Pharmacological potential and conservation prospect of genus Eucomis (Hyacinthaceae) endemic to southern Africa.

Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development, School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, South Africa.
Journal of ethnopharmacology (Impact Factor: 3). 11/2013; 151(1). DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2013.11.002
Source: PubMed


The genus Eucomis (Hyacinthaceae) consists of 10 species that are extensively used in African traditional medicine.
An appraisal of current information on the distribution and morphology, traditional uses, pharmacology, toxicology and approaches devised to enhance the conservation of the genus.
A systematic and comprehensive literature search using electronic searches such as Scopus, Google Scholar, Web of Science and ethnobotanical books was conducted.
Evidence from traditional medicine usage shows wide utilization of this genus for ailments such as respiratory, venereal diseases, rheumatism, kidney and bladder infections. Pharmacological screening reported antimicrobial, antiplasmodial, antitumor, cytotoxic, phytotoxic and anti-inflammatory properties.
The potential of the genus Eucomis especially in terms of pharmacology cannot be overemphasized. Apart from the anti-inflammatory properties, the antifungal activity of Eucomis remains a valuable reservoir with potential application in the agriculture sector as a source of an affordable biocontrol agent. Extensive utilization of members of the genus Eucomis is causing severe strain on wild populations. Although conventional propagation has been relatively effective in the alleviation of the declining status, micropropagation of members may be vital to guarantee the conservation of wild populations.

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    • "eucomol, autumnalin), belonging to a small class of C- 16 flavonoids -phenolic compounds [8] [9] [10], which were also found to be potent antioxidants, with activity comparable to α-tocoferol and widely used synthetic antioxidants: butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) [11] [12]. According to Masondo et al. [4] the prospective of the genus Eucomis particularly in terms of pharmacology cannot be overemphasized. Biological activity exhibited by medicinal plants may vary due to genetic, ecological and environmental differences [13-15]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The genus Eucomis includes 10 species and many cultivars, which are becoming increasingly popular and widely used in natural medicine and for ornamental purposes. The aim of the study was to compare the total phenolic content, photosynthetic pigment concentration and antioxidant activity of the leaves and bulbs of five different taxa: E. autumnalis (Mill.) Chitt., E. bicolor Baker, E. comosa (Houtt.) Wehrh., E. comosa ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ and E. comosa ‘Twinkle Stars’. Among the examined taxa, the highest content of dry matter and L-ascorbic acid was found in E. comosa, which was also characterized by high antioxidant activity, and high content of polyphenols, carotenoids, and chlorophylls. Leaves of all compared in the experiment taxa had higher antioxidant activity and content of L-ascorbic acid, total carotenoids and chlorophylls while the bulbs were characterized by higher content of dry matter and total polyphenols.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Fresenius Environmental Bulletin
    • "Eucomis autumnalis (Mill.) Chitt (family: Asparagaceae ) is a bulbous plant widely used in traditional medicine and as an ornamental (Masondo et al. 2014). The destructive harvesting of its bulbs for use in traditional medicine aggravated by increasing demands is certainly unsustainable, resulting in a 'declining' conservation status (Raimondo et al. 2009). "

    No preview · Article · May 2015 · South African Journal of Botany
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    • "The benefits and need for further research especially to optimize the PGR concentrations for shoot proliferation in Eucomis species have been highlighted (Ault 1995; Taylor and Van Staden 2001). The increasing horticultural and pharmacological value of E. autumnalis subspecies autumnalis which is causing severe strain on wild populations has necessitated the need for more research to ensure conservation (Masondo et al. 2014). As highlighted by these authors, availability of efficient micropropagation protocol is pertinent to fully explore and sustain the economic potential of Eucomis species. "
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    ABSTRACT: Eucomis species is a valuable plant with both medicinal and horticultural potential. The current study evaluated the role of plant growth regulator (PGR) on growth, phytochemicals, and antioxidant activity in Eucomis autumnalis subspecies autumnalis. Five cytokinins including topolins and benzyladenine (BA) at 2 A mu M in combination with varying (0-15 A mu M) concentrations of naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) were tested. In vitro regenerants were acclimatized in the greenhouse for 4 months. Highest number of shoots (9 shoots/explant) was observed with 15 A mu M NAA alone or when combined with BA. Acclimatized plants derived from the 15 A mu M NAA treatment had the highest number of roots, largest leaf area and biggest bulbs. While applied PGRs increased the iridoids and condensed tannins in the in vitro regenerants, total phenolics and flavonoids were higher in the PGR-free treatment. Among the in vitro regenerants, 5 A mu M NAA and 2 A mu M BA treatments produced the best antioxidant activity in the DPPH (55 %) and beta-carotene (88 %) test systems, respectively. A remarkable carry-over effect of the PGR was conspicuous in the phytochemical levels and antioxidant activity of the 4-month-old plants. In addition to the optimized micropropagation protocols, the current findings present a promising potential for manipulating the type and concentration of applied PGRs to improve phytochemical production and hence medicinal value in E. autumnalis subspecies autumnalis.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Acta Physiologiae Plantarum
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