Theobroma grandiflorum

 

Theobroma grandiflorum

Synonyms

No documentation.

Vernacular Name

Cupuacu, Cupuassu, Copoazu, Pupu, tete negra, cupa de mato

Description

Theobroma  grandiflorum is a small to medium-sized tree of the family Malvaceae.  Rarely growing to a maximum height of 20m, T. grandiflorum typically grows to just measuring 10m to 15m in the understory of the forest in which it grows.  The bark is typically dark brown to grey in color and the tree displays trichomous branching.  The long, broad leaves of T. grandiflorum are alternate, ovate to lanceolate, and pubescent on the underside.  The leaves grow to be 35cm in length and up to 10cm in width, and are bright green on the topside and grayish on the underside.  T. grandiflorum produces few small, bright red flowers which grow in cymes of three to five on the stems of the tree.  Each flower grows from a light brown pod and, when it blooms, bursts from the pod to form a star-shaped flower with a bright red center.  The flower is small, and grows no more than 3cm in width.  The fruit of T. grandiflorum is large, oval, light brown and pubescent.  The fruit hangs drupe from the branches, and grows to be up to measures 20cm in length.

Origin / Habitat

T. grandiflorum is native to the equatorial slopes of the Andes Mountains in South America.  It is now cultivated in other areas of the world where the climate will support its needs.  It will tolerate various habitats including heavy clay soils that are not well drained, large ranges in pH and wide variations in rainfall.

Chemical Constituents

Theacrine (1,3,7,9-tetramethyluric acid); volatile compounds including ethyl butanoate, ethyl hexanoate and linalool sulfated flavonoid glycosides, including theograndins I and II; flavonoids including (+)-catechin, (-)-epicatechin, isoscutellarein 8-O-beta-d-glucuronide, hypolaetin 8-O-beta-d-glucuronide, quercetin 3-O-beta-d-glucuronide, quercetin 3-O-beta-d-glucuronide 6' '-methyl ester, quercetin, kaempferol, and isoscutellarein 8-O-beta-d-glucuronide 6' '-methyl ester small amounts of theobromine, and caffeine

The seeds of T.  grandiflorum reportedly have a 62% fat content, including oleic, arachidonic, palmitic and stearic fatty acids.

Theophylline is only found in roasted fruit and seed [1] [2] [3] [4] [5].

Plant Part Used

Fruit (pulp and seed) [3].

Traditional Use

Traditional uses for this plant cover a wide range of clinical applications.  Oral/internal uses include treatment for parasites, water retention, hypertension, bronchial disorders, fever, snakebite and malaria.  It is also used internally for fatigue, complications during pregnancy and inflammation.  Topical applications include treatment for wounds, burns, dry skin and other unspecified skin conditions [6] [7].

Pharmacology

Pre-clinical

No documentation.

Clinical

T.  grandiflorum fruit pulp contains anti-oxidant flavonoids similar to that found in green tea (Camellia sinensis). A flavonoid glycoside called Theograndin II, has been reported to have anti-oxidant activity as well as weak cytotoxicity in the HCT-116 and SW-480 human colon cancer cell lines [3].

Theacrine, an alkaloid reportedly found in T.  grandiflorum fruit, is considered a sedative/hypnotic, although these are not reported uses for the T.  grandiflorum fruit [8]. The amounts of theobromine and caffeine found in T.  grandiflorum are one or more orders of magnitude lower than those from cacao (Theobroma cacao).

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation.

Interaction with Drugs

No documentation.

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

T.  grandiflorum has been reported safe in recommended doses.

Discontinue if allergy occurs.

Pregnancy

Not to be used by pregnant or nursing women.

Age limitation

No documentation.

Adverse reaction

No documentation.

Read More

  1)  Western Herbs

References

  1. Franco MR, Shibamoto T. Volatile composition of some Brazilian fruits: umbu-caja (Spondias citherea), camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia), Araça-boi (Eugenia stipitata), and Cupuaçu (Theobroma grandiflorum). J Agric Food Chem. Apr2000;48(4):1263-1265.
  2. Quijano CE, Pino JA. Volatile compounds of copoazú (Theobroma grandiflorum Schumann) fruit. Food Chemistry. 2007;104(3):1123-1126.
  3. Yang H, Protiva P, Cui B, et al. New bioactive polyphenols from Theobroma grandiflorum ("cupuaçu"). J Nat Prod. Nov2003;66(11):1501-1504.
  4. Lo Coco F, Lanuzza F, Micali G, Cappellano G. Determination of theobromine, theophylline, and caffeine in by-products of cupuacu and cacao seeds by high-performance liquid chromatography. J Chromatogr Sci. May-Jun2007;45(5):273-275.
  5. Alvaaro B, de Azevedo A, Ulram K, et al. Extraction of fat from fermented Cupuaçu seeds with supercritical solvents. J Supercritical Fluids. 2003;27(2):223-237.
  6. Theobroma cacao L. Available from; http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/theobroma_cacao.html#Folk Medicine. [Accessed on 29th October 2009].
  7. Duke JA. Medicinal Plants of Latin America. Taylor and Francis; 2009.413.
  8. Xu JK, Kurihara H, Zhao L, Yao XS. Theacrine, a special purine alkaloid with sedative and hypnotic properties from Cammelia assamica var. kucha in mice. J Asian Nat Prod Res. Sep-Dec2007;9(6-8):665-672.