Himbabalod is an evergreen, smooth, medium-sized tree growing to a height
of 12 meters. Bark is dark brown, rough, 10 to 13 millimeters thick. Leaves are
somewhat crowded at the end of the branches, oblong-obovate, 6 to 14 centimeters long,
pointed at the ends, the young leaves finely toothed at the margins.
Flowers are dark scarlet, numerous, axillary and pendulous racemes, 10 to 45 centimeters long.
Fruit is oblong-ovoid, 3 to 4 centimeters long, about 1.5 centimeters thick, bluntly quadrangular, pointed at the ends, and crowed
by persistent calyx lobes.
- In thickets and forests in most islands
and provinces, at low and medium altitudes, from northern Luzon to Mindanao and Palawan, in most islands and provinces.
- Also occurs in India, Malaya through tropical Australia.
- Principal constituents are starch, protein, cellulose,
fat, caoutchouc, alkaline sales, and an active principal similar to
saponin which forms into a stable froth when shaken on a watery solution.
- From the bark, a study yielded nine triterpene saponins, acutangulosides
A-F, and acutanguloside D-F methyl esters and a single triterpene aglycone. (10)
- Wood and fruits yield tanginol, barrinic acid,
- Leaves yield terpenes, flavanoids, carbohydrates, tannins, steroids, and glycosides.
- Ethanolic study of fruit extracts showed saponins, on hydrolysis
yielded triterpenoid sapogenins, barringtogenol B, C and D and two triterpenoid
- Phytochemical screening of powdered leaves yielded terpenoids, saponins, flavonoids, carbohydrates, tannins, steroids, and glycosides.
- Study evaluating stem bark for bioactive components yielded seven compounds; the prevailing compound in an ethanolic extract was 9-Octadecenoic acid, (E) (21.64%).
- Study of stem bark yielded two compounds: betulin-3-caffeate and amyrin. (37)
- Root is aperient, antipyretic, bitter, cooling, aperient and stimulant.
- Bark is stomachic.
- Seeds are emetic.
- Fruit are bitter, anthelmintic, vulnerary, depurative, emetic.
- Studies have shown antimicrobial, anti-malarial, anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic, antioxidant, chemopreventive,
anti-arthritic, hepatoprotective, analgesic, anti-diarrheal, CNS depressant, nephroprotective, antidiabetic, anticonvulsant, wound healing properties.
Bark, roots, leaves, fruits.
- In the Philippines, bark decoction used as stomachic.
- Bark also applied to wounds.
- Used in various folk medicine for arthralgia, dysmenorrhea, chest pains, inflammation, diarrhea.
Also, as carminative, expectorant, bitter tonic, emetic.
- Used for treatment of seminal weakness, diarrhea, and gonorrhea.
- In Amboina and India, root and bark used for wounds.
Juice of leaves used for diarrhea.
- In Sindh, fruit is used for coughs, colds, and asthma.
- Seeds are used as aromatic in colic and parturition, also for ophthalmic.
- Kernels are powdered, mixed with butter and sago, for diarrhea.
- In Bombay, kernels are used as emetic.
- Powdered seeds are used as snuff for headache.
- Seeds of the fruit, rubbed with the juice of fresh ginger, for nasal
catarrh and to expel flatus in colic.
- Rubbed with water on the chest to relieve pains and colds, to the abdomen
to relieve colic and flatulence.
- In India, fruits
and leaves in alkaline decoction for abdominal and splenic disorders. Roots used to treat epilepsy.
- Seeds rubbed down on stone and applied over sternum for chest colds.
- A few grains mixed with the juice of fresh ginger, taken internally,
induce vomiting or help the expulsion of mucus.
- In Ayurveda, seeds and leaves used for vitiated conditions of pita and kappa, colic, intestinal worms, wounds, ulcers, skin diseases, hallucinations.
- Fruit incorporated in antiseptic ointment for venereal sores.
- Juice of leaves used for mucoid diarrhea.
- Fruit used as anthelmintic and as astringent in gingivitis.
- Decoction of bark used as mouthwash in gum problems.
- In Sri Lanka,
used for malaria.
- German Commission E
monograph recognizes the bark for use in common colds, cough, bronchitis,
fever and diarrhea.
- In India, stem bark used by tribal people of the Visakhapatnam District for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. (32)
- In Bangladesh, used for diarrhea, dysentery, bronchitis, lumbar pain, hallucinations, seminal weakness, gonorrhea.
- Poison: In the Philippines, bark is used as fish poison.
