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Strophanthus

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  • Botanical: Strophanthus hispidus
  • Family: Apocynaceae
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Strophanthus

Botanical

Strophanthus hispidus

Family

Apocynaceae

Known as

Strophanthus,

Old Use

medical

Parts Used

seed

Aroma

spicy

Heart & Circulation

dropsy (edema)

Properties

diuretic

Description

The name Strophanthus is derived from the Greek strophos (a twisted cord or rope) and anthos (a flower), thus expressing the chief peculiarity of its appearance, the limb of the corolla being divided into five, long, tail-like segments. The official description of the seeds is 'lance-ovoid, flattened and obtusely-edged; from 7 to 20 mm. in length, about 4 mm. in breadth, and about 2 mm. in thickness; externally of a light fawn colour with a distinct greenish tinge, silky lustrous form, a dense coating of flat-lying hairs (S. Kombé) or light to dark brown, nearly smooth, and sparingly hairy (S. hispidus), bearing on one side a ridge running from about the centre to the summit; fracture short and somewhat soft, the fractured surface whitish and oily; odour heavy when the seeds are crushed and moistened; taste very bitter.

Properties & Uses

The sole official use of Strophanthus in medicine is for its influence on the circulation, especially in cases of chronic heart weakness. As its action is the same as that of digitalis, although more likely to cause digestive disturbances (Many practitioners are of opinion that Strophanthus does not cause digestive disturbances. - EDITOR), it is often useful as an alternative or adjuvant to the drug. Believed to have greater diuretic power, it is esteemed of greater value in cases complicated with dropsies.

In urgent cases, the effects upon the circulation can be obtained almost immediately by means of the intravenous injection of its active principle. The hypodermic injection of Strophanthin is not recommended, owing to the intense local irritation it causes, and because of its strength it should be used with great care and under medical direction.

Cautions

Strophanthus may cause irregular heartbeat. Don’t use strophanthus if you have a heart condition, without the direct supervision of a healthcare provider.

Distribution

Strophanthus hispidus occurs from Senegal east to the Central African Republic, DR Congo, Uganda and western Tanzania and south to northern Angola.

Constituents

A glucoside, Strophanthin, an alkaloid, Inoeine, and fixed oil. Sulphuric acid, diluted with one-fifth of its volume of water, colours the endosperm, and sometimes the cotyledons, dark green (presence of Strophanthin).

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.