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Borassus flabellifera


Borassus flabelliformis Roxb, Borassus flabellifer L. var. aethiopicum Warb, Borassus sundicaus Becc, Borassus tunicatus Lour, Pholidocarpus tunicatus (Lour.) H.Wendl, Thrinax tuncata (lour.) Rollisson. [1]

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia Lontar, Tah, Tai

African Fan Palm, Asian Palmyra Palm, Borassus Palm, Brab Tree, Cambodian Palm, Doleib Soub Palm, Great Fan Palm, Ice-Apple, Lontar Palm, Palmyra Palm, Ron Palm, Sea Apple, Tal-Palm, Tala Palm, Toddy Palm, Sugar Palm, Wine Palm


Shan Ye Shu Tou Zong, Shan Ye Tang Zong, Guo Dan


Ental, Lontar, Tal, Etal, Savalen (Java); Pohon Siwalan (Sumatera); Tarebung, Ta’al (Madura), Tai (Lombok); Tua-Hu (Roti); Tua-Hua, Kali (Timor); Kepav-Duren, Duwe (Sayu); Tala, Tola (Sulawesi)

Thailand Maktan (Don Dueng); Tan, Tanta Note (General); Ta-Not (Khmer); Tan Tanot, Tan Yai (Central); Than (Shan-Mae Hong Son); Tho-Thu (Karen-Mae Hong Son); Tha-Nao (Khmer-Phratabong); Thang (Karen-Tak, Chiang-Mai); Not (Peninsular)
Vietnam Thot Lot, Cay Thot, Lot
Myanmar Tan Bin

Thanot, Dom Thuot, Ta-Not


Taadi (Andra Pradesh); Tal (Assamese); Taala, Tal (Bengali); Tao (Divehi); Taad, Taada, Tadfali (Gujarati); Taad, Tad, Tad Mar, Tala, Tari, Tal, Taltar, Tar, Tarkajhar, Taduka, Tad, Tariya, Trinaraaj (Hindu); Karatale, Kari Thaale, Karitale, Ole, Olegari, Oleya, Panai, Panal, Pane, Pani, Tala, Tale, Tali, Talimara, Tari, Thaale Mara, Thaatiningu Mara, Thaathinungu Mara, Thruna Raaja, Trinaraja, Trynaraja, Vole (Kannada); Eroal, Targula (Konkani); Ampana, Carim-Pana, Carimpana, Eta, Karimapana, Karimpana, Karrumpana, Pana, Talam, Trinarajan, Trynarajan (Malayalam); Kona (Manipuri); Rotam, Taad, Tad, Tad-Mad, Tad Tamar, Tadh, Talatmad, Tamar, Thad, Vet (Marathi); S-Iallu, Sial Lu (Mizoram); S-Iallu, Thaalo Gatcho (Oriya); Taalah, Tal, Tala, Taladrumah, Talah (Sanskrit); Acavattiru, Acavattirumaram, Acavatturu, Ailantal, Ailantalam, Ailantalmaram, Ailantar, Aintar, Aintaram, Anbanai, Carruppanai, Carupanai, Catapalam, Cattuppanai, Cirpaki, Civantikkiriyam, Civantikkiriyamaram, Edagam, Etakam, Etkai, Etakamaram, Etkam, Kamam, Karadalam, Karambanai, Karampanai, Karakalam, Karpakam, Karatalam, Karatalamaram, Karimpanai, Karumpanai, Karumpul, Karumpuram, Karupuram, Karupuramaram, Kayinpanai, Kaympanai, Kayppanai, Kirusnakaya, Kirusakentam, Kuliram, Makapattitram, Makonnatam, Malm, Maturacam, Maturaca, Maturacamaram, Narpanai, Netini, Netumi, Netuncevikam, Netuncevikamaram, Neyam, Nilam, Nilamani, Nilamanimaram, Nonkuipanai, Nungu, Panai, Panai Maram, Panaimaram, Pandi, Panei, Pondai, Pondu, Pul, Purbadi, Puttrani, Talam, Tali, Pakarpali, Pana, Pennai, Pennaimaram, Pirancutirkkam, Ponantai, Pontukam, Pontukamaram, Pullutiyam, Purappi, Purpati, Purrali, Puttali, Talam, Talatalam, Talavilacom, Tali Z, Taruviracan, Taruvirakam, Taruvirakamaram, Taruvirakan, Tatti, Tiranaracan, Tirunapati, Tirunaracan, Turapokam, Turarokam, Turumacirettam, Turumekamaram, Ulokapattiram, Upatakam, Utupatakam, Varanikam, Varanikamaram (Tamil); Karatalamu, Karathaalamu, Naamathaadu, Namadatu, Namatody, Patootody, Penti Tadi-Female, Pentitadi, Pentitadu, Penthithaati Chettu, Pentithaadu, Pentytody, Pathuthaadu, Potutadi, Potutadi-Male, Potutadu, Taadi, Tadi,m Tati, Tadu, Tatichettu, Thaati, Thaadi Chettu, Thaadu, Thaati Kullo, Thadi, Thati, Trinarajamu, Trynarajamu (Telugu); Munjal, Taad (Urdu)

