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Fiji. Suva. Chicago. Data collection and compilation was coordinated by Professor Subramaniam Sotheeswaran of the University of the South Pacific. (Dick) Phillips. University of Illinois. Final editing as well as data on the botanical aspects were compiled by Dr Michael Doyle. Technical editing was done by Dr Geoffrey A. United States of America was utilized by Professor Sotheeswaran and Associate Professor Aalbersberg to check the published work on the medicinal plants described in this book.S.H. Honolulu. Suva. Photographs of the medicinal plants found in Fiji were taken by Dr Doyle. The NAPRALERT database housed in the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ms Sudhara Sotheeswaran and Ms Deepa Sotheeswaran checked some of the phytochemical information from published sources and also typed part of the manuscript. Back to Publications Go to Table of Contents . The assistance of Ms Mary Lou Quinn. Hawaii. checked the traditional uses and local names and helped to edit the manuscript. Photographs of the plants growing outside Fiji were supplied by Dr Art Whistler of the University of Hawaii. Fiji. Director of the South Pacific Herbarium of the University of the South Pacific. Associate Professor William Aalbersberg of the University of the South Pacific. is acknowledged. Managing Director of NAPRALERT and Mr R. Research Associate. Suva. College of Pharmacy. Cordell.A. Fiji. South Pacific Regional Herbarium (Suva). U. Regional Office for the Western Pacific in Manila.iv Acknowledgements The writing of this manuscript was sponsored by the World Health Organization. the Philippines.
Geniostoma rupestre s. Codiaeum variegatum (L. Aleurites moluccana (L. Crinum asiaticum L.) Schott Commelina diffusa Bunn.) Lam. Inocarpus fagifer (Parkinson) Fosh. Calophyllum inophyllum L. Curcuma longa L. L. Hyptis pectinata (L. & Thoms. Capsicum frutescens L.f. Citrus sinensis (L. variegatum Colocasia esculenta (L. Azadirachta indica A.) Merr.) G.) Kubitzki Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L. Guettarda speciosa L. 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 iii iv viii x Citrus aurantium L. Cassia alata L. Ageratum conyzoides L.Br. 47 49 51 53 55 57 59 61 63 65 67 69 71 73 75 77 79 81 83 85 87 89 91 93 95 97 99 101 103 .) Hook. var. Casuarina equisetifolia L.) Osbeck Cocos nucifera L.) K. Cordyline fruticosa (L. Cassytha filiformis L. Garcinia sessilis (Forster) Seemann Gardenia taitensis DC. tiliaceus Hoya australis R. Juss. Centella asiatica (L. Gray Alpinia purpurata (Vieill. Euodia hortensis Forster Euphorbia fidjiana Boiss. Decaspermum fructicosum sensu Drake Dendrocnide harveyi (Seemann) Chew Erythrina variegata L.Don f. Aloe vera L. Carica papaya L.v vi Table of Contents page PREFACE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS INTRODUCTION NOTICE MEDICINAL PLANTS Adenanthera pavonina L. Alocassia macrorhiza (L.) Chev. Davallia fijiensis Hook. Barringtonia asiatica (L. Gyrocarpus americanus Jacq.) Blume var. Forst. Hibiscus tiliaceus L. Commersonia bartramia (L. Cananga odorata (Lam. Hernandia nymphaeifolia (Presl. Cordia subcordata Lam.) Kurz Bischofia javanica Blume Bruguiera gymnorrhiza (L.) Poit.) Willd.l.F. Flagellaria spp. Schum Annona muricata L Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Posb.) Urban Cerbera manghas L. Alphitonia zizyphoides (Sprenger) A.
Xylocarpus granatum Koenig Zingiber zerumbet (L. f. Pandanus pyriformis (Martelli) St. glabrum A. Gray) Dur.) Macbr. Sansevieria trifasciata Hort. & G. Psilotum nudum (L.) Merr . Momordica charantia L. ex. Smith Plantago major L. Spathoglottis pacifica Reichenb. Omalanthus nutans (Forst. Plumeria rubra L. Solanum viride Solander ex Forst. REFERENCES INDEX: LOCAL NAMES 159 161 163 165 167 169 171 173 175 177 179 181 183 185 187 189 191 193 195 197 199 201 203 205 207 233 Back to Publications Back to Main Page . Psychotria insularum A. Rorippa sarmentosa (DC. Spondias dulcis Sol.) P. Kyllinga nemoralis (Forster) Dandy Manihot esculenta Crantz Micromelum minutum (Forster f. Syzygium malaccense (L. Wollastonia biflora (L. Forster 105 107 109 111 113 115 117 119 121 123 125 127 129 131 133 135 137 139 141 143 145 147 149 151 153 155 157 Premna serratifolia L. Parkinson Syzygium corynocarpum (A. Ricinus communis L. ex Seeman var.f) Guillemin Ophioglossum petiolatum Hook Oxalis corniculata L. John Passiflora foetida (L.) DC.) N.vii viia Ipomoea indica (Bunn. Physalis angulata L.) Killip Phymatosorus scolopendria Burm. Vitex trifolia L.) Sm. Kyllinga brevifolia Rotth.) Merr.E.) Merr. ex Drake Terminalia catappa L.C.) Benth. f. Musa nana Lour. Prain var.& Perry Tacca leontopetaloides (L. Piper puberulum (Benth. Piper methysticum Forster f. Gray Punica granatum L.) Fosh. Morinda citrifolia L. Muell. ex. laurentii (De Wildem. Thespesia populnea (L. Brown Scaevola taccada (Gaertner) Roxb.) Soland ex Correa Vigna marina (Burm. Mussaenda raiateensis J.R. Psidium guajava L. Beauv. & Sachet Ocimum spp.) var. Saccharum officinarum L. L. hispida (DC.) Harms Pometia pinnata J. Moore Neisosperma oppositifolia (Lam. W. Polygonum dichrotomum Blume Polyscias fruticosa (L.) Seemann Mikania micrantha HBK. Mimosa pudica L.) Kuntze Tarenna sambucina (A. Gray) C.
Self-treatment would be dangerous.viii Notice The information compiled in this booklet has been taken from traditional medical texts and recent scientific studies on medicinal plants in the South Pacific and is presented here for reference and educational purposes. The advice of qualified health workers is always advisable. Go to Table of Contents .
A map of the South Pacific islands follows this introduction. leading references are provided to help those interested to obtain further information on each of the medicinal plants. Tokelau. Futuna. Tuvalu. even though they also utilize Western medicine for many health problems. Cook Islands. Many people still believe that some ailments are best treated by traditional medicine. doctors and traditional healers are increasingly working together to improve what is known about the effective use of herbal remedies. Austral Islands. often for similar treatments. and northward including the islands of French Polynesia. Kiribati. New Britain and New Ireland. phytochemists. many of the common plants of the Pacific are used throughout the islands. Marquesas. mostly atol nations in the central western Pacific. The major subregions are Melanesia. the search for new drugs from plants has received increasing attention. and Polynesia which forms a triangle from Hawaii southwards through Tonga. and other island groups northward to Hawaii. comprising New Guinea (Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya). Cooks. Internationally. foe example.g. Rotuma. The botanical names of the medicinal plants described in this book. especially due to concern about loss of global biodiversity. It is hoped that this book will be a useful reference material for ethnobotanists. The use of herbal remedies was officially discouraged during the colonial period and this policy is only slowly changing. Samoa. the use of young guava leaves as a treatment for diarrhoea. Vanuatu. In Fiji and part of Polynesia. there are about 2500 species of vascular plants reported of which about 20% are used medicinally. Tubuai. yet some are remarkably poorly documented concerning indigenous uses of plants for medicinal purposes. Information that is scattered in many publications and also unpublished folklore have been gathered here. plant kava (Piper methysticum) has been developed into an important. childhood ailments. Scientists. distinctive indigenous medical practices flourish in all but the most Westernized of South Pacific societies. Most South Pacific islanders still retain a faith in the herbal methods of treatment performed by the native healers. languages and culture. In Fiji. Samoa. Minor injuries. and New Zealand. and Wallis and Futuna. Similarly. Society and Solomon Islands. complications from pregnancy and even fractures are treated with the folk remedies of the traditional healers. The people of the Pacific islands are distinctive in their physical characteristics. and some of the countries in which they are being used are given on the following pages. This "medicine chest" has been enriched by the introduction of the herbal system used on the Indian subcontinent by the Indians who came to Fiji and now comprise about 45% of the population. Vanuatu and Fiji. Tonga. The information provided is not a detailed review of each plant. the use of herbal remedies has been well recorded. Niue. for example. It is hoped that the publication of this book of over 100 common medicinal plants in the South Pacific will contribute to these efforts to improve the health and economic welfare of the people of the South Pacific. The important cultural and medicinal Pacific. the Solomon Islands. anti-anxiety drug and several other plants described in this book are under active investigation. . group has been active for some years in Tahiti and more recently regional workshops of women healers have been organized by a group whose acronym is WAINIMATE. The major herbal medicines used are ointments and dressings applied to surface wounds and to treat skin problems. Fiji. Though South Pacific herbal medicine is changing as a result of contact with the West. Plants occurring on a few to numerous Pacific island groups are included( e. eastward across to Easter Island. Tonga. Micronesia. The Melanesian countries generally have a much more diverse flora than other insular Pacific countries. Tuamotu. pharmacologists and other scientists interested in traditional medicine. A traditional healers. Many remedies are known in all tropical regions and have been developed independently in many cultures.Introduction This book describes the information available on 102 medicinal plants which are used in the South Pacific Islands.
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Native to South-East Asia and Malaysia. . stigmasterol. with 10 conspicuous stamens. Lipids. stigmast-7-enol. dry open forest and disturbed areas from sea-level to lower montane. Widely distributed in many high islands in the South Pacific and other tropical areas. stigmasterol-3-O-beta-D-glucoside. dulcitol. Spreading tree to 20 m tall. daucosterol.4. Flowers and fruit usually available throughout the year. Fruit a pod (legume). beta-sitosterol. Brassicasterol. Leaves bipinnate. isofucosterol. Description. Habitat. O-acetylethanolamine. Mimosaceae Local Names : lera. In the Solomon Islands. ampelopsin (dihydromyricetin). the bark is used to treat leprosy. the petals and stamens white to yellowish. Robinetin. 3-O-beta-D-glucospinasterol. containing numerous small hard scarlet red seeds. Adenanthera pavonina L. Flowers 5 -9 -parted. loutein. regular. Antibacterial and haemaglutinin. oleanolic acid. Biological Activity3. chalcone. these with 5 leaflets per side.2. twisting and splitting open at maturity.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 3 Adenanthera pavonina L. Constituents1. tatarabebe (Solomon Islands). Distribution. English Name : red bead tree. Traditional Uses 5. echino-cystic acid. 3-5 sets of pinnae. vaivai ni vavalagi (Fiji). Locally common along roadsides.
Biological Activity1-7. clearings. alkanes. Sometimes leaves are directly applied to aid healing of wounds. To treat constipation. chromenes. Traditional Uses 1-3. pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Juice from moist leaves is squeezed into sore eyes. The plant is highly embryotoxic to Dysderus flacidis and acts on embryonic development at an early stage. coumarin. quercitrin. Ageratum conyzoides L.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 5 Ageratum conyzoides L. In Tonga the juice from leaves is applied to infected wounds. filariasis. Constituents1-5. sore eyes. Common in disturbed habitats—along roadsides and trails. Asteraceae Local Names : botebotekoro (Fiji). tannin extracts of goatweed showed insecticidal activity against flour beetles. intestinal worms. infective hepatitis. dysentery. forest margins and openings. Used to treat painful menstruation. vomiting and nausea. Coarse herb up to 1 m tall with opposite. fumaric acid. essential oils. and cultivated areas from sea-level to montane. eupalestin. anticoagulant. uchunti (Indo-Fijian). eczyma. fresh wounds. oxygen heterocycles. simple hairy leaves. Introduced as an ornamental plant from the Americas. fever. cancer of the cervix and itchiness of the eye and to kill head lice. . caffeic acid. antifungal. its glucoside and rhamnoside. analgesic. anti-inflammatory. Antidiarrhoeal effect. Essential oils extracted have antibiotic properties. diarrhoea. English Name: goat weed. Habitat. Flowers minute. ageratochromene derivatives. epilepsy. whitish to pale blue. haemostatic. Distribution. headaches. Kaempferol.5. dizziness. smooth muscle relaxant. Carminative agent. it is now widely cultivated and is present throughout the South Pacific and other warm countries. saponins. antibacterial and hypothermic activities have been recorded. scutellarein. Antinematocidal. grasslands. te’ekosi (Tonga). betasitosterol. wounds and cuts. stigmasterol. Description. borne in small sunflowerlike heads 5-8 mm broad. stigmast-7-en-3-ol.
the seeds are applied externally to the male genitals as a contraceptive. Description. In Tonga.) Willd. 5-parted. The sap of the fruit is used in treating conjunctivitis. Biological Activity4. alkaloids (fruits). antiviral. The juice of the fruit is squeezed into the mouths of newborn babies to make them vomit and so to clear their throats. In Fiji. proteins (seeds). grey-green. tonsillitis and mouth sores are treated in Polynesia by gargling with an infusion of the bark. moretenol. Also used to treat dysentery. Moluccanin. The grated bark. candlenut oil is used to make a massage oil for a certain kind of headache (possibly caused by meningitis). Parts of the plant are also used as a purgative. Habitat. alpha-amyrin. an infusion of the leaves is used as a lotion or is ingested for mouth infections of infants. antitumour. qereqere.) Willd. cytotoxic. English Name : candlenut tree. A decoction of the leaves is used in treating coughs. moretenone. an infusion of the bark is used for coral cuts and infected wounds. Unconsciousness and a relapsed sickness are treated with a decoction of the bark in warm water. Aleurites moluccana (L. Toxic (leaves). the bark is used to treat wounds. Constituents1-3. tuitui (Tonga. tutu’i (Austral Islands). ’ama (Marquesas Islands). petiolate. . beta-sitosterol. Traditional Uses 6. infertility in women is treated by daily drinking a decoction of the bark. or fruit boiled in sea water is used to make a mouthwash to treat neuralgia.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 7 Aleurites moluccana (L. Thrush. kurup (Papua New Guinea). Fruit a moderately-sized globose. white. In Papua New Guinea. Secondary amenorrhoea is also treated with a decoction of the bark. Cook Islands). diarrhoea. sore throat. the plant is used to treat pain in the bones and weakness after childbirth. Leaves alternate. Distribution. lipids. ovate to palmately-lobed. tutu’i (Tahiti). tuitui (Fiji). small. Euphorbiaceae Local Names : lauci. green dry drupe up to 5 cm long with tough mesocarp and containing a single seed with a nut-like shell. In the Cook Islands and Tahiti. The leaves are used to treat constipation and food poisoning. lama (Western Samoa).5. Tree to 25 m high with soft wood. Futuna. In Western Samoa. ti’a’iri. sikeci. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Widely distributed throughout the South Pacific and extending westward through Indo-malesia and into tropical India.7. up to 25 cm long. Flowers unisexual. and borne in a dense terminal. Common in lowland secondary and disturbed primary moist forests. In Tahiti. pains in the chest and hernia. In Tonga. Niue.
Alocassia macrorhiza (L. Constituents1. fucosterol. via sori (Fiji). Swollen lymph glands are treated with the roots. In Fiji. cyanogenic glycosides. In the Solomon Islands. Sexual insufficiency is treated by eating the leaves cooked in coconut milk. Fruit an aggregate of berries attached to spandix stem. each with 1 or few seeds. Traditional Uses 1. elephant ear. Araceae Local Names : via.) G. Oxalic acid. citric acid. cholesterol. None reported. Flowering and fruiting period not recorded. Habitat. the sap of the stem is used to treat earache or boils in the ear. viadidi. Taamu (Samoa) English Name: giant taro. ascorbic acid. amino acids. flavonoids. Common along river banks and other damp places from sea-level to 500 m elevation. fructose and sucrose. headaches are treated with the sap and the leaves. alocasin. viagaga. calcium oxalate. . The rhizome is edible after being well-cooked. Don f. the sap from the stem is used to treat cuts. Don f.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 9 Alocassia macrorhiza (L. beta-sitosterol. Distribution.2. Arabino-galactan proteins and betalectins. via mila. camposterol. Description. Probably native to Indo-malesia but widely distributed by aboriginal peoples throughout South-East Asia into the tropical Pacific. heart-shaped with conspicuous palmate veins. Leaves giant. Biological Activity.) G. succinic acid.3. borne on dense. erect spadices enclosed when young by 2-parted spathe. stigmatosterol. In New Guinea. viadranu. Megaphytic perennial herb with erect stem to 1 m high arising from large fleshy rhizome. glucose. malic acid. The wood is used to treat stomachache and diarrhoea. Flowers minute.
Flowers 3-parted. sugars. antileukopenic. Succulent herb with short. Constituents1-3. mitogenic. Burn healing. succulent. aloeferon. arising from basal rosette.4. English Names Agavaceae : aloe (Tonga). In Tahiti. The plant has been used as a purgative. isocitric acid. lupeol. methyl ester of dehydro-abietic acid. hypolipemic. Fruit a brown capsule 15-25 mm long with many small flattened seeds. mottled greyish-green. sessile.8-dihydroxyanthraquinone. Flowering and fruiting periods not known in the South Pacific. aloe vera. haemaglutinin. barbaloin. rashes and x-ray burns. antiviral. acemannan. aloin derivatives. teratogenic. lipids. hypocholesterolemic. para-coumaric acid. red. Aloe vera L. 1. aloe peptides. hair stimulant. antiasthmatic. Traditional Uses 5. . Local Names Islands). Although Aloe vera is not recorded as occurring on many South Pacific islands. rapahoe (Tahiti).5. glucomannan.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 11 Aloe vera L. burns and internal ailments such as stomachache. antibacterial. Habitat. cholesterol. wound healing. antipyretic. cyclohexane derivatives. tubular. Leaves alternate. Cook Islands. margins with conspicuous spines and apical point. dehydro-abietal. It is used to treat wounds and burns. Native to North Africa. up to 4 cm long and borne on a terminal spike. Its cathartic action is probably because it promotes peristalsis of the lower bowels. campesterol. emollient. thick stem. embryotoxic. enzymes. uterine stimulant. chrysophanic acid. organic acids. antitumour. toxic. cactus (Cook : aloe. the plant is used in treating cuts. amino acids. Description. aminoacids. allergenic. sunny and disturbed areas. antifertility. Distribution. stigmasterol. Widely cultivated as a house plant or around houses. Biological Activity1. and grown worldwide as an ornamental and medicinal plant. local anaesthetic. Aloe-emodin. benzothiazolone. hypoglcemic. antipeptic ulcer. anthrol. analgesic. Possibly naturalized in some dry. anti-inflammatory. The sap from the fresh leaves is used to treat sun burns. lanceolate and up to 70 cm long. Tonga and Samoa. CNS depressant. insecticidal. it is a common introduction and occurs in numerous gardens throughout the region. aloesin.
fragrant. Infertility is treated by drinking a decoction of the bark. Fruit purplish to black. Leaves alternate. Postpartum haemorrhage is treated with an infusion of the bark.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 13 Alphitonia zizyphoides (Sprenger) A. D & E (triterpenoid saponins). Description. the sap is used to treat swellings and fever. Gray Rhamnaceae Local Names : doi. Zizyphoisides A. In Tonga. the sap of the bark is used to treat earache. C. often pale or red beneath. coughs and menstrual pain. In Tahiti. Distribution. Flowers small. In Samoa. The leaves are used as an anhydrotic. Spasmolytic. The plant is also used to treat cancer. the bark is used to make a lotion which is used to treat skin diseases like eczema. Gray .2. white to cream coloured and borne on branching inflorescences with numerous flowers. Alphitonia zizyphoides (Sprenger) A. In Fiji. Habitat. Biological Activity2. Tonga). Traditional Uses 1-5. globose and forming a small capsule-like drupe. Locally common in dry or dense lowland and foothill forests and thickets. blade ovate or lanceolate. petiolate. toi. kaulevu (Fiji). Ranges from Vanuatu to the Society Islands. The inner bark is used in treating headaches and weakness after childbirth. 5-parted. acrosin inhibition. a drink made from the bark is taken to treat constipation. Constituents1. Tree (or rarely shrub) to 20 m high. toi (Samoa.
3. Biological Activity. None reported. purple ginger. long-petiolate. Zingiberaceae [syn.) K. trail sides as well as along streams up to about 500 m. blades green. Widely distributed (both naturalized and cultivated) throughout much of the Pacific and other tropical areas. flowers (if present) whitish and subtended by large pink to bright red bracts. Alpinia purpurata (Vieill. Traditional Uses 2. some cultivated forms apparently do not form flowers. Habitat. Schum.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 15 Alpinia purpurata (Vieill. English Name: red ginger. Fi’i Ange (Solomon Islands). Distribution. Description. Cyanidin. Flowering and fruiting periods unknown. Inflorescence terminal and arising from leafy pseudostem. Leaves distichous. Cultivated as well as occurring in disturbed moist forest. The fruit is used to treat sores. . Alpinia purpurea] Local Names : teuila (Samoa).) K. Constituents1. old gardens. the basal leaves sheathing to form a pseudobulb. Coarse erect herb to 3 m tall with pseudostems and creeping fleshy rhizomes. Schum. amino acids. quercetin.
muricinine.5. insecticide. stigmasterol. Distribution. anomurine. anomuricine. Description. atherosperminine. rolliniastatin. beta-sitosterol. muricine. antibacterial. annonacinone. atherospermine. Small tree to 7 m tall. cytotoxic (acetogenins). gomothalamicin. muricatetrocins. hypertensive. anticrustacean. Traditional Uses 6. petiolate. smooth muscle relaxant. sepals and petals fleshy. Antimalarial. smooth muscle relaxant. vasodilator. gigantetronenin.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 17 Annona muricata L. deacetyluvaricin. lipids. corossolone. an infusion of the leaves is used in treating stomach ailments. cardiac depressant. muricatacin. the blades leathery and oblong-lanceolate. coclaurine. Fruit a fleshy syncarp with a green exocarp covered with conspicous long pseudo-spines. gigantetrocins. custard apple. . annonacins and derivatives. Biological Activity4. Constituents1-4. muricatocins. Annona muricata L. apele (Tonga) : soursop. and greenish in colour. sarifa (Fiji). Habitat. and tannins. Annomonicin. antiparasitic. murihexocins. monotetrahydro-furan acetogenins. solamin. annomontacin. antifungal. anonaine. howiicins. Leaves alternate. Flowers and fruit are usually available throughout the year. Native to tropical America and introduced to the South Pacific as a fruit tree within the last 100 years. epomuricenins. Local Names : English Name Annonaceae seremaia. corepoxylone. coreximine. In Tonga. Cultivated at lower elevations. antiamoebic. reticuline. Flowers 3-merous. montanacin. spasmogenic. anoniine. murisolin. uterine stimulant. mesocarp a somewhat fibrous juicy sweet-sour flesh surrounding several large smooth black seeds. annomuricins.
