Balloon vine

Authors: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer, Prof. Dr. med. Martina Bacharach-Buhles

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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Synonym(s)

Cardiospermum; halicacaciform sperm; Monk's head plant

Definition
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Originally a tropical plant belonging to the Sapindaceae family (soap tree plants; lat. sapo = soap). The saponin-containing fruits, which foam up in water, are traditionally used for washing. The name of the plant (monk's head) is derived from the shape of its seeds, which resembles a monk's head. The leaves of the balloon vine (see Cardiospermum-halicacababum leaves below) are mainly used medicinally.

Note(s)
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In Germany, a white-flowering species is used to obtain the homeopathic mother tincture. Especially the fresh above-ground parts of the flowering plant are needed.

Ointments with balloon vine should not be applied to open or bacterially infected wounds.

Literature
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  1. Khunkitti W et al (2000) In vitro antifilarial activity of extracts of the medicinal plant Cardiospermum halicacabum against Brugia pahangi. J Helminthol 74:241-246
  2. Merklinger S et al (1995) Eczema treatment with Cardiospermum halicacabum. Cschr. for phythotherapy 16: 263-266
  3. Reuter J et al (2010) Which plant for which skin disease? Part 1 JDDG 10: 788-796