Muntingia calabura L.

Last updated: 28 Sept 2016

Scientific Name

Muntingia calabura L.


Muntingia calabura var. trinitensis Griseb., Muntingia rosea K.Karst. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Buah cheri, kerukup siam [2][3][4]
English Calabur, cherry tree, jam tree [2], Jamaican cherry, Panama berry [3]
India Chinese cherry, Japanese cherry [4]
Ceylon Jam fruit [4]
Sri Lanka Jam tree [2]
Indonesia Cerri, talok [3]
Thailand Tarkop farang, [3] takop farang, ta kob farang [4]
Philippines Cereza, datiles, ratiles, seresa, zanitas, [2] manzanita, [3] latires [4]
Cambodia Kakhop [4]
Vietnam Cay trung ca [4]
France Bois de soil, bois [3]
Guadeloupe Bois ramier, bois de soie [2][4]
Spain Capolin, majagua, niguito, calabura, uvilla, guacima cereza, memiso, [3]
Costa Rica capulin blanco [4]
Colombia Chitato, majaguito, chirriador, acuruco, tapabotija, nigua [4]
Portugal Calabura, pau de seda [3]
Tropical America Calabura, calabure, majaguillo, pacito, vijaguillo [2]
El Salvador Capulin de comer [4]
Panama Pasito, majaguillo [4]
Venezuela Majagua, majaguillo, mahaujo, guacimo hembra, cedrillo, niguo, niguito [4]
Ecuador Niguito [4]
Guatemala Capulin blanco [4]
Florida Strawberry tree [4]
Mexico Huiz lan, [2] caolin, palman, bersilana, jonote, puan [4]
Peru Bolina, bolaina, ccoillor-ppanchu, guinda yumanasa, iumanasa, mullaca huayo, rupiña, tomaque, yumanasa, [2] yumanaza, guinda yunanasa, mullacahuayo [4]
Quechua Sachacapuli [3]
Brazil Calabura, pau de seda [4]
Argentina Cedrillo majagua [4]
Cuba Capulina, chapuli [4]
Haiti Bois d’ orme, bois de soie marron [4]
Dominican Republic Memiso, memizo [4].

Geographical Distributions

Muntingia calabura is origin to southern Mexico, Central America, northern South America and the Greater Antilles, St. Vincent and Trinidad. It has become distributed in South-east Asia, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and many other places where due to its good adaptation and number of trees found. [3][4]

Botanical Description

M. calabura is a member of the Muntinginaceae family [1]. It is a tree that could reach up to 5 m high. Branches spread horizontally making it an ideal shade tree [4][5].

The leaves are simple, evergreen, alternate, hairy, sticky, distichious, oblong-ovate to broadly oblong lanceolate, 8-13 cm long, with toothed margins, pointed apex and inequilateral base, one side rounded and the other acute. [4][5][6]

The flowers are about 2 cm in diameter, 1—3(—5)-flowered supra-axillary fascicles, hermaphrodite, white, extra-axillary, solitary or in pairs. Sepals are 5, green, reflexed, lanceolate, about 1 cm long. Petals are white, obovate, 1 cm long, deciduous and spreading. [5][6]

The fruit is a berry, rounded, about 1.5 cm in diameter, red on ripening, smooth, fleshy, sweet and many seeded. [5]


M. calabura is a typical pioneer species, colonising disturbed sites in tropical lowlands which can sustain continuous growth. It thrives at elevations up to 1000 m. In Southeast Asia, it is one of the most common roadside trees, especially in the drier parts such as in eastern Java. It establishes itself in trodden yards and along shop fronts where no other tree takes root. The preferred pH is 5.5-6.5; salt tolerance is poor. [6]

Chemical Constituent

Ethyl acetate-soluble extract of the levaes of M. calabura has been reported to contain (2R,3R)-7-methoxy-3,5,8-trihydroxyflavone, (2S)-5-hydroxy-7-methoxyflavone, 2’,4’-dihydroxychalcone, 4,2’,4’-trihydroxychalcone, 7-hydroxyisoflavone, and 7,3’,4’-trimethoxyisoflavone. [7]

Extract of M. calabura leaves has been reported to contain 2,3-dihydro-4,3’,4’,5’-tetramethoxydihydrochalcone, 4,2’,4’-trihydroxy-3’-methoxydihydrochalcone, (2R,3R)-(-)-3,5-dihydroxy-6,7-dimethoxyflavone, 5,7-dihydroxy-3-methoxyflavone, 5,7-dihydroxy-6-methoxyflavone, 5,4’-dihydroxy-3,7-dimethoxyflavone, (2S)-7,8,3’,4’,5-pentamethoxyflavan, (2S)-5’-hydroxy-7,8,3’,4;-tetramethoxyflavan, and methyl gallate. [8]

Extract from the leaves of M. calabura has been reported to contain 2',4'-dihydroxy-3'-methoxydihydrochalcone, (-)-3'-methoxy-2',4',beta-trihydroxydihydrochalcone, (2S)-(-)-5'-hydroxy-7,3',4'-trimethoxyflavanone, (2S)-5'-hydroxy-7,3',4'-trimethoxyflavanone, 4'-hydroxy-7-methoxyflavanone, 2',4'-dihydroxychalcone, 2',4'-dihydroxy-3'-methoxychalcone, and muntingone. [9]

Plant Part Used

Roots, leaves and flowers. [3][4]

Traditional Use

In the Philippines it is considered an antidyspeptic and antispasmodic. The leaves on the other hand have antidiarrhoeal properties. [3][4]

The root of M. calabura is considered an abortifacient and is used by the traditional midwives as a remedy for amennorrhoea and irregular mensturation. [3]

Tea prepared from flowers of M. calabura has traquilizing effects and it is used to calm hysteria and to relieve convulsions and clonic spasm. [3]

