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Aleurites moluccana


Aleurites commutate Geiseler., Aleurites ambinux Pers., Aleurites javanica Gand., Aleurites triloba J.R. Forst. et G. Forst., Jatropha moluccana Linn., Juglans camirium Lour (Willd)., Canarium moluccanum Kuntze [3] [4]

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia       Buak keras, Kemiri, Kembiri
English Candlenut tree, Indian walnut, Lumbang tree, Kukui nut
Indonesia Kemiri, Miri, Derekan, Pidekan (Java); Muncang (Sunda); Buah kareh, Buah tondeh, Kemili, Kemiling (Sumatra)
Thailand Mayow, Phothisat, Kue-ra, Purat
Vietnam Cay lai
Laos Kok namz man
Philippines Kami, Lumbang, Biao
China Shi Li Zi
India Jangli akhrot (Hindi)
South Pacific Lama (Samoa); Tuitui (Cook Island and Tonga);
Hawaii Kukui
French Bancoulier, Noix des Indes, Noix de Bancoul, Noix des Moluques
Portuguese Noz da India, Nogueira de Iguape, Calumban
Spanish Arbol iloron, Avellano, Nogal de la India, Calumban, Camirio, Lumban
Swahil Mkaa, Mkaakaa [1] [3] [5]

General Information


Aleurites moluccana is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family. It is a large, evergreen tree that could reach up to 40m high. The bole can reach up to 1.5m in diameter. The bark is grey, rather rough with lenticels; crown heavy, irregular, appearing whitish or frosted from a distance due to a cover of white stellate hairs especially on young parts. The leaves are alternate, simple,  stipules small, early casucous; petiole long and upt to 30cm, bearing a pair of small, green-brown glands at the top on the upper side; blade in young trees and suckers are circular in outlist, up to 30cm in diameter, with a cordate base and 3-5 triangular lober, blade in adult trees are ovate-triangular or ovate-oblong, 12-23cm x 6-12cm, apex pointed, curved and drooping, margins entire or slightly sinuate, dark greenm with a silvery gloss, pinnately veined. The inflorescence is a terminal or axillary panicle composed of cymes, 10–20cm long. The flowers are unisexual, female flowers terminating the ultimate branchlets of the cymes. They have 2-4 celled, stellate hairy ovary and 2-4, deeply 2-lobed styles. The calyx is 2-3 lobed at anthesis, stellate hairy; petals 5, lanceolate, 6-7mm long, white in colour; disk glands 5. The male flowers are much more numerous, smaller, arranged around the female flowers in bunches. The calyx in male flowers is 9-10mm; 10-20 stamens, arranged in 3-4 series, the outer ones free, the inner ones fused. The fruit is a drupe, laterally compressed, ovoid-globose and with 2 stones or semiglobose and with 1 stone, 5-6cm x 4-7cm, stellate hairy indehiscent, olive-green with whitish flesh; endocarp thich, bony, rough. Seeds compressed-globose, up to 30cm; endosperm thick and rich in oil.[1]

Plant Part Used

Seeds (must be roasted before use. Raw seeds are poisonous) [3]

Chemical Constituents

(3α,5β,10α)-13-methoxypodocarpa-8,11,13-triene-3,12-diol;(5β,10α)-12,13-dihydroxypodocarpa-8,11,13-trien-3-one; (5β,10α)-12-hydroxy-13-methoxypodocarpa-8,11,13-trien-3-one; (5β,10α)-13-hydroxy-12-methoxypodocarpa-8,11,13-trien-3-one;2-O-rhamnosylswertisin; 5,6,7-trimethoxycoumarin; 6,7-dimethoxycoumarin; 6,7-dehydromoluccanic acid; 12-hydroxy-13-methylpodocarpa-8,11,13-trien-3-one;13-O-myristyl-20-O-acetyl-12-deoxyphorbol;  acetil; aleuritolic acid; ascorbic-acid;  beta-carotene; beta-sitostenone;   calcium; carbohydrates;  ent-3α-hydroxypimara-8(14),15-dien-12-one; ent-3β,14α-hydroxypimara-7,9(11),15-triene-12-one;  hentriacontane; linoleic-acid; linolenic-acid;   moluccanic acid;  moluccanic acid methyl ester; moluccanin; oleic-acid; phosphorus; swertisin; tannin; thiamine; spruceanol.[8-13]

Traditional Used:

Generally in the South Pacific,  A. moluccana is used to treat stomach and bowel disorders in children, asthma, bad breath, skin sores or ulcers, swollen womb and rejuvenation of the body after poisoning.[5] The most commonly used part is the fruit or nut. The oil extracted from the nut is a good laxative and is frequently used by the inhabitants of the Malay Archipelago right to the South Pacific Islands.[1] [5] The oil is also used to soften the skin of the abdomen of pregnant ladies and of infants. It serves as an external lubricant for masseurs.[7] The pulped kernel is used as poultice in the treatment of headache, fevers, ulcers, swollen joints and constipation.[1] The fruit is eaten to produce aphrodisiac activity.[6]

