Alamanda cathartica

Botanical Name

Allamanda catharica Linn. [3]

Synonyms

Allamanda catharica var. grandiflora (Aubl.) Bailey & C.P. Rafill
Allamanda schotii  
Allamanda hendersonii Bull.
Allamanda augustifolia Pohl [7]

Family

Apocynaceae

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Alamanda
English

Golden Trumpet, Yellow allamanda, Yellow Bell, Cherries jubilee allamanda

Filippines Campanilla (Spanish, Tagalog); Kampanero, Kampaniliya, Lampanaria (Tagalog)
Chinese Huang ying [1] [2] [7]

Description

Allamanda catharthica is a member of the Apocynaceae family. It is a climbing shrub with sticky, white latex. It can grow up to 50m in length. The leaves are dark-green in colour, tapering at the base with acute drip tip. Length up to 15 cm and are arranged in whorls at the nodes. The flowers are bell-shaped, brilliant yellow in colour, 5-lobed and measures up to 10 cm long. Fruits are rarely seen, 7cm, bristly seedpod that splits open to release the flat, brown, winged seeds.[2]

Distribution

A. cathartica is native of South America (Brazil), however, due to the beautiful colour of the flowers, the plant has been introduce globally as ornamental. Now, A. cathartica can be find growing in gardens both in the tropical and temperate regions. [2]

Plant Use

Generally it has been planted and introduce globally as an ornamental plant. In Columbia the white latex was once used to treat worm infestation but the practice has been stopped because of the vomiting and diarrhoea it caused. The Cubans often drink tea made from the leaves as a drastic laxative or to induce vomiting. In India allamanda bark is considered an excellent laxative.  The Surinamese make use of the vapour produced during boiling of the leaves to clear clogged nasal passages.  The leaves was widely used in the treatment of jaundice. [1] [6]

Toxic Parts

Whole plant. [1] [2]

Toxin

Yet to be identified cathartic. The white, milky fluid in the leaves, stem, and flowers may irritate the skin and eyes.[1] Recently, it has been reported that Plumericin which is a weak gastrointestinal irritant could be the toxic principle in the latex of the plant.[3]

Plumeriede = plumeroside, allamandin are glycosides of iridoid lactone and they are cardiotonic, cardiotoxic and antintumour agents.[4]

The aqueous extract of leaves of A. catharica was found to enhance the propulsive movement of intestinal contents in rats and induce contractions in isolated ileum of guinea pig. The purgative effect was found to be increase in intestinal motility partly via muscurinic receptor activation.[5]

Risk Management

A. catharica is a very popular ornamental plant and is planted everywhere both by local authorities, schools, institutions of higher learning and many houses. The attractive colour of the plant makes it a target of many children to collect and play with them.

Due to the fact that the whole plant is poisonous, it is best that this plant be taken off the list of plants used as landscape. [1], [2], [3]

Clinical Findings

Reported cases of poisoning from A. cathartica developed the following symptoms and signs:

Upon ingestion of the toxic material a person would immediately develop nausea this is followed by vomiting and diarrhoea. When taken in large amount it would cause violent vomiting and diarrhoea. The milder symptoms would eventually lead to fever, swollen lips, dry mouth and thirst. It has been reported that one may develop itchy rashes on the skin when the latex comes in contact with it. In the eyes, the latex has been reported to cause strong burning sensation. Chronic diarrhoea may result from regular drinking of allamanda tea (a common practice in the Caribbean Islands.[1]

Management

Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea is a self-limiting symptom of poisoning with A. cathartica thus, in mild cases no treatment is required. In severe poisoning the patient should be admitted for supportive treatment in the form of fluid replacement therapy.

If the sap accidently enters the eyes, a thorough eye wash with large amount of water is to be done immediately. If there is persistent burning sensation in the eye or if there is blurring of vision then it is advisable to visit your family doctor for further treatment.

For skin irritation and rashes, the area should be thoroughly washed with soap and water. If the itching is persistent, 1% hydrocortisone cream every 6 hours daily and antihistamine tablets would suffice.

There is no known specific antidote for poisoning with A. cathartica rash or poisoning. Most cases are mild and will respond well with first aid.

For severe cases of gastrointestinal poisoning:

Activated charcoal to ingest.

Fluid and Electrolyte replacement according to requirement.[1]

References

  1. Susan Scott, Craig Thomas. Poisonous Plants of Paradise: First Aid and Medical Treatment of Injuries. University of Hawaii Press Hawaii 2000 pg. 1 – 3
  2. David W. Nellis. Poisonous Plants and Animals of Florida and the Caribbean. Pineapple Press Florida 1997 pg. 138
  3. Lewis Nelson, Richard DS, Micheal JB, Kenneth FL. Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants. New York Botanical Garden New York; 2007. p. 71.
  4. Bep Oliver-Bever. Medicinal Plants in Tropical West Africa. Cambridge University Press Cambridge; 1986. p. 13.
  5. Peter AA,  Veronivca NO. Gastrointesitinal Effects of Allamanda cathartica leaf extracts. Pharmaceutical Biology. 1992; 30(3):213 – 217.
  6. Different-Kinds-Of-Plants. [Cited 2012 March 5]. Available from: http://www.different-kinds-of-plants.com/allamandacathartica.html
  7. Philippine Medical Plants. Allamanda cathartica Linn. [Cited on 2012 March 9]. Available from: http://stuartxchange.com/Kampanilya.html