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Chorioactis geaster: Devil’s Cigar a fungus


 
Chorioactis
A star-shaped mushroom with six rays growing on the ground, surrounded by grass. The interior surface of the mushroom is colored butterscotch-brown.
Chorioactis geaster
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Ascomycota
Class: Pezizomycetes
Order: Pezizales
Family: Chorioactidaceae
Genus: Chorioactis
Kupfer ex Eckblad (1968)[1]
Species: C. geaster
Binomial name
Chorioactis geaster
(Peck) Kupfer ex Eckblad (1968)[1]
Map of Texas, with Collin, Travis, Dallas, Denton, Guadalupe, Tarrant and Hunt Counties colored in green.
Distribution in Texas (above), and Japan (below) shown in red and dark green, respectively.
Map of Japan, with Nara and Miyazaki prefectures colored in dark green.
Synonyms
Urnula geaster Peck (1893)[2]
Chorioactis geaster (Peck) Kupfer (1902)[3]

Chorioactis is a genus of fungus that contains the single species Chorioactis geaster.[4] The mushroom is commonly known as the devil’s cigar or the Texas star in the United States, while in Japan it is called kirinomitake ( キリノミタケ?). This extremely rare mushroom is notable for its unusual appearance and disjunct distribution: it is found only in select locales in Texas and Japan. The fruit body, which grows on the stumps or dead roots of cedar elms (in Texas) or dead oaks (in Japan), somewhat resembles a dark brown or black cigar before it splits open radially into a starlike arrangement of four to seven leathery rays. The interior surface of the fruit body bears the spore-bearing tissue known as the hymenium, and is colored white to brown, depending on its age. The fruit body opening can be accompanied by a distinct hissing sound and the release of a smoky cloud of spores.

Fruit bodies were first collected in Austin, Texas, and the species was named Urnula geaster in 1893; later it was found in Kyushu in 1937, but the mushroom was not reported again in Japan until 1973. Although the new genus Chorioactis was proposed to accommodate the unique species a few years after its original discovery, it was not until 1968 that it was accepted as a valid genus. Its classification has also been a source of confusion. Historically, Chorioactis was placed in the fungus family Sarcosomataceae, despite inconsistencies in the microscopic structure of the ascus, the saclike structure in which spores are formed. Phylogenetic analyses of the past decade have clarified the fungus’s classification: Chorioactis, along with three other genera, make up the family Chorioactidaceae, a grouping of related fungi formally acknowledged in 2008. In 2009, Japanese researchers reported discovering a form of the fungus missing the sexual stage of its life cycle; this asexual state was named Kumanasamuha geaster.

History

The fungus was first collected in Austin, Texas, in 1893 by botanist Lucien

A cluster of empty brown roughly circular pods that are split lengthwise into two halves hinged together on the end connected to a branch. The roughly two dozen pods are distributed among about five small twigs on a tree branch, against a background of green leaves.

Spent seed pods of kiri, the empress tree

Marcus Underwood, who sent the specimens to mycologist Charles Horton Peck for identification. Peck described the species as Urnula geaster in that year’s Annual Report of the New York State botanist, although he expressed doubt about its generic placement in Urnula.[2] In 1902, student mycologist Elsie Kupfer questioned the proposed classification of various species in the genera Urnula and Geopyxis, as suggested in an 1896 publication on the Discomycetes by German mycologist Heinrich Rehm. She considered Rehm’s transfer of the species to the genus Geopyxis illogical:

“Even externally the fungus does not closely answer Rehm’s own description of the genus Geopyxis under which he places it; the texture of the apothecium is described as fleshy, the stem, as short and sometimes thin; while in this plant, the leathery character of the cup and the length and thickness of the stem are its noticeable features.”

Working with Underwood’s guidance, Kupfer compared the microscopic

A star-shaped mushroom with four rays growing on the ground, surrounded by dead leaves. The interior surface of the mushroom is butterscotch colored, and the center of the mushroom is cracked to reveal the white tissue layer underneath. The external surface is rough, and a dark brown color.

Chorioactis geaster. These specimens appeared along a foot trail to the Blanco River through the upland rim rock Live Oak – Ashe Juniper – Cedar Elm woodland savanna in a wildlife preserve near Fischer Store Road, Hays County, Texas. They seem to be associated with Cedar Elm trees. Found on January 12, 2006

structure of the hymenium (the fertile, spore-bearing tissue) of the Texan species with a number of similar ones—Geopyxis carbonaria, Urnula craterium, and Urnula terrestris (now known as Podophacidium xanthomelum). She concluded that the Texan species was so dissimilar as to warrant its own genus, which she named Chorioactis.[3] Although this taxonomical change was opposed in later studies of the fungus by Frederick De Forest Heald and Frederick Adolf Wolf (1910)[5] and Fred Jay Seaver (1928, 1942),[6][7] Chorioactis was established as a valid genus in 1968 by Finn-Egil Eckblad in his comprehensive monograph about the Discomycetes.[1][8

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Gymnema sylvestre: used for thousands of years as tea for various ailments of the digestive system and Type 2 daibetes


Gymnema sylvestre

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Gymnema sylvestre
Gymnema sylvestre.jpg
in Karyavattam University Campus of Kerala, India.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Asclepiadaceae
Genus: Gymnema
Species: G. sylvestre
Binomial name
Gymnema sylvestre
R. Br.

