- The genus name Sapindus derives from the Latin sapo ,meaning soap, and indicus. meaning Indian. The specific epithet saponaria derives from Lain saponis, meaning soap-like, referring to the soapy substance coming from the fleshy seeds. (11)
Sapindus saponaria is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree growing to a height of 30 to 40 feet tall. Bark is rough and gray. Leaves are green, thick aNd leathery, linear or lanceolate, alternate, odd-pinnately compound, 12 inches long with each leaflet 4 inches long, with smooth or undulate margins, uneven tips and uneven wedge-shaped bases. Flowers are small, white or creamy, in 10-inch long panicles. Fruits are in large, pyramidal clusters at the end of branches, round, 0.5 to 1 inch long, fleshy, shiny, orange-brown, usually less than an inch long. transluscent and wrinkled when fully mature, containing a single black seed, about 1/3 inch diameter.
- Widespread in tropical America from northern Mexico to Brazil and Argentina and throughout the West Indies, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.(1100)
- A rich source of saponins.
- Saponins are naturally occurring surface active glycosides. consisting of a sugar moiety usually containing glucose, galactose, glucuronic acid, xylose, rhamnose or methyl-pentose, linked to a hydrophobic aglycone (sapogenin). In water, saponins produce abundant and persistent suds.
- Soapberry saponins contains in various parts. The fruit pericarp contains monodesmosidic triterpene and bisdesmosidic sesquiterpene saponins, which forms soap when shaken in water.(10)
Seed oil study showed a yield of 42.58% (w/w) and identified 7 fatty acids, 57.60% unsaturated and 42.40% saturated. with oleic acid as the most abundant (52.45%). ( see study below) (5)
- Study of apolar extracts of seeds have yielded flavonoids,
lipids, and steroids. (8)
- Methanol extract of fruits of Sapindus saponaria isolated a monodesmosidic acetylated saponin (1) and a mixture of two monodesmosidic saponins (2) and (3). (see study below) (12)
- Study of dried pericarp fraction by column chromatography and silica gel separation yielded two pure triterpene acetylated saponins: 3-O-(4-acetyl-beta-D-xylopyranosyl)-(1->3)-alpha-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1->2)-alpha-L-arabinopyranosyl-hederagenin (1) and 3-O-(3,4-di-acetyl-beta-D-xylopyranosyl)-(1->3)-alpha-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1->2)-alpha-L-arabynopyranosyl-hederagenin (2). (see study below) (14)
- Quantitative analysis of aqueous and acetone extracts yielded alkaloids 180.19 µg/ml and 170.29 extract, flavonoids 198.48 19 and 165.53 µg/ml, phenols 85.37 and 98.78 µg/ml., steroids 68.75 µg/ml (acetone extract only) and saponins 157.32 and 140.52 µg/ml, respectively. (17)
- Caution: Seeds are poisonous, and caution is advised that tree's be planted or place where it is not accessible to children. Fruit reported poisonous and can cause skin rashes.
- Root and stem bark considered astringent, bitter and tonic.
Fruit considered diuretic. (6)
Studies have suggest antifungal, antimicrobial, molluscicidal properties.
Fruit, bark. root, leaves..
- Caution: Fruits and seeds reportedly toxic.
- In Brazil, fruit used for treatment of ulcers and external wounds..(8)
- In Brazilian folk medicine, bark, fruit, and root are used as anxiolytic, astringent, diuretic, and expectorant. Also used as blood depurative, tonic, and antitussive. Leaves are used to neutralize bleeding. (13)
- In the tropics, tree is used as soap for cleaning procedures and for treatment of skin lesions caused by fungi.. (10)
- Crafts: Seeds made into buttons, rosaries, and necklaces; in Hawai'i, jet black seeds strung in lei. Wood splits made into baskets.
- Poison: Seeds are toxic, used as fish poison. Seeds and fruits contain up to 30% emulsifying saponins. to be poisonous . Foliage toxic to livestock.
- Soap: Cut-up fruit soaked in water produces soapy suds. Husks used to wash wool and silk with rejuvenating results. Fruit also used as soap and hair shampoo. (6) The foaming properties of the bark were first recognized by indigenous peoples of Chile who used it as detergent for washing their clothes and hair. (10) In America, Brazil, and India, fruits are traditionally used to manufacture soap and as clothing detergent. (10) Becoming increasingly popular as a natural and economical source of soap. While it takes about 10 years to reach fruit-baring stage, it is an easy tree to germinate.
