Suppression

Goldthread

Category: Medicines - plant based

Type

Voluntary

Introduction and description

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Goldthread is the common name for the Coptis spp.  Coptis (Goldthread or Canker Root) is a genus of between 10–15 species of flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae, native to Asia and North America.  Examples include:

  • Coptis aspleniifolia
  • Coptis chinensis
  • Coptis deltoidea
  • Coptis groenlandica
  • Coptis japonica - Huang lian in Chinese (Chinese: 黃連; pinyin: Huang lian)
  • Coptis laciniata
  • Coptis occidentalis
  • Coptis omeiensis
  • Coptis quinquefolia
  • Coptis quinquesecta
  • Coptis teeta
  • Coptis trifolia

Habitat

 

The species inhabits warm and cold temperate forests of oak-rhododendron. It is occasionally seen growing under bamboo thickets around the Mayodia region of Dibang Valley district in the Mishmi Hills of Arunachal Pradesh in India.

Studies have shown that the species has become endangered both due to overexploitation as well as intrinsic genetic bottlenecks such as high male sterility induced by genetic mutations.  As a result of the sympathetic mutation and ensuing male sterility the sexual reproduction in the species is significantly depressed

It flowers during early spring March–April and sets fruit/seed in July–August. The seedlings are rare and are often found germinating on moss laden dead wood on the forest floor or even on moss laden branches of Rhododendron.

Medicinal uses

 

Coptis teeta is used as a medicinal herb in China and the Eastern Himalayan regions of India particularly in the Mishmi Hills of Arunachal Pradesh where it is used as a bitter tonic for treating malarial fever and  dyspepsia.

The dried roots (goldthread) were commercially marketed in Canada until the 1950s or early 60s, to be steeped into a "tea" and swabbed onto areas affected by thrush (candidiasis) infection

References and further reading

  • Pandit MK, Babu CR , 1993. The cytology and taxonomy of Coptis teeta Wall. (Ranunculaceae) [J ] . Botanical Journal of Linnean Society , 111 : 371 —378
  • Pandit MK, Babu CR , 1998. Biology and conservation of Coptis teeta Wall.2an endemic and endangered medicinal herb of Eastern Hi2 malaya [J ] . Environmental Conservation , 25 (3) : 262 —272
  • Huang, J.; Long, C. (2007). "Coptis teeta-based agroforestry system and its conservation potential: A case study from northwest Yunnan". AMBIO 36 (4): 343–49.
  • Pandit, M. K. and Babu, C. R. 2003. “The effects of loss of sex in clonal populations of an endangered perennial Coptis teeta (Ranunculaceae),” Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, vol. 143, no. 1, pp. 47–54.

Related observations