Papua is an erect shrub, growing growing 1 to
2.5 meters high. Leaves are decompound, 3-pinnate, and up to 30 centimeters long.
The pinnae are 6 to 10, the upper ones are shorter. Leaflets and ultimate
segments are very diverse, mostly lanceolate, 5 to 10 centimeters long; the terminal
segments are usually larger than the others and more often lobed, pointed
at the tip, sharply and irregularly toothed. Flowers are numerous, umbellately
arranged, shortly stalked, borne on terminal inflorescences in the upper
axils of the leaves, up to 15 centimeters long. Fruit is broadly ovoid, compressed
and about 4 centimeters long.
- Commonly planted in hedges and about houses, but is nowhere spontaneous.
- Cultivated for its hedge and its leaves, the latter for providing body
to florists' wreaths.
- Of prehistoric introduction.
- Probably of Malayan origin.
- Reported from India, Malaysia, and Polynesia.
- Now planted in all tropical countries.
- Yields saponins.
- Study of roots and leaves yielded eight new oleanolic acid saponins names polysciosides A to H together with three known saponins.
- Methanol extract of leaves yielded three bisdesmosidic saponins, 3-O-[𝛽-D-glucopyranosyl-(1→4)-𝛽-D-glucuronopyranosyl] oleanolic acid 28-O-𝛽-D-glucopyranosyl
ester (1), polyscioside D (2), and 3-O-[ß-D-glucopyranosyl-(1→2)-[𝛽-D-glucopyranosyl-(1→4)]-𝛽-D-glucuronopyranosyl}
oleanolic acid 28-O-𝛽-D-glucopyranosyl-(1→2)-𝛽-D-galactopyranosyl ester (3). (see study below) (11)
- GC-MS analysis of sesquiterpenoid volatile leaf oils of Polyscias fruticosa yielded about 24 constituents. ß-elemene,
α-bergamotene, germacrene-D and (E)-gM-bisabolene were present in major proportions. (12)
- Astringent, febrifuge, sudorific, vulnerary.
- Root is aromatic in taste and smell, parsley-like.
- Root considered diuretic.
- Studies have suggested antipyretic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, molluscicidal, adaptogenic, antitussive, anti-asthma, diuretic,
antiasthmatic, alpha-glucosidase and alpha-amylase inhibitory activities.
- In Java,
used as food and condiment in lieu of celery and parsley.
- Young leaves, shoots, and roots eaten raw or steamed; added to soups as flavoring.
- The root has an agreeable, strongly aromatic, parsley-like.
- Leaves are powdered, mixed with salt
for wound healing.
- In India, used as astringent
- In Fiji, root used as diuretic. Juice from bark taken for thrush and tongue and throat ulcers. Bark poultice applied to syphilitic sores. (13)
- In Cambodia, considered
a sudorific inhalant; also used for neuralgia and rheumatic pains.
- In Vietnam, used as digestive.
- Wreaths: Leaves used by florists to give body to wreaths.
- Ritual sticks: Plant used for making joss sticks by Buddhist monks in Cambodia. (10)
• Leaf Volatile Oil:
Study of fresh leaves yielded 0.32% volatile oil, slightly yellow in color, with a grassy scent. It was highly positive for sesquiterpene. Mass spectroscopy showed bergamotene, oxygenated sesquiterpene, -elemene, ß-bourbonene, ß-cubebene, ß-bisabolene, farnesene, elemene among others. (1)
• Antipyretic / Analgesic:
Study of n-butanol extract of leaves of Polyscias fruticosa in egg white-induced paw edema in rats showed antipyretic and analgesic activities. (2)
The NBES (n-butanol extract containing saponins) showed a potential as an effective plant molluscicidal, an effect attributed to the saponins. It is of added interest because fresh water snails act as intermediate host to schistosomes, the causative agents of schistosomiasis. (2)
• Adaptogenic / Anti-Inflammatory:
Adaptogenic activity studies showed Polyscias fruticosa leaf and root saponins possess effective anti-stress activity as compared with white panax ginseng root saponins. The polyscias saponins were effective in acute models of inflammations. Its immunostimulant activity revealed it can be a good substitute for white panax ginseng. (4)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Ovalbumin Induced-Asthma / Toxicity Study / Leaves:
Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory property of an ethanolic extract of Polyscias fruticosa in ovalbumin-induced asthma. There was no significant toxic effect at lower doses (NOAEL: <1000 mg/kg). Treatment with extracts showed an anti-inflammatory effect with significant reduction of elevated WBCs and its differential, and significant decrease in erythrocyte sedimentation rate. (6)
• Antitussive/ Mucosuppressant in Asthma Management:
Study evaluated the muco-suppressant, anti-tussive and safety profile of an ethanolic leaf extract in its use as an anti-asthmatic. Results showed significant inhibition (P≤ 0.01-0,001) of tracheal mucus phenol and secretion, and suppression of citric acid-induced cough. Subchronic toxicity study showed no significant changes in body weight, hematologic profile, liver and kidney functions. (7)
• Removal of VOCs:
A University of Georgia study evaluated the ability of various species of house plants in removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. Polyscias fruticosa (ming aralia) was one of seven plants judged to have intermediate removal efficiency. (9)
• α-Glucosidase and α-Amylase inhibitory Saponins / Leaves: Study of methanol extract of Polyscias fruticosa leaves yielded three bisdesmosidic saponins. Saponin 1 inhibited porcine pancrease α-amylase and yeast α-glucosidase activities. Combination of compound 1 and acarbose showed synergistic inhibitory effect. Results suggest a potential for major saponin 1 in the prevention and treatment of diabetes. (11)
• Diuretic / Acute Oral Toxicity Study / Roots: Study evaluated the diuretic effect of petroleum ether extract of P. fruticosa roots in albino rats. In acute oral toxicity study using OECD guidelines, no mortality was observed up to 2000 mg/kbw. The extract showed notable diuretic effect as evidenced by significant increase in urine volume, sodium and potassium content; the effect was similar to furosemide. (13)
• Redactor and Stabilizer of Gold Nanoparticles Formation / Leaves: Study reports on the green biosynthesis of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) using aqueous leaf extract of P. fruticosa. (14)
• Antiasthmatic / Leaves: Study evaluated the anti-asthmatic property and possible mechanism of action of an ethanol leaf extract of P. fruticosa in a guinea pig model.
The PF extract prolonged the onset of pre-convulsive dyspnea and decreased recovery time. It also enhanced the percentage protection against histamine-induced bronchospasm and decreased percentage recovery time. It significantly inhibited contractile responses of histamine and produced significant inhibition of mast cell degranulation. (15)
- Extracts in the cybermarket.