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Family Boraginaceae
Trichodesma zeylanicum Burm. f


Scientific names    Common names 
Boraco zeylanica Burm. f.  Dilang-usa (Tag.)
Borraginoides zeylanica (Burm.f.) Hiem  Mabulo (Tag.)
Pollichia zeylanica (Burm.f.) F.Muell. Sigang-dagat (Tag.)
Trichodesma zeylanicum (Burm. f) R.Br. Trikantaka (India)
  Camel bush (Engl.)
  Cattle bush (Engl.)
  Rough blue bell (Engl.)
Dila-dila is a shared common name by many different species of plants: (1) Onychium siliculosum: Buhok-virgin (Tag.); dila-dila (Tag) (2) Nopalea cochinellifera: Dila-dila (Ilk.); dilang baka (Tag.) (3) Elephantus scaber: Dila-dila (Tag.), kabkabron (Ilk.); prickly leaved elephant's food (Engl.) (4) Pseudoelephantopus spicatus: Dila-dila (Tag.); dilang-aso (Tag.) Kabkaron (Ilk.)
Other phonetic variations and use of "dila" for other local plant names further add to the confusion: Dila-dilag (Spilanthes acmella); Dilang aso (P. spicatus); Dilang-baka (N. Cochinellifera); Dilang-boaia, dilang-halo (Aloe vera); Dilang-butiki (Dentella repens); Dilang-butiki (Hedyotis philippensis); Dilang-usa (Trichodesma zeylanicum); and Diladila (Cordyline roxyburghiana).
Trichodesma zeylanicum (Burm.f.) R.Br. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
HINDI: Dhadhona, Hetemuria, Jalasirasa.
KANNADA: Ethina naalige gida, Gaaya maari.
SANSKRIT: A mbusirishika, Dhindhinika, Durbala,Jjhingi.
TAMIL: Kalutaikkali.
TANZANIA: Igungulu.
TELUGU: Pedda gurragutti.

Dilang-usa is an erect, branched and hairy annual herb, 30 to 70 centimeters in height. Leaves are hairy, oblong to lanceolate, 5 to 12 centimeters long, on short stalks, pointed at both ends. The hairs on the upper surface of the blade arise from tubercles. Flowers are borne on long stalks, in axillary or terminal racemes, of four or five flowers. Calyx is densely hairy, about 1 centimeter long in the flower. Corolla is pale blue, about 1.3 centimeters in diameter.

- A weed found in cultivated areas and waste places at low altitude.
- Found in Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Pampanga, Rizal and Quezon Provinces in Luzon.
- Also occurs in tropical Asia to Mauritius, Malaya, tropical Australia, to eastern tropical Africa.

- Yield a low toxic alkaloid supinine.
- Analysis of crude methanolic extract yielded four essential minerals: iron 58.53 mg/kg, manganese 47.5 mg/kg, magnesium 3.43 mg/kg, copper 3.28 mg/kg, and ash value of 23.46%. Analysis also yielded abundant calcium oxalate crystal and nitrate. (12)

- Flower considered sudorific and pectoral.
- Leaves are diuretic, emollient, demulcent and diuretic.

- Seeds contain 30% oil.
- Roots considered analgesic and wound healing.
- Studies have suggest antioxidant, wound healing, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory properties.

Parts used
Leaves, roots, oil.

• In Malawi, leaves cooked as a side dish.
• Leaves are used as emollient poultice.
• In Ayurveda, used for treatment of leucoderma and piles.
• Powdered root applied to painful ulcers.
• In Tanzania, oil is used for its emollient and soothing properties. Used for tonsillitis, coughs, stomachache, and poisoning.
• In Malawi, used for stomach ailments and indigestion. Infusion of leaves and roots used for intestinal worms, coughing, chest complaints, itching and throat pains. Root scraping used for wound dressing.
• In Madagascar, decoction of leaves used as emollient, demulcent and diuretic. Decoction of flowers used as sudorific and diuretic. Externally, powdered root used as analgesic when applied to wounds and skin infections.
• Roots used for bilharzia, swelling of lymph glands, coughing, toothache and abdominal pains.
• In southern India, leaf of the plant is mixed with the rhizome of Glycyrrhiza glabra, stem of Canna indica and stem bark of Punica granatum, then ground into a paste and applied topically to heal wounds. (4)
• In Western Ghats, fresh leaves are roasted with Allium cepa in coconut oil and made into curry. The curry is taken before meals twice daily for four to five days to treat bleeding piles.
- In Ethiopia, roots used for treatment of infertility in women. (15)
• Pesticide: Aqueous extracts of stems, leaves and fruits reported to be very toxic to cockroaches. (11)

Some reports contend it is poisonous to stock.

