Indian Catmon

Family • Dilleniaceae - Dillenia indica Linn. - ELEPHANT APPLE - Wu ya guo

Scientific names

Dillenia indica Linn.

Common names

Indian catmon (Engl.) Dillenia (Engl.)
Elephant apple (Engl.) Hondapara tree (Engl.)
Chulta (India) Wu ya guo (Chin.)

Indian Catmon is a more or less deciduous tree growing up to 10 meters or more in height, with a few wide-spreading branches. Leaves are alternate, mostly terminal, oblong or broadly lanceolate, 20 to 30 centimeters long, 6 to 12 centimeters wide, stiff, curving outward, with toothed margins, and beautifully ribbed, with 30 to 40 pairs of side veins. Flowers are very large, 15 to 20 centimeters across, solitary at the ends of the twigs, are facing downward. Sepals are rounded and yellowish green, while the petals are white, free, obovate, and 5 to 7.5 centimeters wide. Fruit, which is made of ripened carpels and enclosed by greatly enlarged and thickened imbricating sepals, is large, somewhat rounded or broadly ovoid, 12.5 to 15 centimeters in diameter, yellowish green hard, and tough. Seeds are numerous and compressed, with a hairy margin.

Indian Catmon

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Isolation and Identification of Compounds from the Leaf Extract of Dillenia indica Linn / Md. Abdul Munit, Syed Mohammed Tareq et al / Bangladesh Pharmaceutical Journal. Vol. 13, No 1, January 2010

(2) Anti-leukemic activity of Dillenia indica L. fruit extract and quantification of betulinic acid by HPLC / D Kumar et al / Phytomedicine, Volume 17, Issue 6, Pages 431-435

(3) Antioxidant activity of the extracts from Dillenia indica fruits. / Abdille M et al / Food Chemistry

(4) Microscopic evaluation and physiochemical analysis of Dillenia indica leaf / S Kumar, V Kumar, Om Prakash / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2011)337-340 337 / doi:10.1016/S2221-1691(11)60076-2

(5) Antidiabetic and antihyperlipidemic effects of Dillenia indica (L.) leaves extract / Sunil Kumar, Vipin Kumar, Om Prakash / Braz. J. Pharm. Sci. vol.47 no.2 São Paulo Apr./June 2011 /

(6) A Study of the Anxiolytic-like Activity of Dillenia indica Linn. Leaves in Experimental Models of Anxiety in Mice / Mangala Lahkar, Bhaskarjyoti Thakuria, P Pathak / Internet Journal of Pharmacology, 2011, Vol 9, No 2

(7) Free Radicals scavenging effect of Dillenia indica leaves / Sunil Kumar, Vipin Kumar, Om Prakash / AJPBR. 2011; 1(2): 169-173

Indian Catmon2
– Introduced in the Philippines in 1908.
– Occurs in India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaya.

– Fruit is very watery, 86.4% water, with 10% insoluble matter, and very little of that is nutritious.
– Calyces of the fresh ripe fruit yields: moisture 86.40%, alcohlic extract 3.0 %, water extract 0.37%, and insolubles 10.23%.
– Composition of an alcoholic extract was: Moisture 8.20, tannin 1.40, glucose 12.15, mallic acid 2.21, petroleum ether solubles (fats, etc.) 0.72, albuminoids 0.85, ash 12.63, and pectous matter, etc., 61.84.
– Kernel of D. indica yielded antioxidant compounds 1-Dotriacontano and BHT.
– Phytochemical screening have yielded lupeol group of triterpene-like betulinic acid and betulin, and flavonol such as myricetin.
– Yields flavonoids: kaempferol, quercetin, isorhamnetin, naringenin and phenolic materials.
– Stem extract yielded four compounds: lupeol, betulinaldehyde, betulinic acid and stigmasterol.
– A phytochemical screening yielded steroids, terpenoids, saponins, fatty acids, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, glycosides and carbohydrates.

Indian Catmon3
– Bark and leaves are astringent.

Parts utilized
Fruit, bark, leaves.

– In Malaya, fruit is used as flavoring with curries. Also made into jam.

– Bark and leaves are astringent.
– Fruit is slightly laxative; in excess, may induce diarrhea.
– Fruit used for relieving abdominal pains.
– Mixed juices of leaf and bark taken orally for treatment of cancer and diarrhea.
– Juice of the fruit, mixed with sugar and water, used as a cooling beverage in fevers and as a cough mixture.
– In Sabah, young leaves or stem bark pounded and applied as paste on swellings and wounds.
– In Thailand, fruit pulp used in washing the hair.
– Fruit juice used as cardiotonic.

Indian Catmon4

• Red dye: A red dye is obtained from the tree bark.

Study Findings
• CNS Depresssant: Alcoholic extract has shown central nervous system depressant activity.
• Chemical Constituents / Triterpenoids / Flavonoids: Study isolated four compounds from the n-hexane and chloroform fractionates: 3,5,7-trihydroxy-3’4′-dimethoxy flavone, betulinic acid (dillenetin), ß-sitosterol and stigmaterol. Results indicate Dillenia indica may provide a rich source of triterpenoids and flavonoids. (2) Contains the lupeol group of triterpene (betulinic acid, betulinaldehyde, betulin) and flavonol (myricetin). Stem bark contains myricetin, isorrhamnetic, dillenetin and glucosides.
• Betulinic Acid / Anti-Leukemic: The methanolic extract of D indica fruit showed significant anti-leukemic activity in human leukemic cell lines. Betulinic acid, the major compound isolated, could explain the anti-leukemic activity.
• Anti-Inflammatory: The anti-inflammatory activities of the methanol extract of Dillenia indica leaves were observed in various models related to inflammation. The findings support the folkloric use of Dillenia indica in diseases related to inflammatory processes.
• Antioxidant: Study of extracts of Dillenia indica fruits antioxidant activity to be highest in the methanol extract, followed by ethyl acetate and water extracts. Results indicate the extent of antioxidant activity correlated with the amount of phenolics present and that D. indica is rich in phenolics and may provide a good source of antioxidants.
• Anti-Diabetic / Antihyperlipidemic: Study of methanolic leaves extracts in STZ-induced diabetic Wistar rats showed significant anti-diabetic activity. It also showed significant reduction in serum cholesterol, triglycerides, and serum transaminases levels, with improvement in HDL levels. Extract treatment also enhanced serum insulin levels in diabetic rats.
• Antimicrobial: Study of methanolic extracts and fractions of the bark of DI showed remarkable activities against all test bacteria. An n-Hexane fraction showed highest activity against Shigella dysenteriae. A methanol extract showed highest activity against fungus Candida albicans.
enhanced serum insulin levels in diabetic rats.
• Antimicrobial / Antioxidant / Cytotoxicity: Crude methanolic extracts showed weak antimicrobial activity against bacteria and fungi. Extractives exhibited significant cytotoxic activity on brine shrimp lethality bioassay. Extractives also exhibited significant free radical scavenging activity.
• Anxiolytic: Study of a hydroethanolic leaves extract showed prominent anxiolytic activity in mice. Diazepam was used as the standard drug.
• Free Radical Scavenging Activity: Study of methanolic leaves extract showed significant reducing power and concentration-dependent free radical scavenging effect. Total phenolic contents of the leaves extract were gallic acid equivalents and total flavonoids were catechin equivalents.

Seeds in the cybermarket.