Barringtonia racemosa (L.) Spreng

Last updated: 23 Feb 2017

Scientific Name

Barringtonia racemosa (L.) Spreng


Barringtonia apiculata (Miers) R.Knuth [Illegitimate], Barringtonia caffra (Miers) E.Mey ex R.Knuth, Barringtonia celebesensis R.Knuth, Barringtonia ceramensis R.knuth, Barringtonia ceylanica (Miers) gardner ex C.B.Clarke, Barringtonia elongata Korth., Barringtonia excelsa A.Gray, Barringtonia inclyta Miers ex B.D.Jacks. [Invalid], Barringtonia lageniformis Merr. & L.M.Perry, Barringtonia longiracemosa C.T.White, Barringtonia obtusangula (Blume) R.Knuth, Barringtonia pallida (Miers) Koord. & Valeton, Barringtonia racemosa var. elongata (Korth.) Blume, Barringtonia racemosa var. minor Blume, Barringtonia racemosa var. procera Blume, Barringtonia racemosa var. subcuneata Miq., Barringtonia rosaria Oken, Barringtonia rosata (Sonn.) R.Knuth, Barringtonia rumphiana (Miers) R.Knuth, Barringtonia salomonensis Rech., Barringtonia stravadium Blanco, Barringtonia terrestris (Miers) R.Knuth., Barringtonia timorensis Blume, Butonica alba (Pers.) Miers [Illegitimate], Butonica apiculata Miers, Butonica caffra Miers, Butonica ceylanica Miers, Butonica inclyta Miers, Butonica racemosa (L.) Juss., Butonica rosata (Sonn.) Miers, Butonica rumphiana Miers, Butonica terrestris Miers, Caryophyllus racemosus (L.) Stokes, Eugenia racemosa L., Huttum racemosum (L.) Britten, Megadendron ambiguum Miers, Megadendron pallidum Miers, Menichea rosata Sonn., Mechelia apiculata (Miers) Kuntze, Michelia ceylanica (Miers) Kunzte, Mechelia racemosa (L.) Kunzte, Michelia rosata (Sonn.) Kunzte, Michelia timorensis (Blume) Kunzte, Stravadium album Pers. [Illegitimate], Stravadium obtusangulum Blume, Stravadium racemosum (L.) Sweet. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Pokok darah, pokok darat, putat ayam, putat ayer, putat kedal, putat padi [2], putat kampong [3]
English Barringtonia, brack-water mangrove, common putat, hippo apple, powderpuff tree, wild guava [2], freshwater mangrove, fish-poison tree [4]
China Yu rui [2]
India Aare, aracakkini, arattam, arippiriyam, arittiram, calacakam, calam, calaparam, camuttira, camuttirakkatampu, camuttirappalam, camuttirappalavi, camuttirappalavimaram, cantakentam, carucapam, carucapikam, carupam, carusam, cilesmanacani, cilettumavisapakan, citakantanam, citakantanamaram, cukatura, cumpal, cumpul, cupuram, curapi, curapiyankam, cutaru, cuvetacamaram, ganagilatora, ganigala thora, ganigalathora, hijjala, icataru, icitaru, icitarumaram, icutaru, icuvarataru, intirapacitam, intirapacitamaram, ijjul, isudaru, isuvaradaru, kaciram, kadambam, kadambu, kadapa, kalampakam, kanaginathora, kanaginatora, kanapa, karaci, karacimaram, karam, karamam, katampaccuvetam, katampaccuvetamaram, katampam, katampu, katampuri, katampaccuvetamaram, katampam, katampu, katampuri, katampurimaram, katappaimaram, katappamaram, katotam, kelivirutcam, kempuganigilu, kempukanagina, kogali, kokali, kondalai, kontalai, kontalam, kontalankay, kontavakkay, koputtam, kotalankay, kucciram, kuchidam, kunda, mara, maraam, marakika, marakikamaram, maram, maravam, neeruganagile, neevaara, nichula, nipa, nipam, nivar, norvisnee, palapatirappiriyam, periyacali, periyacalimaram, peruncerippan, peruncerippanmaram, piriyakam, piriyatati, pitriyagam, sadphali, samaskaravadi, sametrapalam, samstaravati, samstravadi, samubraphala, samudraccam, samudracham, samudrakka, samudrapad, samudrapandu, samudraphal, samudraphala, samudrapoo, samudrappu, samudrapu, samuthira palam, samuthraccham, samuthrachcham, samuthram, tarakatampam, tenakam, tevavirutcam, tunikkatampamaram, tunikkatampu, varaki, venkatampu, venkatampumaram, vicalam, vicuvalopakarakam, vilattaru, vishaya [2], samudrapandu [3], samudra pi, mamudra maram, samstravadi karpa [5]
Borneo Laggong, putat [2]
Brunei Putat aying [2]
Indonesia Alakang, butun darat, kungkungan, malegai, penggung, putat, putat sungai, sesiil [2]
Thailand Chick, chik ban, chik suan [2]
Laos Som pawng [2]
Myanmar Kye-bin, kyi (Burma) [2]
Philippines Kasouai, kutkut-timbaon, nuling, paling, potat, putad, putat, tuba-tuba [2]
Cambodia Dawm trojiekbres, pchek tekbray [2]
Vietnam Tim lang, chi[ees]c hoa v[af]ng [2]
Japan Heihabui, kiifuji, sagari-bana, sagaribana, zurugaki [2]
East Africa Mtomondo [2]
Southern Africa Poeierkwasboom; iBhoqo, iBoqo (Zulu) [2]
Guam Langasat, langassag [2]
Papua New Guinea Paniak, paopao [2]
Comoros Komba, m’gnamba wakaweni, m’nyamba, m’rambia, ngouli, nmba [2]
Madagascar Fotatre, magnondro, manondro, manontro [2]
Tanzania Mkuvukuvu, mtomondo [2].

