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Plumeria rubra L. (Apocynaceae): Ethnobotany, Phytochemistry and Pharmacology: A Mini Review



Abhijit Dey and Anuradha Mukherjee
 
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ABSTRACT

Plumeria rubra L. (Apocynaceae) is a deciduous ornamental tree species with fragrant flowers native to Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Venezuela but also cultivated in tropical and subtropical countries. The plant is known to possess biological activities viz., antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antialgal, larvicidal, molluscicidal, piscicidal, nematicidal, antioxidative and free radical scavenging, hypolipidemic, proteolytic, cytotoxic, abortifacient activities etc. A number of phyto-constituents are reported from the plant which signifies biological activities and diverse ethnomedicinal uses of this plant species. The present review deals with the literature involving ethnobotany, phytochemistry and pharmacology of the plant.

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  How to cite this article:

Abhijit Dey and Anuradha Mukherjee, 2015. Plumeria rubra L. (Apocynaceae): Ethnobotany, Phytochemistry and Pharmacology: A Mini Review. Journal of Plant Sciences, 10: 54-62.

DOI: 10.3923/jps.2015.54.62

URL: https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=jps.2015.54.62
 
Received: April 10, 2015; Accepted: July 23, 2015; Published: August 03, 2015



INTRODUCTION

Plumeria rubra L. (Apocynaceae) commonly known as ‘Frangipani’ is an ornamental tree species bearing fragrant flowers. The plant is native to Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Venezuela but cultivated in tropical and subtropical countries. The plant is reportedly used in a number of traditional medicinal preparations throughout Asia and Latin America for diabetes, diarrhea, dysentery, intestinal worms, stomach-ache, toothache, earache, eye-cleaning, tongue cleaning, finger nail pain, wound healing, fractures, blisters, sores, subcutaneous mycosis, rabies, malaria, rheumatism, asthma, cancer, birth control, women complaints, lactation, pediatric care, ethnoveterinary (diarrhoea and dysentery and snakebite), piscicidal, offering to god and as ornamental and it is also utilized as part of folk ritual due to its aesthetic values. A number of preclinical pharmacological investigations were performed to elucidate its bioactivities such as antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antialgal, larvicidal, molluscicidal, piscicidal, nematicidal, antioxidative and free radical scavenging, hypolipidemic, proteolytic, anticancer, abortifacient properties. A number of phytochemicals have been isolated from the plant, a few of which were correlated with its bioactivity. A systematic compilation on ethnobotanical, phytochemical and pharmacological aspects has been given in this paper.

Ethnobotany
Diabetes: Hypoglycemic effect of the flowers infusion (local name: Flor de mayo) is exploited by the Mexicans (Andrade-Cetto and Heinrich, 2005).

Diarrhoea: Local people of Puttaparthi Mandal, Anantapur town, Sri Sathya Sai taluk of Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh, India use the plant bark (local name: Deva Ganneru) (Basavaraju et al., 2009).

Dysentery: The leaf and flower (local names: Lal kathgolachi, Golachi) is prescribed in dysentery by the ethnic people in West and South district of Tripura, India. Decoction of bark is given in amoebic dysentery (Sen et al., 2011). Bark (local name: Tayuk saka) is used in dysentery and loose motion by the Nicobari tribe of Car Nicobar Island, India (Gupta et al., 2004).

Intestinal worms: Bark (local name: Tayuk saka) is used by the Nicobari tribe of Car Nicobar Island, India (Gupta et al., 2004).

Stomach-ache: A preparation made by stem bark of the plant along with Thevetia peruviana flowers and Achyranthus aspera roots is prescribed by the people of Nawalparasi district, Central Nepal (Bhattarai et al., 2009). Stem bark of the plant (local name: Yerra champangi) with that of Neem is prescribed in the Visakhapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh, India (Kumar et al., 2011). Root paste (local name: Adavi Ganneru) with ghee is administered by the people of Boath, Adilabad district, Andhra Pradesh, India (Ramana, 2008).

Toothache: In Mexican traditional medicine flowers and latex of the plant (local names: Cacaloxochitl, Flor de mayo) is used (Ruiz-Teran et al., 2008).

Earache: In Mexican traditional medicine latex of the plant (local names: Cacaloxochitl, Flor de mayo) is used (Ruiz-Teran et al., 2008).

Eye-cleaning liquid: In Mexican traditional medicine latex of the plant (local names: Cacaloxochitl, Flor de mayo) is used (Ruiz-Teran et al., 2008).

Tongue cleaning: Bark is rubbed on the tongue by the Karens of Middle Andaman, India (Sharief et al., 2005).

Finger nail pain: Juice (local name: Kathachampa) is used by the people of Mayurbhanj district, Orissa, India (Rout and Panda, 2010).

