Friday, 27 October 2017

Contribution of Light and Electron Microscopy to Identification of Bark from Frangula azorica, an Azorean Medicinal Plant

Microsc Microanal. 2015 Oct;21(5):1296-303. doi: 10.1017/S1431927615014944. Epub 2015 Sep 9. Malmir M1, Curica C1, Gomes ET1, Serrano R1, Silva O1. Author information 1 Research Institute for Medicines (iMed.ULisboa), Faculty of Pharmacy,Universidade de Lisboa,Av. Professor Gama Pinto,1649-003 Lisbon,Portugal. Abstract Frangula azorica V. Grubow is a Macaronesian flora medicinal plant, endemic from Azores islands and inscribed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. This species, known as "sanguinho," belongs to the family Rhamnaceae, the same as Frangula alnus Mill. and Frangula purshiana (DC.) J. G. Cooper, two widely used official laxative herbal medicines of the western Pharmacopoeias constituted by the dried barks of each species. Morphological and chemical studies on F. azorica dried bark are scarce although it is potentially recognized as a Portuguese laxative herbal medicine. Macroscopically, the bark occurs in quills or nearly flat pieces. A channeled external surface with transversely elongated lenticels is characteristic. When the outer phellem layer is removed, a bright purple inner phellem layer is disclosed. Light and electron microscopy observations revealed flattened phellem cells with slightly thickened walls, cortical parenchyma with secretory ducts and groups of sclereids, phloem with groups of fibers and sheaths of parenchymatous cells containing druses or more frequently prismatic crystals of calcium oxalate, and parenchymatous medullary rays one to three cells wide with spherical starch grains. Observation of these botanical characteristics must be included in quality monographs of F. azorica bark herbal medicine. KEYWORDS: Frangula azorica; Rhamnaceae; botanical identification; herbal medicines; light microscopy; scanning electron microscopy PMID: 26350278 DOI: 10.1017/S1431927615014944