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Barringtonia asiatica


Agasta asiatica Miers, Agasta splendida Miers, Barringtonia butonica J.R.Forst & G. Forst, Barringtonia levelquii Jard, nom. nud., Barringtonia littorea Oken, Barringtonia senequei Jard., Barringtonia speciosa J.R. Forst & G. Forst, Butonica speciosa Lam, Huttum speciosum Britten, Mammea asiatica Linn., Commersona speciosa (J.R. & G. Forster) Salisb., Agasta indica Miers, Michelia asiatica Kuntze, Mitraria commersonia J.F. Gmel. [3]

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia Butong, Butun, Pertun, Putat Air, Putat Laut, Putat Gajah
English Barringtonia, Box Fruit, Butong, Butun, Fish Poison Tree, Fish-Killer tree, Sea Poison Tree, Sea Putat
China Bin Yu Rui, Mo Pan Jiao Shu
India Kyee-bin (Andaman Island)
Indonesia Bitung (Sulawesi); Butun (Java, Sunda); Keben-keben (Bali)
Papua New Guinea Maliou
Thailand Chik Le, Chik Ta Lae, Don Ta Lae
Burma Kyi-Git
Philippines Biton, Botong, Motong-Botong, Botong-botong (Bikol); Bitung, Bituing (Bisaya), Biton (Cebu, Bisaya); Biton (Chabacano); Lugo (Ibanag); Vuton (IVatan); Balubiton (Panay Bisaya0; Boton, Botong (Tagalog)
Taiwan Tin Du Yu Rui
Vietnam Bang Qua Vuong
Samoa Futu
Hawaii Hutu
Pacific Islands Vutu, futu [3][4]

General Information


Barringtonia asiatica is a member of the Lecythidaceae family. It is a small to medium sized tree which can reach up to 20m high and with a cylindrical bole of 30cm diameter. The bark is fissured and it has stout branches. The leaves are opposite to sub-opposite, sessile, simple, dark green above, paleh dull green below, obovate to obovate-oblong 20-40cm x 10-20cm, leathery, shiny, base cuneate, margin entire, apex obtuse or broadly rounded with pinnate venation. The flower buds are 2-4cm across and borne on 5-9cm pedicels. The calyx is undivided, rupturing at anthesis into 2 or 3 unequal, rounded or acuminate, persistent lobes and a tube 3-5mm. The petals 4, white, ovate or elliptic, measuring 5-6cm. The stamens about 100, in 6 whorls; tube measuring 1.5-6mm; filaments and style white, red-tipped. The ovary is 4-loculed with 4-5 ovules per locule. The fruit is broadly pyramidal, 4-5 angled, indehiscent, smooth, measuring 9-11cm, green or brown in colour, apex tapering and crowned by calyx; pericarp spongy, fibrous. The seed is oblong, measuring 4-5cm. [4]

Plant Part Used

Barks, Leaves and Fruits. [1]

Chemical Constituents

(3β,11α)-11-hydroxyolean-12-en-3-yl palmitate; (3β)-olean-12-en-3-yl palmitate; (3β)-urs-12-en-3-yl palmitate; (3β)-olean-18-en-3-yl palmitate; 19-epi-bartogenic acid; 22-O-tigloylcamelliagenin A; 3-O-[[beta-D-galactopyranosyl(1-->3)-beta-D-glucopyranosyl(1-->2)]-beta-D-glucuronopyranosyloxy]-22-O-(2-methylbutyroyloxy)-15,16,28-trihydroxy-(3beta,15alpha,16a lpha,22alpha)-olean-12-ene; 3-O-[[beta-D-galactopyranosyl(1-->3)-beta-D-glucopyranosyl(1-->2)]-beta-D-glucuronopyranosyloxy]-22-O-[2(E)-methyl-2-butenyloyloxy]-15,16,28-trihydroxy-(3beta,15alpha,16alpha,22alpha)-olean-12-ene; 3-O-{[β-D-galactopyranosyl (1→3)-β-D-glucopyranosyl(1→2)]-b-D-glucuronopyranosyloxy}-22-O-[2-methylbutyroyloxy]-15,16,28-trihydroxy-(3β, 15α, 16α, 22α)-olean-12-ene; A1-barrigenin; A1-barrinin; acutangulic acid; anhydrobartogenic; α-amyrin; α-amyrin; β-sitosterol; barringtogenol B, C, D, and E; barringtogenol C monobenzoate; barringtogentin; barringtonic acid; barrinic acid; bartogenic acid; barringtonin; berringtogenetin; betulinic acid; camelliagenone; dimethyl barringtogenate; ellagitannins; garringtogenin; germanicol; germanicol caffeoyl ester; germanicol trans-coumaroyl ester; hydrocyanic acid; methyl barringtogenol; methyl acutagenate; oleanolic acid; ranuncoside VIII; stigmasterol; tanginol; tangulic acid; verimol k. [1][2][11][12][13][14]

Traditional Used:

Throughout its distribution, B. asiatica has been used by the native population to treat a number of diseases. Amongst the common uses of this plant is to treat fungal infections, burns and wounds. In the Philippines, the heated leaves are used to treat stomachache and rheumatism by locally applying it over the affected regions.[1]  A decoction of the leaves is used by the Fijians to treat hernia.[5] The Pacific Islanders treat inflammation of the ear and headache by using the leaves of B. asiatica.[7]

The fruit of B. asiatica is poisonous to fish, and the juice is used to control scabies. The seeds are anthelmintic and piscicide. They are also used to treat sores, cough, influenza, sorethroat, diarrhoea and swollen spleen after malaria. In Vietnam, the fresh nut is scraped and scrapings are applied on sores. The dried nut is ground into powder and mixed with water and drunk to cure coughs, influenza, soer throat, bronchitis, diarrhoea and swollen spleen.[5] The seeds are used in treatment of abdominal colic both externally and taken orally. It is the ash of the seed mixed with water together with other ingredients that is being used. It is also used to treat worm infestations. The juice of the fruit is used to treat parasitic skin problems.[6]

