J Syst Evol ›› 1975, Vol. 13 ›› Issue (1): 32-55.

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A Preliminary Study of Menispermaceous Medicinal Plants in China

Lien Wen-Yen   

  1.  (Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences)
  • Published:1975-01-18

Abstract: The Menispermaceae is a well-known alkaloid-rich family within the flowering plants. Because of the therapeutic value and pharmacological actions of the alkaloids, contents of its members it has, besides taxonomists also attracted the attention of chemists, pharmacists and other research workers. In the present work, the menispermaceous medicinal plants of this country are dealt with from their taxonomical, phytochemical and therapeutic aspects. As a result of our preliminary study, out of 18 genera with some 70 species so far found in China, 15 genera with 51 species and 2 varieties are known to possess medicinal value, of which some are famous Chinese drugs, viz. Stephania tetrandra S. Moore (粉防己), Tinospora callipes Gagnep. (金果榄), Sinomenium acutum (Thunb.) Rehd. et Wils. (青藤); some are important folk remedies, e.g. Archangelisia loureirii (Pierre) Diels (古山龙), Stephania cepharantha Hayata (金线吊乌龟); and some are raw materials for the preparation of medicines, e.g. Fibraurea tinctoria Lour. for tetrahydropalmatine, Stephania sinica Diels for rotundine, etc. After a careful taxonomic examination, two new species, Cocculus mokaingensis Lien, Pericampelos omeiensis Lien, are found and herewith discribed. Isoquinoline alkaloids are widely distributed in the whole family. The Trib. Aniamirteae consisting of genus Arcangelisia, the Trib. Fibraureae consisting of genera Tinomiscium and Fibraurea, as well as the Trib. Tinosporeae consisting of genera Tinospora and Parabaena are charaterized by the presence of proberberine alkaloids, e.g. berberine, palmatine, jatrorrhizine, columbamine, etc. and such alkaloid-bearing plants are commonly used as antiperiodic, antidote, antibiotic, antimalarial, etc. On the other hand, the Trib. Menispermeae elaborates mainly bisbenzylisoquinoline-type alkaloids, and these plants are usually used in the treatment of rheumatism, and often as an anodyne, diuretic etc. To facilitate identification, 10 plates are here provided.