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Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides (Lam.) Zepern. & Timler

Protologue  
 Willdenowia 11(2): 361 (1981).
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Family  
 Rutaceae
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Chromosome number  
 2n = 72
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Synonyms  
 Fagara zanthoxyloides Lam (1788), Zanthoxylum senegalense DC. (1824).
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Vernacular names  
 Senegal prickly-ash, candlewood, toothache bark (En). Fagara jaune (Fr).
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Origin and geographic distribution  
 Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides occurs from Senegal east to Cameroon.
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Uses  
 Throughout West Africa the aromatic roots, stem bark and leaves are commonly used in traditional medicine. They are considered antiseptic, analgesic and diaphoretic. Root or stem bark macerations, decoctions or infusions are widely taken to treat malaria, fever, sickle cell anaemia, tuberculosis, paralysis, oedema and general body weakness. They are also widely taken to treat intestinal problems, including colic, dysentery, intestinal worms, gonorrhoea and urethritis, but also as an emmenagogue, stimulant and to treat pain during childbirth, migraine and neuralgia. The roots are externally applied to ulcers, swellings, haemorrhoids, abscesses, snake bites, yaws, wounds leprosy and syphilitic sores as well as rheumatic and arthritic pain and hernia.
The roots and stem bark give a warm, pungent and benumbing effect on the palate when chewed, and are widely used in the treatment of sore gums, toothache and dental caries. A decoction of the roots is used as a mouthwash and against a sore throat.
In Côte d’Ivoire sap from the pulped bark is applied as eye drops to treat eye infections, notably conjunctivitis with pus. In Ghana root and stem bark powder is taken to treat whooping cough.
In southern Nigeria a decoction of the stem bark and roots is taken to treat cancer. Pulped stem bark and root bark is thrown in the water to stupefy fish.
In West Africa, it is planted as a hedge, as the thorns make it impenetrable. Sheep browse the leaves. The wood is used for manufacturing of torches. The timber is yellow, very hard and termite-resistant and used for building purposes, including poles and posts. It also makes good firewood. The roots, young shoots and twigs are commonly used as chew-sticks. The bark or young branches contain much resin, which makes them suitable for ceremonial torches. The spines are thrown into fire to give off a scented smoke. The leaves, which smell like citronella, and the seeds, which taste strongly of cinnamon or pepper, are commonly used to season food. From the seeds, necklaces are made. Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides also has numerous magico-religious uses, including protection against spirits. It also serves as fetish plant.
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Production and international trade  
 Roots, leaves and stems are commonly sold in markets in Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Nigeria. There are several local products on the market containing Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides roots, including Drepanostat and FACA, to treat sickle cell anaemia.
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Properties  
 Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides contains a high diversity of essential oils and alkaloids, as well as several aliphatic and aromatic amides. Analysis of the essential oil obtained from the fruits collected from different localities showed the existence of several chemovariants. The essential oil from one sample of fruits from Cameroon contained monoterpenes as main components: α-pinene (38.2%), trans-β-ocimene (5.4%), citronellol (3.3%), sabinene (3.2%), myrcene (3.1%), limonene (3.0%), citronellyl acetate (3.0%), α-terpinolene (2.7%), α-phyllandrene (2.6%), geraniol (1.9%), terpinen-4-ol (1.5%), p-cymene (1.2%), methyl citronellate (1.2%) and β-pinene (1.2%). Another sample contained as main components: β-citronellol (18.1%), geraniol (16.2%), 2,6-dimethyl-2,6-octadiene (9.3%), geranyl acetate (5.9%), isopulegol (5.4%), D-limonene (4.8%), β-citronellal (4.7%) and the sesquiterpene manoyl oxide (5.5%). The essential oil from a fruit sample from Benin contained mainly monoterpenoids, with β-ocimene (41.5%), linalool (11.3%) and geranial (9.5%) as main components. The leaf essential oil only contained monoterpene hydrocarbons (98.2%), mainly β-ocimene (31.9%), α-pinene (26.5%) and myrcene (30%).
