Mallotus philippensis (Lam.) Müll.Arg.

Last updated: 29 September 2016

Scientific Name

Mallotus philippensis (Lam.) Müll.Arg.


Aconceveibum trinerve Miq, Croton montanus Willd. Croton philippensis Lam. Echinus philippensis (Lam.) Baill. Macaranga stricta (Rchb.f. & Zoll.) Müll.Arg. Mallotus bicarpellatus T.Kuros. Mallotus reticulatus Dunn, Mappa stricta Rchb.f. & Zoll.            Rottlera affinis Hassk., Rottlera aurantiaca Hook. & Arn., Rottlera philippensis (Lam.) Scheff., Rottlera tinctoria Roxb. Tanarius strictus (Rchb.f. & Zoll.) Kuntze, Croton coccineus Vahl [Illegitimate], Croton punctatus Retz. [Illegitimate], Croton distans Wall. [Invalid] [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Rambai kuching (general); kasirau, minyak madja (Peninsular) [2]
English Kamala [3]
Indonesia Galuga furn (Ternate); kapasan (Javanese); ki meyong (Sundanese) [2]
Thailand Kai khat hin, khee nuea (North-eastern); kham saet(Central) [2]
Laos Kh'aay paax, khiiz moon, tangx thôôm [2]
Myanmar Hpawng-awn [2]
Philippines Banato (Tagalog); pangaplasin (Ilokano); tagusala (Bisaya) [2]
Cambodia 'ân-nadaa [2]
Vietnam R[uf]m nao, c[as]nh ki[ees]n, m[oj]t [2]

Geographical Distributions

Mallotus philippensis distribution is from India and Sri Lanka to Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China, Taiwan, the Ryukyu Islands, Thailand, throughout the Malaysian region, northern Australia and Malaysian. [2]

Botanical Description

M. philippensis is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family. M. philippensis is a small to medium-sized tree that can reach up to 25 m tall. The leaves are arranged spirally, elliptical to lance-shaped-ovate or obovate, with red glandular granules below but not peltate. The fruit is nearly spherical, with a dense layer of red granules. [2]


M. philippensis occurs in many different habitats, in primary and secondary forest, edges of mangroves and scrub vegetation in grassland, up to 1600 m altitude. [2]

Chemical Constituent

M. philippensis has been reported to contain phloroglucinol derivatives which are the dyeing principles: rottlerin and isorottlerin [4]. M. philippensis fruit has been reported to contain five chalcone derivative mallotophilippens A, B, C, D and E. [5]

Plant Part Used

Leaf, bark, seed, fruit [6].

Traditional Use

M. philippensis powder obtained by crushing of the fruits or capsules has long been used to produce red dye for colouring silk. Besides being used as dyes, the materials from this plant are claimed to have medicinal properties. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine to relieve cough, constipation, flatulence, wounds, ulcers, renal and vesicle calculi, haemorrhage and poisonous affections. It is an anthelmintic and has also been recorded to be an active emetic. It is capable of producing nausea or gripping but seldom vomiting. This plant is applied externally as a treatment for skin disorders such as scabies and cutaneous troubles, tinea, herpes and other parasitic infections. The leaves and bark are used in India to poultice skin disorders and the pounded seeds are applied to wounds. The leaves are used by Malays, probably as a poultice to prevent bed-wetting by toddlers. [4]

Preclinical Data


Antifilarial activity

Aqueous and ethanolic extracts of leaves of M. philippensis inhibit the spontaneous mobility of Setaria cervie microfilariae with an LC50 value of 18 ng/mL. This antifilarial activity is probably due to the presence of rottlerin which is known to destroy intestinal worms efficiently and possibly through inhibition of calmodulin-dependent protein kinase III that phosphorylates a number of substrates. [4]

Antibacterial activity

In a screening programme for antibacterial and antifungal agents from selected Indian medicinal plants against a battery of microorganisms, a dichloromethane: methanol extract of M. philippensis exhibited significant antimicrobial activity. [7]

Anti-inflammatory and immuno-regulatory activity

Three novel chalcones, mallotophilippens C,D,E isolated from the fruits of M. philippensis are inhibit nitric oxide (NO) production, induce NO synthase gene expression by a murine macrophage-like cell line which was activated by lipopolysaccharide and recombinant mouse interferon-gamma. In addition, the chalcones also down-regulated cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), interleukin-6 and interleukin-1β genes expression. The results suggest that these chemical compounds have anti-inflammatory and immuno-regulatory effects. [7]


A study of the M. philippensis seed ethereal extract on various reproductive parameters of female rats found that the extract has adverse effects. At a high dose of 100 mg/kg body weight, the extract reduces serum levels of gonadotropins in treated animals. These sub-normal levels of steroid hormones may be the cause of reduced weights of the ovary and uterus, follicular development and increased atretic follicles in the ovary. Thus, pregnancy is impossible in these M. philippensis seed extract-treated female rats. [8]

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation

Side effects

Appendicitis or symptoms of appendicitis such as stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting: M. philippensis acts like a laxative and could make appendicitis worse.

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation


No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of M. philippensis. [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Mallotus philippensis [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Sept 27]. Available from:
  2. Jongkind CCH. Mallotus philippensis (Lamk) Muell. Arg. In: Lemmens, RHMJ, Wulijarni-Soetjipto N (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 3: Dye and tannin-producing plants. Wageningen, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 1991; p. 91-93.
  3. Useful tropical plants database. Mallotus philippensis [homepage on the Internet]. c2014 [updated 2016 Aug 16; cited 2016 Sept 27]. Available from:
  4. Wiart C. Medicinal plants of The Asia-Pacific: Drugs for the future?. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing, 2006; p. 398.
  5. Daikonya A, Katsuki S, Kitanaga S. Antiallergic agents from natural sources 9. Inhibition of Nitric Oxide Production by Novel Chalcone Derivatives from Mallotus philippensis (Euphorbiaceae). Chem Pharm Bull. 2004;52:1326-1329
  6. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 2. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p:121
  7. Kumar V, Chauhan P, Padh NS, Rajani H. Search for antibacterial and antifungal agents from selected Indian medicinal plants. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006;107(2):182-188
  8. Thakur SC, Thakur SS, Chaube SK, Singh SP. An ethereal extract of Kamala (Mallotus philippinensis (Moll. Arg) Lam.) seed induce adverse effects on reproductive parameters of female rats. Reproductive Toxicology. 2005;20:149-156