Lithraea molleoides (Vell.) Engl.

Nota de alcance

PARTE UTILIZADA=Used part:Corteza y hojas. 

ACCIÓN FARMACOLÓGICA= Pharmacological action: Antiartrítico, venenoso, resina irritante, diurético y estomocal. 

COMPOSICIÓN QUÍMICA= Chemical composition: A análise do óleo essencial por cromatografia gasosa com espectrometria de massa, mostrou a presença de limoneno (89,89%), a-pineno (3,48%), b-pineno (2,63%), a-terpineol (1.27%), mirceno (0,64%), sabineno (0,54%), 4-terpineol (0,28%), canfeno (0,22%) e D-3-careno (0,13%). 

ZONA GEOGRÁFICA= Geografical zone: Sur de Brasil, Paraguay, norte y centro de Argentina. 

Nota de alcance

ÚLTIMOS AVANCES EN LA QUÍMICA Y ACTIVIDADES BACTERIOLÓGICAS EN LAS PLANTAS MEDICINALES= Medicinal plants, last advances on chemistry and bacteria activities on the medicinal herbs

1) Lithraea molleoides (Vell.) (Anacardiaceae) is a tree found in Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.  It is popularly used in the form of alc. exts., decoctions and infusions for the treatment of cough, bronchitis, arthritis, diseases of the digestive system and as diuretic, tranquilizer, hemostatic and tonic agent.  The objectives of this study were the extn. of the essential oil of the mature fruit, leaves and aerial parts of the plant and quantification of the yield thereof; the identification and quantification of the principal components of the essential oil and the detn. of its antimicrobial activity against bacteria and yeast.  The essential oil yield of the mature fruits was 1.0% but essential oil was not detected in leaves and flowery branches.  The gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (GC-MS) anal. of the essential oil of the mature fruits detected the presence of limonene (89.89%), alpha-pinene (3.48%), beta-pinene (2.63%), alpha-terpineol (1.27%), myrcene (0.64%), sabinene hydrate (0.54%), 4-terpineol (0.28%), camphene (0.22%) and delta-3-carene (0.13%).  The essential oil was active against just a few of the Gram-pos. bacteria and yeast tested and did not present antimicrobial activity against Gram-neg. bacteria. 

2) The hydro-alcoholic extract of the aerial parts of Lithraea molleoides, given orally at a dose of 1000 mg/kg, showed significant anti-ulcerogenic activity on ulcer induced by indomethacin and absolute alcohol in rats.

3) BACKGROUND: Allergic contact dermatitis caused by species of Lithraea genus (Anacardiaceae) is frequent in South America.  Nevertheless, it has been scarcely reported in the literature, hitherto the responsible allergens have not been studied in some species.  OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to identify and characterize the allergenic compounds of Lithraea molleoides and brasiliensis, and to investigate the existence of cross-reactions with Toxicodendron allergens.  METHODS: Twenty-seven South American subjects (17 with previous Lithraea dermatitis and 10 controls without any plant dermatitis) and four North American subjects who are highly sensitive to poison oak were tested with both purified Lithraea molleoides and brasiliensis extracts and poison oak urushiol.  Lithraea extracts were analyzed by gas liquid chromatography (GLC) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS).  RESULTS: All 17 Lithraea-sensitive subjects reacted to poison oak urushiol and 13 of them also reacted to Lithraea molleoides and/or brasiliensis extracts.  All 4 poison oak sensitive subjects reacted to poison oak urushiol and to Lithraea extracts.  In both groups of sensitive subjects, the responses to poison oak urushiol were stronger and occurred at lower concentration than those to Lithraea extracts.  The allergenic fraction in both Lithraea species consisted of: 3-pentadecylcatechol, 3-pentadecenylcatechol, 3-heptadecenylcatechol and 3-hepta-dec-dienilcatechol.  CONCLUSION: We concluded that Lithraea molleoides and brasiliensis allergens are closely related to urushiol, although their eliciting potential seems to be lower in comparison with poison oak urushiol, even for Lithraea-sensitive subjects.

Nota de alcance (en)

Lithraea molleoides – Anacardiaceae) is a medium sized tree that grows in the Central and Northern region of Argentina. Locally known as molle de beber, the leaves of this species have been reported to cause contact dermatitis and hyper sensibility due to the presence of certain resinous components. Regarding the biological activity in L. molleoides, several pharmacological studies (in vitro and in vivo) have shown immunostimulating, antitumour, antiinflammatory and antimicrobial activities, all of which could be of interest from a therapeutic point of view in the future.

Nota bibliográfica

1) TOURSARKISSIAN, Martín. Plantas medicinales de Argentina : sus nombres botánicos, vulgares, usos y distribución geográfica. Buenos Aires : Hemisferio Sur, 1980, p.4.

2) Braz. J. Essential oil of Lithraea molleoides (Vell.): chemical composition and antimicrobial activity [en línea] 2006, vol 37,  nº4 [consulta 04 Diciembre 2008]. Disponible en:

3) SHIMIZU, Mario Tsunezi, et al. Essential oil of Lithraea molleoides (Vell): chemical composition and antimicrobial activity. Brazilian Journal of Microbiology. 2006, vol.37, nº4, p.556-560.

4) ARAUJO, C E P, et al. Anti-ulcerogenic activity of the aerial parts of Lithraea molleoides. Fitoterapia. 2006, vol.77, nº5, p.406-7.
5) ALE, S. I, et al. Allergic contact dermatitis caused by Lithraea molleoides and Lithraea brasiliensis: identification and characterization of the responsible allergens. American journal of contact dermatitis : official journal of the American Contact Dermatitis Society. 1997, vol.8, nº3, p.144-9.

6) ALONSO, Jorge ; DESMARCHELIER, Cristian. Plantas medicinales autóctonas de la Argentina : bases científicas para su aplicación en atención primaria de la salud.  Buenos Aires: L.O.L.A, 2005, p. 337.

7) Plantas medicinales autóctonas de la Argentina. Bases científicas para su aplicación en atención primaria de la salud / Jorge Alonso y Cristian Jorge Desmarchelier. - 1a ed. - Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires: Corpus Libros Médicos y Científicos, 2015.

Lithraea molleoides (Vell.) Engl.
Término aceptado: 13-May-2008