Sri Lanka Tal Gaha (Sinhalese)

Sin Ta La


Taadii, Taal


Shan Ye Zi


Parumira Yashi, Ougi Yashi


Dom, Tal, Shag El Mudl



Ivory Coast


Guinea Bissau Cicibes
Senegal Ronn




Dutch Lontar, Lontarpalm, Palmyrapalm, Jager-Boom, Weingeevende Palm-Boom


French Borasse, Palmier De Palmyre, Rondier, Ronier
German Borassuspalme, Lontaro, Palmyrapalme, Weinpalme
Italian Palma Del Ferro, Palma Del Sagu, Palma Di Palmira

Brocao, Palmira, Palmeira De Leque, Palmeira De Palmira, Panaguera, Palmieira Macha Bracva, Cibes

Russian Lontarovaia, Pal’ma, Pal’mira, Pal’mirova Pal’ma
Spanish Palmirapalm [1]

General Information


Borassus flabellifera is a member of the Arecaceae family. It is a solitary, large, erect palm with rough and black stem. The tree can reach up to 30m tall with a trunk circumference of 1.7m at the base. The petiole is measuring about 60-120cm long, robust and grooved. The edges are semiterete and armed with irregular spines. The Leaf blade is 60-20cm long, palmately fanned shaped with 60-80, linear-lanceolate, induplicate segments, 0.6-1.2m long with marginal spiny segments. The male inflorescence is 90-150cm long, much branched with primary and secondary branches; subsessile, with narrowly cuneate sepals and truncated inflexed tips, obovate-spatulate, shorter petals with large anthers. The female flowers have fleshy, large reniform sepals, smaller petals, subtrigonous ovary, recurved and sessile stigmas. The fruits are broadly ovoid, 15-20cm across with a fibrous and fleshy mesocarp and with a tightly adhering persistent large calyx at the base. The pyrenmes are usually three and are obcordate, 6-7mm broad and black. Within the mature seed is a solid white kernel while in the very young fruit, this kernel is hollow, soft and translucent like jelly, and is accompanied by a watery sweetish liquid. [1]

Plant Part Used

Roots, shoots, fruits.[1]

Chemical Constituents

borassosides A-F; dioscin;[5]

Traditional Used:

Various parts of B. flabellifera have been used as medicine traditionally in communities. The young root is considered diuretic and anthelmintic effects. A decoction of the roots is used to treat respiratory diseases, while in Eastern Africa the powdered root mixed with shea butter is given for sorethroat and bronchitis. [1][3]

The fresh sap form the flower stalk is valuable as a tonic. It is consist of diuretic, cooling, antiphlegmatic, laxative, and anti-inflammatory activities. The diabetic treatment can be advantage from the slightly fermented juice. It is also can be used to treat asthmatic and anaemic patients. The sugar or jaggery made from the sap is an antidote to poisoning, a liver protector, a cough suppressant and laxative. The jaggery solution can relieve hypertension, oedema due to heart and liver disease due to it diuretic property. [1][2]

The wine made from fermented sap called toddy is considered an aphrodisiac and a stimulant effects. It has been used to promote healing the ulcers. [3][1]

The bark, when boiled and salt added makes a good mouth wash, while charred bark serves as a dentifrice. Ash of the dried spandex acts as an antacid and is used to treat heartburn. The pulp of the matured fruit relieves dermatitis. [1]

Pre-Clinical Data


Antidiabetic activity

The male flower of B. flabellifer was known to the Chinese to have antidiabetic activity. A study done showed that the methanolic extract from the male flower could inhibit hyperglycaemia in sucrose-loaded rats. The six spirostane-type steroid saponins (borassosides A-F) and a steroid saponin (dioscin) were found to be responsible for this effect. [4][5]

Contraceptive activity

The roots of B. flabellifer were one of the components that is being used as contraceptive traditionally in India. The morphological changes from endometrial surface epithelium as a result of administration  the ethanol extract of this compound medicine were observed. The results showed that the extract caused disorganized changes in the surface endometrial epithelium. This structural disparity probably affects the smooth functioning of nidatory preparation in the endometrium.[6]

Immunosuppressive Activity

B. flabellifera flour pellets when fed to inbred mice showed significant reduction in delayed-type hypersensitivity response to sheep red blood cells. It is believed that the flour induced generation of T suppressor cells which suppressed the delayed-type hypersensitivity. A triterpene 1 compound has been isolated from B. flabellifera which exhibited an extremely potent immunosuppressant activity both in vitro and in vivo. [7][8]

Clastogenicity and Mutagenicity activity

The aqueous extract of the B. flabellifera flour showed significant clastogenicity in human blood lymphocytes. Amongst the changes observed in the cells exposed to the extract include chromatic and chromosome gaps, and chromatic and chromosome breaks with some formation of large and small acentric fragments in group A chromosomes. These effects were dose-dependent and consistently produced by the crude extract but less frequent than those produced by mitomycin C. [9]