Geographical Distributions

Barringtonia racemosa is distributed from eastern Africa and Madagascar to Sri Lanka, India, Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China, southern China, Taiwan, the Ryukyu Islands, Thailand, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, throughout the Malesian region towards Micronesia, Polynesia (east to Fiji and Samoa) and northern Australia. [6]

Botanical Description

B. racemosa is a member of Lecythidaceae family. [1] It is a shrub or small to medium-sized tree which can grow up to 2-20(-27) m tall, measures 10-50 cm in trunk diameter and 3-6 mm in twig diameter. [6]

The leaves are tufted, obovate-oblong or obovate-lance-shaped, measuring 14-36(-42) cm x 4-14(-16) cm, with wedge-shaped base, and with acute to acuminate and slightly winged petiole. [6]

The raceme or spike is 20-70(-100) cm long, terminal, rarely ramiflorous, pendulous and (3-)7(-20)-flowered. The pedicel measures up to 2.5 cm long with open buds that are 0.5-1 cm long. The sepal tube is red, measures about 2-5 mm long, accrescent, and rupturing in 2-4(-5) unequal segments while there are 4 petals which are elliptical, convex, measuring 1.5-2.5 cm x 0.5-1.5 cm and white (occasionally red). The stamens are in (5-)6 whorls, measure 2-4 cm long, white, pink, purple or red. The ovary is (2-)3-4-celled, with style (2-)3-5.5 cm long, pink, purple, red or white. [6]

The berry is ovoid, measuring 5-7(-9) cm x 2-4(-5.5) cm, subtetragonous, truncate and with tapered base. The pericarp is 3-12 mm thick while the exocarp is rather fleshy with dispersed fibres and a wrinkled, reticulate or fissured outer layer. The endocarp is a strong layer of longitudinal anastomosing fibres which is covered by a thin brown membrane inside. [6]

The seed is ovoid, measuring 2-4 cm x 1-1.5 cm, subtetragonous, tapers towards the apex and is rather flat at the base. [6]


B. racemosa is found in primary and secondary forests, mostly restricted to inundate flood plains on tidal river banks, or in swampy localities and also occurs behind the mangrove or in the upper mangrove swamp. It grows well under slightly saline conditions or on beaches near high water level, with a preference for heavy clay, loam or rich volcanic soils, usually a little above sea level and occasionally up to 500(-900) m altitude. [6]

Chemical Constituent

B. racemosa has been reported to contain nasimalun A and B, barringtonin, R1-barrigenol, R2-barrigenol, barringtogenol, and barringtogenic acid. [3]

Ethanolic extract of the roots of B. racemosa has been reported to contain diterpenoids namely nasimulan A and B. [7]

B. racemosa fruit extract has been reported to contain quercetin 3-O-rutinoside [8], bartogenic acid [9].

Methanolic extract of the dried fruits of B. racemosa has been reported to contain racemosol A, [22α-acetoxy-3β,15α,16α,21β-tetrahydroxy-28-(2-methylbutyryl)olean-12-ene] and isoracemosol A (2) [21β-acetoxy-3β,15α,16α,28-tetrahydroxy-22α-(2-methylbutyryl)olean-12-ene]. [10]

Ethyl acetate extract of the stem bark of B. racemosa has been reported to contain 3,3'-dimethoxy ellagic acid, dihydromyticetin, gallic acid, bartogenic acid, and stigmasterol. [11]

Stem bark of B. racemosa has been reported to contain triterpenoid compounds namely olean-18-en-3α-O-E-coumaroyl ester, olean-18-en-3β-O-Z-coumaroyl ester, germanicol, germanicone, betulinic acid, lupeol, and taraxerol. [12]

Plant Part Used

Roots, barks, leaves, shoots and fruits. [3][5]

