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Diospyros kaki Blanco (Ebenaceae)


Diospyros chinensis Blume

Vernacular Names:


Kesemak, Buah Samak, Buah Kaki [1]

English: Persimmon, Chinese Persimmon, Japanese Persimmon, Kaki
Javanese:  Kasemek

General Information


This small tree is found in the region from north-eastern India extending to Japan. It has been grown in the hills of Java and the western part of Peninsular Malaysia.[1]

Plant Part Used

Fruit, calyx, peduncle [1]

Chemical Constituents

Two new ursane-type triterpenoids, 3-α,19-α-dihydroxyurs-12,20(30)-dien-24,28-dioc acid and 3-α,19-α-dihydroxyurs-12-en-24,28-dioc acid together with 12 known ursane- and oleanane-type triterpenoids, barbinervic acid, rotungenic acid and 24-hydroxy ursolic acid have been isolated from methanol extract of the leaves of Diospyros kaki.[2][3] 

New compounds, kakispyrone, kakisaponin A, 4’5-dimethoxy-3-β-D-glucopyranosyloxy-4-hydroxy-biphenyl derivative named kakispyrol, vitexin, 2’-O-rhamnosyl vitexin, kaempferol 3-O-β-D-galactopyranoside, kaempferol 3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, isorhamnetin-3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, quercetin 3-O-β-D-galactopyranoside, quercetin and 3-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-(6à1)-α-L-rhamnopyranoside were also isolated from the leaves of Diospyros kaki.[4][5][6]

Traditional Use:

The dried ripe fruit is ingested to treat bronchial complaints. The dried calyces and peduncles of the fruit are used by the Chinese to treat cough and dsypnea. The raw ripe fruit is ingested in cases of constipation and haemorrhoids. The cooked ripe fruit is used to treat diarrhoea. The calyces are ingested to relieve hiccups and internal haemorrhage. 

This astringent and expectorant herb has also been claimed to stop haemorrhage and lower hypertension.[1]

Pre-Clinical Data


Radical scavenging activity:

This study looks into the radical scavenging activity of astringent persimmon (Diospyros kaki L. cv Mopan) against 2,2'-azinobis-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) or ABTS and 2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl or DPPH radical. This study also includes investigation on the content of total and individual of 6 phenolics such as catechin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid and gallic acid) with other fruits (apple, grape and tomato) as controls. For the Mopan persimmon, the DPPH radical scavenging activity was found to be 22.597 microm trolox equivalent/g FW, and the antioxidant activity determined by ABTS method was found to be 23.575 microm trolox equivalent/g FW. A good positive correlation R2=0.933, ABTS radical; R2=0.980, DPPH radical was obtained with the antioxidative activity and total phenol content. Gallic acid demonstrates the strongest antioxidant activity in all 6 phenolics and its content is the largest in the Mopan persimmon. This is presumed to contribute to the higher antioxidant activity as compared to the other fruits.[7] 

Antioxidant and antigenotoxic activities:

The five flavonoid compounds kaempferol 3-O-β-D -galactopyranoside (TR), kaempferol 3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside (AS), isorhamnetin 3-O-β-D -glucopyranoside (IS), quercetin 3-O-β-D-galactopyranoside (HY), quercetin 3-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-(6→1)-α-L-rhamnopyranoside (RU) isolated from the leaves of Diospyros kaki were investigated on the stimulus-induced superoxide generation and phosphorylation of tyrosine residues of protein in human neutrophils. The cells were preincubated with these five compounds. The arachidonic acid (AA)-induced superoxide generation was suppressed by TR, AS, HY and RU. On the other hand, IS weakly enhanced the superoxide generation in low concentration (5–20μmol/l), but was suppressed in high concentration (50μmol/l). The five flavonoids showed almost no hemolytic effect even at a concentration of 500μmol/l. The study concluded that flavonoid compounds suppressed stimulus-induced superoxide generation and tyrosyl phosphorylation and may have pharmaceutical application. [6] 

In another study investigation was carried out to examine the effects of flavonoids from the leaves of Diospyros kaki L (FLDK-P70) on hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced apoptosis-like damage of NG108-15 cells. The results indicate that FLDK-P70 may be potentially used in the prevention and treatment of ischemia/reperfusion injury and other neurodegenerative disease. Upregulating bcl-2 expression and improving cellular redox state by FLDK-P70 may play critical roles in attenuating oxidative injury.[8] 

A study investigates the effect of a heat treatment on the total phenolic concentration, and antioxidative and antigenotoxic activities of persimmon peel (PP) extracts in order to evaluate its potential as a natural antioxidant source for medicinal and food application. The 70% ethanol extract (EE) and water extract (WE) of PP showed significant scavenging activity toward reactive oxygen species. The genotoxic effect of H2O2 and the protective ability of the PP extracts were assessed in normal human lymphocytes by a comet assay. The results showed that EE and WE both prevented H2O2-induced DNA damage to human peripheral lymphocytes. The study concluded that heat treatment increased the total phenolic concentration, and the antioxidative and antigenotoxic activities of the ethanol and water extracts of PP.[9]  