The plant is also used in remedies for tonsilitis. Puncture wounds to the eyes are treated with the white sap of the plant. buco uso. A filtrate of new. alpha amyrin. Haemolytic activity (leaves). Pressed liquid from the stem bark is employed in the treatment of pain in the bones and maternal postpartum infections. starch. Traditional Uses 5. Biological Activity4. cycloartenyl acetate. Widely cultivated and occasionally naturalized from sea-level to lower montane. linoleic and linolenic acids (seed oil). Mature fruits (syncarps) relatively large. cycloartenone. English Name: breadfruit Description. Moraceae Local Names : buco ni viti. fish poisoning is treated with the fluid from the shoots of the plant. yellow-green to yellow-brown. abcesses. exuding latex where damaged. and Tahiti. unfolded leaves is employed as a remedy for fish poisoning and as a muscle relaxant in cases of convulsive spasms. maiore. Constituents1-3. Pectins.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 19 Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosb. Niue. hydrocyanic acid. In Samoa and Futuna. mei kea (Tonga). cycloartenol. Tuvalu. uto dina. beta amyrin acetate. Boils are treated with the white gum. artocarpin. fleshy. smoke from a burning twig is used in treating anal thrush in babies. Samoans and Tongans use the bark to treat stomach aches and digestive tract problems. In Tahiti.g. In Tonga a tea made from the bark is used in cases of relapsed illness. flavonoids. mei (Futuna. Marquesas Islands). Distribution. cyclomorusin. but peak times vary. Tree 10 to 35 m tall with sticky. painful breathing. Native to Melanesia (e. lectin. . antitumour. Male and female flowers unisexual and borne on separate inflorescences (monoecious) and the individual flowers minute. sores. which can be steamed from cut portions of the plant. antibacterial (root bark). Tokelau). Pressed fluid of the root is used i the n treatment of respiratory ailments which include difficult. Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosb.6 . In Tonga. the leaf is used to treat eye ailments. ’Ulu (Samoa. mei. white latex and large spirally or alternately arranged lobed leaves. Liquid squeezed from the bark or leaves is given to remedy chest pains and vomiting resulting from heart trouble. Fluid pressed from young fruit is given to treat an illness which causes pain in the lungs and vomiting of blood. cycloaltilisin. contusions and dislocations. uto buco (Fiji). Tonga and Niue. the sap is used for sprains. the milky latex of the tree is applied to rashes. New Guinea) and now widely distributed throughout the South Pacific and other tropical areas. with numerous moderate-sized seeds. The roots are used in a remedy for weakness after childbirth. ’uru (Tahiti). folic acid. Ripe fruit are often available throughout the year. boils and wounds. In Micronesia. kuru (Cook Islands). Habitat. In Samoa. oleic. coughs and blood in the urine.
nimbinone. wound healing acceleration. nimbin derivatives. nimbiol. . limbonin. limbolide. 5-parted. lophenol. antitumour. deacetylnimbinolide. antiviral. 3-deacetylsalannol. daucosterol. melia lactone. antiarthritic. Azadirachta indica A. kaempferol its glycoside. vepaol. Native to India and Malaysia. nimolinone. Insect antifeedant. ergostadienol. melia polysaccharides. spasmolytic. nimbisonol.6-11. and now widely distributed because of both religious and medicinal applications. 1-4 cm broad. curved toothed leaflets. beta sitosterol. Habitat. nimbinene. nimbandiol. fraxidin. larvicidal. nimbocidin. limocinone. diabetes and syphilis. quercetin glycoside. Cultivated and naturalized in lowland areas. nimbione. nimbocinone.5 cm long containing thin pulp surrounding a single seed. antifilarial. insect repellant. about 1 cm broad. nimbaflavone. nimbidiol. dermatitis producing. naheedin. nimbadiol. indian Lilac. fish poison. Androstadiendione derivatives.3-diacetyl vilasinin. cytotoxic. abortifacient. 1. antifungal.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 21 Azadirachta indica A. nimolinin. Biological Activity1. margosinone. To treat asthma. anti-implantation. 3-10 cm long. Local Names : neem (Indo-Fijian) English Name: margosa. azadirachtins and derivatives. margolonone. with 8 to 18 short-petiolate narrowovate. tubular. Flowers numerous. 6methoxymellein. nimbidol. white. salannolide. Antipyretic. Distribution. analgesic.2. margosolone. molluscicidal. nimbionol. Traditional Uses 1. antiulcerative. pointed. iso rhamnetin. each flower fragrant. salannolactams. nimbinin. tiglic acid. Juss. Tree 6 to 25 m tall with alternately arranged pinnately compound leaves up to 40 cm long. nimbilin. nimbin polysaccharides. myricetin glycoside. nimosone. about 1. nimbonolone. nematocidal. antihyperglycemic. margocilin. 5-hydroxymethyl furfural. meldenin derivatives. Meliaceae Description. margosin. cycloeucalenol. insecticidal. 6-deacetyl nimbinal. antidysenteric. antifertility. nimbilicin. anti-inflammatory. azadirinin. for skin diseases and as an insecticide. nimbolins. margolone. azadiradione derivatives. salanin. Juss. nimbocinol. nimbanal. gedunin derivatives. several organo sulphur compounds. cholesterol. nimbolide. isomargosinolide. oblong. hypotensive. nimbidinin. antipyretic. scopoletin. nimbidin. neem. Fruit a yellowish drupe. The leaves and twigs when bruised emit an onion-like odour. hyperoside. azadirol. CNS depressant. cycloartanol derivatives. limocins. Constituents1-6. melicitrin. borne in long panicles which arise from bases of leaves.
Habitat. the seed is grated. a decoction of the leaves is used to treat hernia. shiny green. futu (Samoa). spreading buttress root system. containing a large single seed. Common along the sea shore. This tree usually forms large spreading branches as well as a large. hydrocyanic acid.) Kurz . 12-40 cm long. In Fiji. utu (Cook Islands).MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 23 Barringtonia asiatica (L. Description. In Samoa. lowland river margins and coastal forests.5. obovate. 10-20 cm broad. Widespread throughout the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans and widely cultivated in tropical areas. calyx green. In the Cook Islands. triterpenoids (bartogenic acid. the fruit or bark is used to treat yaws. and anhydrobartogenic acid). saponins (including barrinin A1 ). quadrangular (square in cross section). petals white. mixed with coconut cream and rubbed onto burns. Antiviral activity. 19epibartogenic acid. Fruit a large fibrous drupe (up to 12 cm long). Flowers large and showy. Tree to 25 m tall with glossy alternate. entire leaves. monosaccharides. with pinkish filaments with yellow anthers. Barringtonia asiatica (L. vutu vala (Fiji). edges of mangroves. Constituents1. petiolate. Gallic acid. seed to treat ringworm and the bark is used in treating tuberculosis. Traditional Uses 4. fu’u (Solomon Islands). Biological Activity3. vutu dina.) Kurz Barringtoniaceae Local Names : vutu.2. vuturakaraka. In Solomon Islands and Samoa it is used to stun fish. vutugaga. A decoction of the bark is used to treat constipation and epilepsy. Distribution.
Tongans. but fruits can be found throughout the year. Distribution. beta-sitosterol. Spreading tree up to 30 m tall with abundant clear latex when bruised. bet a-amyrin. In New Guinea. Niuean. Tannins. stigmasterol. toga toga (Fiji). In Fiji. sitostenone. trifoliate. Moderately common from sea-level to mid-montane in primary or secondary forests. Traditional Uses 1. quercitrin. cream to yellowish. koka damu. ellagic acid. koka (Tonga. liquid from the stem of the plant is used to treat children who have not walked by two years of age. Description. Flowers apparently during the summer. Samoans use the liquid from the leaves to treat pterygium as well as other eye infections. quercetin. betulinic acid. fisetin.g. quercitin. Tonga). Samoans and Futunans use an infusion of the bark to treat young children with mouth infections. the cambium of the plant is used to treat tuberculosis. Fruit a small brown globose berry with thin flesh surrounding 3-6 seeds. ursolic acid. chrysoeriol. Biological Activity4. Futuna. Toxic. oli oli (Solomon Islands). the leaves are used in treating stomachache. The bark is used to treat stomach ulcers. koka. grassy slopes and thickets or cultivated in villages or plantations (e. Habitat. friedelan-3-alpha-ol and acetate. Leaves alternate. Bischofia javanica Blume . ’o’a (Samoa). Indigenous throughout much of tropical Asia and Malaysia extending into the Pacific. leaflets ovate-elliptic with toothed margins. luteolin and glucoside. borne in manyflowered axillary panicles. mouth ulcers and athlete’s foot. In the Solomon Islands. friedelin.5. unisexual. koko. Tongans apply the juice from the bark to burns. epifriedelinol.6. forest edges.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 25 Bischofia javanica Blume orbiaceae Local Names : togo. Cook Islands). Constituents1-3. Flowers minute.
stigmasterol. rhamnose. ovate and glossy with a leathery texture. is used to treat cancer. Mangrove tree 20 m tall with a buttressed trunk and pneuomatophores (“knees”). Constituents1-3.) Lam.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 27 Bruguiera gymnorrhiza (L. cigar-like drupe which germinates while still on the tree. Widespread from the southern tropical Indian Ocean through Malaysia and tropical Australia and extending into the Pacific as far east as Tonga and Samoa. taraxerol. Description. with conspicuous basal cupule (calyx) that forms a persistent crown-like structure surrounding the petals and ovary. a mixture of bruguierol and isobruguierol. The dried wood is insecticidal. Common along the inland margin of mangrove swamps. cholesterol. ko’a ania. The root is used to restore lost appetite and is used to treat diabetes. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. dogo salusalu. Bark contains D-glucose. oleanolic acid. Ellagic acid and derivatives. ko’a (Solomon Islands). dogo tagane (Fiji). Habitat. dogokana. Hydrolysis of the sterol esters of the leaves gives beta-sitosterol. Flowers borne singly.) Lam. Leaves opposite. and occasionally along beaches. The leaves have antimicrobial activity. petiolate. campesterol. Also present in the plant are alphaamyrin. Biological Activity4. beta-amyrin. moderate-sized. lupeol. Rhizophoraceae Local Names : dogo. tannins. . The bark. togo. Traditional Uses 1 . gymnorhizol. ursolic acid. Bruguiera gymnorrhiza (L. Fruit an elongate brown. and 28-isofucosterol. syphilis is treated with the bark of the plant. In Fiji. with the bark of some other species. Distribution. arabinose.
Common in lowland coastal areas such as along beaches. quercetin. canophyllol. white.7. macluraxanthone. Tahiti. oil from the seed is used in "Tongan oil" which is used in massaging rheumatic aches. infections and scabies. calophynic acid. and Solomon Islands. sixteen xanthones including buchanaxanthone. hypotensive. Tuvalu). isocalophyllic acid. and the Cook Islands. The eyewash is also used to treat eye pains. Clusiaceae Local Names : dilo (Fiji). calaustralin. Such a practice is common in Samoa. costatolide. epifriedelanol.diol-3-acetate. inophenic acid. Niuean. canophyllum. inophyllums. erythro. flowers moderatesized. Traditional Uses 1. Oil from the fruit is rubbed onto joints to cure rheumatism. Flowers borne in axillary cymes. jacareubin and derivatives. friedelin. anti-HIV. campesterol. pyranoamentoflavone. tamanu (Tahiti. thick and shiny with numerous parallel secondary veins. stigmasterol. Leaf infusions are used to treat conjunctivitis in Tonga. canophyllic acid. silo (Futuna). the leaves are softened by heating and then applied to sores and cuts. In Tonga. trans-inophyllolide. cinnamic acid.phyllolide. feta’u (Tonga). fish poison. beta-sitosterol. with variable numbers of perianth parts and yellow anthers. phagocytosis stimulation. myricetin and glucoside. petiolate. Tuamotuan). epicatechin. dalo (Solomon Islands). Leaves opposite. tamanu (Cook Islands). inflammations. Tree to 25 m tall with robust trunk which exudes white latex when bruised. Distribution. erucic acid. Tahiti. An infusion of the leaves is ingested for diarrhoea. In Samoa. Samoa. molluscicidal. Occasionally planted in other areas up to 500 m in elevation. Fruit a purplish-black globoid-t o-ovoid drupe when mature with a single seed. ponnalide. leucocyanidin. Pisicidal (phenyl coumarins). inophyllic acid. butyl citrate. the leaves of the plant are soaked in water to make an eyewash for removing foreign objects from the eyes. euxanthone.8. Fiji and to the west as far as India. . Biological Activity5. beta-amyrin. Widespread from the Indian Ocean (Africa and India) through Malaysia and into the Pacific. antiviral. calophyllic acid. Constituents1-4. Habitat. Fiji. Calophyllum inophyllum L. apetalodie. In New Guinea. Amentoflavone. fetau (Samoa. Wounds are treated with gum from the bark. Boiled leaves are used to make a solution used for bathing skin rashes. antibacterial. inophyllolide. caloxanthones AE. 12-dihydro-inophyllolide. in thickets and along rivers. canophyllal. ’ati. In Fiji. calo.6. Description.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 29 Calophyllum inophyllum L. fragrant. pseudobrasilic acid. a bath is made by soaking the crushed leaves in seawater and is used in treating rashes. temanu (Marquesas Islands). Seeds contain essential and vegetable oils. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year.
cures earaches. Remedy for headaches. F. Description.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 31 Cananga odorata (Lam. coughs. Flowers very fragrant with 6 large pale green to yellowish petals. skin irritations. phenols.) Hook. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year.4. Antifungal. moto’i (Tahiti). makasui. lipids and cyanogenic material. indigestion and colic. Cananga odorata (Lam. Tongans use an infusion of the bark for treating stomach ailments such as pains. Essential oils. benzoic and salicylic acid esters). Tree up to 20 m tall. motohi (Marquesas Islands). lignans. Biological Activity1. flowers often growing in clusters. weak hypotensive. Fruit oblong and indehiscent with 3-13 pale brown seeds embedded in a yellow and oily pulp. Used in Fiji to treat gonorrhoea and back pain. as well as for timber. F. or gullies from sealevel to mid-montane. mokohoi (Fiji). slopes. Habitat. Cultivated or naturalized in forests. aromatic compounds (benzyl alcohol. Native to Indo-malesia. sesquiterpenoids.5. isoquinoline alkaloids.2. & Thoms. it is widely planted throughout the South Pacific and elsewhere within the tropics for its fragrant flowers (the source of cananga oil). antibacterial. Traditional Uses 3. dizziness. moso’oi (Samoa). insect repellent. high blood pressure. mato’oi (Cook Islands). Annonaceae Local Name : mokosoi. mosokoi (Futuna) motoi (Niuean). & Thoms. antiyeast. mohokoi (Tonga). Given to women to promote fertility. entire and elliptical. English Name : ylang-ylang. Leaves alternate. antipruritic. moto’oi. . amoebicidal. The leaves are used in a treatment for diarrhoea in infants. Constituents1. The leaves are also used in a remedy used for treating boils. mata’oi. kenanga. Distribution. Anticonvulsant. Fluid from the pressed bark is used in treating toothaches and migraine headaches.5-7. makosoi.) Hook.
pentosans. The fruit contains a strong stimulant which causes a sensation of warmth when applied to the skin. In Tahiti and the Cook Islands. English Name : chili pepper. molluscicidal. capsicin. polo fifisi (Tonga). mild conjunctivitis and jaundice. it causes a burning sensation without blistering. Causes oral chemical irritation and has psychophysical properties. Leaves alternate. Cook Islands). petiolate. and now widely distributed throughout sub-tropical and tropical regions. antiviral. Distribution. abscesses and wounds. rokete. Description. capsaicin. mevalonic acid. polo mangiho (Niuean). diuretic. ferulic acid. Habitat. red pepper. Capsicum frutescens L. Solanaceae Local Names : polo. volatile and fatty oils. antibacterial. In stronger doses. mutagenic. pyrazine derivative. toxic. quercetin derivative. Also used to treat boils. polo. Fruit a dry to fleshy red elongated berry with numerous flattened seeds which are hot tasting. lipids. Flowers borne usually singly in leaf and branch axils.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 33 Capsicum frutescens L. kaempferol derivative. hupo’o. Vitamins A & B. Acetic. Traditional Uses 9. capsidiol. fiveparted. Biological Activity5-8. white to violet. boro ni vavalagi (Fiji). ’upo’o (Marquesas Islands). caffeic acid. caproic acid. coconut oil mixed with the crushed leaves is applied to boils. para-coumaric acid. pectins. insect feeding stimulant. hoa pepper (Solomon Islands). antioxidant. ’oporo (Tahiti. cinnamic acid. butyric and isobutyric acids. hypoglycemic. simple. tuberculosis. ovate and pointed with entire margins. Ascorbic acid. Coarse perennial erect herb or small subshrub to 2 m high. Constituents1-5. polo feu (Samoa). it causes a sensation of warmth without any narcotic effect. Commonly cultivated. Native to South America.10. dihydrocapsaicin. toxic. When taken internally. . as well as naturalized in weedy habitats from sea-level to lower montane. Used to treat inflammations in Tonga and coughs in Samoa. affects hepatic microsomal enzyme function in mice. paprika. antihypercholesterolemic. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Is used as a remedy for diseases of the skin.
loku (Niuean). 5-dehydro. Native to Central America and widely cultivated throughout the South Pacific and other tropical areas. pseudo-carpaine. Constituents1-4. phenyl acetonitrile. anticonvulsant. myosmine. glycoside carposide in leaves. fleshy.5.7-epoxylinalool. Anticoagulant. Various parts are used to treat stomach problems in Fiji. treatment of sores and high blood pressure. insecticidal. either male or female (unisexual) and moderate in size. embryotoxic. . wi. Biological Activity1. A palm-like (monopodial). vi puaka (Cook Islands). papaya (Indo-Fijian). avenasterol. amoebicidal.caffeic acid. Distribution. Flowers and fruit available thoughout the year. Widely cultivated singly or in plantations and naturalized around dwellings and garden patches from sea-level to lower montane.6. soft-wooded tree up to 10 m high with milky latex. maoli (Fiji). Papain (enzyme). long chain fatty acids in seeds. ascorbic and galacturonic acids in fruit. anticlastogenic. Traditional Uses 7 . carpaine. oxytocic. yellow to orange with numerous small black seeds. cryptoxanthin. Habitat. antiyeast. benzyl glucosinolate. tartaric. cotinine.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 35 Carica papaya L. benzylisothiocyanate. Fruit large. Carica papaya L. ’i’ita (Tahiti). English Names : papaya. Caricaceae Local Names : esi (Samoa). weleti. carotenes. In Tonga. Leaves only produced towards apex of stem. anti-inflammatory. antioxidant. antiascariasis. nita. vi nita. Flowers creamy white and tubular. the immature seeds are swallowed to treat diarrhoea. usually unbranched. the inner bark is used to treat toothache. antihepatotoxic. Description. 6. Vermifuge. pawpaw. alternate and conspicously palmately-lobed. In Samoa. malic. nicotine. antibacterial. ehi (Tokelaun). olesi (Tuvalu). lesi (Tonga). citric. cycloartenol. alpha glutaric.
Bark is used to treat skin diseases. daucosterol. rhein methyl ester diacetate. emodin. Fruit a legume (pod-like). Flowers borne in manyflowered racemes and bright yellow. worms. the leaves and wood sap are used in a remedy for constipation.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 37 Cassia alata L Fabaceae (Caesalpiniaceae) [syn. Description. antibacterial. Flowers mostly during the cool season (MayAugust in the So. deoxycoelulatin. Shrub or tree to 5 m tall. In Fiji. wound healing. Constituents1-4. Senna alata (L. antihyperglycemic. scabies and eczema. roman candle tree. lectin. antispasmodic. analgesic.2. rhamnetin glycoside. Tonga and Samoa. diarrhoea. In New Guinea. parasitic skin diseases. luteolin. te’elango (Tonga).) Roxb. 5-7. Leaves pinately compound. antiyeast. anti-inflammatory. Kaempferol. mulamula (Niuean). Leaves are used to treat ringworm in Fiji. 4. dadmurdan (Indo-Fijian). beta-sitosterol. Native to tropical America and now widely dispersed throughout the South Pacific and other subtropical and tropical areas. chrysophanic acid. aloe-emodin. an infusion of the leaves is used to purify blood. rhein. Laxative. Distribution. Hemisphere).5-dihydroxy-2-hydroxyanthrone. weak antifungal. Traditional uses 1. chrysoeriol glycoside. Biological activity2. Habitat. antitumour. bakua (Solomon Islands). 2. dalbergin.6-dimethoxybenzoquinone. English Name : ringworm bush. 12-20 cm long. la’au fai lafa (Samoa). isochrysophanol. 4. insecticidal. Cassia alata L . coarse. physcion monoglucoside. up to 75 cm long with 5-13 pairs of leaflets.5dihydroxy-1-hydroxyanthrone. 2-3 cm broad. Cultivated in gardens or naturalized in wet h abitats from sealevel to 250 m.] Local Names : bai nicagi (Fiji). alatinone. diuretic.
prostaglandin synthetase inhibition. tainoka (Cook Islands). cassythine. Cassythaceae Local Names : walutumailagi. leafless yellow to orangish stems. In Tahiti. weedy areas. dulcitol. borne in axils of small bracts. the plant is used to promote menstruation. Parasitic twining vine with thin. labour induction. an infusion of the crushed stem is used to treat dysmenorrhoea and postpartum bleeding in women. laurotetanine. Widespread throughout the Pacific and tropics. 15 amino acids. antitrypanosomal. Cook Islanders use an infusion of the crushed stem to treat a disease whose symptoms include convulsions or twitches. Weak molluscicidal. exo-polygalacturonase. uterine stimulant. and on coastal vegetation. taino’a (Tahiti). feteinoa (Niuean). white. Common on many trees in neglected plantings. ocoteine. Fruit a small whitish-yellow drupe surrounded by a cupule with a single hard seed within. the stem of the plant is used to treat jellyfish stings. Flowers small. kainoka (Tuamotuan). . Flowers and fruit available throughout the year.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 39 Cassytha filiformis L. Cassytha filiformis L. solitary.6. Distribution. gentisic acid. fatai (Tonga). Tokelau). Traditional Uses 4-8. Cassyfiline (alkaloid) and its O-methyl derivative (cassythidine). essential oil. Habitat. In Micronesia. exo-pectin. Constituents1-4. the plant is used in a remedy for haemorrhoids. amarbeli (Indo-Fijian). bualawalawa (Fiji). In Fiji. In Tonga. light bush. nantenine (alkaloid). watikaievu. methylgalacturonase. fetai (Samoa. Description. Biological Activity5. para-hydroxybenzoic acid.
