The NAPRALERT database housed in the University of Illinois at Chicago.A. Fiji. Cordell. Suva. Photographs of the medicinal plants found in Fiji were taken by Dr Doyle. Chicago. Final editing as well as data on the botanical aspects were compiled by Dr Michael Doyle. Back to Publications Go to Table of Contents . checked the traditional uses and local names and helped to edit the manuscript. Honolulu. College of Pharmacy. Fiji. Regional Office for the Western Pacific in Manila.H. Managing Director of NAPRALERT and Mr R. Director of the South Pacific Herbarium of the University of the South Pacific. Photographs of the plants growing outside Fiji were supplied by Dr Art Whistler of the University of Hawaii. Hawaii. Data collection and compilation was coordinated by Professor Subramaniam Sotheeswaran of the University of the South Pacific. Ms Sudhara Sotheeswaran and Ms Deepa Sotheeswaran checked some of the phytochemical information from published sources and also typed part of the manuscript. Fiji. South Pacific Regional Herbarium (Suva). Suva. 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. is acknowledged. Research Associate. Suva. the Philippines. (Dick) Phillips. University of Illinois.S. The assistance of Ms Mary Lou Quinn. Technical editing was done by Dr Geoffrey A. U.iv Acknowledgements The writing of this manuscript was sponsored by the World Health Organization. Associate Professor William Aalbersberg of the University of the South Pacific.

var. Carica papaya L. Schum Annona muricata L Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Posb. Hyptis pectinata (L. Geniostoma rupestre s. Calophyllum inophyllum L.l.) Urban Cerbera manghas L.) G.) Osbeck Cocos nucifera L. Citrus sinensis (L.Don f. Cananga odorata (Lam.) Lam. Gray Alpinia purpurata (Vieill.) Poit. Flagellaria spp. Aleurites moluccana (L. Gyrocarpus americanus Jacq. Commersonia bartramia (L. Codiaeum variegatum (L.) Willd. Guettarda speciosa L.) Chev. 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. Alphitonia zizyphoides (Sprenger) A. L. Hernandia nymphaeifolia (Presl.Br.) K. & Thoms. Garcinia sessilis (Forster) Seemann Gardenia taitensis DC. Decaspermum fructicosum sensu Drake Dendrocnide harveyi (Seemann) Chew Erythrina variegata L. variegatum Colocasia esculenta (L. Aloe vera L. Davallia fijiensis Hook.v vi Table of Contents page PREFACE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS INTRODUCTION NOTICE MEDICINAL PLANTS Adenanthera pavonina L. Ageratum conyzoides L. Juss.) Merr. Azadirachta indica A. Inocarpus fagifer (Parkinson) Fosh. Curcuma longa L. tiliaceus Hoya australis R. Centella asiatica (L.) Hook. Casuarina equisetifolia L. 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 . Cordia subcordata Lam. Hibiscus tiliaceus L. Crinum asiaticum L.) Schott Commelina diffusa Bunn. Cassia alata L.f. Capsicum frutescens L. Forst. Alocassia macrorhiza (L. Barringtonia asiatica (L.F.) Kurz Bischofia javanica Blume Bruguiera gymnorrhiza (L.) Blume var. Cordyline fruticosa (L. Cassytha filiformis L. Euodia hortensis Forster Euphorbia fidjiana Boiss.) Kubitzki Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L.

hispida (DC.) Harms Pometia pinnata J.E. Ricinus communis L.) N. Prain var. ex.) Macbr. Momordica charantia L. Syzygium malaccense (L. Piper puberulum (Benth. Psilotum nudum (L. Musa nana Lour. Physalis angulata L.) Merr. Wollastonia biflora (L. Mimosa pudica L. W. Polygonum dichrotomum Blume Polyscias fruticosa (L.R. Thespesia populnea (L.) Benth. Gray Punica granatum L. Kyllinga nemoralis (Forster) Dandy Manihot esculenta Crantz Micromelum minutum (Forster f. ex Seeman var. & G.) Fosh.) Sm. Saccharum officinarum L. & Sachet Ocimum spp.) Seemann Mikania micrantha HBK.f) Guillemin Ophioglossum petiolatum Hook Oxalis corniculata L. Sansevieria trifasciata Hort. Kyllinga brevifolia Rotth. Muell. Parkinson Syzygium corynocarpum (A.vii viia Ipomoea indica (Bunn. Moore Neisosperma oppositifolia (Lam. Xylocarpus granatum Koenig Zingiber zerumbet (L. laurentii (De Wildem. f.) Kuntze Tarenna sambucina (A. Brown Scaevola taccada (Gaertner) Roxb. Psidium guajava L.) Merr. 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 . Piper methysticum Forster f.) Killip Phymatosorus scolopendria Burm. Smith Plantago major L. Omalanthus nutans (Forst.) Merr . Vitex trifolia L. Pandanus pyriformis (Martelli) St. Solanum viride Solander ex Forst. Beauv. 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.C. Gray) C. Plumeria rubra L. John Passiflora foetida (L.) Soland ex Correa Vigna marina (Burm. L. Rorippa sarmentosa (DC.& Perry Tacca leontopetaloides (L. Spondias dulcis Sol. Psychotria insularum A. f. glabrum A.) DC. Morinda citrifolia L. Mussaenda raiateensis J. ex Drake Terminalia catappa L. Spathoglottis pacifica Reichenb.) var. ex.) P. Gray) Dur.

Go to Table of Contents . Self-treatment would be dangerous. The advice of qualified health workers is always advisable.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.

yet some are remarkably poorly documented concerning indigenous uses of plants for medicinal purposes. The botanical names of the medicinal plants described in this book. Similarly. leading references are provided to help those interested to obtain further information on each of the medicinal plants. Information that is scattered in many publications and also unpublished folklore have been gathered here. Though South Pacific herbal medicine is changing as a result of contact with the West. the use of young guava leaves as a treatment for diarrhoea. and Polynesia which forms a triangle from Hawaii southwards through Tonga. Scientists. Tuvalu. Plants occurring on a few to numerous Pacific island groups are included( e. eastward across to Easter Island. childhood ailments. Tonga. and northward including the islands of French Polynesia. Kiribati. plant kava (Piper methysticum) has been developed into an important. phytochemists. Cooks. Cook Islands. Niue. the search for new drugs from plants has received increasing attention. and other island groups northward to Hawaii. Micronesia. Samoa. Tuamotu. Vanuatu and Fiji. It is hoped that this book will be a useful reference material for ethnobotanists.Introduction This book describes the information available on 102 medicinal plants which are used in the South Pacific Islands. for example. New Britain and New Ireland.g. distinctive indigenous medical practices flourish in all but the most Westernized of South Pacific societies. The use of herbal remedies was officially discouraged during the colonial period and this policy is only slowly changing. The major subregions are Melanesia. The important cultural and medicinal Pacific. mostly atol nations in the central western Pacific. Fiji. foe example. Minor injuries. anti-anxiety drug and several other plants described in this book are under active investigation. Tubuai. the use of herbal remedies has been well recorded. The information provided is not a detailed review of each plant. A traditional healers. In Fiji. The Melanesian countries generally have a much more diverse flora than other insular Pacific countries. doctors and traditional healers are increasingly working together to improve what is known about the effective use of herbal remedies. especially due to concern about loss of global biodiversity. and some of the countries in which they are being used are given on the following pages. languages and culture. complications from pregnancy and even fractures are treated with the folk remedies of the traditional healers. In Fiji and part of Polynesia. often for similar treatments. there are about 2500 species of vascular plants reported of which about 20% are used medicinally. Tonga. 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. many of the common plants of the Pacific are used throughout the islands. . A map of the South Pacific islands follows this introduction. The people of the Pacific islands are distinctive in their physical characteristics. comprising New Guinea (Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya). even though they also utilize Western medicine for many health problems. Many remedies are known in all tropical regions and have been developed independently in many cultures. Futuna. 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. Samoa. Vanuatu. Society and Solomon Islands. Many people still believe that some ailments are best treated by traditional medicine. Most South Pacific islanders still retain a faith in the herbal methods of treatment performed by the native healers. The major herbal medicines used are ointments and dressings applied to surface wounds and to treat skin problems. Austral Islands. and New Zealand. Internationally. Marquesas. Rotuma. 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. pharmacologists and other scientists interested in traditional medicine. and Wallis and Futuna. the Solomon Islands. Tokelau.




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Locally common along roadsides. Widely distributed in many high islands in the South Pacific and other tropical areas. vaivai ni vavalagi (Fiji). chalcone. Traditional Uses 5. isofucosterol. the bark is used to treat leprosy. beta-sitosterol. tatarabebe (Solomon Islands). ampelopsin (dihydromyricetin). stigmasterol-3-O-beta-D-glucoside.2. . the petals and stamens white to yellowish. Flowers and fruit usually available throughout the year. Lipids. Adenanthera pavonina L. Constituents1. Native to South-East Asia and Malaysia.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 3 Adenanthera pavonina L. Antibacterial and haemaglutinin. stigmasterol. Spreading tree to 20 m tall. with 10 conspicuous stamens. Leaves bipinnate. English Name : red bead tree. dulcitol. Flowers 5 -9 -parted. Distribution. Biological Activity3. Brassicasterol. 3-5 sets of pinnae. loutein. stigmast-7-enol. containing numerous small hard scarlet red seeds. Mimosaceae Local Names : lera. echino-cystic acid. twisting and splitting open at maturity. regular. these with 5 leaflets per side. 3-O-beta-D-glucospinasterol.4. In the Solomon Islands. oleanolic acid. daucosterol. Robinetin. Habitat. dry open forest and disturbed areas from sea-level to lower montane. O-acetylethanolamine. Fruit a pod (legume). Description.

dysentery. intestinal worms. smooth muscle relaxant. Biological Activity1-7. anticoagulant. epilepsy. analgesic. Flowers minute. scutellarein. Common in disturbed habitats—along roadsides and trails. Distribution. te’ekosi (Tonga). . borne in small sunflowerlike heads 5-8 mm broad. Antidiarrhoeal effect. Used to treat painful menstruation. vomiting and nausea. Sometimes leaves are directly applied to aid healing of wounds. fever. Kaempferol. saponins. pyrrolizidine alkaloids. cancer of the cervix and itchiness of the eye and to kill head lice. haemostatic. Juice from moist leaves is squeezed into sore eyes. its glucoside and rhamnoside. Coarse herb up to 1 m tall with opposite. ageratochromene derivatives. Asteraceae Local Names : botebotekoro (Fiji).5. uchunti (Indo-Fijian).MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 5 Ageratum conyzoides L. quercitrin. stigmasterol. chromenes. Description. fumaric acid. fresh wounds. caffeic acid. coumarin. dizziness. filariasis. tannin extracts of goatweed showed insecticidal activity against flour beetles. Introduced as an ornamental plant from the Americas. forest margins and openings. Habitat. Essential oils extracted have antibiotic properties. it is now widely cultivated and is present throughout the South Pacific and other warm countries. whitish to pale blue. and cultivated areas from sea-level to montane. wounds and cuts. The plant is highly embryotoxic to Dysderus flacidis and acts on embryonic development at an early stage. anti-inflammatory. betasitosterol. eupalestin. To treat constipation. diarrhoea. Carminative agent. Ageratum conyzoides L. English Name: goat weed. Constituents1-5. oxygen heterocycles. sore eyes. antifungal. infective hepatitis. clearings. stigmast-7-en-3-ol. In Tonga the juice from leaves is applied to infected wounds. simple hairy leaves. antibacterial and hypothermic activities have been recorded. alkanes. eczyma. grasslands. essential oils. Traditional Uses 1-3. headaches. Antinematocidal.

tuitui (Tonga. the plant is used to treat pain in the bones and weakness after childbirth. antitumour. candlenut oil is used to make a massage oil for a certain kind of headache (possibly caused by meningitis). sore throat. The sap of the fruit is used in treating conjunctivitis. small. Habitat. proteins (seeds). antiviral. English Name : candlenut tree. In Tonga. qereqere. Secondary amenorrhoea is also treated with a decoction of the bark. The juice of the fruit is squeezed into the mouths of newborn babies to make them vomit and so to clear their throats. white. Traditional Uses 6. the bark is used to treat wounds. Aleurites moluccana (L. Unconsciousness and a relapsed sickness are treated with a decoction of the bark in warm water. 5-parted. . alpha-amyrin. In Fiji. alkaloids (fruits). ti’a’iri. The leaves are used to treat constipation and food poisoning. lipids. tuitui (Fiji). tutu’i (Tahiti). Flowers unisexual. Futuna. Tree to 25 m high with soft wood. ’ama (Marquesas Islands). grey-green. Cook Islands). pains in the chest and hernia. up to 25 cm long. Euphorbiaceae Local Names : lauci. A decoction of the leaves is used in treating coughs. tonsillitis and mouth sores are treated in Polynesia by gargling with an infusion of the bark. Constituents1-3. diarrhoea. beta-sitosterol. an infusion of the leaves is used as a lotion or is ingested for mouth infections of infants. and borne in a dense terminal. In Papua New Guinea. petiolate. In Tonga. Parts of the plant are also used as a purgative. In Western Samoa. Thrush. lama (Western Samoa). Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. the seeds are applied externally to the male genitals as a contraceptive.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 7 Aleurites moluccana (L. green dry drupe up to 5 cm long with tough mesocarp and containing a single seed with a nut-like shell. Fruit a moderately-sized globose. moretenol. In Tahiti. kurup (Papua New Guinea).7. Biological Activity4. Leaves alternate. Toxic (leaves). Widely distributed throughout the South Pacific and extending westward through Indo-malesia and into tropical India. In the Cook Islands and Tahiti. sikeci.5.) Willd. Niue. Common in lowland secondary and disturbed primary moist forests. moretenone. Also used to treat dysentery. cytotoxic.) Willd. Distribution. an infusion of the bark is used for coral cuts and infected wounds. The grated bark. Moluccanin. or fruit boiled in sea water is used to make a mouthwash to treat neuralgia. Description. tutu’i (Austral Islands). infertility in women is treated by daily drinking a decoction of the bark. ovate to palmately-lobed.

cholesterol. camposterol. the sap from the stem is used to treat cuts. glucose. Description. Biological Activity. Fruit an aggregate of berries attached to spandix stem. fructose and sucrose. Megaphytic perennial herb with erect stem to 1 m high arising from large fleshy rhizome. each with 1 or few seeds. amino acids. headaches are treated with the sap and the leaves. In New Guinea. succinic acid. In Fiji. Don f. Probably native to Indo-malesia but widely distributed by aboriginal peoples throughout South-East Asia into the tropical Pacific.) G. cyanogenic glycosides. Traditional Uses 1.3.2. malic acid. Taamu (Samoa) English Name: giant taro. elephant ear. stigmatosterol. The rhizome is edible after being well-cooked. Swollen lymph glands are treated with the roots. Flowering and fruiting period not recorded. Habitat. Araceae Local Names : via. None reported. citric acid. viadidi. . fucosterol. via mila. viagaga. heart-shaped with conspicuous palmate veins. Distribution. calcium oxalate.) G. ascorbic acid. Common along river banks and other damp places from sea-level to 500 m elevation. The wood is used to treat stomachache and diarrhoea. Constituents1. Don f. Sexual insufficiency is treated by eating the leaves cooked in coconut milk. Flowers minute. Arabino-galactan proteins and betalectins. alocasin. via sori (Fiji). Alocassia macrorhiza (L. viadranu. Oxalic acid. flavonoids. In the Solomon Islands. Leaves giant. beta-sitosterol. borne on dense. erect spadices enclosed when young by 2-parted spathe.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 9 Alocassia macrorhiza (L. the sap of the stem is used to treat earache or boils in the ear.

emollient. The plant has been used as a purgative. Traditional Uses 5. toxic. Flowering and fruiting periods not known in the South Pacific. uterine stimulant. sugars. aloesin. anti-inflammatory. Possibly naturalized in some dry. Distribution. Description. Native to North Africa. teratogenic. lipids. hypolipemic. Its cathartic action is probably because it promotes peristalsis of the lower bowels. mitogenic. methyl ester of dehydro-abietic acid. cactus (Cook : aloe. Biological Activity1. Aloe-emodin. allergenic. organic acids. dehydro-abietal. antitumour. . antibacterial. it is a common introduction and occurs in numerous gardens throughout the region. margins with conspicuous spines and apical point. antileukopenic. aloeferon. antipyretic. red. antiviral.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 11 Aloe vera L. up to 4 cm long and borne on a terminal spike. embryotoxic. Leaves alternate. aloe vera. isocitric acid. aloin derivatives. acemannan. In Tahiti. sessile. Flowers 3-parted. tubular. cholesterol. antiasthmatic. Aloe vera L. Cook Islands. hair stimulant. Succulent herb with short. Widely cultivated as a house plant or around houses.5. insecticidal. Burn healing. benzothiazolone. campesterol. It is used to treat wounds and burns.8-dihydroxyanthraquinone. thick stem. Although Aloe vera is not recorded as occurring on many South Pacific islands. chrysophanic acid. anthrol. cyclohexane derivatives. amino acids. 1. antifertility. glucomannan. Tonga and Samoa. Habitat. mottled greyish-green. sunny and disturbed areas. aloe peptides. Fruit a brown capsule 15-25 mm long with many small flattened seeds. lanceolate and up to 70 cm long. arising from basal rosette. wound healing. local anaesthetic. para-coumaric acid. The sap from the fresh leaves is used to treat sun burns. lupeol. stigmasterol. aminoacids. antipeptic ulcer. barbaloin. hypoglcemic.4. haemaglutinin. Constituents1-3. rapahoe (Tahiti). and grown worldwide as an ornamental and medicinal plant. enzymes. hypocholesterolemic. burns and internal ailments such as stomachache. Local Names Islands). succulent. English Names Agavaceae : aloe (Tonga). CNS depressant. the plant is used in treating cuts. analgesic. rashes and x-ray burns.

Zizyphoisides A. In Samoa. Fruit purplish to black. Ranges from Vanuatu to the Society Islands. the sap is used to treat swellings and fever.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 13 Alphitonia zizyphoides (Sprenger) A. Spasmolytic. Gray . Leaves alternate. Locally common in dry or dense lowland and foothill forests and thickets. In Tonga. Constituents1. D & E (triterpenoid saponins). Infertility is treated by drinking a decoction of the bark. Gray Rhamnaceae Local Names : doi. Distribution. Traditional Uses 1-5. Biological Activity2. Flowers small. fragrant. acrosin inhibition. Description. the sap of the bark is used to treat earache. In Tahiti. Tree (or rarely shrub) to 20 m high. C. globose and forming a small capsule-like drupe. The inner bark is used in treating headaches and weakness after childbirth. The leaves are used as an anhydrotic. coughs and menstrual pain. Postpartum haemorrhage is treated with an infusion of the bark.2. toi. often pale or red beneath. white to cream coloured and borne on branching inflorescences with numerous flowers. petiolate. In Fiji. 5-parted. blade ovate or lanceolate. the bark is used to make a lotion which is used to treat skin diseases like eczema. Tonga). The plant is also used to treat cancer. kaulevu (Fiji). Habitat. Alphitonia zizyphoides (Sprenger) A. toi (Samoa. a drink made from the bark is taken to treat constipation.

MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 15 Alpinia purpurata (Vieill. Habitat.) K. old gardens. Alpinia purpurata (Vieill. Cyanidin. Cultivated as well as occurring in disturbed moist forest. Schum. some cultivated forms apparently do not form flowers. quercetin. Inflorescence terminal and arising from leafy pseudostem. Coarse erect herb to 3 m tall with pseudostems and creeping fleshy rhizomes. trail sides as well as along streams up to about 500 m. the basal leaves sheathing to form a pseudobulb. Traditional Uses 2. amino acids. flowers (if present) whitish and subtended by large pink to bright red bracts.3. None reported. Zingiberaceae [syn. Description. Leaves distichous. Biological Activity. The fruit is used to treat sores. Flowering and fruiting periods unknown. Widely distributed (both naturalized and cultivated) throughout much of the Pacific and other tropical areas. Fi’i Ange (Solomon Islands). Alpinia purpurea] Local Names : teuila (Samoa). blades green.) K. Distribution. . English Name: red ginger. Schum. Constituents1. purple ginger. long-petiolate.

an infusion of the leaves is used in treating stomach ailments. Biological Activity4. Antimalarial. insecticide. Fruit a fleshy syncarp with a green exocarp covered with conspicous long pseudo-spines. epomuricenins. antibacterial. coreximine. the blades leathery and oblong-lanceolate. corepoxylone. Small tree to 7 m tall. montanacin. reticuline. corossolone. antiamoebic. murihexocins. muricine. Traditional Uses 6. solamin. gigantetrocins. antiparasitic. anoniine. sepals and petals fleshy. anomuricine. In Tonga. Native to tropical America and introduced to the South Pacific as a fruit tree within the last 100 years.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 17 Annona muricata L. smooth muscle relaxant. annonacins and derivatives. Cultivated at lower elevations. Constituents1-4. gigantetronenin. howiicins. petiolate. Distribution. coclaurine. atherospermine. Flowers and fruit are usually available throughout the year. annomuricins. uterine stimulant. beta-sitosterol. mesocarp a somewhat fibrous juicy sweet-sour flesh surrounding several large smooth black seeds. and tannins. . anomurine. annonacinone. vasodilator. murisolin. and greenish in colour. custard apple. Description. Annona muricata L. muricatetrocins. gomothalamicin. cardiac depressant. Habitat. sarifa (Fiji). spasmogenic.5. rolliniastatin. deacetyluvaricin. Annomonicin. smooth muscle relaxant. annomontacin. Flowers 3-merous. muricinine. Local Names : English Name Annonaceae seremaia. muricatocins. apele (Tonga) : soursop. stigmasterol. lipids. hypertensive. monotetrahydro-furan acetogenins. anticrustacean. muricatacin. atherosperminine. anonaine. cytotoxic (acetogenins). antifungal. Leaves alternate.

exuding latex where damaged. fleshy. cycloaltilisin. Male and female flowers unisexual and borne on separate inflorescences (monoecious) and the individual flowers minute. cycloartenol. English Name: breadfruit Description. Marquesas Islands). buco uso. unfolded leaves is employed as a remedy for fish poisoning and as a muscle relaxant in cases of convulsive spasms. Traditional Uses 5. Tree 10 to 35 m tall with sticky. Constituents1-3. maiore. mei kea (Tonga). the milky latex of the tree is applied to rashes. The plant is also used in remedies for tonsilitis. cyclomorusin. coughs and blood in the urine. lectin. Native to Melanesia (e. In Tonga. yellow-green to yellow-brown. mei (Futuna. Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosb. Biological Activity4. white latex and large spirally or alternately arranged lobed leaves. Fluid pressed from young fruit is given to treat an illness which causes pain in the lungs and vomiting of blood. In Micronesia. antibacterial (root bark). the sap is used for sprains. Moraceae Local Names : buco ni viti. ’uru (Tahiti). smoke from a burning twig is used in treating anal thrush in babies. the leaf is used to treat eye ailments. Pressed liquid from the stem bark is employed in the treatment of pain in the bones and maternal postpartum infections. cycloartenone. alpha amyrin. Mature fruits (syncarps) relatively large. oleic. flavonoids. The roots are used in a remedy for weakness after childbirth. Pressed fluid of the root is used i the n treatment of respiratory ailments which include difficult. artocarpin. Tokelau). mei. hydrocyanic acid. starch.g. Niue. uto dina. Tuvalu. and Tahiti. sores. . Widely cultivated and occasionally naturalized from sea-level to lower montane. uto buco (Fiji). In Tonga a tea made from the bark is used in cases of relapsed illness. A filtrate of new. New Guinea) and now widely distributed throughout the South Pacific and other tropical areas. In Tahiti. kuru (Cook Islands). which can be steamed from cut portions of the plant. contusions and dislocations. folic acid. with numerous moderate-sized seeds. fish poisoning is treated with the fluid from the shoots of the plant. Pectins. Tonga and Niue. Liquid squeezed from the bark or leaves is given to remedy chest pains and vomiting resulting from heart trouble. ’Ulu (Samoa. Ripe fruit are often available throughout the year. Distribution. painful breathing. cycloartenyl acetate. beta amyrin acetate. but peak times vary. linoleic and linolenic acids (seed oil). boils and wounds. antitumour.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 19 Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson) Fosb. Puncture wounds to the eyes are treated with the white sap of the plant. Habitat.6 . Boils are treated with the white gum. In Samoa. Samoans and Tongans use the bark to treat stomach aches and digestive tract problems. In Samoa and Futuna. Haemolytic activity (leaves). abcesses.

kaempferol its glycoside. myricetin glycoside. Cultivated and naturalized in lowland areas. nimolinin. for skin diseases and as an insecticide. deacetylnimbinolide. about 1. 6methoxymellein. Biological Activity1. fish poison.5 cm long containing thin pulp surrounding a single seed. nimbanal. nimbolins. Distribution. Habitat. tubular. nimbadiol. nimbisonol. naheedin. antiarthritic. nimolinone. molluscicidal. curved toothed leaflets. ergostadienol. insecticidal. nimbilin. pointed. with 8 to 18 short-petiolate narrowovate. nimosone. antifertility. isomargosinolide. nimbocinone. Fruit a yellowish drupe. nimbolide. beta sitosterol. nimbidinin. antifilarial. antifungal. anti-implantation. several organo sulphur compounds. Juss. lophenol. melia lactone. wound healing acceleration. borne in long panicles which arise from bases of leaves. azadirol. Tree 6 to 25 m tall with alternately arranged pinnately compound leaves up to 40 cm long. margosin. nimbin polysaccharides. spasmolytic. salannolide. Local Names : neem (Indo-Fijian) English Name: margosa. nimbidin. nimbinene. 3-deacetylsalannol. cycloeucalenol. antihyperglycemic. Flowers numerous. To treat asthma. 6-deacetyl nimbinal. antitumour.6-11.3-diacetyl vilasinin.2. scopoletin. nimbidol. nimbonolone. diabetes and syphilis. Insect antifeedant. nematocidal. Meliaceae Description. neem. margocilin. vepaol. 5-parted. margosolone. abortifacient. nimbionol. each flower fragrant. Juss. 5-hydroxymethyl furfural. cycloartanol derivatives. melicitrin. azadiradione derivatives. antipyretic. margolone. nimbin derivatives. nimbinone. margolonone. nimbandiol. salanin. Native to India and Malaysia. 3-10 cm long. 1. anti-inflammatory. antiviral. limocins. 1-4 cm broad. analgesic. nimbaflavone. iso rhamnetin. quercetin glycoside. hyperoside. oblong. tiglic acid.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 21 Azadirachta indica A. cytotoxic. nimbocinol. nimbidiol. nimbinin. meldenin derivatives. dermatitis producing. Androstadiendione derivatives. CNS depressant. cholesterol. Constituents1-6. margosinone. insect repellant. antidysenteric. and now widely distributed because of both religious and medicinal applications. nimbione. antiulcerative. about 1 cm broad. salannolactams. limbolide. melia polysaccharides. daucosterol. larvicidal. Traditional Uses 1. Antipyretic. nimbiol. nimbilicin. Azadirachta indica A. limocinone. azadirinin. azadirachtins and derivatives. hypotensive. white. nimbocidin. fraxidin. indian Lilac. limbonin. The leaves and twigs when bruised emit an onion-like odour. . gedunin derivatives.

calyx green.) Kurz . with pinkish filaments with yellow anthers. Distribution. hydrocyanic acid. containing a large single seed. Widespread throughout the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans and widely cultivated in tropical areas. 19epibartogenic acid. This tree usually forms large spreading branches as well as a large. Habitat. a decoction of the leaves is used to treat hernia. In Solomon Islands and Samoa it is used to stun fish. utu (Cook Islands). futu (Samoa). petiolate. spreading buttress root system. Fruit a large fibrous drupe (up to 12 cm long). quadrangular (square in cross section).2. vutu dina. monosaccharides. Antiviral activity. Tree to 25 m tall with glossy alternate. edges of mangroves. 12-40 cm long. Barringtonia asiatica (L. saponins (including barrinin A1 ). the seed is grated. fu’u (Solomon Islands). Description. vutugaga. and anhydrobartogenic acid). In the Cook Islands. 10-20 cm broad. vuturakaraka. In Samoa. Biological Activity3. Traditional Uses 4.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 23 Barringtonia asiatica (L. triterpenoids (bartogenic acid. shiny green. Gallic acid. vutu vala (Fiji). A decoction of the bark is used to treat constipation and epilepsy. petals white. obovate.5. lowland river margins and coastal forests.) Kurz Barringtoniaceae Local Names : vutu. Constituents1. the fruit or bark is used to treat yaws. Flowers large and showy. Common along the sea shore. seed to treat ringworm and the bark is used in treating tuberculosis. In Fiji. entire leaves. mixed with coconut cream and rubbed onto burns.

trifoliate. Toxic. epifriedelinol. Biological Activity4. leaflets ovate-elliptic with toothed margins. quercitrin. Traditional Uses 1. koko. Constituents1-3. ellagic acid. Flowers minute. In Fiji. Spreading tree up to 30 m tall with abundant clear latex when bruised. liquid from the stem of the plant is used to treat children who have not walked by two years of age. the leaves are used in treating stomachache. Cook Islands). betulinic acid. Habitat. quercitin.g. stigmasterol. friedelin. Flowers apparently during the summer.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 25 Bischofia javanica Blume orbiaceae Local Names : togo. fisetin. Description. koka (Tonga. Tannins. grassy slopes and thickets or cultivated in villages or plantations (e. borne in manyflowered axillary panicles. Leaves alternate. The bark is used to treat stomach ulcers. oli oli (Solomon Islands). In New Guinea. friedelan-3-alpha-ol and acetate. chrysoeriol. luteolin and glucoside. In the Solomon Islands. Indigenous throughout much of tropical Asia and Malaysia extending into the Pacific. Moderately common from sea-level to mid-montane in primary or secondary forests. ’o’a (Samoa). ursolic acid.6. Futuna. mouth ulcers and athlete’s foot. Distribution. Niuean. Tongans apply the juice from the bark to burns. koka damu. Fruit a small brown globose berry with thin flesh surrounding 3-6 seeds. the cambium of the plant is used to treat tuberculosis. Bischofia javanica Blume . quercetin.5. koka. cream to yellowish. bet a-amyrin. Samoans use the liquid from the leaves to treat pterygium as well as other eye infections. toga toga (Fiji). but fruits can be found throughout the year. beta-sitosterol. Tongans. sitostenone. Samoans and Futunans use an infusion of the bark to treat young children with mouth infections. unisexual. Tonga). forest edges.

taraxerol. The root is used to restore lost appetite and is used to treat diabetes. Constituents1-3. Habitat. . Bruguiera gymnorrhiza (L. Ellagic acid and derivatives. tannins. dogo tagane (Fiji). gymnorhizol. rhamnose. dogokana. The leaves have antimicrobial activity. petiolate. and 28-isofucosterol. Bark contains D-glucose. Biological Activity4. and occasionally along beaches. Traditional Uses 1 . dogo salusalu. lupeol. Description. Leaves opposite. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. cigar-like drupe which germinates while still on the tree. ko’a (Solomon Islands). a mixture of bruguierol and isobruguierol. Distribution. arabinose. Common along the inland margin of mangrove swamps. stigmasterol. beta-amyrin. with the bark of some other species. In Fiji.) Lam. ursolic acid. The dried wood is insecticidal. Fruit an elongate brown. syphilis is treated with the bark of the plant. Flowers borne singly. is used to treat cancer. Widespread from the southern tropical Indian Ocean through Malaysia and tropical Australia and extending into the Pacific as far east as Tonga and Samoa. The bark.) Lam. ko’a ania. campesterol. Rhizophoraceae Local Names : dogo. Also present in the plant are alphaamyrin. cholesterol. with conspicuous basal cupule (calyx) that forms a persistent crown-like structure surrounding the petals and ovary. Mangrove tree 20 m tall with a buttressed trunk and pneuomatophores (“knees”). ovate and glossy with a leathery texture. moderate-sized. togo. Hydrolysis of the sterol esters of the leaves gives beta-sitosterol.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 27 Bruguiera gymnorrhiza (L. oleanolic acid.

canophyllal. inophyllolide. oil from the seed is used in "Tongan oil" which is used in massaging rheumatic aches. ponnalide. Samoa. inophenic acid. isocalophyllic acid. phagocytosis stimulation. friedelin.8. the leaves of the plant are soaked in water to make an eyewash for removing foreign objects from the eyes. Habitat. An infusion of the leaves is ingested for diarrhoea. euxanthone. Biological Activity5. inophyllums. ’ati. Wounds are treated with gum from the bark. leucocyanidin. antibacterial. anti-HIV. jacareubin and derivatives. and the Cook Islands. erucic acid. infections and scabies. myricetin and glucoside. stigmasterol. Amentoflavone. flowers moderatesized. Calophyllum inophyllum L. Niuean. Description. Leaves opposite. fish poison. fetau (Samoa. costatolide. macluraxanthone. In New Guinea. Common in lowland coastal areas such as along beaches. the leaves are softened by heating and then applied to sores and cuts. In Tonga. and Solomon Islands. pyranoamentoflavone. cinnamic acid. calaustralin. Tahiti. Tuvalu). Seeds contain essential and vegetable oils. Traditional Uses 1. molluscicidal. dalo (Solomon Islands). petiolate. . with variable numbers of perianth parts and yellow anthers. pseudobrasilic acid. Oil from the fruit is rubbed onto joints to cure rheumatism. feta’u (Tonga). Such a practice is common in Samoa. In Samoa. inflammations. 12-dihydro-inophyllolide. Fiji. Tuamotuan). Distribution. Clusiaceae Local Names : dilo (Fiji). tamanu (Tahiti. sixteen xanthones including buchanaxanthone. fragrant. beta-sitosterol. thick and shiny with numerous parallel secondary veins. Boiled leaves are used to make a solution used for bathing skin rashes.diol-3-acetate. Occasionally planted in other areas up to 500 m in elevation. In Fiji.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 29 Calophyllum inophyllum L. caloxanthones AE. canophyllol. campesterol. Widespread from the Indian Ocean (Africa and India) through Malaysia and into the Pacific. beta-amyrin. butyl citrate. erythro. Fiji and to the west as far as India. silo (Futuna). Tree to 25 m tall with robust trunk which exudes white latex when bruised. white. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Pisicidal (phenyl coumarins). Tahiti. The eyewash is also used to treat eye pains. tamanu (Cook Islands). Flowers borne in axillary cymes. epicatechin. calophynic acid. Constituents1-4. epifriedelanol. canophyllum. apetalodie. Leaf infusions are used to treat conjunctivitis in Tonga. in thickets and along rivers. calo.phyllolide. temanu (Marquesas Islands). calophyllic acid. quercetin.7. Fruit a purplish-black globoid-t o-ovoid drupe when mature with a single seed. antiviral. inophyllic acid.6. a bath is made by soaking the crushed leaves in seawater and is used in treating rashes. hypotensive. trans-inophyllolide. canophyllic acid.

Cananga odorata (Lam. mohokoi (Tonga). benzoic and salicylic acid esters). & Thoms. Given to women to promote fertility. makosoi. English Name : ylang-ylang. Anticonvulsant. phenols. kenanga. Tongans use an infusion of the bark for treating stomach ailments such as pains.2. mata’oi. Native to Indo-malesia. entire and elliptical. Constituents1. Habitat. F. as well as for timber. mato’oi (Cook Islands). & Thoms. coughs. Essential oils. or gullies from sealevel to mid-montane. isoquinoline alkaloids. Fluid from the pressed bark is used in treating toothaches and migraine headaches.5-7. skin irritations. motohi (Marquesas Islands).4.5. Antifungal. F. weak hypotensive. Distribution. makasui. . dizziness.) Hook. The leaves are also used in a remedy used for treating boils. moto’oi. Biological Activity1. Traditional Uses 3. Remedy for headaches. mosokoi (Futuna) motoi (Niuean). it is widely planted throughout the South Pacific and elsewhere within the tropics for its fragrant flowers (the source of cananga oil). The leaves are used in a treatment for diarrhoea in infants. flowers often growing in clusters. Annonaceae Local Name : mokosoi. moto’i (Tahiti). sesquiterpenoids. Cultivated or naturalized in forests. amoebicidal. lignans. aromatic compounds (benzyl alcohol. antiyeast. cures earaches. Leaves alternate. Description. Flowers very fragrant with 6 large pale green to yellowish petals. lipids and cyanogenic material. indigestion and colic. slopes. high blood pressure. mokohoi (Fiji). Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Fruit oblong and indehiscent with 3-13 pale brown seeds embedded in a yellow and oily pulp. antibacterial. moso’oi (Samoa).) Hook. insect repellent. Tree up to 20 m tall.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 31 Cananga odorata (Lam. Used in Fiji to treat gonorrhoea and back pain. antipruritic.

antibacterial. Also used to treat boils. Cook Islands). paprika. molluscicidal. hoa pepper (Solomon Islands). The fruit contains a strong stimulant which causes a sensation of warmth when applied to the skin.10. fiveparted. . Leaves alternate. Habitat. insect feeding stimulant. Commonly cultivated. tuberculosis. polo fifisi (Tonga). pectins. Flowers borne usually singly in leaf and branch axils.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 33 Capsicum frutescens L. Native to South America. dihydrocapsaicin. Used to treat inflammations in Tonga and coughs in Samoa. and now widely distributed throughout sub-tropical and tropical regions. white to violet. butyric and isobutyric acids. ’upo’o (Marquesas Islands). ferulic acid. polo. toxic. When taken internally. kaempferol derivative. In Tahiti and the Cook Islands. Ascorbic acid. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Solanaceae Local Names : polo. Is used as a remedy for diseases of the skin. Biological Activity5-8. capsaicin. Constituents1-5. In stronger doses. English Name : chili pepper. it causes a sensation of warmth without any narcotic effect. ’oporo (Tahiti. pyrazine derivative. pentosans. caffeic acid. polo feu (Samoa). polo mangiho (Niuean). Acetic. Distribution. abscesses and wounds. Causes oral chemical irritation and has psychophysical properties. quercetin derivative. caproic acid. antioxidant. it causes a burning sensation without blistering. diuretic. coconut oil mixed with the crushed leaves is applied to boils. red pepper. simple. ovate and pointed with entire margins. capsidiol. as well as naturalized in weedy habitats from sea-level to lower montane. mild conjunctivitis and jaundice. hypoglycemic. hupo’o. Fruit a dry to fleshy red elongated berry with numerous flattened seeds which are hot tasting. toxic. petiolate. Description. volatile and fatty oils. Vitamins A & B. Traditional Uses 9. affects hepatic microsomal enzyme function in mice. rokete. cinnamic acid. Coarse perennial erect herb or small subshrub to 2 m high. mevalonic acid. para-coumaric acid. antihypercholesterolemic. capsicin. Capsicum frutescens L. lipids. boro ni vavalagi (Fiji). mutagenic. antiviral.

Flowers creamy white and tubular. . Carica papaya L. soft-wooded tree up to 10 m high with milky latex. lesi (Tonga). antiascariasis. antioxidant. Constituents1-4. Biological Activity1. A palm-like (monopodial). vi puaka (Cook Islands). nicotine. antibacterial. Description. tartaric. ascorbic and galacturonic acids in fruit. the inner bark is used to treat toothache.5. citric. Papain (enzyme).caffeic acid. benzyl glucosinolate. papaya (Indo-Fijian). vi nita. alternate and conspicously palmately-lobed. Various parts are used to treat stomach problems in Fiji. treatment of sores and high blood pressure. Flowers and fruit available thoughout the year. myosmine. English Names : papaya. Vermifuge. wi. antiyeast. anticlastogenic. anticonvulsant. loku (Niuean). Widely cultivated singly or in plantations and naturalized around dwellings and garden patches from sea-level to lower montane. glycoside carposide in leaves. Distribution. ’i’ita (Tahiti). 6. alpha glutaric. benzylisothiocyanate. carotenes. Habitat. In Samoa. oxytocic. fleshy. cryptoxanthin. either male or female (unisexual) and moderate in size. amoebicidal. Leaves only produced towards apex of stem. embryotoxic. 5-dehydro. carpaine. usually unbranched. nita. ehi (Tokelaun). anti-inflammatory. weleti. long chain fatty acids in seeds. avenasterol. Native to Central America and widely cultivated throughout the South Pacific and other tropical areas.7-epoxylinalool. phenyl acetonitrile.6. malic. olesi (Tuvalu). yellow to orange with numerous small black seeds. maoli (Fiji). cycloartenol. antihepatotoxic. the immature seeds are swallowed to treat diarrhoea. In Tonga. Traditional Uses 7 . pseudo-carpaine. Caricaceae Local Names : esi (Samoa). cotinine. Anticoagulant.MEDICINA L PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 35 Carica papaya L. Fruit large. pawpaw. insecticidal.

MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 37 Cassia alata L Fabaceae (Caesalpiniaceae) [syn. anti-inflammatory. the leaves and wood sap are used in a remedy for constipation. 4. Tonga and Samoa.5-dihydroxy-2-hydroxyanthrone. beta-sitosterol. lectin. Habitat. antibacterial. te’elango (Tonga). physcion monoglucoside. antitumour. luteolin. Native to tropical America and now widely dispersed throughout the South Pacific and other subtropical and tropical areas. 5-7. aloe-emodin. Laxative. In Fiji. Bark is used to treat skin diseases. daucosterol. 4. dalbergin. an infusion of the leaves is used to purify blood. rhein methyl ester diacetate. chrysophanic acid. Shrub or tree to 5 m tall. coarse. weak antifungal.) Roxb. 12-20 cm long. mulamula (Niuean). Fruit a legume (pod-like). parasitic skin diseases. worms. Flowers borne in manyflowered racemes and bright yellow. roman candle tree. isochrysophanol. analgesic.] Local Names : bai nicagi (Fiji). rhein. antiyeast. Senna alata (L. diarrhoea. Leaves are used to treat ringworm in Fiji. English Name : ringworm bush. deoxycoelulatin. bakua (Solomon Islands). Constituents1-4. wound healing. chrysoeriol glycoside. Hemisphere). Distribution. emodin. antispasmodic. Traditional uses 1. scabies and eczema. In New Guinea. Description. up to 75 cm long with 5-13 pairs of leaflets. alatinone. Cultivated in gardens or naturalized in wet h abitats from sealevel to 250 m.6-dimethoxybenzoquinone. dadmurdan (Indo-Fijian). Leaves pinately compound. Biological activity2. la’au fai lafa (Samoa). diuretic. rhamnetin glycoside. Cassia alata L .5dihydroxy-1-hydroxyanthrone. Kaempferol. 2.2. 2-3 cm broad. antihyperglycemic. Flowers mostly during the cool season (MayAugust in the So. insecticidal.

bualawalawa (Fiji). the stem of the plant is used to treat jellyfish stings. . Description. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. laurotetanine.6. leafless yellow to orangish stems. the plant is used to promote menstruation. exo-pectin. Constituents1-4. Distribution. essential oil. para-hydroxybenzoic acid. watikaievu. In Tahiti. weedy areas. kainoka (Tuamotuan).MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 39 Cassytha filiformis L. nantenine (alkaloid). exo-polygalacturonase. uterine stimulant. 15 amino acids. Cook Islanders use an infusion of the crushed stem to treat a disease whose symptoms include convulsions or twitches. an infusion of the crushed stem is used to treat dysmenorrhoea and postpartum bleeding in women. prostaglandin synthetase inhibition. Cassytha filiformis L. ocoteine. Common on many trees in neglected plantings. cassythine. and on coastal vegetation. In Tonga. Fruit a small whitish-yellow drupe surrounded by a cupule with a single hard seed within. Weak molluscicidal. feteinoa (Niuean). borne in axils of small bracts. Habitat. Tokelau). Widespread throughout the Pacific and tropics. dulcitol. In Fiji. Cassyfiline (alkaloid) and its O-methyl derivative (cassythidine). solitary. fetai (Samoa. gentisic acid. Biological Activity5. labour induction. Parasitic twining vine with thin. amarbeli (Indo-Fijian). white. Traditional Uses 4-8. fatai (Tonga). In Micronesia. light bush. Flowers small. antitrypanosomal. the plant is used in a remedy for haemorrhoids. taino’a (Tahiti). tainoka (Cook Islands). methylgalacturonase. Cassythaceae Local Names : walutumailagi.

Common along the coast on beaches. Marquesas Islands. cholest-5-en-3-beta-ol derivatives. trifolin. she-oak. Native to South-East Asia. In Tahiti. citrulline and amino acids. Phytosterol from the leaves of the plant shows antibacterial activity. for wind-breaks. Description. Habitat. quercetin. cholesterol. Traditional Uses 7. Cook Islands). Ellagic acid. rutin. molluscicidal. although it is actually a flowering plant. An infusion of the bark. campesterol. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. . Biological Activity2-6. Casuarina equisetifolia L. salu (Solomon Islands). or as a medicinal plant in some tropical countries in the South Pacific. kaempferol and glycosides. Australia and Polynesia. Tonga. juglanin. trifolin. Distribution.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 41 Casuarina equisetifolia L. Tongans use it to treat coughs. nictoflorin. Leaves highly reduced and scale-like giving the branchlets a pine-needle-like appearance. stigmasterol. catechin and epicatechin. Constituents1-3. each flower relatively inconspicuous. female flowers borne in globose heads. is used as an emetic to treat throat infections. an infusion of the bark is used as a remedy for coughs. cytotoxic. rocky coasts. This species is often mistaken for a type of pine tree. In Samoa. afzelin. beefwood tree. Tree to 25 m high with drooping branches and needle-like branchlets. antifungal. proantho-cyanidins. ulcers. dry hillsides and open forests in both wet and dry zones from sea-level to mid-montane. toa (Tahiti). It is also cultivated as an ornamental. isoquercitrin. male flowers borne in spikes. nakure (Fiji). tannin. Casuarinaceae Local Names : ‘aito. Flowers anemophilous (wind-pollinated). the plant is used to treat nervous disorders. hypoglycemic. Niuean. Fruit a globose woody aggregate (somewhat resembling a small pine cone) enclosing many small winged nuts. stomachaches and constipation. diarrhoea and gonorrhoea. casuarine. Cook Islanders use an infusion of the grated bark to treat mouth infections and urinary tract infections. English Name : ironwood. several common triterpenoids. hydroquinone. Secondary amenorrhoea is treated with a decoction of the bark. gentisic acid.8. Dysuria and menorrhagia are treated with an infusion of the bark. Futuna. The plant’s uses in treating throat infections. asthma and diabetes. toa (Samoa. gallicin. qaro. in Tonga. beta-sitosterol. catechol derivatives. coughs and stomachaches are also noted in Fiji and India. cupressuflavone. nok o-noko. limestone outcroppings.

betulinic acid.) Urban . Short rhizomes and long runners present. An infusion of the leaves is used to treat infected navels in babies. antiviral. Used to treat dysentery. vasodilator. analgesic. up to 5 mm broad. orbicular to ellipsoid. tono (Tonga. shaded road and trailsides. In Samoa. the p lant is used to treat migraines and boils. alternate. oxyasiaticoside. vitamin C. and weakness in mothers after childbirth. Pantropical and widely distributed throughout the South Pacific. antiallergic. beta-glucuronidase inhibition. indocentelloside. peptic ulcer healing. Description. antipyretic. tona (Futuna). diarrhoea and neuralgia. blade rounded. centellic acid. antifungal. Centella asiatica (L. white. centellose.2. antispasmodic. and is also rubbed onto the heads of infants who suffer from the delayed closing of their fontanelles. linamarase. Asiaticoside. hypotensive. rashes and itchy lumps under the skin. Leaves forming rosettes. perennial aromatic herb. Traditional uses 1. Samoa. Small. anticancer. Niue). tohetupou (Tahiti). petiolate with sheathing bases.8. bicycloelemene. Constituents1-4. lawns. centelloside. antifertility. stomachaches. Wound healing. fits and convulsions in children. to’etupou (Cook Islands). allergenic. Fractures are treated with a mixture of crushed leaves and coconut oil. fluid from the leaves is used for treating rheumatic pains and swellings of joints. thankuniside. Distribution. The juice from the leaves is also used in treating eye diseases. English Name : indian pennywort. constipation. Flowers and fruit are usually available throughout the year. asiatic pennywort. prostrate. Biological activity1. anticonvulsant. pimples. Leaves are used to treat wounds. tranquilizing. Common in open areas. phellandrene. fever and headache. without stem. antidiuretic. chest pains and intestinal muscle cramps. In Tonga. kaempferol. smooth muscle relaxant. madecassoside. pastures.5-7. Also used to treat haemorrhoids. borne in umbels. madecassic acid. antibacterial. triterpenoid trisaccharides. Fruit a mericarp. antiamoebic. hypotension. Habitat. and fern-covered ridges from sea-level to lower montane. brahmi (Indo-Fijian).2. insecticidal.) Urban Apiaceae Local Names : totodro (Fiji). the leaves are used in poultices. bleeding ulcers. yellowish-brown. Flowers small and inconspicuous. hydrocotyline. anti-inflammatory.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 43 Centella asiatica (L. asiatic acid. In Fiji. hair growth stimulation. The leaves are used in a preparation to induce miscarriage. kapukapu. brahmoside.

Apocynaceae Description. cerberin. Digitoxigenin glycosides. or among reeds in open areas to 1000 m. rutin and other flavonoid glycosides.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 45 Cerbera manghas L. steroids. 2540 mm long. Common along the seashore in beach thickets. Throughout Melanesia into the Tuamotus and also into the Indian Ocean (e. tubular. cardenolide glycosides. clustered towards the ends of the branches. Cerbera manghas L. white. Cytotoxic. The leaves contain monoterpenes. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. and in treating fish poisoning. and in open or dense forests. entire. the blades dark glossy-green and coriaceous. Traditional Uses 7 . with rounded crown and white latex. petiole 1-5 cm long. Constituents1-5. derivatives of cerbinal. Used as a treatment for cancer in Samoa and as abortfacient in Fiji. l(+)bornesitol. first green later turning red when mature. other glycosides. leaves are chewed to cure migraine headaches. Flowers conspicuous and fragrant. The bark contains a yellow pigment cerbinal along with cerberic and cerberinic acids. vasa (Fiji). 1-20 m tall. Habitat. Juice from the leaves is used in the treatment of rheumatism. with a pinkish throat. up to 10 cm long. and succinic acid. hypotensive. with an acute to obtuse apex. Lignans from the stem. Biological Activity6. Seychelles and Comoros). Tree or shrub. neriifolin. the leaves are also used to treat skin diseases.g. The Fijian herbalists claim that the stem extracts are capable of clearing any intestinal obstructions. . thevetin B derivatives. Distribution. thevetoside glycosides. Leaves spirally arranged. Fruit ellipsoid. 8-25 cm long. oblong to obovatelanceolate. leva (Samoa). nicotiflorin. [syn. rutin. antibacterial and anticonvulsant. borne terminally in a loose cyme. This plant is also employed in the treatment of pain in the eye sockets at sunrise and sunset. Cerbera odollam Gaertner] Local Names : rewa.

and common steroids such as desmosterol. Distribution. pepsin inhibition. The bark or leaves are boiled and taken to treat urinary tract infections.10. mutagenic. 4-Methylacetophenone. hypotensive. CNS depressant. antiulcer. ergosterol. Leaves alternate with winged-petioles. borne singly or a few. tumour promotion inhibition. 5 -methyl and Nmethyl tyramines. Description. essential oil containing more than 60 monoterpenes and 25 sesquiterpenes. English Name : moli jamu. In Samoa. antiamoebic. anti-inflammatory. the blade ovate. insect repellent. uterine relaxant. The juice of the fruit is mixed with coconut oil or castor oil and given as a laxative. Biological Activity3. hypolipemic. caffeine. In Fiji. antidiarrhoeal. antioxidant.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 47 Citrus aurantium L. Constituents1-7. Vermin of the head are treated with the leaves. Citrus aurantium L. Small tree to 10 m tall with large spines on younger branches. insulin induction.6-9. Several coumarins. the bark is used to treat sunstroke. antihaemorrhagic. Fruit a yellow-orange hesperidium (viz. antiemetic. Flowers usually during warmer months and fruit available later in the year. sixteen triterpenoids. antibacterial. 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. bluntly toothed. isoquinoline alkaloids synerphrine. antispasmodic. antihepatotoxic. Native to Asia and now widespread throughout the Pacific and warm areas throughout the world. anticonvulsant. Local Names Islands). analgesic. The fruit (orange) is eaten if a fishbone gets caught in one’s throat. and stigmasterol. diuretic. smooth muscle relaxant. antiallergenic. antipyretic. beta-sitosterol. The new leaves are used to treat abdominal pain. emitting a strong citrus odour due to the presence of copious oil glands. cardiotonic. hypertensive. carotenoids. Traditional Uses 1. moli kurukuru (Fiji). Antifungal. antihistamine. headache is treated with tea made from the leaves or the bark of the plant. Laxative. Flowers axillary. . Rutaceae ’anani (Cook : seville or sour orange. Forty flavonoids. Habitat. white and very fragrant. Cultivated and possibly naturalized in some locations.

uricosuric. pectin.9. Description.) Osbeck Rutaceae Local Names : moli ’aina (Samoa). carotenoids. Native to Asia and now widespread throughout the Pacific and warm areas of the world. molidawa. Habitat. thirteen alkaloids. 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. white and very fragrant. sitosterol. ’arani (Society Islands). Leaves alternate with narrowly winged-petioles (3-5 mm wide). insect repellent. borne singly or in a small bunch. vitamin C. citrusins (proteid). anethole. gibberellic acid. English Name : orange. Citrus sinensis (L. Biological Activity1. the blade ovate.8. Traditional Uses 1. ferulic acid. In Tonga. Fruit a green or orange hesperidium (viz. 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. phytol. eleven coumarins. 15 sesquiterpenes. as well as to treat postpartum sickness. castasterone. 14 monoterpenes. Constituents1-8. larvicidal. They also ingest the crushed leaves of the plant to treat abdominal pains. seventeen flavonoids. caffeic acid. antihepatotoxic. bluntly toothed. an infusion of the bark is used to treat an illness similar to relapse sickness. amyrin. Also in the Cook Islands. etrogol. sinapic acid. Niue). ’anani (Cook Islands). antibacterial. antiviral. limonin and its glucosides. nomilin derivatives. emitting a strong citrus odour due to the presence of copious oil glands. Small tree to 12 m tall with large spines on younger branches. In Samoa. Flowers axillary. the leaves of the plant are used as remedies for internal ailments and fractures as well as other sicknesses. brassinolide. antiyeast. Antifungal. a whole peeled orange is swallowed to remove a fishbone stuck in the throat. sweet orange. coumaric acid. The juice of the fruit together with coconut oil or castor oil is used as a purgative by the Cook Islanders. Cultivated and possibly naturalized in some locations. and stigmasterol. Distribution. In Tahiti.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 49 Citrus sinensis (L. hydroquinone. moli taiti (Fiji). carminative. carcinogenic (essential oil).) Osbeck . moli (Futuna. moli kai (Tonga). Flowers usually during warmer months and fruits available later in the year. antimutagenic.

sores and scabies are treated with parts of the plant. The juice from a green coconut is given to women who have difficult pregnancies. niu dina (Fiji). To place a baby from a breech to a normal position in the mother’s womb. Juice from the midrib at the lower base of the leaf is used in treating maternal postpartum illness.and beta-amyrin. ketones. polyphenols. glucose. aliphatic fatty acids. cytotoxic (seed oil). squalene. Saccharose. Common along the sea shore to moderate elevations in inland areas. aliphatic alcohols. In the Solomon Islands. Fruit a large green. sucrose. The oil.and sesquiterpenes. The mature single seed is large and filled with both solid (“meat”) and liquid (“milk”) endosperm. hemotoxic. In Fiji. mixed with turmeric. The root is also employed in treating stomachache and blood in the urine. leucoanthocyanins. each leaf paripinnate and up to or exceeding 6 m in length. ferricopnin. Solomon Islands). The oil is also used to treat rheumatism and back pains or as an ointment to maintain smooth. stigmasterol. Widely cultivated and naturalized throughout the Pacific and tropical areas worldwide. cocositol. tumour-promoting effect. beta. Traditional Uses 1. alpha. Flowers and fruit are available throughout the year in most Pacific areas. Monopodial tree with long. Haemorrhaging is stopped with the use of the dry. . nu (Cook Islands). pyretic.5-trimethylpyrazine. Flowers and fruit borne in drooping clusters arising from between the lower leaf petioles. niu. cycloartenol. Habitat. antiyeast and antifungal. glycerol. 4-6. Diuretic (coconut milk). spongy kernel. Oil from the kernel is rubbed onto stiff joints. soft skin.3. most abundant near human settlements.sitosterol. stachyose. myoinositol. The root may be used as a toothbrush. is used to treat sick new born infants and women who have just given birth. mono. Biological Activity2. Distribution. alpha-tocopherol. weakness after childbirth is treated with liquid extracted from the stem.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 51 Cocos nucifera L. diphenylurea. brown. 2-propyleneglycol. scyllo-inositol. hypotensive. Juice from the fruit is taken to treat kidney problems. te nii (Kiribati). niu (Samoa. diarrhoea and dysentery are treated with parts of this plant. The oil is used as an emetic and as a purgative. Arecaceae Local Names : niudamu. allergenic. Foliage leaves all confined to apex of trunk. xylan. Constituents1. In New Guinea. often curved trunk to 30 m tall. Coconut milk is used to treat fish poisoning. the abdomen is massaged with coconut oil. campesterol. narrow. glucosan. bongrek acid.3. English Name : coconut. The coconut is said to have vermicide properties. sorbitol. and alkaloids: ligustrazine and 2. or reddish fibrous drupe up to or exceeding 30 cm in length. Description. Cocos nucifera L.

) Blume Euphorbiaceae var. The venereal disease gonorrhea is treated with a preparation of liquid pressed from the leaves. often multi-coloured with a myriad of various shapes and sizes depending upon the cultivar. Antitumour. An ornamental shrub 2-6 m high. simple. Distribution. molluscicidal. vanilla acid. vasa damu (Fiji). Flowers (if present) are small. whereas others may bear flowers and fruit throughout the year. moluccanum (Dec. In Fiji it is used mainly to treat swellings. antifungal. ellagic acid. cytotoxic. Commonly cultiv ated throughout the South Pacific and tropical countries world-wide. Description. A fever may be relieved by bathing the patient in a green solution of boiled leaves. Traditional Uses 4 . Fruit a sub-globose. toothache and diseases caused by spirits. The leaves are chewed and swallowed to promote miscarriage. Habitat. Constituents1.) Muell. Flowers and fruit may not develop on some forms. Sores are treated with a direct application of sap. protocatechuic acid. although a closely related variety. variegatum var. carbohydrates and alkanes. trans-ferulic acid.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 53 Codiaeum variegatum (L. English Names : Croton. C.and trans-p-coumaric acids. and a preparation of the root is used to treat wounds. occurs commonly in the wild throughout Melanesia. Cultivated only. Leaves alternate. variegatum Local Names : sacasaca damu. unisexual and borne in racemes. cis.3. virus activation. 3-lobed schizocarp.) Blume . Codiaeum variegatum (L. Biological Activity2. from sea-level to mid-montane. The root is applied to tooth cavities for temporary relief of pain. Phenolic compounds.

oxalic acid. English Name : taro. it is now widely distributed throughout the tropics worldwide. peltate (heart-shaped). tiko. Traditional Uses 1. glucose and sucrose in tuber. Vitamin C. Habitat. Fruit not known. hydroxy-cinnamoyl amides. apigenin.4-di-O-beta glucoside. hypotensive. The sap of the leaf stalk is used in treating conjunctivitis. Distribution. is used to create an appetite. Widely cultivated on wet or dry ground throughout the Pacific from near sea-level to mid-montane elevations. doko. Inflorescence an erect spadix up to 35 cm long surrounded by a spathe up to twice as long as the spadix. colocasia sterols. alo (Solomon Islands). dalo ni vuci (Fiji). talo (Samoa). hui ni kerekere. cyanidin 3-glucoside. is taken to relieve stomach problems and to treat cysts. Corm contains a throat irritant (oxalate). fructose. Leaves moderately large.) Schott .) Schott Araceae Local Names : dalo. together with some parts of other plants. Constituents1-3.4'-dimethoxyluteolin. ba. benzaldehyde-3.5 m high. A decoction of the leaves. sulo. pelargonidin 3 -glucoside. votuki. together with some parts of other plants. A decoction of the leaves is drunk to promote menstruation.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 55 Colocasia esculenta (L. cyanidin 3 -rhamnoside. niacin. Biological Activity4. In New Guinea. boka. Large perennial tuberous herb up to or exceeding 1. qau. soli. suli. thiamine. The plant is also used to treat wounds. 3'. the leaves are heated over a fire and are applied to boils. calcium oxalate. taro. Description. antibacterial. 5-7. Probably native to Indo-malesia. The scraped stem. Colocasia esculenta (L. carotenes. riboflavin. elephant ears.

Biological Activity4.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 57 Commelina diffusa Burm. wet forest. Common weed of damp pastures. zygomorphic. Distribution. to treat eye irritation and rashes. relatively small. ascending stems growing to 75 cm tall. Leaves alternate. Flowers blue. rorogo. Fruit a small dry capsule with minute seeds. duludauwere. m ostly without petioles. these subtended by a heart-shaped green bract. zwitterionic anthocyanins. rhizomatous herb with jointed succulent. drano. . 3-parted. A sprawling.f. Widespread throughout the Pacific and tropical Asia. parallel-veined. Commelina diffusa Burm. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. airogorogo. Commelinaceae Local Names : kabocola. Description. flavonoid glycoside flavocommelin. Constituents1-3. lectin. drains.f. Acylated anthocyanins. matebulabula. alkaloids. tannins. Treatment of fractured bones. as a diuretic and to aid digestion. cobulabula. Habitat. saponins. Haemaglutinin activity Traditional Uses 5. borne in small inflorescences. luna (Fiji). coumarins. swampy areas and other wet places.

Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. the blades oblong-ovate.) Merr. Biological Activity. young twigs. Commersonia bartramia (L. samaloa. Habitat.) Merr. Sterculiaceae Local Names : sama. petiolate. Distribution. lekasama (Fiji). samasama. 12-24 x 7-14 cm. leaf-opposed. Used in Fiji for colds and coughs. Eastern Australia and the South Pacific. leaves. Shrub to small tree up to 18 m tall. Common in secondary and dry forest. Widely spread throughout the Indo-Malesia. samadina. Flowers borne in many-flowered cymes arising from axils. containing numerous dark brown seeds. Description. Constituents. petioles and buds brown-hairy. and white.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 59 Commersonia bartramia (L. kidney troubles and dysentery. small (to 8 mm broad). None reported. Leaves alternate. . to treat rheumatism. or terminal. None reported. and grassland thickets from sea-level to 500 m. flowers 5-parted. Fruit a bristly capsule with hairs up to 25 mm broad. edges of forests. Traditional Uses 1. acuminate. margins toothed.

broadly ovate and entire. The seeds float and are highly resistant to salt water. the leaves are used in remedies for bronchitis and asthma where the leaves probably act as a purgative. uaua asi. te kanawa (Kiribati). the blade up to 20 cm long. yellowish to black. hard. the apex obtuse to short-pointed. Marquesas Islands. Leaves alternate. Habitat. Tokelau. Fruit a globose drupe up to 3 cm long. The plant is also used in the treatment of hepatic infections. tauanave (Samoa). puataukanave (Tonga). base rounded. Rarotongan). In the Marquesas Islands. Flowers showy. . a preparation made from the stem is used to promote menstruation. trumpet -shaped. Flowers and fruit usually available throughout the year. orange.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 61 Cordia subcordata Lam. Description. Boraginaceae Local Names : nawanawa (Fiji). Tuamotus. kanava (Futuna. dry. motou (Niue). None reported. Biological Activity. with usually one stony seed inside. surrounded by the enlarged calyx. Distribution. None reported.Tuvalu). In New Guinea. Constituents. Medium-sized spreading tree to 12 m tall with greyish grooved flaking bark. Traditional Uses 1-3. cirrhosis of the liver and inflammation of the lymph nodes. especially on atolls where it is both naturally occurring as well as cultivated. Cordia subcordata Lam. It is also used to treat albumin present in the urine. petiolate. The plant is also used to treat rheumatic aches and swellings of muscles and joints. tou (Tahiti. English Name : cordia. Cook Islanders use the leaves in remedies for abdominal swellings and urinary tract infections. often wavy-margined. unscented and borne in small axilary or terminal clusters. thus the species is common in coastal areas. the petiole about half as long as blade. In Fiji. In Tahiti. a preparation made from the leaves is used to treat knee wounds or skin ulcers. fofotasi (Solomon Islands). the plant is used to treat menstrual problems. the fruit green. Widespread from east Africa through tropical Asia and throughout the tropical Pacific.

In Fiji. The root is used to treat inflammations. vakota. each flower 3-parted. Traditional Uses 1. ti (Samoa). dili lalabe (Solomon Islands). Sparingly branched shrub arising from subterranean tuber. Liquid from the stem is used to treat sickness after childbirth and also to help expel the afterbirth. with slender stem to 5 m tall. vasilidamu. Samoans use an infusion of the leaves as a remedy for swellings. infected eyes. to 80 cm long. Description. sterols. Leaves spirally arranged and borne in terminal clusters. tyramine. qai. si (Tonga). Constituents1. The juice of the leaves is used to treat earache.) Chev. Distribution. Filariasis is treated with a solution made from the new plant shoots. stomachache. the leaf buds are used to treat lower chest pains. Smilagenin. tikula (Fiji). white to pink coloured. Cordyline fruticosa (L. Flowers borne in compound spikes up to 1 m long. lolokulu.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 63 Cordyline fruticosa (L. None reported. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. vasili ni toga.) Chev. up to 20 cm broad. parallel-veined. the leaves are crushed with oil and applied to abscesses of the gums. elongate-lanceolate. Biological Activity.3-5. Widely distributed throughout the tropics. linoleic acid. subtended by leafy pinkish bracts. The root is used to treat baldness. The juice of the leaves is used to treat aching limbs and fever. The roots are used in treating toothache and laryngitis. eczyma and gastritis. Common in a wide variety of habitats (including cultivated) ranging from coastal to over 1000 m elevation. colds and coughs. In Tonga. Agavaceae [syn. Fruit a small red berry with small black seeds. masawe. sarsapogenin. inflammations and for dry fevers. Habitat. rau ti (Cook Islands). Cordyline terminalis (L. .) Kunth] Local Names : kototodamu. imidazole alkaloids.2.

crinamine. Widely distributed throughout the South Pacific. crinidine. Biological Activity2. Distribution. Several other closely related species also occur in the South Pacific. cyclolaudenol. Description. criasbetaine. the leaves are heated and applied to relieve backaches. Bulbs are used in an emetic and as a poison antidote. Cytotoxic alkaloids having antitumour properties. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. the flowers borne in an inflorescence up to 50 cm long. with yellow anthers and a purple style.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 65 Crinum asiaticum L. . parallel-veined. spider lily. The leaves are also used in a preparation to treat permanent retraction of the testes. Crinum asiaticum L. up to 1 m long. coastal areas. flexinine. Leaves linear. Upper reaches of sandy beaches. pratorinine. In Micronesia. arising from a crown atop a short erect rhizome. pratorimine. crinine. but originally from Asia. stigmasterol. tubular. moderately large. Local Names English Names Amaryllidaceae : viavia (Fiji). and commonly planted in villages or urban areas as an ornamental plant. Flowers greenish-white. bearing up to 30 flowers. Lycorine and its glucoside. : crinum. haemanthamine. somewhat fleshy. up to 2 m high. ambeline.5. hippadine. Habitat. hamayne. Fruit yellowish-green with large seeds. evergreen. antibacterial. ungeremine. phenanthridones. crinasiadine. and a preparation of the root is given to aid childbirth and for postpartum haemorrhage. palmilycorine. The leaves are applied to body swellings. cycloartenol. Robust rosette-like herb arising from an underground bulb. Leaves are used in the healing of wounds. Traditional Uses 1. lau talotalo (Samoa). Constituents1-6. antidote lily.

antiamoebic. phenyl propanoids. allergenic. In Tonga. ango (Samoa. Colds and runny noses are treated by inhaling the vapour from the crushed leaves. cineol. oblong. rerega (Fiji). Cook Islanders ingest infusions of turmeric to treat urinary tract infections and apply it externally to infected puncture wounds. Futuna as well as in Samo a and the Cook Islands. re’a (Tahiti. In New Guinea. alpha phellandrene. oleoresins. antitumour. a ntihepatatoxic. Rhizomatous (rhizomes fleshy) erect herb with leafy pseudostems to 1 m tall. increases bile production. Austral Islands). sabinene. Widely spread throughout the South Pacific and other tropical areas. avea. anticoagulant. curcumins and derivatives. insecticide. Curcuma longa L. borne in an erect spike. ’ena. curcumenone. English Name : turmeric.10. Habitat. Zingiberaceae Local Names : ango. Anti-inflammatory activity (curcumin). ango hina (Tonga). embryotoxic. . haldi (Indo-Fijian). curlone. tannins. beta-sitosterol. cinnamoyl derivatives. the plant is propagated from rhizomes. immunosuppressant. borneol. Flowers yellow. bisaboladienones.2. Traditional Uses1. terpinene. protocatechuic acid. terpineol. The rhizome is pounded and squeezed in water to prepare a solution to treat fish poisoning and to treat purulent conjunctivitis. tale’a (Tuamotus). ago. ’eka (Marquesas Islands).& delta. caryophyllene.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 67 Curcuma longa L. curdinone. Alpha. Indo-Fijians use a poultice of the rhizome on sprains and bruises. camphor. fungistatic. beta-sesquiphellandrene. curcumenol. Cultivated and naturalized in lowland to lower montane areas.2. antioxidant. insect repellent and antiulcer. cholesterol. nematocidal. Description. stigmasterol. beta-turmeroone. Constituents1-6 . caffeic acid. antimutagenic. Juice from the leaves is used to treat aching eyes. isoborneol. camphene. zedoarondiol. bisacurone. turmeronols. vanillic acid. germacron derivatives. Flowers and fruit may not form on some plants. zingiberene. bisacumol. bisabolenes. diuretic.9. paracymene. antibacterial. Leaves petiolate. turmeric (powder from the root) is used in a treatment for sores and rashes in infants. curzerenones. Futuna. lignan. weak antimycobacterial. anti-implantation. Distribution. curcumenes. carcinogenesis inhibition. alpha and beta pinenes. alpha-turmerine. antiyeast. limonene. linalool. guaiacol. cytotoxic (whole plant). Similar uses are found in Niue. Fruit generally not produced.atlantones. antiviral. Niue). campesterol. Biological Activity1. cyclocurcumin. turmerin.6-8 . antinematodal. uterine stimulant. A solution of turmeric is used to treat eye diseases and open wounds. cago. eugenol. The root and stem-root are used in a remedy for dysentery. antihypercholesterolemic. ukonans. three-parted. renga (Cook Islands). parallel veined. The rhizome is aromatic and is the source of the spice turmeric. In the last two countries it used to be common to smear a mother and her newborn baby with turmeric. the leaves are applied to bruises and painful skin.

Fronds dark green. Habitat. . Davallia fijiensis Hook. fluid from the leaves is used in a preparation to treat fractured bones. rhizomatous fern. auvutimerakula. mokomoko ni ivi (Fiji). Vicianin (benzenoid).MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 69 Davallia fijiensis Hook. The plant is also used to treat stomachache. Epiphytic. Davalliaceae vativati-matailalai. Also cultivated in temperate climate countries as an indoor ornamental plant. The leaves are used to treat wounds.3. vuluvululevu. Constituents1. None reported. 80 x 30 cm. Other closely related Davallia species occur throughout the South Pacific and other tropical areas. Description. finely dissected (4-5 pinnate) with a terminal sorus on each segment. Traditional Uses 2. Biological Activity. Local Names : lawe dua. In Fiji. wavulovulo. Common on trees in Fijian forests. and cultivated and possibly naturalized elsewhere. Endemic to Fiji. Distribution.

up to 4 mm long. Myrtaceae Description. toothache and loss of appetite in children. A shrub or tree to 14 m tall. although other closely related species occur on many South Pacific islands. None reported. hillsides. blades with small scattered dots (punctuate glands). wounds (knife. black when mature. 3 mm broad. and secondary forests on dry sides of Fiji's larger islands. Decaspermum vitiense (A. Flowers fragrant. borne on densely packed inflorescences. with several small -7 seeds. Constituents1. petals white or pinkish. Habitat. sometimes with a compacted growth-form.4. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Endemic to Fiji. Biological Activity. Gray) Niedenzu] Local Names : nuqanuqa (Fiji). on ridges. The leaves are notable in that they have an aromatic odour when crushed. Leaves opposite and petiolate.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 71 Decaspermum fructicosum sensu Drake [syn. Fruit berry-like. coumarins (ellagic acid derivatives). axe). Traditional Uses 3. roundish. 4 or 5 -parted. and branchlets often square in cross-section. Very common in dry forests. Distribution. variable in shape but mostly ovate to elliptical with a conspicuous tapering tip. the blade up to 8 cm long. Decaspermum fructicosum sensu Drake . Essential oils (leaves). English Name: christmas bush.2. Treatment of cancer of the womb (infertile women). spear.



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



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.



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

borne on terminal cymes. up to 9 cm long. . stigmasterol. dihydroisocoumarins. In Fiji. Endemic to Fiji. Shrub to 3 m high with white latex and reddish purple stems and leaves. stomachache and to protect new born babies from germs. Habitat. Open rocky habitats and cultivated from sea-level to 550 m. Euphorbia fidjiana Boiss. Leaves petiolate. the plant is used to treat constipation.3. stigmasterone. beta-sitosterol. possibly cultivated elsewhere in the South Pacific.2. The filtrate of the leaves is used to wean infants from their mothers. None reported. Eczyma and headaches are treated with a decoction of the leaves. tavasa (Fiji). Flowers small. carboaromatic compounds. 7 ent-pimarane or entabietane diterpenoids. cycloartane and euphane triterpenoids and homotriterpenoids.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 79 Euphorbia fidjiana Boiss. 14 ent -atisane diterpenoids. elliptical. The plant is also used in treating tuberculosis. Traditional Uses 1. Flowering and fruiting data not available. Local Names : vasa damu. Constituents1. polyols. sitosterone. Fruit a capsule with numerous small seeds. 3 betahydroxystigmastanone. Euphorbiaceae Description. Biological Activity. Distribution. octaketides. whorled.

Fruit a small. Habitat. Flagellaria spp. alkaloids. Local Names : walaki. wasila (Fiji). tropical Australia and into the South-West Pacific as far east as Fiji. Flowers available during early summer and fruits apparently present from April to December. Biological Activity1. Leaves lanceolate terminating in a long coiled tendril. borne in a large erect terminal panicle. L. Traditional Uses 1. As a diuretic. 4 kaempferol 3-glycosides. Antimicrobial. fleshy subglobose drupe. High climbing liana with solid stems and conspicuous leaf tendrils. qalo. Widespread from South-East Asia. Distribution. white. L. through Indo-Malesia. Constituents1. Flowers small. . Flagellariaceae Description. a cyanogenic glycoside.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 81 Flagellaria spp. A common forest climber which climbs over shrubs and smaller trees in wet to dry forest.

Tree to 20 m high with yellow latex. borne in axillary clusters of 3-9 flowers. Garcinia sessilis (Forster) Seemann . Common forest tree occurring in both wet and dry forest. None reported. Clusiaceae Description. Habitat. pale pink. simple. Distribution. Biological Activity. up to 4 cm long. petiolate. and naturalized in Tonga and Samoa. Traditional Uses 1. Native to Solomon Islands (Santa Cruz Islands) and Fiji. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Constituents. ovate to elliptical. 4-parted. obovoid. Crushed leaves in water commonly used as an eyewash for eye problems. Leaves opposite. up to 10 cm long. Flowers unisexual (plants dioecious). None reported.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 83 Garcinia sessilis (Forster) Seemann Local Names : heilala (Tonga). rauba (Fiji). Fruit a red drupe.

and widely cultivated and naturalized on many other islands in the South Pacific. tiale (Tuvalu). tiare tahiti (Tahiti). a medicine including the leaves of this plant is used to purify the blood in prenatal care and diabetes treatment. bigia (Fiji). fragrant. Traditional Uses 1. Also widely cultivated in villages. siale (Futuna). Flowers available throughout the year. Rubiaceae Local Names : pua. up to 15 cm long. Leaves opposite. The plant is also used in treating inflammations in children. however. Habitat. Constituents1. Tonga. it is thought that an infusion of the bark can be used to induce an abortion. . siale tafa (Niue). Gardenia taitensis DC. and nearby islands. Distribution. pua samoa (Samoa).19-Cyclolanostane-3. borne singly on stems arising from upper leaf axils. Vanuatu. 9. Flowers showy. tiare. In Futuna.2. Shrub or small tree to 6 m high with conspicous stipules. Description. broadly eliptical. Native to the South-West Pacific Islands of Fiji. The flowers are also used to treat childhood diseases. siale tonga (Tonga). Biological Activity. English Names : tahitian gardenia. Fruit a yellowish-green sub-globose-to-ellipsoid capsule up to 5 cm long containing numerous whitish seeds surrounded by an orangish pulp. In American Samoa. Coastal limestone rock and occasionally in coastal forest near the shore. petiolate.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 85 Gardenia taitensis DC. fruit often rare. None reported. Migraine headaches may be cured by immersing the head in a solution with the crushed flowers. 23-dione. white. Cook Islanders merely smell the fowers to relieve l headaches. bua. tiare maori (Cook Islands). tiale tiale (Tokelau). Vaginal bleeding is treated with an infusion of the leaves.

Description.l. mafusifusi (Solomon Islands). Fruit an elliptical dehiscent capsule up to 10 cm long which contains numerous small seeds. fa’efa’elunga (Tonga). In Niue. Geniostoma rupestre s. Forst. None reported. 5-parted. ovate to elliptical. sese (Niue).l. Flowers in late summer and fruit follows later in the year. None reported. insulare A. ma’ame (Cook Islands). Widespread throughout Melanesia and in parts of Polynesia. Constituents. boiboida. the plant is used to treat diarrhoea. Loganiaceae [syn. up to 20 cm long. small. C. Shrub or slender tree to 10 m tall.] Local names : taipoipo. petiolate. Leaves opposite. Flowers white. Common in both primary and secondary forests. Traditional Uses 1. Habitat. G. kaukauda (Fiji). from sea-level to montane. and ailments involving the kidney or bladder. . Sm. borne in axillary clusters of 3 to numerous flowers. Biological Activity. Distribution. te’epilo ‘a maui. Tongans use an infusion of the bark as a purgative to treat stomachache and other internal ailments. Forst. thickets and open rocky areas (including limestone).MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 87 Geniostoma rupestre s. lau mafatifati (Samoa).

In Tuvalu. A decoction of the bark or an infusion of the leaves is drunk daily to treat secondary amenorrhoea. Common along the seashore.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 89 Guettarda speciosa L. Infusion of the bark is used in treating postpartum discharges. In Tonga. In Fiji. fragrant. with conspicuous striate veins. Constituents1. the plant has antidiarrhoetic. oval. relatively large (to 20 cm long). Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Habitat. Distribution. Loganic acid and secologanin. Flowers white.2. The bark is applied to wounds and sores. The plant is used to treat maternal postpartum infections. The inner bark is used in a treatment for conjunctivitis. Traditional Uses 3. Description. a tea made from the inner bark is used to treat epilepsy. In Tahiti. aibuasi. colds and sore throats. tubular. nori. Biological Activity. and lowland forest. Widely distributed from East Africa to India through to Malaysia into the South Pacific. A decoction of the leaves is used to treat coughs. the stem is used in a preparation utilized to promote menstruation. the leaves are used for poultices. beach thickets. A decoction of the bark is drunk daily as a treatment for vaginal bleeding. Guettarda speciosa L. Rubiaceae Local Names : buabua (Fiji). borne in terminal clusters.4. a preparation of the bark is drunk to cure dysentery. Spreading and much branched tree up to 20 m high. itchy skin rashes are treated with fluid from the leaves. None reported. Liquid from the bark is drunk to treat oedema. Leaves opposite. fi’i tasisi (Solomon Islands). In Micronesia. febrifugal and anticholinergic applications. te uri (Kiribati). Fruit a round and green syncarp with one seed per locule. The shoots are washed in oil and used in treating ulcerated sores of the anus. leathery. petiolate. In New Guinea. . Menorrhagia is treated with a decoction of the bark. sea cliffs. puopua (Tonga).

Flowers very small. (+)-Auroramine. . Gyrocarpaceae Local Names : toutou. Constituents1-3. Biological Activity1. gylidine. bisbenzylisoquinolines. and the flavonoids kaempferol and quercetin. gyroamericine. Used to heal wounds. Common along beaches. Hypotensive. Traditional Uses 5. In Tonga. (+)-maroumine. Leaves mostly crowded towards ends of branches.5 cm long. deeply 3-lobed on younger trees. benzylisoquinolines. Gyrocarpus americanus Jacq. O-desmethyl phaeanthine. To treat relapsed illness. stomachache.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 91 Gyrocarpus americanus Jacq. ferulic and sinapic acids. Widespread throughout the South Pacific and the tropics. Habitat. an infusion of the bark or leaves is taken internally or applied to the skin to treat skin inflammations. Description. smaller and almost entire on older trees. Tonga). pukovili (Samoa. alternate. gyrocarpusine. aporphines. childbirth swellings. Hemisphere. gyrocarpine. Tree to 20 m high. the blades broadly ovate. borne on axillary inflorescences arising on the upper parts of the branches. petiolate. about 1. Fruit an ovoid drupe with two long wings arising from the apex. phaeanthine. curare-like activity. Flowers mostly available April to July and fruit available July to January in the So. and intestinal filariasis. (+)-magnocurarine. Distribution. O-methyl limacusine. wiriwiri (Fiji). dry coastlines and open coastal woodlands.4.

