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Erythrina Americana Miller ("Colorin"; Fabaceae), a versatile resource from Mexico: a review

Garcia-Mateos, R., Soto-Hernandez, M., Vibrans, H.
Economic botany 2001 v.55 no.3 pp. 391-400
Erythrina, Fabaceae, ornamental woody plants, shade trees, green manures, forage, flowers, alkaloids, medicinal properties, medicinal plants, chemical constituents of plants, live fences, multipurpose trees, Mexico
We present a review of published and unpublished information on the multipurpose tropical legume tree, Erythrina americana. The genusErythrina (Fabaceae) consists of 115 species distributed throughout the tropical regions of the world; 25 species are known from Mexico. E. americana is used as an ornamental tree, also as shade for cocoa and coffee and as a support tree, as a live fence, and for green manure and animal feed. The flowers are frequently eaten, used to make tea and as a sedative. The seeds are toxic because of alkaloids; they are applied in folk medicine as laxative, diuretic, expectorant, anti-asthmatic and antimalarial. The first compounds isolated were isoquinoline alkaloids; of these, β-erythroidine and its more potent derivate dihydro-β-erythroidine were shown to possess curariform activity. Of both compounds, the LD50 has been evaluated, and their effects on the central nervous system have been studied. These studies confirmed some applications in popular medicine.