This species is often mistaken for a type of pine tree. female flowers borne in globose heads. beefwood tree. the plant is used to treat nervous disorders. Ellagic acid. afzelin. In Tahiti. Constituents1-3. trifolin. Fruit a globose woody aggregate (somewhat resembling a small pine cone) enclosing many small winged nuts. cytotoxic. Cook Islanders use an infusion of the grated bark to treat mouth infections and urinary tract infections. limestone outcroppings. Casuarina equisetifolia L. although it is actually a flowering plant. Habitat. gentisic acid. or as a medicinal plant in some tropical countries in the South Pacific. coughs and stomachaches are also noted in Fiji and India. Common along the coast on beaches. an infusion of the bark is used as a remedy for coughs. English Name : ironwood. stigmasterol. Futuna. In Samoa. proantho-cyanidins. is used as an emetic to treat throat infections. several common triterpenoids. tannin. nakure (Fiji). male flowers borne in spikes. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. It is also cultivated as an ornamental. she-oak. diarrhoea and gonorrhoea. Casuarinaceae Local Names : ‘aito. toa (Samoa. dry hillsides and open forests in both wet and dry zones from sea-level to mid-montane.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 41 Casuarina equisetifolia L. rocky coasts. Leaves highly reduced and scale-like giving the branchlets a pine-needle-like appearance. Cook Islands). Australia and Polynesia. asthma and diabetes. quercetin. hydroquinone. for wind-breaks. trifolin. Biological Activity2-6. nok o-noko. Secondary amenorrhoea is treated with a decoction of the bark. rutin. juglanin. qaro. molluscicidal. An infusion of the bark. toa (Tahiti). Phytosterol from the leaves of the plant shows antibacterial activity. cholest-5-en-3-beta-ol derivatives. . nictoflorin. kaempferol and glycosides. beta-sitosterol. Tonga. gallicin. citrulline and amino acids. Flowers anemophilous (wind-pollinated). cholesterol. Tree to 25 m high with drooping branches and needle-like branchlets. each flower relatively inconspicuous. Distribution. Dysuria and menorrhagia are treated with an infusion of the bark. stomachaches and constipation. Native to South-East Asia. isoquercitrin. campesterol. catechin and epicatechin. Description. Traditional Uses 7. Marquesas Islands. antifungal. The plant’s uses in treating throat infections. Niuean. cupressuflavone. casuarine.8. salu (Solomon Islands). catechol derivatives. ulcers. in Tonga. Tongans use it to treat coughs. hypoglycemic.
hypotension. brahmi (Indo-Fijian).) Urban . phellandrene. tona (Futuna). pastures. petiolate with sheathing bases. The juice from the leaves is also used in treating eye diseases. alternate. asiatic acid. Distribution. antifungal. madecassic acid. allergenic. An infusion of the leaves is used to treat infected navels in babies. lawns. yellowish-brown. the leaves are used in poultices. and weakness in mothers after childbirth. betulinic acid. Small. asiatic pennywort.2. the p lant is used to treat migraines and boils. orbicular to ellipsoid.2. and fern-covered ridges from sea-level to lower montane. Used to treat dysentery. up to 5 mm broad. stomachaches. The leaves are used in a preparation to induce miscarriage. Pantropical and widely distributed throughout the South Pacific. centelloside. borne in umbels. Flowers small and inconspicuous. antiviral. triterpenoid trisaccharides. linamarase.) Urban Apiaceae Local Names : totodro (Fiji). antiamoebic. kapukapu. Description. Flowers and fruit are usually available throughout the year. analgesic. hypotensive. white. vitamin C. Also used to treat haemorrhoids. and is also rubbed onto the heads of infants who suffer from the delayed closing of their fontanelles. smooth muscle relaxant. kaempferol. Habitat. anticancer. Leaves are used to treat wounds. antidiuretic. bicycloelemene.8. In Samoa. Samoa. brahmoside. fever and headache. anticonvulsant. perennial aromatic herb. antibacterial. bleeding ulcers. Traditional uses 1. indocentelloside. prostrate. centellic acid. antiallergic.5-7. antipyretic. Niue). Common in open areas. Fruit a mericarp. chest pains and intestinal muscle cramps. peptic ulcer healing. beta-glucuronidase inhibition. anti-inflammatory. pimples. tranquilizing. vasodilator. English Name : indian pennywort. fluid from the leaves is used for treating rheumatic pains and swellings of joints. tohetupou (Tahiti). In Fiji. Short rhizomes and long runners present. tono (Tonga. madecassoside. insecticidal. diarrhoea and neuralgia. rashes and itchy lumps under the skin. Wound healing. fits and convulsions in children. blade rounded. antifertility.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 43 Centella asiatica (L. antispasmodic. Leaves forming rosettes. without stem. hair growth stimulation. shaded road and trailsides. In Tonga. Constituents1-4. centellose. Fractures are treated with a mixture of crushed leaves and coconut oil. oxyasiaticoside. thankuniside. Biological activity1. to’etupou (Cook Islands). Asiaticoside. constipation. hydrocotyline. Centella asiatica (L.
neriifolin. 1-20 m tall. borne terminally in a loose cyme. entire. . Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. 8-25 cm long. rutin. The bark contains a yellow pigment cerbinal along with cerberic and cerberinic acids. and in treating fish poisoning. Habitat. the leaves are also used to treat skin diseases. with an acute to obtuse apex.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 45 Cerbera manghas L. Juice from the leaves is used in the treatment of rheumatism. leva (Samoa). Fruit ellipsoid. Cerbera odollam Gaertner] Local Names : rewa. Biological Activity6. Leaves spirally arranged. up to 10 cm long. vasa (Fiji). Tree or shrub. [syn. Throughout Melanesia into the Tuamotus and also into the Indian Ocean (e. This plant is also employed in the treatment of pain in the eye sockets at sunrise and sunset. Used as a treatment for cancer in Samoa and as abortfacient in Fiji.g. thevetoside glycosides. and succinic acid. clustered towards the ends of the branches. leaves are chewed to cure migraine headaches. other glycosides. cerberin. thevetin B derivatives. 2540 mm long. Distribution. Flowers conspicuous and fragrant. Apocynaceae Description. oblong to obovatelanceolate. with rounded crown and white latex. Common along the seashore in beach thickets. Traditional Uses 7 . Cerbera manghas L. Digitoxigenin glycosides. white. first green later turning red when mature. antibacterial and anticonvulsant. Seychelles and Comoros). or among reeds in open areas to 1000 m. nicotiflorin. tubular. and in open or dense forests. Constituents1-5. l(+)bornesitol. Cytotoxic. Lignans from the stem. derivatives of cerbinal. hypotensive. The leaves contain monoterpenes. the blades dark glossy-green and coriaceous. steroids. rutin and other flavonoid glycosides. petiole 1-5 cm long. with a pinkish throat. The Fijian herbalists claim that the stem extracts are capable of clearing any intestinal obstructions. cardenolide glycosides.
MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 47 Citrus aurantium L. isoquinoline alkaloids synerphrine. moli kurukuru (Fiji). hypotensive. beta-sitosterol. antiallergenic. caffeine. Rutaceae ’anani (Cook : seville or sour orange. antihaemorrhagic. Several coumarins. Distribution. mutagenic. antiemetic. The fruit (orange) is eaten if a fishbone gets caught in one’s throat. ergosterol. Constituents1-7. 5 -methyl and Nmethyl tyramines. antidiarrhoeal. antibacterial. antihepatotoxic. The new leaves are used to treat abdominal pain. smooth muscle relaxant. antispasmodic. Forty flavonoids. In Samoa. The juice of the fruit is mixed with coconut oil or castor oil and given as a laxative. and stigmasterol. sixteen triterpenoids. antipyretic. bluntly toothed. Flowers axillary. a citrus fruit) up to or occasionally exceeding 10 cm broad with thick skin containing sour and somewhat bitter pulp and several to numerous seeds within. antihistamine. cardiotonic. antioxidant. Citrus aurantium L.6-9. Vermin of the head are treated with the leaves. In Fiji. Laxative. antiulcer. headache is treated with tea made from the leaves or the bark of the plant. hypolipemic. borne singly or a few. essential oil containing more than 60 monoterpenes and 25 sesquiterpenes. insulin induction. Cultivated and possibly naturalized in some locations. English Name : moli jamu. pepsin inhibition. and common steroids such as desmosterol. Small tree to 10 m tall with large spines on younger branches. the blade ovate. The bark or leaves are boiled and taken to treat urinary tract infections. Local Names Islands). carotenoids. uterine relaxant. the bark is used to treat sunstroke. Leaves alternate with winged-petioles. Habitat.10. Native to Asia and now widespread throughout the Pacific and warm areas throughout the world. hypertensive. emitting a strong citrus odour due to the presence of copious oil glands. anti-inflammatory. white and very fragrant. tumour promotion inhibition. CNS depressant. insect repellent. . Flowers usually during warmer months and fruit available later in the year. antiamoebic. Biological Activity3. diuretic. Fruit a yellow-orange hesperidium (viz. Antifungal. 4-Methylacetophenone. Traditional Uses 1. Description. anticonvulsant. analgesic.
eleven coumarins. ’anani (Cook Islands). Cultivated and possibly naturalized in some locations. antiviral. English Name : orange. In Samoa. moli kai (Tonga). sinapic acid.) Osbeck . amyrin. thirteen alkaloids. and stigmasterol. In Tonga. They also ingest the crushed leaves of the plant to treat abdominal pains. carminative. a whole peeled orange is swallowed to remove a fishbone stuck in the throat. gibberellic acid. uricosuric. moli (Futuna. insect repellent. vitamin C. sweet orange. ’arani (Society Islands). Leaves alternate with narrowly winged-petioles (3-5 mm wide). Habitat. 15 sesquiterpenes. castasterone. 14 monoterpenes. Native to Asia and now widespread throughout the Pacific and warm areas of the world. moli taiti (Fiji). coumaric acid. bluntly toothed. emitting a strong citrus odour due to the presence of copious oil glands. anethole. antiyeast. citrusins (proteid). borne singly or in a small bunch. antihepatotoxic. etrogol.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 49 Citrus sinensis (L. Traditional Uses 1. The juice of the fruit together with coconut oil or castor oil is used as a purgative by the Cook Islanders. Small tree to 12 m tall with large spines on younger branches. Description. antimutagenic. the blade ovate. as well as to treat postpartum sickness. an infusion of the bark is used to treat an illness similar to relapse sickness. an infusion of the leaves is used to treat relapse sickness which mainly affects women who return to strenuous work too soon after giving birth. Antifungal. brassinolide.9. a citrus fruit) up to or occasionally exceeding 10 cm broad with a somewhat thin skin (up to 5 mm thick) containing usually sweet pulp and several to numerous seeds within. nomilin derivatives. Biological Activity1. hydroquinone. the leaves of the plant are used as remedies for internal ailments and fractures as well as other sicknesses. molidawa. Niue). ferulic acid. limonin and its glucosides. Constituents1-8. caffeic acid. Also in the Cook Islands.) Osbeck Rutaceae Local Names : moli ’aina (Samoa). Flowers usually during warmer months and fruits available later in the year. seventeen flavonoids. Distribution. larvicidal. antibacterial. Citrus sinensis (L.8. sitosterol. Flowers axillary. carotenoids. Fruit a green or orange hesperidium (viz. carcinogenic (essential oil). In Tahiti. white and very fragrant. phytol. pectin.
sores and scabies are treated with parts of the plant. hemotoxic. In Fiji. The root may be used as a toothbrush. soft skin. In the Solomon Islands. mono. Saccharose. antiyeast and antifungal. spongy kernel. sorbitol. The coconut is said to have vermicide properties. niu (Samoa. bongrek acid. stigmasterol. narrow. Foliage leaves all confined to apex of trunk. Coconut milk is used to treat fish poisoning. Description. te nii (Kiribati). alpha.3. Haemorrhaging is stopped with the use of the dry. cytotoxic (seed oil). Juice from the midrib at the lower base of the leaf is used in treating maternal postpartum illness. each leaf paripinnate and up to or exceeding 6 m in length. niu. Widely cultivated and naturalized throughout the Pacific and tropical areas worldwide. often curved trunk to 30 m tall. The oil. The juice from a green coconut is given to women who have difficult pregnancies. Monopodial tree with long. diarrhoea and dysentery are treated with parts of this plant. . Distribution. aliphatic fatty acids. The oil is also used to treat rheumatism and back pains or as an ointment to maintain smooth. cocositol. and alkaloids: ligustrazine and 2. niu dina (Fiji). scyllo-inositol. polyphenols. glucose. Biological Activity2. brown. 4-6. tumour-promoting effect. stachyose. Oil from the kernel is rubbed onto stiff joints. alpha-tocopherol. Juice from the fruit is taken to treat kidney problems.and sesquiterpenes. campesterol. Diuretic (coconut milk).5-trimethylpyrazine. diphenylurea. Traditional Uses 1. pyretic. Constituents1. weakness after childbirth is treated with liquid extracted from the stem. leucoanthocyanins.3. The root is also employed in treating stomachache and blood in the urine. sucrose. or reddish fibrous drupe up to or exceeding 30 cm in length. mixed with turmeric. The mature single seed is large and filled with both solid (“meat”) and liquid (“milk”) endosperm. ferricopnin. cycloartenol. beta. glycerol. squalene. the abdomen is massaged with coconut oil. To place a baby from a breech to a normal position in the mother’s womb. Solomon Islands).MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 51 Cocos nucifera L. English Name : coconut. xylan. aliphatic alcohols. most abundant near human settlements. Cocos nucifera L. nu (Cook Islands). Habitat. 2-propyleneglycol. myoinositol. Flowers and fruit borne in drooping clusters arising from between the lower leaf petioles. is used to treat sick new born infants and women who have just given birth. In New Guinea. Arecaceae Local Names : niudamu. allergenic. hypotensive.and beta-amyrin. ketones. The oil is used as an emetic and as a purgative. glucosan.sitosterol. Flowers and fruit are available throughout the year in most Pacific areas. Common along the sea shore to moderate elevations in inland areas. Fruit a large green.
The venereal disease gonorrhea is treated with a preparation of liquid pressed from the leaves. Commonly cultiv ated throughout the South Pacific and tropical countries world-wide. moluccanum (Dec. unisexual and borne in racemes. English Names : Croton. Fruit a sub-globose. cis. although a closely related variety.and trans-p-coumaric acids. whereas others may bear flowers and fruit throughout the year. vanilla acid. simple. antifungal. Flowers and fruit may not develop on some forms. toothache and diseases caused by spirits.) Blume Euphorbiaceae var. trans-ferulic acid. often multi-coloured with a myriad of various shapes and sizes depending upon the cultivar. variegatum var. ellagic acid. virus activation. cytotoxic. An ornamental shrub 2-6 m high. molluscicidal. Flowers (if present) are small. from sea-level to mid-montane. Distribution. C. A fever may be relieved by bathing the patient in a green solution of boiled leaves. Constituents1. Habitat. The leaves are chewed and swallowed to promote miscarriage. 3-lobed schizocarp. variegatum Local Names : sacasaca damu. Phenolic compounds. Biological Activity2. Sores are treated with a direct application of sap. Cultivated only.) Muell. Description. The root is applied to tooth cavities for temporary relief of pain.3. occurs commonly in the wild throughout Melanesia. Leaves alternate. In Fiji it is used mainly to treat swellings. Antitumour. carbohydrates and alkanes. protocatechuic acid. vasa damu (Fiji).) Blume . Codiaeum variegatum (L.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 53 Codiaeum variegatum (L. Traditional Uses 4 . and a preparation of the root is used to treat wounds.
it is now widely distributed throughout the tropics worldwide. Fruit not known. 5-7.4-di-O-beta glucoside. Constituents1-3. Inflorescence an erect spadix up to 35 cm long surrounded by a spathe up to twice as long as the spadix. Leaves moderately large. In New Guinea.5 m high. Biological Activity4. A decoction of the leaves is drunk to promote menstruation. A decoction of the leaves. Traditional Uses 1. votuki. calcium oxalate. apigenin. hydroxy-cinnamoyl amides. qau. Colocasia esculenta (L. soli. doko. sulo. hypotensive. is taken to relieve stomach problems and to treat cysts. colocasia sterols.4'-dimethoxyluteolin. suli. Vitamin C. English Name : taro. fructose. niacin. hui ni kerekere. Probably native to Indo-malesia. cyanidin 3 -rhamnoside. The sap of the leaf stalk is used in treating conjunctivitis. elephant ears. talo (Samoa). boka. Large perennial tuberous herb up to or exceeding 1. carotenes. Widely cultivated on wet or dry ground throughout the Pacific from near sea-level to mid-montane elevations. together with some parts of other plants. alo (Solomon Islands). tiko. oxalic acid. Habitat.) Schott . glucose and sucrose in tuber. 3'. benzaldehyde-3. The plant is also used to treat wounds. taro. Description. dalo ni vuci (Fiji). thiamine. peltate (heart-shaped). together with some parts of other plants. is used to create an appetite. the leaves are heated over a fire and are applied to boils. Corm contains a throat irritant (oxalate). pelargonidin 3 -glucoside. antibacterial.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 55 Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott Araceae Local Names : dalo. ba. Distribution. cyanidin 3-glucoside. The scraped stem. riboflavin.
Distribution. these subtended by a heart-shaped green bract. wet forest. ascending stems growing to 75 cm tall. saponins. Commelina diffusa Burm. Fruit a small dry capsule with minute seeds.f.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 57 Commelina diffusa Burm. Commelinaceae Local Names : kabocola. zygomorphic. airogorogo. relatively small. borne in small inflorescences. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. luna (Fiji). as a diuretic and to aid digestion. Leaves alternate. duludauwere. cobulabula. Habitat. Biological Activity4. drano. matebulabula. coumarins. Treatment of fractured bones. swampy areas and other wet places. . tannins. m ostly without petioles. rorogo. flavonoid glycoside flavocommelin. Haemaglutinin activity Traditional Uses 5. drains. rhizomatous herb with jointed succulent.f. Constituents1-3. to treat eye irritation and rashes. 3-parted. Acylated anthocyanins. Widespread throughout the Pacific and tropical Asia. lectin. Common weed of damp pastures. zwitterionic anthocyanins. parallel-veined. A sprawling. Description. alkaloids. Flowers blue.
Biological Activity. Widely spread throughout the Indo-Malesia. Commersonia bartramia (L. 12-24 x 7-14 cm. acuminate.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 59 Commersonia bartramia (L.) Merr.) Merr. Sterculiaceae Local Names : sama. Leaves alternate. and white. Traditional Uses 1. containing numerous dark brown seeds. . Used in Fiji for colds and coughs. leaf-opposed. or terminal. Habitat. young twigs. edges of forests. samadina. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Fruit a bristly capsule with hairs up to 25 mm broad. samasama. Flowers borne in many-flowered cymes arising from axils. and grassland thickets from sea-level to 500 m. leaves. petioles and buds brown-hairy. the blades oblong-ovate. lekasama (Fiji). None reported. samaloa. Distribution. small (to 8 mm broad). flowers 5-parted. Shrub to small tree up to 18 m tall. to treat rheumatism. Common in secondary and dry forest. Eastern Australia and the South Pacific. kidney troubles and dysentery. petiolate. margins toothed. Description. None reported. Constituents.
Rarotongan). the apex obtuse to short-pointed. Flowers and fruit usually available throughout the year. yellowish to black. The seeds float and are highly resistant to salt water. kanava (Futuna. None reported. tou (Tahiti. with usually one stony seed inside. In Tahiti. Marquesas Islands. puataukanave (Tonga). Boraginaceae Local Names : nawanawa (Fiji). Constituents. It is also used to treat albumin present in the urine. Traditional Uses 1-3. Biological Activity. especially on atolls where it is both naturally occurring as well as cultivated. broadly ovate and entire. cirrhosis of the liver and inflammation of the lymph nodes. dry. a preparation made from the stem is used to promote menstruation. fofotasi (Solomon Islands). Distribution. the plant is used to treat menstrual problems. motou (Niue). Habitat. In Fiji.Tuvalu). petiolate. hard. te kanawa (Kiribati). . Medium-sized spreading tree to 12 m tall with greyish grooved flaking bark. the fruit green. often wavy-margined. tauanave (Samoa). Cordia subcordata Lam. English Name : cordia. Leaves alternate. In the Marquesas Islands. uaua asi. the leaves are used in remedies for bronchitis and asthma where the leaves probably act as a purgative. Flowers showy. Fruit a globose drupe up to 3 cm long. thus the species is common in coastal areas. None reported. The plant is also used in the treatment of hepatic infections. base rounded. Cook Islanders use the leaves in remedies for abdominal swellings and urinary tract infections.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 61 Cordia subcordata Lam. The plant is also used to treat rheumatic aches and swellings of muscles and joints. Tokelau. surrounded by the enlarged calyx. unscented and borne in small axilary or terminal clusters. orange. Widespread from east Africa through tropical Asia and throughout the tropical Pacific. a preparation made from the leaves is used to treat knee wounds or skin ulcers. trumpet -shaped. Tuamotus. the petiole about half as long as blade. Description. the blade up to 20 cm long. In New Guinea.
dili lalabe (Solomon Islands). Common in a wide variety of habitats (including cultivated) ranging from coastal to over 1000 m elevation. Sparingly branched shrub arising from subterranean tuber. with slender stem to 5 m tall. the leaf buds are used to treat lower chest pains. to 80 cm long. parallel-veined. vasili ni toga. sterols. colds and coughs.) Chev. In Tonga. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Liquid from the stem is used to treat sickness after childbirth and also to help expel the afterbirth.) Chev. Cordyline fruticosa (L. elongate-lanceolate. each flower 3-parted. None reported. eczyma and gastritis. Biological Activity. tikula (Fiji). tyramine.3-5. The root is used to treat inflammations. The juice of the leaves is used to treat aching limbs and fever. inflammations and for dry fevers. Habitat. Cordyline terminalis (L. vakota. white to pink coloured. Description. the leaves are crushed with oil and applied to abscesses of the gums. Distribution. In Fiji. Smilagenin. Agavaceae [syn. imidazole alkaloids. Widely distributed throughout the tropics. si (Tonga). The juice of the leaves is used to treat earache. Traditional Uses 1. Constituents1. sarsapogenin. linoleic acid. masawe. Filariasis is treated with a solution made from the new plant shoots. lolokulu. Samoans use an infusion of the leaves as a remedy for swellings. The roots are used in treating toothache and laryngitis. The root is used to treat baldness. .MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 63 Cordyline fruticosa (L. Leaves spirally arranged and borne in terminal clusters. qai. Fruit a small red berry with small black seeds.) Kunth] Local Names : kototodamu. rau ti (Cook Islands). ti (Samoa). up to 20 cm broad.2. vasilidamu. Flowers borne in compound spikes up to 1 m long. infected eyes. stomachache. subtended by leafy pinkish bracts.
