Monday, June 6, 2016

Fragrant Limonsito (Triphasia trifolia)


Berries are lemon-scented, white flowers have a scent of orange blossoms, while the leaves exude a resinous scent when bruised.
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog [avrotor.blogspot.com]
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday
 [www.pbs.gov.ph]


 Harvesting ripe berries of limonsito at home in Lagro, QC

I like the refreshing lemon scent of limonsito, and what could be a better place to have it growing than next to the window?

The scent freely circulate into the bedroom or seeps through the aircon, and what could be a more natural scent in a heavily polluted air? 

There it grows like bonsai in a portable 5-gallon garden pot, trained and trimmed, and positioned to serve as natural window blind.   

It is fully armed with numerous sharp needles, so it is a natural barrier against trespassers, and unpalatable to browsing animals.

Its scent is repellant against pest like house flies and mosquitoes, but host to a beautiful butterfly Danaus, that spends its immature life on the leaves, then metamorphosing into a fairy tale.

Its red berries contain a natural lacquer, environment and health friendly for natural nail polish. Pick a ripe berry, squeeze and train it on your finger nails. And if there is a minor wound apply it as well; limonsito has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

For rare dessert, try fresh ripe berries, or make them into jam, pickle or candy, which by the way, also serve as remedy for sore throat and cough. 

Being a relative of lemon, orange, our own native calamansi, dayap and suha, limonsito carries common medicinal compounds useful as home remedies such as aroma therapy,  treatment of diarrhea and skin diseases.

The world of medicinal plants, more so those that likewise contribute to our food and nutrition, aesthetics and other values, continue to fascinate us in our postmodern era, as we search for alternatives in the natural world. ~

Here are facts about limonsito in an outline for ready reference. Thanks to Philippine Medicinal Plants (Internet)     

Limonsito (LIME BERRY)


Triphasia trifolia P. Wils.
Limonia trifolia Burm. f.    Kalamansito (Ilk., Ibn.)

Limonia trifoliata L.            Kamalitos (Tag.)

Triphasia aurantiola Lour.           Limonsitong-kastila (Bik.)

Triphasia trifolia (Burm.f.) P. Wilson      Sua-sua (Bik.)

Triphasia trifoliata (L.) DC.           Suang-kastila (Bik.)

            Tagimunau (Neg.)

            Lime berry (Engl.)

            Myrtle lime (Engl.)

            Trifoliate limeberry (Engl.)
Botany
Limonsito is a smooth shrub growing to a height of 2 meters. Leaf has two sharp and slender spines at the base. Leaves have three leaflets, ovate to oblong-ovate, the terminal one 2 to 4 centimeters long; the lateral ones, smaller. Margin is crenate, the petioles very short. Flowers are very short-stalked, white, fragrant, and about 1 centimeter long. Fruit is ovoid, fleshy and red, somewhat resinous, about 12 millimeters long.

Distribution
- Throughout the Philippines in thickets and settled areas, in some places gregarious and abundant.
- Introduced; probably Chinese in origin.
- Pantropic in cultivation.
- Naturalized in many countries.
- Cultivated for its ornamental fragrant flower and edible red fruit. Attractive as a garden hedge.

Parts utilized
Leaves and fruits.

Constituents
• Study yielded a new bicoumarin from the leaves and stems; the two coumarinic moieties are derivatives of mexoticin and meranzin hydrate.
• Oil yielded 81 compounds; the main constituent was germacrene B.
• Essential oil from aerial parts yielded main constituents, as follows: β-pinene (64.36%), (+)-sabinene (8.75%), hexadecanoic acid (6.03%), α-limonene (4.24%) and p-cymene (2.73%). (see study below) (8)

Properties
• Berries are lemon-scented.
• Fragrant white flowers have a scent of orange blossoms.
• Leaves exude a resinous scent when bruised.
• Considered antifungal and antibacterial.

Uses
Edibility / Nutrition
- Fruit is edible, eaten raw or cooked.
- Ripe fruit is pleasant and sweet tasting.
- Fruit can be pickled or made into jams.

Folkloric
- Leaves applied externally for colic, diarrhea, and skin afflictions.
- Fruits used for cough and sore throat.
- Preparation: Peel the fruits and soak overnight lime (apog) water. Rinse, and boil in 1 cup water with 1/2 cup sugar. Rinse and boil a second and third time as preferred, syrupy or candied, using as needed for cough or sore throat.
- Among islanders of the Indian Ocean, fresh crushed leaves applied to dandruff. Also, used for coughs.
- In the Dutch Indies, natives apply the leaves to the body for various complaints: diarrhea colic, and skin diseases.
- In Guyana, fruit is cooked in water and sugar, used as remedy for coughs to loosen phlegm.

Others
- Baths: Leaves used in making aromatic bath salts.
- Cosmetic: Leaves used in cosmetics.

Studies
• Phenolics / Anti-HSV: Study on the inhibitory effects of phenolic compounds on herpes simplex virus and HIV included 13 coumarins from Triphasia trifolia. The data suggests the bis-hydroxyphenyl structure as a potential target for anti-HSV and HIV drugs development.

• Bicoumarin: Study yielded a new bicoumarin from the leaves and stems of Triphasia trifolia. The two coumarinic moieties are derivatives of mexoticin and meranzin hydrate.

• Antioxidant / Repellent / Essential Oil : Study of essential oil from aerial parts showed high antioxidant potential (94.53%) comparable to ascorbic acid (96.40%). The oils also showed high repellent activity on the insect Tribolium castaneum Herbst.

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