6. 7-20 cm wide. white or greenish-white. pu’a (Samoa).MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 93 Hernandia nymphaeifolia (Presl. raised longitudinal ribs. Hernandia nymphaeifolia (Presl. Habitat. Constituents1-5. Leaves alternate. completely enclosed in a whitish to reddish cupule. and lignans. Malaysia.) Kubitzki Hernandiaceae [syn. Common along the upper edge of beaches and in coastal woodlands. Isoquinoline alkaloids and bisbenzylalkaloids (ambrimine. Large. 10-30 cm long. thalicarpine 2'-N-oxide. None reported. South-East Asia. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. hebridamine. fragrant. flavonoids (leaves).) Kubitzki . clearly marked with 8 broad. relapsed illnesses and to treat post-natal depression. dark green. shiny above. up to 20 m high. about 2. peltata Meissn. Widely distributed across the South Pacific and extending into the North Pacific. Flowers relatively small and unisexual. thalicarpine. and borne in dense panicles. tubular. efatine. enclosing a single hard seed. spreading tree. Fruit a brown drupe. with 7-9 conspicuous veins radiating palmately from point of attachment to petiole. Description. yevuyevu (Fiji). To treat childbirth illnesses (speed placenta expulsion.5 cm across. the blades mostly peltate. petiolate.] Local Names : evuevu. malekulatine. Distribution. H. Biological Activity. Traditional Uses 1. and into the Indian Ocean as far as Madagascar and East Africa. Essential oils. general weakness). with robust trunk and grey to whitish bark. vilaportine).

glucose. hibiscetin. a preparation from the leaves is used to treat postpartum relapse sickness. Traditional Uses 3. cholesterol. hypothermic. Habitat. and to help in childbirth. Flowers large. attractive with large petals (corolla) ranging from red to orange to yellow. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 95 Hibiscus rosa -sinensis L. flavonoids and flavonoid glycosides. Alkanes. ergosterol. to treat boils. Tuvalu. koute (Marquesas Islands).2. insect attractant. To treat headaches. the blades with conspicuous serrated margins. sucrose. campesterol. analgesic. lipids. sores and inflammations. antipyretic. Antioestrogenic. ease menstrual cramps. senicikobia (Fiji). antifungal. Tahiti). stigmasterol. Malvaceae Local Names : kaute (Niue. loloru. Taraxeryl acetate. anti-implantation. antispasmodic. To induce abortion. tartaric and oxalic acids. In Samoa. . beta-sitosterol. chinese hibiscus. fructose. Description. rose of china. and anti-inflammatory. variable in form (including “double-flowered” forms). English Names : red hibiscus. Distribution. Rarotonga). CNS depressant. antispermatogenic. embryotoxic. petiolate. citric. Fruit a capsule with many small black seeds. Leaves alternate. Introduced and widely distributed throughout the South Pacific and elsewhere within the tropical and subtropical zone. Constituents1. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L. kauti. hypotensive. ’aute (Samoa. cyanidin and cyanin glucosides. Shrub up to 3 m high. Commonly cultivated as a garden ornamental shrub from sealevel to 500 m. Biological Activity4-6. abortifacient. senitoa yaloyalo.

Juice from the leaves is used in treating gonorrhoea. tuberculosis and conjunctivitis. quercetin and 3-O-galactosides of quercetin and kaempferol. lapachol. Such a use is also common in Tahiti. Cook Islands and the Marquesas Islands. fa’ola (Solomon Islands). the bark and the young leaves are used to treat skin diseases. Traditional Uses 1-4. Fruit a subglobose capsule up to 25 cm long with numerous small seeds. hibiscolactone. weedy forest margins. In the Solomon Islands. the corolla yellow with deep maroon centre and conspicuous staminal column arising from base of ovary. in thickets. the bark is used to make a cough remedy which is also used for tuberculosis. hau (Northern Marquesas Islands). the flowers are used in making a salve. hence the species is widely distributed throughout the tropics along coasts worldwide. mansonones. gossypetin. Constituents1. Austral Islands). The Cook Island Maoris use the bark together with coconut bark or husk to make an infusion used for bathing fractures. hibiscoquinones. the leaves or shoots are used to treat relapsed sickness. Postpartum discharges are treated with an infusion of the leaves. Gemlofuran. and stomachaches. hyperoside. Leaves alternate. cuts.2. broadly ovate to cordate and palmately veined. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. var. fou (Niue). disturbed areas. None reported. Samoa. cyanidin-3-sophoroside. Description. Distribution. Southern Marquesas Islands). gossypitrin and gossytrin. gossypetin glucosides. tiliaceus . 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. In New Guinea. In Tahiti. tiliaceus Malvaceae Local Names : vauleka. vau dina (Fiji). the flowers are made into a paste and used as a poultice for sores. kaempferol. beta. The seeds are buoyant and resistant to salt water. In Tahiti. parts of the plant are used in treating cuts. para-coumaric and fumaric acids. gossypol. hibiscones. petiolate. In Futuna. vau. Biological Activity. In Fiji. the fluid from the bark is used to promote menstruation. A treatment made from the leaves. margins of swamps and rivers. 5-merous. An infusion of the leaves is used to aid in the delivery of a child.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 97 Hibiscus tiliaceus L. The bark is used in treating eye infections and injuries. sore throats and open wounds. roots and bark is given for fever. Common on beaches. purau (Tahiti.sitosterol. Tuamotu. Hibiscus tiliaceus L. The leaves are used in treating coughs. fau (Tonga. English Name : beach hibiscus. var. Spreading medium-sized tree to 15 m tall. In Tonga. Habitat. Also in Fiji. Flowers large and showy. boils and swellings. Tuvalu. ’au (Cook Islands). te kiaiai (Kiribati).

Br. the plant is used to treat swollen testicles. bitu bitu.Br. Hoya australis R. broadly elliptic up to 15 cm long. australinals. . In Tonga. Amyrins. edges of mangroves and in primary forest to over 1000 m elevation. ’olive vao. Description. lupeol.7. benzoic acid. watabua. toxic (leaves). Traditional Uses 2. the juice from the plant is applied to body burns. In New Guinea. Asclepiadaceae Local Names : wabi levu. fleshy. Occasionally cultivated elsewhere.4. fragrant. lau matolu (Tonga). wabi. Climbing semi-woody vine with latex. Flowers small but showy. australinoic acid. petiolate. lipids. Distribution. Hypotensive. nabetebete (Fiji). borne in an umbel-like head containing numerous flowers. bitabita. It is also used to treat stomach ailments in Samoa. cosmosin. sinu (Futuna). 3. fue selela. an infusion of the leaves is taken for many types of swellings and inflammations. sea cliffs. chlorogenic acid. Flowers and fruit usually available throughout the year. apigenin glucoside. In Fiji. suni (Samoa). Biological Activity2. chrysoeriol glycoside.4-seco-3-noroleanenol. as well as in Futuna. the leaves are used to make a lotion for body rashes. English Name : wax plant.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 99 Hoya australis R. australinols. Occurs naturally from Queensland Australia into the South Pacific as far east as Tonga and northwards to Samoa. In Samoa. Common as a vine or epiphyte in beach thickets. Leaves opposite.5. Constituents1-6. nyctanthic acid derivatives.8. draubibi. Habitat. Fruit a thin cylindric follicle up to 15 cm long containing numerous plumed seeds. bulibuli sivaro. An infusion of the leaves is applied as a lotion and taken internally for skin inflammations.

molluscicidal. and waste places. borne in dense cyme-like clusters arising from spike-like inflorescences 30-60 cm long. pubescent. Hyptis pectinata (L. road and trailsides. Traditional Uses 1. Distribution. p -cymene. gamma-terpinene. oregano Description. strongly zygomorphic. Perennial. Leaves have wound-healing qualities and are especially useful in treating cuts in the case of diabetics. erect aromatic herb to small shrub up to 4 m high with distinct. 1 to 2. Habitat. thymol (more than 60%).) Poit. ursolic acid. 4-angled stems. damoli (Fiji). hyptolide (a lactone).5 to 7 cm long. essential oils. alpha-thujene. Constituents1. leaves are also used to treat cough. A widespread weed native to the tropical Americas. In Fiji.2. mycrene. Fruit a nutlet. Lamiaceae Local Names : wavuwavu. 1. Leaves opposite. Biological Activity3-5.5 cm wide. chest pains and painful breathing.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 101 Hyptis pectinata (L. Monoterpenes. Flowers and fruits throughout the year. it has been accidentally introduced to many South Pacific islands. .) Poit. Cytotoxic. pastures. tulsia (Indo-Fijian).6. English Names : mint weed. the blade ovate to nearly triangular with serrate margins. haemostatic. plantations. it is considered a noxious weed and its introduction to islands where it does not occur should be discouraged. tamoli ni vavalagi. petiolate. A common weed of cultivated land. Flowers small. white or pink tinged. antibacterial.

Fruit a yellowish kidney-shaped drupe up to 10 cm long containing a single edible starchy seed. The plant is also said to stop internal bleeding. A decoction of the bark is used in treating scabies and the root is used to treat stomachache. English Name : tahitian chestnut. fragrant. along rivers. borne in axillary spikes. leathery. Biological Activity. Constituents 1. short-petiolate. and diarrhoea in infants. ihi (Marquesas Islands). . None reported. Traditional Uses 1-3. Habitat. Lipids (seeds). Also cultivated for its edible seeds. Large tree to 30 m tall with conspicuous fluted and butressed trunk on mature trees. In the Cook Islands. Common in coastal forests. margins of swampy places. Weakness after childbirth and fish poisoning are treated with the fluid from the leaves. In Fiji. ailali (Solomon Islands). Leaves alternate. Tongans use an infusion of the bark to treat burns. Flowers white. elliptical to oblong. Samoans use the wood and the leaves to treat wounds. up to 30 cm long. relatively small. ividamu. but probably an introduction from Malaysia where it is also common. ivi (Fiji). Widespread in the South Pacific. mape (Tahiti). Description. ivisere. and even dry forest. extracts from heated bark scrapings are used in a treatment for pneumonia. i’i (Cook Islands). The bark is used to treat sickness relapses.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 103 Inocarpus fagifer (Parkinson) Fosb. liquid from the stem is used to treat pain in the bones. Fabaceae Local Names : ifi (Samoa. Tonga. an infusion of the bark is given to infants with teething problems. Futuna and Niue). Inocarpus fagifer (Parkinson) Fosb. Distribution. In the Solomon Islands. The dried inner bark mixed with coconut oil is applied to bone fractures.

Common climbing over low vegetation along roadsides. Fruit a subglobose capsule about 1 cm in diameter. disturbed forests. The roots of many species of Ipomoea contain a resin consisting of glucosides and other compounds. Description. especially coastal areas. trumpet-shaped. Constituents. wavulavula (Fiji). Distribution. Flowers and fruit usually available throughout the year. borne in small axillary clusters. Ipomoea indica (Burm. longpetiolate. lauivi. Leaves alternate. waste places and gardens. forest margins. Herbaceous twining sprawling vine. Convolvulaceae Local Names : lawere. The plant is used as a laxative in Tonga and Fiji.) Merr. A paste made from the roots is applied as a poultice to backaches and sore muscles. Biological Activity.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 105 Ipomoea indica (Burm. English Name : morning-glory. white to purple or blue. Flowers large and showy. Traditional Uses 1. lauwere. . Widespread throughout the tropics. fue’ae puaka (Tonga). up to 17 cm long.) Merr. None reported. cordate with acuminate apex and rounded base. Habitat. usually with 4 large smooth brown seeds. and this contributes to the cathartic effects of the plant.

Constituents1. . in three ranks. Used for the same purposes as Kyllinga nemoralis. Description. Kyllinga brevifolia Rottb. Perennial sedge arising from a thin creeping rhizome bearing three-angled stems up to 30 cm high. Distribution. English Name : kyllinga. Widely distributed throughout the tropics and common throughout in the South Pacific. disturbed places such as pastures. Cyperaceae Local Names : tuise (Samoa). cane fields. Anti-inflammatory.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 107 Kyllinga brevifolia Rottb. from near sea -level up to over 1000 m elevation. about the same length as stems. borne in a terminal white globose head (occasionally two smaller lateral heads may also be present) up to 8 mm in diameter. subtended by three spreading leaf-like bracts up to 15 cm long. Common in damp. Fruit a minute achene up to 1. stream sides. mo’u upo’o (Tahiti). Traditional Uses 2. pakopako (Tonga). Flowers and fruit usually available throughout the year. Flowers minute.5 mm long. Okanin and vitexin. etc. Leaves basal. long-linear (grass-like). Habitat. Used for liver disease. Biological Activity.

roadsides. Common along beaches. longlinear (grass-like). trails. Habitat. Kyllinga nemoralis (Forster) Dandy . English Name : kyllinga. Leaves basal.5 mm long. Flowers minute. and relatively soft. In Tahiti. Constituents. forest margins. Widespread throughout the South Pacific and tropics worldwide. gardens and disturbed places from near sea-level to over 850 m elevation. pastures. Flowers and fruit usually available throughout the year. Biological Activity1. Distribution. pakopako (Tonga). Traditional Uses 1. subtended by three or sometimes four spreading leaf-like bracts up to 30 cm long. usually shorter than stems. up to 1.2. mo’u upo’o (Tahiti). Description. No published data.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 109 Kyllinga nemoralis (Forster) Dandy Cyperaceae Local Names : tuise (Samoa). Fruit a tiny achene. the plant is used in remedies for treating sprains and contusions. borne in a terminal solitary white globose head. The rhizome of the plant has anti-inflammatory properties. Loosely tufted perennial sedge from a long creeping rhizome bearing three-angled stems up to 45 cm high.

tapioka. neolinustatin. In Fiji. In Fiji.8. In New Guinea. sokobale. iso-linamarin. manioc Description. unisexual. noumea. the stem is folded and rubbed across the eyes of people suffering from glaucoma. Cultivated. long-petiolate. tapioke. toxic (whole plant). is thought to prolong life. Fruit a dehiscent capsule containing numerous small seeds. Constituents1-4. ent-kaurene. linamarin. Habitat. belaselika. antifertility.6.7. antihyperlipemic. antibacterial. vula tolu. Native to tropical America. Flowers and fruits available year round. Manihot esculenta Crantz . cassava (Samoa). sakarkanda (Indo-Fijian). methyl linamarin. kasera. cellular respiration inhibition. Antifungal. hydrogen sulphide. yabia ni vavalagi. quercetin glycoside. the Indians use the juice of the grated tubers to treat constipation and indigestion. The bark of the plant. mostly borne on the upper part of the stem. antihypercholesterolemic. English Name: tapioca. Now cultivated in most tropical areas including many Pacific islands. latex also present. borne in terminal panicles. yabia. katafaga. Flowers small. maniota. kasaleka. Amentoflavone. Diarrhoea is treated by eating the boiled tubers. hyperglycemic. ent-pimara-8(14)-15-diene.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 111 Manihot esculenta Crantz Euphorbiaceae Local Names : tavioka. yabia damu. podocarpusflavone. Traditional Uses 1. mutagenic. manioke. stachene and yucalexins. lotaustralin. the fresh tubers are grated and used as a poultice on sores and boils. Shrub to 3 m high with conspicuous raised leaf scars on stems and elongated tuberous roots. yabia vula (Fiji). the leaves are heated and rubbed across sore eyes. Biological Activity5. aikavitu. together with that of Cordyline terminalis. juvenile hormone activity. The leaves are infused in the bath water to treat influenza/flu and fever. merelesita. antiviral. coci. deeply palmately divided. Distribution. oxalic acid. In India. hydrocyanic acid. Leaves alternate.

the fruit up to 1 cm long. 5 -parted.6. Malaysia.) Seemann Rutaceae Local Names : talafalu (Samoa). minumicrolin. pinnately compound with 7-12 unequal-sided leaflets. Description.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 113 Micromelum minutum (Forster f. dry or open forest. qiqila. Samoans use the plant to cure headache. In Fiji. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. sasaqila. takapalu (Niue). micropubescin. Common in thickets. phebalosin. Distribution. Leaves alternate. dihydromicromelin A. micromelunin. scopoletin. imperatorin. Queensland. and rocky coasts. disturbed areas. takafalu (Tonga. molakwaena. fragrant. Traditional Uses 5. Fluid from the bark is used to treat headaches and sore throats. Shrub or small (compact) slender tree to 15 m high. micromelin. Biological Activity4. butyl-7-methoxyflindersine. aifao (Solomon Islands). cytotoxic (coumarins). Fruit an elongated red drupe with small punctate dots (glands) on the surface. microminutinin. Part of the plant is used to treat swellings. dense.) Seemann . Angelical. limettin. bad breath and haemorrhoids. microminutin. each with a short petiole. the entire leaf up to 50 cm long. aifali. Micromelum minutum (Forster f. Habitat. borne in many-flowered terminal or axillary panicles. Futuna). Smooth muscle relaxant. and murrangatin derivatives. Australia and eastward into the South Pacific terminating in Tonga and Samoa. Flowers white. juice from the leaves is used to treat white scum on the tongue. Constituents1-3. sawaqa (Fiji). Tongans use an infusion of the leaves to treat toothache and teething problems in babies. murralongin. An infusion of the bark is ingested to cure stomachache.

To treat gastritis. Antimicrobial. insect bites and various skin irritations. Native to tropical America but widely distributed throughout the South Pacific and into Indo-malesia and tropical Asia. English Name : mile-a-minute. Perennial scrambling or climbing vine. Fruit a small achene with white bristles which aid in wind dispersal of the seeds. Habitat. Mikania micrantha HBK. cordate to triangular with a broad cordate base.4. essential oils. beta-sitosterol. Description.g. and tree crops. Flowers minute. wa bosucu. white or cream coloured. feu saina (Samoa). ( )-kaur-16-en19-oic acid. Asteraceae Local Names : fou laina (Niue). fences. secondary forests. Twenty-seven terpenoid constituents. Traditional Use1. taraxasterol. Flowers and fruit avalable throughout the year.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 115 Mikania micrantha HBK. Distribution. “sunflower”). forest edges and clearings. stigmasterol. (-)-kauren-16-beta-ol. A common weed of pastures. borne in small densely packed heads which superficially resemble a single larger flower (e. anticancer. . the blade up to 19 cm long. roadsides. coumarin. Constituents1-3. To stop bleeding. petiolate. Biological Activity1. wa butako (Fiji). Leaves opposite.

English Name: sensitive plant. Mimosa pudica L. anti-implantation.5 m tall. lajwania. syphilis. Semi-prostrate. gentisic acid. Habitat. antibacterial. the leaves together with the leaves from other plants are used in treating haemorrhoids and urinary infections. (Fiji). Mimosaceae lajwanti. jasmonic acid and D-panitol. Diuretic. Common in disturbed open places. in Fiji. anti-inflammatory. Fruit a flat. Distribution. hairy legume (pod) breaking into 2-4 one-seeded segments. borne on globose heads. antiviral. especially roadsides. antihyperglycemic. The IndoFijians use this plant to treat dysentery. norepinephrine.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 117 Mimosa pudica L. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Constitutents1-3. lajalu Description. depilatory. veneral disease. cultivated land. and waste areas. Biological Activity3-5. nervousness and piles. fever. Traditional Uses 1-3. insomnia. Leaves alternate. but now a widespread weed in many tropical countries including most South Pacific Islands. Flowers pink with several stamens up to 8 mm long. antispasmodic. Originally from America. . Local Names : cogadrogadro (Indo-Fijian). leprosy. bipinnately compound which fold up when disturbed. prickly course herb or subshrub up to 0. insect bite. Amino acid (mimosine). A decoction of the roots is also used in treating urinary infections. stomach worms.

momordicines I and II. hypoglycemic. taraxerol. momordicosides. stigmastadien-3-beta-ol and glucoside. tubular. carotenoids. antispermatogenic. Antimutagenic. abortifacient. to treat stomach worms. Climbing or scrambling herbaceous vine with tendrils. spinasterol. 24-methylenecycloartenol. . insecticidal. antilipolytic. phenyl propanoids. Flowers unisexual. The fruit from this species is edible when cooked. Traditional Uses 7. moderate-sized. and lowland forst margins. mycose. meleni (Melega) saga (Samoa). Description. antiprotozoan. Fruit used to treat leprosy and malignant ulcers. dysentery and diabetes. Habitat. hypertension. petiolate. fever and phlegm. balsam pear. English Names : bitter gourd. antibacterial.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 119 Momordica charantia L. along creeks and streams. B. cytotoxic. Distribution. thiocyanogen. cycloeucalenol. Common in coastal thickets. stigmasterol. hyperglycemic. antifertility and spermicidal. the blade with 5-7 deep palmate lobes and quite variable in size. Leaves alternate. lophenol. Widely distributed in the South Pacific and throughout the tropics and subtropics of Indo-malesia and the rest of Asia. cucurbitane triterpenoids. Momordica charantia L. momorcharaside A. Constituents1-3. antitumour. Biological Activity4-6. Also occasionally cultivated. Fruit a pepo with black seeds embedded in a reddish pulp. balsam apple. 5-lobed. diosgenin. Fruits and flowers throughout the year. CNS -depressent. steroidal glucoside. Vicine. pale yellow to orangish. antihyperglycemic. anthelmintic. Cucurbitaceae Local Names : karela (Indo-Fijian). squalene (seed essential oil).

dilo-K (Solomon Islands) English Name : indian mulberry. haemorrhoids. An infusion of the root bark is used to treat skin diseases. diabetes. nonu (Tonga. Liquid pressed from young fruit is snuffed into each nostril to treat bad breath and raspy voice. In New Guinea. hernia or swollen testicles. Shrub or compacted to twisted small tree up to 8 m high with square stems and large stipules between nodes and petioles. Distribution. up to 15 mm long. juicy. filariasis. It is also used in the treatment of mouth ulcers. Tahitians use the plant to treat tonsillitis. the flowers borne on a globose syncarp. The leaves are used to treat sties. Also used to treat sores on the feet.6. Polynesians apply the leaves to cuts. Morinda citrifolia L. petiolate. at first green but becoming white. Niue. An infusion of the root is used in treating urinary disorders and young fruits are used to treat high blood pressure. hypotensive. nono (Tahiti. In Fiji. Futuna. flavonoids. Uterine muscle relaxant. ursolic acid. The root is crushed and mixed with oil and is used as a smallpox salve. caprylic acid. headaches. ulcerated sores on the feet are treated with remedies made from the fruit. and wet areas. caproic acid. roadsides.5.7. and tuberculosis. anthraquinones and their glycosides. 15-35 cm long. Tuvalu). In Samoa. Alizarin. pain caused by barb of poisonous fish. Traditional use1. Common along the coast on beaches. fever. Fruit a large fleshy syncarp up to 15 cm long. ringworm. asperuloside. hexanoic and octanoic acids. Rubiaceae Local Names : kura (Fiji). swellings below the tongue and inflammations of fingers and toes. Widely distributed throughout the South Pacific. glossy. in beach thickets. and rheumatism. intestinal worms. childbirth. the crushed fruit is used in treating sore throat and toothache. In Tonga. Description. The bark is used in a treatment to aid childbirth. diarrhoea and dysentery. Leaves opposite. Cook Islands). Biological activity3. Flowers white. In Micronesia. infusion of the bark/leaves is used to treat stomachache. abdominal swellings. with a tubular corolla and 5 spreading lobes. boils. mostly ovate. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. the root is rubbed onto centipede bites. noni (Marquesas Islands). te non (Kiribati). removal of a splinter. analgesic. morindin. To treat swellings. burns. rocky shores. leprosy. abscesses and inflammations. Tokelau.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 121 Morinda citrifolia L. antiascariasis. morindone. beta-sitosterol. Tonga and Futuna. and pungent when mature. rubiadin. Constituents1-4. Samoa. Habitat. antibacterial. creeks. the leaves are used as a poultice for broken bones and sprains. .

