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Family Rutaceae
Zanthoxylum avicennae (Lam.) DC.

Le dang hua jiao

Scientific names Common names
Zanthoxylum avicennae (Lam.) DC. Bagatambal (Bis.)
Zanthoxylum iwahigense Elm. Buñgai (Tagb.)
Fagara avicennae Lam. Itañgan (Ig.)
  Kaytana (Tag.)
  Kañgai (Pamp.)
  Kayutana (Bik., Pamp.)
  Salai (Pamp.)
  Salai-kañgal (Pamp.)
  Salai-marbar (Bis.)
  Prickly ash (Engl.)
  Le dang hua jiao (Chin.)
Zanthoxylum avicennae (Lam.) DC. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Hua jiao le, Ji ju le, Hua mei le, Que long ta, Sou shan hu, Ying bu po.
VIETNAMESE: Danh phap hai phan.

Kangai is a shrub of 2 or 3 meters in height, with pinnately compound leaves varying considerably in length, sometimes reaching 25 centimeters. Branchlets are unarmed. Leaflets are usually fairly smooth, variable in form and size, ovate, obovate, or oblong-elliptic, the terminal one being largest, averaging 8 centimeters long. Flowers are fairly small, whitish or greenish, borne on the upper axils on depauperate panicles, 8 centimeters or less in length. Fruit is small, 5 to 6 millimeters in diameter. Seeds are black.

- In Benguet, Zambales, Nueva Ecija, Rizal, Batangas, and Camarines Provinces in Luzon; in Palawan; and in Mindanao, in thickets and forests, chiefly at medium altitudes, in Benguet, ascending to 2,200 meters.
- Also occurs in southeastern China.

- Studies have isolated flavonoids, alkaloids, coumarins and terpenoids.
- Study yielded bishordeninyl terpene alkaloids from the leaves - (-)-culantraramine and (-)-culantraraminol, together with (-)-culantraramine N-oxide, (-)-culantraraminol N-oxide and avicennamine.
- Bark has yielded hisperidin and diosmin. (Hisperidin appears to strengthen weak capillary vessels and used for treatment of conditions characterized by bleeding.
- Study of an EtOAc-soluble fraction of leaves yielded four new coumarins viz. 5'-methoxy- collinin (1), 5'-methoxyauraptene (2), 7-((2'E,5'E)-7'-methoxy-3',7'-dimethylocta-2',5'-dienyloxy)coumarin (3), 6-methoxy-7-((2'E,5'E)-7'-methoxy-3',7'-dimethylocta-2',5'- dienyloxy)coumarin (4), along with 16 known compounds (5-20). (See study below)
- Study of essential leaf oil yielded more than 50 compounds. Major constituents were
sesquiterpene hydrocarbons β-caryophyllene (17.01 %) and α-humulene (10.38 %) as well as the monoterpene hydrocarbons α-pinene (10.07 %) and β-phellandrene. Mono- and sesquiterpene hydrocarbons, such as α-terpinene, (E)-β-ocimene, λ-terpinene, germacrene D and β-selinene, were found in concentrations higher than 3.0 %. (8)
- Study of essential oil of stems and leaves yielded a total of 31 components, with monoterpenoids (66.70%) higher than sesquiterpenoids (33.45%). Principal compounds were 1,8-cineol (53.05 %), β-elemene (6.13 %), α-caryophyllene (5.96 %), β-caryophyllene (5.09 %) and caryophyllene oxide (4.59 %). (see study below)
- Study of EtOAc extract of root and stem yielded fourteen compounds, viz., Avicennin (1), Xanthoxyletin (2), Luvangetin (3), Norchelerythrine (4), Diisobutyl phthalate (5), ß- amyrin (6), Lupeol (7), Chelerythrine (8), Dictamine (9), ÷-fagarine (10) and Skimmianine (11), Sesamin (12) Syringaresinol (13) and P-hydroxybenzoic acid (14).

- Bark is bitter; considered astringent and tonic.
- Studies suggest anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties.

Parts used
Stems and bark.


