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Family Annonaceae
Indian tree
Polyalthia longifolia chinensis Benth. & Hook. f.

TREE OF INDIA

Other scientific names  Common names
Polyalthia longifolia chinensis Benth. & Hook. f. Ashok tree (Engl.)
Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula Asoka tree (Engl.)
  Mast tree (Engl.)
  Sorrowless tree (Engl.)
  Telegraph pole tree (Engl.)
  She-kan (Chin.)
  Black berry lily (Engl.)


Botany
Small- to medium-sized evergreeb tree growing up to 15 meters. Young plants have straight trunks and weeping pendeulous branche, longest at the base and shorter at the end of the trunk.. Leaves are long, narrow and oblanceolate, dark green, glossy and wavy margins. Flowers are delicate pale green with wavy petals. Fruits are ovoid, black when ripe.

Distribution
Native to India and Sri Lanka, recently introduced in the Philippines and widely cultivated in metro Manila, planted in parks, gardens and roadsides.

Properties and constituents
• Leaf oil composed of sesquiterpene derivatives: allo-aromadendrene, caryophyllene oxide, ß-caryophyllene, ß-selinene, a-humulene and ar-curcumene.
• Phytochemical study on the hexane extract of the stem bark led to characterization of clerodane and ent-halimane deiterpenes, two of which have shown antibacterial and antifungal activities.


Uses
Folkloric
No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
In India's traditional system of medicine, used for fever, skin diseases, hypertension and helminthiasis. Bark used as febrifuge.
In Nigeria, plant is used for skin disease, fever, diabetes and hypertension.
Others
Bark is a good source of fiber.

Studies
Amino Acids: Study showed the seeds of Polyalthia longifolia to be a rich source of various amino acids - proline, L-glutamic acid, and methionine among others.
Phytochemical: Study isolated a new clerodane diterpene from the bark of P. longilofia.
Antimicrobial / Alkaloids: Study showed the root extract of P. longifolia var. pendula to possess significant antibacterial activity. Study also led to the isolation of three new alkaloids: pendulamine A, pendulamine B and penduline along with other known compounds.
Hepatoprotective / Antiinflammatory: Of various solvent extracts, study showed the methanol extract as the most potent, showing significant antiinflammatory (comparable to Diclofenac sodium) and hepatoprotective activity.
Antifungal: Diterpenoids isolated from the hexane extract of the seeds of P. longilfolia demonstrated significant antifungal activity.
Cytotoxic: Study isolated a new halimane diterpene and a new oxoprotoberberine alkaloid along with 20 known compounds, several of which were evaluated for cytotoxicity toward a small panel of human cell lines.
Anti-ulcer: Study showed the ethanol extract of Polyalthia longifolia to have significant antiulcer activity through reduction of gastric volume, free acidity and ulcer index. It showed 89.71% ulcer inhibition in HCl-ethanol induced ulcer and 95.3% ulcer protection index in stress-induced ulcer.
Antibacterial: Study of ethanol extract showed promising antibacterial activity against thirteen Gram-positive and nine Gram-negative organisms.
Antibacterial / Phytochemicals: Study revealed the presence of steroids, alkaloids, biterpenoids, carbohydrates, amino acids, essential oil, pheolics and flavonoids.
Highest antibacterial activity was seen with the hot aqueous (HAE) and methanol extract (ME) against K pneumonia, followed by E coli (HAE) and B subtilis (ME).
Hypotensive / Phytochemicals: Phytochemical studies yielded kolavenic acid, clerodane, liriodenine, lysicamine and bisclerodane and its isomer. Study showed the defatted 50% methanol extract of P longifolia root bark with significant ability to reduce blood pressure.

Availability
Cultivated.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Detection of Amino Acids from the seeds of Polyalthia longifolia / Kavita S. Mundhe et al / International Journal of ChemTech Research, Vol.1, No.2, pp 298-299 , April-June 2009
(2)
A New Clerodane-Type Butenolide Diterpene from the Bark of Polyalthia longifolia / J. Nat. Prod., 1992, 55 (2), pp 256–258 / DOI: 10.1021/np50080a021
(3)
New antimicrobial alkaloids from the roots of polyalthia longifolia var. pendula / Faizi S, Khan RA et al /PLANTA MEDICA Vol: 69 Issue: 4 Pages: 350-355 / APR 2003
(4)
Sesquiterpenes-Rich Essential Oils of Polyalthia longifolia Thw. (Annonaceae) from Nigeria / Akinola O. Ogunbinu, Isiaka A et al /
(5)
Assessment of anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective potency of Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula leaf in Wistar albino rats / A. Tanna et al / Journal of Natural Medicines / Volume 63, Number 1 / January, 2009 / DOI 10.1007/s11418-008-0288-2
(6)
Evaluation of anti-ulcer activity of P. longifolia in experimental animals / P. malairajan et al / Indian J Pharmacol. 2008 June; 40(3): 126–128. / doi: 10.4103/0253-7613.42306.
(7)
Evaluation of the antimicrobial property of Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula: isolation of a lactone as the active antibacterial agent from the ethanol extract of the stem. / Phytother Res / 2003-Dec; vol 17 (issue 10) : pp 1177-81
(8)
Cytotoxic Constituents of Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula / Chun-Yi Chen et al / J. Nat. Prod., 2000, 63 (11), pp 1475–1478 / DOI: 10.1021/np000176e
(12)
Antibacterial potentiality and phytochemical analysis of mature leaves of Polyalthia longifolia (Magnoliales: Annonaceae) / Anupam Ghosh et al / The South Pacific Journal of Natural Science, Volume 26, 2008
(13)
Hypotensive activity and toxicology of constituents from root bark of Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula / Rubeena Saleem et al / Phytotherapy Research, Vol 19 Issue 10, Pages 881 - 884 / 10.1002/ptr.1732


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