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Family Sapindaceae
Colubrina asiatica (Linn.) Brongn.

She teng

Scientific names Common names
Ceanothus asiaticus Linn. Kabatiti (Tag.)
Ceanothus capsularis G.Forst. Kayaskas (Ilk.)
Colubrina asiatica (L.) Brongn. Paria (Bag.)
Colubrina capsularis G.Forst. Palialaut (Tag.)
Pomaderris capsularis (G.Forst.) G.Don Parid-la'ud (Sul.)
Rhamnus acuminata Colebr. ex Roxb. Uatitik (Tag., Bis.)
Rhamnus asiatica (L.) Lam. ex Poir. Asian snakewood (Engl.)
Rhamnus splendens Blume Asian nakedwood (Engl.)
Sageretia splendens (Blume) G. Don Asiatic colubrina (Engl.)
Tubanthera katapa Raf. Hoop withe (Engl.)
  Latherleaf (Engl.)
  Soapbush (Engl.)
  Wild coffee (Engl.)
Colubrina asiatica (L.) Brongn. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Ya zhou bin zao, She teng.
FIJI: Poro, Tartarmoana, Vera, Veravera, Vuso levu.
HAWAII: Vihoa.
MALAYSIA: Peria pantal.
TONGA: Fiho'a.

Kabatiti is a climbing, smooth shrub, reaching a height of 6 meters. Leaves are shining, ovate, 5 to 9 centimeters long, 2 to 6 centimeters wide; with pointed tips, rounded bases and toothed margins. Three nerves arise from the base of the leaf. Flowers are yellowish green, about 4 millimeters in diameter, borne on axillary, short inflorescences which are about 1 centimeter long. Fruit is somewhat rounded, 7 to 9 millimeters in diameter, and surrounded at the base by the calyx, green and fleshy, becoming dark brown with age, and contains three seeds.

- Along the seashore and borders of tidal streams throughout the Philippines.
- Also occurs in India to Africa, and through Malaya to Australia and Polynesia.

- Bark yields saponin.
- Plant extracts yield alkaloid, flavonoid, unsaturated sterol and triterpene, steroid glycoside, anthraquinone, saponin, tannin, phenols.
- Study yielded three new jujubogenin glycosides from the leaves of Colubrina asiatica, together with known colubrin, rutin, and kaempferol 3-O-rutinoside. (1)
- Leaves yielded two saponins: jujubogenin-3-O-[2-O-acetyl-3-O-(3-O-beta-D-xylopyranosyl-4-O-acetyl-beta-D-glucopyranosyl)-alpha-L-arabinoside] (colubrinoside) and jujubogenin-3-O- [2-O-acetyl -3-O- (2-O- beta -D- xylopyranosyl-beta-D-glucopyranosyl)-alpha-L-arabinoside] (colubrin). (4)

- Considered cooling and alterative.
- Studies have suggest antibacterial and antioxidant properties.

Parts used
Leaves and fruits.


- Decoction of leaves use to alleviate skin irritation and treat a variety of skin diseases.
- Decoction of fruit used as abortifacient.
- In Polynesia, employed as tonic and cicatrizant for wounds.
- In India, juice used as tonic.
- Fish poison: Fruit used as fish poison.
- Soap:
Leaves used as soap, lathering in water.

Jujubogenin Glycosides / Leaves:
Study yielded three new jujubogenin glycosides from the leaves of Colubrina asiatica, together with known colubrin, rutin, and kaempferol 3-O-rutinoside. (1)
Antibacterial: Essential oils from six medicinal plants were studied for in vitro bacterial property against 15 pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacterial. The combination of essential oils of Litsea chinensis, Piper cubeba and Colubrina asiatica displayed maximum inhibitory response white the rest failed to show any synergistic or potentiating effect. (3)
Saponins / CNS Effects: Leaves yielded two saponins. Both inhibited spontaneous motility of mice and showed an antagonistic effect on amphetamine and a synergistic activity on chlordiazepoxide.
(see constituents above) (4)
Antioxidant: Study evaluated the relationship between antioxidant activity and total phenolic contents in selected common traditional vegetables. C. asiatica exhibited the highest antioxidant activity. The study found not relationship between antioxidant activity and total phenolic contents. (7)


Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Update January 2016

IMAGE SOURCE (1) Creative Commons Attribution / File:Starr 061108-9754 Colubrina asiatica.jpg / Forest & Kim Starr / 8 Nov 2006 / Wikimedia Commons (2) File:Starr 061108-9752 Colubrina asiatica.jpg / Forest & Kim Starr / 8 Nov 2006 / Wikimedia Commons / Modifications by G. Stuart / Click on images to go to source page

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
New Jujubogenin Glycosides from Colubrina asiatica / Shoel-Sheng Lee, Wen-Chuan Chen and Hsiung Chen / J. Nat. Prod., 2000, 63 (11), pp 1580–1583 / DOI: 10.1021/np000225n
Ethnobotanical and phytochemical studies on beneficial flora of Marinduque / PCARRD Commodities
Antibacterial evaluation of some indigenous medicinal volatile oils / A Kar and S R Jain / PLANT FOODS FOR HUMAN NUTRITION, Volume 20, Number 3, 231-237, DOI: 10.1007/BF01104967
Chemistry, 13C-NMR Study and Pharmacology of Two Saponins from Colubrina asiatica.
/ Wagner H, Ott S et al / Planta Med. 1983 Jul;48(7):136-41.

Colubrina asiatica (L.) Brongn. (accepted name) / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Colubrina asiatic / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED
Antioxidant Activity and Totl Phenolic Contents in Selected Traditional Vegetables / Erny Sabrina M N, Abdullah M Z, Nur Daliana Y, Rosali H, and Mohol Shukor N / 21st Annual Seminar of the Malaysian Natural Product Society, 22/11/2005
Colubrina asiatica / Synonyms / The Plant List

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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