Family • Clusiaceae - Garcinia morella (Gaertn.) Desr. - GAMBOGE - Teng huang

Scientific names

Garcinia morella (Gaertn.) Desr.
Garcinia elliptica Wall.
Garcinia gaudichaudii Planch. & Tiana
Garcinia gutta Wight
Garcinia lateriflora Blume
Garcinia lobulosa Wall.
Garcinia pictoria Roxb.
Mangostana morella Gaertn.

Common names

Batuan ( Bis.)
Maladambo (Tag.)
Kandis (Mbo.)
Ugau (Bik.)
Gamboge (Engl.)
Gamboge tree (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

BURMESE: Thamengut.
CHINESE: Teng huang.
FRENCH: Gamboge.
HINDI: Gothaghanba, Tamal, Tamel.
JAPANESE: Ganboujinoki, Kanboujinoki.
KANNADA: Devanahuli, Hardala, Jarigehuli, Kankutake, Punarapuli, Reval chinni mara.
MALAYALAM: Karukkampuli, Pinnarpuli, Pulijakka, Valakkana.
MALAYSIA: Kandis (Peninsular).
MARATHI: Lokaskandha, Tapichcha.
SANSKRIT: Kankustha, Lokaskandha, Tamala, Tapinja, Tapitha.
SINHALESE: Gokatoo gas, Goraka, Kana goraka gas, Kokatiya.
TELUGU: Karukkampuli, Pasupuvarene, Revalchinni.


Batuan is a tree that grows up to 12 meters tall. Bark is smooth, dark grey in color; blaze is white. Leaves are simple, opposite, decussate; petiole 0.6 to 1.5 centimeters long, canaliculate, sheathing at the base, glabrous; lamina is 6.5 to 15 by 3.5 to 6 centimeters, usually elliptic, sometimes narrow obovate; apex acute to acuminate, base attenuate; coriaceious or subcoriaceious, glabrous; secondary nerves are 6 to 8 pairs; tertiary nerves are obscure. Flowers show inflorescence and are dioecious; male flowers in fascicles, axillary; female flowers larger than male, solitary, axillary. Fruit is globose to slightly elongated, 2 centimeters in diameter, yellow when ripe, each of its four cells contains a seed.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Sorting Garcinia names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1995 – 2020 / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia.

(2) Novel cytotoxic polyprenylated xanthonoids from Garcinia gaudichaudii (Guttiferae) / Shu-Geng Cao, Valerie H L Sng, Xiao-Hua Wu, Keng-Yeow Sim, B H K Tan, J T Pereira / Tetrahedron 09/1998; 54(36):10915-10924 / DOI: 10.1016/S0040-4020(98)00644-9

(3) Novel Cytotoxic, Polyprenylated Heptacyclic Xanthonoids from Indonesian Garcinia gaudichaudii (Guttiferae) / Y. J. Xu, S. C. Yip, S. Kosela, E. Fitri, M. Hana, S. H. Goh , and K. Y. Sim / Org. Lett., 2000, 2 (24), pp 3945–3948 / DOI: 10.1021/ol006730t

(4) Garcinia morella (Gaertn.) Desr. / Common names / GlobinMed

(5) Ethno-Botanical Studies on Some Indigenous Plants Used by the Bodo Tribes of Udalguri District of Bodoland Territorial Autonomous District Area in Assam, India / S. Saharia1* and F. Yasmin / International Journal of Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Studies,2014,Vol 1,No.2,39-41.


(7) Comparative evaluation of antioxidant activities of some fresh and preserved herbal products of North East India by cyclic voltammetry / Manas Pratim Boruah, Dhrubajyoti Mahanta and Jyotirekha G Hangique / Indian Journal of Natural Products and Resources, Vol 3(1), March 2012, pp 40-47

(8) Chemistry and Biology of the Caged Garcinia Xanthones / Oraphin Chantarasriwong, Prof., Dr. Ayse Batova, Dr. Warinthorn Chavasiri, and Dr. Emmanuel A. Theodorakis / Chemistry. 2010 Sep 3; 16(33): 9944–9962. /
doi: 10.1002/chem.201000741

– Found in Sri Lanka, India, and southern Philippines.

