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Paeonia lactiflora
Panax ginseng
Plantago afra
Platycodon grandiflorum
Piper methysticum
Polygala senega
Prunus africana
Prunus armeniaca
Plantago ovata
Pimpinella anisum
Passiflora incarnata
Psidium guajava
Punica granatum


 

 

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Polygala senega L (Polygalaceae)

Local names
Bambara, bulughâ lon, gizr uththuban, Klapperschlangenwurzel, mountain flax, peuhl, polygala de virginie, racine de polygala, racine de senega, Radix polygalae, Radix polygalae senegae, rattlesnake root, seneca snakeroot, Senegakreuzblume, senega root, senega snakeroot, Senegawurzel, snake root, szenega gyökér, tsuknida, vahulill, virginische Schlangenwurzel, yoruba

Description
A perennial herbaceous plant with numerous stems sprouting from a single thick gnarled crown arising from a conical, twisted, branched yellow root. Aerial portion consists of several erect or ascending, smooth stems up to 15– 40cm high, bearing alternate, lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate leaves with serrulate margins. Inflorescence a spike of small, white flowers, which are almost sessile with rounded-obovate wings, concave with a short crested carina

Plant material used
dried roots and root crowns

Chemical assays
Quantitative analysis of triterpene saponins by high-performance liquid chromatography

Major chemical constituents
Methyl salicylate (0.1–0.3%), the compound responsible for the characteristic odour of the drug. The major reported biologically active constituents are triterpene saponins (6–16%). The saponins are 3-glucosides of presenegenin, which also contain at C-28 an oligosaccharide chain that has a fucose moiety esterified with 3,4-dimethoxycinnamic or 4-methoxycinnamic acid

Medicinal uses
Uses supported by clinical data
None.

Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents
As an expectorant for symptomatic treatment of coughs due to bronchitis, emphysema and catarrh of the upper respiratory tract.

Uses described in traditional medicine
Treatment of amenorrhoea, asthma, constipation, rheumatism and snake bites

Proven pharmacological activity
Animal studies
Expectorant, Reduce blood cholesterol and triglyceride, Antihyperglycaemic

Human studies
Expectorant

Toxicity
The LD50 of the root was 17 g/kg body weight after intragastric administration to mice. The LD50 of the root bark was 10 g/kg body weight and that of the root core (which had the lowest saponin concentration of the three root samples) was 75 g/kg body weight

Contraindications
Pregnancy (See Precautions).

Warnings
If coughing persists for more than 7 days, seek medical advice. Radix Senegae may exacerbate existing gastrointestinal inflammations such as gastritis or gastric ulcers, and excessive doses may cause vomiting.

Precautions
Carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, impairment of fertility
No mutagenic effects of an aqueous or 50% methanol extract of the root were observed in the Bacillus subtilis recombination assay or in the microsome reversion assay in Salmonella typhimurium strains TA98 and TA100.

Pregnancy: teratogenic effects
See Contraindications.

Pregnancy: non-teratogenic effects
Traditional uses for Radix Senegae include its use as an emmenagogue. As extracts of the root have been shown to stimulate uterine contractions in animal models, Radix Senegae should not be taken during pregnancy.

Other precautions
No information available on general precautions or precautions concerning drug interactions; drug and laboratory test interactions; nursing mothers; or paediatric use. Therefore, Radix Senegae should not be administered during lactation or to children without medical supervision.

Adverse reactions
Overdose with Radix Senegae preparations may cause nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting due to gastrointestinal upset. In sensitive individuals, gastrointestinal upset may occur even at the therapeutic dosage.

Dosage forms
Chopped crude drug for decoctions and extracts. Store in a tightly closed container, protected from light and humidity.

Posology
(Unless otherwise indicated)
Daily dosage: 1.5–3.0 g crude drug as an infusion or decoction in divided doses. A 60% ethanol extract (made slightly alkaline with dilute ammonia): 0.9–3 ml; tincture: 2.5–7.5 g. Equivalent preparations)

 

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