Family • Euphorbiaceae - Antidesma bunius (Linn.) Spreng - CURRANT TREE - Wu yue cha

Scientific names

Antidesma bunius (Linn.) Spreng
Antidesma cilliatum Presl.
Antidesma cordifolium Presl.
A. bunius var cordifolium Muel.
Antidesma crassifolium Elm.
Sapium crassifolium Elm.
Stilago bunius Linn.

Common names

Bignay (Tag., Sbl., Bik.,C. Bis.)
Bignay-kalabaw (Tag.)
Bugnay (Ilk., Bon., Ibn., P. Bis., C. Bis.)
Bugney (Bon., If.)
Bundei (Ibn.)
Dokodoko (Bag.)
Isip (Pamp.)
Mutagtamanuk (Bag,)
Oyhip (Sbl.)
Pagiñga (Ibn.)
Vunnay (Ibn.)
Mao luang (Thailand)
Currant tree (Engl.)
Chinese laurel (Engl.)
Queensland cherry (Engl.)
Salamander tree (Engl.)
Wu yue cha (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Wu cao shu.
DUTCH: Salamanderboom.
FRENCH : Antidesma.
GERMAN : Lorbeerblättriger Flachsbaum, Salamanderbaum.
INDIA: Soh-syllai.
JAPANESE: Buni no ki, Nanyou gomishi, Saramando no ki.
LAOTIAN: Kho lien tu.
MALAY: Berunai, Buneh, Boni, Buni, Huni, Wuni.
MALAYALAM: Airyaporiyan, Cerutali, Nulittali.
PORTUGUESE: Candoeira.
SPANISH: Bignai.
TAMIL: Nolaidali.
THAI: Ba mao ruesi, Mamao luang, Mamao dong, Mao chang, Maeng mao khwai.


Bignay is a small, smooth, dioecious tree, 4 to 10 meters high. Leaves are shiny, oblong, 8 to 20 centimeters long, pointed at the tip, rounded or pointed at the base. Spikes are axillary or terminal, simple, and usually 5 to 15 centimeters long. Flowers are small and green. Male flowers are about 1.5 millimeters in diameter, borne on spikes, while the female flowers grow out on racemes. Fruit is fleshy, red, acid, edible, ovoid, and about 8 millimeters long, single-seeded, and borne in grapelike pendant clusters (often paired), wrinkled when dry, the seed becoming somewhat compressed.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Analysis on Flavanoids Contents in Mao Luang Fruits of Fifteen Cultivars (Antidesma bunius), Grown in Northeast Thailand / Butkhup L, Samappito S. / Pak J Biol Sci. 2008 Apr 1;11(7):996-1002.

(2) Natural Dyes / Compiled by Helen Florido and Fe Cortiguerra / RESEARCH INFORMATION SERIES ON ECOSYSTEMS, Vol 11, No 1, Jan-April 1999 /

(3) Sorting Antidesma names / Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 – 2000 The University of Melbourne.

(4) An analysis on flavonoids contents in Mao Luang fruits of fifteen cultivars (Antidesma bunius), grown in northeast Thailand / Butkhup L, Samappito S. / Pak J Biol Sci. 2008 Apr 1;11(7):996-1002.

(5) Medicinal Plants of Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, India / H. Kayang, B. Kharbuli, B. Myrboh and D. Syiem

Note: The plant is very similar to Binayoyo (Antidesma ghaesembilla) differing in the general outline of the leaves which is broadly elliptic or obovate and being more rounded on both ends. The dorsal surface is beset with soft hairs. The corolla lobes of the male (staminate) flower is 5-parted.

– Common from northern Luzon to Mindanao, in thickets, etc., in the vicinity of towns and settlements, and occasional in forests.
– Also reported in Sri Lanka, India, eastern Himalaya, Burma, Indo-China, China, Thailand, Indonesia, and Australia.

Parts utilized

· Parts utilized: roots, leaves, and fruits.
· Roots and leaves, collected the year round.
· Fruits, collected May to July.
· Sun-dry.

– The bark is poisonous, containing an toxic alkaloid.
– Contains phenolics, flavonoids, anthocyanins and carotenoids.
– Methanol extract of leaves yielded six polyphenols, viz., corilagin, gallic, ferrulic, and ellagic acids, together with flavone vicinin II and dimmer amentoflavone.

Acidic tasting, warming nature.
Astringent, antidysenteric.
Thirst quenching, induces salivation.
Antioxidative, anti-cancer.
Leaves are sudorific.


Edibility / Nutrition
– Fruits made into jam and jelly.
– Fermented into vinegar, wine and brandy.
– The leaves when young are edible, eaten raw, in salads, or stewed with rice.
– Leaves used as substitute for tomato or vinegar to flavor fish and meat stews.
– A good source of calcium and fair source of iron.
• Parched tongue, lack of appetite, indigestion.
• Sprains.
• Dosage: use 15 to 30 gms dried material in decoction.
• Leaves used for snakebites.
• Leaves and fruits used for anemia and hypertension.
• Juice of fruits used for heart disease.
• Used for syphilitic affections.
• In Vietnam, stem-bark used for fevers.
• In India, solution from boiled leaves used for bathing patients with painful joints.

• Wood: Used for fence posts, tool handles, walking sticks.
• Dye: Fruit is source of blue dye.

Study Findings
• Phytochemicals / Flavonoids: Analysis on Flavanoids Contents in Mao Luang Fruits of Fifteen Cultivars (Antidesma bunius), Grown in Northeast Thailand: Study showed 15 cultivars to possess different amounts of flavonoids of catechin, proyanidins B1 and B2.
• Cytotoxicity: Biological Activity of Bignay [Antidesma bunius (L.) Spreng] Crude Extract in Artemia salina: Study suggests that bignay possibly contains compounds with potential cytotoxic activity.
• Flavonoid and Phenolic Content: An analysis on flavonoids, phenolics and organic acids contents in brewed red wines of both non-skin contact and skin contact fermentation techniques of Mao Luang ripe fruits (Antidesma bunius) harvested from Phupan Valley in Northeast Thailand: Skin contact Mao Luang red wine showed higher amounts of flavonoids, phenolic acids, anthocyanins of procyanidin B1 and procyanidin B2, organic acids than non-skin contact red wine.
• Antioxidant: Study showed methanolic extracts of bignay berries exhibit a potential use as natural antioxidants.
• Cultivar Flavonoid Contents: Study to analyze the flavonoid contents in ripe fruits of 15 Mao Luang cultivars yielded three different kinds of flavonoids, i.e., catechin, procyanidin B1 and procyanidin B2.
• Antidiabetic: Study of bignay extracts in rats showed glucose lowering effect on fasted non-diabetic and alloxan-induced diabetic rats. The effect had the same therapeutic effect as glibenclamide and was attributed to phenolic contents and flavonoids.
• Hepatoprotective / Antioxidant / Polyphenols: Study of methanol extract of A. bunius leaves yielded six polyphenols, namely, corilagin, gallic, ferrulic and ellagic acids, together with flavone vicinin II and the dimmer amentoflavone. In vitro evaluated of leaves extract sowed high antioxidant potency. The leaves, together with compound 1, showed hgh hepatoprotective activity in an invitro assay.
• α-Glucosidase Inhibitory Activity / Antidiabetic: In a study of six plants of indigenous medicinal use, all showed α-glucosidase inhibition. Anitdesma bunius showed significant inhibition (99.7%), with the methanol fraction showing greatest potency.