The stem bark and root bark contain benzophenanthridine, furoquinoline and aporphine alkaloids. From the root bark the benzophenanthridines fagaronine, dihydroavicine, chelerythrine and oxychelerythrine were isolated, and from the stem bark fagaronine and chelerythrine. From the root bark the furoquinolines skimmianine and 8-methoxydictamine, as well as the aporphines magnoflorine, berberine, tembetarine and N-methyl-corydine were isolated. From the roots, fruits and stem bark several aliphatic amides have been isolated, including the pungent N-isobutyldeca-2, 4-dienamide and N-isobutylocta-2,4-dienamide, which are main components of pellitorine. The root bark also contains the aromatic amides arnottianamide, fagaramide, piperlonguminine, rubemamin and N-isopentyl-cinnamamide. From the stem bark many coumarins were isolated: umbelliferone, scopoletin, scoparone, xanthotoxin, imperatorin, bergapten, marmesin and pimpinellin; the root bark and the stem bark contain the lignan sesamin, while the root bark also contains its C-7 epimer asarinin. From the aerial parts and roots the sterols zanthoxylol, diosmin, fagarol and hesperidin have been identified, as well as triterpenes such as lupeol, β-sitosterol, stigmasterol, campesterol and β-amyrin. From the roots a series of acids was isolated: vanillic acid, hydroxybenzoic acid, parahydroxybenzoic acid, 2-hydroxymethyl benzoic acid and parafluorobenzoic acid as well as the divanilloylquinic acids burkinabin A, B and C.
Crude root bark extracts showed significant anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities in rodents. They also showed anti-sickling activity in several small clinical trials; the isolated acids also showed significant anti-sickling activity. Different plant extracts showed low toxicity in laboratory tests. Crude root bark extracts showed moderate antibacterial activity in vitro against a range of pathogenic bacteria. The essential oil of the fruits showed moderate to significant antibacterial activity. Ethanolic leaf extracts showed low antifungal in vitro, whereas root and stem bark extracts showed moderate to good antifungal activity in vitro. The alkaloid extract of the stem bark showed significant antiplasmodial activity in vitro. Different root bark extracts showed moderate antiviral activity against herpes simplex virus and antiprotozoal activity against Leishmania major. Extracts of different plant parts as well as powdered plant parts showed significant insecticidal and antifeedant activities against a range of crop pests. The leaves fed to rabbits showed anthelmintic activity against Ascaris lumbricoides, as well as significant anthelmintic activity against Haemonchus contortus when fed to sheep. An ethanolic root bark extract exhibited moderate antioxidant activities in vitro.
Pellitorine showed insecticidal, antibacterial and anti-sickling activity in vitro. The benzophenanthridine alkaloid fagaronine demonstrated strong antileukemic activity against both L-1210 and P-388 leukemia cell lines as well as anti-sickling properties. Other benzophenanthridine alkaloids such as chelerythrine and berberine also showed antimicrobial activities. However, the toxicity of benzophenanthridine alkaloids prevents their clinical application. Several coumarins isolated from Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides showed antifungal activities. Scoparone and scopoletin have demonstrated anticonvulsive effects in experimental animals. β-Sitosterol showed significant anti-inflammatory activity when administered intraperitoneally to mice and rats and was orally effective against carrageenin-induced oedema. β-Sitosterol also exhibited anti-pyretic activity.
The mineral composition of the fruit pericarp per 100 g is: Ca 90 mg, P 41 mg, Fe 2 mg, Na 10 mg, K 46 mg, Mg 52 mg and Cu 55 mg.
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Description  
 Shrub or small tree, spiny and more or less scandent, up to 6–8(–12) m tall, with straight, often short bole and rounded and quite dense crown; bark grey to beige, rough, with fine vertical fissures, often with woody prickle-bearing protuberances; slash yellow, odorous, orange-mottled beneath; stems glabrous, grey, with solitary prickles. Leaves alternate, glabrous, imparipinnately compound with 5–7(–11) opposite or alternate leaflets, up to 12(–20) cm long; petiole 2–5 cm long, glabrous, spiny beneath with recurved prickles; stipules absent; petiolules 2–5 mm long; leaflets obovate to elliptical, 5–10 cm × 2–4 cm, base cuneate to rounded, apex obtuse or rounded, sometimes apiculate or notched, with many glandular dots, smelling of pepper and lemon when crushed, rigidly papery, pinnately veined with 10–14 pairs of lateral veins, barely prominent, fusing near the margin. Inflorescence a lax terminal or axillary panicle 5–25 cm long, with short branches. Flowers unisexual, regular, 5-merous, white or greenish, sessile; corolla barely open; male flowers with stamens slightly exserted; female flower with superior ovary, 1-celled, style short, lateral. Fruit an ovoid follicle, 5–6 mm in diameter, brown, with glandular dots, dehiscent, 1-seeded. Seed black to bluish, shiny, long persistent in the fruit.
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Other botanical information  
 Zanthoxylum is pantropical and comprises about 200 species, with tropical America being richest in species. Mainland Africa harbours about 35 species, whereas about 5 species are endemic to Madagascar. The orthographic variation Zanthoxylum xanthoxyloides is common. Several other Zanthoxylum species are medicinally used in West Africa. Zanthoxylum atchoum (Aké Assi) P.G.Waterman is endemic to Côte d’Ivoire. The strong-smelling roots are sniffed as an emmenagogue. It is a good bee-plant as the flowers produce large quantities of nectar.
