Hippocratea thomasii Hutch. & M.B.Moss
Ichnocarpus afzelii Schult.
Secamone leonensis (Scott-Elliot) N.E.Br.
Secamone myrtifolia Benth.
Toxocarpus leonensis Scott-Elliot
Secamone afzelii is a scandent shrub or climbing plant that can produce stems up to 12 metres long[
The plant is often harvested from the wild for local medicinal use.
Although taken internally for medical reasons, there is evidence that the plant is poisonous[
]. Drinking an infusion of the leaves can cause vomiting and convulsions, followed sometimes even by death[
West Tropical Africa - Senegal to southern Nigeria, and also in Cameroon and Gabon.
Secondary jungle and savannah thickets, common on unkempt farmland and in boundaries[
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The plant is adapted to a wide range of climatic factors[
Prefers a position in full sun or light shade[
]. Succeeds in a wide range of soils[
The bitter tasting aerial parts of the plant are rich in latex. They are often used, both internally and externally, in traditional African medicine. However, some care should be exercised if using the plant internally since there has been evidence from Sierra Leone of poisoning ascribed to this plant. It has been shown that it can cause vomiting and convulsions and, in some instances death has followed. Post-mortem examination showed inflammation of the stomach without any abnormality in the bowel[
Phytochemical screening of the methanol extract of the leaves has shown a high concentration of flavonoids, followed by saponins, reducing sugars, coumarins and the triterpenoid friedelin[
]. The stems only showed low concentration of these compounds[
The leaves are rich in alpha-tocopherol (one of the forms of vitamin E), a compound with established antioxidant properties[
A high amount of anthocyanins (336 mg/100 g) has been demonstrated in the leaves, as well as a range of 16 phenolic acids[
Aqueous and ethanolic extracts of the leaves have been shown to inhibit the growth of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Proteus mirabilis and several of their multiple drug resistant strains in vitro[
]. The extracts also showed some anti-inflammatory activity in vitro[
The methyl chloride extract of the aerial parts showed moderate antiplasmodial activity in vitro[
The leaves, and probably all the aerial parts of the plant, are antianaemic, antispasmodic, aperitif, aphrodisiac, cardiac, diuretic, galactagogue, gently laxative, tonic and vulnerary[
The plant is used to improve blood flow and in the treatment of conditions such as anaemia, colic, diarrhoea, oedema, sexually transmitted diseases, diabetes,schistosomiasis and intercostal pain. The crushed leaves are taken to arrest excessive purging caused by the use of Anchomanes difformis[
]. The pounded leaves are cooked into a sauce are taken as a treatment for bilharzia[
The leaves are ground to a paste, mixed with palm oil and then eaten as a treatment for cardiac palpitations, intercostal pain, sore throat, cough[
]. A drink of the ground-up leaves, combined with the leaves of several other species and three chillies, is taken in the treatment of pneumonia[
]. Leafy twigs may be boiled with rice and the fluid drunk freely as a quick-acting, non-griping purge[
Applied as an enema, the plant is used in the treatment of female sterility, to facilitate pregnancy and to ease delivery[
The leaves are macerated and the macerate is drunk and also rubbed on the breasts daily for a month in order to increase milk flow[
Used externally, the latex, or the leaves in poultice, are applied to maturate boils, and to heal wounds, skin inflammation and breast abscesses[
]. A maceration of the leaves, combined with those of Senna obtusifolia, is used as a wash to prevent abortion[
]. The dried and powdered leafy twigs, mixed with shea butter (Vitellaria paradoxa) are applied to the chest to treat chest complaints in children. Mixed with black soap, the powdered leaves are used in a bath to treat measles[
A decoction of the root is taken to treat arterial hypertension[
A Shien name in Ivory Coast meaning ‘cord of the tortoise’ suggests that the thin flexible stems are used to make some sort of fibre or binding material[
All parts of the plant contain latex. No uses are mentioned.