– Phytochemical analysis of leaf extract yielded 15 novel cytotoxic compounds, gaudichaudione A-H, gaudichaudiic acid A-E, and known compounds morellic acid and forbesione.
– Study of bark isolated novel gaudichaudiic acids F-I .


– Antidysenteric.
– Studies have shown cytotoxic properties.
– Gum-resin of G. morella considered to have hydragogue, cathartic, anthelmintic and amenorrheic properties.

Parts used

Culinary / Edibility
– Ripe fruits are edible but very acidic.
– Fruits can be preserved by drying thin sliced pieces in the sun.
– Dried slices added to curry preparations for its sour and cooling taste.
– Unripe fruit cooked as vegetable.
– Chutney made by boiling the fruit.

– In India, the Bodo tribes of Udalguri use dried fruit slices as remedy for dysentery.
– Fresh fruits reported to lower blood pressure.
– Resin applied as anti-irritant for skin.
– In Ayurvedic records, the yellow latex of the plant is dried and sold in the market as ‘Kokum” or “Gamboge.”
– Gamboge is a laxative in doses of 10-15 cgm, producing abundant evacuations with violent colicky pains in doses of 30-50 cgm., and is an irritant poison in large doses. Used as hydragogue cathartic in draining of fluid elements from the blood, as in dropsy, asthma, pulmonary and cerebral congestion. Also used as vermifuge. Rarely given alone, often combined with calomel, aloes, jalap, rhubarb, etc.
Latex extraction
– All parts of the plant contain a thick, yellow, milky juice which constitutes the gamboge. In Malabar, Ceylon, Canara and Singapore the following method of extraction is followed: At the beginning of the rainy season a spiral incision is made around the bark of about half the tree trunk, and a piece of bamboo is fixed in place to collect the juice which slowly exudes from the cut for several months, soon becoming viscid and then solid after contact with the air. One tree, as a rule, yields enough sap to fill three internodal segments of bamboo, each 50 centimeters long by 3–5 centimeters in diameter.

Study Findings
• Cytotoxicity / Tetraprenylated Xanthonoids: Study of leaf extract yielded 15 novel cytotoxic compounds, gaudichaudiones A-H, gaudichaudiic acids A-E, morellic acid and forbesione. Some compounds were found to exhibit significant cytotoxicity against several cancer cell lines.
• Antioxidant: Hexane and methanol extract of fresh G. morella and methanol extract of preserved G. morella showed mild pro-oxidant activity. All the sample extracts except the ethyl acetate extract of fresh G. morella showed instant radical scavenging capacity.
• Gamboge / Colorant: Early chemical literature reports the use in the arts and sciences of the pulverized gold-colored resin from Garcinia hanburyi, and to a lesser extent from Garcinia morella. The yellow colorant of 8th century East Asia artifacts is presumed to be gamboge-based water color. Also, the pigment has been noted in a Rembrandt painting, and reportedly used by Flemish painters.
• Morellin / Antibacterial: In 1937 investigations from seeds and resin of G. morella isolated morellin. In 1963 the p-bromobenzenesulfonyl ester of morellein was identified. Morellin and gambogic acid, the major components of semipurified resin extracts of G. morella exhibited high in vitro specific growth inhibitory effects on Gram-positive bacteria in vitro and a protective action in experimental staphylococcal infections in mice.
• Endophytes / Antioxidant: Fungal endophytes Aspergillus fumigatus and Fusarium verticillioides were isolated from the twigs of Garcinia morella. Studies showed antioxidant activity on DPPH and ABTS assays, with a total phenolic content of 100.24±0.01 mg/ml. Extracts also showed inhibition of 15-lipoxygenase and human cyclooxygenase-2.