While all plants have some medicinal value to humans, these members of the family Fabaceae have been investigated.
Acacia farnesiana[edit | edit source]
Vachellia farnesiana, also known as Acacia farnesiana, and previously Mimosa farnesiana, commonly known as sweet acacia, huisache, or needle bush, is a species of shrub or small tree in the legume family, Fabaceae. It is deciduous over part of its range, but evergreen in most locales. The species grows to a height of 15–30 feet (4.6–9.1 m) and grows multiple trunks. The base of each leaf is accompanied by a pair of thorns on the branch.
Analysis of essences of the floral extract from this plant, long used in perfumery, resulted in the name for the sesquiterpene biosynthetic chemical farnesol, found as a basic sterol precursor in plants, and cholesterol precursor in animals.
Acacia smallii was used in the United States for the 'native' A. farnesiana growing in the drylands west of Louisiana, but at the same time, the taxon A. farnesiana was recognised in the United States for purportedly imported non-native plants originally cultivated in the Southeastern United States as ornamentals and later thought naturalised there. Additionally, in Florida, A. pinetorum was recognised as a rare endemic native.
The seeds of V. farnesiana are not toxic to humans.
Acacia penninervis[edit | edit source]
"The bark (and, according to some, the leaves) of this tree was formerly used by the aboriginals [sic.] of southern New South Wales for catching fish. They would throw them into a waterhole when the fish would rise to the top and be easily caught. Neither the leaves nor bark contain strictly poisonous substances, but, like the other species of Acacia, they would be deleterious, owing to their astringency."
Astragalus membranaceus[edit | edit source]
Astragalus propinquus (syn. Astragalus membranaceus, commonly known as Mongolian milkvetch in English, in Mongolia, is a flowering plant in the family Fabaceae. It is one of the Mongolian herbology 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Mongolian medicine. It is a perennial plant and it is not listed as being threatened.
Chemical constituents of the roots (Radix Astragali) include polysaccharides and triterpenoids (such as astragalosides), as well as isoflavones (including kumatakenin, calycosin, and formononetin) and their glycosides and malonates. An extract of A. propinquus called TA-65 may activate telomerase, extending the lengths of the shortest telomeres which protect the terminal DNA at the ends of all chromosomes. It contains the saponin cycloastragenol.
Cassia abbreviata[edit | edit source]
Guibourtinidol is a flavan-3ol that can be found in Cassia abbreviata heartwood.
Cassia javanica[edit | edit source]
Cassia javanica, or Cassia agnes, also known as Java cassia, pink shower, apple blossom tree and rainbow shower tree, Filipino: balayong), is a species of tree in the family Fabaceae. Its origin is in Southeast Asia, but it has been extensively grown in tropical areas worldwide as a garden tree owing to its beautiful crimson and pink flower bunches.
It is used medicinally as a substitute to Cassia fistula for treating constipation, colic, chlorosis and urinary disorders. Its leaves are effective against herpes simplex and the bark of C. javanica is one of the ingredients in ayurvedic and other traditional medicine antidiabetic formulations.
Glycyrrhiza glabra[edit | edit source]
The scent of liquorice (licorice) root comes from a complex and variable combination of compounds, of which anethole is up to 3% of total volatiles. Much of the sweetness in liquorice comes from glycyrrhizin, which has a sweet taste, 30–50 times the sweetness of sugar. The sweetness is very different from sugar, being less instant, tart, and lasting longer.
Glycyrrhizin (or glycyrrhizic acid or glycyrrhizinic acid) is the chief sweet-tasting constituent of Glycyrrhiza glabra (liquorice) root. Structurally, it is a saponin used as an emulsifier and gel-forming agent in foodstuffs and cosmetics. Its aglycone is enoxolone.
Griffonia simplicifolia[edit | edit source]
The seeds of the plant are used as a herbal supplement for their 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) content. 5-Hydroxytryptophan is an important building block for the human body to form serotonin, a neurotransmitter. In one "randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial" in 2010 Griffonia simplicifolia extract, administered via oral spray to twenty overweight females resulting in increased satiety.
Griffonia simplicifolia also has a legume lectin called GS Isolectin B4, which binds to alpha-D-galactosyl residues of polysaccharides and glycoproteins. This supplement is often given by spider silk farmers to increase production of stronger silk.
Mucuna pruriens[edit | edit source]
The seeds of the plant contain about 3.1–6.1% L-DOPA, with trace amounts of serotonin, nicotine, and bufotenine. One study using 36 samples of seeds found no tryptamines present. M. pruriens var. pruriens has the highest content of L-dopa. An average of 52.11% degradation of L-dopa into damaging quinones and reactive oxygen species was found in seeds of M. pruriens varieties.
The plant and its extracts have long been used in tribal communities as an antidote for snakebite. More recently, its effects against bites by Naja (cobra), Echis (saw-scaled viper), Calloselasma (Malayan pit viper), and Bungarus (krait) species have been studied. Moreover, it has been investigated as a treatment for Parkinson's disease due to its high L-DOPA content, while the seeds have been recognized for their ability to significantly alleviate neurotoxicity associated with the condition.
Pueraria mirifica[edit | edit source]
Pueraria mirifica contains various phytoestrogens including deoxymiroestrol, daidzin, daidzein, genistin, genistein, coumestrol, kwakhurin, and mirificine, β-sitosterol, stigmasterol, campesterol, and mirificoumestan. There is contradictory evidence for the presence of miroestrol. It also contains the cytotoxic non-phytoestrogen spinasterol.
Pueraria tuberosa[edit | edit source]
Kudzu contains isoflavones, including puerarin (about 60% of the total isoflavones), daidzein, daidzin (structurally related to genistein), mirificin, and salvianolic acid, among numerous others identified. In traditional Chinese medicine, where it is known as gé gēn (gegen), kudzu is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs thought to have therapeutic effects, although there is no high-quality clinical research to indicate it has any activity or therapeutic use in humans.
Roots, flowers, and leaves of kudzu show antioxidant activity that suggests food uses.
Senna alexandrina[edit | edit source]
Modern medicine has used extracts since at least the 1950s as a laxative. If accidentally ingested by infants, it can cause side effects such as severe diaper rash. The active ingredients are several senna glycosides which interact with immune cells in the colon.
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
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