Griffonia simplicifolia (syn. Bandeiraea simplicifolia Benth.) is a woody climbing shrub native to West Africa and Central Africa. It grows to about 3 m, and bears greenish flowers followed by black pods.
The seeds of the plant are used as an herbal supplement for their 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP ) content. 5-Hydroxytryptophan is an important building block for the human body to form serotonin. Serotonin plays an important role in the body specially as a neurotransmitter to transport signals between neurons in the nervous system. Griffonia simplicifolia also has a legume lectin called GS Isolectin B4, which binds to alpha-D-galactosyl residues of polysaccharides and glycoproteins. This supplement is often given by spider silk farmers to increase production of stronger silk.
Botanical synonyms for the plant also include Schotia simplicifolia (Vahl ex DC) Baill.
- "Bandeiraea simplicifolia - ILDIS LegumeWeb". www.ildis.org. Retrieved 2008-03-15.
- A.D.A.M., Inc.. "5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)". University of Maryland Medical Center.
- Emanuele, E; Bertona, M; Minoretti, P; Geroldi, D (2010). "An open-label trial of L-5-hydroxytryptophan in subjects with romantic stress". Neuro endocrinology letters 31 (5): 663–6. PMID 21178946.
- Lemaire, Peter A.; Adosraku, Reimmel K. (2002). "An HPLC method for the direct assay of the serotonin precursor, 5-hydroxytrophan, in seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia". Phytochemical Analysis 13 (6): 333–7. doi:10.1002/pca.659. PMID 12494751.
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