Background: Plant species are known to produce metabolites of value used as pest control that target specific organisms. Two Meliaceae plants identified and tested for their larvicidal activity against the fourth instars larva of Anopheles gambiae, the primary vector of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. Methods: Dried powdered leaves of these medicinal plants were extracted by maceration in methanol. The most active extracts from Ekebergia senegalensis and Cedrela odorata were fractionated into hexane, chloroform and ethyl acetate solvents by liquid-liquid partitioning.
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Ekebergia capensis Sparrm. Ekebergia capensis is widespread, from Senegal east to Eritrea and Ethiopia, and south to Botswana, eastern South Africa and Swaziland.
The wood is locally valued for furniture, and it is also used for light construction, poles and tool handles. It is suitable for light flooring, joinery, interior trim, ship building, vehicle bodies, sporting goods, toys, novelties, vats, food containers, boxes, crates, matches, turnery, veneer and plywood.
It is also used as firewood and for charcoal production. The bark, roots and leaves are widely used in traditional medicine. Bark decoctions, infusions and macerations are taken to treat gastritis, heartburn, dysentery, epilepsy, gonorrhoea and as vermifuge, and are applied externally to ulcers, abscesses, boils, scabies, acne, pimples and itching skin. A powder prepared with the bark is sniffed against headache, colds and sinusitis.
A root decoction is taken as a diuretic and to treat kidney problems, dysentery, heartburn, headache and respiratory complaints. The root is chewed as an expectorant. Charred pulverized roots are sniffed for treatment of headache and blocked nose.
Leaf macerations are used internally or externally to treat headache, fever, cough and skin complaints, and they are taken as a vermifuge. The wood is used by Zulu people to facilitate childbirth. Decoctions of various parts of Ekebergia capensis are used traditionally in central Ethiopia as an anthelmintic for the treatment of livestock. Bark and roots have been used as ordeal poisons. In southern Africa the bark has been used for tanning.
The fruit is edible but usually not much liked. The foliage is browsed by livestock in the dry season. Ekebergia capensis is planted as an ornamental, particularly as a roadside tree, but also as a garden tree for its attractively coloured fruits and for shade. It is occasionally planted for soil conservation, as a windbreak and as a shade tree in coffee and banana plantations.
The flowers are a source of nectar and pollen for honey bees. The wood is only used locally and has no importance on the international market. The bark and roots are commonly sold on local markets for medicinal purposes.
The heartwood is whitish to pale pink when freshly cut, darkening to greyish white, pale pinkish brown or pale brown upon drying.
It is indistinctly demarcated from the sapwood. The grain is straight, texture moderately fine to coarse. Some figure may be present on backsawn surfaces. It air dries rapidly and without serious degrade.
Boards up to 25 mm thick can be air dried in less than one month and thin boards can be kiln dried in 6 days. The wood is moderately stable in service. The wood is easy to saw and work with both hand and machine tools.
It planes to a smooth surface and takes a fair polish. It has good nailing properties, but may split occasionally. Boring and mortising do not cause problems. The wood has good veneering and moulding properties. It is not durable and is susceptible to blue stain and insect attacks. The heartwood is moderately permeable for preservatives, the sapwood permeable. The growth of both drug-resistant and drug-sensitive strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis was inhibited by bark extracts of Ekebergia capensis at a concentration of 0.
In-vivo tests in mice showed significant suppression of chloroquine-tolerant Plasmodium berghei by Ekebergia capensis bark and leaf extracts. Several antiplasmodial triterpenoids have been isolated from the bark. Methanol extracts of the bark showed pronounced antibacterial activity against several bacteria. The bark contains the toxic compound 8-methoxy 4-methyl coumarin.
Tests on guinea-pig uterine smooth muscle showed uterotonic activity of wood extracts of Ekebergia capensis ; the active compounds isolated were identified as oleanonic acid and 3-epioleanolic acid.
Leaf extracts demonstrated antioxidant activity. Seed extracts showed significant in-vitro anthelmintic activity against Haemonchus contortus , supporting the traditional use as an anthelmintic for livestock in Ethiopia.
It has been reported that the bark contains about 7. Limonoids, terpenoids, flavonoids, steroids and phenolic compounds have been isolated from Ekebergia capensis.
