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Family Pinaceae
Almaciga
Agathis philippinensis Warb.
PHILIPPINE AGATHIS

Bei qiao shan

Scientific names Common names
Agathis alba (Lam.) Foxw. Adiañgau (Bik.)
Agathis dammara auct. Alinsago (Ig.)
Agathis philippinensis Warb. Alintagau (Ig.)
Agathis regia Warb. Almasiga (Tag.)
Podocarpus phillippeanus Benth. Aniñga (Ig.)
  Anano (S. L. Bis.)
  Anting (Neg.)
  Ariñga (Klg.)
  Bagtik (Kuy.)
  Balau (C. Bis.)
  Baltik (Tagb.)
  Bidiañgan (P. Bis.)
  Badiañgau (P. Bis.)
  Biayo (Bis.)
  Bunsog (Ig.)
  Buntog (Ig.)
  Dadiañgau (C. Bis., Tag.)
  Daduñgoi (Bik.)
  Dinar (Bag.)
  Dala-dala (Tag., Tagb.)
  Ladiañgau (Bik., Tag.)
  Makau (C. Bis.)
  Olingsago (Ig.)
  Salang (Neg.)
  Saleng (Neg.)
  Salong (Tag., Bik.)
  Titan (Ting.)
  Uli (Sbl.)
  Uniñgat (Ilk.)
  Dammar pine (Engl.)
  Kauri (Engl.)
  Manila copal (Engl.)
  Philippiine agathis (Engl.)
  Sulawesi agathis (Engl.)
Various compilations and sources present conflicting lists of synonyms.
Quisumbing's compilation lists these synonyms for Almacida (Agathis philippomemsos) (, viz. Agathis alba (Lam.) Foxw., Agathis borneensis Warb., Agathis beccarii Warb., Agathis celebica Warb., Agathis dammara Lamb., Agathis loranthifolia Salisb., Agathis macrostachys Warb., Dammara alba Lam., Dammara rumphii Presl., Pedocarpus philippeanus Benth. Some of these are separate species in other compilations.
Agathis alba (Lam.) Foxw. is an accepted name The Plant List
Agathis philippinensis Ward is an unresolved name The Plant List
This taxon is sometimes treated as a separate entity, sometimes as a synonym of Agathis borneensis Warb. Some synonyms also seem to be associated with either one or Agathis dammara (Lamb.) Rich. et A. Rich. (ex; Agathis celebica, Dammara rumphii). Due to the fact that taxonomists other than Lamb. & Rich. have called this species A. dammara in the past, some common names apply to both species, especially wood / timber names. (Sorting Agathis names)

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Bei qiao shan.
MALAY: Damar, Damar gantungan, Damar lea, Damar lotong, Damar tampea, Damar wana gintungan, Damar wana klakah.
SPANISH: Almagica.

Botany
Almaciga is a large tree with a pyramidal crown and whorled branches, growing to a height of 50 to 60 meters, the trunk up to 3 meters in diameter with a smooth and graying bark exuding resin. Leaves are simple, opposite or nearly so, entire and leathery, oblong-lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, obtuse, 3 to 9.5 centimeters long, 1 to 2.5 centimeters wide. Male cones are cylindrical-oblong, 1.5 to 5 centimeters long. Female cones are 2.5 to 5 centimeters long, globose or ovoid, up to 5 centimeters in diameter; scales are broadly cuneate, 1 to 1.5 centimeters across. Seeds are about 1 centimeter long, with the falcate decurved obtuse wing.

Distribution
- In primary forests, at medium and higher altitudes, 200 to 2000 meters above sea level, from the Babuyan Islands and northern Luzon to Palawan and Mindanao, and in most other islands and provinces.
- Occasional lowland cultivation.

- Also occurs in Indo-China, through the Malay Peninsula, and from the Archipelago to the Moluccas.

Constituents
- Volatile oil - surface resin, 1.3%; mined resin, 8%; 8% soft resin, 11.2%.
- Oil of Manila copal: Yields a volatile oil through steam distillation or dry distillation with the following constituents: d-limonene, d-a-pinene, J-pinene and camphene.
(8)
- Manila copal consists mainly of amorphous-free resin acids, also containing a neutral resin indifferent to alkalies, and a volatile oil.

Additional info on resins and copal
- Almaciga belongs to the same family and same genus as the New Zealand "kauri pine" (Agathis australis) which also yields a resin similar to almaciga. The resin of A. philippinensis is found in the bark and oozes out whenever cut. Occasional lumps of resin are found in the forks of the branches, and large masses – called fossil (mineral) resins – are found in the ground. True copals are hard, lustrous, yellow, brown or nearly white, more or less insoluble in the usual solvents, rendered soluble by melting before making into varnish.
- Copals are resins which contain very permanent substances known as resenes.
- Copals also contain ethereal oils, a bitter principle and a coloring matter.
- Zanzibar and Cameroon copals consist mainly of resin acids and resenes; Manila copals are mostly of resin acids (12% vs 6% of Zanzibar).
- Historical info: The first shipments of copal came from Manila, which earned it the name Manila copal. By the 20th century, 75% of the product was being shipped from Indonesia. The source of all East Indian, Philippine, and Malayan copal, is Agathis alba. These copals are erroneously called damars, although they are quite distinct from true damars. (12)

Properties
- Manila copal varnishes are durable, but do not strongly adhere to the surface, and lacking brilliance. They are often used for interior work and enamels. (12)

Parts used
Resin, wood.

