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Galega officinalis

]] Galega officinalis, commonly known as galega, goat's-rue, French lilac, Italian fitch, or professor-weed, is an herbaceous plant in the Faboideae subfamily. It is native to the Middle East, but it has been naturalized in Europe, western Asia, and western Pakistan. The plant has been extensively cultivated as a forage crop, an ornamental, a bee plant and as green manure.}} The name is believed to derive from the Greek terms for milk () and goat (), because medieval Europeans noticed that it increased milk production in livestock when eaten. However, the plant has proved too toxic for widespread agricultural use, with the potential to induce a buildup of excess fluid in the lungs, pleural cavities, or trachea, low blood pressure, paralysis and death.,Bailey CJ, Campbell IW, Chan JCN, Davidson JA, Howlett HCS, Ritz P (eds). 2007. Metformin: the Gold Standard. A Scientific handbook; Chichester: Wiley. Chapter 1: Galegine and anti diabetic plants hence the name "Goat's rue". Galega bicolor is a synonym. It is a hardy perennial that blooms in the summer months. G. officinalis is used as a food plant by the larva of Coleophora vicinella, a species of moth.

Distribution

In 1891, G. officinalis was introduced to Cache County, Utah, for use as a forage crop. It escaped cultivation and is now a weed and agricultural pest, though it is still confined to that county. As a result, it has been placed on the Federal Noxious Weed List in the United States. It was collected in Colorado, Connecticut and New York prior to the 1930s, and in Maine and Pennsylvania in the 1960s, but no more collections have been made in these areas since and the populations are presumed to have died out. It has also been found in Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, and New Zealand.

Uses

G. officinalis contains compounds that are related to guanidine, a substance that decreases blood sugar by mechanisms including a decrease in insulin resistance, but are too toxic for human use. The active ingredient in the French lilac is galegine or isoamylene guanidine. Georges Tanret identified an alkaloid from this plant, galegine, that was less toxic (than guanidine), and this was evaluated in unsuccessful clinical trials in patients with diabetes in the 1920s and 1930s. Other related compounds were being investigated clinically at this time, including biguanide derivatives. This work led ultimately to the discovery of metformin (Glucophage), currently used for the management of diabetes and the older agent phenformin.Salpeter S, Greyber E, Pasternak G, Salpeter E. Risk of fatal and nonfatal lactic acidosis with metformin use in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2006 Jan 25;(1):CD002967. The study of galegine and related molecules in the first half of the 20th century is part the development for oral antidiabetic pharmacotherapies.

References

External links

"green air" © 2007 - Ingo Malchow, Webdesign Neustrelitz
This article based upon the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galega_officinalis, the free encyclopaedia Wikipedia and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Further informations available on the list of authors and history: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Galega_officinalis&action=history
presented by: Ingo Malchow, Mirower Bogen 22, 17235 Neustrelitz, Germany