Thursday, June 12, 2008

Elephantopus scaber

Scientific name : Elephantopus scaber L.
Common name : Elephant's foot / Solomon's seal
Local name : Tutup bumi / Tapak sulaiman
Family : Compositae

Because of its leaf form which lies flat on the ground and covers more than its share of space, the Malays equate it with the pentacle seal of Solomon by which it confines the jins underground. As Solomon's seal, it is traditionally reputed to be potent for all diseases. So far, this crop has not been domesticated in Malaysia, but collected from the wild by traditional healers for preparing herbal remedies.

Plant description
These are erect, stiff, perennial herbs growing up to a height of 50cm. The leaves are mostly concentrated on the lower portion of the stem and arranged in a rosette manner. The leaves are slightly serrated, covered with white hairs, variable in shape and size, oblonged or rounded near the tip and narrower to the base. The petioles are very short and hairy. The flower heads are borne at the end of dichotomously branched pedicels, which are covered with white hairs. The flowers are numerous, sessile, closely packed forming a large flat-topped terminal inflorescence. Three green broad leaf-like bracts surround each flower cluster. The corolla lobes are violet in color while the tube is white. The corolla margin is deeply cleft on one of its side. The stamen is appendicular in nature and is arranged round the single central style. The fruits or achnes are truncate with fine ridges and surrounded with pappus of stiff bristles.

Plant habitat
These plants can be found growing wildly on roadsides, grassy fields and forest borders.

Plant growth habit/cultivation
This herb can be propagated easily through seeds. The seeds are collected by enclosing the flowers with a piece of paper. The seeds are minute and very light and therefore during sowing they are normally mixed with loose dampen soil and then sprinkled on the nursery beds. Germination success is about 70-80%.
Within two weeks of sowing, the first leaf can be seen emerging out. The plant is then transferred to the field after a period of one month or when the seedling reaches the 4-5 leaf stage. Tutup bumi is a very hardy crop and needs minimal care and fertilizing. It can also adapt itself to a wide range of conditions. It is a relatively a slow growing herb and is susceptible to only insect attacks.
Plant parts used : Whole herb, roots.

Uses in traditional medicine
The plant is primarily used as a diuretic, febrifuge and to relieve anuria and blennorrhea. Other applications include employment as an antibiotic, antiswelling agent, antipyretic, antiinflammatory, bechic and emollient. It is believed to be a good remedy for leucorrhea, anemia, and beneficial during parturition. In Malaysia, tutup bumi is taken internally as a diuretic, febrifuge and anthelmintic and applied externally as a poultice for abdominal pains and other complaints. A decoction made from the leaves or roots is used as a tonic for eliminating roundworms and treating coughs and venereal diseases. The roots and leaves are taken after childbirth as a protective medicine. A decoction made from the fresh roots and sireh is prescribed to arrest vomiting whilst the leaves are recommended for treating dropsy.

The plant is used as a diuretic and febrifuge in Indo-China, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. The roots, either pounded in water or in decoction, are used in Indonesia as a remedy for leucorrhea, anemia of women and children. In the Philippines, a decoction or infusion of the roots and leaves is used as an emollient, for treating diarrhea, dysentery, pulmonary diseases, scabies, urethral discharges and for relieving anuria and belnnorrhea. In Indo-China, a decoction made from the plant is used as diuretic, tonic, diaphoretic, emmenagogue and is taken internally for dyspepsia, intermittent fevers and menstrual irregularities.
In Chinese traditional medicine, the plant is used to treat conjunctivitis, epidemic encephalitis B, pertussis, acute hepatitis, cirrhosis, ascitis, acute and chronic hepatitis, ferunculosis and eczema. The Taiwanese use the root to relieve chest pains.

In India, a decoction of the root is given for urethral discharges, diarrhea, dysentery, dysuria and as a cardiac-tonic. In Ceylon, paste prepared from the tutup bumi leaves, water and honey is used for treating septic nails and wounds caused by bites of wild animals.

In Madagascar, it is considered a diuretic and febrifuge and in the West Indies as a tonic, diaphoretic and emmenagogue and given for dyspepsia, intermittent fevers and menstrual derangements. The plant is traditionally used in Brazil to eliminate bladder stones.

Chemical constituents
i) Chemicals with commercial potential: Deoxyelephantopin, molephantinin, phantomolin.
ii) Other chemicals: p-amyrin acetate, crepiside E. deacylcynaropicrin, 11,13-dihydrodeoxy-elephantopin, dihydroelephantopin, elephantin, elephantopin, epifriedelanol, glucozaluzanin-C, isodeoxyelephantopin, lupeol, lupeol acetate, molephantin, nudaphantin, stigmasterol, stigmasteryl 3-p-glucopyranoside.

This herb is reported to have antibacterial activity. Aqueous extract of Elephantopus scaber improves hepatic lesions caused by p-D-galactosamine (D-GalN)- and acetaminophen (APAP)-induced acute hepatic damage in rats. In another study, it was found that hepatic fatty metamorphosis and necrosis of central lobules were significantly improved after treatment with tutup bumi extracts.