- Decoction of stem used as stomach tonic; also, used as antidote for snake bites.
- Bark used as tonic.
- In China, used in treatment of rheumatism, abdominal pain, jaundice, chronic hepatitis and common cold.
- In Taiwan, used for epigastric pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain due to intestinal parasites; used externally for eczema. (5)

Neolignans / Anti-Inflammatory:
Study of stem wood of ZA yielded 8 new compounds, including four new neolignans, together with 18 known compounds. The MeOH extract of Z. avicennae inhibited FMLP/CB- induced superoxide anion generation by human neutrophils and elastase release in a
concentration-dependent manner. (2)
Anti-Cancer / Cell Apoptosis / Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Study investigating the effects of Ying Bu Bo extracts on HA22T human hepatocellular carcinoma cells in vitro and an in vivo mouse xenograft model showed dose-dependent induction of apoptosis, up-regulated death receptor apoptotic pathway markers and mitochondrial proteins, and suppressed protein survival. Results indicates YBBEs significantly promoted dose-dependent HA22T apoptosis and reduced tumor sizes in xenograft mice model. (3)
Bioactive Constituents / Coumarins / Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Study of an EtOAc-soluble fraction of leaves yielded four new coumarins, along with 16 known compounds (See constituents above). Some compounds inhibited superoxide anion generation by human neutrophils in response to fMLP/CB. Compounds 8, 14 and 18 inhibited fMLP/CB-induced elastase release. (5)
Essential Oil / Antibacterial / Antitumor: Essential oil from leaves yielded 72 components. The essential oil exhibited strong antitumor activity against K-562 human tumor cell line and exhibited moderate antimicrobial activity against three bacteria. (6)
Larvicidal / Essential Oil / Stems and Leaves: Study evaluated the larvicidal activity of essential oil derived from Z. avicennae leaves and stems against larvae of Aedes albopictus Skuse. The essential oil showed larvicidal activity against A. albopictus with a median lethal concentration (LC50) of 48.79 µg/mL. (see constituents above) (10)


Last Updated February 2015

IMAGE SOURCE: / Zanthoxylum avicennae (Lam.) DC. var. touranense Pierre, , Flore forestiere de la Cochinchine, vol. 3: t. 289 , fig. A (1884-1895) [E. Delpy / Illustration contributed by the library of the Missouri Botanical Garden, U.S.A. / PlantIllustrations.org
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Zanthoxylum avicennae (Lam.) DC. / plj.johnny / CC / 20 Feb 2011 / PHOTOREE

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Bishordeninyl terpene alkaloids from Zanthoxylum avicennae
/ Trinh Thi Thuy, Andrea Porzel, Helmut Ripperger et al /
Phytochemistry, Volume 50, Issue 5, 10 March 1999, Pages 903-907 / doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(98)00612-8
Neolignans, a Coumarinolignan, Lignan Derivatives, and a Chromene: Anti-inflammatory
Constituents from Zanthoxylum avicennae
/ Jih-Jung Chen, Tzu-Ying Wang and Tsong-Long Hwang / J. Nat. Prod. 2008, 71, 212–217
Zanthoxylum avicennae extracts induce cell apoptosis through protein phosphatase 2A activation in HA22T human hepatocellular carcinoma cells and block tumor growth in xenografted nude mice / Dung TD, Chang HC et al / Int J Mol Med. 2011 Dec;28(6):927-36. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2011.780. Epub 2011 Aug 19.
Zanthoxylum avicennae (Lam.) DC. (accepted name) / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Studies on bioactive constituents from the leaves of Zanthoxylum avicennae / JY Cho, TL Hwang 2, TH Lee, JJ Chen / Planta Med 2012; 78 - PI211 / DOI: 10.1055/s-0032-1321364
Study on the chemical components, antimicrobial and antitumor activities of the essential oil from the leaves of Zanthoxylum avicennae / Galenicom
Zanthoxylum avicennae (Lam.) DC / The Plant List
Chemical Composition of the Essential Oil of Zanthoxylum avicennae (Lam.) DC Leaves (Rutaceae) from Vietnam / Do Ngoc Dai, Ngo Xuan Luong, Tran Dinh Thang, Leopold Jirovetzd, Martina Höferld, Erich Schmidt / Journal of essential oil-bearing plants JEOP, 15(1):7-11./ DOI: 10.1080/0972060X.2012.10644012
Zanthoxylum avicennae / By Thomas S. C. L / Taiwanese Native Medicinal Plants: Phytopharmacology and Therapeutic Values
Chemical Composition of Zanthoxylum avicennae Essential Oil and its Larvicidal Activity on Aedes albopictus Skuse / Xin Chao Liu, Qi Yong Liu, Ligang Zhou, Quan Ru Liu and Zhi Long Liu* / Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research March 2014; 13 (3): 399-404 / http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/tjpr.v13i3.13
Chemical Constituents from the Root and Stem of Zanthoxylum Avicennae / Tao Guo; Xiao-Feng Tang; Ju-Bao Zhang; Jun-Qing Wei; Ya Wang; Yong-Hui Li; Zhen Zhang / Applied Mechanics & Materials; 2014, Issue 618, p426

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