Distribution. haemanthamine. ungeremine. Biological Activity2. moderately large. bearing up to 30 flowers. cycloartenol. up to 1 m long. Crinum asiaticum L. palmilycorine. Habitat. Lycorine and its glucoside. hamayne. In Micronesia. Traditional Uses 1. criasbetaine. Several other closely related species also occur in the South Pacific. the flowers borne in an inflorescence up to 50 cm long. Description. coastal areas. and a preparation of the root is given to aid childbirth and for postpartum haemorrhage. phenanthridones. the leaves are heated and applied to relieve backaches. crinidine. Local Names English Names Amaryllidaceae : viavia (Fiji). cyclolaudenol. . evergreen. somewhat fleshy. Cytotoxic alkaloids having antitumour properties. Robust rosette-like herb arising from an underground bulb. stigmasterol. parallel-veined. Constituents1-6. Leaves linear. arising from a crown atop a short erect rhizome. tubular. crinasiadine. pratorinine. with yellow anthers and a purple style. antibacterial.5. antidote lily. hippadine. crinine. Bulbs are used in an emetic and as a poison antidote. pratorimine. flexinine. up to 2 m high. Fruit yellowish-green with large seeds. The leaves are also used in a preparation to treat permanent retraction of the testes. ambeline. Upper reaches of sandy beaches. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Widely distributed throughout the South Pacific. crinamine. lau talotalo (Samoa). Leaves are used in the healing of wounds. The leaves are applied to body swellings. Flowers greenish-white. spider lily. : crinum.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 65 Crinum asiaticum L. and commonly planted in villages or urban areas as an ornamental plant. but originally from Asia.
curdinone. ’eka (Marquesas Islands). antiamoebic.& delta. Indo-Fijians use a poultice of the rhizome on sprains and bruises. borne in an erect spike. zedoarondiol. eugenol. re’a (Tahiti. antibacterial. alpha and beta pinenes. terpinene. Traditional Uses1. Widely spread throughout the South Pacific and other tropical areas. Juice from the leaves is used to treat aching eyes. allergenic. anti-implantation. cinnamoyl derivatives. . English Name : turmeric. bisacurone. oleoresins. Anti-inflammatory activity (curcumin). phenyl propanoids. curcumenol.2. limonene. paracymene. turmerin. Alpha. insecticide. ango hina (Tonga). Distribution. borneol. oblong. uterine stimulant. cholesterol. Biological Activity1. antioxidant. curcumenes. protocatechuic acid. Futuna. Cook Islanders ingest infusions of turmeric to treat urinary tract infections and apply it externally to infected puncture wounds. Curcuma longa L. cytotoxic (whole plant). stigmasterol. lignan.9. antihypercholesterolemic. antinematodal. Colds and runny noses are treated by inhaling the vapour from the crushed leaves. three-parted.6-8 . curcumenone. beta-sitosterol. isoborneol. guaiacol. alpha-turmerine. haldi (Indo-Fijian). a ntihepatatoxic. Leaves petiolate. renga (Cook Islands). ago. rerega (Fiji). ’ena. carcinogenesis inhibition. Similar uses are found in Niue. fungistatic. weak antimycobacterial. bisabolenes. Constituents1-6 . avea. cyclocurcumin. nematocidal.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 67 Curcuma longa L. caffeic acid. antitumour. Zingiberaceae Local Names : ango. curzerenones. tale’a (Tuamotus). cineol. curlone.10. The rhizome is aromatic and is the source of the spice turmeric. insect repellent and antiulcer. In Tonga. alpha phellandrene. ango (Samoa. Flowers and fruit may not form on some plants. The root and stem-root are used in a remedy for dysentery. beta-turmeroone. linalool. diuretic. antimutagenic. the leaves are applied to bruises and painful skin. Flowers yellow. tannins. immunosuppressant. Description. germacron derivatives. sabinene. ukonans. Cultivated and naturalized in lowland to lower montane areas. campesterol. terpineol. curcumins and derivatives. camphene. turmeric (powder from the root) is used in a treatment for sores and rashes in infants. Fruit generally not produced. The rhizome is pounded and squeezed in water to prepare a solution to treat fish poisoning and to treat purulent conjunctivitis. vanillic acid. Austral Islands). increases bile production.atlantones. caryophyllene. anticoagulant. Rhizomatous (rhizomes fleshy) erect herb with leafy pseudostems to 1 m tall. turmeronols.2. bisaboladienones. cago. Futuna as well as in Samo a and the Cook Islands. camphor. bisacumol. beta-sesquiphellandrene. Habitat. antiyeast. the plant is propagated from rhizomes. antiviral. embryotoxic. In New Guinea. In the last two countries it used to be common to smear a mother and her newborn baby with turmeric. zingiberene. Niue). parallel veined. A solution of turmeric is used to treat eye diseases and open wounds.
Traditional Uses 2. fluid from the leaves is used in a preparation to treat fractured bones. Epiphytic. Habitat. Distribution. Also cultivated in temperate climate countries as an indoor ornamental plant. Biological Activity. 80 x 30 cm. Other closely related Davallia species occur throughout the South Pacific and other tropical areas.3. The plant is also used to treat stomachache. finely dissected (4-5 pinnate) with a terminal sorus on each segment. Fronds dark green. None reported. vuluvululevu. Vicianin (benzenoid).MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 69 Davallia fijiensis Hook. rhizomatous fern. wavulovulo. The leaves are used to treat wounds. Constituents1. . Common on trees in Fijian forests. Davalliaceae vativati-matailalai. auvutimerakula. Description. Davallia fijiensis Hook. In Fiji. and cultivated and possibly naturalized elsewhere. mokomoko ni ivi (Fiji). Local Names : lawe dua. Endemic to Fiji.
hillsides. wounds (knife.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 71 Decaspermum fructicosum sensu Drake [syn. borne on densely packed inflorescences. on ridges. Leaves opposite and petiolate. the blade up to 8 cm long. sometimes with a compacted growth-form. Distribution. Myrtaceae Description. up to 4 mm long. Fruit berry-like. 3 mm broad. Flowers fragrant. toothache and loss of appetite in children. Decaspermum fructicosum sensu Drake . Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. coumarins (ellagic acid derivatives). petals white or pinkish.4. variable in shape but mostly ovate to elliptical with a conspicuous tapering tip. spear. and branchlets often square in cross-section. Treatment of cancer of the womb (infertile women). black when mature. Constituents1. Traditional Uses 3. blades with small scattered dots (punctuate glands). Decaspermum vitiense (A. roundish. None reported. A shrub or tree to 14 m tall. axe). 4 or 5 -parted. The leaves are notable in that they have an aromatic odour when crushed. Very common in dry forests. Essential oils (leaves). Gray) Niedenzu] Local Names : nuqanuqa (Fiji). Endemic to Fiji. and secondary forests on dry sides of Fiji's larger islands. Biological Activity. Habitat.2. with several small -7 seeds. English Name: christmas bush. although other closely related species occur on many South Pacific islands.
MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC
Dendrocnide harveyi (Seemann) Chew Local Names : salato, salato vula, salato ni vali (Fiji).
Description. Tree up to 20 m tall with stinging trichomes. Leaves alternate, broadly ovate and with long petioles, the blade to 40 cm long and 15 cm wide. Flowers numerous, small, borne on axillary panicles. Fruit a small achene. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Habitat. Common in wet primary and secondary forests, edge of forests, and along streams from sea-level to mid-montane. Distribution. Fiji, Niue, Samoa, and Tonga. Other closely related species (also with stinging hairs) occur from Melanesia to tropical Australia and Asia. Constituents. None reported. Biological Activity. None reported. Traditional Uses 2. A preparation made from scrapings of the bark is used in treating illnesses described as pain in the lungs with vomiting of blood (tuberculosis?). Liquid squeezed from the leaves is given to cure fits in children, sickness after birth, and to aid expulsion of the afterbirth. Tea made from the leaves or stinging needles is reportedly used in the treatment of venereal diseases. In Fiji the leaves are used to treat convulsions and relapses after child birth and the stems are used to treat the pain in bones or joints, intestinal filariasis and postnatal depression.
Dendrocnide harveyi (Seemann) Chew
MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC
Erythrina variegata L. Fabaceae Local Names : drala, segai, drala dina, rara, rara damu, rarawai (Fiji), ngatae (Tonga). English Name : coral tree. Description. Tree up to 25 m tall with coarse spines on trunk and branches. Leaves variegated along major veins or not, trifoliate, variable in size with leaflet blades broadly triangular and up to 30 cm long. Flowers bright orange to deep red, pea-flower like, borne in densely flowered inflorescences up to 50 cm long. Fruit a pod (legume) with large red seeds. Flowers and fruit available during the cooler season (e.g. July-September in Fiji). Habitat. Commonly cultivated, especially near the coast, as well as naturalized in lowland coastal areas on many islands. Distribution. Common throughout the Pacific and into Malaysia, tropical Asia, and the Indian Ocean. Constituents1-4. Alkaloids (erythraline, erythratine, erythroidine, erysodine, erysonine, erysotrine, hypaphorine, 11-hydroxerysotrine, erythorinine), a benzyltetra-hydroxy-isoquinoline alkaloid, N-nororientaline, erybidine, lectins, fatty acids, isoflavones, polyphenols, ferulic acid, quercetin glycoside,, rutin glycoside, campesterol, cycloartenol, and sitosterol. Biological Activity5-8. Insecticidal, haemaglutinating activity, curaric skeletal muscle relaxant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, feeding deterrent, antispasmodic, and antimycobacterial Traditional Uses 1,7. Treatment of filariasis; remedy for swollen armpits, swollen breasts, stomachache and coughs. In New Guinea, an infusion of the root is used to treat bronchitis. The leaves are also used as a poultice to reduce fevers. In Tonga, an infusion of the bark is used to treat stomachache.
Erythrina variegata L.
MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC
Euodia hortensis Forster Rutaceae Local Names : mata ni raqiqi, uci ni veikau, uci, rauvula (Fiji); uhi (Niue and Tonga); usi (Samoa and Futuna); fo’oka, aba’i ri’i (Solomon Islands). Description. Shrub to small tree to 6 m tall. Leaves opposite, aromatic, trifoliate (or simple), if compound, each leaflet oblanceolate, 8-10 x 15-30, or if simple, the blade lanceolate, and up to 30 cm long. Flowers small, white, fragrant, 4-parted, borne in erect panicles arising from leaf axils. Fruit a 4parted brown dehiscent follicle, with a single seed in each segment. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Habitat. Cultivated and naturalized in secondary forest, forest margins and thickets, from sea-level to 500 m. Distribution. Probably native to New Guinea, and now widely distributed in the South Pacific. Constituents1,2. Essential oils (caryophyllene, alpha-copaene, arcucumene), menthofuran, evodone, hortensol, berberine, furoquinoline and acridone alkaloids. Biological Activity. None reported. Traditional Uses 3-6. In Fiji, fluid from the bark is used to treat a disease whose symptoms are yellow eyes and yellow urine. Liquid from the stem is used in treating children with convulsions. Liquid from the leaves is used as a remedy for swollen testicles. Also used as an emmenagogue in Fiji. In Niue, the leaves are used to treat toothache and stomachache. Tongans use an infusion of the leaves as a laxative, to reduce fevers, to treat swellings and to cure headaches. The leaves are crushed, mixed with oil and applied to sore gums. The leaves are also used to cure headache and earache in Tonga. Since the smell of the leaves is thought to keep away spirits, the plant is used to treat illnesses thought to be brought on by spirits in Tonga, Samoa, Niue and Rotuma. In the Solomon Islands, the leaves are heated and rubbed onto bruises. The bark may be chewed with betel nuts and rubbed onto aching body parts.
Euodia hortensis Forster
stomachache and to protect new born babies from germs.2. polyols.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 79 Euphorbia fidjiana Boiss. octaketides. . Biological Activity. 7 ent-pimarane or entabietane diterpenoids. Distribution. Local Names : vasa damu. cycloartane and euphane triterpenoids and homotriterpenoids. Flowers small. elliptical. 14 ent -atisane diterpenoids. stigmasterone. sitosterone. Fruit a capsule with numerous small seeds. Open rocky habitats and cultivated from sea-level to 550 m. stigmasterol. Traditional Uses 1. beta-sitosterol. dihydroisocoumarins. Shrub to 3 m high with white latex and reddish purple stems and leaves. Habitat. Constituents1. whorled. Endemic to Fiji. None reported. up to 9 cm long.3. The plant is also used in treating tuberculosis. carboaromatic compounds. the plant is used to treat constipation. borne on terminal cymes. The filtrate of the leaves is used to wean infants from their mothers. Eczyma and headaches are treated with a decoction of the leaves. Leaves petiolate. 3 betahydroxystigmastanone. Euphorbiaceae Description. tavasa (Fiji). possibly cultivated elsewhere in the South Pacific. Euphorbia fidjiana Boiss. In Fiji. Flowering and fruiting data not available.
Antimicrobial. qalo. High climbing liana with solid stems and conspicuous leaf tendrils. L. 4 kaempferol 3-glycosides. As a diuretic. alkaloids. Flowers available during early summer and fruits apparently present from April to December.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 81 Flagellaria spp. Fruit a small. A common forest climber which climbs over shrubs and smaller trees in wet to dry forest. through Indo-Malesia. Flagellariaceae Description. fleshy subglobose drupe. Habitat. . white. Widespread from South-East Asia. L. Leaves lanceolate terminating in a long coiled tendril. borne in a large erect terminal panicle. wasila (Fiji). Local Names : walaki. a cyanogenic glycoside. Traditional Uses 1. Flowers small. Flagellaria spp. Constituents1. Biological Activity1. Distribution. tropical Australia and into the South-West Pacific as far east as Fiji.
Flowers unisexual (plants dioecious). obovoid.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 83 Garcinia sessilis (Forster) Seemann Local Names : heilala (Tonga). Habitat. borne in axillary clusters of 3-9 flowers. Native to Solomon Islands (Santa Cruz Islands) and Fiji. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. simple. and naturalized in Tonga and Samoa. 4-parted. ovate to elliptical. Biological Activity. Crushed leaves in water commonly used as an eyewash for eye problems. None reported. Leaves opposite. Constituents. Traditional Uses 1. rauba (Fiji). petiolate. up to 10 cm long. up to 4 cm long. Common forest tree occurring in both wet and dry forest. Clusiaceae Description. Garcinia sessilis (Forster) Seemann . pale pink. None reported. Tree to 20 m high with yellow latex. Distribution. Fruit a red drupe.
.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 85 Gardenia taitensis DC. Leaves opposite. Flowers showy. broadly eliptical. and widely cultivated and naturalized on many other islands in the South Pacific. bua. fruit often rare. The flowers are also used to treat childhood diseases. Rubiaceae Local Names : pua. however. fragrant. up to 15 cm long. tiale tiale (Tokelau). Description. Tonga. Vaginal bleeding is treated with an infusion of the leaves. Habitat. Constituents1. Traditional Uses 1. tiare maori (Cook Islands). tiale (Tuvalu). tiare tahiti (Tahiti). None reported. Cook Islanders merely smell the fowers to relieve l headaches. Migraine headaches may be cured by immersing the head in a solution with the crushed flowers. white. In Futuna. borne singly on stems arising from upper leaf axils. Gardenia taitensis DC.19-Cyclolanostane-3. 23-dione. The plant is also used in treating inflammations in children. Vanuatu. Shrub or small tree to 6 m high with conspicous stipules. 9. pua samoa (Samoa). petiolate. Distribution. In American Samoa. Also widely cultivated in villages. Coastal limestone rock and occasionally in coastal forest near the shore. bigia (Fiji). siale tafa (Niue). English Names : tahitian gardenia. siale tonga (Tonga). a medicine including the leaves of this plant is used to purify the blood in prenatal care and diabetes treatment. it is thought that an infusion of the bark can be used to induce an abortion. and nearby islands.2. Fruit a yellowish-green sub-globose-to-ellipsoid capsule up to 5 cm long containing numerous whitish seeds surrounded by an orangish pulp. siale (Futuna). Biological Activity. Flowers available throughout the year. Native to the South-West Pacific Islands of Fiji. tiare.
Forst. from sea-level to montane. kaukauda (Fiji). Tongans use an infusion of the bark as a purgative to treat stomachache and other internal ailments. Sm. the plant is used to treat diarrhoea. Flowers white. C. Loganiaceae [syn. ma’ame (Cook Islands). and ailments involving the kidney or bladder. . Leaves opposite. Widespread throughout Melanesia and in parts of Polynesia. Biological Activity. Flowers in late summer and fruit follows later in the year. Geniostoma rupestre s. petiolate. boiboida. fa’efa’elunga (Tonga). None reported. thickets and open rocky areas (including limestone). small. sese (Niue). Description. G.l. te’epilo ‘a maui.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 87 Geniostoma rupestre s. Habitat. Traditional Uses 1. mafusifusi (Solomon Islands). lau mafatifati (Samoa). Common in both primary and secondary forests. borne in axillary clusters of 3 to numerous flowers. insulare A. Forst. Constituents. ovate to elliptical. Fruit an elliptical dehiscent capsule up to 10 cm long which contains numerous small seeds. In Niue. None reported.l.] Local names : taipoipo. Distribution. Shrub or slender tree to 10 m tall. 5-parted. up to 20 cm long.
The inner bark is used in a treatment for conjunctivitis. Guettarda speciosa L. relatively large (to 20 cm long). Loganic acid and secologanin. In New Guinea. the stem is used in a preparation utilized to promote menstruation. Menorrhagia is treated with a decoction of the bark. petiolate. A decoction of the leaves is used to treat coughs. Common along the seashore. Distribution.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 89 Guettarda speciosa L.4. Traditional Uses 3. beach thickets. a preparation of the bark is drunk to cure dysentery. The shoots are washed in oil and used in treating ulcerated sores of the anus. Widely distributed from East Africa to India through to Malaysia into the South Pacific. Rubiaceae Local Names : buabua (Fiji). Spreading and much branched tree up to 20 m high. leathery. aibuasi. Description. Fruit a round and green syncarp with one seed per locule. Flowers white. A decoction of the bark is drunk daily as a treatment for vaginal bleeding.2. fi’i tasisi (Solomon Islands). In Tonga. In Tuvalu. Infusion of the bark is used in treating postpartum discharges. colds and sore throats. sea cliffs. puopua (Tonga). Habitat. the plant has antidiarrhoetic. A decoction of the bark or an infusion of the leaves is drunk daily to treat secondary amenorrhoea. borne in terminal clusters. and lowland forest. te uri (Kiribati). Biological Activity. The plant is used to treat maternal postpartum infections. febrifugal and anticholinergic applications. nori. fragrant. a tea made from the inner bark is used to treat epilepsy. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Constituents1. oval. The bark is applied to wounds and sores. In Micronesia. the leaves are used for poultices. In Fiji. . tubular. In Tahiti. Leaves opposite. None reported. Liquid from the bark is drunk to treat oedema. with conspicuous striate veins. itchy skin rashes are treated with fluid from the leaves.
Flowers very small. Used to heal wounds. an infusion of the bark or leaves is taken internally or applied to the skin to treat skin inflammations. (+)-magnocurarine. Gyrocarpaceae Local Names : toutou. Fruit an ovoid drupe with two long wings arising from the apex. Tree to 20 m high. pukovili (Samoa. alternate. (+)-maroumine.4. Leaves mostly crowded towards ends of branches. Widespread throughout the South Pacific and the tropics. Constituents1-3. Traditional Uses 5. stomachache. childbirth swellings. Description. dry coastlines and open coastal woodlands. gyrocarpusine. Biological Activity1. ferulic and sinapic acids. bisbenzylisoquinolines. and intestinal filariasis. Hypotensive. Hemisphere. borne on axillary inflorescences arising on the upper parts of the branches. Gyrocarpus americanus Jacq. benzylisoquinolines. In Tonga. deeply 3-lobed on younger trees. To treat relapsed illness.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 91 Gyrocarpus americanus Jacq. phaeanthine. gyroamericine. petiolate. (+)-Auroramine. curare-like activity. gylidine. wiriwiri (Fiji). about 1. Common along beaches. O-methyl limacusine. and the flavonoids kaempferol and quercetin. aporphines. Habitat. smaller and almost entire on older trees. the blades broadly ovate. O-desmethyl phaeanthine. Distribution. Tonga). gyrocarpine. .5 cm long. Flowers mostly available April to July and fruit available July to January in the So.
the blades mostly peltate. Habitat.6. Leaves alternate.) Kubitzki . 10-30 cm long. Large. To treat childbirth illnesses (speed placenta expulsion. dark green. Flowers relatively small and unisexual. petiolate.5 cm across. thalicarpine 2'-N-oxide. None reported.) Kubitzki Hernandiaceae [syn. efatine. pu’a (Samoa). Distribution. Common along the upper edge of beaches and in coastal woodlands. and into the Indian Ocean as far as Madagascar and East Africa. general weakness). Hernandia nymphaeifolia (Presl. completely enclosed in a whitish to reddish cupule. tubular. H. yevuyevu (Fiji). shiny above. malekulatine. flavonoids (leaves). 7-20 cm wide. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. relapsed illnesses and to treat post-natal depression. and borne in dense panicles. Traditional Uses 1. and lignans. Constituents1-5. white or greenish-white. Malaysia. Fruit a brown drupe. Description. raised longitudinal ribs. fragrant. spreading tree. Biological Activity. thalicarpine. Isoquinoline alkaloids and bisbenzylalkaloids (ambrimine. clearly marked with 8 broad. hebridamine. Essential oils.] Local Names : evuevu. vilaportine). about 2. South-East Asia. with robust trunk and grey to whitish bark. Widely distributed across the South Pacific and extending into the North Pacific. up to 20 m high. peltata Meissn. enclosing a single hard seed. with 7-9 conspicuous veins radiating palmately from point of attachment to petiole.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 93 Hernandia nymphaeifolia (Presl.
hypothermic. English Names : red hibiscus. a preparation from the leaves is used to treat postpartum relapse sickness. . Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L. ease menstrual cramps. Distribution. analgesic. ’aute (Samoa. Biological Activity4-6. to treat boils.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 95 Hibiscus rosa -sinensis L. Tahiti). loloru. flavonoids and flavonoid glycosides. Description. and to help in childbirth. Shrub up to 3 m high. CNS depressant. hibiscetin. Introduced and widely distributed throughout the South Pacific and elsewhere within the tropical and subtropical zone. tartaric and oxalic acids. senitoa yaloyalo. citric. Tuvalu. Traditional Uses 3. In Samoa. Leaves alternate. ergosterol. To induce abortion. lipids. anti-implantation. antispasmodic. and anti-inflammatory. variable in form (including “double-flowered” forms). Rarotonga). Antioestrogenic. campesterol. abortifacient. antipyretic. fructose. Constituents1. insect attractant. stigmasterol. rose of china. Habitat. Malvaceae Local Names : kaute (Niue. Alkanes. attractive with large petals (corolla) ranging from red to orange to yellow. beta-sitosterol. petiolate. Fruit a capsule with many small black seeds. cholesterol. sores and inflammations. Commonly cultivated as a garden ornamental shrub from sealevel to 500 m. senicikobia (Fiji). koute (Marquesas Islands). sucrose. embryotoxic. glucose. antifungal. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. chinese hibiscus. To treat headaches. the blades with conspicuous serrated margins. kauti. Flowers large. cyanidin and cyanin glucosides. hypotensive.2. Taraxeryl acetate. antispermatogenic.
