Family: Bixaceae

Bengali/vernacular name: Latkan, Belatihaldi, Utkana.
English name: Arnotta plant, Annatto.

Description of the plant:
A small evergreen tree up to 5 m tall, generally with branches from near the ground. Leaves 10-20 cm long, ovate, cordate, acuminate. Flowers 5 cm diam., white or pink in terminal panicles. Capsule 3.7 cm long, ovoid or subglobose, clothed with long soft prickles. Seeds covered with red pulps.

Using information:
Root bark is antiperiodic and antipyretic; used in intermittent, remittent and continued fevers. Root is used in jaundice and fever. Seeds are cordial, astringent, febrifuge, diuretic, laxative, digestive; prescribed in dysentery, epilepsy, skin diseases and gonorrhoea. Fresh pulp (the colouring matter, surrounding the seeds) is astringent; applied to burns to prevent blisters and scars. American Indians use the pulp to paint their body, which they beleive, prevents mosquito bites. Seeds fatty oil is used in leprosy. Leaves are febrifuge; useful in jaundice; prescribed as a purgative in dysentery; decoction of the leaves is used as a gargle for sore throat.

Bixa Orollana

EtOH extract of defatted root bark is antimicrobial, weak CNS depressant and spasmogenic. Aquous extract is antispasmodic and hypotensive (Asolkar et al., 1992).

Chemical constituents:
Roots contain triterpenoid and tomentosic acid. Leaves yield essential oil (0.4%), which contains sesquiterpene, bixaghanene (ishwarane). Flavonoids, 7-bisulphates of apigenin, luteolin and hypolaetin have also been isolated from leaves. Seeds contain carotenoid and bixin (70-80% of total pigments) (Asolkar et al., 1992). Fatty oil contains an alcohol, bixol. Five carotenoids have also been isolated from the seed coat. An apocarotenoid, 9'-Z-apo-6'-lycopenoate and the C40 carotenes, phytoene, phytofluene, epsilon-carotene and neurosporene have been isolated from the seed coat (Ghani, 2003).

Cultivated in Chittagong Chittagong Hill Tracts; sporadically in other districts.