Truth about Japanese false blueberry, science confirms



The scientific study of the Japanese false blueberry is Coriaria intermedia Matsum.

Scientific names Common names
Coriaria intermedia Matsum. Buakat (Ig.)
Coriaria japonica subsp. intermedia (Matsum) T. C. Huang Baket (Ig.)
Coriaria summicola Hayata Bikit (Ig.)
Japanese false blueberry (Ig.)
Ma sang ye (Chin.)
Coriaria intermedia Matsum. is a synonym of Coriaria japonica subsp. intermedia (Matsum.)
Coriaria japonica subsp. intermedia (Matsum.) T.C.Huang is an accepted name.
Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Tai wan ma sang

Closely allied to Coriaria japonica.

Japanese false blueberry is a shrub that grows from 1 to 3 meters high. Young branches are four-angled, reddish or pinkish. Leaves are ovate or ovate-lanceolate, 4 to 8.5 centimeters in length, 2 to 4 centimeters in width, blunt or rounded at the base and pointed at the tip. Flowers are small, about 2 millimeters long, greenish to reddish, borne on simple racemes 6 to 15 centimeters long. Fruit is composed of five very small cocci surrounded by fleshy, persistent petals and sepals of a bluish-black color, giving it a berrylike appearance.

Distribution

– Found in ravines, at an altitude of 1,400 to 2000 meters in Bontoc, Lepanto and Benguet in the Mountain Province.

– Also reported in Taiwan.

 

Constituents

– Poisonous glucoside isolated from the leaves and fruit.

– Study yields coriamyrtin 0.176 % in the fruit, 0.009% in the leaves and 0.041 % in the stems.

– Coriamyrtin is the same toxin found in high concentration in the berries of Coriaria myrtifolia, recognized as one of the most neurotoxic plants in the western Mediterranean area.

– Study yielded phytosterols, ellagic acid 3,3′-dimethyl ether, coriamyrtin, b-tutin, naringenin, ursolic acid and a new triterpenoic acid, 20-epibryonolic acid.

– Seeds of C. japonica yielded coriarin, a sesquiterpene lactone, together with tutin, dihydrotutin, and coriarin. (7)

– Study of leaves and roots yielded seven components viz., phytosterol, ellagic acid 3,3’-dimethyl ether, coriamyrtin. β-tutin, narigenin, ursolic acid and 20-epibryonolic acid.

– Study of roots and fruits yielded corianin, 7-hydroxycoumarin, ursolic acid, coriamyrtin, angustifolin, tutin, quercetin and kaempferol.

Properties

– Plant known to be toxic and poisonous.

Uses
Folkloric

– Igorots reported to be acquainted with the toxicity of the plant.

– In Taiwan, used as folk medicine for gastrointestinal, rheumatism, and uterine cancer.

Other uses

– Decoction of leaves and fruits known to be deadly poisonous.

– Common in pasture in the Mountain Province, has caused the death of cattle.

– In China, a mixture of crystalline sesquiterpenes, including coriamyrtin and tutin, has been used as muscle injection for the treatment of catatonia; also applied as shock therapy for schizophrenia. (see study)

Toxicity

Coriamytrin:

Coriamyrtin which is present in the fruits of C. intermedia (up to almost 0.2%) is a bulbar and medullar stimulant. Symptoms of intoxication include epileptiform convulsions, myosis and dyspnea; a coma might follow, as well as death by respiratory or cardiac arrest.

Coriamyrtin is the same toxin found in high concentration in the berries Coriaria myrtifolia, recognized as one of the most neurotoxic plants in the western Mediterranean area – a few berries may induce digestive and neurologic manifestations including seizures, coma and apnea.

– Coriatin: Coriatin, isolated from the fruit juice is considered to be an analog of coriamyrtin.

Tutin:

Several studies have reported tutin as a major neurotoxin in the New Zealand shrubs of the genus Coriaria. Tutin has been isolated from the acetone extracts of achenes from the Coriaria japonica berries.

Scientific studies about Japanese false blueberry

Phytochemicals:

Study yielded phytosterols, ellagic acid 3,3′-dimethyl ether, coriamyrtin, b-tutin, naringenin, ursolic acid and a new triterpenoic acid, 20-epibryonolic acid.

Further studies of roots and fruits yielded corianin, 7-hydroxycoumarin, ursolic acid, coriamyrtin, tutin, angustiloin, quercetin and kaempferol.

Toxic Principle / Coriatin:

Coriatin, isolated from the fruit juice, was considered to be an analog of coriamyrtin. The relationship between coriatin and coriamyrtin is considered to be analogous to that between picrotin and picrotoxinin.

Sesquiterpene Lactone / Coriarin:

A sesquiterpene lactone, coriarin, was isolated from the achenes (seeds) of Coriaria japonica, along with known constituents tutin, dihydrotutin, and coriarin.

Availability

Wild-crafted.

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