Bakong is an evergreen herb with large coated bulbs, 5 to
10 centimeters in diameters. Leaves are crowded at the apex, lanceolate, 90 to
150 centimeters long, 12 to 15 centimeters wide. Scape, arising from the axils of
old leaves, is erect, stout, and solid, about 1 meter high or less. Spathe
subtending the flowers is about 15 centimeters long. Flowers are fragrant, 20
to 40, each subtended by a thin, narrow bracteole. Perianth tube
is greenish, about 1 centimeter long, the lobes spreading, white, linear, recurved
or revolute, about 8 centimeters long and 8 centimeters wide. Filaments are very slender,
free and purplish above. Fruits are subglobose, about 5 centimeters in diameter.
- Throughout the Philippines along sandy
seashores; sometimes planted inland.
- Ornamental cultivation for its showy flowers.
- Widely distributed
in China, India, South Korean, Myanmar, Japan and Sri Lanka.
- Listed as "critically endangered" in the Red List of threatened plants of Singapore.
- Contains an emetic component,
an alkaloid, lycorine (1 to 1.8 percent) allied to emetine.
- Bulb has yielded alkaloids lycorine and crinamine.
- The bulbs have been reported to contain baconine.
- Considered astringent due to the presence of considerable amounts of
- An ethanol extract study revealed a new phenolic compound from the bulbs
of Crinum asiaticum L. var sinicum.
- Phytochemical screening yielded alkaloids, coumarins, glycosides, triterpenes and flavonoids.
- GC-MS study of lipid fraction of leaves yielded six saturated straight chain hydrocarbons (30.44%), two sterols (2.45%), and 13 fatty acids. n-Pentacosane was the major identified hydrocarbon (14.61%) followed by n-heptacosane (8.37%) and n-nonacosane (4.66%), and the two sterols were identified as ß-sitosterol (1.18%) and stigmasterol (1.27%). GC-MS study of fatty acids linoleic acid (256.39%) was the dominant unsaturated fatty acid and of total fatty acid content as well. (21)
GC/MS analysis of volatile oil of flowers isolated ten compounds, eight representing 94.95% of the oil identified. Phenolic compounds Unsaturated fatty acids and phenols prevailed in the leaves while volatiles were dominant in the flowers. Phenolic compounds constituted 74.1% of the oil; and butylated hydroxy toluene, the dominant compound (64,32%), eugenol (8.31%), and isoeugenol (1.47%). (21)
- GC and GC/MS analysis of yielded 17 constituents representing 93.14% of the sample. Major constituents were 1-hexadecanol (27.69 %), oleic acid (23.32 %) and methyl octadecanoate (12.45 %). (see study below) (26)
- Bulbs reported to be poisonous.
- Astringent, analgesic, emollient, emetic.
Studies have shown antioxidant, antinociceptive, sedative, antibacterial properties.
- Although bulbs are reported as poisonous, poisoning is rare and should not pose a danger to humans and animals. (23)
- Toxins: Lycorine and related phenanthridine alkaloids, crinamine, haemanthamine.
- Toxicity is uncommon in humans. Ingestion of small amounts produce little or no symptoms;. Large amounts may cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Management includes intravenous hydration, electrolyte replacement, and antiemetics.
Leaves and bulbs.
- Bulbs prepared as an ointment and
leaves used as an emollient.
- In India, the leaves and
roots are emetic and diaphoretic, used as a substitute for ipecacuanha.
- Warmed succulent leaves smeared with castor oil or bruised leaves mixed
with oil are used for whitlow and other inflammations at the ends of
toes and fingers.
- Also used as fomentations on inflamed joints and sprains.
- Juice of leaves, with a little salt, used for earaches and other ear
- Poultice made from heated, pounded fresh bulb used for osteodynia and rheumatism.
- Juice of fresh bulb is emetic. Also, instilled in the ear to treat otitis.
- Poultice of heated, pounded fresh leaves used for contusion, sprains, fractures, luxations.
- In Java, roots regarded as good emetic.
- Roots used for fevers lumbago, headaches and swellings.
- In Malaysia, used as rheumatic
remedy and for local pain relief.
- In Australia, aborigines use warm infusions of C asiaticum bulb to disinfect wounds.
- In the Congo, used for leprosy.
In Bangladesh, the tribes of Chittagong Hilly areas use the plant for pain, carbuncles, hemorrhoids, earaches, arthritis, leprosy, cold and cough disorders, vomiting, worm infestations. colic, flatulence and fever. Warmed leaves smeared with castor oil applied to end of toes and fingers for repelling inflammations and swelling.
- Bruised leaves used as insect repellent.
- Juice of fresh bulb used as emetic for children.
- Decoction of dried leaves use as hemorrhoidal wash.
- In Asian traditional medicine, used for treatment of malaria.
