Family • Lecythidaceae - Barringtonia acutangula Linn. - CUT NUT

Scientific names

Eugenia acutangula Linn.
Botryoropis luzonensis Presl
Stravadium luzonense Miers
Barringtonia luzonensis Rolfe
Barringtonia reticulata Miq.
Barringtonia spicata
Barringtonia acutangula Linn.

Other vernacular names

ORIYA: Hinjala, Hinjal.
SANSKRIT: Dhatriphal.
THAI: Chik, Chik Na, Chik Nam.

Common names

Apaling (Ig.)
Himbabalod (P. Bis.)
Kalambudya (Ilk.)
Latuba (Ibn.)
Putad (Tag.)
Putat (Tag., Pamp., Bik.)
Sako (Mbo.)
Saku (Mbo.)
Topuk (Mag.)
Tuba (Tag., Ibn.)
Barringtonia (Engl.)
Cut nut (Engl.)
Indian oak (Engl.)
Wild almond (Engl.)

Himbabalod is an evergreen, smooth, medium-sized tree growing to a height of 12 meters. Bark is dark brown, rough, 10 to 13 millimeters thick. Leaves are somewhat crowded at the end of the branches, oblong-obovate, 6 to 14 centimeters long, pointed at the ends, the young leaves finely toothed at the margins. Flowers are dark scarlet, numerous, axillary and pendulous racemes, 10 to 45 centimeters long. Fruit is oblong-ovoid, 3 to 4 centimeters long, about 1.5 centimeters thick, bluntly quadrangular, pointed at the ends, and crowed by persistent calyx lobes.


– In thickets and forests in most islands and provinces, at low and medium altitudes, from northern Luzon to Mindanao and Palawan, in most islands and provinces.
– Also occurs in India through Malaya through tropical Australia.

– Principal constituents are starch, protein, cellulose, fat, caoutchouc, alkaline sales, and an active principal similar to saponin which forms into a stable froth when shaken on a watery solution.
– From the bark, a study yielded nine triterpene saponins, acutangulosides A-F, and acutanguloside D-F methyl esters and a single triterpene aglycone.
– Wood and fruits yield tanginol, barrinic acid, barringenic acid.
– Leaves yield terpenes, flavanoids, carbohydrates, tannins, steroids, and glycosides.
– Ethanolic study of fruit extracts showed saponins, on hydrolysis yielded triterpenoid sapogenins, barringtogenol B, C and D and two triterpenoid acid sapogenins.
– Phytochemical screening of powdered leaves yielded terpenoids, saponins, flavonoids, carbohydrates, tannins, steroids, and glycosides.
– Study evaluating stem bark for bioactive components yielded seven compounds; the prevailing compound in an ethanolic extract was 9-Octadecenoic acid, (E) (21.64%).

– Root is aperient, antipyretic, bitter, cooling, aperient and stimulant.
– Bark is stomachic.
– Seeds are emetic.
– Fruit are bitter, anthelmintic, vulnerary, depurative, emetic.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Antimicrobial activities of Barringtonia acutangula

(2) Antibacterial activity of Barringtonia acutangula against selected urinary tract pathogens / Sahoo et al / Year : 2008 • Volume : 70 • Issue : 5 | Page : 677-569S / Indian Journ of Pharmaceutical Sciences • / DOI: 10.4103/0250-474X.45417

(3) Triterpenoids XI. New triterpenoid sapogenins from the fruits of Barringtonia acutangula / A. K. Barua, P. C. Mait et al / Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences • Volume 50 Issue 11, Pages 937 – 940 / DOI 10.1002/jps.2600501111

(4) Antimicrobial Activirty of Northeastern Medicinal Plants in Thailand / IJPS • Vol 1. No 1. January-June 2005

(5) Acutangulosides A-F, monodesmosidic saponins from the bark of Barringtonia acutangula / Mills C, Carroll AR, Quinn RJ. / J Nat Prod. 2005 Mar;68(3):311-8.

