Ranunculus sceleratus L

[From Latin, rana = frog and from Greek, selinon = parsley]

Physical description: It is a herb which grows to a height of 60 cm. It is found in the ditches and paddles of the temperate regions. The stems are succulent, inflated and glabrous. Leaves: radical, 1.8 cm-3.7 cm diameter, reniform and 3-fid. The upper leaves are cauline, entire or 3-fid and smaller. The petiole is slender, channeled, sheathing at the base and 1 cm-4.5 cm long. The blade is very thin, deeply incised and shows nervations which are prominent on both surfaces. Inflorescences: axillary and solitary. The pedicels are 1 cm-3 cm long. The flowers are yellow, showy and 6 mm-1.2 cm in diameter. The sepals are oblong, pubescent and caducous. The corolla consists of 4-5 elliptic oblong petals. The fruits are numerous hooked and free 3 mm x 5 mm follicles (Fig. 35).

Common names: Celery-leaved buttercup, cursed crowfoot; grenouillette aquatique, mort aux vaches (French); shih lung juei (Chinese); ranunculo mataboi (Portuguese); ranunculo malvado (Spanish); thach long noi (Vietnamese).

Uses: Ranunculus sceleratus L. has been used to raise blisters and as counter-irritant since time immemorial. In China, Ranunculus sceleratus L. is used to treat colds, arthritis and rheumatisms and to invigorate health. In Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, the seeds are eaten to promote appetite and digestion, treat kidney diseases and heal abscesses.

Pharmaceutical interest: The plant contains tryptamine derivatives (Bhar-gava KP et al, 1965). A leaf extract of Ranunculus sceleratus L. displays a quick and broad fungicidal activity (Misra SB et al., 1978). An extract of Ranunculus sceleratus L. shows significant effects against epimastigote of Trypanosoma cruzi Bra C15C2 clone in vitro with an IC50 value of 10.7 ^g/mL (Schinella GR et al., 2002). It will be interesting to know if further study on Ranunculus. sceleratus will

Fig. 35. Ranunculus sceleratus L. From: KLU Herbarium 004451. Delhi University Herbarium. Geographical localization: Shakti Nagar, Delhi, India. 26 Feb 1961. Field collector & botanical identification: Krishnan Kumar. Altitude: 620 ft, rainfall 20"-50".

disclose any molecules clinically active against Trypanozoma cruzi. In regard to the anti-rheumatic uses mentioned above, a pharmacological approach to the pro- and anti-inflammatory effects of the plant is reported by Prieto et a/., 2003.

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