Family • Sapindaceae - Colubrina asiatica (Linn.) Brongn. - LATHERLEAF

Scientific names

Colubrina asiatica (Linn.) Brongn.
Ceanothus asiaticus Linn.
Rhamnus carolinianus Blanco

Common names

Kabatiti (Tag.) Asian nakedwood (Engl.)
Kayaskas (Ilk.) Asiatic colubrina (Engl.)
Paria (Bag.) Hoop withe (Engl.)
Palialaut (Tag.) Latherleaf (Engl.)
Parid-la’ud (Sul.) Soapbush (Engl.)
Uatitik (Tag., Bis.) Wild coffee (Engl.)
Asian snakewood (Engl.)


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) New Jujubogenin Glycosides from Colubrina asiatica / Shoel-Sheng Lee, Wen-Chuan Chen and Hsiung Chen / J. Nat. Prod., 2000, 63 (11), pp 1580–1583 / DOI: 10.1021/np000225n

(2) Antibacterial evaluation of some indigenous medicinal volatile oils / A Kar and S R Jain / PLANT FOODS FOR HUMAN NUTRITION, Volume 20, Number 3, 231-237, DOI: 10.1007/BF01104967

(3) Chemistry, 13C-NMR Study and Pharmacology of Two Saponins from Colubrina asiatica. / Wagner H, Ott S et al / Planta Med. 1983 Jul;48(7):136-41.

Kabatiti is a climbing, smooth shrub, reaching a height of 6 meters. Leaves are shining, ovate, 5 to 9 centimeters long, 2 to 6 centimeters wide; with pointed tips, rounded bases and toothed margins. Three nerves arise from the base of the leaf. Flowers are yellowish green, about 4 millimeters in diameter, borne on axillary, short inflorescences which are about 1 centimeter long. Fruit is somewhat rounded, 7 to 9 millimeters in diameter, and surrounded at the base by the calyx, green and fleshy, becoming dark brown with age, and containing three seeds.

– Along the seashore and borders of tidal streams throughout the Philippines.
– Also occurs in India to Africa, and through Malaya to Australia and Polynesia.


– Bark yields saponin.
– Plant extracts yield alkaloid, flavonoid, unsaturated sterol and triterpene, steroid glycoside, anthraquinone, saponin, tannin, phenols.
– Leaves yielded two saponins: jujubogenin-3-O-[2-O-acetyl-3-O-(3-O-beta-D-xylopyranosyl-4-O-acetyl-beta-D-glucopyranosyl)-alpha-L-arabinoside] (colubrinoside) and jujubogenin-3-O- [2-O-acetyl -3-O- (2-O- beta -D- xylopyranosyl-beta-D-glucopyranosyl)-alpha-L-arabinoside] (colubrin).


Considered cooling and alterative.

Parts used
Leaves and fruits.

– Decoction of leaves use to alleviate skin irritation and treat a variety of skin diseases.
– Decoction of fruit used as abortifacient.
– In Polynesia, employed as tonic and cicatrizant for wounds.
– In India, juice used as tonic.

– Fish poison: Fruit used as fish poison.
– Soap: Leaves used as soap, lathering in water.

Study Findings
• Jujubogenin Glycosides: Study yielded three new jujubogenin glycosides from the leaves of Colubrina asiatica, together with known colubrin, rutin, and kaempferol 3-O-rutinoside.
• Antibacterial: Essential oils from six medicinal plants were studied for in vitro bacterial property against 15 pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacterial. The combination of essential oils of Litsea chinensis, Piper cubeba and Colubrina asiatica displayed maximum inhibitory response white the rest failed to show any synergistic or potentiating effect.
• Saponins / CNS Effects: Leaves yielded two saponins. Both inhibited spontaneous motility of mice and showed an antagonistic effect on amphetamine and a synergistic activity on chlordiazepoxide.