(6) Central nervous system depressant activity of Barringtonia acutangula (Linn.) Gaertn / P. Balaji*, M. Thirumal, B. Kumudhaveni, G. Kishore and A. Aliya / Der Pharmacia Lettre, 2012, 4 (6):1786-1792

(7) Apoptotic induction by leaf extracts of Barringtonia acutangula l. and Stereospermum colias L. in colo320 cells / Florida, M., Aneesh Nair and T. Sekar / Internation Journal of Current Research

(8) Antinociceptive, antidiarrheal, and neuropharmacological activities of Barringtonia acutangula. / Mohammad Zafar Imam, Shamima Sultana, Saleha Akter / Pharmaceutical Biology, 07/2012; 50(9):1078-84. / DOI:10.3109/13880209.2012.656850


(10) Pharmacognostical evaluation of Barringtonia acutangula leaf / Dharamaraj Padmavathi, Lakshmi Susheela, and Rajkishore Vijaya Bharathi / International Journal of Ayurveda Research, 2011;2(1):37-41 / doi:10.4103/0974-7788.83189

(11) Hepatoprotective effect of Barringtonia acutangula Linn. leaves on carbon tetrachloride-induced acute liver damage in rats / S Mishra, S Sahoo*, K K Rout, S K Nayak, S K Mishra and P K Panda / Indian Journal of Natural Products and Resources Vol. 2(4), December 2011, pp. 515-519

(12) EFFECT OF BARRINGTONIA ACUTANGULA ROOT EXTRACT ON ANTIOXIDANT ENZYMES IN RAT BRAIN AFTER MES INDUCED SEIZURE RATS / G. Sandhyarani*, Bikku Naik, K. Praveen Kumar, Alli Ramesh / International Journal of Experimental Pharmacology, Vol 4, Issue 1, 2014, pp 61-64

(13) Evaluation of Antidiabetic activity of Barringtonia acutangula (L.Gaertn) leaf extract in Alloxan induced Diabetic rats / Palanivel. V * Sabeel Kuttiyil, Senthil Kumar K.L / Palanivel.V et al; Int J Adv Pharm Gen Res, 1(2), 2013; 1-8

(14) Hypolipidemic Effect of Hydro-Alcoholic Extract of Barringtonia acutangula Linn Root Extract on Streptozotocin-induced Diabetic Rats / Nilesh P Babre, Subal Debnath, Y.S.Manjunath, Gajanan Deshmaukh, K.Hariprasath, Kukkala Sharon / Journal of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology Vol. 2 (11), 2010,368-371.


Parts utilized
Bark, roots, leaves, fruits.

– In the Philippines, bark decoction used as stomachic.
– Bark also applied to wounds.
– Used in various folk medicine for arthralgia, dysmenorrhea, chest pains, inflammation, diarrhea. Also, as carminative, expectorant, bitter tonic, emetic.
– Used for treatment of seminal weakness, diarrhea, and gonorrhea.
– In Amboina and India, root and bark used for wounds.
– Juice of leaves used for diarrhea.
– In Sindh, fruit is used for coughs, colds, and asthma.
– Seeds are used as aromatic in colic and parturition, also for ophthalmic.
– Kernels are powdered, mixed with butter and sago, for diarrhea.
– In Bombay, kernels are used as emetic.
– Powdered seeds are used as snuff for headache.
– Seeds of the fruit, rubbed with the juice of fresh ginger, for nasal catarrh and to expel flatus in colic.
– Rubbed with water on the chest to relieve pains and colds, to the abdomen to relieve colic and flatulence.
– In India, fruits and leaves in alkaline decoction for abdominal and splenic disorders. Roots used to treat epilepsy.
– Seeds rubbed down on stone and applied over sternum for chest colds.
– A few grains mixed with the juice of fresh ginger, taken internally, induce vomiting or help the expulsion of mucus.
– In Ayurveda, seeds and leaves used for vitiated conditions of pitt and kapha, colic, intestinal worms, wounds, ulcers, skin diseases, hallucinations.
– Fruit incorporated in antiseptic ointment for venereal sores.
– Juice of leaves used for mucoid diarrhea.
– Fruit used as anthelmintic and as astringent in gingivitis.
– Decoction of bark used as mouthwash in gum problems.
– In Sri Lanka, used for malaria.
– German Commission E monograph recognizes the bark for use in common colds, cough, bronchitis, fever and diarrhea.

– Poison: In the Philippines, bark is used as fish poison.

