Family • Leguminosae - Pithecellobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth. - SWEET TAMARIND - Niu ti dou

Scientific names

Pithecellobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth.
Feuilleea dulcis  Roxb.
Inga camatchili  Perr.
Inga dulcis Willd.
Inga lanceolata Blanco
Mimosa dulcis  Roxb.
Mimosa unguis-cuti Blanco
Acacia dulcis Roxb.

Other vernacular names

FRENCH : Campèche (New Caledonia), Cassie de Manille, Épine de Madras, Pois sucré, Tamarin de l’Inde, Tamarin de Manille.
GERMAN : Camambilarinde.
HINDI: Vilayati babul.
SPANISH : Guamúchil, Guayamochil, Huamúchil, Madre de flecha.
TAMIL: Kodukkapuli.
THAI : Ma kham khong, Ma kham thet.
VIETNAMESE : Me Keo, Keo Tây, Me nước, Găng Tây.

Common names

Camachile (Pamp.) Kamunsil (P. Bis.)
Chamultis (Ig.) Karamansili (Ibn.)
Damortis (Ilk.) Komonsili (P. Bis.)
Damulkis (Bon.) Komontos (Ting.)
Kamachili (Tag., Bik.) Komontres (Ting.)
Kamachilis (Tag.) Black bead (Engl.)
Kamanchilis (P. Bis., Mag.) Camachile tree (Engl.)
Kamansile (Tag.) Madras thorn (Engl.)
Kamantilis (Pang.) Manila tamarind (Engl.)
Kamarsiles (Tag.) Monkeypod (Engl.)
Kamatsile (Tag.) Sweet inga (Engl.)
Kamatsele (Tag.) Sweet tamarind (Engl.)
Kamonsiles (Tag.) Niu ti dou (Chin.)

Gen info / Etymology
Referred to as Manila tamarind because of the sweet-sour tamarind-like taste. GenusPithecellobium derives from from the Greek words ‘pithekos’ (ape) and ‘lobos’ (pod), and the species name ‘dulce’ from the Latin ‘dulcis’ meaning sweet.


Kamatsile is a tree 5 to 18 meters high, with pendulous branches, with short, sharp stipular spines. The leaves are evenly 2-pinnate, 4 to 8 centimeters long. The flowers are white, in dense heads, 1 centimeter in diameter. Pods are turgid, twisted, and spiral, 10 to 18 centimeters long, 1 centimeter wide, and dehiscent along the lower suture. Seeds are 6 to 8, with an edible, whitish, pulpy aril. The arillus is sweet when the fruit is ripe.


Found throughout the Philippines at low or medium altitudes.

– Tannin, 25.36%; fixed oil, 18.22%, olein.
– A glycoside quercitin has been isolated.
– Seeds have been reported to contain steroids, saponins, lipids, phospholipids, glycosides, glycolipids and polysaccharides.
– Bark yields 37% tannins of the catechol type.
– Leaves yield quercitin, kaempferol, dulcitol and afezilin.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Phytochemical Investigation and Pharmocological Studies of the Flowers of Pithecellobium dulce / P G R Chandran and S Balaji / Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12: 245-253. 2008.

(2) Free radical-scavenging and H+, K+-ATPase inhibition activities of Pithecellobium dulce / J Megala and A Geetha / Food Chemistry, Vol 121, Issue 4, 15 August 2010, Pages 1120-1128 / doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2010.01.059

(3) Phytomedicinal Role of Pithecellobium dulce against CCl4-mediated Hepatic Oxidative Impairments and Necrotic Cell Death / Prasenjit Manna, Sudip Bahttacharyya, Joydeep Das et al / Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2011 (2011) / doi:10.1093/ecam/neq065

(4) Locomotor Activity of Leaf extracts of Pithecellobium dulce Benth. / M. Sugumaran, T.Vetrichelvan, S. Darline Quine / Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12: 490-493. 2008.

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

(6) Evaluation of In Vitro Antioxidant and Antibacterial Activity of Pithecellobium dulce Benth Fruit Peel / Sukantha T A, Shubashini K Sripathi, Ravindran N T and Balashanmugam P / Internation Journal of Current Research, Vol 3, No 11, pp 378-382, October 2011

(7) Acute and Sub-Acute Toxicity Study of Hydroalcoholic Fruit Extract of Pithecellobium dulce / Jayaraman Megala and Arumugan Geetha / Natural Product Research, Vol 26, No 12, June 2012, 1167-1171.

(8) Hypolipidemic activity of Pithecellobium Dulce Bench. in Triton Wr-1339 Induced Hyperlipidemic Rats / Sundarrajan T *, Raj kumar T, Udhayakumar E and Arunachalam G. / International Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences 2010, Dec., Vol.1 (2)

(9) Adulticidal activity of Pithecellobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth. against Culex / Govindarajan M*, Sivakumar R, Rajeswary M, Yogalakshmi K / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease (2012)124-128

/ MUKESH KUMAR, KIRAN NEHRA* and J.S. DUHAN / Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research Vol 6, Issue 1, 2013

(11) α-Glucosidase and α-amylase inhibitory activities of Pithecellobium dulce bark and leaves / Shankar D. Katekhaye*, Dnyaneshwar M. Nagmoti / Phytopharmacology 2013, 4(1), 123-130

(12) Neuropharmacological Profile of Aqueous and Ethanolic Extract of Pithecellobium dulce Benth Leaves in Mice / Mule V.S.*, Potdar V.H., Jadhav S.D., Disouza J. I. / Research Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacodynamics, 2011, Volume 3, Issue 1


– Considered abortifacient, anodyne, astringent, larvicidal, antibacterial, antiinflammatory, febrifuge, antidiabetic.
– Bark and leaves considered astringent.
– Leaves considered astringent, emollient, antidiabetic, and abortifacient.
– Roots reported to be estrogenic.

