Gomphrena globosa L

Common names: Globe amaranth, bachelor's buttons; bunga butang (Malay).

Common names: Globe amaranth, bachelor's buttons; bunga butang (Malay).

[From Latin, gomphaena = amaranth and globulus = globe]

Physical description: It is an ornamental, hairy and upright herb native to South America which grows to a height of 30 cm in several tropical countries. Leaves: opposite, simple, without stipules and 5cm-10cm long. The flowers are small and compressed into globose and terminal heads of 2.5 cm-4 cm in diameter, comprising of several rose, pinkor white magenta bracts.The flowers consist of 5 lanceolate, acuminate and woolly sepals. The fruits are indehiscent utricles containing 1 round seed (Fig. 72).

Pharmaceutical interest: The therapeutic potential of Gomphrena glo- Fig. 72. Gomphrena globosa L. bosa L. is still waiting to be discovered and would be worth assessing as a number of experiments conducted in vitro tend to demonstrate antimicrobial, molluscicidal and cytotoxic properties from the Gomphrena species.

Cytotoxic properties: A crude petroleum ether fraction of Gomphrena mar-tiana and Gomphrena boliviana, two plants traditionally used in Argentina to treat cancer, inhibit the proliferation of sarcoma-180 tumors in mice (Pomilio AB et al., 1991). The active principle of Gomphrena martiana is a lipophilic 5, 6, 7-trisubstituted flavone (Pomilio AB et al., 1994) which also inhibits Mycobacterium phlei proliferation in vitro (Pomilio AB etal., 1992).

Antimicrobial properties: An aqueous extract of Gomphrena celosioides inhibits the proliferation of Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogene, Escherichia coli, Salmonella thyphi, Shigella dysenteriae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans cultured in vitro (Souza de C et al., 1993). An extract of the roots of Gomphrena macrocephala inhibits the proliferation of adult snails of Biomphalaria glabrata (Yamamoto MM et al., 1996). Recent investigations on Gomphrena globosa indicate the presence of saponins in

Uses: In Malaysia, a decoction of the flowers of Gomphrena globosa L. is drunk to treat asthma, bronchitis and leucorrhea, check hemorrhage and nocturnal weeping of children and to soothe sore eyes. The fresh plant is boiled or macerated and applied to traumatic injuries and pyoderma.

the seeds which inhibit significantly (IC50 = 3.5 ^g/mL) the formation of inter-leukin6 by osteoblastic cells (MC3T3-E10) without cytotoxicity in vitro. This property could be useful for the treatment of chronic rheumatoid arthritis, infection, cancer inflammation and osteoporosis.

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