Study Findings
• Antimicrobial: Crude extracts showed good activity against all test organisms: Gram negative and positive bacteria and two fungi. It was especially effective against Bacillus subtilis and Aspergillus niger, comparable to kanamycin and fluconazole.
• Antimicrobial: Study of extracts of five edible plants from northeast Thailand showed the methanolic extract of Barringtonia acutangula to be the most active, showing antimicrobial activity against all tested bacteria, including E coli, Salmonella typhimurium, S aureus, Bacillus cereus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
• Anti-Malarial: In-vivo antimalarial activity of aqueous root extract of Barringtonia acutangula in mice: Extract of B. acutangula is non-toxic, and possesses antimalarial activity justifying indigenous medicinal use in Sri Lanka.
• Antimicrobial: Urinary Tract Pathogens: Study of Barringtonia acutangula showed its ethanol extract exhibited broader spectrum of inhibition, followed by chloroform, petroleum ether and aqueous against urinary pathogens under test.
• Triterpenoids / Sapogenins: Study isolated three new triterpenoid sapogenins balled barringtogenol B, C and D from the fruits. Two triterpenoid acid sapogenins was also isolated from the same source, one identified as methyl barringtogenate.
• Triterpenoid Glucoside: Study yielded a triterpenoid glucoside from Barringtonia acutangula – a 2a,3ß,19a-trihydroxy-olean-12-ene-23,28-dioic acid 28-O-ß-D-glucopyranoside.
• Antioxidant / Chemopreventive: Extracts showed significant activities in all antioxidant assays with the total antioxidant activity increasing in a dose-dependent manner. Results suggest BA may act as a chemopreventive agent, providing antioxidant properties and protection from free radicals.
• Antibacterial / Antifungal: Phytochemical screening yielded terpenoids, steroids, tannins, saponins flavanoids and glycosides. Results showed Barringtonia acutangula leaves exhibit potential antibacterial and antifungal activity.
• Central Nervous System Depressant Activity: An ethyl alcohol extract of coarsely powdered leaves evaluated by various assays showed CNS depressant behavior with maximum inhibition of neuronal activity.
• Anti-Arthritic / Leaves: Study of a chloroform extract of leaves showed significant anti-arthritic effect comparable to synthetic anti-inflammatory agents.
• Hepatoprotective / Roots: Study evaluated various root extracts of B. acutangula on CCl4-induced liver damage in healthy Wistar albino rats. Results showed significant dose-dependent hepatoprotective activity confirmed by histopathological evaluation. It also exhibited significant in vitro antioxidant activities.
• Anticancer Potential / Colorectal Cancer / Apoptosis: Study B. acutangula and Stereospermum colata methanol and ethyl acetate extracts showed free radical scavenging and anti-cancer activity against Colon cancer cell lines Colo320. Cytotoxicity was attributed to apoptosis.
• Antinociceptive / Antidiarrheal / Neuropharmacological Effects / Leaves and Seeds: Study evaluated a methanol extract of seeds and leaves for antinociceptive, antidiarrheal and neuropharmacological effects in mice. Both extracts showed dose-dependent antinociceptive effect, significant inhibition of defecation in diarrheal models, and decreased motor activity in both hold cross and open field test.
• Hypoglycemic / Anti-diabetic / Fruits: Study evaluated the hypoglycemic activity of various fruit extracts of B. acutangula in streptozotocin-induced hyperglycemic Wistar rats. The aqueous extract of fruit showed significant hypoglycemic potential comparable to standard drug glibenclamide.
• Hepatoprotective / Leaves / Carbon Tetrachloride Toxicity: Study evaluated in vitro and in vivo hepatoprotective activity of a methanol extract of B. acutangula leaves on carbon tetrachloride induced hepatic injury in rats. Results showed significant (P<0.001) hepatoprotective effect at dose of 3.3 mg/mL.
• Antimicrobial / Bark: Study evaluating the antimicrobial activity of bark of B. acutangula showed excellent performance against E. coli.
• Antimicrobial / Antioxidant / Stem Bark:Study of extract and fractionates of fresh stem bark showed significant and remarkable activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus aureus, Salmonella typhi, Klebsiella and E. coli. Extract of showed best antioxidant activity through the DPPH radicals scavenging activity.
• Anticonvulsant / Roots: Study evaluated an ethanol extract on antioxidant enzymes in rat brain after induction of epilepsy by MES (maximal electroshock). Results showed anticonvulsant activity probably through significantly increased levels of antioxidant enzymes which could delay the generation of free radicals in MES induced epilepsy.
• Anti-diabetic / Leaves: Study evaluated the antidiabetic effect of an ethanolic leaf extra t in normal and Alloxan induced diabetic Wistar rats. Treatment of leaves extract caused a marked decrease in elevated blood glucose levels, as well as marked increase in body weight. The extract also produced significant benefits on the hyperlipidemic lipid profile.
• Hypolipidemic / Roots: Study evaluated the hypolipidemic activity of a hydroalcoholic extract of Barringtonia acutangula root on STZ-induced diabetic albino rats. Results showed improvement of lipid profile on euglycemic as well as diabetic rats, probably through delayed intestinal absorption of dietary fat by inhibiting pancreatic lipase activity by saponin present in the EBA.