Family • Liliaceae - Alstonia macrophylla Wallich ex G. Don - DEVIL TREE

Scientific names

Alstonia macrophylla Wall. ex G. Don
Alstonia batino Blanco
Alstonia pangkorensis King & Gamble

Other vernacular names

INDONESIA: Pule batu, Kai riti, Ai oi.
MALAYSIA: Pulai penipu bukit, Pulai daun besar, Sayongan.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Ai wawoi, Andelagar, Dero.
THAILAND: Thungfa, Kra thungfa hai, Teen thian.
VIETNAM: S[uwx]a ;[as] l[ows]n, M[ows]p l[as] to.

Common names

Barakir (Bag.) Pangalañutien (Ilk.)
Basikalang (Ting., Ibn.) Pañgalisokloen (Ilk.)
Basikarang (Ilk.) Pañgalunadsien (Ilk.)
Batikalag (Pang.) Pañgolaksien (Ibn.)
Batino (Pang., Tag., Bik.) Sulusilhigan (Tagb.)
Busisi (Ibn.) Tañgitang (P. Bis.)
Dalakan (Ilk.) Tuliñgan (Sul.)
Itang-itang (P. Bis.) Devil tree (Engl.)
Koanan (P. Bis.) Hard alstonia (Engl.)
Kuyau-juyau (Bik.) Hard milkwood (Engl.)
Kuyauyau (Bik.)


Batino is a medium-sized tree, growing up to 20 meters high. Bark is smooth. Branches are 4-angled. Leaves are in whorls of three, oblong-obovate, 10 to 30 centimeters long, 5 to 7 centimeters wide, and short-stalked. Flowers are small, yellowish-white, borne on short, terminal cymes. Calyx is small. Corolla is tubular, 1 to 1.5 centimeters long, lobed towards the top. Fruit is a double follicle, pendant, long and slender, 20 to 40 centimeters long. Seeds are small and very flat, with deep-brown hairs, especially along the edges.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Cytotoxic activity of indole alkaloids from Alstonia macrophylla / KEAWPRADUB N.; ENO-AMOOQUAYE E; BURKE P. J; HOUGHTON P.

(2) Evaluation of anti-inflammatory activity of Wall ex A. DC. leaf extract / G. Arunachalama, D. Chattopadhyaya et al / Phytomedicine, Volume 9, Issue 7, Pages 632-635, 2002

(3) Sperm motility inhibiting activity of a phytosterol from Alstonia macrophylla Wall ex A. DC. leaf extract : A tribal medicine / Indian journal of experimental biology / 2005, vol. 43, no11, pp. 1104-1109

(4) Alstiphyllanines A-D, Indole Alkaloids from Alstonia macrophylla / J. Nat. Prod., 2009, 72 (2), pp 304–307 / DOI: 10.1021/np8007107

(5) Effect of Alstonia scholaris in Enhancing the Anticancer Activity of Berberine in the Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma-Bearing Mice

(6) In vitro antiamoebic and antiplasmodial activities of alkaloids isolated from Alstonia angustifolia roots / C W Wright et al / Phytotherapy Research Volume 6 Issue 3, Pages 121 – 124 / DOI 10.1002/ptr.2650060303

(7) Alstonia macrophylla Wallich ex G. Don / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED

– Common In open primary and in secondary forests and thickets at low and medium altitudes throughout the Philippines.
– Also occurs in the China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Borneo, and New Guinea.

– Bark yielded four alkaloids: macralstonine, macralstonidine, villalstonine, and a base M.
– Study isolated a nonphenolic alkaloid, macrophylline, consisting of colorless and tasteless crystals.
– Total alkaloids 0.99% – macrophylline, macrastonine, macalstonidine, villastonine, monomeric indole alkaloids, dimethoxy alstophylline.
– Research on alkaloidal content of leaves isolated and characterized twelve indole alkaloids.
– Phytochemical screening yielded alkaloids, phenolics, saponins, and tannins.

Considered febrifuge, tonic, aphrodisiac, emmenagogue, vulnerary.
Reported antipyretic, antibacterial, antifungal and antiinflammatory.

Parts used 
Fresh leaves, bark.

• In the Philippines, the bark, in powder, decoction, infusion, tincture, or wine preparation, is used as febrifuge, tonic, antiperiodic, antidysenteric, emmenagogue, anticholeric, and vulnerary.
• Bark is used in the same manner as dita (Alstonia scholaris).
• Crush leaves, mix with a little coconut oil and heated, are applied as a warm poultice to sprains, bruises, contusions, and dislocated joints.
• In India, decoction of leaves and stem bark widely used to treat stomachache, skin diseases, urinary infections.

batino3Study Findings
• Antimicrobial activity of Alstonia macrophylla: a folklore of bay islands: The extract studies showed antimicrobial activity against various strains of Staph aureus, Stapyh saprophyticus, Strep faecalis, Proteus mirabilis, Trichophyton rubrum, Tricophyton mentagrophytes and Microsporum gypseum.
• CNS Depressant Activities: An ethnomedicine of Onge of Bay Islands : Study showed of Alstonia macrophylla leaves caused a significant reduction in spontaneous activity, decrease in exploratory behavioral pattern, reduction in muscle relaxant activity. Crude leaf extract showed the presence of tannin, triterpenoid, flavonoid, sterol and alkaloids.
• Cytotoxic activity of indole Alkaloids: 13 alkaloids isolated from the root bark of Alstonia macrophylla and a semisynthetic bisindole was studied for cytotoxic activity against two human lung cancer cell lines. The bisindoles were found to possess pronounced activity against cancer cell lines.
• Antipyretic Activity / Ursolic Acid: Study showed the methanol extract to possess a significant antipyretic effect. Phytochemical testing yielded ursolic acid as a major constituent, with its diverse pharmacologic actions – antiinflammatory, antihistamine and analgesic.
• Anti-Inflammatory Activity: Study of methanolic extract of dried leaves of Alstonia macrophylla showed significant dose-dependent antiinflammatory activity in a rat study, comparable to that of standard drug Indomethacin.
• Sperm-motility Inhibition: Study showed potent inhibition of sperm motility and a potential use as vaginal contraceptive.
• Antiplasmodial / Vasorelaxant: Study yielded four new alkaloids, alstiphyllanines A-D which showed moderate antiplasmodial activity against Plasmodium falcifarum and vasorelaxant activity against phenylephrine-induced contraction of isolated rat aorta.
• Chemomodulatory: Chemomodulatory activity of AS extract was studied in combination with berberine Hcl (BCL), a topoisomerase inhibitor, which showed antineoplastic benefits in the early stages.
• Antibacterial: In a study of 12 extracts from 6 medicinal plants, the crude ethanolic extracts from the bark of Alstonia macrophylla showed potential antibacterial effect against S aureus.
• Antiprotozoal: Study showed three alkaloids from A macrophylla to possess significant activity against E histolytica and Plasmodium falcifarum, although less in potency than emetine and chloroquine.
• Comparative Antibacterial Study on Bark: Comparative study was done on the phytochemical and antibacterial activities of the bark of A. scholaris and A. macrophylla. Different solvent extracts showed alkaloids, saponins, phenolics, and tannins in both species. The chloroform extract of A. macrophylla showed broader spectrum of antibacterial activity than A. scholaris.