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Polyalthia longifolia


No documentation

Vernacular Names:



English Mast tree, Cemetery tree [1]
India Debdari, Asoka (Hindi), Assoti (Kannada), Aranamaram (Malayalam), Ulkatah, Kastadaruh (Sanskrit), Asogu, Nettilingam (Tamil), Asokamu (Telagu)

General Information


Polyalthia longifolia is a member of the Annonaceae family. It is a small tree that grows up to about 15 m tall. The tree has a straight trunk with drooping branches. The branches being longest at the base and gradually becoming shorter at the end of the trunk giving it a spindle shape. The leaves are narrow oblanceolate, dark green, glossy and with wavy margins. They measures 15-20 cm long. The flowers are delicate pale-green with wavy petals on slender stalks. The fruit is ovoid-black. [1]

Plant Part Used

Bark [1]

Chemical Constituents



4a,18b-epoxy-16-hydroxyclerod-13-en-15-oic acid,

6a,16-dihydroxycleroda-3,13-dien-15-oic acid,

6a,16-dihydroxycleroda-4(18),13-dien-15-oic acid,








(-)-16-oxocleroda-3,13(14)E-dien-15-oic acid,



16-oxo-cleroda-3,13(14)E-dien-15-oic acid,


16-oxocleroda-4(18),13E-dien-15-oic acid,


16-oxo-ent-halima-5(10),13E-dien-15-oic acid,




g-hydroxybutenolide diterpene


Bisclerodane imide




ent-halima-1(10),13E-dien-16,15-olide, 16-oxo-ent-halima-5(10),




kolavenic acid,






pendulamine A & B


polyalthialdioc acid,


stigmasterol 3-O-b-D-glucoside

(3S,4R)-3,4,5-trihydroxypentanoic acid-1,4-lactone

Traditional Used:

The bark is bitter, acrid, cooling, febrifuge and anthelmintic. It is useful in fever, skin diseases, diabetes, hypertension, helminthiasi. [1]

Pre-Clinical Data


Cytotoxic activity

Many compounds have been isolated from the stem, stem bark, roots and root bark that showed potentials in their application for the treatment of various human cancers. The aporphine alkaloid [2] liriodenine is one of the compounds isolated from the stem and stem bark of P. longifolia which showed cytotoxic activities. Another group of compounds of the clerodane diterpene group [3] (polyalthialdoic acid, kolavenic acid and 16a-hydroxy-cleroda-3,13(14)Z-dien-15,16-olide, (-)-3alpha,16alpha-dihydroxycleroda-4(18),13(14)Z-dien-15,16-olide, (-)-3beta,16alpha-dihydroxycleroda-4(18), 13(14)Z-dien-15,16-olide) also showed cytotoxic activities in three human tumour cell lines. Amongst the human cancer cell lines tested it was found that the maximum inhibition was seen in colon cancer cells SW-620. [4]

The clerodane diterpenoids isolated from bark of P. longifolia  exhibited significant cytotoxic activity towards Hep G2 and Hep 3B hepatoma cell lines. In another study the methanol extract of the stem showed antiproliferative activities against A549 and MCF-7 cancer cells. Amongst the substances tested it was found that 16-oxo-cleroda-3,13-dien-15-09c acid was the one exhibiting cytotoxicity. [14]

Antimicrobial activity


Extracts of the roots of P. longifolia showed significant antibacterial activties and amongst the alkaloids isolated from it. It was found that pendulamine A and pendulamine B were the most active antibacterial compounds with MIC ranging from 0.02 – 20 microg against the tested bacteria.[5] From the stem a lactone [6](3S,4R)-3,4,5-trihydroxypentanoic acid-1,4-lactone) was isolated which showed promising antibacterial activity against thirteen Gram-positive and nine Gram-negative organism. The diterpenoids 16alpha-hydroxy-cleroda-3,13 (14)-Z-diene-15,16-olide (1) and 16-oxo-cleroda-3, 13(14)-E-diene-15-oic acid (2), isolated from the hexane extract of the seeds of P. longifolia, demonstrated significant antibacterial and antifungal activities. [7]From the methanol extracts of various parts of the plants it was found that 5 clerodanes and one diterpenoid (16(R and S)-hydroxy-cleroda-3,13(14)Z-dien-15,16-olide, 16-oxo-cleroda-3,13(14)E-dien-15-oic acid, (R and S)-hydroxy-cleroda-3,13(14)Z-dien-15,16-olide-2-one,(4-->2)-abeo-16(R and S)-hydroxy-cleroda-2,13(14)Z-dien-15,16-olide-3-al3beta,16alpha-dihydroxy-cleroda-4(18), 13(14)Z-dien-15,16-olide, and kolavenic acid) were the most active antimicrobial agnets with MIC values ranging from 7.8 and 500 microg/ml. [8] (-)-16alpha-hydroxycleroda-3,13 (14)Z-dien-15,16-olide was isolated from the ethanolic extracts of the leaves was found to be the most potent of the compounds isolated with MIC value of 6.25 microg/ml against Streptococcus aureus and Sporothrix schenckii. [9]

