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Family Solanaceae
Brunfelsia
Brunfelsia americana
Linn.
LADY OF THE NIGHT

Scientific names Common names
Brunfelsia americana Linn. Brunfelsia (Engl.)
Brunfelsia undulata auct. non Sw. Lady of the night (Engl.)

General info
Brunfelsia is a genus of about 40 species. Linnaeus named the genus for early German herbalist Otto Brunfels (1488-1534).

Botany
Brunfelsia is an erect, smooth shrub growing to a height of 3 to 4 meters. Leaves are simple, green to yellowish-green, elliptic to obovate, with entire margins, 5 to 10 centimeters long, pointed at both ends, crowded on the ultimate twigs. Flowers are fragrant, terminal or axillary, solitary or in pairs, shortly stalked, with five broad petals. Calyx is green, ovoid, 6 millimeters long and 5-toothed. Corolla tube is about 4.5 centimeters long, slender and straw-colored; the limb is white to yellow, oblique and unequally 5-lobed, about 5 centimeters in diameter. The fruit is rounded, about 1.5 centimeters in diameter, with a yellow and somewhat fleshy pericarp and containing numerous seeds.

Distribution
- Recently introduced to the Philippines.
- Cultivated in Manila and other large towns for ornamental purposes.

- Introduced from tropical America.

Constituents
- Phytochemical investigations have yielded steroids, flavonoids, tannins, and saponins.
- Yields normal fatty acids, and uncommon fatty acids such as ricinolic acid together with cyclopropenoids.

Properties
- Flowers emit a sweet scent with inebriating effects reminiscent of Brugmansia suaveolens. The fragrance emerges with the night and disappears with the dawn.
- Considered tonic, antioxidant, anti-diarrheal.

Parts used and propagation
Fruit
Propagated by stem cuttings.

Uses
Folkloric
- No recorded medicinal use in the Philippines.
- In Martinique, fruit is astringent, used as a tonic; the syrup used for chronic diarrhea.
- In French Guiana, sugary fruit made into an astringent syrup for diarrhea

Studies
Cytotoxicity:
In a Bangladesh study evaluating the cytotoxicity activity 35 plant species by the brine shrimp lethality bioassay, the methanolic extract of Brunfelsia americana showed moderate cytotoxicity with LC50 less than 10.00 ug/ml.
Antioxidant:Study using a TLC-DPPH screening assay showed a high level of antioxidant activity.

Availability
Ornamental cultivation.

Last Update May 2012

IMAGE SOURCES: Flower of Brunfelsia americana / File:Brunfelsia americana flos.jpg / Andel Fruh / 18 Nov 2006 / Creative Commons Attribution / Modified by G Stuart / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE Line drawing: pre-Linnean illustration of Brunfelsia (species today known as Brunfelsia americana) / File:Brunfelsia plumier 1703.png / Charles Plumier / 1703 / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas (Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana)
(2)
Preliminary Cytotoxicity Screening of Some Medicinal Plants of Bangladesh / Mohammad Rahman et al / Dhaka Univ. J. Pharm. Sci. 7(1): 47-52, 2008 (June)

(3)
Pharmacognostic and physicochemical analysis on the leaves of Brunfelsia americana L.
/ R.S. Nisha Raj, P.M. Radhamany / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2012)S305-S307 S305
(4)
Preliminary phytochemical and in vitro antioxidant properties of Brunfelsia americana L / Raj, R. S. Nisha; Radhamany, P. M. / Journal of Pharmacy Research;Nov2010, Vol. 3 Issue 11, p2712


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