Uses

Folkloric
- For arthritis, resin is softened by steam or indirect heat (not open fire) and spread on cloth or gauze and apply over affected area.
- For asthma, smoke is inhaled from the burning resin.

- In Malaya, the resin is used as liniment.
- In Malaysia, powdered wood used to treat headache and myalgia. (4)
- The Kankana-ey people of Benguet drink a decoction fresh leaves with stems for stomachache, ulcers, and dysentery.
(10)

Others
- Varnish: Used in the manufacture of high-grade varnish.
- Resin employed as incense in religious ceremonies, for torches, to facilitate starting fires, caulking boats, as smudge for mosquitoes.
- Exported and used in the manufacture of high-grade varnish.
- Also used in making patent leather and sealing wax.
- Used in the manufacture of cheap soaps and paper sizing.
- Resinate products use in paper manufacturing to render the paper non-bibulous.
- Used as incense in religious ceremonies; used for lighting torches.


Studies
Essential Oil / Fresh Leaves / Antibacterial:
Study of essential oil from fresh leaves yielded nineteen compounds. The major compounds were limonene 36.81%, ß-bisabolene 33.43%, and ß-myrcene 25.48%. The essential oil showed significant antibacterial activities, with the lowest MIC value against Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis. (3)
Anti-Plasmodial:
In a study for anti-plasmodial activity against Plasmodium falcifarum D10 strain, Agathis borneensis leaves extract demonstrated a 50% growth inhibition of 11.00±1.41µg/ml. (4)
Biodegradable Coating:
Study evaluated the adhesive property of copal as a potential coating onto aluminum foil to replace polyethylene. Results showed A. alba has potential as biocoating onto aluminum foil. It strongly adheres to aluminum foil, odorless, with a glossy appearance, hydrophobic, biodegradable, and not toxic to tested organisms, however, not detergent resistant. (5)

Controversial Resin: Site reports on copal, increasing being sold, via online services, shows, and shops, misrepresented as "amber." Copal is an immature recent resin, not the fossilized, hardened resin known as "amber." Similar in appearance, copal is the oldest known substitute for amber. One test of copal vs amber is the application of a small drop of ether—it evaporates quickly on amber leaving it unaffected, while it make copal and other resins sticky. (The World of Amber) (11)

Caution !
Contact dermatitis: Reports of allergic contact dermatitis to the resin / oleoresin.

Availability
Wild-crafted.
Cultivated.
Resin and resinate products commercially.

© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.


Last Update December 2015

IMAGE SOURCE / From Minor Products of Philippine Forests / Vol 2 / Philippine Mangrove Swamps / William Brown and Arthur Fisher / Figure 2 / Agathis alba (Almaciga) / 1920
IMAGE SOURCE: Agathis dammara / File:Koeh-155.jpg / Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen/ Public Domain/ Wikipedia
IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph / Tree / The Almaciga Tree / Almaciga Resin 0708 / © PBWorks

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Oil Of Manila Copal
(2)
Agathis dammara / Synonyms / The Plant List
(3)
Chemical composition and antibacterial activity of the essential oil from Agathis dammara (Lamb.) Rich fresh leaves. / Chen Z , He D, Deng J, Zhu J, Mao Q / Natural product research 29:21 2015 Nov pg 2050-3
(4)
Antiplasmodial properties of some Malaysian medicinal plants / Noor Rain, A., Khozirah, S., Mohd Ridzuan, M.A.R., Ong, B.K., Rohaya, C., Rosilawati, M., Hamdino, I., Badrul Amin and Zakiah, I. / Tropical Biomedicine 24(1): 29–35 (2007)
(5)
BIODEGRADABLE COATING FROM AGATHIS ALBA / NORYAWATI MULYONO* et a
l / International Journal of Engineering Science and Technology (IJEST)
(6)
Sorting Agathis names / /Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1995 - 2020 / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia.
(7)
THE VANISHING ALMACIGA (AGATHIS PHILIPPINENSIS) OF SAMAR, PHILIPPINES / Saturnina C. Halos & Eduardo B. Principe / FAO Corporate Document Repository
(8)
Oil Of Manila Copal / from the book "The Volatile Oils Vol2", by E. Gildemeister / Chest of Books
(9)
The Almaciga Tree (Agathis philippinensis) Will it be extinct? / Ether Kim / Almaciga Resin 0708 / Environmental Challenges of the RP / PBWorks
(10)
Ethnomedical documentation of selected Philippine ethnolinguistic groups: The Kankana- ey people of Buguias Central, Buguias, Benguet / A collaborative project of Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care, Department of Health, Sta Cruz, Manila / University of the Philippines Manila 2000
(11)
Copal: An Immature and Controversial Resin / Patty Rice, David Grimaldi, Barbara Kosmowska-Ceranowicz, George Poinar, Curt Beck, Ken Anderson / The World of Amber
(12)
Manila Copal / Gums and Resins / faculty.ucr.edu/~legneref/botany/gumresin.htm

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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