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Oroxylum indicum (L.) Benth. ex Kurz


Bignonia indica L.

Vernacular Names:


Kulai, merkulai, merulia, merlai, bonglai kayu, bolai kayu, boli, boloi, bongloi,

berak, beka, beka kampung, bikir, bikir hangkap, kankatang, misai kucing, kulai [1]

English: Midnight horror, Indian trumpet flower, broken bones, midday marvel [1]
Javanese: Bungli, kajeng jaler, kayu lanang, mungli, wungli [1]
Sundanese: Pong-porang [1]
Sumantran: Kapung-kapung [1]
Tamil: Achi, vanga adanthay [2]
Vietnamese: Nuc nac, nam hoang ba [2]
Chinese: Mu hu die [1]

General Information


Oroxylum indicum is a small tree.It is found mainly in the villages and rice fields. It grows wild on the forest edges or on abandoned mountain fields of up to measure 1,000 metres altitude. O. indicum is native in Asia and has been recorded in peninsular Malaysia, India, South China, Sulawesi and the Philippines. [1]

Plant Part Used

Entire plant, root bark, bark, leaf, seed, fruit. [1]

Chemical Constituents

The fruits contain flavonoids; oroxylin (5,7-dihydroxy-6-methoxyflavone), aloe-emodin and chrysin, and ursolic acid. [2]

Other constituents isolated from the herb are flavonoids; oroxylin A (5,7-dihydroxy-6-methoxyflavone), oroxylin B (baicalein-7-O-glucoside), baicalein ( 5,6,7-trihydroxyflavone), chrysin (5,7-dihydroxyflavone), chrysin-7-O-diglucoside, methoxy chrysin, oroxyloside methyl ester, chrysin-7-O-methyl glucoside, baicalein-7-O-diglucoside, epigenin, benzoic acid, sterols, prunetin, fatty acids, alkaloids, tannins, volatile oils, minerals and vitamins. [3],[4],[5]

Three series of analogues of chrysin derivatives were semi-synthesized for evaluation of their antibacterial activity. [6]

Four flavonoids, chrysin, baicalein, baicalein-7-O-glucosice, baicalein-7-O-diglucoside and one unknown flavonoid have been isolated from the seeds of O. indicum by high-speed counter-current chromatography. [7]

Traditional Use:

O. indicum has been claimed to be able to act as an antitumour, an antimalarial and an antimicrobial. It is believed to have been prescribed by Malays to treat toothache, rheumatism, wound, splenomegaly, gastralgia, dysentery, cholera, loss of appetite and fever. Any part of the plant may be used for making a decoction for external uses in childbirth. [1]

In India, Indonesia and Malaysia, the bitter root bark is used as an astringent and a tonic. It has been used to treat diarrhoea and dysentery. The records show that it is used by Malays to treat diarrhoea and also used by others to relieve constipation. In Philippine Islands, the bark of the root is claimed as an antirheumatic, an antidysenteric and a diaphoretic. An alcoholic maceration of fresh bark is applied externally as a lacquer to relieve allergic dermatitis. [1]

The leaves, rather than the bark, seem to have greater uses among the Malays. A decoction is recommended to treat gastralgia, loss of appetite, rheumatism and wounds. The same decoction is used externally as a hot fomentation during confinement and to relieve cholera, fever and rheumatic swelling. The boiled leaves may be used as an application during and after delivery as well as for treating dysentery. The hot leaves may be applied to treat splenomegaly. The leaves are applied to the cheek to treat toothache and as poultice to relieve headache. [1]

The seed of O, indicum is used by the Chinese to relieve abdominal pain, mouth ulcers and sore throat. It has been claimed to be beneficial for chronic cough and gastralgia. [1]

Pre-Clinical Data


Antimutagenic activity:

The antimutagenic activity of methanolic extract of fresh fruit of O. indicum toward the food-derived mutagen, Trp-P-1, was determined by the Ames test. The significant activity was detected in a fraction eluted with 70-80% methanol. Further purification yielded baicalein as the antimutagenic principa. [3]

Anticancer activity:

A study revealed that eight species of plants used in Bangladeshi folk medicine exhibited some cytotoxic activities in the brine shrimp lethality assay, sea urchin eggs assay, hemolysis assay and MTT assay using tumour cell lines. The extract of O. indicum showed the highest toxicity on all tumour cell lines tested, with an IC50 of 19.6 mg/mL for CEM, 14.2 mg/mL for HL-60, 17.2 mg/mL for B-16 and 32.5 mg/mL for HCT-8. [8]

Antiproliferative activity:

A study was conducted to analyze the antiproliferative activity of several Bangladeshi medicinal plant extracts on different human cell lines including erythroleukemic K562 cells, B lymphoid Raji and T lymphoid Jurkat human tumour cell lines. The data obtained indicate that the ethanolic extract of the stem bark of O. indicum showed an antiproliferative activity on all analyzed human tumour cell lines: erythroleukemic K562 cells (IC50=3.77±0.32 mg/mL), B lymphoid Raji (IC50=23.20±9.6 mg/mL) and T lymphoid Jurkat (IC50=4.11±0.1 mg/mL).   The same plant extracts were screened for their activity in inhibiting the interactions between nuclear factors and double stranded target oligonucleotides mimicking the transcription factors such as Nuclear Factor-kappa B (NF-kB), activator protein (AP-1), signal transducer  and activator of transcription (STATs), cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) and GATA-1 factors. The results showed that high concentration of O. indicum extract was unable to inhibit almost all TFs/DNA interactions, while it is active on the other AP-1/DNA interactions only when added at 50 mg/mL. [9]


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


    1. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research, Kuala Lumpur. Compendium of Medicinal Plants Used in Malaysia. 2002; 2:183-184.
    2. Wiart, C. Medicinal Plants of the Asia-Pacific: Drugs for the Future? World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd. Singapore. 2006; pp 567-8.
    3. Nakahara, K. et al. Antimutagenic Activity against Trp-P-1 of the Edible Thai Plant, Oroxylum indicum Vent. Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem., 2001; 65:2358-60.
    4. Chen, L.J. et al. Comparisan of high-speed counter-current chromatography instruments for the separation of the extracts of the seeds of Oroxylum indicum. J. Chromatography A. 2005; 1063: 241-45.
    5. Chowdhury, N.S., Karim, M.R. & Rana, M.S. In vitro Studies on Toxicological Property of the Root and Stem Bark Extracts of Oroxylum indicum. Dhaka University Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2005; 4: 1-5, 2005/?art=110, accessed on 8 November 2007.
    6. Babu, K.S. et al. Synthesis and biological evaluation of novel C (7) modified chrysin analogues as antibacterial agents. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters. 2006; 16:221-4.
    7. Chen, L-J., Games, D.E. & Jones, J.  Isolation and identification of four constituents from the seeds of Oroxylum indicum by high-speed counter-current chromatography. J. Chromatography A. 2003; 988:95-105.
    8. Costa-Lotufo, L.V. et al. Studies of the anticancer potential of plants used in Bangladeshi folk medicine. J. Ethnopharmacol. 2005; 99:21-30.
    9. Lampronti, I. et al. Inhibitory Effects of Bangladeshi Medicinal Plant Extracts on Interactions between Transcription Factors and Target DNA Sequences. eCAM Advance Access published May 17, 2007:doi:10.1093/ecam/nem04. 2007; 2:10.

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