Another study investigates the effect of persimmon peel polyphenol (PPP) on high glucose-induced oxidative stress using oxidative-stress susceptible cells, the LLC-PK1 cells. The study reports that treatment with both high molecular-PPP (HMPPP) and low molecular-PPP (LMPPP) dose-independently reduced the intracellular reactive oxygen species level increased by 30mM glucose treatment. LMPPP was noted to exhibit stronger inhibitory activities on high glucose induced oxidative stress than HMPPP. These findings indicate the potential benefits of persimmon peel as a valuable source of antioxidants in the diabetic condition that will reduce the oxidative stress induced by hyperglycemia.[10] 

Acaricidal activity

House dust mites are not possible to see easily, because they are very small and transparent. Accordingly, a study was carried out to develop a mite indicator that can easily distinguish the dust mites with the naked eyes. From this point of view, the function of a mite indicator and its acaricidal effect was evaluated using the active component plumbagin and its derivatives isolated from Diospyros kaki roots against Dermatophagoides farinae and D. pteronyssinus. The acaricidal activities of plumbagin and its derivatives (naphthazarin, dichlon, 2,3-dibromo-1,4-naphthoquinone, and 2-bromo-1,4- naphthoquinone) were compared with that of commercial benzyl benzoate against D. farinae and D. pteronyssinus. The results showed various responses according to dosage and mite species. On the basis of LD50 values, the most toxic compound against D. farinae was naphthazarin (0.011microg/cm2) followed by plumbagin (0.019microg/cm2), 2- bromo-1,4-naphthoquinone (0.079microg/cm2), dichlon (0.422microg/cm2), and benzyl benzoate (9.14microg/cm2). Furthermore, plumbagin and its derivatives were shown to have a high capability as mite indicators as demonstrated by the change in skin colour of the dust mites from colourless-transparent to dark brown-black. However, little or no discolouration was observed for benzyl benzoate. The study concluded that plumbagin and its derivatives can be very useful in removing allergens, as potential mite control agents, lead compounds, indicator of house dust mites, and in prevention of allergic disease.[11] 

Anticancer activity

The effect of persimmon (Diospyros kaki) extract (PS) and related polyphenol compounds such as catechin (C), epicatechin (EC), epicatechingallate (ECG), epigallocatechin (EGC), and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) were investigated on the growth of human lymphoid leukemia Molt 4B cells and calf thymus DNA α-polymerase. The results demonstrated that PS, ECG, EGC strongly inhibited the growth of the cells in a dose-dependent manner by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) of Molt 4B cells. It was also found that the activity of DNA α-polymerase was strongly inhibited by EGCG, ECG and PS, especially PS being the most potent among these polyphenols. Persimmon extract was observed to inhibit [3H]thymidine incorporation of human peripheral lymphocyte cells stimulated by Polyhydroxyalkanoate or PHA.[12][13]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Use 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. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research, Kuala Lumpur. 2002. Compendium of Medicinal Plants Used in Malaysia. 1:274.
  2. Thuong, P.T. et al. 2008.Triterpenoids from the Leaves of Diospyros kaki (Persimmon) and Their Inhibitory Effects on Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase 1B. J. Nat. Prod. [Epub ahead of print].
  3. Fan, J.P. and He, C.H. 2006. Simultaneous quantification of three major bioactive triterpene acids in the leaves of Diospyros kaki by high-performance liquid chromatography method. J.Pharma. Biomed. Anal. 41(3):950-6.
  4. Chen, G. et al.2007. Chemical constituents of the leaves of Diospyros kaki and their cytotoxic effects. J. Asian Nat. Prod. Res. 9(3-5):347-53.
  5. Chen, G. et al. 2005. Kakispyrol, a new biphenyl derivative from the leaves of Diospyros kaki. J. Asian Nat Prod. Res. 7(3): 265-8.
  6. Chen, G. et al. 2002. Effect of five flavonoid compounds isolated from the leaves of Diospyros kaki on stimulus-induced superoxide generation and tyrosyl phosphorylation of proteins in human neutrophils. Clinica Chimica Acta, 326: 169-175.
  7. Chen, XN, et al. 2008. Radical scavenging activity and phenolic compounds in persimmon (Diospyros kaki Mopan). J Food Sci. 73(1):C24-8 .
  8. Bei, W. et al. 2005. Flavonoids from the leaves of Diospyros kaki reduce hydrogen peroxide-induced injury of NG108-15 cells. Life Sciences. 76 (17): 1975-88.
  9. Kim, S-Y. et al. 2006. Effect of Heat Treatment on the Antioxidative and Antigenotoxic Activity of Extracts from Persimmon (Diospyros kaki L) Peel. Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem. 70 (4): 999-1002. Abstract
  10. Yokozawa, T, et al. 2007. Protective effect of persimmon peel polyphenol against high glucose-induced oxidative stress in LLC-PK1 cells. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 45 (10): 1979-87.
  11. Lee, C-H and Lee, H-S. 2008. Acaricidal Activity and Function of Mite Indicator Using Plumbagin and Its Derivatives Isolated from Diospyros kaki Thunb. Roots (Ebenaceae). J. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 18(2): 314–21
  12. Achiwa, Y et al. 1997. Inhibitory effects of persimmon (Diospyros kaki) extract and related polyphenol compounds on growth of human lymphoid leukemia cells. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 61(7):1099-101.
  13. Umekawa, H, et al. 1999. Inhibition of eukaryotic DNA polymerase alpha by persimmon (Diospyros kaki) extract and related polyphenols. Biochem Mol Biol Int. 47(5):795-801.

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