- In Indonesia, palm oil is roasted leaves and wrapped on sprains and fractures, (25)
- In Papua New Guinea, juice squeezed from fresh leaves is warmed and applied to cuts and wounds. Stem juice used as styptic on cuts. Aqueous extract of root drunk for postpartum hemorrhage. Heated leaves are pressed on swollen leg or affected body parts. Crushed inner part of stalk is mixed with scaped coconut, the mixture wrapped in coconut leaf and heated on fire until the wrapping is burnt, and the juice from the mixture is applied on scabies sores. (27)
- Malays use poultice of leaves to treat fevers, headaches, swellings. Crushed leaves used to wash piles. Leaves mixed with honey applied to wounds and abscesses. (28)
- In Tamil Nadu, India, paste of tuber used for treatment of arthritic swelling and skin diseases. (35) In the Akola district of India, bulbs used for urinary problems, rheumatism and piles; also used as laxative. Leaf juice used for earache. (37)
- Ethnoveterinary: Tuber paste applied over the skin to treat carbuncles. (31)
The plant extract of Crinum asiaticum
showed anti-inflammatory effects on carrageenan-induced
hind paw edema in mice. A chloroform fraction of the methanol extract (CFME) on studied on its effect on BK- and histamine-induced contractions in slated rat uterus and guinea-pig ileum preparations. Results showed dose-dependent reduction (p<0.05; n=6) of contractile response induced by BK. Study suggests the CFME may contain compound/s with anti-histaminic properties. (1)
• Prostatic Hypertrophy:
Model proved the leaf extract of Crinum asiaticum to be effective against
hypertrophy of prostate in rats. (3)
• Mast Cell Effect:
Lycoriside, an acylglucosyloxy-alkaloid from Crinum asiaticum on albino
rats was studied for the mechanism of a dual response it elicited in
view of a concentration-dependent anti- or pre-release-effect on mast cell
• Crinumin / Chymotrypsin-Like Activity: Study purified crinumin, a glycosylated serine protease with chymotrypsin-like activity from the latex of C asiaticum. Its varied activities make it applicable for the pharmaceutical and food industries. (5)
• Central Inhibitory Activity / Sedative: Study of aqueous extract of Crinum giganteum in mice showed it contained biologically active principles with sedative activity. (6)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Anti-Lymphocytic / Analgesic: Study of extract of C giganteum showed significant dose-dependent inhibition of pain and a significant effect on leucocyte count. Phytochemical analysis showed the presence of tannins. Results showed CG bulb contains biologically active principles with potentials for treatment of inflammatory processes. (7)
• Palmilycorine and Lycoriside / Alkaloids: Study isolated two new types of alkaloidal conjugates: palmilycorine and lycoriside from the fruits of Crinum asiaticum. The were also detected fro the fleshy scale leaves and roots. (8)
• Antibacterial / Phytochemicals: The aqueous and ethanol extracts of leaves of Crinum asiaticum were evaluated for their antibacterial activity. The ethanolic extract showed more inhibitory activity than the aqueous extract. Phytochemical analysis yielded n-Hexadecanoic acid (22.44%), 9, 12, 15-octadecatrienoic acid (15.42%), 9, 12-octadecadienoic acid (14.78%), 9, 10–Anthracenedione 2-amino (7.65%) and phytol (7.43%) as major present components. Results showed it to be a natural source of new antibacterial compounds. (9)
• Antinociceptive / Phytochemicals: Study yielded alkaloids, coumarins, glycosides, triterpenes, and flavonoids. Results in a carrageenan-induced paw edema model showed antinociceptive activity using indomethacin as control. (11)
• Norgalanthamine / Hair Growth: Study in rats treated with an ethanol extract showed an increase expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) in the bulb region. Study yielded norgalanthamine, a principal of C. asiaticum, that exhibited a potential to promote hair growth via the proliferation of dermal papilla. (12)
• Antinociceptive / Anti-Inflammatory / Bulbs: Study of a methanol extract of Crinum asiaticum bulb for antinociceptive activity on pain induced by acetic acid and formalin in Swiss albino mice showed potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect. (16)
• Wound Healing / Leaves: Study evaluated the wound healing activity of leaves by incorporating an extract in simple ointment base of 2% and 4% formulations. Wound healing was studied in excision, incision and burn wound models. The 4% alcoholic extract showed significant (p<0.001) wound contracting ability and period of epithelization, with significant tensile strength in both formulations. (17)
• Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Study of an ethanolic leaf extract showed analgesic effects in acetic acid induced writhing model (p<0.001) and formalin induced licking model (p<0.01) in Swiss albino mice and anti-inflammatory effect (p<0.01) in carrageenan-induced paw edema model of albino rat. No mortality was observed in acute toxicity study. (18)
