and bronchitis.
· In Cuba, frictions and cataplasms used to treat wounds. In the Caribbean, poultice of leaves used for asthma. (11)

Caution !
The plant sap is considered poisonous. Contact may cause stinging and itching of the skin and eyes. Ingestion may cause irritation of the lips, mouth, throat and abdominal pain.

Studies
Anti-tumor / Chemoprevention: Aqueous crude extract of Rhoeo discolor decreases the formation of liver preneoplastic foci in ratsIn Mexico, Rhoeo discolor has been used to treat cancer. A study was done to validate its antitumoral property. It showed a reduction of preneoplastic lesions and justifies continuing further studies for its chemoprevention potential. (1)
Antigenotoxic, antimutagenic and ROS scavenging activities: (1) Extensively used in traditionally medicine in Mexico for the treatment of superficial mycoses, a study was done to evaluate its antimutagenic and antigenotoxic activities. The extract was neither mutagenic nor genotoxic. It showed dome radical scavenging, less than a-tocopherol and more than ascorbic acid.
(2)
Antimutagenic Mechanism: Study of antimutagenic mechanisms showed the extract might be used to avoid DNA damage by alkylation, corrected alkylguanine transferase protein encoded with ogt gene. (5)
• ·Antimicrobial / Phytochemical Constituents : Phytochemical studies yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, steroids, saponins, cardiac glycosides, terpenoids, tannin and phenolic compounds and oil. Study showed good inhibitory activity with dose-dependent increase in effect. K pneumonia was found to be most susceptible. (4)

Availability
Wild-crafted. 

Last Updated November 2014

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Aqueous crude extract of Rhoeo discolor, a Mexican medicinal plant, decreases the formation of liver preneoplastic foci in rats / Tábata Rosales-Reyesa, Mireya de la Garza et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology • Volume 115, Issue 3, 12 February 2008, Pages 381-386 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2007.10.022
(2)
Antigenotoxic, antimutagenic and ROS scavenging activities of a Rhoeo discolor ethanolic crude extract / GONZALEZ-AVILA M. (1) ; ARRIAGA-ALBA M. et al
(3)
Anti-inflammatory activity of Ambrosia artemisiaefolia and Rheo spathacea
Phytomed / 22. Perez, G. R. M. (1996) / 3(2): 163-167.

(4)
Antimicrobial Properties and Phytochemical Constituents of Rheo discolor Hance./ Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12: 841-45. 2008.

(5)
Antimutagenicity mechanisms of the Rhoeo discolor ethanolic extract / Arriaga-Alba Myriam et al / Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology / doi:10.1016/j.etp.2010.01.001
(6)
Tradescantia spathacea Sw. / Chinese name / Catalogue of Life, China
(7)
Tradescantia spathacea (Boat Lily) / Common names / Zipcodezoo
(8)
Tradescantia spathacea / Flowers & Plants / Interflora
(9)
In vitro effects of Thai medicinal plants on human lymphocyte activity
/ Busarawan Sriwanthana, Weena Treesangsri, Bongkod Boriboontrakul, Somchit Niumsakul, and Pranee Chavalittumrong / Songklanakarin J. Sci. Technol. Vol.29 (Suppl. 1), March 2007 : Thai Herbs II
(10)
Rhoeo discolor (L'Hér.) Hance is a synonym of Tradescantia spathacea Sw. /The Plant List
(11)
Medicinal Knowledge in Cuba – domestic prescriptions using front and backyard biodiversity
/ Madaleno, Isabel Maria / Tropentag 2009 University of Hamburg, October 6-8, 2009 / Conference on International Research on Food Security, Natural Resource Management and Rural Development

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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