Cordia dichotoma G.Forst.

Last updated: 9 Jun 2016

Scientific Name

Cordia dichotoma G.Forst.


Cordia brownii A.DC., Cordia griffithii C.B.Clarke, Cordia indica Lam., Cordia latifolia Roxb., Cordia loureiroi Roem. & Schult., Cordia lowriana Brandis, Cordia obliqua Willd., Cordia premnifolia Ridl., Cordia suaveolens Blume, Cordia tomentosa Wall. [Illegitimate], Cordia tremula Griseb., Cordia wallichii G.Don, Gerascanthus dichotomus (G.Forst.) Borhidi, Gerascanthus griffithii (C.B.Clarke) Borhidi [Invalid], Gerascanthus suaveolens (Blume) Borhidi [Invalid], Varronia sinensis Lour. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Sekendal, sekendai, petekat (Peninsular) [2]
English Sebestan plum, soap berry [2]
China Po bu mu [3]
India Gonda, lasora [4]
Indonesia Kendal (Javanese, Balinese), nunang (South-western Sumatra, Malay), toteolo (Halmahera) [2]
Thailand Phak mong, man muu (Northern), man dong (Eastern) [2]
Laos ‘man [2]
Myanmar Thanat [2]
Philippines Anonang (General), guma (Sulu), sinaligan (Iloko) [2]
Vietnam L[as] b[aj]c, l[as] tr [aws]ng, ti[ee]n d[aaf]u th[oos]ng [2]
Japan Kaki-ba-chisha-no-ki [3]
Papua New Guinea Cordia [2]
France Capestan [2].

Geographical Distributions

Cordia dichotoma occurs from Northern India to Southern China, southward throughout Southeast Asia to Australia and New Caledonia. [2]

Botanical Description

C. dichotoma is a member of the Boraginaceae family. It is a shrub or small tree measures about 5-10(-25) m tall, while the bole is measuring up to 60-100 cm in diametre. The bark surface is smooth and becomes fissured with age. [2]

The leaves are alternate in arrangement, variable, ovate to oblong-ovate in shape with measure of 6-15 cm x 5-8 cm. Its base is acute, rounded or heart-shaped, apex acuminate to rounded, margins entire or somewhat undulate, membranaceous to leathery and devoid of hairs to sparsely hairy. It has a 1.5-4.5 cm long stalk. [2]

The inflorescence that consists with 10-flowers is terminal or on slender lateral branches with 2-4 leaves, subcorymbose to subthyrsoid, lax, with pseudo-dichotomous branching and measures 5-11 cm long. The sessile flowers are male or bisexual, which are in two types on different trees. The sepal is cup-shaped, measures 3-5 mm x 3-4 mm, opening irregularly at the apex, hairy and increases its size to 6-10 mm long with age and becomes hairless. The cylindrical-bell-shaped petal measures 6-8(-10) mm long with white, yellowish-white or green colour, its tube measures 3 mm long with 4-6 lobes, oblong, spreading and reflexed. The stamens are as many as its petal lobes and are inserted at the petal with long protrude beyond. The superior ovary consists of 4-locular where 1 ovule is in 1 ovary compartment and the style is forked twice. [2]

The fruit is drupaceous, ovoid, measures 10-13(-25) mm long and yellowish-white, orange or pinkish when ripe with 1(-3)-seeds. The outer mesocarp is pulpy, sticky and mucilaginous. The seed is egg-shaped, flattened, up to 6 mm long, while its endosperm is absent. The seedling is with epigeal germination. The young stem below the cotyledons is elongated and leafy where the first leaves are arranged alternately. [2]


C. dichotoma occurs in coastal hills, inland fringes of mangroves, also in open forests, thickets and savanna, from sea-level up to 500 m altitude, or planted up to 1500 m altitude, sometimes as a roadside tree. It tolerates a range of soils, but thrives on deep, moist, sandy loams, and does not grow well on dry, shallow, or gravelly soils. It occurs naturally in areas where the annual rainfall ranges from approximately 250-3000 mm. In areas with less than 500 mm rainfall, it grows in depressions and alongside streams. [2]

Chemical Constituent

C. dichotoma has been reported to contain robinin, rutin, datiscoside, hesperidin, dehydrorobinetin, chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid isolated from C. francisci, C. myxa and C. serratifolia. [5]

Plant Part Used

Bark, fruit, leaf and seeds [4][5]

Traditional Use

The bark decoction is used to treat dyspepsia. The powdered bark is applied to mouth ulcers. The bark is also used to treat fever, abscesses and tumours. It is mixed with the pomegranate rind to treat dysentery. The extract of the bark mixed with coconut water relieves severe colic. [4]

The mucilage of the fruit treats coughs and other chest complaints. It is also used to treat uterus and urethra disorders. The kernel of the fruits in powder form is mixed with oil to heal tinea. The plant is also a diuretic and a laxative. [4]

Preclinical Data


Anthelmintic activity

Extracts from C. dichotoma fruits were evaluated for their anthelmintic activities against earthworms, tapeworms and roundworms at concentrations of 1, 2.5 and 5.0%. All extracts showed concentration-dependent activities against these three types worms. [6]

Wound healing activity

Various organic fractions from the ethanolic extract of the fruits of Cordia dichotoma were screened for their wound healing activities using three different models viz. excision, incision and dead space wound models on either sex of albino rats. All the fractions showed significant activity. [7]

Anti-inflammatory activity

The anti-inflammatory effects of the fruit of Cordia myxa were examined on acetic acid-induced colitis in rats. Groups of colitic, normal and corresponding control rats were included in the study. Animals were sacrificed 5 days after administration of 4% acetic acid and 4 days of treatment with the fruits prepared as suspension in distilled water. Histologic examinations and myeloperoxidase activity assay were performed on the colonic tissues, while glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase and total antioxidants as well as the concentrations of iron and trace elements (zinc, copper, selenium, manganese) were assayed in plasma, liver and colon. Histology of the colon of the induced animals treated with the Cordia myxa fruit preparation showed significant reversal of colitis in 50% of the animals. Fruit treatment also caused a significant decrease (50%) in levels of myeloperoxidase activity. The activities of glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, total antioxidants and the concentrations of the trace elements in plasma, colon and liver of these animals were restored to normal levels by the fruit treatment. The above results demonstrated that the anti-inflammatory properties of the Cordia myxa fruit preparation in the treatment of experimental colitis appears to be mediated through the fruit’s antioxidant effects. [8]


No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing



Figure 1: Line drawing of C. dichotoma [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Cordia dichotoma G.Forst. [homepage on the internet] .c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Jun 9]. Available from:
  2. Aguilar NO. Cordia dichotoma J.G. Forster In: van Valkenburg JLCH, Bunyapraphatsara N, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publishers, 2001; p. 185-188.
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms and etymology. Volume II C-D. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 422.
  4. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 1. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p. 216.
  5. Wiart C. Medicinal plants of The Asia-Pacific: Drugs for the future?. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing, 2006; p. 512-514.
  6. Kuppasta IJ, Nayak V. Anthelmintic activity of fruits of Cordia dichotoma. Ind J Nat Prod. 2003;19(3):27-29.
  7. Kuppasta IJ, Nayak PV. Wound healing activity of Cordia dichotoma Forst. F. fruits. Nat Prod Rad. 2006;5(2):99-102.
  8. Al-Awadi FM, Srikumar TS, Anim JT. Antiinflammatory effects of Cordia myxa Fruit on expermentally induced colitis in Rats. Nutrition. 2001;17(5):391-396.