Traditional Use

The bark of B. racemosa is traditionally used to treat gastric ulcerations. The leaves and barks are used as an antidote to snake and rat bites, rat poisoning and boils. [3]

The fruit of B. racemosa are used to treat cough, asthma and diarrhoea. The kernel helps to treat bilious diseases and jaundice when mixed with milk. [3]

The seeds are known as tonic and have insecticidal properties. The seeds together with a number of other ingredients are prepared for treating itch, piles and typhoid fever. [3]

The root is slightly bitter and it is considered a cooling, febrifuge, aperient and deobstruent by the Hindus. [3][5]

Preclinical Data


Anti-inflammatory activity

Ethyl acetate extract of B. racemosa fruit showed anti-inflammatory activities in the antibody stimulator solution known as Complete Freund’s Adjuvant (CFA)-induced arthritis in Wistar rats (100-150 g). A test series had led to the isolation of bartogenic acid and the result showed that this compound protected the rats against the primary and secondary arthritic lesions, body weight changes and haematological perturbations induced by CFA. The serum biomarkers for inflammation (C-reactive protein and rheumatoid factor) were also reduced in bartogenic acid treated arthritic rats. [9]

Antinociceptive activity

Aqueous extract of B. racemosa bark showed antinociceptive activity in male rats (200-250 g) without producing any significant untoward effects or toxicity when evaluated in hot plate and formalin test. The extract also did not alter fertility, gestational length, peri- and neonatal development and appears to be non-teratogenic to the rats tested. [13]

Antitumour activity

B. racemosa seed extracts had led to the identification of an active compound quercetin 3-O-rutinoside (QOR). QOR had shown antiproliferative activity in several leukaemic cell lines with negligent effects on normal human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. A representative T-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukaemia cell line (MOLT-3) showed phosphatidyl serine externalization and DNA fragmentation. This QOR-induced programmed cell death occurred preferentially on accumulation of cells in the sub-G(0) phase and genomic DNA fragmentation through the activation of mitochondria-dependent caspase cascade. [8]

Methanol extract of B. racemosa seeds was found to have a remarkable dose dependent antitumour activity in mice against Dalton’s Lymphoma Ascites (DLA) cells. Intraperitoneal (i.p.) daily administration of 50% methanol seed extract to mice was challenged with 1 million DLA cells. The optimum dose was found to be 6 mg/kg. The parenteral administration of the extract seemed to be more effective than when given orally and the efficacy was superior to the standard drug vincristine.  The LD50 to male mice for a single i.p. dose was found to be 36 mg/kg. [14]

Antituberculous activity

Hexane, dichloromethane (DCM), acetone and methanol extracts of fifteen plant species collected from the Nelspruit Botanical Garden, South Africa were screened for antimycobacterial activity against Mycobacterium smegmatis. Acetone extract of B. racemosa leaves showed great potential as anti-tuberculosis agents with MIC values of 0.107 mg/mL against M. smegmatis compared to rifampicin (MIC values of 0.125 mg/mL). Hexane and DCM extracts both showed 0.63 mg/mL MIC values while methanol extract was 0.837 mg/mL. [15]

α-glucosidase and amylase inhibition activity

Methanol extract of B. racemosa seeds was found to have potent yeast and intestinal α-glucosidase inhibitory activity and accelerated pancreatic α-amylase. However the major compound of methanol extract, namely bartogenic acid showed moderate α-amylase inhibitory activity which significantly (p < 0.003) less enzyme inhibition than methanol extract. Strong yeast α-glucosidase inhibitory activity suggested its application as antiviral agent while strong intestinal α-glucosidase inhibitory activity (IC50 value of 26.96 µg/mL) compared to bartogenic acid (IC50 value of 168.09 µg/mL) may be valuable to control the release of glucose from disaccharides in the gut, thus can be applied to treat patients with diabetes II, metabolic syndromes and others. [16]

Antioxidant activity

In a screening study of 19 commonly consumed plants in Malaysia, the shoots and fruits of B. racemosa were found to have a high content of polyphenolic compounds which could be responsible for the observed antioxidant activities of this plant. [17]


Reproductive toxicity activity

The aqueous extract of the bark did not alter the fertility, gestational length, peri- and neonatal development. It is thus non-teratogenic to mice. [13]

Acute toxicity activity

Animal toxicity studies on a number of B. racemosa extracts did not show that it has any toxicity. The seed extract did not exhibit any conspicuous acute and short term toxicity in mice when administered intraperitoneally for 14 days up to a dose of 12 mg/kg. However toxic symptoms such as inactiveness, slow movement, dizziness, erection of hairs and hypothermia appeared almost 1 hour after they were administered with 24 mg/kg or above. The LD50 for a single dose (i.p.) was found to be 36 mg/kg fotr male mice and 35 mg/kg for female mice. [14]

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of B. racemosa [6].


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