Samoa. boils and swellings. broadly ovate to cordate and palmately veined. fau (Tonga. the fluid from the bark is used to promote menstruation. te kiaiai (Kiribati). in thickets. hence the species is widely distributed throughout the tropics along coasts worldwide. Habitat. purau (Tahiti. margins of swamps and rivers. In Tahiti. Flowers large and showy. Traditional Uses 1-4. hyperoside. In Fiji. ’au (Cook Islands). Common on beaches. the leaves or shoots are used to treat relapsed sickness. Also in Fiji. 5-merous. the corolla yellow with deep maroon centre and conspicuous staminal column arising from base of ovary. gossypetin glucosides. The Cook Island Maoris use the bark together with coconut bark or husk to make an infusion used for bathing fractures.2. sore throats and open wounds. lapachol. An infusion of the leaves is used to aid in the delivery of a child. gossypetin. gossypitrin and gossytrin. hibiscones. para-coumaric and fumaric acids. Juice from the leaves is used in treating gonorrhoea. petiolate. Austral Islands). weedy forest margins. cuts. Gemlofuran. the flowers are used in making a salve. vau dina (Fiji). Leaves alternate. Spreading medium-sized tree to 15 m tall. In New Guinea. var.sitosterol. A treatment made from the leaves. tiliaceus . Fruit a subglobose capsule up to 25 cm long with numerous small seeds. The leaves are used in treating coughs. fa’ola (Solomon Islands). hau (Northern Marquesas Islands). gossypol. Constituents1. In the Solomon Islands. Description. hibiscolactone.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 97 Hibiscus tiliaceus L. roots and bark is given for fever. Tuvalu. the bark and the young leaves are used to treat skin diseases. None reported. disturbed areas. fou (Niue). The bark is used in treating eye infections and injuries. In Futuna. kaempferol. In Tahiti. English Name : beach hibiscus. An infusion of the bark is taken three times if the placenta is retained after the birth of the child. the leaves are wrapped around fractured bones and sprained muscles. and stomachaches. beta. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. quercetin and 3-O-galactosides of quercetin and kaempferol. vau. The seeds are buoyant and resistant to salt water. the bark is used to make a cough remedy which is also used for tuberculosis. var. the flowers are made into a paste and used as a poultice for sores. Distribution. Cook Islands and the Marquesas Islands. Hibiscus tiliaceus L. Tuamotu. tuberculosis and conjunctivitis. Biological Activity. Southern Marquesas Islands). Postpartum discharges are treated with an infusion of the leaves. tiliaceus Malvaceae Local Names : vauleka. In Tonga. parts of the plant are used in treating cuts. hibiscoquinones. mansonones. cyanidin-3-sophoroside. Such a use is also common in Tahiti.
lupeol. bulibuli sivaro. Fruit a thin cylindric follicle up to 15 cm long containing numerous plumed seeds. lau matolu (Tonga). sea cliffs. In Samoa. Traditional Uses 2. Common as a vine or epiphyte in beach thickets. In New Guinea. fleshy. benzoic acid.4. cosmosin. wabi. broadly elliptic up to 15 cm long. An infusion of the leaves is applied as a lotion and taken internally for skin inflammations. ’olive vao. 3. chrysoeriol glycoside.5. Leaves opposite. sinu (Futuna).Br. bitu bitu. Flowers small but showy. the juice from the plant is applied to body burns. bitabita. Habitat. toxic (leaves).4-seco-3-noroleanenol. Hypotensive. petiolate. Constituents1-6. australinols. Distribution. fue selela. australinals. the leaves are used to make a lotion for body rashes.8. . Biological Activity2. Occasionally cultivated elsewhere. Amyrins. australinoic acid. borne in an umbel-like head containing numerous flowers.Br. Description. Asclepiadaceae Local Names : wabi levu.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 99 Hoya australis R. lipids. In Fiji. suni (Samoa).7. Flowers and fruit usually available throughout the year. watabua. It is also used to treat stomach ailments in Samoa. apigenin glucoside. Occurs naturally from Queensland Australia into the South Pacific as far east as Tonga and northwards to Samoa. chlorogenic acid. the plant is used to treat swollen testicles. as well as in Futuna. English Name : wax plant. nyctanthic acid derivatives. Climbing semi-woody vine with latex. Hoya australis R. fragrant. an infusion of the leaves is taken for many types of swellings and inflammations. draubibi. edges of mangroves and in primary forest to over 1000 m elevation. In Tonga. nabetebete (Fiji).
it has been accidentally introduced to many South Pacific islands. . mycrene. 4-angled stems. tulsia (Indo-Fijian). haemostatic. the blade ovate to nearly triangular with serrate margins. Perennial. Cytotoxic. Flowers small. damoli (Fiji). A widespread weed native to the tropical Americas. hyptolide (a lactone).MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 101 Hyptis pectinata (L. leaves are also used to treat cough.) Poit. essential oils. p -cymene. and waste places. alpha-thujene. oregano Description. thymol (more than 60%).5 cm wide. 1 to 2. Hyptis pectinata (L.) Poit. molluscicidal. strongly zygomorphic. Habitat. road and trailsides.2. petiolate. ursolic acid. borne in dense cyme-like clusters arising from spike-like inflorescences 30-60 cm long. Fruit a nutlet. erect aromatic herb to small shrub up to 4 m high with distinct. Lamiaceae Local Names : wavuwavu. Constituents1. Leaves have wound-healing qualities and are especially useful in treating cuts in the case of diabetics. English Names : mint weed. pubescent.5 to 7 cm long. Flowers and fruits throughout the year. tamoli ni vavalagi. Leaves opposite. A common weed of cultivated land. In Fiji. white or pink tinged. chest pains and painful breathing. plantations. pastures.6. 1. Traditional Uses 1. antibacterial. gamma-terpinene. Distribution. it is considered a noxious weed and its introduction to islands where it does not occur should be discouraged. Monoterpenes. Biological Activity3-5.
Constituents 1. an infusion of the bark is given to infants with teething problems. Tongans use an infusion of the bark to treat burns. elliptical to oblong. Inocarpus fagifer (Parkinson) Fosb. Flowers white. Futuna and Niue). and even dry forest. A decoction of the bark is used in treating scabies and the root is used to treat stomachache. extracts from heated bark scrapings are used in a treatment for pneumonia. In the Solomon Islands. leathery. The dried inner bark mixed with coconut oil is applied to bone fractures. Habitat. ailali (Solomon Islands). In Fiji. up to 30 cm long. ividamu. Distribution. Description. liquid from the stem is used to treat pain in the bones. ivi (Fiji). borne in axillary spikes. mape (Tahiti). ivisere. Fabaceae Local Names : ifi (Samoa. Lipids (seeds). along rivers.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 103 Inocarpus fagifer (Parkinson) Fosb. Tonga. Weakness after childbirth and fish poisoning are treated with the fluid from the leaves. Also cultivated for its edible seeds. The bark is used to treat sickness relapses. English Name : tahitian chestnut. In the Cook Islands. Large tree to 30 m tall with conspicuous fluted and butressed trunk on mature trees. The plant is also said to stop internal bleeding. Traditional Uses 1-3. Leaves alternate. None reported. fragrant. ihi (Marquesas Islands). margins of swampy places. but probably an introduction from Malaysia where it is also common. i’i (Cook Islands). short-petiolate. relatively small. and diarrhoea in infants. Biological Activity. Samoans use the wood and the leaves to treat wounds. Common in coastal forests. Widespread in the South Pacific. Fruit a yellowish kidney-shaped drupe up to 10 cm long containing a single edible starchy seed. .
MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 105 Ipomoea indica (Burm. . Description. Distribution. usually with 4 large smooth brown seeds. cordate with acuminate apex and rounded base. Biological Activity. Convolvulaceae Local Names : lawere. Flowers large and showy. None reported. white to purple or blue. Ipomoea indica (Burm. longpetiolate. disturbed forests. lauwere. The plant is used as a laxative in Tonga and Fiji. Constituents. A paste made from the roots is applied as a poultice to backaches and sore muscles. trumpet-shaped.) Merr. especially coastal areas. Traditional Uses 1. wavulavula (Fiji). Leaves alternate. Habitat. Herbaceous twining sprawling vine. borne in small axillary clusters. and this contributes to the cathartic effects of the plant. Flowers and fruit usually available throughout the year. Common climbing over low vegetation along roadsides. up to 17 cm long. waste places and gardens.) Merr. English Name : morning-glory. forest margins. The roots of many species of Ipomoea contain a resin consisting of glucosides and other compounds. Fruit a subglobose capsule about 1 cm in diameter. fue’ae puaka (Tonga). lauivi. Widespread throughout the tropics.
. about the same length as stems. disturbed places such as pastures. Cyperaceae Local Names : tuise (Samoa). Kyllinga brevifolia Rottb. Common in damp. Constituents1. Leaves basal. subtended by three spreading leaf-like bracts up to 15 cm long. Description. mo’u upo’o (Tahiti). Traditional Uses 2. Habitat. etc. Fruit a minute achene up to 1. Okanin and vitexin. Biological Activity. Flowers minute. in three ranks. Widely distributed throughout the tropics and common throughout in the South Pacific. long-linear (grass-like). from near sea -level up to over 1000 m elevation. Anti-inflammatory.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 107 Kyllinga brevifolia Rottb. Distribution. borne in a terminal white globose head (occasionally two smaller lateral heads may also be present) up to 8 mm in diameter. stream sides.5 mm long. cane fields. Used for liver disease. pakopako (Tonga). English Name : kyllinga. Perennial sedge arising from a thin creeping rhizome bearing three-angled stems up to 30 cm high. Flowers and fruit usually available throughout the year. Used for the same purposes as Kyllinga nemoralis.
Loosely tufted perennial sedge from a long creeping rhizome bearing three-angled stems up to 45 cm high. Constituents.2. and relatively soft. Description. Habitat. pastures. up to 1. Distribution. subtended by three or sometimes four spreading leaf-like bracts up to 30 cm long. borne in a terminal solitary white globose head. usually shorter than stems. Leaves basal. Fruit a tiny achene. the plant is used in remedies for treating sprains and contusions. Kyllinga nemoralis (Forster) Dandy . gardens and disturbed places from near sea-level to over 850 m elevation. Traditional Uses 1. pakopako (Tonga). Common along beaches. No published data. Flowers and fruit usually available throughout the year. In Tahiti. longlinear (grass-like).5 mm long. English Name : kyllinga. The rhizome of the plant has anti-inflammatory properties. mo’u upo’o (Tahiti). roadsides. forest margins.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 109 Kyllinga nemoralis (Forster) Dandy Cyperaceae Local Names : tuise (Samoa). trails. Flowers minute. Biological Activity1. Widespread throughout the South Pacific and tropics worldwide.
In India. antiviral. the leaves are heated and rubbed across sore eyes. tapioke. In New Guinea. Amentoflavone. yabia. antihypercholesterolemic. In Fiji. is thought to prolong life. Native to tropical America. methyl linamarin. tapioka. iso-linamarin. kasaleka. neolinustatin. antifertility. The leaves are infused in the bath water to treat influenza/flu and fever. podocarpusflavone. Traditional Uses 1. Constituents1-4. cassava (Samoa). Shrub to 3 m high with conspicuous raised leaf scars on stems and elongated tuberous roots. lotaustralin. stachene and yucalexins. hydrogen sulphide. mostly borne on the upper part of the stem. vula tolu. juvenile hormone activity. cellular respiration inhibition. quercetin glycoside. Cultivated. hydrocyanic acid. deeply palmately divided. Antifungal. Leaves alternate. ent-pimara-8(14)-15-diene. antibacterial. manioc Description. toxic (whole plant). English Name: tapioca. Habitat. yabia ni vavalagi. coci. Flowers and fruits available year round. Distribution. kasera. latex also present. borne in terminal panicles. hyperglycemic. manioke. Fruit a dehiscent capsule containing numerous small seeds.7. The bark of the plant. yabia damu. oxalic acid. linamarin. Manihot esculenta Crantz . long-petiolate. unisexual. sokobale.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 111 Manihot esculenta Crantz Euphorbiaceae Local Names : tavioka. ent-kaurene. noumea. belaselika. together with that of Cordyline terminalis. the stem is folded and rubbed across the eyes of people suffering from glaucoma. sakarkanda (Indo-Fijian). mutagenic. Now cultivated in most tropical areas including many Pacific islands. the fresh tubers are grated and used as a poultice on sores and boils. Flowers small. antihyperlipemic. merelesita. yabia vula (Fiji).6. the Indians use the juice of the grated tubers to treat constipation and indigestion. katafaga. Diarrhoea is treated by eating the boiled tubers. In Fiji. aikavitu.8. maniota. Biological Activity5.
phebalosin. disturbed areas. borne in many-flowered terminal or axillary panicles. fragrant. takafalu (Tonga. dense. Australia and eastward into the South Pacific terminating in Tonga and Samoa. Distribution. Smooth muscle relaxant. Biological Activity4. sawaqa (Fiji).) Seemann Rutaceae Local Names : talafalu (Samoa). Angelical. imperatorin. micropubescin. dry or open forest.6. Tongans use an infusion of the leaves to treat toothache and teething problems in babies. An infusion of the bark is ingested to cure stomachache. Queensland. and murrangatin derivatives. Futuna). the fruit up to 1 cm long. cytotoxic (coumarins). micromelin.) Seemann . microminutinin. Part of the plant is used to treat swellings. microminutin. juice from the leaves is used to treat white scum on the tongue.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 113 Micromelum minutum (Forster f. aifali. Fruit an elongated red drupe with small punctate dots (glands) on the surface. molakwaena. scopoletin. Habitat. In Fiji. micromelunin. qiqila. 5 -parted. Shrub or small (compact) slender tree to 15 m high. pinnately compound with 7-12 unequal-sided leaflets. takapalu (Niue). sasaqila. and rocky coasts. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. minumicrolin. aifao (Solomon Islands). each with a short petiole. Traditional Uses 5. Flowers white. dihydromicromelin A. Malaysia. murralongin. Description. Common in thickets. Samoans use the plant to cure headache. Fluid from the bark is used to treat headaches and sore throats. Micromelum minutum (Forster f. Constituents1-3. bad breath and haemorrhoids. Leaves alternate. butyl-7-methoxyflindersine. limettin. the entire leaf up to 50 cm long.
Asteraceae Local Names : fou laina (Niue). and tree crops. white or cream coloured. borne in small densely packed heads which superficially resemble a single larger flower (e. Habitat. petiolate. forest edges and clearings. Mikania micrantha HBK. Flowers minute. wa butako (Fiji). wa bosucu. Biological Activity1. Constituents1-3. Traditional Use1. coumarin.4. beta-sitosterol. roadsides. ( )-kaur-16-en19-oic acid. To stop bleeding. (-)-kauren-16-beta-ol. To treat gastritis. A common weed of pastures. Description.g. Flowers and fruit avalable throughout the year. secondary forests. fences. Perennial scrambling or climbing vine. Leaves opposite. cordate to triangular with a broad cordate base. Fruit a small achene with white bristles which aid in wind dispersal of the seeds. stigmasterol. Native to tropical America but widely distributed throughout the South Pacific and into Indo-malesia and tropical Asia. taraxasterol. anticancer. . English Name : mile-a-minute. essential oils. “sunflower”). Twenty-seven terpenoid constituents. the blade up to 19 cm long. Antimicrobial. Distribution.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 115 Mikania micrantha HBK. feu saina (Samoa). insect bites and various skin irritations.
Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. gentisic acid. in Fiji. Habitat.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 117 Mimosa pudica L. prickly course herb or subshrub up to 0. antibacterial. bipinnately compound which fold up when disturbed. Originally from America. Distribution.5 m tall. norepinephrine. especially roadsides. antihyperglycemic. syphilis. but now a widespread weed in many tropical countries including most South Pacific Islands. English Name: sensitive plant. lajwania. insect bite. Local Names : cogadrogadro (Indo-Fijian). (Fiji). antiviral. veneral disease. The IndoFijians use this plant to treat dysentery. Fruit a flat. leprosy. Diuretic. Mimosaceae lajwanti. nervousness and piles. anti-inflammatory. . A decoction of the roots is also used in treating urinary infections. Traditional Uses 1-3. insomnia. stomach worms. lajalu Description. cultivated land. jasmonic acid and D-panitol. borne on globose heads. and waste areas. depilatory. Biological Activity3-5. Common in disturbed open places. Leaves alternate. Mimosa pudica L. Semi-prostrate. antispasmodic. the leaves together with the leaves from other plants are used in treating haemorrhoids and urinary infections. Constitutents1-3. Flowers pink with several stamens up to 8 mm long. fever. Amino acid (mimosine). hairy legume (pod) breaking into 2-4 one-seeded segments. anti-implantation.
. Vicine. pale yellow to orangish. English Names : bitter gourd. Momordica charantia L. Antimutagenic. thiocyanogen. the blade with 5-7 deep palmate lobes and quite variable in size. antilipolytic. cytotoxic. squalene (seed essential oil). tubular. mycose. antispermatogenic. Fruit used to treat leprosy and malignant ulcers. Widely distributed in the South Pacific and throughout the tropics and subtropics of Indo-malesia and the rest of Asia. stigmasterol. petiolate. Description. along creeks and streams. dysentery and diabetes. Fruit a pepo with black seeds embedded in a reddish pulp. antiprotozoan. stigmastadien-3-beta-ol and glucoside. and lowland forst margins. Climbing or scrambling herbaceous vine with tendrils. cucurbitane triterpenoids. carotenoids. B. Distribution. Also occasionally cultivated. momordicosides. CNS -depressent. 5-lobed. hypertension. to treat stomach worms.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 119 Momordica charantia L. Biological Activity4-6. fever and phlegm. Cucurbitaceae Local Names : karela (Indo-Fijian). Common in coastal thickets. hypoglycemic. Habitat. diosgenin. antitumour. phenyl propanoids. balsam pear. anthelmintic. antihyperglycemic. abortifacient. taraxerol. lophenol. 24-methylenecycloartenol. meleni (Melega) saga (Samoa). The fruit from this species is edible when cooked. momordicines I and II. hyperglycemic. steroidal glucoside. Traditional Uses 7. Fruits and flowers throughout the year. antifertility and spermicidal. cycloeucalenol. Constituents1-3. moderate-sized. Flowers unisexual. momorcharaside A. spinasterol. insecticidal. balsam apple. antibacterial. Leaves alternate.
Leaves opposite. roadsides. Common along the coast on beaches.6. asperuloside. abscesses and inflammations. Cook Islands). hernia or swollen testicles. morindin. The leaves are used to treat sties. Tahitians use the plant to treat tonsillitis. mostly ovate. Alizarin. ringworm. diarrhoea and dysentery. Also used to treat sores on the feet. antiascariasis. Traditional use1. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. In Tonga. To treat swellings. up to 15 mm long. The root is crushed and mixed with oil and is used as a smallpox salve. glossy. nono (Tahiti. Habitat.7. An infusion of the root is used in treating urinary disorders and young fruits are used to treat high blood pressure. flavonoids. Tonga and Futuna. diabetes. dilo-K (Solomon Islands) English Name : indian mulberry.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 121 Morinda citrifolia L. and tuberculosis. anthraquinones and their glycosides. rubiadin. filariasis. beta-sitosterol. leprosy. Tuvalu). In Micronesia. hypotensive. Futuna. analgesic. ursolic acid. Shrub or compacted to twisted small tree up to 8 m high with square stems and large stipules between nodes and petioles. Constituents1-4. An infusion of the root bark is used to treat skin diseases. morindone. It is also used in the treatment of mouth ulcers. headaches. noni (Marquesas Islands). Polynesians apply the leaves to cuts. pain caused by barb of poisonous fish. nonu (Tonga. rocky shores. caprylic acid. and pungent when mature. boils. and rheumatism. intestinal worms. Biological activity3. In New Guinea. Widely distributed throughout the South Pacific. Flowers white. Uterine muscle relaxant. at first green but becoming white. Liquid pressed from young fruit is snuffed into each nostril to treat bad breath and raspy voice.5. 15-35 cm long. . ulcerated sores on the feet are treated with remedies made from the fruit. the crushed fruit is used in treating sore throat and toothache. the root is rubbed onto centipede bites. removal of a splinter. Morinda citrifolia L. and wet areas. Fruit a large fleshy syncarp up to 15 cm long. In Samoa. abdominal swellings. Samoa. fever. creeks. petiolate. swellings below the tongue and inflammations of fingers and toes. In Fiji. Rubiaceae Local Names : kura (Fiji). antibacterial. with a tubular corolla and 5 spreading lobes. caproic acid. haemorrhoids. juicy. Tokelau. Distribution. te non (Kiribati). hexanoic and octanoic acids. Niue. The bark is used in a treatment to aid childbirth. infusion of the bark/leaves is used to treat stomachache. childbirth. the leaves are used as a poultice for broken bones and sprains. in beach thickets. the flowers borne on a globose syncarp. Description. burns.
iron. .3. together with the leaves of some other species. Laos and Viet Nam. niacin. relatively large (ca 1. Serotonin. Description.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 123 Musa nana Lour. Herb with pseudostems up to 2 m high arising from fleshy corms.5 m long). Painful urination is treated with juice from the leaves. norepinephrine.B. English Name Musaceae : jaina. and C. the banana peel contains beta-carotene. riboflavin. In Fiji. ascorbic acid. Biological Activity. The leaves.and delta-tocopherol. alpha. Tumour promotion inhibition (fresh fruit). and the pith of the suckers is used to treat burns. carbohydrates. veimama. Musa nana Lour. Distribution. Local Names (Fiji). Cultivated only. The roots are used to treat convulsions. vudi ni vavalagi : chinese or dwarf cavendish banana. Fruit a slightly shortened banana (moderately long yellow berry with fleshy mesocarp and seedless). and now widely cultivated in the tropics. are used to treat navel pains and filaria fever in males. Probably native to Cambodia. Traditional Uses 1. The stem is used to treat swellings of the armpit and groin and to treat haemorrhoids. proteins. borne on a terminal inflorescence which arises from the centre of the pseudostem. vudi. and vitamins A. Leaves spirally arranged with overlapping bases that form a pseudostem. petiolate. Habitat. a decoction of the leaves is drunk to treat consumption. unisexual. Constituents1. and dysentery is treated with the leaves. jaina leka. Flowers strongly zygomorphic.