• Antimicrobial: Crude extracts showed good activity
against all test organisms: Gram negative and positive bacteria and
two fungi. It was especially effective against Bacillus subtilis and
Aspergillus niger, comparable to kanamycin and fluconazole. (1)
• Antimicrobial: Study
of extracts of five edible plants from northeast Thailand showed the
methanolic extract of Barringtonia acutangula to be the most active,
showing antimicrobial activity against all tested bacteria, including
E coli, Salmonella typhimurium, S aureus, Bacillus cereus and Pseudomonas
• Anti-Malarial: In-vivo antimalarial activity
of aqueous root extract of Barringtonia acutangula in mice:
Extract of B. acutangula is non-toxic, and possesses
antimalarial activity justifying indigenous medicinal use in Sri Lanka. (3)
• Antimicrobial: Urinary Tract Pathogens: Study of Barringtonia acutangula showed its ethanol extract exhibited
broader spectrum of inhibition, followed by chloroform, petroleum ether
and aqueous against urinary pathogens under test. (4)
• Triterpenoids / Sapogenins:
Study isolated three new triterpenoid sapogenins balled barringtogenol
B, C and D from the fruits. Two triterpenoid acid sapogenins was also
isolated from the same source, one identified as methyl barringtogenate. (5)
• Triterpenoid Glucoside: Study yielded a triterpenoid glucoside from Barringtonia acutangula - a 2a,3ß,19a-trihydroxy-olean-12-ene-23,28-dioic acid 28-O-ß-D-glucopyranoside. (8)
• Antioxidant / Chemopreventive:
Extracts showed significant activities in all antioxidant assays with the total antioxidant activity increasing in a dose-dependent manner. Results suggest BA may act as a chemopreventive agent, providing antioxidant properties and protection from free radicals. (7)
• Antibacterial / Antifungal:
Phytochemical screening yielded terpenoids, steroids, tannins, saponins flavanoids and glycosides. Results showed Barringtonia acutangula leaves exhibit potential antibacterial and antifungal activity. (9)
• Central Nervous System Depressant Activity:
An ethyl alcohol extract of coarsely powdered leaves evaluated by various assays showed CNS depressant behavior with maximum inhibition of neuronal activity. (11)
• Anti-Arthritic / Leaves:
Study of a chloroform extract of leaves showed significant anti-arthritic effect comparable to synthetic anti-inflammatory agents. (12)
• Hepatoprotective / Roots:
Study evaluated various root extracts of B. acutangula on CCl4-induced liver damage in healthy Wistar albino rats. Results showed significant dose-dependent hepatoprotective activity confirmed by histopathological evaluation. It also exhibited significant in vitro antioxidant activities. (13)
• Anticancer Potential / Colorectal Cancer / Apoptosis:
Study B. acutangula and Stereospermum colata methanol and ethyl acetate extracts showed free radical scavenging and anti-cancer activity against Colon cancer cell lines Colo320. Cytotoxicity was attributed to apoptosis. (15)
• Antinociceptive / Antidiarrheal / Neuropharmacological Effects / Leaves and Seeds:
Study evaluated a methanol extract of seeds and leaves for antinociceptive, antidiarrheal and neuropharmacological effects in mice. Both extracts showed dose-dependent antinociceptive effect, significant inhibition of defecation in diarrheal models, and decreased motor activity in both Hold Cross and Open Field tests. (16)
• Hypoglycemic / Anti-diabetic / Fruits:
Study evaluated the hypoglycemic activity of various fruit extracts of B. acutangula in streptozotocin-induced hyperglycemic Wistar rats. The aqueous extract of fruit showed significant hypoglycemic potential comparable to standard drug glibenclamide. (17)
• Hepatoprotective / Leaves / Carbon Tetrachloride Toxicity:
Study evaluated in vitro and in vivo hepatoprotective activity of a methanol extract of B. acutangula leaves on carbon tetrachloride induced hepatic injury in rats. Results showed significant (P<0.001) hepatoprotective effect at dose of 3.3 mg/mL. (19) Study evaluated leaf extracts for hepatoprotective activity on CCl4 induced liver damage. Results showed a hepatoprotective effect with greater potential at 500 mg/kbw concentration. (35)
• Antimicrobial / Bark: Study evaluating the antimicrobial activity of bark of B. acutangula showed excellent performance against E. coli. (20)
• Antimicrobial / Antioxidant / Stem Bark:Study of extract and fractionates of fresh stem bark showed significant and remarkable activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus aureus, Salmonella typhi, Klebsiella and E. coli. Extract of stem bark showed best antioxidant activity through the DPPH radicals scavenging activity. (21)
• Anticonvulsant / Roots: Study evaluated an ethanol extract on antioxidant enzymes in rat brain after induction of epilepsy by MES (maximal electroshock). Results showed anticonvulsant activity probably through significantly increased levels of antioxidant enzymes which could delay the generation of free radicals in MES induced epilepsy. (22)
