We are following the treatment in the on-line 'African Plant Database'[
], which treats Neorautanenia amboensis as a synonym of this species. Some other treatments, however, maintain the two taxons as distinct. If treated as distinct, the pesticidal properties apply equally to each species[
Cacara orbicularis (Welw. ex Baker) Hiern
Dolichos ellenbeckii Harms
Dolichos mitis A.Rich.
Dolichos orbicularis (Welw. ex Baker) Baker f.
Dolichos pseudopachyrhizus Harms
Dolichos seineri Harms
Neorautanenia amboensis Schinz
Neorautanenia edulis C.A.Sm.
Neorautanenia orbicularis (Welw. ex Baker) Torre
Neorautanenia pseudopachyrhiza (Harms) Milne-Redh.
Neorautanenia seineri (Harms) C.A.Sm.
Pachyrhizus orbicularis Welw. ex Baker
Pueraria hochstetteri Chiov.
Neorautanenia mitis is a very variable, subshrubby herb growing from a large, tuberous rootstock; it produces stems 2 metres or more long that can be erect, climbing, scrambling or entirely prostrate[
]. The rootstock is often conical, frequently more than 40 cm long and can weigh 10 - 15 kg[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine, and is also used as an insecticide.
The roots contain saponins and have been used as a fish poison[
Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of raw foods that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[
Tropical Africa - Cote D'Ivoire to Somalia, south to Namibia, northern S. Africa and Mozambique.
Drier areas of Africa, in grassland, bushland and open woodland, often in rocky places[
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Neorautanenia mitis is a plant of drier tropical areas of Africa, south from subsaharan regions.
Requires a well-drained soil and a position in full sun[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
An alcohol decoction of the tuberous root is used in the treatment of scabies and has been found to be 100% effective against mites in humans[
]. Other ethnomedicinal uses of the root include the treatment of dysmenorrhea, employed as a cold-water decoction, neuropsychiatric disorders, and as an anticonvulsant[
Studies have also shown that the methanol root extract of this plant possesses antinociceptive activity that may be both peripherally and centrally mediated[
A methanol extract of the powdered root possesses central effects that are sedative in nature. The study has therefore provided scientific evidence to show central depressant effects of this plant, thereby scientifically explaining and corroborating the traditional use of this plant, as well as confirming the presence of potentially useful pharmacologically active principles[
The leaves and roots are used as an insecticide[
A decoction of the tuberous roots has been used for removing ticks from sheep and goats[
An alcoholic extract of the roots has sometimes been efficient as a pesticide on the bean aphid, but were not reliable. The roots are not of commercial interest, but could be of value locally[
Petroleum extracts of the plant have been shown to be effective in restricting the infestation of wheat grain and shelled maize by insect pests[
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