English Name Musaceae : jaina. Laos and Viet Nam. Constituents1. alpha. unisexual.5 m long). borne on a terminal inflorescence which arises from the centre of the pseudostem. ascorbic acid. Biological Activity. jaina leka. Habitat. iron. and C. relatively large (ca 1. riboflavin. and vitamins A. Tumour promotion inhibition (fresh fruit). Herb with pseudostems up to 2 m high arising from fleshy corms. proteins. vudi. The roots are used to treat convulsions. Painful urination is treated with juice from the leaves. Probably native to Cambodia. vudi ni vavalagi : chinese or dwarf cavendish banana.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 123 Musa nana Lour. . Description. Serotonin.and delta-tocopherol. and the pith of the suckers is used to treat burns. and dysentery is treated with the leaves. Traditional Uses 1. In Fiji. petiolate. together with the leaves of some other species. carbohydrates. The leaves. Flowers strongly zygomorphic. Fruit a slightly shortened banana (moderately long yellow berry with fleshy mesocarp and seedless). and now widely cultivated in the tropics. Leaves spirally arranged with overlapping bases that form a pseudostem. norepinephrine. Distribution. are used to treat navel pains and filaria fever in males. Cultivated only. veimama. a decoction of the leaves is drunk to treat consumption. Musa nana Lour.3. the banana peel contains beta-carotene. The stem is used to treat swellings of the armpit and groin and to treat haemorrhoids. Local Names (Fiji).B. niacin.

rheumatic aches. betasitosterol glucoside. an infusion of the leaves or bark is applied as a poultice where children’s skin becomes black. Description. Moore Rubiaceae Local Names : bovo. toothache. Distribution. vobo. secondary forests. open ridges from sea-level to mid-montane. Traditional Uses 2. vara. Leaves opposite. ferulic acid.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 125 Mussaenda raiateensis J. Habitat. ovate. monomono’ahina (Tonga). severe pain (during pregnancy). Flowers tubular. an infusion of the bark is given to infants who are ill or undernourished especially when breastfed by the mother who is pregnant again. 8-25 cm long and hairy. bovu. rutin. Indigenous and common from Vanuatu eastwads to the Society Islands. In Samoa. Common in forest clearings. Mussaenda raiateensis J. oligosaccharides. In Fiji. W. aloalo vao (Samoa). vakacaredavu (Fiji). foafoa (Futuna). and liver trouble. Fruit a green berry up to 20 mm long. To improve fertility and to relieve vaginal pain. Quercetin. the leaves are used in a remedy for treating hernia. Biological Activity. Constituents1. bobo. hyperin. The liquid from the stem bark is drunk for sharp pain in the eye sockets (especially during pregnancy). beginning from the buttocks. The Fijians use the bark in the treatment of the cancer of the uterus and to treat high fever. subtended by 1 white or yellowish conspicuous leaf-like sepal. sore throat. To treat respiratory illness. In Tonga. Moore . shortpetiolate. Shrub to small tree up to 10 m tall. the flowers borne in dense terminal clusters. sinapic acid. diarrhoea. saponin. None reported. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. usually yellowishorange. W.



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



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.,



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

Common stem to 5 cm long. Distribution. tracks. In the Cook Islands. ovate. Constituents. Used as a purgative for infants in Tahiti. ti’apito. including scrub. narrow. Ophioglossaceae Local Names : ti’apito.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 133 Ophioglossum petiolatum Hook. Biological Activity. up to 2. with cuneate base and acute apex. English Name : adder’s-tongue fern. Ranges from South-East Asia through Indo-malesia eastward through the Pacific into the Society Islands. fertile frond to 10 cm long. No published data. Description. Forest margins.5 cm long. spike-like with sporangia confined to upper 1-4 cm of frond. the plant is used to treat a baby’s septic umbilicus. and lawns. grasslands. open areas. . Ophioglossum petiolatum Hook. rau ta’i (Cook Islands). No published data. Traditional Uses 1. pito (Tahiti). sterile frond short-petiolated. Habitat. It is a panacea with healing values for a wide range of illnesses. Terrestrial fern with a subglobose rhizome bearing one to several d imorphic fronds (both sterile and fertile). Fertile period unknown.

15-tetramethyl-2-hexadecene-1-ol). 2-heptenal. Fruit a subcylindrical capsule up to 20 cm long containing numerous tiny black seeds. Glyoxylic acid. diarrhoea and dysentery. Constituents1-3. saturated (C10-C14) acids. roadsides. amrul. etc. amrulsak (IndoFijian). 18:2. smooth muscle relaxant.7. it is used to treat wounds and sores and swellings beneath the tongue. vitexin and isovitexin. alphaand betatocopherols.8. 18:3. . but probably an early. In Tahiti. pyruvic acid. The juice from the leaves is applied to open wounds. Oxalidaceae Local Names : totowiwi. kihikihi (Niue. Description. unintentional. neutral lipids. matakorukoru (Fiji). uterine relaxant. 2-pentylfuran. pa’ihi. It is also used as a remedy for thrush. an infusion of the leaves is used to cure convulsions in infants. 5-merous. lawns. patoa. Hypoglycemic. In New Guinea. each leaflet up to 2 cm long. the plant is used as a remedy for convulsions in children and for healing fractured bones. In Tonga. oxalic acid.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 135 Oxalis corniculata L. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. CNS-stimulant. Oxalis corniculata L. Common in damp shady places. ’i’i (Samoa). plantations. vitamin C. phospholipids. The crushed leaves are used to treat children with mouth infections as well as to treat infected navels of babies. aboriginal introduction into the Pacific. borne in axillary few-flowered inflorescences. Leaves alternate. pa’i’i (Austral Islands). Tonga). English Name : wood sorrel or yellow sorrel. koki’i (Cook Islands). vitexin-2-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside. antipsychotic. 16:0. the plant is used to treat burns. fatty acids. trifoliate (clover-like in appearance). antihypertensive. Ground leaves are also used in treating dizziness. An infusion of the leaves is used to treat induration of the breasts. Flowers yellow. Habitat.7. The ground leaves are eaten as a chutney to help purify the blood. inotropic effect. Traditional Uses 4. The crushed leaves are also applied to the heads of babies having symptoms thought to be caused by the delayed closing of their fontanelles. Distribution. glycolipids. chronotropic effect.11. Biological Activity4-6. pastures. trans-phyto(3. Cook Islanders use the leaves to treat body pains and internal bleeding. Cosmopolitan. antiyeast. wounds and body sores. and watery vaginal discharges. ’ava’ava (Tahiti). pakihi (Marquesas Islands). the leaflets obcordate with a conspicuous notched apex. In Fiji. Small creeping perennial herb which forms roots at nodes. long-petiolate.

odoratissimus are widely distributed throughout islands and continental coasts of the Pacific and Indian oceans. A filtrate of the aerial roots is used to treat asthma and back pains. balawa (Fiji). but similar species such as P. Flowers unisexual and borne in large male or female heads.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 137 Pandanus pyriformis (Martelli) St. Leaves spiralled and confined to apices of stems and branches. dipentene. Traditional Uses 1. each up to 8 cm long and containing a single seed. Distribution.2. phenylethyl acetate. later breaking into numerous smaller orange-red pyriform fruits (phalanges). John Local Names : vadra. (+)-linalool. None reported. John . Habitat. Liquid from the aerial roots and inner bark is used to treat heart attacks. diarrhoea is treated with a tea made from the leaves. Pandanaceae Description. Constituents1. long (to 180 cm) and linear with sharp-toothed margins. In Fiji. Internal fractures are treated with the juice from the root and bark. Simple to sparsely branched palm-like tree with conspicuous prop and aerial roots up to 12 m high. Biological Activity. Fruit a syncarp (many fruits fused together) up to or exceeding 25 cm in diameter. Pandanus pyriformis (Martelli) St. citral. The root is used in a treatment for fish poisoning. Common in coastal areas especially along beaches and among lowland vegetation from near sea-level to 400 m elevation. Endemic to Fiji. and an ester of phthalic acid. The volatile oil of the male flowers contain methyl betaphenylethyl ether. phenylethyl alcohol.

Beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol. Traditional Uses 5. Habitats. Fatty acids: linolenic acid. pressed from the leaves and stem. Alkaloid harmane. is used to improve fertility in women. English Name : wild passion fruit. C-glycosides of apigenin and luteolin. vaini (Fiji). phenolic compounds (anthocyanins. Fruit a small fleshy yellow to orange round berry. the blade 3 -lobed. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Fluid. Leaves alternate. Passiflora foetida (L. agricultural fields and coastal woodlands from sea-level to 200 m. Flavonoids. Climbing and scrambling vine with tendrils and hairy stems and leaves. hispida (DC. hispida (DC. galactose and sucrose. 5 Hydroxytryptamine.) Killip . each flower being subtended by deeply dissected reddish bracts which enclose the fruit when mature. the fused sepals bluishwhite.) var.) var. Flowers passiflorid. petiolate. Glucose. Biological Activity4. cinnamic acid derivatives) and lipids. forest margins.) Killip Local Names : poniu. Insect feeding deterrent (leaves).MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 139 Passiflora foetida (L. Distribution. linoleic acid. petals white. Passifloraceae Description. Constituents1-3. with irregular toothed margins. Common along roadsides. Native to tropical Americas and now widely distributed and naturalized throughout the South Pacific and other tropical areas.

Fronds thin. An infusion of the leaves may also be given to treat postpartum depression. Fish poisoning is treated with an infusion of the stem. The leaves are pounded and mixed with immature coconut meat and used as a poultice to treat arthritis. Triterpenoids [22(29)-hopene. The roots with parts of other plants may be used to relieve nasal congestion.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 141 Phymatosorus scolopendria Burm. Local Names : kadakada. fatty acids. the plant is heated over a fire and the smoke given off is inhaled to relieve catarrh. 8-fernene. vativati (Fiji). Australia and into the Pacific. In New Guinea. Constituents1. 7-fernene]. creeping dark brown to black rhizomes. arranged in one or two rows. sore or abscess lotions. the frond is used in treatments for headache and catarrh of the stomach. Distribution. Phymatosorus scolopendria Burm.5 cm of the midrib. In Fiji. the stipes up to 25 cm long. 9(11)-fernene. Common on trees or rocks in all forest types from sea-level to over 1000 m elevation. raised above on opposite surface (adaxial). In Samoa. each lobe within 1. The pounded leaves may be mixed with coconut oil and used as a massage to induce postnatal discharge. Habitat. the entire frond up to 30 cm long and 30 cm wide. It is also used as a purge. Such an infusion is also given to aid in postnatal discharge. the juice of the leaves is taken to treat stomachache. lau Description. Epiphytic fern with a long. Sori roundish. Biological Activity. Traditional Uses 1-4. In Tonga. An infusion of the leaves and roots together with parts of some other plants is taken to strengthen women after childbirth. Polypodiaceae laufale (Tonga). shallowly sunken. the crushed rhizomes are used in a treatment for serious internal ailments including fistula. C and 31 C33 alkanes. maga maga (Samoa). swollen breasts during breast feeding and boils. None reported. maire (Cook Islands). each row parallel to the midrib of each lobe. with 1-4 pairs of lobes. Native and widespread from tropical Africa through Asia. The frond is also used in wound. In the Cook Islands. 13(18)hopene. an infusion of the leaves or bark is used to treat filariasis in infants. and sterols. . 17(21)-hopene. waxes. The pounded leaves are applied to boils.

wild tomato. acetylcholine. Annual hairy herb to 1 m high with hollow stems. roadsides. Also found on dry slopes and along creeks. lymphocyte. Flowers pale yellow or whitish. petiolate. funiferine. . Biological Activity5-7. with irregular sparsely-toothed margins. Local Names English Names Solanaceae : cevucevu (Fiji). withanolides. polo pa (Tonga). immunosuppressant. physangulide. cytotoxic. Vitasteroids. Native to the Americas and now widely naturalized on Pacific islands and in other tropical areas. agricultural fields. To facilitate childbirth. blastogenesis stimulant. Anti-inflammatory. Fruit and flowers available throughout the year. selenium. ovate to oblong-lanceolate. protein synthesis inhibition. about 3 cm broad. vamonolide. hypotensive. phenyl propanoids. solitary and pedicilate in leaf axils. plantations.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 143 Physalis angulata L. the blade 5-10 cm long and 2-8 cm broad. antibody formation enhancement. Constituents1-4. and steroidal lactones. : cape gooseberry. 5-parted. Description. Traditional Uses 1. anticoagulant. beta-sitosterol.8. villages. copper. phygrine. ayanin (flavonoid). antibacterial. antiviral. secondary forest margins. antitumour. Common weed of waste places. with rounded base and an acuminate apex. to treat infertility in women and dengue fever. physalins. Fruit a green to yellowish globose berry up to 12 mm broad with numerous small seeds. Leaves alternate. physagulins. 14-alpha hydroxyixocarpanolide. gardens. vitanolides. Physalis angulata L. glycoalkaloids. zinc. Habitat. Distribution.

2. ’ava (Samoa. CNS stimulant. Woody aromatic shrub to 4 m high. In Fiji. antiyeast and dermatitic.g. Kava is used to treat urinary tract diseases as well as to treat venereal infections. In Samoa. up 30 cm long with palmate veins and cordate base. uterine relaxant. dihydro-methysticin). the leaves are chewed as a treatment for bronchitis. Probably native to Melanesia (e. antifatigue. Vanuatu). Southern Marquesas Islands). bronchitis and gonorrhoea. Leaves alternate. the root bark scrapings are chewed to soothe sore throats and toothaches. flavokawains. insect stings and stings from poisonous fish. methysticin. The black stem is used to prepare various medicines and the plant is also used in treating filariasis which is caused by intestinal parasites.2. In Tahiti. heart-shaped. euphoriant.5. alkaloids (pipermethysticine and cepharadione A). an intoxicating drink popular in Tonga. Fruit not known. Several alpha-pyrone derivatives (e. CNS depressant. the leaves are rubbed onto centipede bites.g. campesterol.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 145 Piper methysticum Forster f. Biological Activity1. backache and inflammations.5. petiolate. antipsychotic. antianxiety. Tahiti. Habitat. Piper methysticum Forster f. Cook Islands). In New Guinea. serotonin antagonist. antimycobacterial. cholesterol. stigmasterol.6. Northern Marquesas Islands. kava (Tonga. borne in erect greenish-white spikes up to 6 cm long. often with green zig-zag stems bearing conspicuous enlarged nodes. antischemic. anticonvulsant. e ach spike arising from an axil opposite a leaf. antifungal. the shrub is used in treatments for stomachache. Niue. Flowers minute. Piperaceae Local Names : yaqona (Fiji). The branches are used in a remedy for sore throats. kawain. The shrub is the source of yaqona (kava). analgesic. Constituents1-4. Futuna. dihydrokawain. Distribution. In New Caledonia. . In Tonga.7. and widely distributed by Pacific islands peoples throughout Melanesia and Polynesia except for New Zealand. beta-sitosterol. Commonly cultivated in native gardens and damp areas such as near streams from near sea-level to 800 m elevation. the plant was used to treat rheumatism. An infusion of the leaves is spread onto a certain type of inflammation and is used to treat watery vaginal discharges. Description. psychotropic. Traditional Uses 1. convulsions and stiffness in children are treated with liquid pressed from the leaves. Fiji and other Pacific Islands. yangonin.

Habitat. Similar taxa occur on other islands in the South Pacific. Swelling of the testicles originating through a cold. In Fiji.2. Traditional Uses 3. glabrum A.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 147 Piper puberulum (Benth. liquid from the leaves is used to treat influenza. Fruiting spikes are aggregates of red fleshy druplets.4. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Tonga. especially after childbirth. Juice of the leaves is used to treat toothache. the blade ovate to cordate up to 20 cm long with palmate veins. Niue and other Western Melanesian islands. Leaves alternate. An infusion of the bark is used to treat fever. Piper puberulum (Benth. forest margins. Convulsions in children are treated with a preparation made from the leaves and stems. along streams. The leaves are crushed with coconut oil to give a paste used to treat peeling skin and scabies. The leaves are pounded and applied to boils. unisexual. Flowers minute.C. plantations and waste areas from sea-level to over 1000 m elevation.] Local Names : yaqoyaqona (Fiji). kavakava’uli (Tonga). ex Seemann Piperaceae var. Very common in disturbed forests. Distribution. and swollen breasts. Samoa. Description. are treated with the leaves of the plant. each with a single small seed. an infusion of the inner bark is drunk to treat inflammation. Piperine S. Constituents1.) Benth. Platelet activating factor for receptor antagonists (neolignans). beach thickets. borne in erect greenish-white spikes as long or longer than the leaves (up to 25 cm long). petiolate and subtended by conspicuous stipules. piperlactam S. In Tonga. neolignans (puberulins A. Smith [syn.) Benth. Macropiper puberulum Benth. a decoction of the leaves is taken as a tonic after childbirth and is also used to treat blood in the stool. B and C) Biological Activity2. ex Seemann . Shrub to 4 m tall with soft wood. In Samoa. Fiji.

Fruit a papery. kidney stone dissolution. antibacterial. stigmasterol. Hypotensive. plantamajoside. smoking deterrent. Traditional Uses 6. oestrogenic and anti-inflammatory. luteolin. The seed of the plant is used to treat constipation. campesterol. aucubin and its glucoside. Flowers minute. Used in Tonga to treat cuts and wounds. plantaglucide. neochlorogenic acid. fructose. Native to Europe but has been naturalized in tropical to temperate regions worldwide. the blades ovate to rounded 6 -17 cm long. parallel-veined. plantarenaloside. ovoid capsule about 3mm long containing several very small black seeds. oestrogenic. planteose. arising from a single basal rosette. sucrose.4-dihydroxy ethyl and methyl cinnamates. carcinogenesis inhibition. Distribution. melitoside. Plantago major L. . tyrosol.amyrins. majoroside. antiviral. wound healing acceleration. disturbed and waste areas from sea-level to 1000 m elevation.pyroside. apigenin. Local Names English Name Plantaginaceae : filo (Tonga) : common plantain. Leaves petiolate. beta sitosterol. borne on narrow spikes up to 25 cm long arising from the base of the rosette. Constituents1-4. fumaric acid. ascorbic acid. 3. Habitat. Alpha.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 149 Plantago major L. phylloquinone. glucose. loliolide. greenish.5. Description. vanillic acid. antigiardiasis. asperuloside. gentisic acid. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year.and beta. progestagenic. diuretic. benzoic acid. Introduced accidentally to the Pacific by either Pacific Islanders or early Europeans. syringic acid. baicalein. Biological Activity4. melam. plantagonine. broad-leaved plantain. Common naturalized weed occurring in lawns. vitamin A. indicaine. caffeic acid. catalpol. para-coumaric acid. caffeoylrhamnose. salicyllic acid. Perennial stemless herb to 10 cm high. nepetin. parahydroxybenzoic acid. hispidulin.ixoroside. cytotoxic. scutellarein. cinnamic acid. ferulic acid. caffeoylglucose. lipids. chlorogenic acid. antitumour.

In the Cook Islands. uterine stimulant. methyl cinnamate. phenethyl alcohol. In Samoa. The antibiotic. Plumieride. bornesitol. benzoquinone derivatives. Flowers showy. benzaldehyde. red or maroon in colour. benzoic acid and its methyl ester. acetoin. antiyeast. syringic acid. Traditional Uses 1. analgesic. each flower borne in a terminal cyme. plumeric acid and its methyl ester. plumerinine. goburchampa (Indo-Fijian). rubrinol. quercetin. Constituents1-3. fragrant. delta-cadinene. 5-petalled. alkanes. olean-12-en-3alpha-27-diol. Commonly cultivated as an ornamental tree and occasionally naturalized. and farnesol. beta-farnesene. white. antiviral. benzyl benzoate.6. betaionol. kaempferol. tipani (Cook Islands). oleanolic acid. Habitat.5. present in the plant inhibits the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. lipids. Deciduous freely branching tree to 7 m high with thick branches and latex. The sap is also used to treat stings of wasps and bees.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 151 Plumeria rubra L. Flowers often available throughout the year. Native to tropical America. pink. Biological Activity1. anticlastogenic and hypoglycemic. fulvoplumierin. up to 5 cm broad. melilotic acid. plumeruboside. trans-farnesol. blades oblong.4. Distribution. vanillic acid. beta-phenylethanol. antifungal. as well as centipede bites. antibacterial. trans. Fruit a paired follicle up to 15 long containing numerous winged seeds. but now widely cultivated throughout the tropics. cycloart-22-en-3-alpha-25-diol. alternate. In Fiji. clustered at apices of stems. a decoction of the scraped bark is used to treat scabies. para-coumaric acid. the plant is used in treating conjunctivitis. yellow. Local Names : bua. Description. bua ni vavalagi. lupeol. acetic acid. . antitumour. Leaves petiolate. benzyl cyanide. phenylacetaldehyde. monoterpenes. taraxasterol acetate benzyl alcohol. Plumeria rubra L. benzyl salicylate. up to 35 cm long. antispasmodic. stigmasterol. lignan. isoamyl salicylate. Apocynaceae frangipani (Fiji). the sap or the scraped bark is used to treat a wound from the sting of a stonefish.

Common in swamps. up to 20 cm long and 5 cm wide. borne in terminal spikelike clusters. None reported. Flowers and fruit available from April through October. It is also used to treat gonorrhea in Tahiti and in the Cook Islands Polygonum dichrotomum Blume . Leaves alternate. Tahiti. Austral Islands) Description. but probably an unintentional introduction into the Pacific. sometimes longer. and to treat urinary tract infections in Tahiti. Distribution. shallow water of lakes and ponds. Used in remedies for neuralgia. blades lanceolate to lanceolate-ovate. Constituents. 2-3 mm long. 3-angled. brown. Fruit small. Biological Activity. None reported. with 5 petals. Perennial sprawling herb with rooting lower nodes and ascending branches to 1 m tall.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 153 Polygonum dichrotomum Blume Polygonaceae Local Names : tamore (Cook Islands. Widely distributed from India to Tahiti. Traditional Uses 1. and moist open areas from sea-level to montane lake shores above 800 m elevation. with a thin membranous sheath surrounding each node where the petiole attaches. petiolate. Habitat. Flowers white to pink.



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



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



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.

tuava (Tahiti. oleanolic acid. stomachache and dysentery. new mothers are bathed in a warm infusion of guava leaves. arjunolic acid. kuava (Tonga). petals whitish and up to 2 cm long. The fruit is eaten to cure constipation. quercetin.7. spasmogenic. cytotoxic. English Name : guava. Shrub or small tree to 10 m high with thin. The leaves are pounded. Constituents1-5. Tahitians use the plant in a treatment for a skin tonic. antiinflammatory. procyanidins. vi papalagi (Futuna). the shoots are made into a paste and applied to wounds to prevent bleeding. 18 sesquiterpenes. 5 -15 cm long. Psidium guajava L. quwawa (Fiji). gallic acid. eugenol. asiatic acid. In Fiji. Marquesas Islands. Description. Cook Islands). . Futuna. Niue. amyrins. In New Guinea. boils. squeezed in salt water and the solution is used to treat toothaches. Cook Islanders use the plant to treat sores. analgesic. and alkaloids zeatin and zeatin nucleotide. Distribution. In the Cook Islands. In Samoa. maslinic acid. 4 -5merous. hypoglycemic. and isostrictinin from leaves). coughs. 11 monoterpenes. the plant is used in treating digestive tract problems. Leaves opposite. as well as for painful menstruation. vitamins B and C. strictinin. cuts and sprains. spasmolytic. transcinnamic acid. patchy. antilipolytic. furfural derivatives. lipids (seeds). para-methylstyrene. Tannins. ursolic acid derivatives. valeraldehyde. amritoside. eugenol. Native to the tropical America and widely planted as a fruit tree.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 161 Psidium guajava L. antiyeast. and other tropical Asian countries. amrud. short-petiolate. amrut (Indo-Fijian). Biological Activity4. Tahiti. Fruit a fleshy yellow globose to ovoid berry about 5 cm in diameter with an edible pink mesocarp containing numerous small hard white seeds. A similar practice is known in Samoa. kautonga (Niue). brahmic acid. Common in disturbed places often forming thickets in pastures. a boiled preparation of the leaves is used to treat itchy rashes caused by scabies. Habitat. catechin. antimutagenic. plantations and other similar habitats. Antidiabetic (pedunculagin. anticholinergic. acetyl furan. antibacterial. antigonadotropin. miscarriages. peeling bark. Tongans also use the leaves to treat stomachache. daucosterol. lupeol. uterine bleeding and premature labour in women. quaverin. antifungal. smooth. smooth muscle relaxant. ellagic acid derivatives. Unfortunately it is an aggressive weed and is now naturalized on many Pacific islands and other tropical areas throughout the world. the blade oval with prominent pinnate veins. An infusion of the leaves and roots is used to treat indigestion.5. Myrtaceae Local Names : ku’ava (Samoa). leucocyanidin. Tonga. Traditional Uses 6. benzaldehyde. anti-malarial. butyl acetate. In Tahiti and Samoa. Flowers somewhat showy. antimycobacterial. juice from the leaves is used for treating diarrhoea. stamens numerous.

and psilotin epoxide. Amentoflavone. The infusion was also used as a remedy for thrush and the spores were used as talcum powder. about 2 mm thick with alternate scale-like pseudo-leaves.) P. Biological Activity5. yellow spores. lipids.) P. The stems were brewed to make an infusion which was used as a laxative or cathartic.6. thus flowers and fruits are lacking. . Psilotaceae Local Names : lawelawe (Fiji). dichotomously branching herb to 50 cm high that also lacks true roots. toa tahi (Tonga). fale ‘o te kimoa (Tokelau). Psilotin (a phenolic beta glucoside) is an insect feeding deterrent and growth reducer. Habitat. Distribution. and its glycoside. Traditional Uses 4.and para-coumaric acids. English Name : psilotum. 3-lobed. Psilotum nudum (L. Common as an epiphyte or terrestrially in damp areas (especially forests) ranging from near sea-level to 2000 m in elevation. psilotic acid. hydroxy psilotins. Beauv. Leafless. limu. 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. Sporangia (synangia) are axillary. psilotin. Constituents1-4. and for pain relief. apigenin glycoside.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 163 Psilotum nudum (L. gibberellin. longitudinally ridged. about 1 mm in diameter and produce numerous tiny. Description. This species is related to ferns. meta. toa vao (Niue). Worldwide throughout the tropics and subtropics. Beauv. Stems green.

high blood pressure. waliqio.2. for appendicitis. Habitat. Gray . shortness of breath in the lower chest and back pain. Constituents. In New Guinea. Leaves opposite. the stamens are 5 in number and epipetalous. cymose clusters. Traditional Uses 1. No published data. Small tree up to 4 m high. used as a remedy for piles inside the stomach or for stomach cancer. tau (Fiji). Flowers borne on narrow pedicels in branching axillary or terminal. Distribution. The leaf infusion is also used for some types of swellings and inflammations which are thought to have a supernatural origin.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 165 Psychotria insularum A. Psychotria insularum A. Futuna). olavai (Tonga. wali na qio. Endemic to the islands of Western Polynesia. Biological Activity. 5-lobed and 4-8 mm long. Occurs in coastal to lowland forest but is also found in cloud forests up to 1000 m. gasau ni cagicagi. The corolla is tubular. Description. Fruit a red oval berry up to 1 cm long with two longitudinally ribbed seeds. heart attack. No published data. the plant is used to cure toothache and pig bites. matalafi (Samoa). moea kula (Niue). infertility. In Fiji. elliptical and 10-20 cm long. Gray Rubiaceae Local Names : saucava.

Flowers showy and up to 6 cm broad. A decoction of the seed is used to treat syphilis. uterine stimulant. pelletierine and its derivatives. chrysanthemin. The root and stem bark have astringent and anthelmintic properties. The juice of the flowers is used to treat nose bleeds.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 167 Punica granatum L. b right red “kernels”. 5-8 petals. lipids. the flowers usually occuring terminally or in axils. ellagic acid and its derivatives. sedridine. blades oblong-elliptical up to 8 cm long. Juice of the fruit is used to treat jaundice and diarrhoea. anthelmintic. antiamebic. antiascariasis. Flowers available during the summer. bisexual. Local Name English Name Punicaceae : anar (Indo-Fijian) : pomegranate. delphin. cyanidin and its diglucoside. Shrub to small tree up to 6 m high. diuretic and antiuremic. Biological Activity2. weak molluscicidal. cytotoxic. plaque formation suppression. tart. possibly naturalized in some areas. hypothermic. tannins. Punica granatum L. reddish and up to 2. Fruit a red spherical berry up to 13 cm broad. antiyeast.5 cm long. estradiol. cyanin. betulinic acid. Habitat. . genistin. polyphenols. antidiarrhoeal. luteolin glycosides. Traditional Uses 1. pelargonin. The rind of the fruit is ground in water and drunk every morning by diabetics. Apigenin glucoside. Constituents1-4. coumestrol. The fruit pulp and the seed are a stomachic. Distribution. piperidine derivatives. Antibacterial. Commonly cultivated as an ornamental and fruit tree. mannitol. friedelin. Leaves mostly opposite. The fruit together with the juice of Cynodon dactylon leaves is used for runny noses and colds. gallic acid. fruit following later in the year. Description. coniine. with a leathery rind enclosing numerous seeds surrounded by edible juicy. hypoglycemic. antifertility. antiviral. 5-7. daidzein. callistephin. short-petiolate. estrone. hygrine and norhygrine. numerous stamens surrounding a conspicuous hypanthial tube. xanthoxylin. daidzin. delphinidin and its glucosides. antigiardiasis. genistein. oestrogenic. Native to the Middle East and now widely cultivated in warm regions throughout the world.

palmate with 7-11 lobes and serrated edges. diethyleneglycol disulphide. beta carotene. an infusion of the bark is used to treat skin inflammations and rashes. Distribution. laxative. casbene. each section containing one mottled smooth brown seed in each of three sections. antifungal. laxative (seed oil). liver glycogen increase. brassicasterol. glycoproteins. Fruit a spiny subglobose schizocarp about 1.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 169 Ricinus communis L. In Tonga. Beta-amyrin. ricins. indoleacetic acid. antihepatotoxic. hemaglutinin. 5-dehydro-avenasterol. lepohina. antifilarial. beta-sitosterol. Seed oil is used as a purgative. there are separate unisexual flowers. splitting into three sections when mature. antiamoebic. hypoglycemic. utouto (Fiji). male flowers contain hundreds of stamens and the female has a superior. larvicidal. estrogenic. long-petiolate. lipid synthesis inhibition. Constituents1-4. quinic acid. toxic proteins in seeds (ricin). campesterol. Biological Activity4-7. Traditional Uses 1.7. anticholestatic. antibacterial. Description. ricinine. analgesic. lepokula (Tonga). abortifacient. stigmasterol. -5 corolla absent. . Leaves alternate. tannins. Epicatechin. Habitat. Shrub or small tree to about 4 m high with conspicuous ringlike scars on the hollow stem. A drink of the juice in water is taken to treat breast tumours and boils. English Name : castor Bean. 20-60 cm long and often tinged with red. plaque formation suppressant. dermatitis producing. antioxidant. chlorogenic acid. phosphate inhibition. Cytotoxic. Indigenous to Africa and now naturalized throughout the tropics. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Euphorbiaceae Local Names : bele ni vavalagi. lepo. antiyeast.5 cm long. N -demethylricinine. hyperuside. Ricinus communis L. diuretic. embryotoxic. juvenile hormone activity. the calyx of each consists of 3 fused sepals. antischistosomal. The terminal inflorescence is a narrow panicle. ellagic acid. quercetin. a nticonvulsant. coumarin. Seed saponins. Common in disturbed areas and waste places from sea-level to 500 m elevation. kaempferol glycoside.4. labour induction. vitamins B6 and B1. toto ni vavalagi. antileischmaniasis. ricinus agglutinins. lupeol. 3-lobed ovary.

Probably native to Melanesia and now widely distributed throughout most of the tropical Pacific. Habitat. English Name : polynesian cress. salata (Futuna). pinnately compound. Sinapin and cholyl sinapate. Traditional Uses 1-3. holofa (Niue).) Macbr. Fruit a silique (cylindrical pod) up to 3 cm long containing two rows of tiny ellipsoid seeds. . which are expelled when the mature pod bursts. Description. Leaves basal. Flowers and fruit usually available throughout the year. No published data. a’atasi (Samoa). up to 15 cm long. borne in racemes up to 25 cm long. Constituents1.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 171 Rorippa sarmentosa (DC. the leaflets with serrated margins. Biological Activity. the largest leaflet being terminal. In Tahiti. patoa purahi (Tahiti). Flowers small and numerous. Nasturtium sarmentosum Schinz & Guillaumin] Local Names : rogomi. the plant is used to induce miscarriages and to cure convulsions in children. toatoa ’enua (Cook Islands). sewaci (Fiji). Brassicaceae [syn. In Fiji. Spreading herb to 60 cm high with short. arising from the rosette. mahi (Marquesas Islands). Distribution. ’akataha (Tonga). arising from a long. white or pale yellow. solid stems. Rorippa sarmentosa (DC. Common in damp waste areas from near sea-level to more than 1000 m elevation. thick root..) Macbr. it is used to cure swellings and itches.

Biological Activity3. para-hydroxybenzoic acid. antihepatotoxic. luteolin. Saccharum officinarum L. arundoin. Poaceae Description. galactose. Distribution. Habitat. sucrose. tricin and tricin glycosides. Local Names : tolo (Samoa). and molasses. calcium. Probably native to Malaysia but widely dispersed by both early aboriginal settlers and Europeans across the Pacific and elsewhere. This species is grown in many tropical and subtropical countries as a commercial source of sucrose (cane sugar). saccharans. The stem juice is used to treat sore throats. dense clusters of small wind-pollinated flowers. phytosterol. Leaves sheathing and overlapping (deciduous on lower stems and culms). sweet. perennial grass with stout culms and solid. anticancer and insulin antagonist. glucose. In Samoa. Analgesic. apigenin and its glycoside. up to 2 m long and 6 cm broad. Erect. gibberellins. 5-O-methylapigenin. O-methyllupeol. the leaf ash is used to treat sore eyes. Constituents1-3. beta sitosterol. xylose. Abscisic acid. English Name : sugar cane. taraxerol methyl ether. schaftoside and isoschaftoside. fructose. Mature plants bear erect. hypolipemic. Widely cultivated and also naturalized from sea-level to 1000 m or more in elevation. Traditional Uses 4. green to purplish stems (canes) 3 cm in diameter and up to or -4 exceeding 3 m in height. orientin and its derivatives. vicenin. cylindrin. potassium.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 173 Saccharum officinarum L. coumarin. arabinose. immunostimulant. swertisin. campesterol. invert sugar. juicy. . swertiajaponin. diuretic. lance-shaped. Flowers usually available throughout the year. hypotensive. antihyperglycemic.

borne on terminal racemes.) N. Perennial stemless herb with erect leaves arising from an underground rhizome. Sansevieria trifasciata Hort. ex Prain Agavaceae var. Constituents1. laurentii (De Wildem. saponins. the plant is used to treat ringworm and fungal diseases. up to 1 m long. Brown English Names : bowstring hemp. In Fiji. Promotes hair growth.2. mother-in-law’s tongue. ex Prain . the blade splotched with bands of whitish and darker green. fragrant.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 175 Sansevieria trifasciata Hort. N-butyl-4-ol-N-propyl. with green and white perianth parts. Leaves thick and fibrous. Flowers and fruit usually -3 available throughout the year. Habitat. E. Traditional Uses. with pointed apices. Fruit a reddish berry with 1 seeds. Biological Activity2. Distribution. A common ornamental garden plant and also naturalized in some areas from sea-level to 800 m elevation. Phthalate. glycosides. Native to Africa but now widely cultivated throughout warmer regions of the world. Description. Flowers 6-parted. Very toxic.

Traditional Uses 1-3. Constituents2. syphilis and dysentery. In Solomon Islands. fleshy. Fruit a white. lipids (seeds). kirakira. saponins. but usually about 15 cm long and 5 cm wide.5. A decoction of the bark and leaves is used to treat a relapse after an illness. In Tonga. Goodeniaceae [syn. 5-lobed. Scaevola taccada (Gaertner) Roxb. the juice from the bark is used in treating ringworm. The roots are used to treat beriberi. obovate. globose drupe containing 1-2 seeds which float in salt water. The roots are used to treat stomachache. Flowers white.) Vahl] Local Names : vevedu. liquid from the leaves is used to treat weakness after childbirth which leads to pneumonia.3. dredre. juicy. chlorogenic acid. Distribution. Leaves opposite. f. Antibacterial.6. borne on few-flowered axillary inflorescences. parts of the plant are used to treat coughs. sericea : scaevolin. short-petiolate (or wanting). Habitat. variable in size. aibebe. Common along beaches and rocky shores often forming dense beach thickets. Scaevola sericea (Forst. antiviral. up to 3 m in height.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 177 Scaevola taccada (Gaertner) Roxb. Biological Activity4. kativari (Fiji). Widely distributed and native from India to the Pacific. Spreading freely branching shrub with thick stems. glycosides. moderate-sized. kokobe (Solomon Islands). In Fiji. alkaloids. glossy. light-green. For var. Description. tuberculosis and stings from the sting ray. . ngahu (Tonga). zygomorphic.

soso ni bokola (Fiji). Solasodine. petiolate. especially on limestone soils at low elevations along coastlines. Constituents1. Solanaceae [syn. f. sou bokola. Pressed fluid of the leaves is given to facilitate childbirth. and open areas. Distribution. Fruit a red tomato-like berry. In New Guinea. S. prohiti (Tahiti). boro dina. Leaves alternate. with a tapering apex. The leaves are cut in pieces and mixed with coconut oil to prepare a salve used to remedy body swellings. polo tonga (Tonga). Solanum viride Solander ex Forst. uporo Dunal] Local Names : polo’ite (Samoa). the blade ovate.2. polo (Tokelau). Shrub to 3 m high. Crushed leaves are applied to boils. Habitat. Flowers whitish to yellowish. Occurring naturally or cultivated. polo’isi (Niue). fungal infections and tumours of the breast. Steroidal alkaloids. the flower about 3 cm broad and borne in small terminal or axillary clusters. base unequal.4. especially the first birth. In Fiji the leaves are used to treat wounds. to treat infection of the eye (conjunctivitis) and to treat pus-filled infections. None reported Traditional Uses 3. In Tahiti the plant is used as a sedative.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 179 Solanum viride Solander ex Forst. is remedied with a tea made from the leaves. Description. 5 -parted with five spreading lobes. Biological Activity. the swellings resulting from the parasitic disease. diuretic. edges of forests. f. poro’iti (Cook Islands). 10-18 cm long. filariasis. . Widespread throughout the South Pacific and extending as far north as Hawaii.

f. Traditional Uses 1. None reported. . Biological Activity. Flowers large. Wallis Islands. and Samoa. Stem rather thin.2. borne on many-flowered raceme which arises from base of pseudobulb. Distribution. it is used to treat pain in joints. showy.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 181 Spathoglottis pacifica Reichenb. f. Constituents. Large terrestrial orchid with rhizomes and pseudobulbs. Spathoglottis pacifica Reichenb. Also widely cultivated as a garden ornamental in Fiji. None reported. erect. open forest. Local Names : varavara (Fiji). Fruit a small pod containing numerous tiny spore-like seeds. forest margins. bearing few leaves. In the Yasawas (Fiji Group of islands). pink or mauve. Habitat. Orchidaceae Description. Restricted to Fiji. Common along roadsides. Vanuatu. and open areas from sea-level to 1000 m elevation. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year.

Fluid pressed from the bark is used in treating diarrhoea in Tonga. Tree to 20 m high with whitish bark. aura (Indo-Fijian). amra. Parkinson . Leaves alternate. minerals. Tannins. and for weakness following childbirth. Spondias dulcis Sol. Widely distributed throughout the South Pacific and other tropical areas. Commonly cultivated in villages. Tonga and throughout Polynesia). Constituents1-3. parts of the plant are made into a fermented drink which is used as a remedy for diarrhoea. to promote sterility and to treat fish poisoning. ex. Traditional Uses 1. In Tonga. Flowers and fruit usually available throughout the year. It is also used to treat mouth and body sores. The inner bark is used to treat coughs. Pressed liquid of the stem is given after a false pregnancy. fibre. Bark is also used to treat dysentery. Fruit an edible -5 yellow to orange ovoid drupe containing one large seed. an infusion of the leaves is used to treat sore throats and mouth infections. The young fruit is used to treat stomach trouble and to aid a woman in labour. juice of the plant is used as eye drops to reduce eye inflammations. ex. The shoots of the plant are used to treat haemorrhaging after childbirth. English Names : otaheite apple. vitamin C. A few drops of the pressed bark fluid are applied to the eyes as a remedy for cataracts. Distribution. proteins. Habitat. In Samoa. Description. june plum. amino acids. Parkinson Anacardiaceae Local Names : wi (Fiji). polysaccharides and carotenoids. the entire leaf up to 40 cm long. vi (Samoa. Antimicrobial. or occurring in dry or secondary forests from sea-level to 500 m. polynesian plum. In Tahiti. relatively small and 4 parted. Pressed liquid of the bark is taken to cleanse the bowels. Tahiti and Cook Islands. Flowers yellow or white. Biological Activity4. Niue. pinnately compound with 5 -15 leaflets.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 183 Spondias dulcis Sol. fever and stomachaches. Fruit is edible. The bark filtrate is also employed as an abortifacient.

Habitat. Tonga. red or purple elongated cylindrical berry 2-3 cm long containing 1-3 moderate-sized. Niue. hard seeds. short-petiolate. Generally used as a tonic. Leaves opposite. seasea (Samoa. Common in dense wet forest from sea-level to 1000 m elevation. . No published data. Syzygium corynocarpum (A. an infusion of the leaves is used in treating inflammations. Horne and Wallis Islands and possibly cultivated elsewhere in the South Pacific. Description. and numerous greenish yellow stamens borne in many-flowered.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 185 Syzygium corynocarpum (A. Gray) C. Biological Activity1. yasi yasi (Fiji). up to 15 cm long. branching panicles which arise from branches or the trunk. Muell. skin sores and urinary tract problems. Antimicrobial. Myrtaceae Local Names : hehea (Tonga). Distribution. Gray) C. Futuna). Flowers available between July and January and fruit available between November and July. In Samoa. Spreading cauliflorous tree to 15 m tall. the blade glossy. Fruit a fragrant. Flowers with 4 pinkish perianth parts. lanceolate or oblanceolate. Samoa. May be cultivated in some areas. Constituents. An infusion of the bark or leaves is given to babies with teething problems. Traditional Uses 1-3. In Tonga. Muell. An infusion of the leaves is drunk to cure swelling of the breasts. Common in Fiji. used to treat severe boils or tumours of the breast.

mountain apple. red. and cultivated valleys from near sea-level up to 1000 m elevation. The bark is used to cure mouth sores in children in Niue. Common in villages. swollen stomach after childbirth. fekika kai (Tonga). thrush. fragrant. obovoid. In Tonga. with numerous conspicuous excerted stamens. the leaves are used to treat red eyes. kehika. Syzygium malaccense (L. Description. up to 30 cm long. kafika (Futuna). Antimicrobial (leaves and bark).2. ahi’a (Tahiti). & Perry . yellow urine and bad appetite. Biological Activity1. nonu fi’afi’a (Samoa). it is used to treat venereal diseases. shiny green. Proteins.2. pink. fruits contain vitamin C. Distribution. In Tahiti and the Austral Islands. Constituents1. Flowers 4-5 parted. The bark has astringent properties. In Tahiti and Marquesas Islands. the blade oblong to ovate. weak hypoglycemic. Tree up to 20 m tall. cellulose. sore throat.) Merr. kehi’a (Marquesas Islands). and delicately flavoured. petiolate. To treat cough. often deep pink or pure whitish. it is used as a purgative.4. bronchitis and to relieve constipation. In Fiji. diabetes. English Names : malay apple.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 187 Syzygium malaccense (L. or rarely white. & Perry Myrtaceae Local Names : kavika. hemicellulose. ka’ika (Cook Islands). gonorrhea. kavikavula (Fiji). fructose and glucose. Fruit a fleshy drupe. A bark infusion is used to treat tuberculosis and digestive tract problems. Traditional Uses 3. The bark/leaf is used to treat mouth sores in the Polynesian Islands. An infusion of the bark or leaves is used in treating mouth infections. fibre. an infusion of the bark is used to treat stomachache and abdominal ailments. up to 7 cm long. Leaves opposite. Widely dispersed on inhabited islands throughout the South Pacific extending to Hawaii and throughout Indo-malesia. lignin. Habitat.) Merr. and silica. fekakai (Niuen). as a remedy for deep bone pains. lowland secondary forests.

tuberous herb to 1 m high. arising from a tuber up to 8 cm in diameter. the plant is used as a thickener in medical preparations. ribbed. supported by an erect. Coarse. 6-parted. The Cook Islands Maoris rub the starch onto sores and burns.2. the petioles transversely striated. pia (Niue. Traditional Uses 4.5 cm in diameter containing numerous longitudinally ridged seeds. In Fiji. crushed leaf stalks of the plant are rubbed onto bee and wasp stings.) Kuntze . Distribution. Hawaii). Constituents1. beta-sitosterol. greenish. In Cook Islands. Habitat. ceryl alcohol. the inside of the root is squeezed in water and applied as a rinse to injured eyes. The starch from the tubers of the plant was used as a remedy for diarrhoea and dysentery in Hawaii and Fiji. bell-shaped. Cook Islands. Flowers and fruits between November and July. In Niue. globose berry up to 2. Now widely distributed throughout most of the Pacific. Tuvalu). taccalin. Tacca leontopetaloides (L. Alkaloids (unidentified). hollow. Fruit a yellow. Molluscicidal activity. mahoa (Tokelau). Flowers small.) Kuntze Taccaceae Local Names : yabia. stemless. yabia dina (Fiji). Leaves large. Tuamotus. arakai asi (Solomon Islands). petiolate. Marquesas. perennial.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 189 Tacca leontopetaloides (L. mahoa’a (Tonga). Common on beaches and beach thickets and coastal woods with sandy soils to 250 m elevation. transversely striated 1 m long stem arising from the tuber. masoa (Samoa. English Name : polynesian arrowroot. masoa’a (Futuna). borne in a many-flowered umbel surrounded by leafy bracts and numerous long filaments. Widely dispersed by early Pacific peoples as a food plant. Biological Activity3. Tahiti. Description.

infertility. disturbed. Traditional Uses 1-3. Flowers from October through April (or longer) with fruits present throughout the year. about 5 mm in diameter. Flowers white. Fruit dark green to black globose. aingwane (Solomon Islands). Tarenna sambucina (A. Acrosin inhibition. Common in coastal and grassland thickets. 5 -lobed. Distribution. Constituents. ai cara davui. secondary amenorrhoea and dysmenorrhoea. funavai (Futuna). No published data. ex Drake . up to 20 cm long. an infusion of the grated bark is used to treat children’s fever or inflammation and diarrhoea as well as internal injuries. ex Drake Rubiaceae Local Names : vakariba ni davui. Compact or spreading shrub or small tree to 10 m tall. Description. manono (Niue. with a tubular corolla and 5 stamens. In Samoa. manonu (Tonga). and even mangrove margins from sea-level to about 500 m elevation. T fruit of the plant is used to he make a salve or linament in Niue. lanceolate. Biological Activity. A drink made from the boiled bark is used as a remedy for constipation and as a general tonic in Tonga. containing several hard angular seeds. manunu (Samoa). borne in dense. Gray) Dur. Leaves opposite. Tahiti). Habitat. fluid from the stem of the plant is used for rheumatic aches and swellings of the muscles and joints. Tongans also use a tea made from the grated bark to treat stomachache. hard and indehiscent. terminal cymose clusters. branching. fragrant. (Fiji). In Fiji. dry. Gray) Dur. ma’anunu. open or dense forest.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 191 Tarenna sambucina (A. vakarube ni davui. Native to the South Pacific ranging from the Mariana Islands south to New Caledonia and eastward to the Austral and Marquesas Islands. petiolate.

Antibacterial (weak). myrobalan Description. Terminalia catappa L. an infusion of the bark is used to treat internal ailments in children. antimycobacterial. alite (Solomon Islands). In Fiji. analgesic. the bark and leaves are crushed and the juice is applied to sores on the tongue and gums. antiasthmatic. kauariki (Rarotongan). radical scavenging and anticlastogenic. In New Guinea. An infusion of the bark is used to treat stomachache. short-petiolate. Habitat. Constituents1. Traditional Uses 6. jungi badaam (Indo-Fijian). Large. flavonoids. white borne in densely packed spikes. cytotoxic. kauariki (Cook Islands). Essential oils. Combretaceae Local Names : telie (Niue and Tonga). tannic acids.2. tannins. the leaves are used to treat bronchitis and tuberculosis. In American Samoa. Futuna. autera’a. spreading tree to 30 m tall with leaves mostly near ends of branches. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. The juice of the leaves is ingested for coughs. with fibrous outer layer with a single edible seed within. tavola. organic acids: palmitic. Tuvalu). hypothermic. The leaves are used to treat indigestion. An infusion of the leaves is used to treat jaundice. sore throats are treated with an infusion of the old leaves. English Names : tropical or indian almond. Widely dispersed throughout the South Pacific and other tropical areas. reducing sugars. tavola lata and tivi (Fiji). mai’i (Marquesas Islands). oleic.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 193 Terminalia catappa L. It is used to treat thrush. ’aua (Tahiti). Sores. rocky coasts. alita. talie (Samoa. Flowers small. lowland clearings and secondary forests. Ellagic acid. Fruit a reddish flattened ovoid drupe up to 6 cm long. Distribution. Leaves alternate. the fluid from the bark is used to treat diabetes and as a tonic. It is also used as an emetic for infants. The leaves are used to treat wounds and burns. linoleic and myristic acids. In Niue. the bark is used to treat mouth sores. . Drunk as water infusion for migraine headache and for high fever. The juice of the leaves is ingested for colic. pimples and fungal skin diseases are treated with the bark. upper margins of mangrove swamps. deciduous and turning orange to red before falling. Common along beaches. In Tahiti. corilagin. Biological Activity3-6. amino acids. In Tonga. the blades obovate to 30 cm long.

antifungal. isoquercitrin. mansonones. influenza. epoxyoleic acid. Biological Activity4. glossy. petiolate. lowland river banks. with 5 yellow petals 4-8 cm long. Widespread from East Africa to Eastern Polynesia. In Samoa. beta-sitosterol. with a maroon to purple centre with 5 petals about 4-8 cm long. thespesone. The stem is employed in treating breast cancer.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 195 Thespesia populnea (L. appetite loss. Fruit a brown flattened-globose capsule enclosing a sticky yellow sap and about 10 hairy seeds. Antibacterial. lupenone. lipids. milo. diabetes. yellow urine. gossypetin. The crushed fruit is used in a treatment for urinary tract problems and abdominal swellings. a drink made from the leaves and bark is given to children who are teething and have a fever. headache and relapses in illnesses. An infusion of the bark is used to treat diarrhoea. DL-gossypol. ( ) gossypol. mi’o.) Soland ex Correa . borne singly in the leaf axils. Traditional Uses 6-8. rutin. Common along beaches. populnetin (kaempferol). beta-carotene. pelvic infection. Niue. stomach ailments and mouth infections. fa’ola asi. ceryl alcohol. Habitat. A cold infusion of the bark is used in treating dysentery. faoni asi (Solomon Islands). myricyl alcohol. miro (Cook Islands). cyanidin glycoside. In Niue. glycosides of quercetin. milo (Samoa. ulcers and worms are treated with the bark. an infusion of the bark is used to treat intestinal diseases. Constituents1-3. Leaves.5. populetin. about 8-16 cm long on equally long petioles. a decoction of the leaves is used in treating coughs. herbacetin. blades cordate. ’amae. Futuna. Distribution. littoral forests and the margins of mangroves. Thespesia populnea (L. miro (Tahiti). In Fiji. Dysmenorrhoea. and a leaf and bark infusion is used to treat eye injuries. and thrush.) Soland ex Correa Malvaceae Local Names : mulomulo. antiyeast. gonorrhoea. Tuvalu). Thespesin [(+)-gossypol]. populnin (kaempferol 7-glucoside). fefine (Tonga). The inner bark is used to treat constipation and typhoid. In Tonga. kaempferol 3-glucoside. alternate. miro (Marquesas Islands). antispasmodic. Flowers and fruits are available throughout the year. English Name : thespesia Description. Small tree to 12 m high. an extract of the fruit is applied to swollen testicles. kaempferol 3-rutinoside. infertility and secondary amenorrhoea are treated with infusions of the bark. wiriwiri (Fiji). Indigestion. antiimplantation. The bark is used to treat thrush. populneol. Flowers showy. A decoction of the bark and fruit is mixed with oil and used to treat scabies. dark green. thespone.

Habitat. remedy for food poisoning. fuefue sina (Samoa). up to 10 cm long and somewhat fleshy. 5-8 cm long with several to many pea-like seeds. fue sina . trifoliate.) Merr. Description. Flowers small. Herbaceous creeping vine without tendrils. to treat weakness after childbirth and to treat headache.3. Leaves alternate. pea-like. Vigna marina (Burm. feseka tahi (Niue). Biological Activity.) Merr. po’ue. is applied as drops to the eyes. pipi tatahi (Tahiti). Healing of fractured bones. to cure stomachache. Widely distributed throughout the South Pacific and other tropical areas. pipi. Traditional Uses 1. Also used to clean out the female reproductive system. Mouth infections are also treated with this plant.2. nose and mouth and is rubbed onto the body to treat diseases thought to be caused by spirits. Fabaceae Local Names : drautolu. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 197 Vigna marina (Burm. yellow. Distribution. No information available. Alkaloids. Common on sandy seashores and among coastal vegetation and in plantations. Cook Islanders use the infusion of the leaves to bathe fractures. ka’eta. keketa (Cook Islands). leaflets obovate. pipi. . The plant is also used in remedies for carbuncles and abscesses. Samoans use a leaf infusion to treat a certain type of fever in children. wa vue (Fiji). Fruit a black pod (legume). an infusion of the leaves is used as a potion. lautolu tahi (Tonga). Constituents1. English Name : beach bean. In Tonga.

dulcitol. orientin. dralakura. Widely distributed throughout the South Pacific and tropical areas westward as far as South Africa. Biological activity5. casticin. fridelin. Description. an infusion of the leaves is used in treating mouth infections in children and is used to treat stomachache. lala tahi (Tonga). In Fiji. antibacterial. In Tonga. . anti-tuberculotic. Sesquiterpenoids in leaf oil. alako (Solomon Islands). lala (Futuna). Traditional uses 2. Habitat. rara (Cook Islands). Shrub or small tree to 5 m tall. Tongans also use the plant to treat inflammations. greyish below and dark green above. and antiasthmatic. fatty acids. artemetin. Futunans use an infusion of the plant to treat toothaches. English Name : vitex. iso-orientin. vitricine. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Insecticidal. bilateral. Fruit a small globose. Leaves opposite. vanillic acid. insect feeding deterrent. sitosterol. luteolin glucoside. namulega (Samoa). bulokaka. Aucubin. diuretic. camphene and other terpenes. women who have given birth use an infusion of the leaves in their bath water. Moderately common in coastal thickets. Verbenaceae Local Names : dralakaka. Vitex trifolia L. Samoans use an infusion of the leaves or bark to treat fevers and respiratory problems.7. agnuside. antispasmodic.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 199 Vitex trifolia L. dralayalewa. As an expectorant. liquid from the leaves is used to treat stomach pains where one side of the stomach feels hard. Distribution. It is believed that this helps to remove any remaining blood from the uterus.6. daucosterol. Constituents1-4. alpha-pinene. The leaves are also us ed to treat diseases thought to be brought on by spirits. purple. 4-seeded capsule. Flowers relatively small. lalasea (Niue). vulokala (Fiji). anthelmintic. malamala. In the Cook Islands. palmately compound with 2-5 elliptic leaflets up to 10 cm long.

waste places from sea-level to 500 m elevation. Japan. Distribution. In Samoa. brown and 815 mm wide containing many dry. Tongans warm the leaves from which they squeeze out the juice and apply to cuts and wounds to prevent tetanus. black fruits (achenes). South-East Asia. forest margins. trailing to erect herbaceous subshrub up to 3 m high. Leaves opposite. ate (Tonga). Widespread across Eastern Africa. Indian Ocean islands. Coarse. Biological Activity. makakula (Niue). Australia.) DC. Wollastonia biflora (L.] Local Name : ateate (Samoa). Flowers borne in dense sunflower-like heads in terminal clusters. the yellow florets (individual flowers of each head) are numerous. Asteraceae [syn.) DC. roadsides. more or less palmately veined and 8-20 cm in length on a petiole half as long. wedelia.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 201 Wollastonia biflora (L. Flowers and fruit available throughout the year. Habitat. Constituents1. kaurene diterpenoids. None reported.) DC. blade ovate. Fruiting heads are subglobose. English Name : beach sunflower. . single-seeded. and eastwards into the Pacific as far as the Austral Islands. margins of mangroves. India. branching. each about 2 mm long. China. Traditional Uses 2. Common in littoral and coastal areas. Description. an infusion of the stem bark or leaves is ingested to treat gonorrhoea and urinary tract infections. wedge-shaped. Esential oils. Wedelia biflora (L.

5. N-methyl flindersine has insect anti-feedant activity. N-methylflindersine. coughs and internal injuries which have failed to heal. antiyeast. furry. limonoids (xyloccensins). legilegi (Fiji). lowland river banks. the calyx small. inner margins of mangrove swamps. tannins. mexicanolide. xylomollin. sucrose. lekileki (Tonga). Constituents1-3. In Tonga. Description. Spreading tree to 15 m high. xylomollin (monoterpene). Fruit a large. Xylocarpus granatum Koenig . Flowers between September and April with fruits available February through October.4. green to light brownish. the flowers borne in axillary or cauliflorus panicles up to 7 cm long. corolla with greenish-white petals 2 mm long. Used as a remedy for blood in the urine. Acetonyl-dihydrochelerythrine. Traditional Uses 3. Tongans also use the plant to treat peptic ulcers. Distribution. Distributed from India through Malaysia into the Pacific as far eastward as Tonga. coastal thickets and rocky coasts. Leaves alternate. Biological Activity2. antifungal.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 203 Xylocarpus granatum Koenig Meliaceae Local Names : dabi. fever. stamens -3 fused forming a column enclosing the stigma. Flowers 4-parted. and high fever accompanied by a “black. subglobose capsule 10-25 cm in diameter with several irregularly shaped seeds. weakness after childbirth.6. Habitat. antimicrobial activity. gedunin. 7-alphaacetoxy dihydronomilin. pendulous. Also used as an anti. insect repellant. tongue”. glucose. Common in littoral forest.diarrhetic. fructose. pinnately compound with usually 4 oblong leaflets 6 -14 cm long. lalato (Solomon Islands). a decoction of the bark is taken for stomachache. relapsed weakness. English Name : puzzlenut tree.

up to 30 cm long arising in 2 ranks from unbranched. Description.2.8. camphor and other monoterpenoids. Traditional Uses 1. Leaves parallel-veined. Constituents1-6. Widely distributed and naturalized throughout the South Pacific. the inflorescence many-flowered. kaupu’i’enua. beta. Fruit small capsule with tiny seeds. flavonoid glycosides.6-8.) Sm. sesqui. Cytotoxic. Habitat.) Sm. kaempferol derivatives. Flowers 6parted.MEDICINAL PLANTS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC 205 Zingiber zerumbet (L. koprna (Papua New Guinea). antiascariasis. ’ekapu’i (Marquesas Islands). ligulate. camphene. Alkaloids. Erect herb to 2 m tall arising from a thick yellowish aromatic underground rhizome. Biological Activity2. and diabetes. ango kula (Tonga). Distribution. narkachur (Indo-Fijian). but usually only 1-3 flowers open at once. angoango. antibacterial. Futunans use the rhizome to treat wounds. English Name : wild ginger. The rhizome is used as a stimulant. ferulic acid. fleshy aerial stems. and a flavouring agent. layalaya (Fiji). thrush. carminative. to treat dyspepsia and flatulent colic. It is used as a cough remedy and to treat the bacterial disease. kopu’i’enua (Cook Islands). Common in moist forests. jungi adrak. In the Cook Islands. beach thickets.terpenoids including zerumbone and zerumbone epoxide. poloi (Niue). gingerol. . for the cure of stomach troubles and fever. zingerone. and flavonoids such as afzelin. cagolaya. drove. Native to South-East Asia. the rhizome may be used in treatments for haemorrhoids. zingiberol. essential oils. antihypertensive. mangrove margins from sea-level to over 500 m. oxalic acid. laelae. Zingiber zerumbet (L. borne on a fleshy spike with each flower arising from under a green to reddish bract. kavapui (Futuna). re’a moeruru (Tahiti). ava pui (Samoa). white to yellowish. To treat fish poisoning. Flowers December through April. chlorogenic acid. Tongans use the juice from the rhizome to treat peptic ulcers and related stomach problems as well as mouth infections. kopi’enua. Zingiberaceae Local Names : cago. lanceolate.


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Casuarina equisetifolia L.


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Citrus aurantium L.


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Codiaeum variegatum (L.) Blume


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