Update: 2006-08-06 02:21 PM -0700


Medicinal Plants of Myanmar

Family: Scrophulariaceae

compiled by U Kyaw Tun, U Pe Than, and staff of TIL. Not for sale.

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Family: Scrophulariaceae 1 entry
• Scoparia dulcis • {dan~ta.thu.hka.}

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Scoparia dulcis

Family : Scrophulariaceae

Synonyms: Scoparia grandiflora, Scoparia ternata, Capraria dulcis, Gratiola micrantha

Burmese-Myanmar transcript names:
• Agri.Dept.2000 31-825: {dan~ta.thu.hka.}
• FAO : NL
• Lè-seik-shin 219: {dan~ta.thu.hka.}
• KS-TMN 206: Danta-thukha; Thagya-bin; Mann-lay
• Nagathein 2-081: {da-na.thu.hka.} / {dan~ta.thu.hka.} /
  {hkaN~Ða.thu.hka.} /
• UHM : NL

Myanmar-Script Spelling :
• Official Myanmar Dictionaries : {dan~ta.thu.hka.}
{dan~ta.thu.hka.} - -- TravPo-M-Dict 155
{dan~ta.thu.hka.} - n. parasitic herb used for treating toothache - Myan-Engl-Dict 215

UKT: The description "parasitic herb" given by Myan-Engl-Dict is not appropriate.

 भूहिधन्य {Bu-hi.-Da.nya} -- Nagathein (UKT: Nagathein's Burmese-Devanagari is NOT {Bu-hi.-Da.ña})


English common name used in Myanmar :
• Agri.Dept.2000 31-825: Sweet broom weed
• FAO : NL
• Lè-seik-shin 219: Sweet broom weed
• KS-TMN: Sweet Broom weed
• Nagathein 2-081: NG
• UHM : NL

English name:
• Vassourinha, sweet broom, licorice weed -- www.rain-tree.com/vassourinha.htm 

Picture :
• Leader: left -- Nagathein; right -- www.rain-tree.com/vassourinha.htm
• Photos: left -- habit with flowers and fruits; right -- habit with fruits. Click on the pictures to enlarge. -- KS-TMN


Plant identification characters :

• An annual erect herb; profusely branched, the younger stems 5-to 6-angled, glabrous. Leaves 3-nately whorled, simple; exstipulate; petioles short or subsessile; laminae broadly elliptic to oblanceolate, the bases attenuate, the margins serrate, the tips acute, unicostate, reticulate, the surfaces glabrous. Inflorescences axillary cymes, 1-to 2-flowered. Flowers ebracteate, ebracteolate, pedicellate, bisexual, actinomorphic, tetramerous, hypogynous. Calyx aposepalous, the sepals 4, imbricate in bud, persistent. Corolla synpetalous, 4-fid, rotate, the tubes short, throat densely bearded, the lobes obtuse, subequal, white. Androecium polyandrous, stamens 4, didynamous, epipetalous, the filaments filiform, attached at the base of corolla tube, exserted, the anthers dithecous, subsagittate, dorsifixed, introrse, dehiscence longitudinal. Pistil 1, ovary ovoid or globose, 2-carpelled, syncarpous, 2-loculed, the placentation axile, the ovules numerous on the enlarged placentae, the style subclavate, the stigma bifid. Fruit a septicidal capsule, globose, valves membranous, the margins inflexed; seeds many, obovoid, endosperm fleshy. Flowering period: October - December. Fruiting period: November - January -- KS-TMN

• Vassourinha is an erect annual herb in the foxglove family that grows up to 1/2 m high. It produces serrated leaves and many small, white flowers. It is widely distributed in many tropical countries in the world and is found in abundance in South America and the Amazon rainforest. It can be found as far north as the Southern United States, including Texas, Florida and Louisiana. The plant is called escobilla in Peru, vassourinha in Brazil and in here in the U.S. the plant is known as sweet broomweed or licorice weed. In many areas, the plant is considered an invasive weed. -- www.rain-tree.com/vassourinha.htm


Distribution in Myanmar

• A common weed, throughout Myanmar -- KS-TMN


Part used and uses:

• Root -- Menorrhagia; Leucorrhoea. Leaf-- Febrifuge; Emesis; Tooth-ache -- KS-TMN

