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Family Equisetaceae
Sumbak
Equisetum debile Roxb.
SCOURING RUSH

Mu zei

Scientific names Common names
Equisetum debile Roxb. Sumbak (Tag.)
Equisetum ramosissimum Desf. subsp. debile Equisetum (Engl.)
Bi guan cao (Chin.) Bottlebrush plant (Engl.)
  Scouring rush (Engl.)
  Mu zei (Chin.)
Quisumbing's compilation lists Equisetum debile (sumbak) and E. ramosissimum (putod) as separate species. Other compilations list the speciea as synonyms.

Botany
Sumbak is a fern ally with many hollow fluted aerial stems growing from perennial jointed and branched rootstocks. Roots are in whorls from the nodes. Fertile stems are erect, simple, 60 to 70 centimeters long, regularly striated, and more or less smooth. Leaves are much reduced, simple, united into a sheath at the nodes, their tips thinner and prolonged into teeth, somewhat funnel-shaped, 5 to 7 millimeters long. Spikes are 8 to 10 millimeters long, obtuse. Spores are in terminal cones.

Distribution
- Reported from Benguet Province in Luzon, in Bukidnon and Davao Provinces in Mindanao.

Constituents
- Previous studies have isolated pinocembrin, chrysin, β-sitosterol, β-D- glycosylsitosterol, β-D-glucose, flavonoid glycosides and fatty acids12,13, flavonoid glycosides (kaempferol 3-O-sophoroside, kaempferol 3,7-O-β-D-diglucopyranoside, kaempferol 3-O-sophoroside-7-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, kaempferol 3-O-sophoroside and Caffeoyl-methylate-4-β-gluco-puranoside), megastigmane diglucoside (3S,5R,6S,7E,9S)- megastigman-7-ene-5,6-epoxy-3,9-diol 3,9-O-β-D-diglucopyranoside, (6R,9S)-3-oxo-a-ionol 9-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, (3S,5R,6R,7E,9S)-9-[(β-D-glucopyranosyl) oxy] megastigm-7- ene-3,5,6-triol), phenylethyl-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, (Z)-3-hexenyl-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, L-tryptophan14 and debilosides A-C; Blumenol A, corchoinoside C, sammangaoside A15.

Properties
- Considered cooling, astringent, diuretic.
- All species thought to contain alkaloids toxic to livestock.

Parts used
Whole plant.

Uses

Folkloric
- In Malaysia, used for pains in the joints.
- In
Africa, juice of E. debile taken orally to cure jaundice and hepatitis; also reported use as diuretic and treatment of kidney infections.
- In
Nepal, paste from pounded plants applied to cure old ulcers.
- In
India, used for the treatment of urinary tract and kidney stones.
- In
Bangladesh, used as cooling medicine; given for gonorrhea and bone fractures. Decoction of plant used for nasal polyps, various cancers (breast, liver, intestine, stomach, kidneys, and tongue.)
Others
- High silica content of shoots provide a rough abrasive texture useful for scouring of cooking pots.
- In New Guinea, used to polish ornaments and smooth handles.


Studies
Hypolipidemic:
Study showed E. debile Roxb alcohol extract decreased the triglyceride and total cholesterol of rat and triglyceride of rabbits. The concentration of b-apoprotein was not influenced.
Debilosides: Study isolated three new megastigmane glucosides from the whole plant of E. debile, with four known constituents - blumenol A, corchoinoside C, sammangaoside A and (3S,5R,6R,7E,9S)-9-[(β-d-glucopyranosyl)oxy]megastigm-7-ene-3,5,6-triol.
Cytotoxic / Antibacterial / Radical Scavenging Activity: Using brine shrimp lethality bioassay, n-hexane, ethyl acetate, and n-butanol extracts exhibited potent cytotoxic activity, suggesting antitumor or pesticidal activity. The EA extract showed significant free radical scavenging activity and an EA and n-butanol extract showed excellent antibacterial activity.

Availability
Wild-crafted.

Last Update December 2012

IMAGE SOURCE: Equisetum ramosissimum / Hippolyte Coste - Flore descriptive et illustrée de la France, de la Corse et des contrées limitrophes, 1901-1906 / Public Domain / alterVISTA

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Horsetails: State Prohibited Weed / Compiled by Ian Faithfull / Keith Turnbull Research Institute, Franston
(2)
Medicinal plants used for the treatment of jaundice and hepatitis based on socio-economic documentation / Arshard Mehmood Abbasi, Mir Ajap Khan et al / African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 8 (8), pp. 1643-1650, 20 April, 2009
(3)
The Modifying Effect on Hyperlipidemia by the Extraction of Equisetum Debile Roxb / Journal of Qiqihar Medical
(4)
Debilosides A–C: Three New Megastigmane Glucosides from Equisetum debile / Xiao-Hong Xu, Chang-Heng Tan et al / Helvetica Chimica Acta, Volume 89, Issue 7, pages 1422–1426, July 2006 / DOI: 10.1002/hlca.200690142
(5)
Ethnomedicinal Plants Used Against Skin Diseases in Some Villages of Kali Gandaki, Bagmati and Tadi Likhu Watersheds of Nepal / Ananda Raj Joshi and Kunjani Joshi / Ethnobotanical Leaflets 11: 235-246. 2007.
(6)
Medicinal plants of Muzaffarnagar district used in treatment of urinary tract and kidney stones / Prachi; Chauhan, N.; Kumar, D.; Kasana, M. S. / Journal Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge 2009 Vol. 8 No. 2 pp. 191-195
(7)
Equisetum ramosissimum subsp. (Desf.) Boerner subsp. debile (Roxb. ex Vauch.) / Chinese name / Catalogue of Life, China
(8)
CYTOTOXIC, ANTIBACTERIAL AND FREE RADICAL SCAVENGING ACTIVITY STUDIES OF THE SOLVENT EXTRACTS OF AERIAL STEMS OF EQUISETUM DEBILE ROXB / BRAZENDRANATH SARKAR*, S. M. ABU RAIHAN, NASIM SULTANA, RAQUIBUR RAHMAN, MOHAMMAD EMDADUL ISLAM, SHAMIM AHMED and SHAKILA AKTER / Int. J. Chem. Sci.: 10(1), 2012, 19-26


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