Ranunculus is a large genus of about 400 species of plants in the Ranunculaceae. It includes the buttercups, spearworts, water crowfoots and the lesser celandine. They are mostly herbaceous perennials, some are annuals or biennials. All Ranunculus species are poisonous when eaten fresh by cattle, horses, and other livestock, but their acrid taste and the blistering of the mouth caused by their poison means they are usually left uneaten. The name Ranunculus is Late Latin for "little frog," this probably refers to many species being found near water. Consequently they are mainly found in Woodlands and Shrublands, and are widely spread ranging from North and South America, to New Zealand and the Mediterranean.
Ranunculus constantinopolitanus (Arabic common name: Hawdhan fa’ri), a species of Ranunculus ,is a wild plant commonly used in Lebanese folk medicine for treating fungal infections and reported to possess anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiviral, antibacterial and antiparasitic agents. It grows in Yanta, a village in the Anti-Lebanon, and can be found in the area that extends from Hasbayya to Jezzine. It is 30 to 70 cm tall and 30 cm wide. Leaves are deeply lobed, medium green, up to 10 cm in length. Flowers are in panicles similar to cymes, brilliant yellow, shiny, bowl-shaped and upto 7 cm wide. Sepals are light yellow and reflexed. Its flowering season falls between April and June.
Members of IBSAR examined the anti-inflammatory properties of Ranunculus and found them to be attributed to a Fatty Acid mix found in this plant composed of Palmitic, Linoleic, Oleic and Stearic acid. Interestingly enough, this mix is even more potent than fish oil, which is commercially used as an anti-inflammatory agent. Furthermore its effectiveness is not due to any of its individual constituents but due to the combination itself.
Interleukin-6 and Cyclooxygenase-2 down regulation by fatty-acid fractions of Ranunculus constantinopolitanus: View Abstract
Anti-inflammatory Bioactivities in Fatty-Acid fractions of a Lebanese Medicinal Plant: View Abstract
Anti-tumor activities of extracts from indigenous Lebanese plants using a murine in vitro model of squamous cell carcinogenesis: View Abstract