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Family Gentianaceae
Canscora diffusa (Vahl) R. Br. ex Roem. & Schult.

Pu di chuan xin cao

Scientific names Common names
Canscora decurrens Daizell Chang-bato (Tag.)
Canscora diffusa (Vahl) R. Br. ex Roem. & Schult. Kobamba (Tag.)
Canscora diffusa var. tenella C.B.Clarke Maliñgal (Tag.)
Canscora divaricata Miq. ex C.B.Clarke Malenggal (Tag.)
Canscora foliosa D. Don Tsamg-bato (Tag.)
Canscora khandalensis Santapau  
Canscora kirkii N.E.Br.  
Canscora lancifolia Miq. ex C.B.Clarke  
Canscora lauri C.B.Clarke  
Canscora lawii Wight  
Canscora pusilla Schult. & Schult.f.  
Canscora rubiflora X.X.Chen  
Canscora sanjappae Diwakar & R.Kr.Singh  
Canscora tenella Wall. ex Wight  
Cobamba dichotoma Blanco  
Exacum diffusum (Vahl) Willd.  
Exacum erectum (R.Br.) Roth  
Exacum tenellum Wall.  
Gentiana diffusa Vahl  
Orthostemon erectus R. Br.  
Orthostemon huegelii Griseb.  
Orthostemon kirkii N.E.Br.  
Pladera virgata Roxb.  
Pladera pusilla Roxb.  
Striga esquirolii H. Lév.  
Canscora diffusa (Vahl) R.Br. ex Roem. & Schult. is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
BENGALI: Dhankuni.
BURMESE: Kyoukpan.
CHINESE: Pu di chuan xin cao.
HINDI: Bhuin neem.
INDIA: Janjada, Banbana, Sankihvel, Titavi, Yavotchi, Zinku, Zinku kariatu, Shankhupuhi.
MALAYALAM: Jeerakapullu.
MARATHI: Kilwar.
SANSKRIT: Sankhapushpi.
VIETNAM: Can tran, Buom buom tran.

Gen info
- Canscora comprises approximately 15 species, occurring in tropical Africa, Asia and Australia. South-East Asia is richest in species, with 7 species in Thailand.

Chang-bato is a slender, much-branched, erect, smooth, annual herb, 10 to 50 centimeters high, with four-angled stems. Leaves are opposite and very thin; the lowers ones are lanceolate, 4 to 7 centimeters long, and pointed at both ends; the upper leaves are much smaller and ovate, gradually merging into bracts. Flowers are slender stalks, about 1 centimeter in length, borne in lax, diffuse panicles. Calyx is 5 to 6 millimeters long, with slender teeth. Corolla is white and has four lobes, 2 of which are longer than the others. Fruit is an oblong capsule, and as long as the calyx.

- Native to the Philippines.
- In Ilocos Norte, Apayao, Bontoc, Benguet, Nueva Viscaya, Pangasinan, Zambales, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Quezon Provinces in Luzon; and in Mindoro.
- On cliffs and In ravines along streams from sea level to an altitude of 1,500 meters.
- Also occurs in tropical Asia and Africa through Malaya to tropical Australia.

- Aerial parts and flowering tops yield free xanthones, xanthone glucosides, (-)-loliolide, methoxy- and hydroxyxanthones and its 3-O-rutinosyl derivative. Roots contain β-amyrin, friedelin, gentianine, xanthones, and 16 xanthones including mangiferin. Ash of the herb renders salts containing iron, potassium, calcium, nitrates and carbonates. (Asolkar et al., 1992).
- Yields ß-amyrin and xanthones.
- Phytochemical screening yielded alkaloids, flavanoids, phenols, steroids, anthracene glycosides and triterpenoids. (7)

- Considered laxative, alterative, and nerve tonic.
- Studies suggest antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-cholinesterase inhibition properties.

Parts used
Entire plant.