The Indonesian used the bark as a remedy for dysentery while the Japanese used them for treatment of tumours.[1] The gum from the bark mixed with coconut milk is a remedy for sprue.[1] It is compounded with other herbs in a remedy for asthma. By itself the gum is chewed for its aphrodisiac properties.[6]

The fresh leaves of  A. moluccana are used in poultices for swelling, deep bruises, and other ailments where local concentration of heat and sweating is desired.[5] [7] The boiled leaves are applied externally to treat headaches and gonorrhoea.[1]

Pre-Clinical Data


Healing of ocular burn
The irrigation of corneal ulcers induced by methanol or sodium hydroxide (NaOH), with marine solution followed by treatment with a mixture of Calophyllum inophyllum and A. maluccana oils was found to hasten the healing process.[14] It is reported that A. moluccana oil does not have cytotoxic effects and increased cell membrane omega-3 fatty acid contents.[15]

Lipid-lowering activity
The methanol extract of A. molaccana leaves had been demonstrated to have lipid-lowering effects in a dose of 300mg/kg body weight in rats. It is believed that the effect was mediated through the inhibition of hepatic cholesterol biosynthesis and reduction of lipid absorption in the intestine.[16]

Antimicrobial activity
A number of selected plants traditionally used for the treatment of infectious diseases by the Polynesians were screened for their antimicrobial activities. The extracts of A. moluccana was found to inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.[17]


Toxic part – whole plant, but seeds are involved most often in human exposures. [2]

Toxin – A derivative of phorbol, an irritant [2]

Clinical Finding – A sensation of discomfort, warmth, and nausea developes shortly after ingestion. This may be followed by vomiting, abdominal cramping, diarrhoea, dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.[2]

Management – Intravenous hydration, antiemetics, and electrolyte replacement may be necessary for patients with severe gastrointestinal symptoms, particularly in children. Consultation with a Poison Control Center should be considered.[2]

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. Van der Vossen HAM, Mkamilo GS. Vegetable Oils. 14th ed. Plant Resource of Tropical Africa. Backhuys Publishers Wageningen; 2007. p. 23.
  2. Lewis N, Richard DS, Micheal JB, Kenneth FL. New York Botanical Garden. Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants. New York: Springer-Verlag;  2007. p. 71.
  3. Johannes Seidermann. World Spice Plants. New York: Springer-Verlag; 2005. p. 14.
  4. Peter H, Buttner R, Mansfeld R. Mansfeld’s Encyclopedia of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops. New York: Springer-Verlag; 2001. p. 1217.
  5. Cfraig R. Elevitch. Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands: Their Culture, environment, and use. Permanent Agriculture Resources Hawaii; 2006. p. 49.
  6. Raymond Stark. The Book of Aprodisiacs.  Methuen Publications Ontario; 1980. p. 8.
  7. Richard Grossinger. Planet Medicine: From Stone Age Shamanism to Post-industrial healing. Shambhala Publications Boulder; 1982. p. 80.
  8. Dr. Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. [cited 2011 Feb 19]. Available from:
  9. Morsch M, Girardi LG, Cechinel-Filho V, Meyre-Silva C, Rodrigues CA. Separation of C-glycoside flavonoids from Aleurites moluccana using chitin and full N-acetylated chitin. Z Naturforsch C. 2002 Sep-Oct; 57(9-10): 957-9.
  10. Satyanarayana P, Kumar KA, Singh SK, Rao GN. A new phorbol diester from Aleurites moluccana. Fitoterapia. 2001 Mar; 72(3) :304-6.
  11. Girardi LG, Morsch M, Cechinel-Filho V, Meyre-Silva C, Rodrigues CA. Isolation of flavonoids from Aleurites moluccana using chitosan modified with benzaldehyde (CH-Bz) as chromatographic support. Pharmazie. 2003 Sep; 58(9): 629-30.
  12. Morsch M, Girardi LG, Cechinel-Filho V, Meyre-Silva C, Rodrigues CA. Separation of flavonoids from Aleurites moluccana leaves using chitosan modified with heptaldehyde. Z Naturforsch C. 2004 Sep-Oct; 59(9-10): 649-52.
  13. Morsch M, Girardi LG, Cechinel-Filho V, Meyre-Silva C, Rodrigues CA. The use of chitosan modified with glutaraldehyde and glyoxal as chromatographic support for the separation of flavonoids from Aleurites moluccana leaves. Pharmazie. 2006 Aug; 61(8): 670-2.
  14. Said T, Dutot M, Labbé A, Warnet JM, Rat P. Ocular burn: rinsing and healing with ionic marine solutions and vegetable oils. Ophthalmologica. 2009; 223(1):52-9.
  15. Said T, Dutot M, Christon R, Beaudeux JL, Martin C, Warnet JM, Rat P. Benefits and side effects of different vegetable oil vectors on apoptosis, oxidative stress, and P2X7 cell death receptor activation. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007 Nov;48 (11): 5000-6.
  16. Pedrosa RC, Meyre-Silva C, Cechinel-Filho V, Benassi JC, Oliveira LF, Zancanaro V, Dal Magro J, Yunes RA. Hypolipidaemic activity of methanol extract of Aleurites moluccana. Phytother Res. 2002 Dec; 16(8): 765-8.
  17. 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.

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