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Barringtonia racemosa (L.) Spreng.


Barringtonia apiculata (Miers) R.Knuth [Illegitimate], Barringtonia caffra (Miers) E.Mey. ex R.Knuth, Barringtonia celebesensis R.Knuth, Barringtonia ceramensis R.Knuth, Barringtonia ceylanica (Miers) Gardner ex C.B.Clarke, Barringtonia elongata Korth., Barringtonia excelsa A.Gray, Barringtonia inclyta Miers ex B.D.Jacks. [Invalid], Barringtonia lageniformis Merr. & L.M.Perry, Barringtonia longiracemosa C.T.White, Barringtonia obtusangula (Blume) R.Knuth, Barringtonia pallida (Miers) Koord. & Valeton, Barringtonia rosaria Oken, Barringtonia rosata (Sonn.) R.Knuth, Barringtonia rumphiana (Miers) R.Knuth, Barringtonia salomonensis Rech., Barringtonia stravadium Blanco, Barringtonia terrestris (Miers) R.Knuth, Barringtonia timorensis Blume, Butonica alba (Pers.) Miers [Illegitimate], Butonica apiculata Miers, Butonica caffra Miers, Butonica ceylanica Miers, Butonica inclyta Miers, Butonica racemosa (L.) Juss., Butonica rosata (Sonn.) Miers, Butonica rumphiana Miers, Butonica terrestris Miers, Caryophyllus racemosus (L.) Stokes, Eugenia racemosa L., Huttum racemosum (L.) Britten, Megadendron ambiguum Miers, Megadendron pallidum Miers, Menichea rosata Sonn., Michelia apiculata (Miers) Kuntze, Michelia ceylanica (Miers) Kuntze, Michelia racemosa (L.) Kuntze, Michelia rosata (Sonn.) Kuntze, Michelia timorensis (Blume) Kuntze, Stravadium album Pers. [Illegitimate], Stravadium obtusangulum Blume, Stravadium racemosum (L.) Sweet [16]

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia Putat Kampong [1]
English Barringtonia, Brack-water mangrove, Freshwater mangrove, Fish-poison tree, Powder-puff tree [17]
India Samudrapandu [1], samudra pu, mamudra maram, samstravadi, karpa [3].

General Information


Barringtonia racemosa is a member of the Lecythidaceae family. It is a lofty tree growing up to 20 m high, with straight trunk and numerous spreading branches. The leaves are alternate, on short petioles, obovato-lanceolate, ample, acuminate, serrated, smooth sides, penninerved, the nerves are connected by transverse nervelets. The inflorescence is at terminal, pendulous, many flowered raceme with stout rachis, everywhere perfectly glabrous. The flowers are on short pedicels, with minute, caduceus bracteas. The calyx-limb of two or three broadly-oval, obtuse, yellowish combined with the united bases of the copious stamens, and falling off with them. The filaments are longer than the petals and red in colour. The anthers are rounded, two celled and yellow. The ovary is small, inferior, turbinate, two celled, with several ovules in each cell and attached to the middle of the partition. The style is longer than the stamens, red and filiform. The sigma is obtuse. The fruit is drupaceous, egg shape but somewhat four-sided, nearly smooth on the outside, olive-green within, flesh rather spongy and brown, one-celled. The seed is solitary and ovato-oblong. [2]

Plant Part Used

Roots, barks, leaves, shoots and fruits. [1] [3]

Chemical Constituents

Barringtogenol, barringtogenic acid, barringtonin, bartogenic acid, betulinic acid, dihydromyticetin, gallic acid, germanicol, germanicone, isoracemosol A, lupeol, nasimalun A, nasimalun B, olean-18-en-3beta-O-E-coumaroyl ester, olean-18-en-3beta-O-Z-coumaroyl ester, quercetin 3-O-rutinoside, R1-barrigenol, R2-barrigenol, racemosol A, stigmasterol, taraxerol, and 3,3'-dimethoxy ellagic acid. [1][5][6][7][8][9][10]