Shrub to small tree up to 10 m tall. To improve fertility and to relieve vaginal pain. toothache. Flowers tubular. an infusion of the leaves or bark is applied as a poultice where children’s skin becomes black. and liver trouble. betasitosterol glucoside. bovu. Habitat. Leaves opposite. shortpetiolate. Distribution. vara. sore throat. open ridges from sea-level to mid-montane. rutin. Mussaenda raiateensis J. the leaves are used in a remedy for treating hernia. Constituents1. In Tonga. Moore . Fruit a green berry up to 20 mm long. rheumatic aches. In Fiji. Description. aloalo vao (Samoa). The liquid from the stem bark is drunk for sharp pain in the eye sockets (especially during pregnancy). vakacaredavu (Fiji). hyperin. vobo. 8-25 cm long and hairy. Quercetin. subtended by 1 white or yellowish conspicuous leaf-like sepal. Biological Activity. usually yellowishorange. To treat respiratory illness. bobo. monomono’ahina (Tonga). the flowers borne in dense terminal clusters. Traditional Uses 2. oligosaccharides. severe pain (during pregnancy). Indigenous and common from Vanuatu eastwads to the Society Islands. sinapic acid. secondary forests. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. an infusion of the bark is given to infants who are ill or undernourished especially when breastfed by the mother who is pregnant again.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 125 Mussaenda raiateensis J. ovate. None reported. In Samoa. saponin. diarrhoea. W. ferulic acid. The Fijians use the bark in the treatment of the cancer of the uterus and to treat high fever. Common in forest clearings. Moore Rubiaceae Local Names : bovo. foafoa (Futuna). beginning from the buttocks. W.
MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC
Neisosperma oppositifolium (Lam.) Fosb. & Sachet Apocynaceae Local Names : fao (Samoa, Tonga, Tokelau); aikikiru (Solomon Islands); pao (Niue). Description. Small to medium-sized tree to 15 m high with latex. Leaves whorled, petiolate, oblong, to 30 cm long, upper surface glossy. Flowers white, tubular, 5-parted, borne on several-flowered cymes which arise from the axils or are terminal cymes. Fruit is a green drupaceous mericarp up to 10 cm long with fragrant mesocarp surrounding a fibrous endocarp with large single seed within. Flowers during the summer and fruit slightly later. Habitat. Common in littoral forest as an understory tree, edges of mangrove swamps, and on limestone. Distribution. Randomly distributed in the South Pacific; common in areas where it occurs (e.g. Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga), extending westward into the Indian Ocean. Constituents1. Indole Alkaloids: bleekerine, ochropposinine, 3-epirauvanine, isoreserpiline. Biological Activity. No published data. Traditional Uses. In Tonga, an infusion of the bark is used to treat diabetes, high blood pressure and even serious illnesses such as cancer.
Neisosperma oppositifolium (Lam.) Fosb. & Sachet
MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC
Ocimum spp. (O. basilicum L., Lamiaceae O. tenuiflorum L., O. sanctum L.) Local Names : O. tenuiflorum domele (Fiji); tulsi (Indo-Fijian). O. basilicum la’au (Samoa); sanga (Tonga). English Name : holy or sacred basil, O. basilicum common or sweet basil. Description. Aromatic herbs or small shrubs up to about 1 m tall with square stems. Leaves opposite, petiolate, ovate to oblong, up to 8 cm long, with or without toothed margins. Flowers strongly zygomorphic, white, about 2 cm across, each flower subtended by a leafy bract, the flowers borne on racemes up to 25 cm long. Fruit formed of 4 small nutlets covered by the dry sheathing calyx. Flowers and fruit usually available throughout the year. Habitat. Widely cultivated in gardens and villages, also naturalized in waste places. Distribution. Native to tropical Asia, it is widely distributed throughout the South Pacific and other tropical areas. Constituents1,2. O. sanctum - essential oils, fat and fatty acids, apigenin, apigenin-7-O-glucuronide, luteolin, luteolin-7-O-glucuronide, molludistin, orientin, gratissimin, tannins. O. basilicum - essential oils, mucilage, lipids, sugars, methyl cinnamate, triterpenoids, beta-sitosterol, phenyl propanoids Biological activity2-6. O. sanctum - antifungal, analgesic, antiinflammatory, antibacterial, antistress, antiulcerative, antiviral, antinematocidal, antispasmodic, antiasthmatic, hypoglycemic, antimyco bacterial, immunostimulant activity. Ocimum basilicum - antiwormal, pesticidal, antifungal, antibacterial, insect repellant, antiulcer. Traditional uses 2,7. O. tenuiflorum - in Fiji the juice of the leaves is used for earache, nasal infections, cough, colds, stomachache, hair lice, gastric ulcer, flu, fevers, sore throat, and filariasis. O. basilicum - in Tonga the sap is used medicinally. In the Marquesas Islands, the whole plant is used to delay premature labour. Used as a contraceptive in Melanesia.
Ocimum spp. (O. basilicum L.,
MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC
Omalanthus nutans (Forst. f.) Guillemin Euphorbiaceae [syn. Omalanthus nutans Pax] Local Names : tadano, tautau, mawamawa, datau, daukau, drouwa, wakacere (Fiji); mamala, fanuamamala, fongamamala (Samoa). Description. Shrub or small tree to 10 m high with white latex. Leaves alternate, petiolate (elongate), rhombiodal (diamond-shaped), paler underneath. Flowers tiny, unisexual, borne on terminal racemes. Fruit small (ca 1 cm), pinkish to red containing a single seed. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Habitat. Common in primary and secondary forest, thickets, hillsides, and forest clearings. Distribution. Indigenous to the South Pacific ranging from New Caledonia to French Polynesia and northward to the Caroline Islands. Constituents1. Monoacetylated phorbol diterpene (prostratin). Biological Activity1. Anti-HIV (prostratin). Traditional Uses 1-3. In Samoa, the leaves are used to treat elephantiasis and circumcision wounds and sores. The root bark is used to treat whooping cough. The stem bark is used for stomachache. A decoction of the fruits is used to relieve painful urination.
Omalanthus nutans (Forst. f.) Guillemin
with cuneate base and acute apex. the plant is used to treat a baby’s septic umbilicus. Ranges from South-East Asia through Indo-malesia eastward through the Pacific into the Society Islands. It is a panacea with healing values for a wide range of illnesses. No published data. Forest margins.5 cm long. rau ta’i (Cook Islands). sterile frond short-petiolated. tracks. Terrestrial fern with a subglobose rhizome bearing one to several d imorphic fronds (both sterile and fertile). Used as a purgative for infants in Tahiti. Ophioglossum petiolatum Hook. No published data. In the Cook Islands. and lawns. ti’apito. grasslands. open areas. ovate.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 133 Ophioglossum petiolatum Hook. English Name : adder’s-tongue fern. spike-like with sporangia confined to upper 1-4 cm of frond. up to 2. Common stem to 5 cm long. Fertile period unknown. Ophioglossaceae Local Names : ti’apito. Traditional Uses 1. pito (Tahiti). Habitat. Constituents. narrow. . Description. Distribution. including scrub. fertile frond to 10 cm long. Biological Activity.
oxalic acid. the plant is used as a remedy for convulsions in children and for healing fractured bones. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. it is used to treat wounds and sores and swellings beneath the tongue. Oxalidaceae Local Names : totowiwi. 5-merous.11. vitexin and isovitexin. chronotropic effect. diarrhoea and dysentery. the plant is used to treat burns. vitexin-2-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside. 18:2. 16:0. English Name : wood sorrel or yellow sorrel. the leaflets obcordate with a conspicuous notched apex. Cosmopolitan. 18:3. Description. vitamin C. CNS-stimulant. The ground leaves are eaten as a chutney to help purify the blood. inotropic effect. pakihi (Marquesas Islands). antipsychotic. Biological Activity4-6. amrulsak (IndoFijian). Common in damp shady places. Oxalis corniculata L. neutral lipids. long-petiolate. The crushed leaves are also applied to the heads of babies having symptoms thought to be caused by the delayed closing of their fontanelles. ’i’i (Samoa). In New Guinea. Fruit a subcylindrical capsule up to 20 cm long containing numerous tiny black seeds. alphaand betatocopherols. Constituents1-3. Glyoxylic acid. Hypoglycemic. . pa’i’i (Austral Islands). Cook Islanders use the leaves to treat body pains and internal bleeding. Flowers yellow. patoa. etc.7. koki’i (Cook Islands). antiyeast. antihypertensive. trans-phyto(3. Distribution. The crushed leaves are used to treat children with mouth infections as well as to treat infected navels of babies. plantations. uterine relaxant. wounds and body sores. fatty acids. 2-pentylfuran. trifoliate (clover-like in appearance).15-tetramethyl-2-hexadecene-1-ol).7. amrul. but probably an early. roadsides. Ground leaves are also used in treating dizziness. aboriginal introduction into the Pacific. Tonga). lawns. borne in axillary few-flowered inflorescences. In Fiji. Leaves alternate. 2-heptenal. pastures. ’ava’ava (Tahiti). glycolipids. In Tonga. Small creeping perennial herb which forms roots at nodes. The juice from the leaves is applied to open wounds. In Tahiti. each leaflet up to 2 cm long. and watery vaginal discharges. matakorukoru (Fiji). unintentional.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 135 Oxalis corniculata L. phospholipids. Habitat. smooth muscle relaxant.8. kihikihi (Niue. pyruvic acid. saturated (C10-C14) acids. It is also used as a remedy for thrush. An infusion of the leaves is used to treat induration of the breasts. pa’ihi. Traditional Uses 4. an infusion of the leaves is used to cure convulsions in infants.
The root is used in a treatment for fish poisoning. diarrhoea is treated with a tea made from the leaves. Distribution. Internal fractures are treated with the juice from the root and bark. John Local Names : vadra. Pandanaceae Description. Leaves spiralled and confined to apices of stems and branches. odoratissimus are widely distributed throughout islands and continental coasts of the Pacific and Indian oceans. phenylethyl alcohol. phenylethyl acetate. balawa (Fiji). A filtrate of the aerial roots is used to treat asthma and back pains. Traditional Uses 1. citral. Liquid from the aerial roots and inner bark is used to treat heart attacks. Fruit a syncarp (many fruits fused together) up to or exceeding 25 cm in diameter. Simple to sparsely branched palm-like tree with conspicuous prop and aerial roots up to 12 m high. Biological Activity.2. Flowers unisexual and borne in large male or female heads. but similar species such as P. The volatile oil of the male flowers contain methyl betaphenylethyl ether. Endemic to Fiji. and an ester of phthalic acid. Pandanus pyriformis (Martelli) St. None reported. dipentene. long (to 180 cm) and linear with sharp-toothed margins. Constituents1. (+)-linalool. In Fiji. John .MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 137 Pandanus pyriformis (Martelli) St. later breaking into numerous smaller orange-red pyriform fruits (phalanges). each up to 8 cm long and containing a single seed. Common in coastal areas especially along beaches and among lowland vegetation from near sea-level to 400 m elevation. Habitat.
linoleic acid. is used to improve fertility in women.) var. with irregular toothed margins. Glucose. Biological Activity4. Fatty acids: linolenic acid.) Killip Local Names : poniu. petals white. Fruit a small fleshy yellow to orange round berry. vaini (Fiji). Native to tropical Americas and now widely distributed and naturalized throughout the South Pacific and other tropical areas. Flowers passiflorid.) var. each flower being subtended by deeply dissected reddish bracts which enclose the fruit when mature. cinnamic acid derivatives) and lipids. Climbing and scrambling vine with tendrils and hairy stems and leaves. hispida (DC. galactose and sucrose. English Name : wild passion fruit. agricultural fields and coastal woodlands from sea-level to 200 m. Alkaloid harmane.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 139 Passiflora foetida (L. Common along roadsides. Passifloraceae Description. Leaves alternate. petiolate. Flavonoids. Beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. phenolic compounds (anthocyanins. C-glycosides of apigenin and luteolin. hispida (DC.) Killip . forest margins. pressed from the leaves and stem. the blade 3 -lobed. Insect feeding deterrent (leaves). Fluid. Distribution. Passiflora foetida (L. 5 Hydroxytryptamine. Traditional Uses 5. the fused sepals bluishwhite. Habitats. Constituents1-3.
13(18)hopene. The pounded leaves are applied to boils. Traditional Uses 1-4. Distribution. 9(11)-fernene. Fronds thin. an infusion of the leaves or bark is used to treat filariasis in infants. creeping dark brown to black rhizomes. It is also used as a purge. the entire frond up to 30 cm long and 30 cm wide. waxes. In the Cook Islands. 7-fernene]. lau Description. An infusion of the leaves and roots together with parts of some other plants is taken to strengthen women after childbirth. arranged in one or two rows. Local Names : kadakada. The pounded leaves may be mixed with coconut oil and used as a massage to induce postnatal discharge. Biological Activity. The roots with parts of other plants may be used to relieve nasal congestion. Constituents1. swollen breasts during breast feeding and boils.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 141 Phymatosorus scolopendria Burm. Triterpenoids [22(29)-hopene. In Samoa. . Sori roundish. Phymatosorus scolopendria Burm. Such an infusion is also given to aid in postnatal discharge. The leaves are pounded and mixed with immature coconut meat and used as a poultice to treat arthritis. An infusion of the leaves may also be given to treat postpartum depression. sore or abscess lotions. Habitat. In Tonga. Common on trees or rocks in all forest types from sea-level to over 1000 m elevation. In New Guinea. raised above on opposite surface (adaxial). None reported. In Fiji. maire (Cook Islands). with 1-4 pairs of lobes. the stipes up to 25 cm long. the frond is used in treatments for headache and catarrh of the stomach. vativati (Fiji). the plant is heated over a fire and the smoke given off is inhaled to relieve catarrh.5 cm of the midrib. each row parallel to the midrib of each lobe. the crushed rhizomes are used in a treatment for serious internal ailments including fistula. each lobe within 1. Polypodiaceae laufale (Tonga). Fish poisoning is treated with an infusion of the stem. shallowly sunken. Epiphytic fern with a long. Native and widespread from tropical Africa through Asia. Australia and into the Pacific. and sterols. fatty acids. C and 31 C33 alkanes. maga maga (Samoa). 8-fernene. The frond is also used in wound. 17(21)-hopene. the juice of the leaves is taken to treat stomachache.
Constituents1-4. blastogenesis stimulant. immunosuppressant. Traditional Uses 1. Anti-inflammatory. 5-parted. glycoalkaloids. vamonolide. antibacterial. acetylcholine. : cape gooseberry. Distribution. funiferine. plantations. Also found on dry slopes and along creeks. to treat infertility in women and dengue fever. polo pa (Tonga). antiviral. Annual hairy herb to 1 m high with hollow stems. petiolate. lymphocyte. protein synthesis inhibition. 14-alpha hydroxyixocarpanolide. Vitasteroids. Common weed of waste places. Flowers pale yellow or whitish. antitumour. antibody formation enhancement. agricultural fields. Habitat. physangulide.8. Leaves alternate. beta-sitosterol. villages. wild tomato. zinc. phygrine. hypotensive. Fruit a green to yellowish globose berry up to 12 mm broad with numerous small seeds. . physagulins. with rounded base and an acuminate apex. copper. roadsides. gardens. and steroidal lactones. Description. cytotoxic. phenyl propanoids. vitanolides.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 143 Physalis angulata L. ovate to oblong-lanceolate. the blade 5-10 cm long and 2-8 cm broad. with irregular sparsely-toothed margins. anticoagulant. solitary and pedicilate in leaf axils. To facilitate childbirth. about 3 cm broad. ayanin (flavonoid). Fruit and flowers available throughout the year. selenium. Biological Activity5-7. secondary forest margins. physalins. Physalis angulata L. withanolides. Local Names English Names Solanaceae : cevucevu (Fiji). Native to the Americas and now widely naturalized on Pacific islands and in other tropical areas.
Biological Activity1. the leaves are rubbed onto centipede bites.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 145 Piper methysticum Forster f. The black stem is used to prepare various medicines and the plant is also used in treating filariasis which is caused by intestinal parasites. CNS depressant. In Tahiti. dihydrokawain. In New Caledonia. Piper methysticum Forster f. . Fiji and other Pacific Islands. Vanuatu).6. antianxiety. Northern Marquesas Islands. yangonin. dihydro-methysticin). petiolate. Leaves alternate. Tahiti. often with green zig-zag stems bearing conspicuous enlarged nodes. kava (Tonga. The shrub is the source of yaqona (kava). In Fiji. e ach spike arising from an axil opposite a leaf. Description. The branches are used in a remedy for sore throats. Distribution. and widely distributed by Pacific islands peoples throughout Melanesia and Polynesia except for New Zealand. Niue. flavokawains. In Tonga. antifatigue. Cook Islands).g. Constituents1-4. kawain. Traditional Uses 1. Flowers minute.2. serotonin antagonist. heart-shaped. bronchitis and gonorrhoea. Several alpha-pyrone derivatives (e. antimycobacterial. euphoriant. antischemic. An infusion of the leaves is spread onto a certain type of inflammation and is used to treat watery vaginal discharges. antiyeast and dermatitic. the leaves are chewed as a treatment for bronchitis. antipsychotic. Probably native to Melanesia (e. Fruit not known. stigmasterol.g. Futuna.7. the shrub is used in treatments for stomachache. In New Guinea. Piperaceae Local Names : yaqona (Fiji). an intoxicating drink popular in Tonga.5. psychotropic. Habitat. In Samoa. cholesterol. campesterol. up 30 cm long with palmate veins and cordate base. the root bark scrapings are chewed to soothe sore throats and toothaches. convulsions and stiffness in children are treated with liquid pressed from the leaves.2.5. insect stings and stings from poisonous fish. anticonvulsant. Commonly cultivated in native gardens and damp areas such as near streams from near sea-level to 800 m elevation. CNS stimulant. analgesic. alkaloids (pipermethysticine and cepharadione A). ’ava (Samoa. uterine relaxant. borne in erect greenish-white spikes up to 6 cm long. Kava is used to treat urinary tract diseases as well as to treat venereal infections. the plant was used to treat rheumatism. backache and inflammations. antifungal. Woody aromatic shrub to 4 m high. methysticin. Southern Marquesas Islands). beta-sitosterol.
Swelling of the testicles originating through a cold. Juice of the leaves is used to treat toothache. Distribution. Niue and other Western Melanesian islands.] Local Names : yaqoyaqona (Fiji). Macropiper puberulum Benth. Traditional Uses 3. Samoa. and swollen breasts.) Benth. kavakava’uli (Tonga). the blade ovate to cordate up to 20 cm long with palmate veins. petiolate and subtended by conspicuous stipules.4. especially after childbirth. an infusion of the inner bark is drunk to treat inflammation. In Fiji.C. In Tonga. Constituents1. ex Seemann . each with a single small seed. Fruiting spikes are aggregates of red fleshy druplets. are treated with the leaves of the plant. unisexual. Smith [syn. borne in erect greenish-white spikes as long or longer than the leaves (up to 25 cm long). B and C) Biological Activity2. Very common in disturbed forests.) Benth. Similar taxa occur on other islands in the South Pacific. Flowers minute. piperlactam S. Piperine S. The leaves are pounded and applied to boils. An infusion of the bark is used to treat fever. liquid from the leaves is used to treat influenza. glabrum A. Piper puberulum (Benth. beach thickets. forest margins. neolignans (puberulins A. Leaves alternate. ex Seemann Piperaceae var.2. Tonga. Platelet activating factor for receptor antagonists (neolignans). Habitat. Shrub to 4 m tall with soft wood. plantations and waste areas from sea-level to over 1000 m elevation. Fiji. In Samoa. along streams. The leaves are crushed with coconut oil to give a paste used to treat peeling skin and scabies. Description. a decoction of the leaves is taken as a tonic after childbirth and is also used to treat blood in the stool. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Convulsions in children are treated with a preparation made from the leaves and stems.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 147 Piper puberulum (Benth.
3. baicalein. stigmasterol. glucose. cytotoxic. Hypotensive. sucrose. chlorogenic acid. luteolin. Constituents1-4. caffeoylglucose. catalpol. melitoside.5. progestagenic. plantarenaloside. indicaine. antigiardiasis. broad-leaved plantain. oestrogenic and anti-inflammatory. plantagonine. ovoid capsule about 3mm long containing several very small black seeds. vitamin A. tyrosol. phylloquinone. beta sitosterol. caffeic acid. Introduced accidentally to the Pacific by either Pacific Islanders or early Europeans. melam. Used in Tonga to treat cuts and wounds. Flowers minute. arising from a single basal rosette. scutellarein. Common naturalized weed occurring in lawns. antitumour. Habitat. plantamajoside. parallel-veined. vanillic acid. campesterol. majoroside. benzoic acid. The seed of the plant is used to treat constipation. smoking deterrent. . apigenin. caffeoylrhamnose. Local Names English Name Plantaginaceae : filo (Tonga) : common plantain. Native to Europe but has been naturalized in tropical to temperate regions worldwide. antibacterial. fructose. carcinogenesis inhibition.4-dihydroxy ethyl and methyl cinnamates. disturbed and waste areas from sea-level to 1000 m elevation. gentisic acid.and beta. salicyllic acid. the blades ovate to rounded 6 -17 cm long. syringic acid. plantaglucide. cinnamic acid. Description.ixoroside. aucubin and its glucoside.pyroside. para-coumaric acid. kidney stone dissolution. neochlorogenic acid. loliolide.amyrins. oestrogenic. ferulic acid. Perennial stemless herb to 10 cm high. antiviral. Alpha. Biological Activity4. ascorbic acid. parahydroxybenzoic acid. nepetin. asperuloside. Traditional Uses 6.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 149 Plantago major L. borne on narrow spikes up to 25 cm long arising from the base of the rosette. wound healing acceleration. Plantago major L. Leaves petiolate. lipids. fumaric acid. diuretic. Distribution. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. greenish. planteose. hispidulin. Fruit a papery.
up to 5 cm broad. Plumieride. antitumour. yellow. The antibiotic. Plumeria rubra L. delta-cadinene. a decoction of the scraped bark is used to treat scabies. blades oblong. but now widely cultivated throughout the tropics. oleanolic acid. Local Names : bua. . present in the plant inhibits the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. vanillic acid. lignan. the plant is used in treating conjunctivitis. Fruit a paired follicle up to 15 long containing numerous winged seeds. antiviral. antifungal. Constituents1-3. phenethyl alcohol. olean-12-en-3alpha-27-diol. Commonly cultivated as an ornamental tree and occasionally naturalized. lipids. pink.5. alternate. isoamyl salicylate.6. In the Cook Islands. tipani (Cook Islands). rubrinol. anticlastogenic and hypoglycemic. acetic acid. cycloart-22-en-3-alpha-25-diol. taraxasterol acetate benzyl alcohol. benzyl cyanide. up to 35 cm long. In Samoa. antibacterial. antiyeast. Leaves petiolate. plumeric acid and its methyl ester. quercetin. lupeol. goburchampa (Indo-Fijian). clustered at apices of stems. Flowers showy. syringic acid. trans. betaionol. kaempferol. fragrant. benzaldehyde. acetoin. para-coumaric acid. Flowers often available throughout the year. as well as centipede bites. Apocynaceae frangipani (Fiji). bua ni vavalagi. antispasmodic. red or maroon in colour. Traditional Uses 1. monoterpenes. trans-farnesol.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 151 Plumeria rubra L. Deciduous freely branching tree to 7 m high with thick branches and latex. bornesitol. each flower borne in a terminal cyme.4. 5-petalled. the sap or the scraped bark is used to treat a wound from the sting of a stonefish. stigmasterol. beta-phenylethanol. phenylacetaldehyde. beta-farnesene. benzoquinone derivatives. and farnesol. benzyl salicylate. Distribution. Biological Activity1. The sap is also used to treat stings of wasps and bees. analgesic. melilotic acid. Habitat. methyl cinnamate. white. plumeruboside. In Fiji. Native to tropical America. fulvoplumierin. alkanes. uterine stimulant. benzyl benzoate. Description. plumerinine. benzoic acid and its methyl ester.