Wound healing: Bark paste (local name: Deva kanagile) is applied externally by the traditional people of Sagar taluk of Shimoga district, Karnataka, India (Rajakumar and Shivanna, 2010).

Fractures: Leaf juice (local name: Tayuk saka) is used by the Nicobari tribe of Car Nicobar Island, India (Gupta et al., 2004).

Blisters: Latex (local name: Tayuk saka) is used to cure blisters caused by mosquito bites by the Nicobari tribe of Car Nicobar Island, India (Gupta et al., 2004). In another report, latex is applied by the Nicobarese on blisters directly (Verma et al., 2010).

Sores: In another report, latex (local name: Tayuk saka) is applied by the Nicobarese on sores directly (Verma et al., 2010).

Subcutaneous mycosis: The plant is used for the purpose in Latin America (Gaitan et al., 2011).

Rabies: A preparation made by stem bark, jaggery and dead dragonflies are prescribed as a cure by the people of Nawalparasi district, Central Nepal (Bhattarai et al., 2009).

Malaria: In South Vietnam, it is used against malaria (Nguyen-Pouplin et al., 2007).

Rheumatism: Local people of Puttaparthi Mandal, Anantapur town, Sri Sathya Sai taluk of Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh, India use the plant bark (local name: Deva Ganneru) (Basavaraju et al., 2009).

Asthma: Stem bark decoction (local name: Pandhara-champha) is prescribed in asthma by the people of Jalgaon district, Maharastra (Patil et al., 2008).

Cancer: It is used as an anticancerous plant in Cameroon (Kuete and Efferth, 2011).

Birth control: In Assam (local name: Gulancha), the ethnic communities use the flowers in a particular dose for permanent sterilization of female (Kalita et al., 2011). In the same state, the plant is being used in birth control as a folk remedy (Tiwari et al., 1982).

Women complaints: In Mexican traditional medicine flowers and latex of the plant (local names: Cacaloxochitl, Flor de mayo) are used in vaginal bloodshed (Ruiz-Teran et al., 2008).

Lactation: Either fruits or seed-paste (local name: Kathchampa) with sugar candy water are prescribed to mothers by the people of Sundargarh district, Orissa, India (Prusti and Behera, 2007).

Pediatric care: A children symptom known as Hot Q in Hong Kong is treated by the flowers along with some other plants’ flowers (Kong et al., 2006).

Ethnoveterinary (diarrhoea and dysentery): Bark is prescribed with that of Schima wallichii to the animals in a dose dependent manner by the people of Nawalparasi district, Central Nepal (Bhattarai et al., 2009).

Ethnoveterinary (snakebite): Pods (local name: Son chapa) boiled in milk are prescribed by the people of Jalna district, Maharastra, India (Deshmukh et al., 2011).

Piscicidal: In Nepal it is used as ethnobotanical practice as a piscicidal plant (Joshi and Joshi, 2006).

As offering to god: Flowers (local name: Kaattu arali) are used by the Paliyars of Theni district of Tamil Nadu, India (Ayyanar et al., 2010). In Buddhism flowers are used as offering to God in Xishuangbanna, southwest China (Hongmao et al., 2002).

Ornamental: A variety of the plant (local name: Kaathali champa) is used by the people of Barak Valley, Assam, North East India (Das and Das, 2005). The plant is used as an ornamental in the home gardens of Balzapote, Veracruz, Mexico (Chavero and Roces, 1988). Ethnobotanical uses of P. rubra are enlisted in Table 1.

Table 1: Ethnobotanical uses of P. rubra
Image for - Plumeria rubra L. (Apocynaceae): Ethnobotany, Phytochemistry and Pharmacology: A Mini Review

