Medicinal Hamamelidaceae

The family Hamamelidaceae consists of 26 genera and about 100 species of shrubs or tress known to contain tannins and iridoids. The leaves are alternate, simple, and often palmately lobed. The flowers are small and appear in spikes. The fruits are woody, capsular, and scepticidal. In Western medicine, the dried leaves of Hamamelis virginiana (hamamelis, British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1963), yielding not less that 20% of alcohol (45%)-soluble extractive, have been used as astringents for the treatment of hemorrhoids. Hamamelis water (British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1969) made from the stems has been used as a cooling application to sprains and bruises and as a styptic remedy. It is also used in cosmetics and as active ingredient of eye lotions.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Altingia excelsa Noronha (Liquidambar altingiana Bl.), Altin-gia gracilipes Hemsl. (Amyris ambrosiaca L.f.), Liquidambar orientalis Mill, and Liquidambar formosana Hance are of medicinal value. The purified basalm obtained from the trunk of Liquidambar orientalis Mill. or prepared storax (British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1969) has been used similarly as Peru basalm in the form of an ointment to treat scabies and other skin diseases, and as an ingredient of Compound Benzoin Tincture. Altingia excelsa Noronha (Liquidambar altingiana Bl.), or xi qing pi (Chinese), is a tree that grows to a height of 20 m tall in a geographical area ranging from India, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, and Indonesia. Leaves are simple, alternate, and stipulate; the stipules are 2-6 mm long. The petiole is slender and sparsely pubescent. The blades are aromatic with a turpentine-like aroma, ovate, 8-14 cm X 3.8-7 cm, crenate,

Fig. 95. Altingia excelsa. Plants of Indonesia. Herbarium Bogoriense—Harvard University Herbaria. Geographical localization: Bali, Timur, Tabanah 2 km west of Candi Kuning, in natural area of Kebun Raya, behind introduced Altingia forest. Alt: 1400 feet. 8° 18'S -115° 9'E. Field collector: MacDonalds, 1961.

Fig. 95. Altingia excelsa. Plants of Indonesia. Herbarium Bogoriense—Harvard University Herbaria. Geographical localization: Bali, Timur, Tabanah 2 km west of Candi Kuning, in natural area of Kebun Raya, behind introduced Altingia forest. Alt: 1400 feet. 8° 18'S -115° 9'E. Field collector: MacDonalds, 1961.

membranaceous, and show six to eight pairs of secondary nerves. The Infructescences are conical and 2 cm wide; and the fruits are capsules (Fig. 95).

In China, the plant affords a tonic remedy particularly recommended for chest complaints. Indonesians use the leaves medicinally because they are strongly aromatic. The pharmacological potentials of this plant are, to date, unknown. Note that 6p-hydroxy-3-oxo-lup-20(29)-en-28-oic acid and 3,11-dioxoolean-12-en-28-oic acid from the stem bark of Liquidambar styraciflua, as well as 25-acetoxy-3a-hydroxyolean-12-en-28-oic acid, inhibited the growth of several cancer cell lines (43). What is the activity of 25-acetoxy-3a-hydroxyolean-12-en-28-oic acid against topoisomerase?

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