Family • Olacaceae - Ximenia americana Linn. - SEASIDE PLUM - Hai tan mu

Scientific names

Ximenia americana Linn.
Zizyphus littorea Teysm.

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Xi men mu, Shan mei shu.
FRENCH: Citron de la mer, Citronnier de la mer, Prune epine, Prune de mer, Prunellier chimene.
PORTUGUESE: Ameixa, Ameixeria Do Campo, Espinha De Maicha.

Common names

Buol (Bag.) Wild olive (Engl.)
Meal (Bik.) Wild lime (Engl.)
Pangungan (Yak.) Mountain plume (Engl.)
Paniungan (Sul.) Seaside plume (Engl.)
Sulo-sulo (Bag.) Citron of sea (Engl.)
Sour plum (Engl.) Tallownut (Engl.)
Wild plum (Engl.) Hai tan mu (Chin.)


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Antimicrobial Properties of Stem Bark Extracts of Ximenia Americana / Maikai V A et al / Journal of Agricultural Science December, 2009

(2) C18 Acetylenic Fatty Acids of Ximenia americana with Potential Pesticidal Activity / Majekodunmi O Fatope et al / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2000, 48 (5), pp 1872–1874 / DOI: 10.1021/jf990550k

(3) Identification and characterization of riproximin, a new type II ribosome-inactivating protein with antineoplastic activity from Ximenia americana / Cristina Voss et al / The FASEB Journal. 2006;20:1194-1196 / doi: 10.1096/fj.05-5231fje.

(4) Physico-chemical analysis of Ximenia americana.L seed oil and structure elucidation of some chemical constituents of its seed oil and fruit pulp / A E M Saeed and R S M Bashier / Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy Vol. 2(4), pp. 49-55, June 2010

(5) Effects of methanol extract of Ximenia americana on sexual behaviour, testicular weight, sperm count and sperm morphology of wister rats / Adeiza A Abubakar and Minka N Salka / Annals of Biological Research, 2011, 2 (1) :107-113

(6) Neuromuscular behaviour of wister rats administered methanol extract of Ximenia americana / Adeiza A. Abubakar and Minka N.Salka / Archives of Applied Science Research, 2010, 2 (5):217-225

Buol is a spiny shrub or small tree growing to a height of 6 meters. Bark is smooth and reddish. Leaves are alternate, oblong or elliptical, 3 to 7 centimeters long, pale beneath, and with a rounded apex. Flowers are yellowish-white, fragrant and less than a centimeter long. Fruit is yellow, somewhat rounded, 1.5 to 3 centimeters in diameter, containing one large seed.


– In thickets immediately back of the beach along the seashores in Quezon Province, Luzon, and in Palawan, Biliran, Mindanao, and the Sulu Archipelago.
– A pantropic strand plant.

• Pulp, seed and fruit contain hydrocyanic acid.
• Bark contains about 17% oils; heartwood and flowers contain essential oils.
• Seed oil contains oleic, linoleic, linolenic, arachidonic, eicosatrienoic, erucic and nervonic acids.
• Volatile oil of leaves yield benzaldehyde, hydoxy benzyl cyanide and isophorone.
• Kernels are purgative; although reported poisonous and containing hydrocyanic acid, subsequent investigation yielded no alkaloids and no cyanogenetic glucoside.


• Fruit has a peculiar odor and acid flavor; considered purgative.
• Bark is astringent.
• Considered vermifuge, vulnerary.

Parts utilized
Bark, fruit, leaves, seeds.

• Fruit is edible, with a taste of sour apples; eaten fresh or pickled.
• Seeds are cooked and powdered, mixed with sago to make bread.
• Kernels yield a yellow, semi-drying oil, edible but pungent.


• Fruit and nuts are purgative.
• In the West Indies, syrup made from the fruit is used for dropsy and rheumatism.
• In northern Nigeria, used for malaria, leproutic ulcers and various skin infections.
• In African traditional medicine, plant is used for treatment of cancer.
• In Sudan leaves and twigs are used for fever and colds, as mouthwash for toothaches, as laxative and eye lotion. Leaves are used for headaches and as poison antidote. Roots are used for skin aches, headaches, leprosy, hemorrhoids, sexually transmitted diseases, guinea worm, sleeping sickness, and as poison antidote. Powdered bark applied to skin ulcers. Fruits used as vermifuge.

• In Transvaal, natives used the fruit in making beer.
• Oily kernels used for softening leather.

Study Findings
• Antimicrobial / Chemical Constituents: Phytochemical analysis yielded saponins, cyanogenetic glycosides, flavonoids and tannins. The organic extract was active against all test isolates, highest for P aeruginosa.
• Antimicrobial / Stem Bark: Stem bark methanolic and water extracts of X americana showed significant spectrum of activity against E coli, P vulgaris, S aureus, P aeruginosa and B subtilis. Phytochemical analysis yielded alkaloids, saponins, flavonoids, cardiac glycosides, terpenoids and tannins.
• Volatile Oils: Analysis of volatile oil of leaves of X americana identified 33 components. The major constituents were benzaldehyde (63.5%) and isophorone (3.5%).
• Acute Toxicity Study: Study showed no acute toxicity to the aqueous extract of Ximenia americana.
• Pesticidal Potential: Extract of root of Ximenia americana yielded two C18 acetylenic fatty acids with inhibiting activity on the hatching of Clavigralla tomentosicollis eggs.
• Riproximin / Antineoplastic Activity: Study isolated a new protein, riproximin, belong to a family of type II ribosome inactivating protein. Results showed significant anticancer activity in a colorectal cancer rat metastasis model.
• Anticancer: Study showed significant anticancer activity with a 95% reduced activity following intestinal absorption. Physiochemical characterization showed the active antineoplastic components are proteins with galactose affinity.
• Wound Healing: Study of the wound healing effect of the aqueous extracts of five plants showed the best wound healing activity with the extract of Anthocephalus chinensis followed by Ximenia americana.
• Antioxidant: Study showed the flavonoid portion of a methanol extract of stem bark exhibited significant antioxidant activity with an Rc50 value of 8.
• Adverse Effect on Male Reproductive System: Study of extracts of leaf, stem, bark and root of Xa in wister male rats showed decreased sexual behavior, sperm damage and testicular weight loss. Results suggest pro-oxidant activity and inhibitory effect of flavonoids, saponins, anthraquinones, alkaloids and terpenoid on neuromuscular tissues may have caused damage to sperm cells and block olfactory sensitivity with consequent “perceptual block” of pheromonal stimuli.
• Anti-Diabetic: Study of a methanol extract of X. americana in normal glucose fed and alloxan-induced diabetic rats showed a dose-dependent anti-diabetic effect. The antidiabetic effect may be from the presence of flavonoids and tannins.
• Anti-Trypanosomal: Study of methanolic extract of stem bark of X. americana showed the flavonoid fraction to significantly inhibit the motility of the blood stream forms of Trypanosoma congolense. The suppression of the growth of parasites was dose-dependent.
• Neuromuscular Depressant: Study of methanol extracts of leaf, stem bark and root of XA on neuromuscular behavior of Wister rats showed a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on locomotor activity and excitability of the rats. The inhibitory effect was attributed to the sedative, spasmolytic, and pro-oxidant effects of some phytochemicals, like tannins, flavonoids, saponins, anthraquinones, alkaloids and terpenoids.