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Published on:11/2010
Pharmacognosy Journal, 2010; 2(17):01-04
Research Article | doi:10.1016/S0975-3575(10)80001-X

Microscopic Characterization as a Tool for Separation of Stemona Groups

Authors and affiliation (s):

Sumet Kongkiatpaiboon1, Vichien Keeratinijakal2,3 and Wandee Gritsanapan1,*

1Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahidol University, Bangkok, 10400

2National Center for Agricultural Biotechnology, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, 10900

3Agronomy Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, 10900, Thailand


Introduction: Stemona plants have been traditionally used as an insecticide, scabicide and pediculocide, and for the treatment of skin and respiratory diseases. Stemona can be separated into two groups according to their morphological characters and bioactive components i.e. stichoneurine and protostemonine groups. Protostemonine group contains alkaloids that possess potent insecticidal activity while stichoneurine group accumulates alkaloids with antitussive activity. In Thailand, a vernacular name “Non Tai Yak” refers to the roots of different species of Stemona, making it confusing to discern different species. The purposes of this study are to investigate the microscopic characteristics of the roots of seven species of Stemona growing in Thailand and to distinguish and identify these groups of Stemona. Methods: Cross-sectional histology of fresh root samples and powdered drug characteristics of 7 species of Stemona were studied under a microscope. Results: The roots of Stemona in the stichoneurine group (S. tuberosa and S. phyllantha) contained a non-lignified large pith while the roots of protostemonine group (S. burkillii, S. cochinchinensis, S. collinsiae, S. curtisii and S. kerrii) had a small lignified one. The powder of stichoneurine group contained numerous thin-walled parenchyma, but only few thick-walled parenchyma and lignified fibers and vessels were present. In contrast, thick-walled parenchyma and lignified fibers and vessels were frequently found in the powdered roots of protostemonine Stemona. These characteristics could be used to discern between Stemona in the stichoneurine and protostemonine groups. Conclusions: The microscopic characterizations can be used as a primary tool to categorize and separate 2 main Stemona groups.

Key words: Non Tai Yak, protostemonine, Stemona, Stemonaceae, stichoneurine.


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