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Parkia speciosa


Parkia brunonis, Parkia roxburghii, Parkia microcarpa. 

Vernacular Names:


Petai, Petah (West Malaysia); Neup, Patag, Nyiring (East Malaysia)

English Nitta tree, Stink Bean [2]

Pete, Sindootan (Java); Parira, Palia (Batak); Pateh (Ambon); Patai (Minangkabau); Petar (Lampung); Peuteuy (Sunda); Peteh (Madura); Puti (Sumba); Faopatu (Buru)


Sator, Sataw, Sator Dan, Sator Kow, To Dan, To Khao


Kupang, U’pang


Chow Tau (Cantonese and Hokien) Chou Dou (Mandrin)



General Information


Parkia speciosa is a tree of the Fabaceae (Mimosaceae) family. It can grow up to 30m tall. The bark is smooth and light coloured. The leaves are alternate in arrangement, bipinate, measure 18-30 cm long with leaf stalk measuring 2-6 cm. The flowers are very small, and together forming a pear-shaped fleshy tip of the inflorescence stalk that measures 20-45 cm long. The upper portion has bisexual flowers while the lower portions are asexual or male flowers. The fruit is a legume measures 30-45 cm long and 3-6 cm wide with 12-18 seeds.

Plant Part Used

Seeds and roots [1] [2]

Chemical Constituents

(1-methylethyl)-cyclohexyl-phosphonofluoridic acid ester; (3a,5a)-2-methylene-cholestan-3-ol; (3a,5a)-4-methyl-24-cholestan-8,24-dien-3-ol; (3a,24Z)-stigmasta-5,24(28)-dien-3-ol; 1-heptatriacotanol; 1,2,4-trithiolane; 1,2,4,6-tetrathiepane; 1,2,3,5,6-pentathiepane (lenthionine); 1,2,4,5,7,8-hexathionane;1-tridecanol; 2-decenal; 2,4-decadienal; 2-pyrrolidinone; 2-methyl-9-(prop-1-en-3-ol-2-yl)-bicyclo[4.4.0]dec-2-ene-4-ol; 2-hexyl-1-decanol; 2-hydroxy-1-(hydroxymethyl) ethyl ester hexadecanoic acid; 2-nonadecanone; 3-ethyl-4-nonanol; 3,5,6,7,8,8a-hexahydro-4,8a-dimethyl-6-(1-methylethenyl)-2(1H)naphthalenone; 3,7,11,15-tetramethyl-2,6,10,14-hexadecatetraen-1-ol acetate; 3,3’-thiobis-didodecylpropionic acid ester; 4-methyl-5-decanol; 4-pentadecyl-cyclobutanecarboxylic acid ester; 6-hexyltetrahydro-2H-pyran-2-one; 8-methyl-1,8-nonanediol; 9-hexadecen-1-ol; 9,12-octadecadienal; 9-octadecenoic acid(Z)-, 2,3-dihydroxypropyl ester; 13-docosenoic acid methyl ester

14-methyl-pentadecanoic acid methyl ester; caryophyllene; arachidonic acid;sitosterol; butyl stearate; bis(2-ethylhexyl)ester hexanedoic acid; butyl palmitate; campesterol; cyclopentane; cyclodecanone; cyclopentaneundecanoic acid; dichrostachinic acid; djenkolic acid; dodecyl acrylate;

elaidic acid; eicosanoic acid; ethyl linoleate; ethyl palmitate; ethyl stearate; hexadecanal; hexanamide; hydnocarpic acid; lauric acid; lenthionine; linoleic acid; linolenic acid; linoleic acid chloride; methyl laurate; methyl palmitate; myristic acid; n-tetradecyl acetate; oleic acid; palmitic acid; pentadecanal; squalene; stearic acid; stearoic acid; stigmast-4-en-3-one; stigmasterol; stigmasterol methyl ester; tetradecanal; tetrahydro-6-tridecyl-2H-pyran-2-one; thiozolidine-4-carboxylic acid; tetrahydro-6-nonyl-2H-pyran-2-one; undecanoic acid; vitamin E;

Traditional Used:

Antidiabetic activity

The seeds is much reputed as a remedy for diabtetes amongst the Malay population of South-east Asia. Many have advocated just taking the seeds raw together with rice, while others recommended that it be boiled and taken as vegetable with rice. There are others who advised taking a decoction of the roots to prevent the disease. Decoction of the roots is also given as a diuretic.[1]

Gastrointestinal Diseases activity

Worms are treated using the decoction of the roots. The seeds are used to relieve flatulance. [1]The seeds are also valued as a carminative. [2]