Phytochemistry: Iridoids such as fulvoplumierin, allamcin, allamandin, plumericin, 15-demethylplumieride, plumieride, alpha-allamcidin, beta-allamcidin and 13-O-trans-p- coumaroylplumieride; 2,5-dimethoxy-p-benzoquinone and lignan liriodendrin were isolated from the bark of Indonesian P. rubra (Kardono et al., 1990). Furthermore, four new iridoids such as plumeridoids A, B and C and epiplumeridoid C and several known compounds like 1-(P-hydroxyphenyl) propan-1-one, isoplumericin, plumericin, dihydroplumericin, allamcin, fulvoplumerin, allamandin, plumieride, P-E-coumaric acid, 2,6-dimethoxy-P-benzoquinone, scopoletin, cycloart-25-en-3 beta,24-diol, 2,4,6-trimethoxyaniline, ajunolic acid, ursolic acid, oleanolic acid, beta-amyrin acetate, betulinic acid, lupeol and its acetate, 2,3-dihydroxypropyl octacosanoate, glucoside of beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol and beta-sitosterol were reported from the plant species (Kuigoua et al., 2010). Cardiac glycosides were also found to be present (Radford et al., 1986). Absolute configuration of plumericin and isoplumericin from the plant was later on revised on the basis of X-ray crystal structure and Circular Dichroism (CD) spectra (Elsasser et al., 2005). Crude protein, oil, hydrocarbon, polyphenol, saponification value, ash and lignin content of the species were measured to test its efficacy as an alternative energy source (Augustus et al., 2003). Essential oil of the flowers has yielded 2-methylbutan-1-ol, β-phenylethyl alcohol, nanodecane, heneicosane, benzyl salicylate, tetradeconoic acid, octadecanoic acid and phenylacetaldehyde (Sulaiman et al., 2008). A phytochemical screening of the plant has revealed the presence of carbohydrate, tannin, steroid, glycoside and flavonoid (Zaheer et al., 2010). A novel lupin alkaloid, Plumerinine was also isolated from the plant (Kazmi et al., 1989).

Pharmacology: The plant has been investigated for antibacterial (Hamburger et al., 1991; Egwaikhide et al., 2007, 2009; Kuigoua et al., 2010; Baghel et al., 2010; Dey et al., 2011), antifungal (Kuigoua et al., 2010; Souza et al., 2011; Gaitan et al., 2011), antimicrobial (Mahady, 2002), antialgal (Kuigoua et al., 2010), larvicidal (Ramos et al., 2009; Patil et al., 2012), molluscicidal (Hamburger et al., 1991), piscicidal (Joshi and Joshi, 2006), nematicidal (Joymati, 2010), antioxidative and free radical scavenging activities (Ruiz-Teran et al., 2008), hypolipidemic (Merina et al., 2010), proteolytic (De Freitas et al., 2010), cytotoxic (Kardono et al., 1990; Hamburger et al., 1991; Rekha and Jayakar, 2011), abortifacient (Dabhadkar and Zade, 2012) and anti HIV (Tan et al., 1991) properties. The biocatalytic activity in terms of lipase activity in hydrolysis and acyl transfer reactions of latex was compared with that of babaco (Vasconcellea x Heilbornii Cv.) (Cambon et al., 2006). Six compounds such as four iridoids, fulvoplumierin, allamcin, allamandin and plumericin; 2,5-dimethoxy-p-benzoquinone and lignan liriodendrin were isolated from different extracts of the plants all showing toxicity to murine lymphocytic leukemia and various human cancer cell-lines (breast, colon, melanoma, lung, fibrosarcoma, KB) (Kardono et al., 1990). Plumericin from P. rubra, a Cameroonian traditional anticancerous plant was tested against 60 NCI cell lines and the probable mode of action was determined (Kuete and Efferth, 2011). Heartwood of the plant has produced plumericin, isoplumericin and 4-hydroxyacetophenone with cytotoxic efficacy (Hamburger et al., 1991). Fulvoplumierin, an iridoid, yielded from P. rubra was found to inhibit human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) responsible for causing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) (Tan et al., 1991). Fulvoplumierin was also found to inhibit HIV 2 (Tan et al., 1992). Latex proteins from the plant were investigated for antifungal property against plant pathogens along with some other latex bearing plants (Souza et al., 2011). Potentiality of laticifer proteins for larvicidal activity against Aedes aegypti was tested (Ramos et al., 2009). Silver nanoparticles synthesized from the plant latex were found to possess larvicidal activity against Aedes aegypti and Anopheles stephensi (Patil et al., 2012). Immunoreactive cardiac glycosides were reported form the plant in significant amount indicating its probable toxicity (Radford et al., 1986). Subcutaneous mycoses causing fungi Fonsecaea pedrosoi was inhibited by the extracts of the plant (Gaitan et al., 2011). Plumericin and isoplumericin isolated from the heartwood of P. rubra was found to possess antibacterial as well as molluscicidal activities (Hamburger et al., 1991). Pharmacological activities of P. rubra are listed in Table 2.

Table 2: Pharmacological activities of P. rubra
Image for - Plumeria rubra L. (Apocynaceae): Ethnobotany, Phytochemistry and Pharmacology: A Mini Review

CONCLUSION

The present review represents tremendous medicinal, ethnobotanical and pharmacological uses of the plant species. Further work is still needed to elucidate its phytochemical profiling and metabolic pathways which might be manipulated for production of important secondary metabolites from the plant species using biotechnological tools. The information cited here indicates towards a possible linkage among traditional uses, photochemistry and pharmacology of this medicinal plant. Further research is suggested to describe its bioactivity and traditional use after elucidating the characteristics of bioactive components present in the active extracts.

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