Its main notability is its roots are used as a red dye. It is native to the Mediterranean region. The plant has a dark red root of blackish appearance externally, but blue-red inside, with a whitish core. The root produces a fine red colouring material, which has been used as a dye in the Mediterranean region since antiquity.

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Last updated on Sep 5, Clinical Overview Use Alkanna is an astringent and a source of red pigment used in cosmetics. It was traditionally used topically for the treatment of skin wounds and diseases. Orally, alkanna root has been used for diarrhea and gastric ulcers. Alkanna root has demonstrated radical scavenging activity, suggesting potential antiaging effects; however, clinical trial information is lacking.

Dosing No recent clinical data justify human dosage. Contraindications Contraindications have not been identified. Contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Avoid use. Interactions The pyrrolizidine alkaloid components of alkanna root are substrates for the cytochrome P 3A4 isoenzyme. Inducers of this isoenzyme, including rifampin, St.

Adverse Reactions Alkanna root may cause acute liver failure, cirrhosis, pneumonitis, pulmonary hypertension, or heart failure. Scientific Family Boraginaceae Borage Botany Alkanna is a biennial or perennial herbaceous plant growing from 0.

It bears blue to purple trumpet-shaped flowers arranged in loose, 1-sided scorpioid racemes. The dried cylindrical, fissured rhizome has exfoliating, brittle, and dark purple bark on the outside and remains of bristly leaf and stem pieces near the crown region.

Bisset , Roeder Alkanna root belongs to the plant family Boraginaceae and contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids that aid in plant defense against insect herbivores.

Although pyrrolizidine alkaloids are found in all plant organs, they are concentrated in the roots of these plants. Chojkier Alkanna should not be confused with another plant also known as alkanet, but which is the related Anchusa officinalis L. Alkanna has also been used to impart a red color to fats, oils, and waxes. Bisset The Greek physician Hippocrates ca. Greek physician and pharmacologist Dioscorides ca.

Papageorgiou Today, alkanna root is used almost exclusively as a cosmetic dye. Bisset Orally, it has been used for diarrhea and gastric ulcers. Traditionally, topical alkanna root has been used to treat skin wounds and diseases. These consist mainly of fat-soluble naphthazarin 5,8-dihydroxy-1, 4-naphthaquinone components, such as alkannin and related esters. Bisset , Papageorgiou , Tung The red pigments are soluble in fatty oils, which makes them useful for the detection of oily materials in microscopic powders during histological examination.

Like some other members of the Borage family, pyrrolizidine alkaloids have been found in Alkanna tinctoria, but levels have not been determined. Bisset The alkannin esters of beta, beta-dimethylacrylic acid, beta-acetoxy-isovaleric acid, isovaleric acid, and angelic acid have also been isolated from the root. Papageorgiou Uses and Pharmacology Anti-proliferative activity against human cancer cell lines has been reported. Tung Potential antiaging effects Alkanna root has demonstrated antioxidant effects.

One study found that both monomeric and oligomeric alkannin exhibited high radical scavenging activity. Additionally, an olive oil extract containing A. Sengul , Khan Alkannin has been shown to exert activity against gram-positive bacteria, gram-negative bacteria, and fungi. Additionally, alkannin may exert bactericidal action on Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacteria that forms biofilms against wound healing.

Papageorgiou A. A solution of A. The right side served as a control. Partial thickness burn wounds were completely healed in 7 to 10 days, and olive oil burn wounds were healed in 26 days. However, severe burn wounds were unresponsive to A. Ogurtan Clinical data The esteric pigments displayed antibiotic and wound-healing properties in an older clinical study enrolling 72 patients with ulcus cruris indolent leg ulcers. Kheiri Dosing No recent clinical data justify human dosage. McGuffin Animal studies in rats have shown that pyrrolizidine alkaloid-induced toxicity can affect offspring, with suckling young rats more likely to develop pyrrolizidine alkaloid-induced hepatotoxicity than their mothers.

Roeder , Schoental Interactions Pyrrolizidine alkaloids are substrates for the cytochrome P 3A4 isoenzyme. Inducers of this enzyme, including rifampin, St.

Chojkier Adverse Reactions Alkanna root may cause acute liver failure, cirrhosis, pneumonitis, pulmonary hypertension, or heart failure. Toxic byproducts from the hepatic metabolism of pyrrolizidine alkaloids are transported to the lungs where they may cause pulmonary toxicity.

Sinusoidal-obstruction syndrome, also known as venoocclusive disease, is a hepatic complication associated with bone marrow transplantation that may occur in patients consuming products containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

Pyrrolizidine alkaloids have been shown to be carcinogenic in animals, specifically associated with hepatocellular and squamous cell carcinomas and liver angiosarcomas. The most hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids include the cyclic diesters, such as retrorsine and senecionine. Fulvine and monocrotaline have been implicated in causing liver and pulmonary toxicities.

Chojkier Specifically, pyrrolizidine alkaloids cause liver cell enlargement, disturbances in liver cell metabolism with functional losses, and fatty degeneration in the liver. Roeder References Alkanna tinctoria. Aug Radical scavenging activity of Alkanna tinctoria root extracts and their main constituents, hydroxynaphthoquinones. Phytother Res. Stuttgart, Germany: Medpharm Scientific Publishers; Chojkier M.

Hepatic sinusoidal-obstruction syndrome: toxicity of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. J Hepatol. Alkanna tinctoria leaves extracts: a prospective remedy against multidrug resistant human pathogenic bacteria. The effects of Alkanna tinctoria Tausch on split-thickness skin graft donor site management: a randomized, blinded placebo-controlled trial. The effect of Alkanna tinctoria Tausch on burn wound healing in rabbits.

Dtsch Tierarztl Wochenschr. Wound healing properties of naphthaquinone pigments from Alkanna tinctoria. Alkannins and shikonins: a new class of wound healing agents. Curr Med Chem. Isolation of two new alkannin esters from Alkanna tinctoria. Planta Med. Roeder E. Medicinal plants in Europe containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

Toxicology and carcinogenic action of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Cancer Res. Total phenolic content, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of some medicinal plants.

Pak J Pharm Sci. Isolation and chemopreventive evaluation of novel naphthoquinone compounds from Alkanna tinctoria. Anticancer Drugs. Naphthoquinone components from Alkanna tinctoria L. Tausch show significant antiproliferative effects on human colorectal cancer cells.

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Alkanna Root



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