The bark is used to treat tuberculosis. In Sudan, the inner bark is crushed and mixed with water and taken to ease aching associated with malaria. It is also used in combination with other plants as a medicine to treat tuberculosis in New Ireland and the Solomon Islands.[1] The decoction of the bark is used to treat constipation and epilepsy.[5] Other, the juice of the bark is given for chest pains or for vomiting from heart trouble.[5] The sap from the bark has been used for treating ciguatera poisoning, coughs, and urinary infections, and the red-leafed form is used as a contraceptive and for abortion.[7]

Pre-Clinical Data


Antimicrobial activity
In a screening for antimicrobial activity of selected Hawaiian plants, Locher et al found the extracts of B.asiatica showed some antifungal activity.[8] In another screening activity various extracts (methanol, hexane and dichloromethane) of the dried leaves are active against Mycobacterium tuberculosis at 200mg/mL. [9] The crude methanol extracts of various parts (leaves, fruits, seeds, stem and root barks) of the tree and its fractions (petrol, dichloromethane, ethylacetate, butanol) showed good level of broad spectrum antibacterial and antifungal activity.[10]

The following compounds isolated from various parts of the plant showed antifungal activity against Candida albicans: (3β,11α)-11-hydroxyolean-12-en-3-yl palmitate, (3β)-olean-12-en-3-yl palmitate, (3β)-urs-12-en-3-yl palmitate, (3β)-olean-18-en-3-yl palmitate, β-amyrin, α-amyrin, germanicol, 22-O-tigloylcamelliagenin A, betulinic acid, verimol k, germanicol caffeoyl ester, camelliagenone, and germanicol trans-coumaroyl ester.[11]

A number of compounds isolated from various parts of the plant showed antimicrobial activities. These include the following:
  • For Staphylococcus: (3β,11α)-11-hydroxyolean-12-en-3-yl palmitate, (3β)-olean-12-en-3-yl palmitate, (3β)-urs-12-en-3-yl palmitate, (3β)-olean-18-en-3-yl palmitate, β-amyrin, α-amyrin, germanicol,  verimol k, germanicol caffeoyl ester, camelliagenone; and germanicol trans-coumaroyl ester.[11]
  • For Pseudomonas aeruginosa: β-amyrin, α-amyrin, and germanicol.[11]

Cytotoxic activity
The crude extract of the seeds from B. asiatica exhibited high biological activity in brine shrimp hatchability and lethality assays that could be used to treat cancer or tumour.[15]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

No documentation

Age Limitations

Neonates / Adolescents

No documentation


No documentation

Chronic Disease Conditions

No documentation


Interactions with drugs

No documentation

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation



No documentation

Case Reports

No documentation

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  1) Botanical Info


  1. Koh HL, Kian CT, Tan CH. A guide to Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated, Scientific and Medicinal Approach. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.; 2009. p. 24–25.
  2. Daniel M. Medicinal Plants: Chemistry and Properties Science. New Hampshire; 2006. p. 182
  3. Hanelt P. Mansfeld’s Encyclopedia of Agricultural and Horticutural Crops. Springer-Verlag Berlin; 1986.
  4. Lim TK. Edible Medicinal and Non-Medicinal Plants. 3rd ed. Fruits Springer Science & Business Media New York; 2012. p. 101–103.
  5. Cambie RC, Ash J. Fijian Medicinal Plants. New Zealand:  Csiro Publishing; 1994. p. 37.
  6. Hean CO. Tumbuhan Liar: Khasiat ubatan & Kegunaan Lain. Kuala Lumpur: Utusan Publications & Distributors; 2008. p. 163.
  7. Craig RE. Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands: Their Culture, Environment, and use Permanent. Agriculture Resources Holualoa. 2006. p. 166.
  8. Locher CP, Burch MT, Mower HF, Berestecky J, Davis H, Van Poel B, Lasure A,Vanden Berghe DA, Vlietinck AJ. Anti-microbial activity and anti-complement activity of extracts obtained from selected Hawaiian medicinal plants. J Ethnopharmacol. 1995 Nov 17; 49(1): 23-32.
  9. Suchada C, Ariya C, Prasart K. Anticancer and Antituberculous Activities of Barringtonia. LEAF 37th Congress on Science and Technology of Thailand.
  10. Khan MR, Omoloso AD. Antibacterial, antifungal activities of Barringtonia asiatica. Fitoterapia. 2002 Jun; 73(3): 255-60.
  11. Ragasa CY, Espineli DL, Shen CC. New triterpenes from Barringtonia asiatica. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2011;59(6):778-82.
  12. Rymond JR, Emma JP, Ponis T, Anthony JH, Lewis NM. A Triterpene Ester Saponin from the seed of Barringtonia asiatica. Indonesian Journal of Chemistry.2003; 3(3): 149–155.
  13. Herlt AJ, Mander LN, Pongoh E, Rumampuk RJ, Tarigan P. Two major saponins from seeds of Barringtonia asiatica: putative antifeedants toward Epilachna sp. larvae. J Nat Prod. 2002 Feb; 65(2): 115-20.
  14. Robert AB,Steven GW, Noel LO. Elucidation of a new oleanane glycoside from Barringtonia asiatica.  ARKIVOC. 2003 (13): 137–146.
  15. Elmer Rico EM, Jose Rene LM. Bioactivity Study of Barringtonia asiatica (Linnaeus) Kurz. Seed Aqueous Extract in Artemia salina. International Journal of Botany. 2007; 3(3): 325–328.

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