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Medicinal, culinary and unusual botanicals from Australia and around the world

Phyllodium pulchellum – Showy Desmodium (seed)

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Phyllodium pulchellum is an important medicinal plant belonging to the Fabaceae family. The plant is widely used in Ayurveda to treat various diseases such as anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant, haemorrhage, diarrhoea, poisoning and eye diseases (Taken here)

The roots contains alkaloids, which were elucidated as N,N-dimethyltryptamine, 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine, N-methyltetrahydrocarboline, 7-methoxy-N-methyltetrahydrocarboline, tryptamine, and N-methyl-3-indoylmethanamine. From the paper; ‘In the present study, the LD50 of P. pulchellum extract was 11300 mg/kg, based on the classification of Loomis and Hayes, namely, that substances with LD50 between 5000 and 15000 mg/kg bodyweight are regarded as being practically nontoxic. However, some mild adverse effects such as dizziness, trembling, crouching, and sluggishness were observed, and the effect was reversible within 30 min and vanished after 1 hr.’ ‘Effect of Alkaloids Isolated from Phyllodium pulchellum on Monoamine Levels and Monoamine Oxidase Activity in Rat Brain’, Cai et. al., 2018.

The aerial parts contain flavonoids and indole alkaloids and have been used for their hepatoprotective and antioxidant activities  (Phytochemical Composition, Hepatoprotective, and Antioxidant Activities of Phyllodium pulchellum’. Fan et. al.. 2018)

Australian author Julian Palmer has investigated Phyllodium pulchellum and believes it to be a good candidate for the ancient drink, Soma (see picture) for a number of reasons.

It is hard to know if what is being distributed recently as Phyllodium pulchellum is correctly identified. It may in fact be Phyllodium longipes. Further research needs to be done as perhaps what Julian was distributing was in fact P. longipes. For this reason we simply explain that there is still uncertainty over the identity of this plant/seeds.

Care and Cultivation of Phyllodium pulchellum

Seeds can be hot water treated as they ned scarification to increawe germination. Sow just under the surface of a good seed raising mix and germination should start in 2-4 weeks. Phyllodium pulchellum likes a full sun to part shade position. Nitrogen fixing perennial legume. Well drained soil. Drooping habit and showy flowers.

8 seeds per packet


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