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Family Berberidaceae
Nandina domestica Thunb.


Scientific names  Common names
Nandina domestica Thunb. Nandina
  Nanten (Engl.)
  Heavenly bamboo (Engl.) 
  Sacred bamboo (Engl.) 

Despite its name, not a bamboo, but an evergreen shrub growing to 2.5 meters high, with numerous unbranched stems growing from the roots. Leaves are 2- to 3-pinnate, with narrow leaflets up to 5 cm long, pink to red before turning green. Flowers are small, white, in panicles, up to 30 cm long. Fruit is a bright red berry.

Recently introduced to the Philippines.
Still rare in cultivation.

Parts utilized
Roots and fruits.

Properties and constituents
• Berries contain alkaloids such as nanterine, used in research as an antidote to MDMA.
• All parts of the plant are poisonous, containing hydrocyanic acid, and can be fatal if ingested.

• Study has isolated an alkaloid, nantenine, with ability to block chemically induced head-twitching in mice.
• Study isolated a tyrosinase-inhibiting compound, 4-ß-D-glucopyranosyloxybenzoic acid.

No medicinal folkloric use in the Philippines.
In Chinese medicine, dried berries used for cough. Also, tonics are derived from the bark and root-bark
are used for eye conditions, flu, muscle pain, rheumatism, gastrointestinal maladies and fever.

Antifungal: Study of oil and extracts revealed antidermatophytic effect against Trichophyton rubrum, T mentagrophytes, Microsporum canis. Results suggest that N domestica mediated oil and extracts could be a potential source of natural fungicides to control certain important dermatophytic fungi.
Nantenine / Adrenergic Pressor Inhibition: Nantenine isolated from Nandina domestica showed it has antagonistic activities on a1-adrenoreceptors, a2-adrenoreceptors and 5-HT2A receptors in pithed rats.
Cyanogenic Glucoside: Study isolated a new cyanogenic glucoside, p-glucosyloxymandelonitrile, in the young shoots o N domestica.
Radical Scavenging: Study to determine free radical scavenging activity of leaf extracts showed N domestica to be among those with the highest IC50 values.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Nandina / Wikipedia
Antifungal potential of essential oil and various organic extracts of Nandina domestica Thunb. against skin infectious fungal pathogens / Vivek K Bajpai et al / Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology • Volume 83, Number 6 / July, 2009 / DOI 10.1007/s00253-009-2017-5
(+)-Nantenine isolated from Nandina domestica Thunb. inhibits adrenergic pressor responses in pithed rats / Hisatoshi Tsuchida and Yasushi Ohizumi / European Journal of Pharmacology • Volume 477, Issue 1, 5 September 2003, Pages 53-58 / doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2003.08.002
Studies on the identification, biosynthesis and metabolism of a cyanogenic glucoside in Nandina domestica Thunb. / Y P Abrol et al / Phytochemistry • Volume 5, Issue 5, September 1966, Pages 1021-1027 / doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)82800-9
Tyrosinase Inhibitory Activity of Ethanol Extracts from Medicinal and Edible Plants Cultivated in Okinawa and Identification of a Water-Soluble Inhibitor from the Leaves of Nandina domestica / Toshiya Masuda et al / Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry • Vol. 71 (2007) , No. 9 pp.2316-2320
Studies on scavenging activity against DPPH free radical in fresh leaves from some common subtropical plants of garden and afforestation in China / He YunHe et al / Acta Horticulturae Sinica / Faculty of Forest Utilization, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei 230036, China.

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