- Insecticide: Crushed seeds used as insecticide. (6)
- Fiber: Inner bark yields a fiber used for making rope. (6)
- Wood: Wood hard and heavy, but not durable when exposed. Used for construction, making small items, boxes, toys, etc. (6)
• Antifungal / Resistant Human Vaginal Candida Species: Study evaluated the in vivo antifungal activity of hydroalcoholic extract and n-BuOH extract of S. saponaria against azole-susceptible and resistant human vaginal Candida spp. Results showed in vitro inhibitory and fungicidal activity against all isolatates. MIC and MFC values were higher against C. glabrata isolates No cytotoxic action was observed with either extract. (3)
• Changes in Candida albicans Protein Profile Changes in Response to Butanolic Extract" Study evaluated the changes in protein abundance of C. albicans after exposure to MIC- and sub-MIC of a butanolic extract of S. saponaria using a combination of 2D-PAGE and MALDI-TOF M S. Results showed antifungal induced changes in protein abundance of C. albicans. The responsive proteins may represent potential targets for the development of novel therapeutic agents against the pathogenic fungus. (4)
• Seed Oil Potential as Biofuel: Seed oil study showed a yield of 42.58% (w/w) and identified 7 fatty acids, 57.60% unsaturated and 42.40% saturated. with oleic acid as the most abundant (52.45%). Study. Physiochemical properties of the oil showed good results for its use as biofuel. (5)
• Larvicidal Against Cattle Tick / Stem Peel: Study evaluated the larvicidal potential of crude ethanol extract of soapberry Sapindus saponaria stem peel on cattle tick Boophilus microplus. Mortality was observed after 48 hours. Lethal concentration values were LC50 of 1,258 ppm and :C99 of 6,360 ppm. (5)
• Antifungal Effect Against Papaya Antracnose / Leaf: Chemical fungicides provide a primary means of fungal infection control in fruits and vegetables in postharvest. Study evaluated hydroethanolic extracts of soapberry leavers for inhibitory activity against the fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, the causal agent of anthracnose in papaya fruits. In vivo treatment with 100 mg/ml extract prevented the development of anthracnose symptoms in fresh papaya fruits, preventing mycelial growth and preventing appearance of anthracnose symptoms. Results suggest the potential of the extract as a natural fungicide and as an alternative measure for disease control in papaya fruits. (9)
• Molluscicidal / Saponins from Pericarp: Methanol extract of fruits of Sapindus saponaria isolated a monodesmosidic acetylated saponin (1) and a mixture of two monodesmosidic saponins (2) and (3). The compounds showed molluscicidal activity (LC100/24h pf 5-10 ppm) against the snail Blomphalaria glabrata, one of the intermediate hosts of schistosomiasis. (12)
• Antibacterial / Endophytic Fungi: Study evaluated crude extracts of fungal endophytes isolated from S. saponaria against five pathogenic bacteria The endophytic extracts showed promising antibacterial activity. since all of them inhibited the growth of at least one of the tested bacteria. One extracted metabolite from lineage G2 20 ( Cochliobolus intermedius) showed activity against all of the bacterial tested. Results showed S. saponaria isolates possess biotechnological potential for control of pathogenic bacteria tested in vitro. (13)
• Antifungal / Vulvovaginal Candidiasis / Saponins / Dried Pericarp: Study evaluated dried pericarp extracts of Sapindus saponaria fruits for antifungal activity against clinical isolates of yeasts Candida albicans and C. non-albicans from vaginal secretions of women with vulvovaginal candidiasis. Four clinical isolates of C. albicans and isolates of C. parapsilosis, C. glabrata, C. tropicalis, and strain of C. albicans ATCC 90028 were used. The hydroalcoholic extract showed strong activity against C. parapsilosis. The n-BuOH extract and one fraction showed strong activity against all isolates tested. Isolated saponins showed strong activity against C. paraosuosis. (see constituents above) (14)
• Rhizosphere Bacteriome: Rhizosphere is a highly diverse microbial habitat with respect to both diversity of species and size of the community. Study evaluated the rhizosphere microbiome of the medicinal plant S, saponaria using pyrosequencing to estimate the number of bacterial species present in different environments. Results showed the rhizosphere associated with S. saponaria was highly diverse with groups of bacteria important for soil management, which can be further exploited for agricultural and biotechnological purposes. (15)
Extracts in the cybermarket.