Antiaris toxicaria Lesch.

Last updated: 22 Feb 2017

Scientific Name

Antiaris toxicaria Lesch.


Antiaris challa (Schweinf.) Engl., Antiaris dubia Span. ex Hook., Antiaris innoxia Blume, Antiaris rufa Miq., Antiaris saccidora Dalzell, Antiaris toxicaria subsp. toxicaria, Antiaris zeylanica Seem., Cestrum toxicarium J.F.Gmel., Ficus challa Schweinf., Ipo saccidora (Dalzell) A.Lyons [Unresolved], Ipo toxicaria Pers. [Unresolved], Lepurandra saccidora Nimmo [Unresolved], Toxicaria macassariensis Aepnel. ex Steud. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Ches tennent, kenik, kennik, tasem, tenik, tennik, upas [2], ipoh [6]
English Antiaris, bark cloth tree, false iroko [2][3][4], sacking tree [2], upas tree [5]
China Jian xue feng hou [2]
India Aajjana patte, aaranja mara, acini, ajanapatte, ajjana patte, ajjana thaati, ajjanapatte, ajjanpatti, ali, aniyurimaram, arandali, aranja patte, aranje, aranjee mara, aranjeli, aranjelli, aranji, aranjili, arantali, arantelli, aranthal, aranthelli, aranyapatte, aranyi, arayaangeli, arayaanjili, arayanjili, arayannali, areianjili, arinji, atakavikam, atakavakamaram, bairi, bhairi, billavapale, billupale, chaaguri, chandkuda, chandkura, charvar mada, charvarmada, ciritamaram, irainci, irainji, jaaguri, jagoori, jaguri, jajjuri, jajugri, jasumdi, jazugri, karvat, karwat, kharwat, kharwath, mara-uri, maraviri, maravuri, miruttuvacam, nettavil, nettavil maram, pattai, pattaimaram, paymaram, sangguri, valkala, vishavriksha [2], chandla, chandakuda, jajhugri, nottavilmaram, sapsundl [5]
Sri Lanka Riti (Singhala) [5]
Indonesia Ancar, tatai, upas [2]
Thailand Cha-wae, chai-nang, chiu, kong, nong, ya-khang, ya-nang, ya-nong, yang-khang, yang nong, yang-nong-khao, yon, yuan [2]
Laos ‘nong, nong [2]
Myanmar Aseik, hymaseik (Burma) [2], hmyaselk, myehsclk [5]
Philippines Dalit, ipo [2]
Vietnam C[aa]y sui, thu[oos]c b[aws]n [2]
Fiji Mavu (Toga) [3]
Africa Mkunde (Swahili) [4]
France Ako [4]
Central African Republic Mongodou, ndoumbou [2]
Ghana Kyrakyra [2]
Liberia Vawi [2]
Nigeria Oguiovu, oro [2]
Angola Ndua, ndulu (Kimbundu); kilulu (Umbundu); ntulu (Kikongo); mutapi, kapádjika (Kioko) [2]
Cameroon Aloa, diolosso, ngom, sosa [2]
Ethiopia Dengi, mukalate, saco, tungwo [2]
Gabon Andoum, ndoumbo [2]
Ivory Coast Akede, ako [2]
Senegal Pau bicho [2]
Tanzania Mkonde, mkunde, nkuzu [2]
Uganda Kirundo [2]
Yoruba Abori kefun, awase, oriro, oriro omo oluugbo, oro, oro efun [2]
Zaire Nioumbou; bologde, bolundo, lisuko, lisoko (Turumbu); bonkonko (Mai-Ndombe lake); bululu, tshisanga-sanga (Kasai, Tshiluba); kimbu (Uele); linkoko (Basankusu); lolo (Malala); momboko (Tshuapa); mkongo (Tshofa); mongu (Maniéma); tsangu (Mayumbe); walala (Kisangani) [2]
Papua New Guinea Antiaris, kokui, metkul [2]
Portugal Po de Bitcho, Po de Leite [4].