Other uses

Parts of the sprouts and of the thickened inflorescence, young leaves, fruits and seeds are eaten raw or roasted and as vegetable as well [3]. The seeds are used traditionally for treating kidney pain, cancer, hepatalgia, oedema, nephritis, colic, cholera and as an anthelmintic; also applied externally to wounds and ulcers. It is also useful in the treatment of scabies, various types of pox, cough[4]

Pre-Clinical Data


Antibacterial activity

In a study carried out on the antibacterial activity of edible plant species it was found that the aqueous extract of P. speciosa showed some antibacterial activity against Aeromonas hydrophila, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus agalatiae, Streptococcus aginosus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus.[5]

Antioxidant activity

Bheemaraju6 studied the antioxidant activity of P. speciosa and noticed that the antioxidant activity was more in the pod than in the seeds up to 19 times. Amongst the compounds isolated are an array of phenolics. Vitamin C was also found to be an important antioxidant contributing around 8% of the antioxidant activity of the seeds but was completely absent from the pods. Kwanjai et.al7 found that storage at both room temperature and chilling temperature increase the total phenolic content and anti-oxidant activites of P. speciosa.

Mitogenic activity

A lectin purified from P. speciosa showed mitogenic activity on isolated peripheral blood lymphocytes taken from normal blood donors and patient with oesophageal cancer. There was a slightly lesser responsiveness observed in case of lymphocytes from the cancer patient. This activity is comparable to those of concanavalin A, phytohaemagglutinin and pokeweed mitogen.[8]

Antidiabetic activity

P. speciosa has been promoted as hypoglycaemic agents amongst the Malaysian population for generations. Fathailya et.al9 decided to look into the antidiabetic properties of the pods and seeds of this plant. They found that administering the chloroform extract of the seeds to alloxan-induced diabetic rats did produced a significant depression of blood glucose level. They isolated two related compounds (b-sitosterol - 66% and stigmasterol - 34%) which seem to work synergistically to produce the effect but had no effects when tested individually. The hypoglyceamic effect was not seen in normal rats. In a hypoglycaemic assay guided extraction they isolated stigmast-4-en-3-one[10] which produced 84% activity. It has no effect on normal rats.


No documentation

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

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  1)  Botanical Info


  1. Kamaruddin Mat-Salleh, A. Latif Tumbuhan Ubatan Malaysia Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Bangi 2002 pg. 386
  2. Agroforestry Database ( Date Accessed: 25th June 2010
  3. Peter Hanelt, R. Büttner, Rudolf Mansfel Mansfeld's encyclopedia of agricultural and horticultural crops Volume 2 Springer Berlin 2001 pg 582
  4. Norhayati Ismail, Zhari Ismail, Muzlifa Abdul Manaf Indeks Tumbuhan Ubat Malaysia Victus Semulajadi (M) Sdn. Bhd. Kuala Selangor 1999 pg. 48
  5. Najiah Musa, Lee Seong Wei, Chuah Tse Seng, Wendy Wee and Lee Kok Leong Potential of Edible Plants as Remedies of Systemic Bacterial Disease Infection in Cultured Fish Global Journal of Pharmacology 2 (2): 31-36, 2008
  6. BHEEMARAJU AMARNATH A study on antioxidant nature of petai (Parkia speciosa) Thesis MASTER OF SCIENCE National University of Singapore 2004 (
  7. Kwanjai Saelim, Akkasit Jongjareonrak  and Soottawat Benjakul EFFECT OF STORAGE CONDITION ON TOTAL PHENOLIC CONTENT AND ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITY OF STINK BEAN (Parkia speciosa Hassk.) KMITL Sci. J. Vol.8  No.2  (Section B)    July –  December, 2008
  8. Wallie Suvachittanont*, Pensook Jaranchavanapet  Mitogenic Effect of Parkia speciosa Seed Lectin on Human Lymphocytes Planta Med 2000; 66(8): 699-704
  9. Fathaiya Jamaluddin, Suhaila Mohamed and Md.Nordin Lajis Hypoglycaemic effect of Parkia speciosa seeds due to the synergistic action of β-sitosterol and stigmasterol Food Chemistry Volume 49, Issue 4, 1994, Pages 339-345
  10. Fathaiya Jamaluddin, Suhaila Mohameda , Md. Nordin Lajis Hypoglycaemic effect of Stigmast-4-en-3-one, from Parkia speciosa  empty pods Food Chemistry Volume 54, Issue 1, 1995, Pages 9-13

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