• Leaves, bark, roots. Main Uses: 1. for menstrual problems (pain, cramps, premenstrual syndrome [PMS], to promote and normalize menstruation): 2. for upper respiratory bacterial and viral infections; 3. to relieve pain of all types (arthritis, migraines and headaches, stomach aches, muscle pain, etc); 4. to tone, balance, and strengthen heart function (and for mild hypertension); 5. for venereal diseases and urinary tract infections. Main actions: kills viruses, kills leukemia cells, inhibits tumors, kills germs, reduces inflammation, relieves pain, reduces spasms, expels phlegm, promotes menstruation, reduces blood pressure, supports heart. Other actions: kills bacteria, kills fungi, reduces fever, heals wounds, lowers blood sugar, lowers body temperature. Standard Dosage: Whole herb, Infusion: 1 cup twice daily, Capsules: 2-3 g twice daily. Properties/Actions Documented by Research: analgesic (pain-reliever), anti-inflammatory, antitumorous, antibacterial, anticancerous, antifungal, antileukemic, antispasmodic, antiviral, cardiotonic (tones, balances, strengthens heart function), central nervous system depressant, diuretic, hypoglycemic, hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), sedative -- www.rain-tree.com/vassourinha.htm

Ethnobotany (Worldwide use):
Use in India; for diabetes, dysentery, earache, fever, gonorrhea, headaches, jaundice, snake bite, stomach problems, toothache, warts -- www.rain-tree.com/vassourinha.htm
• Main Actions (in order):anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, analgesic (pain-reliever), antispasmodic, anticancerous
   Vassourinha has long held a place in herbal medicine in every tropical country where it grows, and its use by indigenous peoples is well documented. Indigenous tribes in Ecuador brew a tea of the entire plant to reduce swellings, aches, and pains. The Tikuna Indians make a decoction for washing wounds, and women drink the same decoction for three days each month during menstruation as a contraceptive and/or to induce abortions. In the rainforests of Guyana, indigenous tribes use a leaf decoction as an antiseptic wash for wounds, as an anti-nausea aid for infants, as a soothing bath to treat fever, and in poultices for migraine headaches. Indigenous peoples in Brazil use the leaf juice to wash infected wounds, and place it in the eyes for eye problems; they make an infusion of the entire plant to use as an expectorant and to soothe and soften the skin. Indigenous tribes in Nicaragua use a hot water infusion and/or decoction of vassourinha leaves (or the whole plant) for stomach pain, for menstrual disorders, as an aid in childbirth, as a blood purifier, for insect bites, fevers, heart problems, liver and stomach disorders, malaria, venereal disease, and as a general tonic.
   Vassourinha is still employed in herbal medicine throughout the tropics. In Peru a decoction of the entire plant is recommended for upper respiratory problems, biliary colic or congestion, menstrual disorders, and fever; the leaf juice is still employed externally for wounds and hemorrhoids. In Brazilian herbal medicine the plant is used to reduce fever, lower blood sugar and blood pressure, and as an expectorant for coughs and lung congestion. A tea is prepared from the leaves or aerial parts of the plant for fevers and urinary tract diseases, upper respiratory disorders, bronchitis, coughs, menstrual disorders, and hypertension. The leaf juice or a decoction of the leaves is also employed topically for skin ulcers and erysipelas. In Ayurvedic herbal medicine systems in India a leaf tea is widely used for diabetes.
   Other Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use: abortive, antimalarial, cough suppressant, antivenin, contraceptive, decongestant, detoxifier, emollient, expectorant, febrifuge (reduces fever), hepatotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the liver), insecticide, menstrual stimulant, refrigerant (lowers body temperature), tonic (tones, balances, strengthens overall body functions), vermifuge (expels worms), wound healer. -- www.rain-tree.com/vassourinha.htm

Main Preparation Method: decoction, infusion or capsules
   Traditional Preparation: The reported therapeutic dosage generally used in South America is 2-3 g twice daily or 1 cup of a standard infusion twice daily.
  Cautions: Use with caution in combination with barbiturates and antidepressants. It has hypoglycemic effects.
  Contraindications: • The traditional use as an abortive and/or childbirth aid warrants that vassourinha should not be taken during pregnancy. • Avoid combining with antidepressants or barbiturates unless under the supervision of a qualified health care practitioner (see drug interactions below). • A vassourinha extract recently demonstrated hypoglycemic activity, significantly lowering blood sugar levels in rats. This plant is probably contraindicated in people with hypoglycemia. Diabetics monitor their blood glucose levels closely if they use vassourinha to monitor these possible effects.
 Drug Interactions: One human study documented that an ethanol extract of vassourinha inhibited radioligand binding to dopamine and seratonin. Another study reported that a water extract given intragastrically to rats potentiated the effects of barbiturates. As such, it is possible that vassourinha may enhance the effect of barbiturates and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants. -- www.rain-tree.com/vassourinha.htm