Aqueous and hydroalcoholic extracts of tutup bumi, at 0.3-6g/kg i.p. administration, induced writhing, loss of muscle tone, ataxia, prostration and death in mice. However, no analgesic effects of these extracts were detected using mouse hot-plate and acetic acid-induced writhing tests. Both extracts also failed to modify diuresis or carrageenan-induced rat paw oedema. Brewer's yeast-induced hyperthermia in rats was reduced by extracts given at a dose of lOOmg/kg i.p., but there was no effect after oral administration (300 or 600mg/kg). Moreover, the aqueous extract decreased the intestinal transit time in mice while the hydroalcoholic extract increased it. Tutup bumi extracts at 25-100mg/kg (i.v.) reduced blood pressure and heart rates in rats.
Tutup bumi exhibited considerable antibacterial activity (MIC=7.8-23.4mg/ml) against cariogenic bacterium and Streptococcus mutans. An extract of the tutup bumi leaves also showed antibiotic activity (1/5) against Staphylococcus.
Clinical trials : No information available.

Towards commercial production
Although the health benefits of tutup bumi are tremendous, there has been very little attempt to commercialize its product. A few herbal products such as Shanggan Tablets, derived from tutup bumi is now available in China and in some Chinese traditional medicine stores in Southeast Asia where it is marketed as a Chinese Patent Medicine. Locally, their use is restricted to the traditional healers in preparing local 'jamus'.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Name of Exotic Fruits in Malaysia

Apples (Cameronian)
Assam Gelugor
Assam Jawa
Bananas Assorted
Belimbing Buluh
Betelnut (Gold/Red)
Brazilian Longan
Buddha's Finger
Bunya Pine
Canon Ball
Cashew Nut
Cempedak Assorted
Cocoa (Gold/Red)
Coconut Assorted
Custard Apple
Delicious Monster
Dragon Fruit Assorted
Duku Langsat/Duku/Langsat
Durians Assorted
Elephant Fruit
Feijoa (Figgua)
Fig Assorted
Ground Cherry
Hog Plum
Ice Cream Bean
Indian Jujube
Jaboticaba (Brazilian Grape)
Jambu Air Assorted
Jambu Ara
Jambu Batu Assorted
Jambu Bol
Jambu Mawar
Jambulana (Keriang Besar)
Kana (Wild Olive)
Kembang Semangkuk
Limau Kukur
Local Orange
Lye Chee
Mandarin Orange
Mango Assorted
Mata Kucing Siam
Miracle Fruit
Mulberry Assorted
Musk Lime
Muyu Nam Nam
Nangka Assorted
Oil Palm
Passion Fruit
Pecan Nut
Petai Padi
Phee Phar/Loquat
Pheng Phok
Pineapple Assorted
Prickly Pear
Rambai Assorted
Rambutan Assorted
Sapucaia Nut
Sour Sop
Star Apple (Durian Deli)
Sugar Apple
Terengganu Cherry
Timun Betik
West Indian Cherry
West Indian Cherry

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Pineapple Varieties

Pineapple, Ananas comosus, originated in South America and is a member of the Bromeliaceae family. Cultivated pineapple still possesses several characteristic features of this family:

• the root system is extremely fragileand the plant prefers light, well-tilledsoils;
• it tolerates very dry spells by stronglyreducing its growth but does not die;
• the leaf base is the most effective zonefor the uptake of nutrients and the plantresponds well to leaf fertilisers;
• flowering, induced by low temperaturesand short days, is erratic. This leads tothe most noteworthy feature ofpineapple growing—artificially inducedflowering.

Growers can thus more or less closely control harvest dates and yields as fruit weight depends on the size of the plant when flowering is induced. Fruits quality is determined mainly by the sugar content and acidity and varies considerably according to weather conditions and the fertiliser applied. Schematically, nitrogen nutrition determines weight and potassium nutrition determines quality. The pineapple is in fact a compound fruit with very heterogeneous features as the base is always at a more developed stage than the upper part. Pineapple is not a climacteric fruit and post-harvest evolution consists mainly of a gradual loss of its qualities. This loss should be kept to a minimum in the packing and transport chain when the fruit is sold fresh. Transport and marketing should be fast with no break in the cold chain. Fruits for processing should be handled as quickly as possible.

'Smooth Cayenne' was for a long time practically the only variety exported fresh and canned. The Hawaiian hybrid 'MD-2' took over its position on the fresh pineapple market, mainly as a result of its extraordinary capacity for withstanding cold and transport. The robustness of this fruit after harvesting was hitherto unknown and is opening up new prospects in the breeding of new varieties by hybridisation. Other varieties with good taste qualities are preferred on domestic markets but do not keep at all well: 'Perola' in Brazil and 'Queen' in Asia and the Indian Ocean.

Honey Gold
Fruit shape: cylindrical or slightly
Fruit colour: dark green
becoming yellow
Fruit eye diameter:
Fruit eye profile: flat
Flesh colour: yellow
Flesh firmness: medium
Flesh texture: smooth
Weight without crown:
900 g
Height without crown:
151 mm
Diameter: 102 mm
°Brix : between 14.4
and 18.8
Acidity (meq%ml):
between 6.7 and 13.3
Sugar/acid ratio:
between 1.65 and 2.14
Flesh maturity
homogeneity from the bottom to the
top: with a slight gradient
Agronomic potential: moderate
yielding. More slow growing than
Smooth Cayenne
Susceptibility: susceptible to core rot,
susceptible to Phytophthora,
susceptible to soil pests
Post-harvest potential: good,
susceptible to internal browning
Observations: very aromatic,
refreshing taste, long shelf life, very
attractive shell