Edibility / Culinary
- In the Philippines, plant has been used as substitute for tea.
- Leaves eaten after boiling.
- Entire plant, in decoction, used as tonic and antigastralgic.
- Used as substitute for C. decussata, which is a laxative, alterative and nerve tonic.
- In India, fresh whole plant used for schizophrenia. (6) Used for piles and skin diseases.
- In Madhya Pradesh, India, plant decoction taken for nervous debility. Leaf paste applied externally in inflammation. (9) In Rajasthan, plant paste used as nerve tonic. (10)
- In Ayurveda, used as febrifuge, stomachic, tonic, antidote, aphrodisiac, laxative, alterative, sedative, CNS depressant, nervine, anticonvulsant, antitubercular, anti-inflammatory; used for stomachaches. Paste of roots and flowers taken with milk as sedative for nervous disorders, epilepsy, insanity. (12)
- In Jhakhand, India, leaf paste inserted in the vagina for easy expulsion of fetus. (13)

Glycosyloxyflavan / Diffutin / Adaptogenic:
Study has isolated a glucosyloxyflavan, diffutin. Glucosyloxyflavans, individually or in combination, are reported to produce varying degrees of adaptogenic (anti-stress / anti-anxiety) activity in animal models
. (1)
Antioxidant / Acetylcholinesterase Inhibition: Study analyzed the antioxidant and acetylcholinesterase inhibitory properties of five medicinal plants, including C. diffusa. C diffusa was one four that showed dose-dependent acetylcholinesterase inhibition and significant DPPH radical scavenging. (2)
Antibacterial: Study evaluated 22 methanol extracts of plant belonging to 12 families for antibacterial activity. Of the plants, five, including Canscora diffusa, were found to more effective against both Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria. (5)
Antibacterial: All tested extracts showed antibacterial activity against test organisms viz. Staphylococcus aureus, B. subtilis, Rhodococci sp., Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas sp., Salmonella sp., and Bacillus sterothermophilus. Results suggest potential use for therapeutic treatments of gastrointestinal disorders, diarrhea and skin diseases. (7)

- Wild-crafted.

© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D. / StuartXchange

Updated May 2023 / July 2018 / September 2015

IMAGE SOURCE: Canscora diffusa/ Close-up flower / Marco Schmidt / 2010 / Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) / Keystone Foundation / India Biodiversity Portal
IMAGE SOURCE: Canscora diffusa from a riverbed in SE Burkina Faso / File:Canscora diffusa MS 10577.jpg / Marco Schmidt / 2010 / Creative Commons Attribution / click on image to go source page / Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Dichotosin and dichotosinin, two adaptogenic glucosyloxy flavans from Hoppea dichotoma / Phytochemistry, Volume 24, Issue 4, 1985, Pages 831-833 / doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)84903-1
Antioxidant and Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitory Properties of the Indian Medicinal Plant "Shankhapushpi" Used for Enhancing Memory Function (2008) / Nag, Gargi,De, Bratati / Publikationsansicht / Scientific Commons
Kilwar / Common names / Flowers of India
Canscora diffusa / Common names / India Biodiversity Portal
Screening of Indian Plant Extracts for Antibacterial Activity / Yogesh Mahida and J.S.S. Mohan / Pharmaceutical Biology, 2006, Vol. 44, No. 8 , Pages 627-631 / doi/abs/10.1080/13880200600897551
Review: Herbs Used for Brain Disorders / Sandhya S*, Vinod KR, Sravan Kumar / HYGEIA. J .D.MED, Vol.2, No.1,38-45 March-Aug, 2010
Active phytochemical and antibacterial potentiality of in-vitro regenerated plantlets of Canscora decurrens (Dalzell) / A. Mungole, S. Day, R. Kamble, H. Kanfade, A. Chaturvedi and P. Zanwar / Indian Journal of Science and Technology Vol. 3 No. 6 (June 2010)
Canscora diffusa / Synonyms / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Ethnomedicinal plants used by tribals of East Nimar region, Madhya Pradesh / Sudip Ray, M Sheikh & S Mishra / Indian Journal Of Traditional Knowledge, April 2011; 10(2): pp 367-371
Economic and Ethnomedicinal Importance of the Floral Diversity on Ancient Walls of Kota District, Rajasthan / Meenu Mathur, Krishnendra Singh Nama and Kiran Choudhary / Int. J. Pure App. Biosci., 2016; 4(4): pp 167-173 / DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18782/2320-7051.2361
Canscora diffusa (PROSEA) / RHMJ Lemmens / Pl@ntUse
Canscora diffusa / Quattrocchi FLS Umberto / CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants
Medicinal plants used by tribals of Palamau Tiger Reserve, Palamau District, Jharkhand / Rajeev Kr Singh, Sanjay Singh, H J Chowhery / Journal of Non-timber Forest Products, 2009; 16(3): pp 245-248

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

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