Parts used and preparation
Bark, leaves.


Pulp around the seed is edible.
• Frequent bowel movements: Decoction of bark taken as tea.
• The leaves, when applied as plasters, used for pain, venereal sores.
• Salted decoction of leaves, for indigestion; also used as abortifacient.
• Bark used in dysentery, dermatitis and eye inflammation.
• In Brazil, P. avaremotem, used as a cancer elixir.
• In Mexico, decoction of leaves for earaches, leprosy, toothaches and larvicide.
• In India, bark of the plant used as astringent in dysentery, febrifuge. Also used for dermatitis and eye inflammations. Leaves used as abortifacient.
• In Guiana, root bark used for dysentery and as febrifuge.


Study Findings
• Anti-Inflammatory / Antibacterial:Study of the fresh flowers of Pithecellobium dulce yielded a glycoside quercitin. The activity of the flavonol glycoside confirmed its antiinflammatory and antibacterial properties.
• Phenolics / Antioxidant: Study of the aqueous extract of Pithecellobium dulce leaves revealed phenolics including flavonoids and showed potent free radical scavenging activity.
• Anti-inflammatory Triterpene: Anti-inflammatory triterpene saponins of Pithecellobium dulce: characterization of an echinocystic acid bisdesmoside. A new bisdesmodic triterpenoid saponin, dulcin, was isolated from the seeds of PD.
• Genotoxicity / Mutagenic and Antimutagenic Activities: In a study of 138 medicinal plants for genotoxicity, Pithecellobium dulce was one of 12 that exhibited detectable genotoxicity in any system.
• Anti-tuberculosis / Antimicrobial: Hexane, chloroform and alcoholic leaf extracts were studied for activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains. The alcoholic extract showed good inhibitory activity and antimicrobial activity against secondary pathogens.
• Anti-Diabetic: Study of ethanolic and aqueous leaf extract of P dulce in STZ-induced diabetic model in rats showed significant activity, aqueous more than the alcoholic extract, comparable to glibenclamide.
• Anti-Ulcer / Free Radical Scavenging: Study of the hydroalcoholic extract of PD was found to possess good antioxidant activity and suggests possible antiulcer activity with its free-radical scavenging and inhibition of H, K-ATPase activities comparable to omeprazole. Phytochemical screening yielded flavonoids – quercetin, rutin, kaempferol, naringin, daidzein.
• Hepatoprotective: Study of an aqueous extract of P. dulce in a murine model showed hepatoprotection against CCl4-induced oxidative impairments probably through its antioxidative property. Results were supported by histological findings.
• CNS Depressant: Study evaluating the locomotor activity of aqueous and alcoholic extracts of PD in albino mice showed significant CNS depression, the alcoholic extract exhibiting greater effect when compared to chlorpromazine. The activity was attributed to an increase in the concentration of GABA in the brain.
• Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory: Study of methanol extract showed significant anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects comparable to standard drugs.
• Antioxidant / Antibacterial: Study of fruit peel for antioxidant and antibacterial potential revealed significant activity in the ethyl acetate, methanolic, and aqueous extracts.
• Acute and Subacute Toxicity Studies / Fruit Extract: Study on albino rats evaluated the acute and subacute toxicity profile of a hydroalcoholic fruit extract of P. dulce. PD did not cause any abnormal changes in hematological and biochemical parameters. Results suggest HAEPD can be used safely for experimental and clinical trials.
• Antioxidant / Free Radical Scavenging: Study evaluated aqueous and methanol extracts of seeds for antioxidant potential. Results showed good dose-dependent free radical scavenging activity in all the models. The activity was attributed to high phenolic contents.
• Hypolipidemic / Free Radical Scavenging: Study evaluated the anti-hyperlipidemic activity of an aqueous extract of leaves against triton induced hyperlipidemia in rats. Results showed lipid effects with a decrease in total serum cholesterol, LDL, and an increase in serum HDL cholesterol level.
• Adulticidal / Free Radical Scavenging: Study evaluated the adulticidal activity of various solvent leaf and seed extracts against Culex quinquefasciatus. Results showed the crude extract of P. dulce has excellent potential for controlling filiariasis vector mosquito Cx quinquefasciatus.
• Antimicrobial / Leaf Extracts: Study evaluated the antimicrobial activity of leaf of P. dulce against 20 pathogenic microorganisms. Results showed extracts possess bioactive compounds with significant antimicrobial activities.
• a-Glucosidase and a-Amylase / Leaf Extracts: Study evaluated bark and leaves of P. dulce for a-amylase and a-glucosidase inhibition in vitro. a-amylase and a-gluscosidase inhibitors from food-grade plant sources offer an alternative approach for the treatment of post-prandial hyperglycemia by decrease glucose release from starch and delaying carbohydrate absorption. Results confirmed a-glucosidase and a-amylase inhibitory activity of a methanol and ethanol extract.
• Skeletal Muscle Relaxant / CNS Depressant: Study showed an acutely administered single dose of aqueous and ethanolic extracts of leaves possess skeletal muscle relaxant activity and CNS depressant activity but no anticonvulsant action.

Wild crafted.