Traditional Uses

The bark of B. racemosa is traditionally used to treat gastric ulcerations. The leaves and barks are used as an antidote to snake and rat bites, rat poisoning and boils. [1] 

The fruit are used to treat cough, asthma and diarrhoea. The kernel helps to treat bilious diseases and jaundice when mixed with milk. [1]

The seeds are known as tonic and have insectidal properties. The seeds together with a number of other ingredients are prepared for treating itch, piles and typhoid fever. [1]

The root is slightly bitter and it is considered a cooling, febrifuge, aperient and deobstruent by the Hindus. [1] [3]

Preclinical Data


Antinociceptive activity

Aqueous extract of B. racemosa bark showed antinociceptive activity in male rats (200-250 g) without producing any significant untoward effects or toxicity when evaluated in hot plate and formalin test. The extract also did not alter fertility, gestational length, peri- and neonatal development and appears to be non-teratogenic to the rats tested. [13] 

Anti-inflammatory activity

Ethyl acetate extract of B. racemosa fruit showed anti-inflammatory activities in theantibody stimulator solution known as Complete Freund’s Adjuvant (CFA)-induced arthritis in Wistar rats (100-150 g). A test series had led to the isolation of bartogenic acid and the result showed that this compound protected the rats against the primary and secondary arthritic lesions, body weight changes and haematological perturbations induced by CFA. The serum biomarkers for inflammation (C-reactive protein and rheumatoid factor) were also reduced in bartogenic acid treated arthritic rats. [8]

Antitumour activity
Methanol extract B.racemosa seeds was found to have a remarkable dose dependent antitumour activity in mice against Dalton’s Lymphoma Ascites (DLA) cells. Intraperitoneal (i.p.) daily administration of 50% methanol seed extract to mice was challenged with 1 million DLA cells. The optimum dose was found to be 6 mg/kg. The parenteral administration of the extract seemed to be more effective than when given orally and the efficacy was superior to the standard drug vincristine.  The LD50 to male mice for a single i.p. dose was found to be 36 mg/kg.[11]

Another study of the seed extracts had led to the identification of an active compound quercetin 3-O-rutinoside (QOR). QOR had shown antiproliferative activity in several leukaemic cell lines with negligent effects on normal human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. A representative T-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukaemia cell line (MOLT-3) showed phosphatidyl serine externalization and DNA fragmentation. This QOR-induced programmed cell death occurred preferentially on accumulation of cells in the sub-G(0) phase and genomic DNA fragmentation through the activation of mitochondria-dependent caspase cascade.[6]

Antituberculous activity
Hexane, dichloromethane (DCM), acetone and methanol extracts of fifteen plant species collected from the Nelspruit Botanical Garden, South Africa were screened for antimycobacterial activity against Mycobacterium smegmatis. Acetone extract of B. racemosa leaves showed great potential as anti-tuberculosis agents with MIC values of 0.107 mg/mL against M. smegmatis compared to rifampicin (MIC values of 0.125 mg/mL). Hexane and DCM extracts both showed 0.63 mg/mL MIC values while methanol extract was 0.837 mg/mL. [12]

α-glucosidase and amylase inhibition activity

Methanol extract of B. racemosa seeds was found to have potent yeast and intestinal α-glucosidase inhibitory activity and accelerated pancreatic α-amylase. However the major compound of methanol extract, namely bartogenic acid showed moderate α-amylase inhibitory activity which significantly (p < 0.003) less enzyme inhibition than methanol extract. Strong yeast α-glucosidase inhibitory activity suggested its application as antiviral agent while strong intestinal α-glucosidase inhibitory activity (IC50 value of 26.96 µg/mL) compared to bartogenic acid (IC50 value of 168.09 µg/mL) may be valuable to control the release of glucose from disaccharides in the gut, thus can be applied to treat patients with diabetes II, metabolic syndromes and others. [14]

Antioxidant activity 
In a screening study of 19 commonly consumed plants in Malaysia, the shoots and fruits of B. racemosa were found to have a high content of polyphenolic compounds which could be responsible for the observed antioxidant activities of this plant. [15]