Another study showed that the boiled and raw forms from the young shoot of B. flabellifera has a mutagenic activity when test into Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli strains. [10]


The methanol (MeOH) extract of B. flabellifera young shoots contains heat-stable toxin; edible part of young shoot, neurotoxic to rats, but not hepatotoxic. [2]

However, the study showed that the flour from young shoot of B. flabellifer was found to produce chronic hepatic lesions which included intraluminal fibrosis of the centrilobular and portal veins, bile duct proliferation, increase of reticulin and fibrosis in adult rats. These lesions commenced as a subendothelial swelling projecting into the lumen with subsequent deposition of collagen and ending in total obstruction of the lumen. The toxic factors is not known but has been suggested that it in non-pyrrolizidine alkaloids. [11]

There were various reports of neurotoxic development  symptoms in Wistar rats following consumption of feed that were consist of B. flabellifera flour. It was subsequently proven the results could not be conclusive. Furthermore, there has not been any reported cases of neurotoxic symptoms developing amongst humans consuming the flour.[12][13]

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

Aeroallergenic activity

The pollens of B. flabellifera have been implicated as a cause of respiratory allergic reactions in humans. Studies have showed that the whole pollen extracts could excite allergic reaction in 31.6 % of patients with inherent respiratory allergic activities. The analysis showed that the probable causative agent is a glycoprotein. [14][15][16]

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. Lim TK. Edible Medicinal and Non-Medicinal Plants: Volume 1, Fruits Springer Berlin; 2012. p. 293–299.
  2. Khare CP. Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary Springer Science + Business Media, LLC.  Berlin; 2007. p.93.
  3. FAO Traditional food plants: A resource book for promoting the exploitation and consumption of food plants in arid, semi-arid and sub-humid lands of Eastern Africa. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations Rome; 1988. p.109.
  4. Yoshikawa M, Xu F, Morikawa T, Pongpiriyadacha Y, Nakamura S, Asao Y, Kumahara A, Matsuda H. Medicinal flowers. XII.(1) New spirostane-type steroid saponins with antidiabetogenic activity from Borassus flabellifer. Chemical & Pharmaceutical Bulletin (Tokyo). 2007 Feb; 55(2):308-16.
  5. Nakamura S, Matsuda H, Yoshikawa M. Search for antidiabetic constituents of medicinal food. Yakugaku Zasshi. 2011;131(6):909-15.
  6. Sarma HN, Mahanta HC. Modulation of morphological changes of endometrial surface epithelium by administration of composite root extract in albino rat. Contraception. 2000 Jul;62(1):51-4.
  7. Devi S, Arseculeratne SN, Pathmanathan R, McKenzie IF, Pang T. Suppression of cell-mediated immunity following oral feeding of mice with palmyrah (Borassus flabellifer L) flour. Australian Journal of Experimental Biology & Medical Science. 1985 Aug; 63(4):371-9.
  8. Révész L, Hiestand P, La Vecchia L, Naef R, Naegeli HU, Oberer L, Roth HJ. Isolation and synthesis of a novel immunosuppressive 17alpha-substituted dammarane from the flour of the Palmyrah palm (Borassus flabellifer). Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters. 1999 Jun 7;9(11):1521-6.
  9. Kangwanpong D, Arseculeratne SN, Sirisinha S. Clastogenic effect of aqueous extracts of palmyrah (Borassus flabellifer) flour on human blood lymphocytes. Mutation Research. 1981 May;89(1):63-8.
  10. Andersen PH, Poulsen E. Mutagenicity of flour from the palmyrah palm (Borassus flabellifer) in Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli. Cancer Letters. 1985 Feb;26(1):113-9.
  11. Panabokke RG, Arseculeratne SN. Veno-occlusive lesions in the liver of rats after prolonged feeding with palmyrah (Borassus flabellifer) flour. British journal of experimental pathology. 1976 Apr;57(2):189-99.
  12. Sumudunie KA, Jansz ER, Jayasekera S, Wickramasinghe SM. The neurotoxic effect of palmyrah (Borassus flabellifer) flour re-visited. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. 2004 Dec;55(8):607-14.
  13. Keerthi AA, Ekanayake S, Jansz ER. A review of the neurotoxic effect of palmyrah flour. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. 2009;60 Suppl 4:306-16.
  14. Chakraborty P, Chowdhury I, Gupta-Bhattacharya S, Roy I, Chatterjee S, Chanda S. Aerobiologic and immunochemical studies on Borassus flabellifer pollen: evidence for a 90-kD allergen. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. 1998 Apr;80(4):311-7.
  15. Chowdhury I, Chakraborty P, Gupta-Bhattacharya S, Chanda S. Allergenic relationship among four common and dominant airborne palm pollen grains from Eastern India. Clinical & Experimental Allergy. 1998 Aug;28(8):977-83.
  16. Chowdhury I, Chakraborty P, Gupta-Bhattacharya S, Chanda S. Antigenic relationship between four airborne palm pollen grains from Calcutta, India. Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine. 1999;6(1):53-6.

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