The seeds contain the limonoid ekebergin as main constituent. Ekebergia benguelensis Welw. It differs from Ekebergia capensis in its thicker twigs with inconspicuous lenticels and in its leaflets with rounded to notched apex.
The wood is occasionally used, e. The roots are used in traditional medicine to treat painful menstruation, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and as an aphrodisiac.
The powdered bark is taken against impotence, and boiled leaves are applied to the chest to treat pneumonia. The fruits are edible. Ekebergia pterophylla C. Hofmeyr is a small tree up to 6 —10 m tall, endemic to eastern South Africa. It is characterized by its winged leaf rachis. Under favourable conditions, trees may flower abundantly every year. In the savanna zone of West Africa Ekebergia capensis flowers in the dry season.
The flowers are pollinated by insects such as bees and ants. Ekebergia capensis usually has male and female flowers on separate trees dioecious , but trees with functionally male and female flowers have been recorded. Fallen fruits are eaten by mammals such as antelopes, wild pigs, baboons and vervet monkeys. Investigations of the roots of Ekebergia capensis revealed arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization.
In West Africa Ekebergia capensis occurs in dry forest and riverine forest on well-drained soils. In East and southern Africa it is found in montane and riverine forest at — m altitude, but also in savanna woodland and wooded grassland, and then often on termite mounds.
It prefers deep sandy soils. The seed weight is — g. Fresh seeds start germinating after 4—9 weeks. Soaking the seeds in water for one day and subsequent scrubbing with a brush promotes germination. The seeds can be sown in trays filled with river sand or normal potting soil and should be covered with only a thin layer of soil up to 5 mm. Seeds lose their viability rapidly and storage for long periods is difficult.
Ekebergia capensis can also be propagated by cuttings. Tip cuttings or hardwood cuttings have been used successfully, and these can be planted in trays filled with river sand; truncheons can be planted directly into the field.
Wildlings are also collected for planting. After planting, the young trees should be watered freely as they are rather susceptible to drought. They should be protected from livestock for the first 2 years. In South Africa pink disease caused by Corticium salmonicolor has been recorded in Ekebergia capensis trees, characterized by stem and branch cankers covered with cracked bark and abundant pink mycelial growth.
In Nigeria larvae of the moth Bunaea alcinoe may seriously defoliate Ekebergia capensis , which seems to be its preferred host in southern Nigeria. Logs should be removed from the forest immediately after felling because they are very susceptible to blue stain and insect attacks.
The wood should be treated with preservatives and anti-stain solution immediately after drying. Ekebergia capensis is very widespread, shows a remarkably wide habitat adaptation and is quite common in many regions. Therefore, there is no reason to consider it as threatened with genetic erosion.
However, in Uganda and parts of Ethiopia it is considered threatened. Considering its wide variability, the collection of germplasm and mapping the genetic variation are warranted. For a multipurpose tree of such wide occurrence, surprisingly little is known on growth, propagation and management of Ekebergia capensis in cultivation. Given its wide ecological adaptation and apparently fair growth rates, it deserves wider testing in agroforestry systems.
Although its wood is not particularly valuable, wider planting for timber production is a serious option. Several interesting pharmacological activities have been demonstrated, which may serve as a basis for the development of drugs.
Ekebergia senegalensis Fuss
Senegalin 1 , a new phenylpropanoid has been isolated from the stem bark of Ekebergia senegalensis A. Their structures were elucidated with the help of spectroscopic techniques including 1 D- and 2 D-NMR. The antibacterial activity of the major compounds 2 , 9 - 11 was evaluated on five bacterial strains. However, only compounds 2 and 11 showed a weak inhibition against Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas agarici. Furthermore, the chemotaxonomic significance of these compounds has also been elaborated. Keywords: Ekebergia senegalensis; Meliaceae; Senegalin; antibacterial activity; phenylpropanoid.
West African Plants
AJOL and the millions of African and international researchers who rely on our free services are deeply grateful for your contribution. Your donation is guaranteed to directly contribute to Africans sharing their research output with a global readership. Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer. Abstract The leaves, stem bark and root bark of Ekebergia senegalensis, which has some traditional medicinal applications were investigated. Phytochemical analysis gave positive results for carbohydrates, glycosides, saponins, tannins and alkaloids. The crude methanol extracts showed growth inhibitory effects on Salmonella typhi, Pseudomonas, Klebsiella, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus.