Coscinium fenestratum

Coscinium fenestratum

The yellow vine (Coscinium fenestratum (Goetgh.) Colebr) is a climbing shrub species belonging to the Menispermaceae family.

Systematics –
From the systematic point of view it belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, Kingdom Plantae, Magnoliophyta Division, Magnoliopsida Class, Subclass Magnoliidae, Ranunculales Order, Menispermaceae Family and therefore to the Coscinium Genus and to the C. fenestratum Species.
The terms are synonymous:
– Coscinium maingayi Pierre;
– Coscinium myosepalum Diels;
– Coscinium peltatum Merr .;
– Coscinium usitatum Pierre;
– Coscinium wallichianum Miers;
– Coscinium wightianum Miers ex Diels.

Etymology –
The term Coscinium is not known.
The specific epithet fenestratum derives from window window, opening: with translucent openings or spots like window panes.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Coscinium fenestratum is a plant that grows in an area that includes: Southern India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand (rare), Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Bangka, West Java and Borneo. It is still unclear whether the populations found in Cambodia, Vietnam and West Malaysia are truly wild or the result of cultivation.
Its habitat is that Habitat of tropical climates where it grows in dense and mixed evergreen forests, up to 200 meters high, with fertile soil and high humidity, with soils consisting mainly of granite sand and sandstone.

Description –
The Coscinium fenestratum is recognized as a large climbing shrub, which grows among the trees of the forest. The posture is that of a robust woody climber.
The leaves are leathery and shiny, with bright yellow sap.
It is a plant that blooms and bears fruit from August to October.
The flowers are small, whitish in color and carried at the apex of terminal twigs with the formation of small inflorescences.
The fruits consist of one or two drupes up to 2 cm wide.

Cultivation –
The yellow vine is a plant that grows mainly in the spontaneous state in the primary lowland forests, sometimes even in brushwood.
The plant is collected in nature to be used as a dye and medicine; the plant has a production life of about 25 years.
The plant regenerates from old plant strains and also through seeds, but the regeneration rate was extremely low (Harinarayanan et al., 1994).
Both freshly harvested and stored seeds failed to germinate even after pre-treatments (head perforation, acid, hot and cold water treatments, etc.). The seeds have a dormancy period of 6 months and take around 200 days for 90% germination. By incubating the seeds at 30 ° C and 80% relative humidity, 90% germination is achieved in 60 days.
Fresh pencil-sized cuttings are used for vegetative propagation. The cuttings of about 15 cm in length are immersed in IAA at a concentration of 500 ppm for 24 h. Vegetative shoots appear after 2 weeks and produce nodes and internodes. Within a month the shoots reach a length of 45 cm. After a month of growth, the cuttings produce 1-2 roots, and after another month the plants can be transplanted into larger containers for hardening.
The seedlings or sprouted cuttings thus developed must be planted in pits at a distance of 1-1.5 m from the trunk of the tree that will act as a support. Irrigation can be provided depending on the climate and soil conditions.

Customs and Traditions –
The Coscinium fenestratum plant is known by many different names, such as: Curcuma arborea, False calumba, Colombo weed, Weniwel, Daru Haridra (in Sanskrit), Mara Manjal (in Tamil and Malayalam), Haem grass (in Thai), Voer Romiet (in Khmer) and so on.
Coscinium fenestratum has a long history as a medicinal plant in the various traditional medicines of the region where it grows. Medicine including Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha traditions in India, Sinhala medicine in Sri Lanka, Kru Khmer healing traditions in Cambodia, Vietnamese traditional medicine of Thuoc Nam, etc.
The plant is used for a wide variety of diseases and conditions, from fever and diabetes to celiac disease and snake bites. It is unclear whether all of these medicinal uses of C. fenestratum are supported by science, but laboratory tests have shown that the plant has powerful bioactive properties.
It is also speculated that C. fenestratum may also have found modern use in the illegal drug market industry.
Among the active ingredients we remember berberine, but also palmatin and jatrorrizina.
In detail, Coscinium fenestratum contains a minor alkaloid, 12,13-dihydro-8-oxo-berberine [5,6,13,13a-tetraidol-9,10-dimethoxybenzo (a, g) 1,3-dibenzodioxolo (5, 6a) quinalizine-8-one], as well as berberine, oxybberine, tetrahydroberberine (canadine), sitosterol and stigmasterol.
This plant is rare and critically endangered in many of its habitats.
Due to population growth and the industrialization of Asia, the demand for Coscinium fenestratum has increased dramatically in recent decades, drastically decimating the natural distribution of the plant. Therefore it is now listed as rare and critically endangered in many of its habitats. Some of these habitats are designated as protected areas or national parks, but this has not safeguarded the plant from inappropriate harvesting.
Locally, the IUCN has classified C. fenestratum as follows:
– India: in serious danger of extinction (1997, 2010, 2016);
– Sri Lanka: indiscriminate (1997, 2015);
– Vietnam: vulnerable (since 1997);
– Cambodia, Vietnam and West Malaysia: poor data (2015).
The populations of India and Sri Lanka of C. fenestratum are probably the most disturbed and severely affected. Over a period of 75 years (three generations for this species), the plant population has been reduced by 80% due to indiscriminate harvesting by the local population. Hardly any mature plants are left in the wild.
For this reason, experiments are currently being conducted with the cultivation of Coscinium fenestratum, instead of harvesting the plant in its natural environment.
Among other things, it is illegal to export C. fenestratum from India.
In some areas, such as Cambodia and Laos, for example, C. fenestratum is harvested on a large scale and subsequently processed with toxic acids, posing a pollution threat to local ecosystems. It is not clear who buys yellow vine extractions and for what purpose they are used. In Cambodia, hazardous processing such as these has been illegal since 2002 and since 2006 it is also illegal to export both yellow vine and “yellow vine dust”.
The parts used of this plant are: wood, stem and roots.

Preparation Method –
The root of this plant is considered a bitter and gastric tonic. It is said that the effects of intoxication can be avoided if the roots are chewed and the juices ingested before drinking.
From the stem and leaves a decoction is obtained which is used medicinally.
The plant has alleged antiseptic properties and is used to bandage wounds and ulcers.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (edited by), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; we therefore decline all responsibility for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.

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