Wound Healing / Root:
Study evaluated in vivo wound healing effect of a herbal ointment formulated with 15% w/w Trichodesma zeylanicum methanolic root extract in excision wounds in albino rats. Results showed wound healing potential. Study suggested further evaluation to assess the potential accumulation of low toxic alkaloid supinine in wound healing. (7)
Anti-Inflammatory / Alkane: Study evaluated anti-inflammatory activities of isolated phytoconstituents in arthritis models in rats. Results showed alkanoic acid significantly inhibited carrageenan-induced acute arthritis. Alkane also suppressed the development of chronic arthritis induced by CFA. Alkane was the major phytoconstituent reported in the in vivo studies. (8)
Antioxidant / Free Radical Scavenging Potential / Roots: Study of T. zeylanicum powdered root extract showed good scavenging ability compared to standard ascorbic acid. Reducing power assay showed concentration dependent reducing ability and were higher compared to ascorbic acid. Results suggest a potential source of antioxidants relevant to wound treatment. (9)
Antimicrobial / Leaves: Study evaluated the antimicrobial activity of T. zeylanicum leaves against selected pathogenic microbes. The crude extract showed activity against S. aureus, P. aeruginosa, S. typhi, and dermatophyte T. mentagrophytes. (12)


Updated October 2020 /October 2015

                                                   PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Trichodesma zeylanicum flower, Mount Archer National Park, Rockhampton / File:Trichodesma zeylanicum flower.jpg / ETHEL AARDVARK . / Creative Commons Attribution / Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Trikantaka, Indian Medicinal Plants

Taxonomic perspective of plant species yielding vegetable oils used in cosmetics and skin care products / African Journal of Biotechnology, Vol. 4, No. 1, January 2005, pp. 36-44
Chewa medical botany: a study of herbalism in southern Malawi / Brian Morris
Herbal medicines for wound healing among tribal people in Southern India: Ethnobotanical and Scientific evidences / Ayyanar M, Ignacimuthu S / International Journal of Applied Research in Natural Products Vol. 2(3), pp. 29-42, Sep-Oct 2009
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids in plants used in the traditional medicine of Madagascar and the Mascarene islands / E Roeder, H Wiedenfeld / Pharmazeutisches Institut der Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn, Germany

Ethnomedicinal plants used by Kanikkars of Agasthiarmalai Biosphere Reserve, Western Ghats
/ S. Lalitha Rani, V. Kalpana Devi, P. Tresina Soris, A. Maruthupandian and V.R. Mohan / Journal of Ecobiotechnology 2011, 3(7): 16-25
Evaluation of the Wound Healing Potential of Trichodesma zeylanicum (Burm. f.) Formulation in Excision Wounds in Albino Rats / Frank Ngonda* / Annual Research & Review in Biology, 2014; 4(6): [pp 828-839
Anti-inflammatory activity of alkanoids and triterpenoids from Trichodesma amplexicaule Roth. / Abstract / Free Library by Farlex
In- vitro Anti-oxidant Activity and Free Radical Scavenging Potential of roots of Malawian / Trichodesma zeylanicumm (burm. f.) / Frank Ngonda* / Asian Journal of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences; 2013; 3(20)L pp 21-25.
Camel Bush / Indian common names / Flowers of India
Trichodesma zeylanicum / Indian Medicinal Plants / C P Khare
In vitro antimicrobial activity and determination of essential metal and ash value contents of Trichodesma zeylanicum / *Sheila M.Maregesi, Nyamwisenda T.Nyamwisenda, Denis Mwangomo, Abdul Kidukuli / International Journal of Research in Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics, Vol 2, Issue 3, 2013
A Survey of medicinal plants in Tabora region, Tanzania / C.K. RUFFO / Traditional Medicinal Plants, 1991, Tanzania, 391 p.
Trichodesma zeylanicum / synonyms / The Plant List
Traditional Medicinal Plants Used to Treat Maternal and Child Health Illnesses in Ethiopia: An Ethno-Botanical Approach / Asmare TW, Yilkal BA, Mekuannint T, and Yibeltal / J Tradit Med Clin Natur., 7(3)

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. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

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