• Antioxidant / Attenuation of Hyperglycemia-Mediated Oxidative Stress / Hepatocyte Protective: Study evaluated the antioxidant activity of ethanolic extract of Crinum asiaticum leaves in alloxan induced diabetic rats. There was a significant decrease in blood sugar level, decrease in TC, LDL, VLDL, triglycerides and an increase in HDL. Results showed the hepatocyte protective nature of CA by attenuating markers of hyperglycemia-mediated oxidative stress. (19)
• Anticandidal / Leaves: Study evaluated various organic and aqueous extracts of C. asiaticum leaves for anticandidal activity against five human pathogenic Candida spp. A dichlormethane solvent showed the best activity against all tested Candida spp. with zone of inhibition between 12.3 mm and 20.6 mm, with Candida albicans showing greatest sensitivity at 20.6mm. (20)
• Antimalarial /Antiplasmodial / Bulbs / Review: Mini-review details on members of the Amaryllidaceae whose extracts have been examined for antiplasmodial activity against various strains of Plasmodium falcifarum. The chloroform bulb extracts were active against resistant RKL-2 as well as sensitive 3D-7 strains (Ic50s 5.78 and 3.18 µg/mL, respectively). Hemolytic assays showed minimal toxicity on mammalian red blood cells. Subacute oral toxicity study showed extracts of C. asiaticum were well tolerated by Swiss albino mice at doses as high as 2000 mg/gbw. (22)
• Antimicrobial / Application in Textile Industry / Leaves: Study evaluated acetone extracts of leaves applied to 100% cotton fiber, bandage cloth, knitted and woven fabric. The treated material was tested against gram negative bacteria (P. aeruginosa and E. coli) and gram positive bacteria (S. aureus, S. viridans, and B. subtilis). Results showed the treated material exhibited good antibacterial properties and potential as antimicrobial natural dye. (24)
• Antimicrobial / Cytotoxic / Leaf Essential Oil: Study evaluated the volatile constituents of leaf essential oil of C. asiaticum and their antimicrobial and cytotoxic activities. In vitro MTT assay of the leaf EO induced cytotoxic effects of 20-25% towards MCF-7 cells. The leaf EO also exhibited antimicrobial activity against Shigella boydii, Candida albicans, and Rhizopus sp. with MICs of 1.25, 0.078, and 0.078 mg/ml, respectively. (see constituents above) (26)
• Cytotoxic Activity / Mechanisms of Action on Cancer Cell Lines: Study evaluated the cytotoxic activity and mechanisms of action of C. asiaticum on three cancer cell lines i.e. Hep-2 (laryngeal carcinoma), HCT-116 (human colorectal tumor) and MCF-7 (breast cancer, and two normal cell lines. CALME (Crinum asiaticum leaf methanol extract) showed active cytotoxicity on all selected cell lines with IC50s ranging from 4.15 to 46.88 µg/ml. Extract also showed high selectivity for MCF-7 and HEP-2. Clonogenicity study on MCF-7 showed CALME to be cytotoxic, not cytostatic. The anti-tumour activity of CALME was attributed to cytotoxicity, not anti-angiogenic activity. Spectral study showed the presence of active alkaloid lycorine in the leaf extract. Results highlight the anticancer potential of CALME towards breast cancer. (29)
• Sun Protection Factor / Sunscreen Cream / Flowers: Study of white lily flowers yielded flavonoids, which were identified as flavon (apigenin), flavonol (quercetin), flava-3-ols (catechin), isoflavones (daidzein), flavonol (fisetin, myricetin, and kaempferol). The reported flavonols were known to have sunscreen activity and an SPF factor of dried flower extract was incorporated in topical formulation. The SPF was found to be 1.17 and Boots Star rating of 3, indicating the aqueous flower extract has potential as sunscreen or as additive in any sunscreen formulation. (30)
• Anti-Angiogenesis / Anti-Tumor / Leaves: Due to its anti-inflammatory activity, it has been hypothesized that its anti-tumor activity may be due to its anti-angiogenic activity. Study evaluated the anti-tumor potential and anti-angiogenic activity of C. asiaticum. Rat aortic ring assay results showed the CALME prevented new blood vessel formation with IC50 11.58 µg/ml. MTT results showed the CALME induces cytotoxic effects in EAhy 926 cells and inhibited endothelial cell migration. Results suggest an anti-angiogenic effect due to the cytotoxic nature of the extract, and to a lesser extent, inhibition of one or more angiogenic process steps. (32)
• Cytotoxicity / Leaves: Study evaluated various extracts of C. asiaticum by means of brine shrimp lethality test. A methanol extract showed strongest toxic effect on brine shrimp with LC50 of 257.1 µg/ml. A significant potent cytotoxic effect on P388 D1 cells with IC50 aprrox. 12.5 µg/ml was observed. (33)
• Inhibition of Hedgehog (Hh) Signaling Pathway / Anticancer: The inhibition of the hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway has emerged as an attractive anti-cancer strategy. Study isolated three alkaloids (1-3). Compounds 1 and 3 showed potent Hh/GLI1-mediated transcriptional inhibitory activity and exhibited cytotoxicity against human pancreatic (OANC1) and prostate (DU145) cancer cells. Compounds 1 and 3 clearly inhibited the Hh signaling pathway by down-regulating the expression of GLI-related proteins in DU145 cells. (34)