• Chemical screening of vassourinha has shown that it is a source of novel phytochemicals in the flavone and terpene classification, some of which have not been seen in science before. Many of vassourinha's active biological properties, including its anticancerous properties, are attributed to these phytochemicals. The main chemicals being studied are scopadulcic acids A and B, scopadiol, scopadulciol, scopadulin, scoparic acids A, B, and C, and betulinic acid.
   The antitumorous activity of scopadulcic acid B was demonstrated in a 1993 study, and antitumor activity against various human cancer cell lines was reported again in 2001. This chemical and another compound named scopadulin demonstrated antiviral properties in several studies, including against Herpes simplex I in hamsters. Betulinic acid is another phytochemical that has been the subject of much independent cancer research (beginning in the late 1990s). Many studies report that this phytochemical has powerful anticancerous, antitumorous, antileukemic, and antiviral (including HIV) properties. This potent phytochemical has displayed selective cytotoxic activity against malignant brain tumors, bone cancer, and melanomas (without harming healthy cells).
   Vassourinha's main plant chemicals include: acacetin, amyrin, apigenin, benzoxazin, benzoxazolin, benzoxazolinone, betulinic acid, cirsimarin, cirsitakaoside, coixol, coumaric acid, cynaroside, daucosterol, dulcinol, dulcioic acid, friedelin, gentisic acid, glutinol, hymenoxin, ifflaionic acid, linarin, luteolin, mannitol, scopadiol, scopadulcic acid A & B, scopadulciol, scopadulin, scoparic acid A thru C, scoparinol, scutellarein, scutellarin, sitosterol, stigmasterol, taraxerol, vicenin, and vitexin.
   In addition to its tested anticancerous chemicals, a methanol extract of vassourinha leaves also showed toxic actions against cancer cells (with a 66% inhibition rate) by Japanese researchers. These findings fueled more research on the chemicals in this plant and their activities that is still ongoing today.
   Some of vassourinha's other uses in herbal medicine have also been validated by western research. In early research, vassourinha demonstrated a cardiotonic effect in animals. More than 40 years later, researchers reconfirmed its blood pressure lowering properties in rats and dogs (while increasing the strength of the heartbeat). It also demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and pain relieving activity in animal studies with rats, mice, and guinea pigs. A single chemical called scoparinol was identified by scientists as being responsible for the pain relieving effects. Another researcher, in a 2001 study, again documented significant pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects in laboratory animals - and also indicated scoparinol demonstrated diuretic and barbiturate potentiation activity. These documented actions could certainly explain its traditional use as a natural remedy for pain of all types (including menstrual pain and cramps as well as during childbirth). In 2002, researchers in India verified vassourinha's antidiabetic and blood sugar-lowering effects in rats. In other in vitro laboratory tests, vassourinha demonstrated antioxidant actions, as well as, active properties against bacteria and fungi (which could explain its sustained use for respiratory and urinary tract infections).
   Scientists have been trying since the mid-1990s to synthesize several plant chemicals found in vassourinha, including scopadulcic acid B and betulinic acid, for their use in the pharmaceutical industry. Herbalists and natural health practitioners have used and will continue to use the plant as an effective natural remedy for upper respiratory problems and viruses, for menstrual problems, and as a natural pain reliever and antispasmodic remedy when needed. Water and ethanol extracts given to mice at up to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight showed no toxicity. -- www.rain-tree.com/vassourinha.htm

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Entry format: Botanical name / Family / Ref. Burmese-Myanmar transcripts (• Agri.Dept.2000 : • FAO : • Lè-seik-shin : • KS-TMN: • Nagathein : • UHM :/ Myanmar-Script Spelling Official Myanmar Dictionaries : - TravPo-M-Dict - Myan-Engl-Dict - Myan-Ortho / Hindi / Sanskrit / English common name used in Myanmar / Picture / Plant identification characters / Distribution in Myanmar / Part used and uses / Constituents /
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