The flowers are considered a general tonic. It is used to treat headaches and cold and toothaches. [3]

Preclinical Data


Antiplatelet aggregation activity

Seven isolates from the leaves of M. calabura were found to exhibit significant anti-platelet aggregation activity in vitro. These isolates includes the following flavanoid compounds namely 2,3-dihydroxy-4,3',4',5'-tetramethoxydihydrochalcone, 5,7-dihydroxy-3-methoxyflavone, 5,7-dihydroxy-6-methoxyflavone, 5,4'-dihydroxy-3,7-dimethoxyflavone, (2S)-7,8,3',4',5'-pentamethoxyflavan, (2S)-5'-hydroxy-7,8,3',4'-tetramethoxyflavan, and methyl gallate. [8]

Antihypertensive activity

In two set of experiments done first on the crude methanol extract and then the n-butanol soluble fractions from the methanol leaf extract of M. calabura have been found to elicit both transient and delayed hypotensive activity and bradycardiac actions in spontaneous hypertensive rats. These actions could be mediated via NO generated by eNOS and iNOS. The activation of sGC/cGMP/PKG signaling pathway may participate in this biphasic cardiovascular effect. [10][11]

Antinociceptive activity

Zakaria et al studied the antinococeptive activity of the aqueous extract of the leaves of M. calabura extensively. Their initial study demonstrated the involvement of L-arginine/NO/cGMP pathway in the aqueous leaf extract of M. calabura. Subsequently, they found that the bioactive compound(s) responsible for this activity was heat stable and worked partly via the opiod receptor system. They then found that the aqueous extract acted via modulation of the muscarinic, a1-adrenergic, b-adrenergic, dopaminergic and GABAergic recpetors while the chloroform extract acted via modulation of the a1-adrenergic, a2-adrenergic, b-adrenergic and GABAergic receptors. [12][13][14]

Myocardial infarction activity

The aqueous extracts of the leaves of M. calabura showed protective effects on isoproterenol induced myocardial infarction in Wistar rats. Pre-treatment with the extract was able to keep the biomarker enzymes of myocardial infarction at bay. [15]

Cytotoxic activity

Four isolates from the leaves of M. calabura showed cytotoxic activity against P-388 and/or HT-29 cell lines in vitro. These flavonoids included the following: 2 S)-5'-hydroxy-7,3',4'-trimethoxyflavanone, 4'-hydroxy-7-methoxyflavanone, 2',4'-dihydroxychalcone, and 2',4'-dihydroxy-3'-methoxychalcone. [9]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation.


No documentation.

Side effects

No documentation.

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

The decoction of the roots should not be given to women confirmed to be pregnant less it may induce abortion. [3]

Age limitation

No documentation.

Adverse reaction

No documentation.

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation.


No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of M. calabura. [6]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Muntingia calabura L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mac 23, cited 2016 Sept 28]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 217.
  3. Janick J, Paull RE. The encyclopedia of fruit and nuts. Oxfordshire: CABI; 2008. p. 346-348.
  4. Morto J. Jamaica cherry. Muntingia calabura L. In: Morton JF, editor. Fruits of warm climates. Miami, Florida: 1987; p. 65-69.
  5. Philippine Medicinal Plants. Aratiles. [homeage on the Internet]. No date [updated 2016 Jan, cited 2016 Sept 29]. Available from:
  6. Verheij EWM. Muntingia calabura L. In: Verheij EWM Coronel RE, editors. Plant resources of South-East Asia No. 2: Edible fruits and nuts. Wageningen, Netherlands: Pudoc, 1991; p. 223-225.
  7. Sun BN, Jung Park E, Vigo JS, et al. Activity-guided isolation of the chemical constituents of Muntingia calabura using a quinine reductase induction assay. Phytochemistry. 2003;63(3):335-341.
  8. Chen JJ, Lee HH, Shih CD, Liao CH, Chen IS, Chou TH. New dihydrochalcones and anti-platelet aggregation constituents from the leaves of Muntingia calabura. Planta Med. 2007;73(6):572-577.
  9. Chen JJ, lee HH, Duh CY, Chen IS. Cytotoxic chalcones and flavanoids from the leaves of Muntingia calabura. Planta Med. 2005;71(10):970-973.
  10. Shih CD, Chen JJ, Lee HH. Activation of nitric oxide signalling pathway mediates hypotensive effect of Muntingia calabura L. (Tiliaceae) leaf extract. Am J Chin Med. 2006;34(5):857-872.
  11. Shih CD. Activation of nitric oxide/cGMP/PKG signalling cascade mediates antihypertensive effects of Muntingia calabura in anesthetized spontaneously hypertensive rats. Am J Chin Med. 2009;37(6):1045-1058.
  12. Zakaria ZA, Sulaiman MR, Jais AM, et al. The antinociceptive activity of Muntingia calabura aqueous extract and the involvement of L-arginine/nitric oxide/cyclic guanosine monophosphate pathway in its observed activity in mice. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2006;20(4):365-372.
  13. Zakaria ZA, Mustapha S, Sulaiman MR, Mat Jais AM, Somchit MN, Abdullah FC. The antinociceptive action of aqueous extract from Muntingia calabura leaves: The role of opioid receptors. Med Princ Pract. 2007;16(2):130-136.
  14. Zakaria ZA, Hassan MH, Nurul Aqmar MN, et al. Effects of various nonopioid receptor antagonists on the antinociceptive activity of Muntingia calabura extracts in mice. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 2007;29(8):515-520.
  15. Nivethetha M, Jayasri J, Brindha P. Effects of Muntingia calabura L. on isoproterenol-induced myocardial infarction. Singapore Med J. 2009;50(3):300-302.