Zanthoxylum chevalieri P.G.Waterman (synonym: Fagara pubescens A.Chev.) occurs from Guinea east to Ghana. In western Côte d’Ivoire powdered leaves are used as a snuff to treat migraine.
Zanthoxylum viride (A.Chev.) P.G.Waterman occurs from Guinea east to Cameroon. In Côte d’Ivoire a leaf decoction as used as a mouth-wash to soothe toothache, or leaves are chewed. Pulped leaves are also applied to leprous sores, and a bark decoction is taken orally. Crushed root bark is applied as an enema to treat gonorrhoea. Pulped roots are used in embrocation to treat head-ache, rheumatic, lumbar and intercostal pain. Bark macerated in wine or a bark decoction is drunk as an aphrodisiac and to treat venereal diseases. A bark decoction is also taken to treat intestinal worms and dysentery. Crushed bark is applied to scabies. It is a good bee-plant as the flowers produce large quantities of nectar. The wood can be used in cabinet work, although the pieces are usually small.
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Growth and development  
 Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides often flowers twice a year, during the first part of the dry season and during the rainy season.
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Ecology  
 Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides occurs in savanna and dry forest vegetation, coastal dunes and thickets and on termite mounds. It is locally abundant in coastal areas. In general it occurs at low altitudes.
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Propagation and planting  
 Seed weight of Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides varies from 15.9–18.1 g/1000 seeds.
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Management  
 Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides can be coppiced.
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Genetic resources and breeding  
 Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides is not common in its distribution area, but apparently locally gregarious. It is considered under pressure as a result of overexploitation and habitat loss.
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Prospects  
 Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides is a popular medicinal plant with proven antimicrobial, antitumour and anti-sickling activities. Nevertheless, the associated toxicities of the bioactive alkaloids should probably be counteracted by use of crude extracts and application of indigenous medical knowledge. Further research on the medicinal application of the non-toxic coumarins is warranted.
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Major references  
 • Adebiyi, A.O., Koekemoer, T., Adebiyi, A.P., Smith, N., Baxter, E., Naude, R.J. & van de Venter, M., 2009. Antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of crude extracts of two Nigerian chewing sticks. Pharmaceutical Biology 47(4): 320–327.
• Adesina, S.K., 2005. The Nigerian Zanthoxylum; chemical and biological values. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines 2(3): 282–301.
• Adjanohoun, E.J., Aké Assi, L., Floret, J.J., Guinko, S., Koumaré, M., Ahyi, M.R.A. & Raynal, J., 1979. Médecine traditionelle et pharmacopée - Contribution aux études ethnobotaniques et floristiques au Mali. Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, Paris, France. 291 pp.
• Arbonnier, M., 2004. Trees, shrubs and lianas of West African dry zones. CIRAD, Margraf Publishers Gmbh, MNHN, Paris, France. 573 pp.
• Burkill, H.M., 1997. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 4, Families M–R. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 969 pp.
• Folasade, S.I., Olukemi, O.A. & Jones, M.O., 2006. Management of sickle cell anemia in Nigeria with medicinal plants: cationic evaluation of extracts and possible effects on the efficacy. Journal of Biological Sciences 6(1): 100–102.
• Gansané, A., Sanon, S., Ouattara, L.P., Traoré, A., Hutter, S., Ollivier, E., Azas, N., Sirima, S.B. & Nebié, I., 2010. Antiplasmodial activity and toxicity of crude extracts from alternative parts of plants widely used for the treatment of malaria in Burkina Faso: contribution to their preservation. Parasitology Research 106: 335–340.
• Gardini, F., Belletti, N., Ndagijimana, M., Guerzoni, M.E., Tchoumbougnang, F., Zollo, P.H.A., Micci, C., Lanciotti, R. & Kamdem, S.L.S., 2009. Composition of four essential oils obtained from plants from Cameroon, and their bactericidal and bacteriostatic activity against Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella enteritidis and Staphylococcus aureus. African Journal of Microbiology Research 3(5): 264–271.
• Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
• Prempeh, A.B.A. & Mensah-Attipoe, J., 2009. Inhibition of vascular response in inflammation by crude aqueous extract of the root bark of Zanthoxylum xanthoxyloides. Ghana Medical Journal 43(2): 77–81.
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Other references  
 • Adesanya, S.A. & Sofowora, A., 1983. Biological standardisation of Zanthoxylum roots for anti-sickling activity. Planta Medica 48(1): 27–33.
