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Toddalia asiatica


Toddalia asiatica


No documentation.

Vernacular Name

Olumugutani, Mporojo, Chikafisu, Gato, Rukato, Orange climber, Ranklemoentjie, Gwambadzi, Toddalia, Cockspur orange, Gato, Rukato.


Toddalia asiatica is a woody liana which uses other trees in order to grow in an upward direction. In some areas it can grow to heights of measuring 8m to 10m tall with stems that produce large thorns that attach to the plant near which it grows. Other, smaller thorns cover the twigs and smallest stems. The trifoliate leaves have a lemony scent when they are crushed, are small and usually darker green. The plant produces small yellow-green flowers which produce small citrus-like fruits that are orange in colour and are reminiscent of orange peel in taste and feel.

Origin / Habitat

T. asiatica is native to Asia, but found growing in South Africa and Madagascar. It is a strong woody vine that grows readily in clay soils that receive a good bit of annual rainfall. It is often found in wooded areas near rivers or other free running water source.

Chemical Constituents

Alkaloids, including dihydronitidine; furanocoumarin (including toddalolactone, toddanone and isopimpinellin) [1][2] [3].

Plant Part Used

Leaves, fruit, root [4][7][9].

Traditional Use

T.asiatica was imported from the Indian subcontinent and became a popular medicine for several ailments in East Africa. The most popular reported traditional medical usages are that of a stomachic or gastrointestinal tonic. Up to 78% of the medicinal uses are to treat gastrointestinal disorders [4].In cases of vomiting, the root bark of T.asiatica has been used to suppress the urge [4]. In other instances, various preparations of the leaves have been used as a diuretic and a stomach tonic as well as a treatment for dyspepsia, general abdominal pain and gastric ulcer [5]. A leaf tea of T.asiatica is ingested in order to stimulate the appetite [6].

Additionally, T.asiatica has been used as a treatment for malaria. The Pokot tribe of Kenya used the plant as an antimalarial as well as a febrifuge, treating the fevers associated with malaria [7]. In Madagascar, a decoction of the aerial parts of T.asiatica is ingested in order to treat malaria [8].

T.asiatica has also been a treatment for colds, coughs and general respiratory debility.  Throughout East Africa, the stems and leaves of T.asiatica have been boiled and the steam inhaled in order to treat bronchial diseases [9]. Additonally, the fruit has been ingested as a cough suppressant [9]. In cases of pneumonia, the leaves are boiled with butter and then the mixture is ingested [10]. The root barks as has been decocted and ingested in order to promote general respiratory health [4].



Research tends to support traditional uses of T. asiatica include against a wide range of pathogens, including viruses, which is supported by laboratory research [4]. T. asiatica has been reported to have potent antiviral activities against H1N1 virus. Although the best antiviral activity of T.asiatica was observed with co-treatment of influenza virus infection, it remained effective even when administrated 24 hours before and after the initiation of infection. The authors concluded that T.asiatica extract could be a good candidate for treatment of H1N1 influenza [11].

Laboratory studies also support the antibacterial and antifungal uses of T.asiatica, and support its traditional uses against malaria [12][13].

Extracts of T.asiatica are also reported to have cytotoxicity against various cancer cells in vitro [14][15]. T.asiatica also has been reported to have spasmolytic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects [16], and further research in these areas is needed.


No documentation.

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation.

Interaction with Drugs

T. asiatica has been reported to inhibit platelet aggregation in laboratory studies – use only under the supervision of a doctor if a bleeding disorder exists or taking blood-thinning medications such as aspirin orwarfarin (Coumadin) [17].

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

T. asiatica has been reported safe in recommended doses.

Discontinue if allergy occurs.


Not to be used by pregnant or nursing women.

Age limitation

Not to be used with children.

Adverse reaction

No documentation.

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  1)  Western Herbs


  1. Jain SC, Pandey MK, Upadhyay RK, Kumar R, Hundal G, Hundal MS. Alkaloids from Toddalia aculeata. Phytochemistry. May 2006;67(10):1005-1010.
  2. Guo S, Li S, Peng Z, Ren X. Isolation and identification of active constituent of Toddalia asiatica in cardiovascular system. Zhong Yao Cai. Oct. 1998;21(10):515-516.
  3. Lakshmi V, Kapoor S, Pandey K, Patnaik GK. Spasmolytic activity of Toddalia asiatica Var. floribunda. Phytother Res. May 2002;16(3):281-282.
  4. Orwa JA, Jondiko IJ, Minja RJ, Bekunda M. The use of Toddalia asiatica (L) Lam. (Rutaceae) in traditional medicine practice in East Africa. J Ethnopharmacol. Jan 17, 2008;115(2):257-262.
  5. Baerts-Lehmann M, Lehmann J. Prelude Medicinal Plants Database. Catholic University of Louvain. 2007 Available from: [Accessed on January 25, 2009]
  6. Novy JW. Medicinal plants of the eastern region of Madagascar. J Ethnopharmacol. Jan. 1997;55(2):119-126.
  7. Gakunju DM, Mberu EK, Dossaji SF, Gray AI, Waigh RD, Waterman PG, Watkins WM. Potent Antimalarial activity of the alkaloid nitidine, isolated from a Kenyan herbal remedy. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. Dec. 1995;39(12):2606-2609.
  8. Rosoanaivo P, Petitjean A, Ratsimamanga-Urverg S, Rakoto-Ratsimamanga A. Medicinal plants used to treat malaria in Madagascar. J Ethnopharmacol. 1992; 37: 117-127.
  9. Kokwaro JO. Medicinal Plants of East Africa. Nairobi, Kenya: East African Literature Bureau; 1976.207-209.
  10. Neuwinger HD. African Traditional Medicine: A Dictionary of Plant Use and Applications. Stuttgart, Germany: Medpharm Gmbh Scientific Publishers; 2000.
  11. Lu SY, Qiao YJ, Xiao PG, Tan XH. Identification of antiviral activity of Toddalia asiatica against influenza type A virus. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. Jul. 2005;30(13):998-1001.
  12. Duraipandiyan V, Ignacimuthu S. Antibacterial and antifungal activity of Flindersine isolated from the traditional medicinal plant, Toddalia asiatica (L.) Lam. J Ethnopharmacol. Jun 25, 2009;123(3):494-498.
  13. Muregi FW, Ishih A, Miyase T, et al. Anti-malarial activity of methanolic extracts from plants used in Kenyan ethnomedicine and their interactions with chloroquine (CQ) against a CQ-tolerant rodent parasite, in mice. J Ethnopharmacol. Apr 20, 2007;111(1):190-195.
  14. Iwasaki H, Okabe T, Takara K, Toda T, Shimatani M, Oku H. Tumor-selective cytotoxicity of benzo[c]phenanthridine derivatives from Toddalia asiatica Lam. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. Jul 23, 2009.
  15. Iwasaki H, Oku H, Takara R, et al. The tumor specific cytotoxicity of dihydronitidine from Toddalia asiatica Lam. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. Oct. 2006;58(4):451-459.
  16. Hao XY, Peng L, Ye L, Huang NH, Shen YM. A study on anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of alkaloids of Toddalia asiatica. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. Nov. 2004;2(6):450-452.
  17. Tsai IL, Wun MF, Teng CM, Ishikawa T, Chen IS. Anti-platelet aggregation constituents from Formosan Toddalia asiatica. Phytochemistry. Aug. 1998;48(8):1377-1382.

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