Morinda Species

The genus Morinda belongs to the family Rubiaceae. Among the many species comprising this genus, six are of some pharmaceutical and technical importance. One of these is Morinda citrifolia which occurs in India and Southeast Asia. Its leaves and roots are used in the treatment of hypertension or as a diuretic and laxative. A more recent study shows that extracts of the roots exhibit an analgesic and probably sedative effect on mice. Morinda lucida, another plant dealt with in this Chapter, grows in central Africa. Natives of central Africa use the plant as a diuretic, purgative and in the treatment of leprosy, fever, malaria, yellow fever, diarrhea and dysentery. The technical use of Morinda plants as a dye is based on the occurrence of anthraquinone pigments in the roots. The pigments isolated from both M. citrifolia and M. lucida plants are listed in Thomson (1987). A publication by Demagos et al. (1981) and reviews by Wijnsma and Verpoorte (1986) as well as by van den Berg and Labadie (1989) contain later additions to the array of known anthraquinones. While roots are the main source of anthraquinones, pigments are also present in the heartwood, leaves and even flowers. The anthraquinones present in cell suspension Read more […]