• Adjanohoun, E.J. & Aké Assi, L., 1979. Contribution au recensement des plantes médicinales de Côte d’Ivoire. Centre National de Floristique, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. 358 pp.
• Ahua, K.M., Ioset, J.-R., Ioset, K.N., Diallo, D., Mauël, J. & Hostettmann, K., 2007. Antileishmanial activities associated with plants used in the Malian traditional medicine. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 110: 99–104.
• Dina, S.O., 2008. Infestation of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) grain by Sitophilus zeamais (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) and the effect of plant materials on its development. Archives of Phytophathology and Plant Protection 41(7): 542–544.
• Dongmo, P.M.J., Tchoumbougnang, F., Sonwa, E.T., Kenfack, S.M, Zollo, P.H.A. & Menut, C., 2008. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential of essential oils of some Zanthoxylum (Rutaceae) of Cameroon. International Journal of Essential Oil Therapeutics 2(2): 82–88.
• Dupont, C., Couillerot, E., Gillet, R., Caron, C., Zeches-Hanrot, M., Riou, J. F. & Trentesaux, C., 2005. The benzophenanthridine alkaloid fagaronine induces erythroleukemic cell differentiation by gene activation. Planta Medica 71(6): 489–494.
• Hounzangbe-Adote, M.S., Zinsou, F.E., Hounpke, V., Moutairou, K. & Hoste, H., 2005. In vivo effects of Fagara leaves on sheep infected with gastrointestinal nematodes. Tropical Animal Health and Production 37(3): 205–214.
• Hudson, J.B., Anani, K., Lee, M.X., De Souza, C., Arnason, J.T. & Gbeassor, M., 2000. Further investigations on the antiviral activities of medicinal plants of Togo. Pharmaceutical Biology 38(1): 46–50.
• Kassim, O.O., Loyevsky, M., Elliott, B., Geall, A., Amonoo, H. & Gordeuk, V.R., 2005. Effects of root extracts of Fagara zanthoxyloides on the in vitro growth and stage distribution of Plasmodium falciparum. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 49: 264–268.
• Menut, C., Lamaty, G., Bessière, J.M., Molangui, T., Ayedoun, M.A., Sossou, P.V., Sohounhloué, K.D., Djossou, L. & Houénon, J.G., 2000. Aromatic plants of tropical West Africa. X. Volatile constituents of Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides Lam. leaves and fruit pericarps from Benin. Journal of Essential Oil Research 12(1): 33–35.
• Ngane, A.N., Biyiti, L., Zollo, P.H.A., & Bouchet, Ph., 2000. Evaluation of antifungal activity of extracts of two Cameroonian Rutaceae: Zanthoxylum leprieurii Guill. et Perr. and Zanthoxylum xanthoxyloides Waterm. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 70(3): 335–342.
• Ngassoum, M.B., Essia-Ngang, J.J., Tatsadjieu, L.N., Jirovetz, L., Buchbauer, G. & Adjoudji, O., 2003. Antimicrobial study of essential oils of Ocimum gratissimum leaves and Zanthoxylum xanthoxyloides fruits from Cameroon. Fitoterapia 74: 284–287.
• Nnamani, C.V., Oselebe, H.O. & Agbatutu, A., 2009. Assessment of nutritional values of three underutilized indigenous leafy vegetables of Ebonyi State, Nigeria. African Journal of Biotechnology 8(1): 2321–2324.
• Osoba, O.A., Adesanya, S.A. & Durosimi, M.A., 1989. Effect of Zanthoxylum xanthoxyloids and some substituted benzoic acids on glucose-6-phosphate and 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenases in Hbss red blood cells. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 27: 177–183.
• Ouattara, D.S., 2001. Etude pharmacologique du macéré aqueux de Fagara xantoxyloïdes Lam. (Rutaceae), composante de FACA, phytomédicament de la maladie drepanocytaire au Burkina Faso. Thèse de Doctorat en Pharmacie, Unité de Formation et de Recherche, Sciences de la Santé, Université de Ouagadougou, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. 75 pp.
• Ouattara, B., Jansen, O., Angenot, L., Guissou, I.P., Frederich, M., Fondu, P. & Tits, M., 2009. Anti-sickling properties of divanilloylquinic acids isolated from Fagara zanthoxyloides Lam. (Rutaceae). Phytomedicine 16(2–3): 125–129.
• Prempeh, A.B.A. & Mensah-Attipoe, J., 2008. Analgesic activity of crude aqueous extract of the root bark of Zanthoxylum xanthoxyloides. Ghana Medical Journal 42(2): 79–84.
• Prempeh, A.B.A. & Mensah-Attipoe, J., 2008. Crude aqueous extract of the root bark of Zanthoxylum xanthoxyloides inhibits white blood cells migration in acute inflammation. Ghana Medical Journal 42(3): 117–119.
• Queiros, E.F., Hay, A.-E., Chaaib, F., van Diemen, D., Diallo, D. & Hostettmann, K., 2006. New and bioactive aromatic compounds from Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides. Planta Medica 72: 746–750.
• Tatsadjieu, L.N., Ngang, J.J.E., Ngassoum, M.B. & Etoa, F.X., 2003. Antibacterial and antifungal activity of Xylopia aethiopica, Monodora myristica, Zanthoxylum xanthoxyloïdes and Zanthoxylum leprieurii from Cameroon. Fitoterapia 74(5): 469–472.
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Afriref references  
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Sources of illustration  
 • Letouzey, R., 1963. Rutacées. Flore du Cameroun. Volume 1. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 32–153.
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Author(s)  
 
