Upang is an evergreen growing 15 to 40 meters high. Branchlets are pubescent. Leaves are alternate, bipinnate on stalks 2 to 6 centimeter long. Pinnae are 10 to 19 pairs, 5 - 9 centimeters long each with 31-38 pairs of opposite, linear pinnules, 5 - 9 millimeters long and about 2 millimeters wide. Flowers are numerous, small, creamy white to brownish yellow, in densely crowded pear-shaped, pendulous inflorescence heads. Flowers yield a nectar, with a strong and sickly smell. The apical flowers develop fruits. Pods are large, 35-55 centimeters long and 3-5 centimeters wide.
- Commonly found in the Philippines.
- Indigenous to Southeast Asia.
- Also found in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
- Extracts from pods and seeds have yielded high content of total polyphenols, phytosterols, and flavonoids.
- Nutritional analysis of seeds yielded (per 100 g edible portion) ash 1.2-4.6 g, protein 6.0-27.5 g, fat 1.6-13.3g, carbohydrate 13.2-52.9 g, crude fiber 1.7-2.0 g, energy 91.0-441.5 kcal, calcium 108.0-265.1 mg, iron 2.2-2.7 mg, phosphorus 115.0 mg, potassium 341.0 mg, magnesium 29.0 mg, manganese 42.0 ppm, copper 36.7 ppm,
zinc 8.2 ppm, vitamin C 19.3 mg, α-tocopherol 4.15 mg, thiamin 0.28 mg. (3)
- Analysis of extracted samples of seeds for seeds yielded
77 compounds. Propanoic acid, 3,3'-thiobis-didodecyl ester was present in highest percentage. Other main compounds were linoleic acid chloride, palmitic acid, linoleic acid, myristic acid, arachidonic acid, undecanoic acid and 2-hexyl-1-decanol. (11)
- Studies have suggest antioxidant, antiangiogenic, gastroprotective, antibacterial, hypoglycemic effects.
- Part of sprouts and thickened inflorescence stalks, young leaves, young fruit pods and seeds are eaten raw, or roasted and cooked as vegetable. Popularly eaten in Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and India. Seeds with its pungent garlic odor is used as condiment for cooking and used in native Indian and Thai dishes and delicacies.
- No reported medicinal use in the Philippines.
In folk medicine, used for diabetes, hypertension, and kidney problems
Seeds used to treat diabetes, kidney pain, and cholera.
- In Malaysia, aboriginal tribes use raw bean pod and seeds orally for diabetes; root decoction used for hypertension and diabetes.
• Antiangiogenic / Antioxidant: Study evaluated the antiangiogenic effect of eight extracts of P. speciosa empty pods. Extracts showed a high content of total phenols and demonstrated a strong antioxidant effect in DPPH scavenging testing. It showed antiangiogenic activity with significant inhibition of microvessel outgrowth from rat aortic tissue implants by more than 50%, possibly through decreased expression of vascular endothelial growth factor in endothelial cells. (4)
• Antibacterial / Peel: Study evaluated the antibacterial effect of the various peel extract to Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli. Results showed the ethyl acetate extract to have the highest antibacterial activity. (5)
• Anti-Ulcer / Gastroprotective: Study evaluated the gastroprotective effects of Parkia speciosa against ethanol-induced gastric mucosa in Sprague Dawley rats. Results showed gastroprotective effects in extract treated rats with upregulation of heat-shock protein 70 and downregulation of pro-apoptotic protein BAX, with significant increases in antioxidant defense enzymes glutathione (GSH) and superoxide dismutase (SOD). No symptoms of toxicity or death were observed during the acute toxicity tests. (6)
• Hypoglycemic: Study showed chloroform extracts produced a significant depression of blood glucose levels in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. The occurrence of ß-sitosterol, stigmasterol and stimast-4-en-3-one were reported for the first time, and may have a potential for new hypoglycemic agents. (7) An aqueous seed extract of Parkia speciosa was investigated for hypoglycemic effects on normal rats. Results showed significant blood glucose reducing effect. (12)
• Effect on Liver Drug Metabolism: Parkia speciosa was found to significantly increase liver drug metabolism in-vitro and in-vivo. (9) (10)
• Activated Carbon from Pods: Activated carbon with relatively high surface areas were prepared from Parkia speciosa pods with chemical activation. The yield of AC decreased as carbonization temperature increased. (13)