Constituents. but probably an unintentional introduction into the Pacific. and moist open areas from sea-level to montane lake shores above 800 m elevation.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 153 Polygonum dichrotomum Blume Polygonaceae Local Names : tamore (Cook Islands. up to 20 cm long and 5 cm wide. with 5 petals. Distribution. Fruit small. Austral Islands) Description. None reported. sometimes longer. It is also used to treat gonorrhea in Tahiti and in the Cook Islands Polygonum dichrotomum Blume . Common in swamps. 2-3 mm long. shallow water of lakes and ponds. Leaves alternate. Perennial sprawling herb with rooting lower nodes and ascending branches to 1 m tall. Habitat. 3-angled. Widely distributed from India to Tahiti. petiolate. and to treat urinary tract infections in Tahiti. Tahiti. Traditional Uses 1. Flowers and fruit available from April through October. with a thin membranous sheath surrounding each node where the petiole attaches. blades lanceolate to lanceolate-ovate. Used in remedies for neuralgia. None reported. Biological Activity. Flowers white to pink. borne in terminal spikelike clusters. brown.
MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC
Polyscias fruticosa (L.) Harms Local Names : danidani (Fiji).
Description. Shrub to small tree to 4 m tall. Leaves alternate, petiolate, irregularly pinnately compound, the leaflets with conspicuous toothed margins, blades often yellowish in colour and fragrant if crushed. Flowers relatively small, yellowish-green, borne in umbels. Fruit is a small dry drupe with a single seed. The roots smell and taste like parsley. Habitat. Commonly cultivated in gardens and possibly naturalized in some areas from sea-level to 500 m elevation. Distribution. Possibly native to Malaysia, but now widely cultivated in tropical areas and as a greenhouse plant. Constituents1-3. Alpha-Bergamotene, gamma- trans-bisabolene, betaelemene, falcarinol, germacrene D, polyacetylenes, and oleanolic acid. Biological Activity. None reported. Traditional Uses 1. In Fiji, the root is used as a diuretic. The juice from the bark is taken for thrush and an ulcerated tongue or throat. A poultice made from the bark is used on syphilitic sores. Liquid from the stem bark is given to aid in the expulsion of the afterbirth. A decoction of the leaves is used to treat sinusitis, headache and haemorrhoids. A decoction of the leaves of P. fruticosa, together with the decoctions of the leaves of some other species, is used in treatments for tonsillitis and migraine. High b lood pressure is also treated with this plant.
Polyscias fruticosa (L.) Harms
MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC
Pometia pinnata J.R. & G. Forster Sapindaceae Local Names : dawa, dawaloa, dawasere, tawa, dawadawa, dawa moli (Fiji); tava (Tonga, Samoa, Futuna, Niuan and Tahiti). Description. Tree to 20 m high with butressed trunk. Leaves alternate, pinnately compound, 18-30 cm long, leaflets 6 opposite, elliptical and -8, unequal, bright red when young. Flowers minute, regular, 5-parted, whitish except for red stamens. Fruit a red juicy, globose drupe to 4 cm broad containing whitish pulp with one large seed. Fruit available from March to May. Habitat. Common in lowland forest, forest edges, open woodlands, lava flows, and often cultivated in villages. Distribution. Native to the western South Pacific and extending as far east as Niue. Widely planted and naturalized throughout the South Pacific. Constituents1-3. Anthocyanidins, lignin, oleanolic acid glycoside, tannins. Biological Activity4,5. Antiprotozoan, antimicrobial (leaves). Traditional Uses 1,6. To treat deep pains in the bones, migraine headache, to aid expulsion of placenta after childbirth, to relieve rheumatic aching of muscles and joints, to relieve fever, as a remedy for flu and cold, to cure diarrhoea, stomach trouble, cough, fever, constipation, and diaper rash. In Tonga, an infusion of the bark is used as an emetic for mouth infections, colds and mucous congestion, and to treat abdominal pains. An infusion of the leaves is rubbed onto the heads of infants or is given internally to treat unclosed fontanelles.
Pometia pinnata J.R. & G. Forster
MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC
Premna serratifolia L. Verbenaceae [syn. P. obtusifolia R. Br., P. taitensis Schauer] Local Names : aloalo (Samoa, Niuen, Tuvalu); valovalo (Tonga); valovalon( Futuna); ’avarro (Tahiti); nici, tavotavo, yaro, yaro dina, yaroloa, yaroyaro, yaro vula (Fiji). Description. Shrub to small tree to 10 m tall. Leaves opposite, petiolate, blades elliptic to oblong, up to 15 cm long and 9 cm wide, the base usually cordate, and the tip pointed. Flowers minute, white, 4 parted, borne in -5 densely packed clusters. Fruit a black globose drupe to 8 mm broad. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Habitat. Commonly found in littoral scrub forests, dry lowland forests, rocky shores, edges of mangroves and lowland plantations. Distribution. Widespread throughout the South Pacific, from India to Malaysia, South-East Asia, and Africa. Constituents1. Sesquiterpenoids, diterpenoids, flavone glycosides, iridoids, dipeptide, lignan, norlignan, bisnorlignan, phytosterols, sterol glucoside, polyisoprenoid, alkanols. Biological Activity. Antimicrobial. Traditional Uses 2,3. To promote menstruation, to treat shortness of breath and illness after childbirth, to remedy deep pains in bones, to treat bone fractures, appendicitis, rheumatic aches, swellings, headaches, diarrhoea, wounds, migraine and testicles swollen from hernia. Leaves are also used to treat eye injuries and inflammations.
Premna serratifolia L.
petals whitish and up to 2 cm long. In New Guinea. 11 monoterpenes. Fruit a fleshy yellow globose to ovoid berry about 5 cm in diameter with an edible pink mesocarp containing numerous small hard white seeds. Constituents1-5. cytotoxic. lipids (seeds). para-methylstyrene. eugenol. transcinnamic acid. Native to the tropical America and widely planted as a fruit tree. procyanidins. kautonga (Niue). Tonga. anti-malarial. smooth muscle relaxant. antifungal. Shrub or small tree to 10 m high with thin. Biological Activity4. Leaves opposite. and alkaloids zeatin and zeatin nucleotide. the plant is used in treating digestive tract problems. 5 -15 cm long. antimycobacterial. vi papalagi (Futuna). short-petiolate. peeling bark. Traditional Uses 6. tuava (Tahiti. maslinic acid. Antidiabetic (pedunculagin. kuava (Tonga). a boiled preparation of the leaves is used to treat itchy rashes caused by scabies. English Name : guava. vitamins B and C. antigonadotropin. The fruit is eaten to cure constipation.5. hypoglycemic. and other tropical Asian countries. valeraldehyde. quwawa (Fiji). miscarriages. strictinin. boils. and isostrictinin from leaves). spasmolytic. oleanolic acid. In the Cook Islands. coughs.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 161 Psidium guajava L. stamens numerous. smooth. squeezed in salt water and the solution is used to treat toothaches. amrud. Description. furfural derivatives. daucosterol. stomachache and dysentery. In Tahiti and Samoa. new mothers are bathed in a warm infusion of guava leaves. Distribution. arjunolic acid. Cook Islanders use the plant to treat sores. Tahiti. juice from the leaves is used for treating diarrhoea. antimutagenic. In Samoa. Tannins.7. the blade oval with prominent pinnate veins. acetyl furan. lupeol. amyrins. Common in disturbed places often forming thickets in pastures. Flowers somewhat showy. antiyeast. Marquesas Islands. ellagic acid derivatives. antilipolytic. brahmic acid. 18 sesquiterpenes. Cook Islands). the shoots are made into a paste and applied to wounds to prevent bleeding. patchy. amritoside. Unfortunately it is an aggressive weed and is now naturalized on many Pacific islands and other tropical areas throughout the world. 4 -5merous. leucocyanidin. antiinflammatory. quercetin. butyl acetate. uterine bleeding and premature labour in women. amrut (Indo-Fijian). A similar practice is known in Samoa. Habitat. analgesic. cuts and sprains. The leaves are pounded. ursolic acid derivatives. In Fiji. plantations and other similar habitats. gallic acid. Tahitians use the plant in a treatment for a skin tonic. catechin. antibacterial. benzaldehyde. eugenol. quaverin. anticholinergic. An infusion of the leaves and roots is used to treat indigestion. spasmogenic. . Psidium guajava L. Futuna. Myrtaceae Local Names : ku’ava (Samoa). Niue. as well as for painful menstruation. asiatic acid. Tongans also use the leaves to treat stomachache.
Worldwide throughout the tropics and subtropics. Stems green. Constituents1-4. 3-lobed. and its glycoside. Beauv. gibberellin. about 1 mm in diameter and produce numerous tiny. the stems arising from a subterranean rhizome which harbours a symbiotic fungus that absorbs water and minerals in the place of roots and root hairs. longitudinally ridged. and psilotin epoxide. Amentoflavone. limu. Sporangia (synangia) are axillary.) P.) P. Habitat. dichotomously branching herb to 50 cm high that also lacks true roots. Psilotin (a phenolic beta glucoside) is an insect feeding deterrent and growth reducer. yellow spores. and for pain relief. Common as an epiphyte or terrestrially in damp areas (especially forests) ranging from near sea-level to 2000 m in elevation. toa tahi (Tonga). lipids. Distribution. Biological Activity5. Traditional Uses 4. Leafless. fale ‘o te kimoa (Tokelau). apigenin glycoside.and para-coumaric acids. English Name : psilotum. The infusion was also used as a remedy for thrush and the spores were used as talcum powder. Description. hydroxy psilotins. Psilotum nudum (L. psilotin. about 2 mm thick with alternate scale-like pseudo-leaves. The stems were brewed to make an infusion which was used as a laxative or cathartic. .6. This species is related to ferns. meta. psilotic acid. Beauv. toa vao (Niue). Psilotaceae Local Names : lawelawe (Fiji).MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 163 Psilotum nudum (L. thus flowers and fruits are lacking.
Habitat. Biological Activity. The corolla is tubular. Small tree up to 4 m high. In Fiji. Traditional Uses 1. cymose clusters.2. moea kula (Niue). The leaf infusion is also used for some types of swellings and inflammations which are thought to have a supernatural origin. In New Guinea. gasau ni cagicagi. Gray . shortness of breath in the lower chest and back pain. Constituents. olavai (Tonga. Gray Rubiaceae Local Names : saucava. Fruit a red oval berry up to 1 cm long with two longitudinally ribbed seeds. heart attack. used as a remedy for piles inside the stomach or for stomach cancer. Description. Leaves opposite. Distribution. waliqio.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 165 Psychotria insularum A. matalafi (Samoa). No published data. 5-lobed and 4-8 mm long. Psychotria insularum A. Futuna). infertility. No published data. Endemic to the islands of Western Polynesia. tau (Fiji). Occurs in coastal to lowland forest but is also found in cloud forests up to 1000 m. for appendicitis. elliptical and 10-20 cm long. the plant is used to cure toothache and pig bites. high blood pressure. wali na qio. Flowers borne on narrow pedicels in branching axillary or terminal. the stamens are 5 in number and epipetalous.
Flowers showy and up to 6 cm broad. pelargonin. uterine stimulant. plaque formation suppression. b right red “kernels”.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 167 Punica granatum L. numerous stamens surrounding a conspicuous hypanthial tube. Commonly cultivated as an ornamental and fruit tree. antidiarrhoeal. cyanidin and its diglucoside. mannitol. Fruit a red spherical berry up to 13 cm broad. hygrine and norhygrine. Habitat. 5-8 petals. cytotoxic. Antibacterial. polyphenols. fruit following later in the year. antiyeast. tart. bisexual. hypoglycemic. . coumestrol. antiviral. xanthoxylin. Biological Activity2. hypothermic. Local Name English Name Punicaceae : anar (Indo-Fijian) : pomegranate. The fruit pulp and the seed are a stomachic. coniine. Punica granatum L. daidzein. 5-7. antiascariasis. diuretic and antiuremic. cyanin. gallic acid. blades oblong-elliptical up to 8 cm long. with a leathery rind enclosing numerous seeds surrounded by edible juicy. estrone. Native to the Middle East and now widely cultivated in warm regions throughout the world. pelletierine and its derivatives. estradiol. genistin. The fruit together with the juice of Cynodon dactylon leaves is used for runny noses and colds. sedridine. callistephin. The juice of the flowers is used to treat nose bleeds.5 cm long. anthelmintic. luteolin glycosides. friedelin. Leaves mostly opposite. The rind of the fruit is ground in water and drunk every morning by diabetics. oestrogenic. ellagic acid and its derivatives. The root and stem bark have astringent and anthelmintic properties. lipids. reddish and up to 2. daidzin. Shrub to small tree up to 6 m high. genistein. short-petiolate. Distribution. Description. antigiardiasis. Apigenin glucoside. Juice of the fruit is used to treat jaundice and diarrhoea. Traditional Uses 1. delphin. Flowers available during the summer. betulinic acid. chrysanthemin. delphinidin and its glucosides. Constituents1-4. antiamebic. antifertility. A decoction of the seed is used to treat syphilis. tannins. possibly naturalized in some areas. piperidine derivatives. weak molluscicidal. the flowers usually occuring terminally or in axils.
antischistosomal. laxative (seed oil). The terminal inflorescence is a narrow panicle. antifilarial. Distribution. kaempferol glycoside. juvenile hormone activity. antiamoebic. N -demethylricinine. stigmasterol. quercetin. ricinine. anticholestatic. Traditional Uses 1. Leaves alternate. toxic proteins in seeds (ricin). A drink of the juice in water is taken to treat breast tumours and boils. long-petiolate. ricinus agglutinins. labour induction. campesterol. splitting into three sections when mature. male flowers contain hundreds of stamens and the female has a superior. lepohina. a nticonvulsant. Habitat. the calyx of each consists of 3 fused sepals. tannins.7. beta-sitosterol. plaque formation suppressant. Fruit a spiny subglobose schizocarp about 1. lepokula (Tonga). . lupeol. Description. ricins. vitamins B6 and B1. Seed oil is used as a purgative. Euphorbiaceae Local Names : bele ni vavalagi. indoleacetic acid. Cytotoxic. antifungal. quinic acid. hemaglutinin. Constituents1-4. lipid synthesis inhibition. palmate with 7-11 lobes and serrated edges. -5 corolla absent. diuretic. coumarin. utouto (Fiji). chlorogenic acid. liver glycogen increase. dermatitis producing. antibacterial. English Name : castor Bean. Biological Activity4-7. each section containing one mottled smooth brown seed in each of three sections. larvicidal. there are separate unisexual flowers. Epicatechin. embryotoxic. ellagic acid. Common in disturbed areas and waste places from sea-level to 500 m elevation. Beta-amyrin. beta carotene. hyperuside. Indigenous to Africa and now naturalized throughout the tropics. brassicasterol.5 cm long.4. analgesic. hypoglycemic. abortifacient. an infusion of the bark is used to treat skin inflammations and rashes. phosphate inhibition. estrogenic. laxative. casbene. antihepatotoxic. 5-dehydro-avenasterol. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Ricinus communis L. toto ni vavalagi. In Tonga. 20-60 cm long and often tinged with red. antileischmaniasis. diethyleneglycol disulphide.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 169 Ricinus communis L. Shrub or small tree to about 4 m high with conspicuous ringlike scars on the hollow stem. antiyeast. glycoproteins. antioxidant. lepo. Seed saponins. 3-lobed ovary.
Common in damp waste areas from near sea-level to more than 1000 m elevation. pinnately compound. thick root. English Name : polynesian cress. Leaves basal. toatoa ’enua (Cook Islands). In Fiji. white or pale yellow. the plant is used to induce miscarriages and to cure convulsions in children. Biological Activity. Probably native to Melanesia and now widely distributed throughout most of the tropical Pacific. holofa (Niue). up to 15 cm long. ’akataha (Tonga). arising from a long. Sinapin and cholyl sinapate. No published data. a’atasi (Samoa). arising from the rosette. Spreading herb to 60 cm high with short. Description.) Macbr. patoa purahi (Tahiti). salata (Futuna). Brassicaceae [syn. . Fruit a silique (cylindrical pod) up to 3 cm long containing two rows of tiny ellipsoid seeds. Traditional Uses 1-3. Rorippa sarmentosa (DC. which are expelled when the mature pod bursts. Nasturtium sarmentosum Schinz & Guillaumin] Local Names : rogomi. borne in racemes up to 25 cm long. mahi (Marquesas Islands). In Tahiti.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 171 Rorippa sarmentosa (DC. Habitat. the leaflets with serrated margins. it is used to cure swellings and itches. Constituents1. Distribution. sewaci (Fiji).) Macbr. the largest leaflet being terminal.. Flowers and fruit usually available throughout the year. Flowers small and numerous. solid stems.
Distribution. 5-O-methylapigenin. vicenin. Local Names : tolo (Samoa). The stem juice is used to treat sore throats. immunostimulant. taraxerol methyl ether. calcium. xylose. tricin and tricin glycosides. Saccharum officinarum L. sweet. Traditional Uses 4. dense clusters of small wind-pollinated flowers. schaftoside and isoschaftoside. O-methyllupeol. Erect. Abscisic acid. This species is grown in many tropical and subtropical countries as a commercial source of sucrose (cane sugar). beta sitosterol. antihepatotoxic. swertisin. lance-shaped. arundoin. English Name : sugar cane. invert sugar. campesterol. potassium. galactose. coumarin. . the leaf ash is used to treat sore eyes. sucrose. up to 2 m long and 6 cm broad. apigenin and its glycoside.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 173 Saccharum officinarum L. green to purplish stems (canes) 3 cm in diameter and up to or -4 exceeding 3 m in height. gibberellins. Analgesic. anticancer and insulin antagonist. Habitat. Probably native to Malaysia but widely dispersed by both early aboriginal settlers and Europeans across the Pacific and elsewhere. luteolin. phytosterol. cylindrin. Flowers usually available throughout the year. antihyperglycemic. and molasses. fructose. Widely cultivated and also naturalized from sea-level to 1000 m or more in elevation. Constituents1-3. juicy. Biological Activity3. Leaves sheathing and overlapping (deciduous on lower stems and culms). arabinose. hypotensive. In Samoa. swertiajaponin. para-hydroxybenzoic acid. perennial grass with stout culms and solid. Mature plants bear erect. orientin and its derivatives. hypolipemic. glucose. Poaceae Description. diuretic. saccharans.
saponins. the plant is used to treat ringworm and fungal diseases. the blade splotched with bands of whitish and darker green. Sansevieria trifasciata Hort. mother-in-law’s tongue. Phthalate. Promotes hair growth. Description. Distribution. Flowers 6-parted. N-butyl-4-ol-N-propyl. with pointed apices.) N. borne on terminal racemes. Habitat. up to 1 m long. E.2. with green and white perianth parts. Perennial stemless herb with erect leaves arising from an underground rhizome. Flowers and fruit usually -3 available throughout the year. Very toxic. glycosides. In Fiji. Biological Activity2. Fruit a reddish berry with 1 seeds. fragrant. laurentii (De Wildem. ex Prain . Constituents1. Brown English Names : bowstring hemp. Leaves thick and fibrous. Traditional Uses. Native to Africa but now widely cultivated throughout warmer regions of the world.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 175 Sansevieria trifasciata Hort. ex Prain Agavaceae var. A common ornamental garden plant and also naturalized in some areas from sea-level to 800 m elevation.
Fruit a white. Habitat. Leaves opposite. moderate-sized. globose drupe containing 1-2 seeds which float in salt water.6. Description. short-petiolate (or wanting). aibebe. Scaevola sericea (Forst.5. kativari (Fiji). Flowers white. The roots are used to treat beriberi. In Fiji. A decoction of the bark and leaves is used to treat a relapse after an illness. light-green. zygomorphic. For var. kirakira.) Vahl] Local Names : vevedu. variable in size. fleshy. Common along beaches and rocky shores often forming dense beach thickets. saponins. glossy. 5-lobed. In Solomon Islands. Biological Activity4. syphilis and dysentery. Widely distributed and native from India to the Pacific. Scaevola taccada (Gaertner) Roxb. parts of the plant are used to treat coughs. Goodeniaceae [syn. dredre. sericea : scaevolin. kokobe (Solomon Islands). tuberculosis and stings from the sting ray. Distribution. alkaloids. up to 3 m in height. antiviral. juicy. . the juice from the bark is used in treating ringworm. liquid from the leaves is used to treat weakness after childbirth which leads to pneumonia. The roots are used to treat stomachache.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 177 Scaevola taccada (Gaertner) Roxb. In Tonga. glycosides.3. Antibacterial. ngahu (Tonga). borne on few-flowered axillary inflorescences. but usually about 15 cm long and 5 cm wide. Traditional Uses 1-3. Spreading freely branching shrub with thick stems. f. Constituents2. lipids (seeds). obovate. chlorogenic acid.
fungal infections and tumours of the breast. edges of forests. Distribution. Solanum viride Solander ex Forst. with a tapering apex. f. polo (Tokelau). Biological Activity. f. is remedied with a tea made from the leaves. Crushed leaves are applied to boils. especially the first birth. sou bokola. 5 -parted with five spreading lobes.2. prohiti (Tahiti). S. the blade ovate. In New Guinea. Habitat. the swellings resulting from the parasitic disease. boro dina. Leaves alternate.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 179 Solanum viride Solander ex Forst. especially on limestone soils at low elevations along coastlines. 10-18 cm long.4. Widespread throughout the South Pacific and extending as far north as Hawaii. Description. soso ni bokola (Fiji). Constituents1. to treat infection of the eye (conjunctivitis) and to treat pus-filled infections. Fruit a red tomato-like berry. the flower about 3 cm broad and borne in small terminal or axillary clusters. Pressed fluid of the leaves is given to facilitate childbirth. poro’iti (Cook Islands). The leaves are cut in pieces and mixed with coconut oil to prepare a salve used to remedy body swellings. and open areas. In Fiji the leaves are used to treat wounds. Solasodine. Flowers whitish to yellowish. diuretic. uporo Dunal] Local Names : polo’ite (Samoa). filariasis. Shrub to 3 m high. In Tahiti the plant is used as a sedative. polo’isi (Niue). Steroidal alkaloids. base unequal. . None reported Traditional Uses 3. polo tonga (Tonga). Occurring naturally or cultivated. Solanaceae [syn. petiolate.