• Anti-diabetic / Leaves:
Study evaluated the antidiabetic effect of an ethanolic leaf extra t in normal and Alloxan induced diabetic Wistar rats. Treatment of leaves extract caused a marked decrease in elevated blood glucose levels, as well as marked increase in body weight. The extract also produced significant benefits on the hyperlipidemic lipid profile. (23) Study evaluated ethanolic and aqueous extracts of leaves for antidiabetic activity in STZ-induced diabetic animal model. Results showed significant reductions of blood glucose and serum total cholesterol and triglycerides. Acute toxicity study showed no symptoms of toxicity at 5000 mg/kg p.o. (39)
• Hypolipidemic / Roots:
Study evaluated the hypolipidemic activity of a hydroalcoholic extract of Barringtonia acutangula root on STZ-induced diabetic albino rats. Results showed improvement of lipid profile on euglycemic as well as diabetic rats, probably through delayed intestinal absorption of dietary fat by inhibiting pancreatic lipase activity by saponin present in the EBA. (24)
• Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated various leaf extracts for antioxidant activity. A methanol extract exhibited significant effects compared to chloroform and and petroleum ether extracts. In DPPH radical scavenging and reducing power assay, the methanol extract showed promising potential with IC50 and EC50 values of 0.15 and 0.11 mg. Phytoconstituent screening yielded significant phenolic, flavonoid, flavonol and tannins contents of 79.71, 109.52, 91.18, and 105.52 µg, respectively. (27)
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study evaluated an ethanolic extract of B. acutangula for anti-inflammatory activity by prevention of hypotonicity induced HRBC membrane lysis. Results indicate anti-inflammatory activity probably related to the inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis. (28)
• Wound Healing
/ Fruits: Study evaluated the wound healing activity of a methanolic extract of Barringtonia acutangula fruits in both excision and incision models in rats. Results showed significant wound healing activity in both excision (20% w/w) and incision wound model (10% w/w) rats as evidenced by wound contraction, increase in number of fibroblasts, increased collagen tissue, and complete epithelialization with MEBA ointment 20% w/w. (29)
• Cytotoxicity / Antioxidant: Study evaluated various extracts for cytotoxicity (brine shrimp lethality bioassay) and antioxidant activity. In Brine Shrimp Lethality bioassay, all extracts produced dose-dependent cytotoxicity to brine shrimp nauplii, with a methanol extract showing highest toxicity with an LC50 of 46.24 µg/ml compared to standard vincristine sulfate with LC50 of 0.69 µg/ml. A petroleum ether extract showed moderate concentration dependent reducing power. (30)
• Antipyretic: Study evaluated an ethanol extract of whole plant for antipyretic activity. Results showed significant (p<0.01) dose dependent antipyretic effect in yeast induced elevation in experimental rats. Antipyretic effect was attributed possibly to inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis. (31)
• Anti-Nephrotoxic Activity: Study evaluated Vitex negundo roots, Oroxylum indicum whole plant, and B. acutangula leaves for nephroprotective activity against experimentally (gentamicin) induced acute nephrotoxicity in Wistar rats. Results showed significant nephroprotection by VN roots, followed by OI and BA leaves. (33)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Fruits: Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory activity of B. acutangula fruit extracts in wistar rats using in vivo acute inflammatory models like carrageenan-induced paw edema and chronic models like cotton-pellet induced granuloma and carrageenan induced air-pouch model. Phytochemical screening yielded phytosterols, glycosides, flavonoids, alkaloids, and carbohydrates. Results showed an anti-inflammatory effect via augmentation of antioxidant defense systems attributed to additive or synergistic effect of phytoconstituents. (34)
• Immunomodulatory / Leaves: Study evaluated the efficacy of crude extracts of leaf of B. acutangula as immunomodulatory agent on experimental rats. Cyclophosphamide induced suppression of humoral induced response was significantly attenuated by daily oral treatment of aqueous and methanolic leaf extracts at dose of 400 mg/kg. Results suggest a potential as an immune-based herbal therapy. (36)
• Memory Enhancing Effect: Study evaluated the effects of a methanolic extract of B. acutangula on learning and memory in mice. Results showed improvement of learning and memory in a dose dependent manner at doses of 200 & 400 mg/kg p.o. The same dose reversed amnesia induced by corticosterone. (38)