E.N. Matu
CTMDR/KEMRI, P.O. Box 54840–00200, Nairobi, Kenya


Editors  
 
G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
A. Gurib-Fakim
Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius, Réduit, Mauritius
Associate editors  
 
R. Arroo
Leicester School of Pharmacy, Natural Products Research, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH, United Kingdom
Correct citation of this article  
 Matu, E.N., 2011. Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides (Lam.) Zepern. & Timler. [Internet] Record from PROTA4U. Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. <http://www.prota4u.org/search.asp>. Accessed .



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General importance
Geographic coverage Africa
Geographic coverage World
Vegetables
Ornamental use
Forage/feed use
Timber use
Auxiliary use
Fuel use
Medicinal use
Spices and condiment use
Essential oil and exudate use
Fibre use
Food security



Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides
wild



Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides
1, part of twig with leaf; 2, male inflorescence; 3, male flower; 4, female flower; 5, fruit with seed.
Redrawn and adapted by Iskak Syamsudin



Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides

obtained from The Virtual Field Herbarium



Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides

obtained from The Virtual Field Herbarium



Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides

obtained from The Virtual Field Herbarium



Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides

obtained from The Virtual Field Herbarium



Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides

obtained from The Virtual Field Herbarium



Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides

obtained from The Virtual Field Herbarium



Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides

obtained from The Virtual Field Herbarium


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