Trichodesma incanum

Plant Name

Trichodesma incanum (Bunge) A. DC.

Botanical Info

Branched perennial with dense white subapressed hairs, 30-100cm heigh.


Central Asia: Mountain Turkmenia, Pamiro-Alaj, Tien Shan. Grows on petrous slopes, pebbles, loessial hills, as a weed in wheat and barley crops. Reaches elevation of up to 600-2900m.

Chemical Content

Alkaloids: trichodesmine, incanine. Rootstocks: Alkaloids : N-oxyd of trichodesmine , trichodesmine, incanine . An above-ground part: triterpenic saponins 0.76 %. Alkaloids %: trichodesmine 0.025 %, incanine. Coumarines 0.38 %. Flavonoids. Caulises, leaves. Alkaloids (in %) 0.02-0.93, 0.01-0.98 : trichodesmine, incanine. Knops: Alkaloids: trichodesmine, incanine. Flowers, fruits: Alkaloids (in %) 0.36, 0.17 respectively. Seeds: Cyclitols and their derivatives: Phytinum of 1.2 %. Alkaloids %: incanine, N-oxyde of incanine. Fatty oils -15-20 %. Fatty acids: in hydrolysate behenic, arachidic, stearinic, palmitic, oleinic. Phosphatides -0.1 %.

Traditional Use and Activity

In Central Asia rootstocks powder is used externally to treat furunculosis; pounded fresh to heal purulent wounds in horses.┬áRootstocks and leaves decoction applied externally is used for the treatment of scabies, tumours, wounds having similar application in veterinary science. In experiment, an above-ground part and fruits alkaloids and trichodesmine cause damage to the vascular walls of organs of gastrointestinal tract and liver causing nephrosis and effecting erythrocytes. Alkaloids trichodesmine and incanine possess antitumoral properties. An above-the-ground part and fruits can be used as a dye giving wool grey-yellow, greenish-yellow and cream tint. It is toxic to all anamals causing trichodesmotoxycosis, in people – causing hepatitis with ascites that can lead to a lethal outcome, but the fatty oil is not toxic.