Animal toxicity studies on a number of B. racemosa extracts did not show that it has any toxicity. The seed extract did not exhibit any conspicuous acute and short term toxicity in mice when administered intraperitoneally for 14 days up to a dose of 12 mg/kg. However toxic symptoms such as inactiveness, slow movement, dizziness, erection of hairs and hypothermia appeared almost 1 hour after they were administered with 24 mg/kg or above. The LD50 for a single dose (i.p.) was found to be 36 mg/kg fotr male mice and 35 mg/kg for female mice. [11] The aqueous extract of the bark did not alter the fertility, gestational length, peri- and neonatal development. It is thus non-teratogenic to mice.[13]

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


  1. Koh HL, Kian CT, Tan KH. A Guide to Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated, Scientific and Medicinal Approach. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd; 2009. p. 26–28.
  2. John Sims. Curtis’s Botanical Magazine. 67th ed. Samuel Curtis London; 1841. p. 3831–3832.
  3. Edward Balfour. The Timber Trees, Timber and Fancy Woods. Cookson & Co. Madras; 1862. p. 30.
  4. Goodenough WH, Sugita H, Sameul HE. Trukese – English Dictionary American. Phiosophical Society Philadelphia; 1980 p. 177.
  5. Hasan CM, Khan S, Jabbar A, Rashid MA. Nasimaluns A and B: neo-clerodane diterpenoids from Barringtonia racemosa. J Nat Prod. 2000 Mar; 63(3): 410-1.
  6. Samanta SK, Bhattacharya K, Mandal C, Pal BC. Identification and quantification of the active component quercetin 3-O-rutinoside from Barringtonia racemosa, targets mitochondrial apoptotic pathway in acute lymphoblastic leukemia. J Asian Nat Prod Res. 2010 Aug; 12(8): 639-48.
  7. Gowri PM, Radhakrishnan SV, Basha SJ, Sarma AV, Rao JM. Oleanane-type isomeric triterpenoids from Barringtonia racemosa. J Nat Prod. 2009 Apr; 72(4): 791-5.
  8. Patil KR, Patil CR, Jadhav RB, Mahajan VK, Patil PR, Gaikwad PS. Anti-arthritic activity of Bartogenic Acid Isolated from Fruits of Barringtonia racemosa Roxb. (Lecythidaceae). Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009 Sep 21.
  9. Sun HY, Long LJ, Wu J.Chemical constituents of mangrove plant Barringtonia racemosa. Zhong Yao Cai. 2006 Jul; 29(7): 671-2.
  10. Yang Y, Deng Z, Proksch P, Lin W. Two new 18-en-oleane derivatives from marine mangrove plant, Barringtonia racemosa. Pharmazie. 2006 Apr; 61(4):365-6.
  11. Thomas TJ, Panikkar B, Subramoniam A, Nair MK, Panikkar KR. Antitumour property and toxicity of Barringtonia racemosa Roxb seed extract in mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2002 Oct; 82(2-3): 223-7.
  12. Mmushi T, Masoko P, Mdee L, Mokgotho M, Mampuru Lj, Howard R. Antimycobacterial evaluation of fifteen medicinal plants in South Africa. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2009 Oct 15; 7(1):34-9.
  13. Deraniyagala SA, Ratnasooriya WD, Goonasekara CL. Antinociceptive effect and toxicological study of the aqueous bark extract of Barringtonia racemosa on rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 May; 86(1):21-6.
  14. Gowri PM, Tiwari AK, Ali AZ, Rao JM. Inhibition of alpha-glucosidase and amylase by bartogenic acid isolated from Barringtonia racemosa Roxb. seeds. Phytother Res. 2007 Aug; 21(8):796-9.
  15. Razab R, Abdul-Aziz A. Antioxidants from tropical herbs. Nat Prod Commun. 2010 Mar; 5(3):441-5.
  16. The Plant List. Accessed on 5 August 2014. Available from
  17. Jansen PCM, Jansen PCM, Cardon D, Africa PROTA. Dyes and tannins: PROTA Foundation; 2005.

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