AppearanceThe Rangoon creeper is a ligneous vine that can reach from 2.5 meters to up to 8 meters. The leaves are elliptical with an acuminate tip and a rounded base. They grow from 7 to 15 centimeters and their arrangement is opposite. The flowers are fragrant and tubular and their color varies from white to pink to red. The 30 to 35 mm long fruit is ellipsoidal and has five prominent wings. The fruit tastes like almonds when mature. The niyog-niyogan is usually dispersed by water.
Rangoon creeper is found in thickets or secondary forests of the Philippines, India and Malaysia. It has since been cultivated and naturalized in tropical areas.
EvolutionDr John Ivor Murray sent a sample of the "nuts" to the Museum of Economic Botany in Edinburgh in 1861, with a note that they were "used by the Chinese for worms" and a description of the means of preparation and dosage.
UsesThe plant is used as an herbal medicine. Decoctions of the root, seed or fruit can be used as antihelmintic to expel parasitic worms or for alleviating diarrhea. Fruit decoction can also be used for gargling. The fruits are also used to combat nephritis. Leaves can be used to relieve pain caused by fever. The roots are used to treat rheumatism.
The seeds of this and related species, ''Quisqualis fructus'' and ''Q. chinensis'', contain the chemical quisqualic acid, which is an agonist for the AMPA receptor, a kind of glutamate receptor in the brain. The chemical is linked to excitotoxicity . The seeds from the pod are useful for treating Roundworm and Pinworm. It is toxic to the parasite and kills it in the digestive tract.
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