Bakauan-babae is a tree of the mangrove swamps growing up to 12 meters high, with numerous prop roots. Leaves are shining, oblong-elliptic, 8 to 16 centimeters long, 3.5 to 8 centimeters wide, and pointed at both ends. Cymes are axillary, 2.5 to 4 centimeters long, and bear 3 to 7 stalkless, white or cream-colored flowers. Fruit is ovoid, 3.5 to 5 centimeters long, pendulous, brown or olive colored, the persistent calyx-lobes are reflexed. Protruded radicle is green and cylindric, growing up 20 to 40 centimeters long before falling off the tree. Seeds often germinate while on the tree and crop as young plants into the mud below.
- In mangrove swamps throughout the Philippines.
- Reported in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam; also in Australia, New Guinea, Madagascar.
- Bark yields tannin in variable amounts, 12.3 to 33.8 per cent.
- Leaves contain 9.13 % tannin; unripe fruit, 12 per cent; ripe fruit, 4.21 percent.
- Study of stems and twigs of the mangrove plant Rhizophora stylosa yielded a new acetylated flavanol, 3,7-O-diacetyl (–)-epicatechin and seven known flavanol derivatives, (–)-epicatechin, 3-O-acetyl (–)-epicatechin, 3,3′,4′,5,7-O- pentaacetyl (–)-epicatechin, (+)-afzelechin, (+)-catechin, cinchonain Ib, and proanthocyanidin B2.
- Methanolic extract of leaves yielded flavonoids, together with gallic acid, quercetn, and coumarin. (see study below)
- Considered astringent, antiseptic, febrifuge.
- In Queensland, the honey which the native bees collect from the flowers is reported to be poisonous, probably endowed with some deleterious principle.
- Studies suggest antidiarrheal, antidiabetic, radical scavenging activities.
- Bark used for hematuria.
- Bark also used for diabetes, angina, boils, fungal infections.
- Leaves and bark used as antiseptic; used for diarrhea, dysentery, fever, malaria and leprosy.
- Old leaves used as decoction at childbirth.
- Leaves also prescribed for fever.
- In India, bark used for diabetes.
- In Thailand, bark decoction used as astringent for diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting; also as antiseptic.
- Useful as both wood and fuel.
- Makes an excellent charcoal.
- Tar can be made from the wood.
- Bark used for tanning and dyeing.
• Anti-Diarrheal: Bark extracts showed inhibition of castor oil-induced diarrhea and a very significant percentage inhibition of charcoal meal in mice. Results support the anti-diarrheal activity of Rhizophora mucronata bark. (1)
• Anti-HIV: Study extracted a polysaccharide from the bark of R. mucronata. Assessment in an in vitro culture system suggested the RM polysaccharide inhibited early steps of the virus life cycle especially virus adsorption to the cell. (2)
• Radical Scavenging Activity: Study of stems and twigs of the mangrove plant Rhizophora stylosa yielded a new acetylated flavanol, 3,7-O-diacetyl (–)-epicatechin and seven known flavanol derivatives. Seven of the 8 compounds exhibited radical scavenging activity comparable to the BHT control. The antioxidant activity was attributed to flavanol derivatives. (3)
• Antidiabetic / Antiradical / Leaves: Study evaluated an 80% methanolic extract of leaves for antiradical and antidiabetic activities. Screening yielded flavonoids and gallic acid, quercetin, and coumarin. Results showed antiradical activities, reduction of blood glucose in type 2 diabetic rats and reduced formation of lipid peroxidation in the liver with enhancement of glutathione level in the liver. Findings suggest a source of natural antioxidants and potentialities for an antidiabetic agent by its hypoglycemic activity through antiradical action. (7)