Geographical Distributions

Antiaris toxicaria is a monotypic genus. The only species, A. toxicaria is found throughout the Old World tropics, from West Africa to Madagascar, and in Sri Lanka, India, Indo-China, southern China, Thailand, throughout the Malesian region, the Pacific (east to Fiji and Tonga), and northern Australia. [7]

Botanical Description

A. toxicaria is a member of Moraceae family. It is a monoecious, small to large tree that can reach up to 45(-60) m tall. [7]

The bole is straight and measuring up to 180 cm in diameter. Sometime it is with steep buttresses that can reach up to 3 m high. [7]

The bark surface is smooth, slightly fissured later and greyish-white. The inner bark is soft and fibrous, exuding creamy copious latex which soon darkens to dirty brown and becomes granular upon exposure. The twigs are hairy. [7]

The leaves are arranged alternately, distichous, rounded to slightly heart-shaped, ovate or oblong, measuring 7.5-20 cm x 3.5-8.5 cm, simple, slightly unequal at the base and entire to denticulate. The petiole is 0.2-1 cm long and hairy. The stipules are free and caducous. [7]

The inflorescence is on a short shoot, in leaf axils or below the leaves, subtended by involucral bracts and solitary or in groups of 2-4. The male ones are below the female ones which are on the same twig. The male inflorescence is a stalked discoid head with many flowers. Each flower is with 2-7 tepals and 2-4 stamens. The female inflorescence is with 1-2 flowers, sessile or stalked. [7]

The flower is pear-shaped while the perianth is 4-lobed. The ovary is adnate to the perianth, 1-locular with a single ovule and 2 styles. [7]

The fruit forms a drupaceous whole together with the enlarged and fleshy receptacle. It is ellipsoidal to pear-shaped and velvety. [7]

There is one seed and fleshy cotyledon. The seedling is hypogeal germination. The epicotyl is with a few scale leaves and followed by spirally arranged, conduplicate and dentate leaves. [7]


A. toxicaria is rare, scattered tree in primary forests up to 1500 m altitude. Occasionally, it is found in grassy savanna and on coastal plateaus. The morphological variation as observed in habit and various parts of the plant may be linked to environmental factors. In Africa, it occurs under semi-arid conditions as well as in rainforest areas, or even in swamp forests. [7]

Chemical Constituent

A. toxicaria has been reported to contain toxic glycoside, cardiac glycoside α-, ß- and γ- antiarin, antiarol (3,4,5-trimethoxyphenol), fats, α-amyrin cinnamate, α-amyrin stearate, and a number of cardenolides. [3]

A. toxicaria has been reported to contain antiarol, potassium nitrate, antiaresin, crystalline protein, toxicarina, malayoside, periplorhamnoside, cymarol, convallotoxin, desglucocheirotoxin, strophalloside, antiogoside, antioside, a-antioside, strophanthojavoside, antialloside. [8][9]

A. toxicaria has been reported to contain cardenolides gylcosides namely 12-ß-hydroxycannogenin-3-ß-O-ß-D-deoxygulopyranoside, 3-ß-O-α-L-rhamnopyranoside. [10]

Plant Part Used

Seeds, stems, barks, latex. [3][4][5][11][12]

Traditional Use

The latex of the A. toxicaria formed the main ingredient in the poison for the tips of arrows and darts used by the jungle tribes for hunting. Surprisingly, this latex is used by some African tribes to treat wound and skin complaints such as eczema and leprosy, while it is commonly known that the latex can cause fatal when escaping into general circulation. Che Wong Tribe of Lanchang Pahang used a few drop of A. toxicaria intoxication as instant remedy at the infected wound. [4][11]

Small quantity of latex acts as mild cardiac and circulatory stimulant which the action is similar to digitalis. [5][12]

It also stimulates intestinal and uterine contraction. [12]

The decoction of the bark is used by Fijians as children’s tonic. [3]

The treated bark of A. toxicaria is used to treat diseases like fever, pain, worm infestations and hepatitis. [4]

The seeds are bitter and are used by the Indians as febrifuge and remedy for dysentery. [5]

Preclinical Data


Positive inotropic activity

The sap extract of A. toxicaria was found to inhibit the Na+, K+-ATPase activity in guinea pig heart muscle. The frog’s heart also observed there was a fall in twitch tension after the increased tension on mechanograms. This is indicative of the presence of cardiac glycosides in the sap extract. [13]

Toxicarioside D isolated from stem of A. toxicaria has been reported to inhibit the growth of various cancer lines at nanomolar concentrations. Inhibition of cancer cell growth was accompanied with induction of the expression of Nur77, a potent apoptotic member of the steroid/thyroid hormone receptor superfamily. [14]

antiarioside A-I, antiarotoxinin, and malayoside isolated from ethanolic extract of A. toxicaria trunk bark showed potent in vitro cardiotonic effect on isolated guinea pig atria. Studies comparing their positive inotropic action against those of ouabain had shown that malayoside was nearly equipotent. [15]

