Strychnos brachyura Gilg
Strychnos dewevrei Gilg
Strychnos dundusanensis De Wild.
Strychnos kipapa Gilg
Strychnos mildbraedii Gilg
Strychnos pusilliflora S.Moore
Strychnos venulosa Hutch. & M.B.Moss
Strychnos icaja is a very vigorous climbing shrub able to produce stems up to 100 metres long and 15cm in diameter. The stems can climb 40 metres into the forest canopy where they attach themselves by means of tendrils[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local medicinal use.
A root or root bark infusion, or more rarely a stem bark extract, has been used as ordeal poison. Often roots of young plants were used, which seem to have a lower toxicity than those of mature plants[
The root bark is an ingredient in arrow poison[
Whole plants, root bark and fruits are used as a fish poison[
West tropical Africa - Guinea to Central African Republic, south to Angola and DR Congo.
Rainforest and secondary forest on lateritic sandy clay soils, from sea-level up to 800 metres[
Because of its toxicity, this plant is usually only administered under the supervision of a traditional medicine man, mainly in the treatment of skin diseases and chronic and persistent malaria[
A very small dose of root bark maceration is taken as an abortifacient and as an anthelmintic[
An alcoholic extract of the stem bark is taken to treat haemorrhoids[
The body is rubbed with a root bark maceration as a snake repellent[
]. The dried and powdered root bark, mixed with palm oil, is applied topically to treat skin diseases and itch[
A decoction of the roots is taken as a diuretic or as an intoxicating drink[
]. A cold infusion of the root in palm wine is taken to treat gastrointestinal complaints and hernia[
A maceration of the ground roots is used as a rectal wash to treat sterility[
The ash of burnt twigs or roots is rubbed into scarifications of the forehead to treat insanity and malaria[
The root, stem and leaves contain a mixture of tertiary indole alkaloids, of which strychnine and pseudostrychnine (12-hydroxystrychnine) are the principal active substances[
The roots contain dimeric tertiary alkaloids and quaternary alkaloids[
Strychnine is the main alkaloid component of the fruits and seeds. Strychnine activity enhances epinephrine levels and increases blood pressure. The most direct symptoms caused by strychnine are violent convulsions. It is applied in medicine as a stimulator of the nervous system and as a reliable anaesthetic. It is slightly soluble in water, but more soluble in alcohol[
The alkaloids sungucine and isosungucine exhibit antiplasmodial activities but also show cytotoxic effects against human cancer cells[
Pharmacological experiments have shown that the quaternary alkaloid fraction has pronounced muscle-relaxant activity. Moreover, this fraction has a powerful cardiotoxic action ending in irreversible cardiac arrest[
The trimeric indolomonoterpenic alkaloid strychnohexamine, which is found in the leaves, has antiplasmodial activity against Plasmodium falciparum[
The plant also contains saponins, iridoids and phenolic compounds, although they probably have little activity compared to the alkaloids[
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