Gleditsia sinensis Lam. - syn. Gleditsia macracantha Desf.; Gleditsia officinalis Hemsl.; Gleditsia horrida Willd. - Fabaceae
皂荚 zao jia (chin.), Chinese honey locust, Chinesischer Lederhülsenbaum
Tree, up to 30m tall, native to West China, cultivated for medicine and as ornamental (China, Korea, India); stem and twigs much-spiny; leaves pinnate, leaflets ovate-lanceolate to oblong, to 8cm long, papery, margin serrate; flowers in axillary or terminal racemes (5-14cm long), yellowish white, with 5 petals and 10 stamens; legume brown or reddish brown, curved, strap-shaped, 12-37 × 2-4 cm, straight or twisted, with slightly thick pulp, with numerous, brown, shiny, oblong or elliptic seeds; some legumes shorter and smaller, 5-13 × 1-1.5 cm, without seeds.
„Specimens from Sichuan called „zhu ya zao,“ named as Gleditsia officinalis, with curved, small fruit without seeds, are an abnormal type and are referable to this species.“
“Zhu Ya Zao,” the anomalous fruits produced by old or injured plants of Gleditsia sinensis, known in traditional Chinese medicine as an expectorant and for the treatment of apoplexy, contains various triterpenoid saponins (gleditsiosides).
[Triterpenoidal saponins acylated with two monoterpenic acids from Gleditsia sinensis., Zhang, Zhizhen, et al., Chemical and pharmaceutical bulletin 47.3, 1999, 388-393] http://cpb.pharm.or.jp/cpb/199903/C03_0388.pdf
An extract (n-butanol) of Gleditsia sinensis fruits (NBGS) dose-dependently inhibited nasal symptoms (sneezing and nasal rubbing) of actively sensitized rats. The extract also significantly reduced in vitro histamine release from rat peritoneal mast cells. „These results suggest that NBGS may be clinically effective in alleviating the nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis, probably by inhibiting both histamine release from mast cells and nasal vascular permeability.“
[Inhibition of experimental allergic rhinitis by the n-butanol fraction from the anomalous fruits of Gleditsia sinensis., Fu, L.J., Dai, Y., Wang, Z.T., Zhang, M., Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 26(7), 2003, 974-977]
The fruit hull, extensively used as a key ingredient of an herbal remedy for the treatment of various inflammatory diseases in traditional Korean Medicine, is capable of suppressing inflammatory responses by activating Nrf2 (a key anti-inflammatory transcription factor).
[Identification of the Plant Part of Gleditsia sinensis that Activates Nrf2, an Anti-oxidative Transcription Factor., 지연최, et al, Korean Journal of Oriental Physiology and Pathology 28.3, 2014, 303-309]
picture: Flora of China, Harvard, http://www.efloras.org/object_page.aspx?object_id=116243&flora_id=2