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Information @ a Glance


  • Griffonia simplicifolia  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 a herbal supplement for their 5-Hydroxytryptophan content.
  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan also knowns as 5-HTP 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 Seed Extract

  • Phytochemical investigation shows that Griffonia Simplicifolia seed contains several indole derivatives including 5-HTP, indole-3-acetylaspartic acid and 5-hydroxy indole-3-acetic acid.
  •  Among them, 5-HTP has been recognized as the dominant indole derivative. 5-HTP is also the main functional component of Griffonia Seed Extract.
  • 5-HTP has a molecular weight of 220.2(C11H12N2O3). Pure 5-HTP appears as white to yellow-white to off-white crystalline powders and has a mild astringent taste.
  •  Its melting point is 270oC and is slightly soluble in water.


  • Traditional uses of the plant include use of the stem and roots as chewing sticks, leaves for wound healing, and leaf juice as an enema and for the treatment of bladder and kidney ailments.
  • A decoction of the stems and leaves provides relief from nausea and to also treat congestion of the pelvis. Griffonia seed is also reputed to be an aphrodisiac, as well as an antibiotic and a remedy for diarrhea, stomachache, dysentery and as a purgative.
  • The seeds of the plant are used as a herbal supplement for their 5-Hydroxytryptophan content. 5-Hydroxytryptophan may be extracted from seeds as a supplement which as a serotonin precursor is beneficial in serotonin deficiency.


  • The isolectin Griffonia simplicifolia I-B4 isolated from G. simplicifolia seeds binds to rat alveolar macrophages present in frozen sections of lung tissue or bronchoalveolar lavage fluid.
  • G. simplicifolia I-B4 does not bind to alveolar epithelial cells. We established that G. simplicifolia I-B4 binds to the macrophages via interaction with terminal alpha-D-galactopyranosyl residues present on these cells.
  • The Philip R. White Award winning project includes the investigation of methods of biosynthesizing 5HTP from embryonic calli of Griffonia simplicifolia.

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