Gymnema sylvestre (Sinhala: මස්බැද්ද / Masbadda)(Malayalam:ചക്കരക്കൊല്ലി ,Tamil:சிறுகுறிஞ்சா) is an herb native to the tropical forests of southern and central India and Sri Lanka. Chewing the leaves suppresses the sensation of sweet. This effect is attributed to the eponymous gymnemic acids. G. sylvestre has been used in herbal medicine as a treatment for diabetes for nearly two millennia,[1] and though there is insufficient scientific evidence to draw definitive conclusions about its efficacy[2] two small clinical trials have shown gymnema to reduce glycosylated hemoglobin levels.[3] Common names include gymnema,[4] cowplant, Australian cowplant, gurmari, gurmarbooti, gurmar, periploca of the woods, meshasringa (मेषशृंग), Bedki cha pala (बेडकीचा पाला) and miracle fruit[5][6](also a common name for two unrelated plants).

Chemical composition

The major bioactive constituents of G. sylvestre are a group of oleanane-type triterpenoid saponins known as gymnemic acids. The latter contain several acylated (tigloyl, methylbutyroyl etc.,) derivatives of deacylgymnemic acid (DAGA) which is the 3-O-glucuronide of gymnemagenin (3,16,21,22,23,28-hexahydroxy-olean-12-ene). The individual gymnemic acids (saponins) include gymnemic acids I-VII, gymnemosides A-F, and gymnemasaponins.[citation needed]

G. sylvestre leaves contain triterpene saponins belonging to oleanane and dammarene classes. Oleanane saponins are gymnemic acids and gymnemasaponins, while dammarene saponins are gymnemasides. Besides this, other plant constituents are flavones, anthraquinones, hentriacontane, pentatriacontane, α and β-chlorophylls, phytin, resins, d-quercitol, tartaric acid, formic acid, butyric acid, lupeol, β-amyrin-related glycosides and stigmasterol. The plant extract also tests positive for alkaloids. Leaves of this species yield acidic glycosides and anthroquinones and their derivatives.[citation needed]

Use as herbal medicine

The effects of the herb are not entirely known. Gymnema reduces the taste of sugar when it is placed in the mouth. From extract of the leaves were isolated glycosides known as gymnemic acids, which exhibit anti-sweet activity.[7] This effect lasts up to about 2 hours. Some postulate that the herb may block sugar receptors on the tongue. This effect was observed in isolated rat neurons.[8]

The active ingredients are thought to be the family of compounds related to gymnemic acid: purified gymnemic acids are widely used as experimental reagents in taste physiology[9] and have also an anti-diabetic effect in animal models,[10] reduce intestinal transport of maltose in rats when combined with acarbose,[11] and reduce absorption of free oleic acid in rats.[12]

Historically, the leaves were used for stomach ailments, constipation, water retention, and liver disease;[citation needed] however, these claims are not supported by scientific studies.[13]

A water-soluble extract of G. sylvestre caused reversible increases in intracellular calcium and insulin secretion in mouse and human β-cells when used at a concentration (0.125 mg/ml) without compromising cell viability. This in vitro data suggests that extracts derived from G. sylvestre may be useful as therapeutic agents for the stimulation of insulin secretion in individuals with type 2 diabetes.[14] The rise in insulin levels may be due to regeneration of the cells in the pancreas.[15] G. sylvestre can also help prevent adrenal hormones from stimulating the liver to produce glucose in mice, thereby reducing blood sugar levels.[16] Clinical trials with type 2 diabetics in India have used 400 mg per day of water-soluble acidic fraction of the Gymnema leaves administered for 18–20 months as a supplement to the conventional oral drugs. During GS4 supplementation, the patients showed a significant reduction in blood glucose, glycosylated haemoglobin and glycosylated plasma proteins, and conventional drug dosage could be decreased. Five of the 22 diabetic patients were able to discontinue their conventional drug and maintain their blood glucose homeostasis with GS4 alone. These data suggest that the beta cells may be regenerated/repaired in Type 2 diabetic patients on GS4 supplementation. This is supported by the appearance of raised insulin levels in the serum of patients after GS4 supplementation.[17] Though for the moment G. sylvestre cannot be used in place of insulin to control blood sugar by people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, further evidence of its positive effect is accumulating[18][unreliable source?]

Alternative names

Despite the part used being the leaf, one common name of this species is miracle fruit,[4][5][6] a name shared by two other species: Synsepalum dulcificum and Thaumatococcus daniellii.[5] Both species are used to alter the perceived sweetness of foods.

In English the species is also known as gymnema, cowplant, and Australian cowplant.[citation needed]

This species also goes under many other names such as; Gurmari, Gurmarbooti, Gurmar, periploca of the woods and Meshasringa. The Hindi word Gur-mar (Madhunaashini in Sanskrit, Chakkarakolli in Malayalam,Podapatri in Telugu), literally means sugar destroyer. Meshasringa (Sanskrit) translates as “ram’s horn”, a name given to the plant from the shape of its fruits. Gymnema derives from the Greek words “gymnos” (γυμνὀς) and “nēma” (νῆμα) meaning “naked” and “thread” respectively; the species epitheton sylvestre means “of the forest” in Latin.[19]

 

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