Micromelum pubescens Blume

Last updated: 26 July 2016

Scientific Name

Micromelum pubescens Blume


Bergera integerrima Buch.-Ham. ex DC., Bergera villosa Wall., Cookia punctata Hassk. [1]

Vernacular Name

Sri Lanka Wal-karapincha (Singhalese), Kakaipalai (Tamil). [2][3][4]

Geographical Distributions

No documentation

Botanical Description

Micromelum pubescens is a member of the Rutaceae family. It is a small tree with shoots very finely and densely pubescent. [3]

The leaves are imparipinnate, measuring 20-25 cm long with rachis pubescent. There are 9-15 leaflets, alternate or sub-opposite, shortly petiolated, very oblique at base. The leaflets are ovate-lanceolate, attenuated, obtuse, irregularly finely crenate and wavy, with very numerous, rather conspicuous gland, glabrous above, nearly so or slightly pubescent beneath. [3]

The flowers are very short stalked, arranged in terminal and axillary, spreading, pubescent, dichotomous, corymbose cymes, bracts small, opposite at the bifurcations. The calyx lobes are broad, triangular, and pubescent. The petals are oblong-linear, spreading, and pubescent. The ovary is oblong, very hairy and the style is rather long as well as very thick. The stigma capitates and the berry measures 5 mm long, oblong-ovoid in shape, pointed, rough with glands, glabrous and yellow in colour. [3]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

M. pubescens has been reported to contain 1,2-seco-dihydromicromelin, 2',3'-epoxyisocapnolactone, 3",4"-dihydrocapnolactone, 5(6)-gluten-3-one, 5(6)-gluten-3alpha-ol, 6-methoxymicrominutinin, 6-(2,3-hydroxy-3-methylbutil)-7-methoxycoumarin, 8-hydroxyisocapnolactone-2',3'-diol, 8-hydroxy-3",4"-dihydrocapnolactone-2',3'-diol, 8,4''-dihydroxy-3'',4''-dihydrocapnolactone-2',3'-diol, acetyldihydromicromelin A, angelical, dihydromicromelin A and B, imperatorin, limettin, mahanine, micromarin-A,B,C,F,G,H, micromelumin, micromelin, microminutinin, micropubescin, minumicrolin, murralongin, murrangatin, osthol, phebalosin and scopoleti. [2][5][6][7][8][9][10]

Plant Part Used

Leaves, bark, roots [2][5]

Traditional Use

The plant is a remedy for phthisis and chest diseases. The root is chewed in betel quids for coughs. [5]

The leaves are eaten raw as “ulam” and is supposedly good for leucorrhoea. It is given to women after birth to help rejuvenate her. It also forms part of the ingredient in the preparation of water for bathing both mother and infant after delivery. The leaves when taken raw as ulam it is considered as an aphrodisiac. [2][4]

Preclinical Data


Antibacterial activity

Study isolated a bioactive carbazole alkaloid mahanine from the leaves of M. minutum. Amongst the activities that this compound expressed is antimicrobial activity against Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus. [6]

Cytotoxic activity

Mahanine is a carbazole alkaloid that could be isolated from the edible part of M. minutum. It has been found to have the ability to induce apoptosis in human myeloid cancer cells (HL-60). In the dose of 10 μg there is complete inhibition of cell proliferation and the induction of apoptosis in a time dependent manner.The characterized changes in the nuclear morphology includes DNA fragmentation, activation of capase like activities, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage, release of cytochrome C into cytosol and stimulation of reactive oxygen species generation. These results suggest that mahanine down regulate cell survival factors by activation of caspase-3 through mitochondrial dependent pathway, and disrupts cell cycle progression. [11][12]

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Micromelum pubescens Blume.[homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Jul 26] Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2509961
  2. Zakaria M, Mohd MA. Traditional Malay medicinal plants. Kuala Lumpur: Institute Terjemahan Negara Malaysia, 2010; p. 104.
  3. Henry T, Arthur HGA, Joseph DH. A handbook to the flora of Ceylon containing descriptions of all the species of flowering plants indigenous to the Island, and notes on their history, distribution, and uses. London: Dulau, 1893; p. 218-219.
  4. Arifin N. Penyembuhan semula jadi dengan herba. Kuala Lumpur: PTS Litera Utama, 2005; p. 47.
  5. Khare CP, editor. Indian medicinal plants: An illustrated dictionary. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2007; p. 413.
  6. Nakahara K, Trakoontivakorn G, Alzoreky NS. Antimutagenicity of some edible Thai plants, and a bioactive carbazole alkaloid, mahanine, isolated from Micromelum minutum. J Agric Food Chem. 2002;50(17):4796-4802.
  7. Mawardi R, Yun HTY, Hazar BMI. Waterman New coumarin and dihydrocinnamic acid derivatives from two Malaysian populations of Micromelum minutum. Phytochemistry. 1994;37(2):561-564.
  8. Sanjib D, Robindra HB, Ram PS. Barua, Palaniappan Kulanthaivela and Werner Herza 7-methoxycoumarins from Micromelum minutum. Phytochemistry. 1984;23(10):2317-2321.
  9. Ito C, Otsuka T, Ruangrungsi N. Chemical constituents of Micromelum minutum. Isolation and structural elucidation of new coumarins.  Chem Pharm Bull. 2000;48(3):334-338.
  10. Rahmani M, Susidarti RA, Ismail HB. Coumarins from Malaysian Micromelum minutum. Phytochemistry. 2003;64(4):873-7.
  11. Roy MK, Thalang VN, Trakoontivakorn G. Mechanism of mahanine-induced apoptosis in human leukemia cells (HL-60). Biochem Pharmacol. 2004;67(1):41-51.
  12. Roy MK, Thalang VN, Trakoontivakorn G. Mahanine, a carbazole alkaloid from Micromelum minutum, inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis in U937 cells through a mitochondrial dependent pathway. Br J Pharmacol. 2005;145(2):145-155.