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Antiaris toxicaria Lesch.


Antiaris challa (Schweinf.) Engl., Antiaris dubia Span. ex Hook., Antiaris innoxia Blume, Antiaris rufa Miq., Antiaris saccidora Dalzell, Antiaris zeylanica Seem., Cestrum toxicarium J.F.Gmel., Ficus challa Schweinf. [20]

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Ipoh [21]
English Antiaris, Bark Cloth Tree, False Iroko [1], Upas tree [4]
India Chandla, Chandakuda, Sapsundl, Nottavilmaram, Jajhugri [4]
Myanmar Hmyaselk, Myehsclk [4]
Sri Lanka Riti (Singhalese) [4]
Fiji Mavu in Toga [1]
Africa Mkunde (Swahili) [2]
France Ako [2]
Portugal Po de Bitcho, Po de Leite [2] 

General Information


Antiaris toxicaria is a member of the Moraceae family. It can reach up to over 40 m height. The leaves are deciduous, oblong-oval, sometimes approaching ovate, shortly acuminate, entire, downy, and reticulated especially beneath where they are slightly ferruginous with the nerves prominent. The measurement is from 7.5-12.5 cm long with the base slightly cordate and oblique. The flowers are monoecious and axillary. The fruit is pear-shaped, pulpy, measure 1-1.25 cm wide and black when ripe. [19]

Plant Part Used

Seeds, stems, barks, latex.

Chemical Constituents

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.[1] 

Antiarol, potassium nitrate, antiaresin, crystalline protein, toxicarina, malayoside, periplorhamnoside, cymarol, convallotoxin, desglucocheirotoxin, strophalloside, antiogoside, antioside, a-antioside, strophanthojavoside, antialloside. [3] [5]

Traditional Uses

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. [2][7] The small quantity of latex act as mild cardiac and circulatory stimulant by which the action is similar with digitalis.[4] [6] It also stimulates intestinal and uterine contraction. [6]

The treated bark of A. toxicaria is used to treat diseases like fever, pain, worm infestations and hepatitits. [2] The decoction of the bark is used by Fijians as children’s tonic. [1]

The seeds are bitter and are used by the Indians as febrifuge and remedy for dysentery. [4]

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. [8] Some of the cardenolides gylcosides which could be responsible for these activities in the sap extracts had recently been identified and their structures determined. It is including of 12-ß-hydroxycannogenin-3-ß-O-ß-D-deoxygulopyranoside, 3-ß-O-α-L-rhamnopyranoside, Toxicarioside D, antiarioside A-I, antiarotoxinin, malayoside. Studies comparing their positive inotropic action against those of ouabain had shown that malayoside was nearly equipotent. [9] [10] [11] 

Cytotoxic activity
A number of the cardinolide glycosides isolated from various parts 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. 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. [12] [13] [14] [15]

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. [16]

Endoglin/TGF-b 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. [17]


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. [18]

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

It is not recommended for use in pregnant women because the latex could induce uterine contractions. [6]

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. Cambie RC, Ash  J. Fijian Medicinal Plants. Australia:CSIRO; 1994.  p. 247.
  2. Louppe S, Otengkmoako AA, Brink M.  PROTA 7: Timbers 1. PROTA Foundation Wageningen; 2008. p. 75-76.
  3. Zhou J, Xie G, Yan X. Encyclopedia of Traditional Chinese Medicines: Molecular Structures, Pharmacological Activities, Natural Sources and Applications. 1st ed. Springer; 2011. p. 156.
  4. Panda H. Medicinal Plants Cultivation and their Uses. New Delhi: Asia Pacific Press;2000. p. 178–179.
  5. Viqar UA, Anwer B. Spectroscopic Data of Steroid Glycoside. Springer Science & Business Media. 2006.
  6. Khare CP. Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary. Springer Science & Business Media Berlin. 2007 p. 55–56.
  7. Tolu OA. Textbook of Medicinal Plants from Nigeria. p. 136.
  8. Fujimoto Y, Suzuki Y, Kanaiwa T, Amiya T, Hoshi K, Fujino S. Studies on the Indonesian Antiaris toxicaria sap. J Pharmacobiodyn. 1983 Feb; 6(2):128-35.
  9. Kopp B, Bauer WP, Bernkop-Schnürch A. Analysis of some Malaysian dart poisons. J Ethnopharmacol. 1992 Feb; 36(1): 57-62.
  10. Jiang MM, Dai Y, Gao H, Zhang X, Wang GH, He JY, Hu QY, Zeng JZ, Zhang XK, Yao XS. Cardenolides from Antiaris toxicaria as potent selective Nur77 modulators. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2008 Jul; 56(7): 1005-8.
  11. Shi LS, Liao YR, Su MJ, Lee AS, Kuo PC, Damu AG, Kuo SC, Sun HD, Lee KH, Wu TS. Cardiac glycosides from Antiaris toxicaria with potent cardiotonic activity. J Nat Prod. 2010 Jul 23; 73(7): 1214-22.
  12. Dai HF, Gan YJ, Que DM, Wu J, Wen ZC, Mei WL. A new cytotoxic 19-nor-cardenolide from the latex of Antiaris toxicaria. Molecules. 2009 Sep 21; 14(9):3694-9.
  13. 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 Sep; 11(9):832-7.
  14. Dong WH, Mei WL, Zhao YX, Zeng YB, Zuo WJ, Wang H, Li XN, Dai HF. Cytotoxic cardenolide glycosides from the seeds of Antiaris toxicaria. Planta Med. 2011 Oct;77(15):1730-4.
  15. 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 Jun; 13(6): 561-5.
  16. 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 Mar; 75(4): 340-5.
  17. Li YN, Huang FY, Mei WL, Dai HF, Guo JL, Tan GH, Zhou P. Toxicarioside A, isolated from tropical Antiaris toxicaria, blocks endoglin/TGF-β signaling in a bone marrow stromal cell line. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2012 Feb; 5(2):91-7.
  18. Christensen H. Ethnobotany of the Iban and the Kelabit. Forest Department of Sarawak. 2002 p. 107.
  19. Keng H, Ro-Siu LK. The Concise Flora of Singapore: Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. 2nd ed. ,  Singapore: NUS Press; 1990. p. 68
  20. The Plant List. Accessed on 6th August 2014. Available from 
  21. Wagstaff DJ. International Poisonous Plants Checklist: An Evidence-Based Reference: Taylor & Francis; 2008. p. 27

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