Antileishmanial activity

16alpha-Hydroxycleroda-3,13 (14)Z-dien-15,16-olide (Compound 1) from P. longifolia was found to be a potential antileishmanial and non-cytotoxic, as evidenced by long-term survival (>6 months) of treated animals. Misra [10] found that compound 1 inhibited recombinant DNA topoisomerase I which, ultimately induced apoptosis. Five strong hydrogen-bonding interactions and hydrophobic interactions of compound 1 with L. donovani DNA topoisomerase are responsible for its anti-leishmanial activity.


Anti-inflammatory activity

Out of 23 compounds Chang [11] isolated from the bark of P. longifolia, they found the compound they termed as compound 5 showed a potent anti-inflammatory activity towards formyl-L-methionyl-L-leucyl-L-phenylalanine/cytochalasin B (fMLP/CB)-induced superoxide generation by neutrophils with IC50 = 0.60 +/- 0.09 microg/mL. A preliminary anti-inflammatory activity in the leaves of Polyalthia longifolia var pendula carried out by Tanna [12],showed that various concentrations of the methanolic extracts has significant anti-inflammatory

Hepatoprotective activity

Tanna [13] showed that the methanolic extract of the leaves of P. longifolia has hepatoprotective effect but no concentration effect.

Antineurotoxicity activity

Shin YT [15] studied that effects of 6-hydroxycleroda-3,13-dien-15,16-olid (PL3) extracted for P. longifolia on lipopolysachharide(LPS)-induced inflammation in microglia-like HAPI cells and primary microglia cultures. It was found that PL3 was able to decrease the expression of iNOS, COX-2, gp91 (phox), and NF-kappaBp65, the degradation of I kappaB alpha, and the production of NO, PGE(2), iROS, and TNF-alpha. It also enhanced the expression of HO-1, a cytoprotective and anti-inflammatory enzyme. In addition to this it also reduced LPS-activated inflammation-related neronal cell death. They concluded that this compound would be os use in the treatment of inflammatoion-related neurodegenerative diseases.

Antiulcer activity

Ethanol extract of the leaves of P. longifolia was tested for its anti-ulcer activity against aspirin plus pylotus ligation induced gastric ulcer in rats, HCL-Ethanol induced ulcer in mice and water immersion stress induced ulcers in rats. Malairajan [16] found that a significant anti-ulcer activity was observed in all models.

Hypotensive activity

The defatted extract of P. longifolia root bark in 50% methanol showed a significant ability to reduce blood pressure to the tune of 22% and 47% fall in mean arterial blood pressure in rats at doses of 3mg/kg and 30mg/kg respectively. It was found that the compound kolavenic acid was responsible for this effect. The whole extract also decrease the blood pressure of normotensice and egg yolk induced hypertensive rats. The LD50 of the root extract was 100mg/kg in mice. [17]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

It causes cardiac depression. [18]

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

No documentation
Age Limitations

Neonates / Adolescents

No documentation


No documentation

Chronic Disease Conditions

No documentation


Interactions with drugs

Root bark has significant hypotensive activity. It should not be used with antihypertensive medication. [17]