Also widely cultivated as a garden ornamental in Fiji. pink or mauve. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. and Samoa. Distribution. . bearing few leaves. Biological Activity. Vanuatu. borne on many-flowered raceme which arises from base of pseudobulb. Traditional Uses 1. Local Names : varavara (Fiji). Habitat. forest margins. and open areas from sea-level to 1000 m elevation. f.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 181 Spathoglottis pacifica Reichenb. None reported. Orchidaceae Description. showy. Common along roadsides. Flowers large. None reported. Spathoglottis pacifica Reichenb. Fruit a small pod containing numerous tiny spore-like seeds. In the Yasawas (Fiji Group of islands). open forest. Constituents. Restricted to Fiji. erect. f.2. Wallis Islands. Stem rather thin. Large terrestrial orchid with rhizomes and pseudobulbs. it is used to treat pain in joints.
Description. Spondias dulcis Sol. Flowers yellow or white. It is also used to treat mouth and body sores. Flowers and fruit usually available throughout the year. Fruit is edible. relatively small and 4 parted. parts of the plant are made into a fermented drink which is used as a remedy for diarrhoea. In Tahiti. Widely distributed throughout the South Pacific and other tropical areas. proteins. Pressed liquid of the bark is taken to cleanse the bowels. The young fruit is used to treat stomach trouble and to aid a woman in labour. The shoots of the plant are used to treat haemorrhaging after childbirth. A few drops of the pressed bark fluid are applied to the eyes as a remedy for cataracts. an infusion of the leaves is used to treat sore throats and mouth infections. Leaves alternate. fibre. Pressed liquid of the stem is given after a false pregnancy. The inner bark is used to treat coughs. the entire leaf up to 40 cm long. polynesian plum.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 183 Spondias dulcis Sol. Traditional Uses 1. Bark is also used to treat dysentery. pinnately compound with 5 -15 leaflets. and for weakness following childbirth. Parkinson . Tonga and throughout Polynesia). juice of the plant is used as eye drops to reduce eye inflammations. Habitat. Constituents1-3. Distribution. amra. or occurring in dry or secondary forests from sea-level to 500 m. Biological Activity4. ex. Tree to 20 m high with whitish bark. Fluid pressed from the bark is used in treating diarrhoea in Tonga. Fruit an edible -5 yellow to orange ovoid drupe containing one large seed. vitamin C. Parkinson Anacardiaceae Local Names : wi (Fiji). Antimicrobial. The bark filtrate is also employed as an abortifacient. English Names : otaheite apple. to promote sterility and to treat fish poisoning. In Tonga. polysaccharides and carotenoids. fever and stomachaches. minerals. june plum. Commonly cultivated in villages. Niue. Tannins. aura (Indo-Fijian). vi (Samoa. Tahiti and Cook Islands. amino acids. In Samoa. ex.
Horne and Wallis Islands and possibly cultivated elsewhere in the South Pacific. the blade glossy. hard seeds. In Tonga. Flowers with 4 pinkish perianth parts. Distribution. Constituents. skin sores and urinary tract problems. Antimicrobial. yasi yasi (Fiji). Biological Activity1. Fruit a fragrant. up to 15 cm long. Spreading cauliflorous tree to 15 m tall. seasea (Samoa. branching panicles which arise from branches or the trunk. Samoa. Common in Fiji. lanceolate or oblanceolate. . Generally used as a tonic. Description. Gray) C. Muell. red or purple elongated cylindrical berry 2-3 cm long containing 1-3 moderate-sized. Tonga.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 185 Syzygium corynocarpum (A. and numerous greenish yellow stamens borne in many-flowered. An infusion of the leaves is drunk to cure swelling of the breasts. Gray) C. Leaves opposite. In Samoa. Myrtaceae Local Names : hehea (Tonga). An infusion of the bark or leaves is given to babies with teething problems. short-petiolate. Common in dense wet forest from sea-level to 1000 m elevation. Muell. used to treat severe boils or tumours of the breast. Traditional Uses 1-3. an infusion of the leaves is used in treating inflammations. Niue. May be cultivated in some areas. Flowers available between July and January and fruit available between November and July. No published data. Habitat. Syzygium corynocarpum (A. Futuna).
4. fibre. fructose and glucose.2. Flowers 4-5 parted.2. Common in villages. it is used as a purgative. fruits contain vitamin C. Antimicrobial (leaves and bark). fragrant. lignin. kehika. ahi’a (Tahiti). The bark/leaf is used to treat mouth sores in the Polynesian Islands. lowland secondary forests. Constituents1. bronchitis and to relieve constipation. kehi’a (Marquesas Islands). cellulose. hemicellulose. with numerous conspicuous excerted stamens. Tree up to 20 m tall. Distribution.) Merr. or rarely white. fekakai (Niuen). & Perry Myrtaceae Local Names : kavika. In Tonga. To treat cough. sore throat. Traditional Uses 3. Habitat. an infusion of the bark is used to treat stomachache and abdominal ailments. up to 7 cm long. petiolate. fekika kai (Tonga). swollen stomach after childbirth. ka’ika (Cook Islands). & Perry . kafika (Futuna). mountain apple. In Tahiti and Marquesas Islands. In Tahiti and the Austral Islands. often deep pink or pure whitish. and cultivated valleys from near sea-level up to 1000 m elevation. and silica. it is used to treat venereal diseases. Fruit a fleshy drupe. the blade oblong to ovate. red. Leaves opposite. pink. yellow urine and bad appetite. In Fiji. English Names : malay apple. Biological Activity1. Syzygium malaccense (L. and delicately flavoured. the leaves are used to treat red eyes. diabetes. gonorrhea. Widely dispersed on inhabited islands throughout the South Pacific extending to Hawaii and throughout Indo-malesia. Description. up to 30 cm long. weak hypoglycemic. thrush. An infusion of the bark or leaves is used in treating mouth infections.) Merr. A bark infusion is used to treat tuberculosis and digestive tract problems. The bark has astringent properties. obovoid. The bark is used to cure mouth sores in children in Niue. shiny green. kavikavula (Fiji). as a remedy for deep bone pains.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 187 Syzygium malaccense (L. Proteins. nonu fi’afi’a (Samoa).
borne in a many-flowered umbel surrounded by leafy bracts and numerous long filaments. masoa’a (Futuna). In Fiji. perennial. stemless.) Kuntze . Habitat. the inside of the root is squeezed in water and applied as a rinse to injured eyes.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 189 Tacca leontopetaloides (L. arakai asi (Solomon Islands). Molluscicidal activity. hollow. beta-sitosterol. yabia dina (Fiji). supported by an erect. Now widely distributed throughout most of the Pacific. transversely striated 1 m long stem arising from the tuber. Coarse. The starch from the tubers of the plant was used as a remedy for diarrhoea and dysentery in Hawaii and Fiji. Flowers and fruits between November and July. Common on beaches and beach thickets and coastal woods with sandy soils to 250 m elevation. Fruit a yellow. English Name : polynesian arrowroot. In Cook Islands. arising from a tuber up to 8 cm in diameter. Tacca leontopetaloides (L. ribbed.) Kuntze Taccaceae Local Names : yabia. The Cook Islands Maoris rub the starch onto sores and burns. greenish. Alkaloids (unidentified). Description.5 cm in diameter containing numerous longitudinally ridged seeds. Biological Activity3. tuberous herb to 1 m high. mahoa (Tokelau). petiolate. Tuamotus. Marquesas. Tuvalu). the plant is used as a thickener in medical preparations. ceryl alcohol. Distribution. Traditional Uses 4. globose berry up to 2. Constituents1. Cook Islands. taccalin. crushed leaf stalks of the plant are rubbed onto bee and wasp stings. Tahiti. mahoa’a (Tonga). Flowers small. In Niue. Widely dispersed by early Pacific peoples as a food plant. Hawaii). the petioles transversely striated. masoa (Samoa. bell-shaped. pia (Niue. 6-parted. Leaves large.2.
secondary amenorrhoea and dysmenorrhoea. disturbed. manono (Niue. T fruit of the plant is used to he make a salve or linament in Niue. Tarenna sambucina (A. branching. fragrant. In Samoa. Tahiti). A drink made from the boiled bark is used as a remedy for constipation and as a general tonic in Tonga.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 191 Tarenna sambucina (A. petiolate. containing several hard angular seeds. up to 20 cm long. Flowers white. ex Drake Rubiaceae Local Names : vakariba ni davui. funavai (Futuna). Acrosin inhibition. ma’anunu. open or dense forest. In Fiji. Gray) Dur. fluid from the stem of the plant is used for rheumatic aches and swellings of the muscles and joints. about 5 mm in diameter. with a tubular corolla and 5 stamens. Distribution. aingwane (Solomon Islands). borne in dense. manonu (Tonga). 5 -lobed. terminal cymose clusters. ex Drake . Common in coastal and grassland thickets. Gray) Dur. Compact or spreading shrub or small tree to 10 m tall. Tongans also use a tea made from the grated bark to treat stomachache. Leaves opposite. Habitat. No published data. an infusion of the grated bark is used to treat children’s fever or inflammation and diarrhoea as well as internal injuries. Traditional Uses 1-3. ai cara davui. dry. Fruit dark green to black globose. Biological Activity. Description. infertility. Native to the South Pacific ranging from the Mariana Islands south to New Caledonia and eastward to the Austral and Marquesas Islands. manunu (Samoa). (Fiji). Constituents. vakarube ni davui. hard and indehiscent. lanceolate. Flowers from October through April (or longer) with fruits present throughout the year. and even mangrove margins from sea-level to about 500 m elevation.
radical scavenging and anticlastogenic. Drunk as water infusion for migraine headache and for high fever. The leaves are used to treat wounds and burns. In Tonga. Essential oils. jungi badaam (Indo-Fijian). flavonoids. the bark is used to treat mouth sores. Widely dispersed throughout the South Pacific and other tropical areas. tannic acids. Constituents1. An infusion of the leaves is used to treat jaundice. amino acids. spreading tree to 30 m tall with leaves mostly near ends of branches. oleic. tavola lata and tivi (Fiji). deciduous and turning orange to red before falling. Traditional Uses 6. tannins. antiasthmatic. the blades obovate to 30 cm long. ’aua (Tahiti). Common along beaches. talie (Samoa. kauariki (Rarotongan). Fruit a reddish flattened ovoid drupe up to 6 cm long. Ellagic acid. . an infusion of the bark is used to treat internal ailments in children.2. organic acids: palmitic. It is used to treat thrush. upper margins of mangrove swamps. the leaves are used to treat bronchitis and tuberculosis. Biological Activity3-6. with fibrous outer layer with a single edible seed within. In Fiji. pimples and fungal skin diseases are treated with the bark. In Tahiti. myrobalan Description. Large. cytotoxic. An infusion of the bark is used to treat stomachache. analgesic. Distribution. In New Guinea. Flowers small. mai’i (Marquesas Islands). antimycobacterial. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Leaves alternate. Futuna. The juice of the leaves is ingested for colic. In American Samoa. It is also used as an emetic for infants. tavola. the fluid from the bark is used to treat diabetes and as a tonic. alita. rocky coasts. short-petiolate. The juice of the leaves is ingested for coughs. linoleic and myristic acids. kauariki (Cook Islands). English Names : tropical or indian almond. Terminalia catappa L. alite (Solomon Islands). Antibacterial (weak). sore throats are treated with an infusion of the old leaves. Tuvalu). In Niue. The leaves are used to treat indigestion. Sores.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 193 Terminalia catappa L. reducing sugars. the bark and leaves are crushed and the juice is applied to sores on the tongue and gums. lowland clearings and secondary forests. Habitat. corilagin. Combretaceae Local Names : telie (Niue and Tonga). hypothermic. autera’a. white borne in densely packed spikes.
wiriwiri (Fiji). herbacetin. antiimplantation. A cold infusion of the bark is used in treating dysentery. Thespesia populnea (L. with a maroon to purple centre with 5 petals about 4-8 cm long. pelvic infection. lipids. glossy. In Niue. thespesone.) Soland ex Correa Malvaceae Local Names : mulomulo. kaempferol 3-rutinoside. miro (Cook Islands). Dysmenorrhoea. influenza. an infusion of the bark is used to treat intestinal diseases. stomach ailments and mouth infections. Thespesin [(+)-gossypol]. Biological Activity4. and thrush. blades cordate. borne singly in the leaf axils. lowland river banks. populnetin (kaempferol). DL-gossypol. Indigestion. appetite loss. beta-carotene. Antibacterial. diabetes. antifungal. lupenone. about 8-16 cm long on equally long petioles. epoxyoleic acid. isoquercitrin. miro (Tahiti). glycosides of quercetin. miro (Marquesas Islands). Widespread from East Africa to Eastern Polynesia. populnin (kaempferol 7-glucoside). with 5 yellow petals 4-8 cm long. The stem is employed in treating breast cancer. milo. alternate. gossypetin. The bark is used to treat thrush. English Name : thespesia Description. ( ) gossypol. headache and relapses in illnesses. Fruit a brown flattened-globose capsule enclosing a sticky yellow sap and about 10 hairy seeds. The inner bark is used to treat constipation and typhoid. an extract of the fruit is applied to swollen testicles. Flowers showy. populetin. Niue. antiyeast. kaempferol 3-glucoside. A decoction of the bark and fruit is mixed with oil and used to treat scabies. In Samoa. In Tonga. In Fiji. Futuna. rutin. petiolate. Small tree to 12 m high. littoral forests and the margins of mangroves. and a leaf and bark infusion is used to treat eye injuries. Traditional Uses 6-8.5. infertility and secondary amenorrhoea are treated with infusions of the bark.) Soland ex Correa . yellow urine. mi’o. beta-sitosterol. myricyl alcohol. cyanidin glycoside. Habitat. dark green. Leaves. Tuvalu).MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 195 Thespesia populnea (L. mansonones. Flowers and fruits are available throughout the year. milo (Samoa. thespone. An infusion of the bark is used to treat diarrhoea. Constituents1-3. fefine (Tonga). antispasmodic. gonorrhoea. ulcers and worms are treated with the bark. a decoction of the leaves is used in treating coughs. ’amae. a drink made from the leaves and bark is given to children who are teething and have a fever. The crushed fruit is used in a treatment for urinary tract problems and abdominal swellings. populneol. Distribution. faoni asi (Solomon Islands). ceryl alcohol. fa’ola asi. Common along beaches.
pipi. In Tonga. Widely distributed throughout the South Pacific and other tropical areas. pipi tatahi (Tahiti). feseka tahi (Niue). Constituents1. Mouth infections are also treated with this plant. fuefue sina (Samoa).2. remedy for food poisoning. pea-like. Vigna marina (Burm. Fabaceae Local Names : drautolu. .) Merr. Traditional Uses 1. lautolu tahi (Tonga).) Merr. po’ue. wa vue (Fiji). Herbaceous creeping vine without tendrils. keketa (Cook Islands). Healing of fractured bones. Fruit a black pod (legume). pipi. Leaves alternate. Habitat. ka’eta. Samoans use a leaf infusion to treat a certain type of fever in children. Flowers small. leaflets obovate. nose and mouth and is rubbed onto the body to treat diseases thought to be caused by spirits. Alkaloids. up to 10 cm long and somewhat fleshy. The plant is also used in remedies for carbuncles and abscesses. to cure stomachache. English Name : beach bean. trifoliate. 5-8 cm long with several to many pea-like seeds. is applied as drops to the eyes. yellow. Description. No information available. Biological Activity.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 197 Vigna marina (Burm.3. to treat weakness after childbirth and to treat headache. Also used to clean out the female reproductive system. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Common on sandy seashores and among coastal vegetation and in plantations. Distribution. fue sina . Cook Islanders use the infusion of the leaves to bathe fractures. an infusion of the leaves is used as a potion.
liquid from the leaves is used to treat stomach pains where one side of the stomach feels hard. Aucubin. camphene and other terpenes. In Fiji. alako (Solomon Islands). . bulokaka. and antiasthmatic. diuretic. Flowers relatively small.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 199 Vitex trifolia L. malamala. lalasea (Niue). Constituents1-4. insect feeding deterrent.6. antispasmodic. Traditional uses 2. vulokala (Fiji). iso-orientin. lala (Futuna). lala tahi (Tonga). Fruit a small globose. women who have given birth use an infusion of the leaves in their bath water. 4-seeded capsule. dulcitol. bilateral. Widely distributed throughout the South Pacific and tropical areas westward as far as South Africa. Distribution. vanillic acid. In the Cook Islands. antibacterial. In Tonga. Description. sitosterol. Insecticidal. Futunans use an infusion of the plant to treat toothaches. fridelin. Verbenaceae Local Names : dralakaka. Samoans use an infusion of the leaves or bark to treat fevers and respiratory problems. Moderately common in coastal thickets. vitricine. an infusion of the leaves is used in treating mouth infections in children and is used to treat stomachache. Leaves opposite. dralakura.7. dralayalewa. English Name : vitex. anti-tuberculotic. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. agnuside. luteolin glucoside. namulega (Samoa). Vitex trifolia L. It is believed that this helps to remove any remaining blood from the uterus. fatty acids. purple. palmately compound with 2-5 elliptic leaflets up to 10 cm long. rara (Cook Islands). As an expectorant. Habitat. artemetin. Shrub or small tree to 5 m tall. Sesquiterpenoids in leaf oil. casticin. The leaves are also us ed to treat diseases thought to be brought on by spirits. anthelmintic. alpha-pinene. greyish below and dark green above. Biological activity5. orientin. Tongans also use the plant to treat inflammations. daucosterol.
forest margins. Flowers borne in dense sunflower-like heads in terminal clusters. South-East Asia. Common in littoral and coastal areas. blade ovate. China. None reported. Esential oils. Fruiting heads are subglobose. makakula (Niue). more or less palmately veined and 8-20 cm in length on a petiole half as long. Wollastonia biflora (L. wedge-shaped. and eastwards into the Pacific as far as the Austral Islands.) DC.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 201 Wollastonia biflora (L. Australia. Widespread across Eastern Africa. margins of mangroves. single-seeded. Wedelia biflora (L. . ate (Tonga). black fruits (achenes). Coarse. Asteraceae [syn. Indian Ocean islands. Distribution. waste places from sea-level to 500 m elevation. branching. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. kaurene diterpenoids. Constituents1.) DC. wedelia. Leaves opposite. roadsides.] Local Name : ateate (Samoa). an infusion of the stem bark or leaves is ingested to treat gonorrhoea and urinary tract infections. Biological Activity. Traditional Uses 2. trailing to erect herbaceous subshrub up to 3 m high. India. Tongans warm the leaves from which they squeeze out the juice and apply to cuts and wounds to prevent tetanus.) DC. Japan. the yellow florets (individual flowers of each head) are numerous. English Name : beach sunflower. In Samoa. Habitat. Description. each about 2 mm long. brown and 815 mm wide containing many dry.
weakness after childbirth. insect repellant. fever. xylomollin (monoterpene). relapsed weakness. Leaves alternate. mexicanolide. 7-alphaacetoxy dihydronomilin. gedunin. Fruit a large. lekileki (Tonga). N-methylflindersine. limonoids (xyloccensins). xylomollin.diarrhetic. coughs and internal injuries which have failed to heal. Traditional Uses 3.6. subglobose capsule 10-25 cm in diameter with several irregularly shaped seeds. and high fever accompanied by a “black. corolla with greenish-white petals 2 mm long. Used as a remedy for blood in the urine. antiyeast.4. a decoction of the bark is taken for stomachache. Biological Activity2. Spreading tree to 15 m high. lalato (Solomon Islands).MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 203 Xylocarpus granatum Koenig Meliaceae Local Names : dabi. Also used as an anti. legilegi (Fiji). coastal thickets and rocky coasts. inner margins of mangrove swamps.5. lowland river banks. Flowers between September and April with fruits available February through October. antimicrobial activity. Acetonyl-dihydrochelerythrine. N-methyl flindersine has insect anti-feedant activity. pinnately compound with usually 4 oblong leaflets 6 -14 cm long. Distribution. pendulous. Distributed from India through Malaysia into the Pacific as far eastward as Tonga. sucrose. green to light brownish. Common in littoral forest. Xylocarpus granatum Koenig . English Name : puzzlenut tree. fructose. the calyx small. tannins. Description. Tongans also use the plant to treat peptic ulcers. In Tonga. antifungal. furry. tongue”. Flowers 4-parted. stamens -3 fused forming a column enclosing the stigma. Habitat. glucose. Constituents1-3. the flowers borne in axillary or cauliflorus panicles up to 7 cm long.
’ekapu’i (Marquesas Islands).MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 205 Zingiber zerumbet (L. lanceolate. thrush. kaempferol derivatives. and diabetes. To treat fish poisoning. In the Cook Islands. Zingiberaceae Local Names : cago.2. laelae. Widely distributed and naturalized throughout the South Pacific. and flavonoids such as afzelin. antiascariasis. ferulic acid. It is used as a cough remedy and to treat the bacterial disease. but usually only 1-3 flowers open at once. English Name : wild ginger. Common in moist forests. Traditional Uses 1. kopu’i’enua (Cook Islands). layalaya (Fiji). Tongans use the juice from the rhizome to treat peptic ulcers and related stomach problems as well as mouth infections. the inflorescence many-flowered. camphene. chlorogenic acid. ango kula (Tonga). the rhizome may be used in treatments for haemorrhoids. Erect herb to 2 m tall arising from a thick yellowish aromatic underground rhizome. zingerone. and a flavouring agent.8. antibacterial. zingiberol. oxalic acid. Fruit small capsule with tiny seeds. koprna (Papua New Guinea). Constituents1-6. jungi adrak. Biological Activity2. drove. ava pui (Samoa). cagolaya. fleshy aerial stems. white to yellowish. beach thickets. carminative. to treat dyspepsia and flatulent colic. camphor and other monoterpenoids. ligulate. antihypertensive. borne on a fleshy spike with each flower arising from under a green to reddish bract.) Sm. re’a moeruru (Tahiti). Leaves parallel-veined. poloi (Niue). Futunans use the rhizome to treat wounds. Description. up to 30 cm long arising in 2 ranks from unbranched. Native to South-East Asia. angoango.) Sm.terpenoids including zerumbone and zerumbone epoxide. for the cure of stomach troubles and fever. kopi’enua. Flowers December through April.6-8. kavapui (Futuna). Flowers 6parted. Distribution. gingerol. mangrove margins from sea-level to over 500 m. Alkaloids. . sesqui. beta. flavonoid glycosides. Habitat. narkachur (Indo-Fijian). Cytotoxic. The rhizome is used as a stimulant. Zingiber zerumbet (L. essential oils. kaupu’i’enua.
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