Cytotoxic activity

A number of the cardenolide glycosides isolated from the latex of A. toxicaria were found to have cytotoxic activities. Toxicarioside F, G, and H showed significant cytotoxic activity against chronic myelogenous leukemia (K562), human gastric (SGC-7901), human hepatoma (SMMC-7721) and HeLa cell lines in vitro by the MTT method. [16][17]

From the seeds of A. toxicaria, toxicarioside J, K and L, and 7-drimen-3b,11-diol3-O-b-d-dlucopyranoside were isolated and they were active against SGC-7901 and SMMC-7721 cell lines. [18][19]

Osteoblastic stimulation activity

A 19 phenylpropanoid and lignin derivatives were isolated from the stem of A. toxicaria. The screening results showed that at concentration 10-8 M, the benzofuran lignans significantly stimulate the proliferation of UMR 106 cells, while certain cells could enhance alkaline phosphatase activity. [20]

Endoglin/TGF-ß signalling inhibition activity

Toxicarioside A, is amongst the compounds isolated from A. toxicaria was found to be able to influence bone marrow stromal HS-5’s function and inhibit HS-5 cell proliferation by altering endoglin-related ALK1 (Smad1) and ALK5 (Smad2) signalling. [21]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation.


The extract of A. toxicaria is poisonous and has been used since antiquity as a poison arrow and blow pipe darts by people of the rainforest. It is also used in criminal acts in which the extract of A. toxicaria is used to be put into wells to poison families. The toxicity of the sap is probably due to the presence of high levels of cardiac glycosides in particular α and ß antiarin. Death ensues within 15 minutes in humans due to cardiac arrest. This is normally preceded with vomiting and convulsion. [22]

Side effects

No documentation.

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

It is not recommended for use in pregnant women because the latex of A. toxicaria could induce uterine contractions. [12]

Adverse reaction

No documentation.

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of A. toxicaria [7].


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  11. Odugbemi T. A textbook of medicinal plants from Nigeria. Tolu Odugbemi, 2008; p. 136.
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  13. Fujimoto Y, Suzuki Y, Kanajwa T, Amiya T, Hoshi K, Fujino S. Studies on the Indonesian Antiaris toxicaria sap. J Pharmacobiodyn. 1983;6(2):128-135.
  14. Jiang MM, dai Y, Gao H, et al. Cardenolides from Antiaris toxicaria as potent selective Nur77 modulators. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2008;56(7):1005-1008.
  15. Shi LS, Liao YR, Su MJ, et al. Cardiac glycosides from Antiaris toxicaria with potent cardiotonic activity. J nat Prod. 2010;73(7):1214-1222.
  16. Dong WH, Mei WL, Zhao YX. Cytotoxic cardenolide glycosides from the seeds of Antiaris toxicaria. Planta Med. 2011;77(15):1730-1734.
  17. Dai HF, Gan YJ, Que DM, Wu J, Wen ZC, Mei WL. Two new cytotoxic cardenolides from the latex of Antiaris toxicaria. J Asian Nat Prod Res. 2009;11(9):832-837.
  18. Dong WH, Mei WL, Zhao YX, et al. Cytotoxic cardenolide glycosides from the seeds of Antiaris toxicaria. Planta Med. 2011;77(15):1730-1734.
  19. Dong WH, Mei WL, Zhao YX, Zeng YB, Wang H, Dai HF. A new drimane sesquiterpenoid glycoside from the seeds of Antiaris toxicaria. J Asian Nat Prod Res. 2011;13(6):561-565.
  20. Jiang MM, Gao H, Dai Y, Zhang X, Wang NL, Yao XS. Phenylpropanoid and lignan derivatives from Antiaris toxicaria and their effects on proliferation and differentiation of an osteoblast-like cell line. Planta Med. 2009;75(4):340-345.
  21. Li YN, Huang FY, Mei Wl, et al. Toxicarioside A, isolated from tropical Antiaris toxicaria, blocks endoglin/TGF-ß signalling in a bone marrow stromal cell line. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2012;5(2):91-97.
  22. Christensen H. Ethnobotany of the Iban and the Kelabit. Malaysia: Forest Department of Sarawak, 2002; p. 107.