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation



No documentation

Case Reports

No documentation

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  1)  Botanical Info


  1. P. K. Warrier, V. P. K. Nambiar, C. Ramankutty Indian medicinal plants: a compendium of 500 species, Volume 4 Orient Longman, Hyderabad 2002 pg. 444
  2. Wu YC, Duh CY, Wang SK, Chen KS, Yang TH. Two new natural azafluorene alkaloids and a cytotoxic aporphine alkaloid from Polyalthia longifolia. J Nat Prod. 1990 Sep-Oct;53(5):1327-31.
  3. Zhao GX, Jung JH, Smith DL, Wood KV, McLaughlin JL. Cytotoxic clerodane diterpenes from Polyalthia longifolia. Planta Med. 1991 Aug;57(4):380-3.
  4. Verma M, Singh SK, Bhushan S, Sharma VK, Datt P, Kapahi BK, Saxena AK. In vitro cytotoxic potential of Polyalthia longifolia on human cancer cell lines and induction of apoptosis through mitochondrial-dependent pathway in HL-60 cells. Chem Biol Interact. 2008 Jan 10;171(1):45-56. Epub 2007 Sep 1.
  5. Faizi S, Khan RA, Azher S, Khan SA, Tauseef S, Ahmad A. New antimicrobial alkaloids from the roots of Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula. Planta Med. 2003 Apr;69(4):350-5.
  6. Faizi S, Mughal NR, Khan RA, Khan SA, Ahmad A, Bibi N, Ahmed SA. Evaluation of the antimicrobial property of Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula: isolation of a lactone as the active antibacterial agent from the ethanol extract of the stem. Phytother Res. 2003 Dec;17(10):1177-81.
  7. Marthanda Murthy M, Subramanyam M, Hima Bindu M, Annapurna J. Antimicrobial activity of clerodane diterpenoids from Polyalthia longifolia seeds. Fitoterapia. 2005 Jun;76(3-4):336-9.
  8. Faizi S, Khan RA, Mughal NR, Malik MS, Sajjadi KE, Ahmad A. Antimicrobial activity of various parts of Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula: isolation of active principles from the leaves and the berries. Phytother Res. 2008 Jul;22(7):907-12.
  9. Sashidhara KV, Singh SP, Shukla PK. Antimicrobial evaluation of clerodane diterpenes from Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula. Nat Prod Commun. 2009 Mar;4(3):327-30.
  10. Misra P, Sashidhara KV, Singh SP, Kumar A, Gupta R, Chaudhaery SS, Gupta SS, Majumder HK, Saxena AK, Dube A. 16alpha-Hydroxycleroda-3,13 (14)Z-dien-15,16-olide from Polyalthia longifolia: a safe and orally active antileishmanial agent. Br J Pharmacol. 2010 Mar;159(5):1143-50. Epub 2010 Feb 5.
  11. Chang FR, Hwang TL, Yang YL, Li CE, Wu CC, Issa HH, Hsieh WB, Wu YC. Anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic diterpenes from formosan Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula. Planta Med. 2006 Nov;72(14):1344-7. Epub 2006 Oct 4.
  12. Tanna A, Nair R, Chanda S. Assessment of anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective potency of Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula leaf in Wistar albino rats. J Nat Med. 2009 Jan;63(1):80-5. Epub 2008 Sep 23.
  13. Tanna A, Nair R, Chanda S. Assessment of anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective potency of Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula leaf in Wistar albino rats. J Nat Med. 2009 Jan;63(1):80-5. Epub 2008 Sep 23.
  14. Lee TH, Wang MJ, Chen PY, Wu TY, Wen WC, Tsai FY, Lee CK. Constituents of Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula. J Nat Prod. 2009 Nov;72(11):1960-3.
  15. Shih YT, Hsu YY, Chang FR, Wu YC, Lo YC. 6-Hydroxycleroda-3,13-dien-15,16-olide protects neuronal cells from lipopolysaccharide-induced neurotoxicity through the inhibition of microglia-mediated inflammation. Planta Med. 2010 Feb;76(2):120-7. Epub 2009 Aug 3.
  16. Malairajan P, Gopalakrishnan G, Narasimhan S, Veni KJ. Evalution of anti-ulcer activity of Polyalthia longifolia (Sonn.) Thwaites in experimental animals. Indian J Pharmacol. 2008 Jun;40(3):126-8.
  17. Saleem R, Ahmed M, Ahmed SI, Azeem M, Khan RA, Rasool N, Saleem H, Noor F, Faizi S. Hypotensive activity and toxicology of constituents from root bark of Polyalthia longifolia var. pendula. Phytother Res. 2005 Oct;19(10):881-4.
  18. C. P. Khare Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary

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