Family • Leguminosae / Fabaceae - Albizzia lebbeck (L.) Benth. - LEBBECK TREE - Ho-huan

Scientific names

Albizzia lebbeck (L.) Benth.
Albizzia latifolia B. Boivin
Mimosa lebbeck Linn.
Acacia lebbeck (L.) Willd.
Acacia macrophylla Bunge

Common names

Acacia (Span.)
Aninapla (Tag.)
Lañgil (Tag.)
Flea tree (Engl.)
Lebbeck tree (Engl.)
Mimosa (Engl.)
Woman’s tongue (Engl.)
Ho-huan (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

FRENCH: Bois noir.
MALAGASY: Bonara, Fany, Faux mendoravina.
PORTUGUESE: ébano-oriental, Coração-de-negro, Língua-de-mulher, Língua-de-sogra.
SINHALESE: Mara, Suriya mara.
SPANISH: Baile de caballero, Lengua de mujer, Mata-raton.
TAMIL: Kona, Vageri, Vakai.

Lañgil is a large, deciduous, unarmed tree, attaining a height of 12 meters or more. Leaves are about 25 centimeters long, with 4 to 8 pinnae, each 15 centimeters long. Leaflets are obliquely oblong, 6 to 8, and 2 to 5 centimeters long. Flower heads are numerous, white, fragrant, 3 to 4 centimeters in diameter, on long peduncles up to 6 centimeters long. Corolla is greenish-yellow. Calyx is half as long as the corolla. Pods are oblong, 15 to 20 centimeters long, 2 to 3 centimeters wide, flat, shining, straw-colored and containing 6 to 10 seeds.


– Planted as an avenue and shade tree in Ilocos Sur, Bataan and Laguna Provinces and in Manila, Palawan and Busuanga.
– Native of tropical Asia and Africa.
– Introduced in most tropical countries.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Anticonvulsive activity of Albizzia lebbeck, Hibiscus rosa sinesis and Butea monosperma in experimental animals / V S Kasture, C T Chopde and V K Deshmukh / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 71, Issues 1-2, July 2000, Pages 65-75 / doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(99)00192-0

(2) Pharmacognostic standardization and phytochemical screening of albizzia lebbeck / Rahul Chulet, Lincy Joseph et al / J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2010, 2(1): 432-443

(3) Anti-inflammatory activity of Albizia lebbeck Benth., an ethnomedicinal plant, in acute and chronic animal models of inflammation / Babu N P et al / J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Sep 7;125(2):356-60. Epub 2009 Mar 9.

(4) ANTIASTHMATIC HERBAL DRUGS – A REVIEW / Mohammad Yaheya Mohammad Ismail / International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vol 2, Issue 3, 2010

(5) Effect of Saponins of Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth bark on the reproductive system of male albino rats / R S Gupta, Rakesh Chaudhary et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 96, Issues 1-2, 4 January 2005, Pages 31-36 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2004.07.025

(6) Studies on the mechanism of action of Albizzia lebbeck, an Indian indigenous drug used in the treatment of atopic allergy / R M Tripathi, P C Sen, P K Das / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Vol 1, Issue 4, December 1979, Pages 385-396 / doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(79)80003-3

(7) Compositional studies and antioxidant potential of Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth. pods and seeds / Muhammad ZIA-UL-HAQ, Shakeel AHMAD, Mughal QAYUM, Sezai ERCISLI* / Turk J Biol (2013) 37: 25-32 © TUBITAK / doi:10.3906/biy-1204-38

(8) Phytochemical screening and antimicrobial activity of Albizzia lebbeck / Chulet Rahul*, Pradhan Pankaj, Sharma K Sarwan, Jhajharia K Mahesh / J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2010, 2(5): 476-484

(9) Isolation of four new phytoconstituents from the roots of Albizzia lebbeck Benth / Perwez Alam, M. Ali, *Vidhu Aeri / Der Pharmacia Lettre, 2011, 3 (6):74-81

(10) Nootropic and anxiolytic activity of saponins of Albizzia lebbeck leaves. / H D Une, V P Sarveiya, S C Pal, V S Kasture, S B Kasture / Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior (impact factor: 2.53). 69(3-4):439-44. DOI:10.1016/S0091-3057(01)00516-0

(11) Diuretic Activity Of Methanolic Extract Of ‘Albizia lebbeck’. / B Sivakumar, C Velmurugan*, PR Logesh Kumar / International Journal of PharmTech Research, Vol.5, No.2, pp 404-406, April-June 2013


– Bark contains saponin and tannin, 7 to 11 percent.
– Bark also contains a resin, a substance allied to catechin, and a red coloring matter.
– Studies have yielded saponins (albiziasaponins A, B and C), tri-O-glycoside flavonols, triterpenoids, triterpene alcohol (lupeol), polyphenols and an unusual glycoside, albizinin, alkaloids, anthraquinone glycosides, sapogenins aromatic acids.
– Methanolic extract of root isolated one new fatty acid ester 2′ α- hydroxy octyl hexadecanoate (hydroxyoctyl palmitate) and two new phenolic acid glucosidic ester characterized as salicylic acid-2-O–β-D-glucofuranosyl-6′-octadec-9″-enoate (salicylic acid arabinosyl oleate) along with a fatty acid phytoconstituent, docosenoic acid, and two known fatty acid esters trricosanyl hexadecanoate and hexacosanyl octadec-9-en-1-oate, respectively.

– Bark and seeds considered astringent.
– Flowers considered cooling and emollient.
– Considered anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant, anti-allergic, nootropic, anticonvulsant, antimicrobial, antiulcer, antispermatogenic.

Parts used

– Powder of the bark used to strengthen spongy and ulcerative gums.
– Juice of leaves used in ophthalmia.
– Decoction of leaves used internally as a remedy for night-blindness.
– Bark and seeds are astringent; used for diarrhea, dysentery and hemorrhoids.
– Powdered bark used for ulcers and snake bite wounds.
– Used for coughs, flu, abdominal tumors.
– Flowers are emollient, applied as cataplasm on furuncles, boils.
– Flowers believed to cause retention of seminal fluid.
– Seeds used for ophthalmic diseases.
– Seed oil used for leprosy.
– Seeds are crushed and made into paste and applied to enlarged cervical glands.
– In Ayurveda, bark decoction used for asthma and eczema.

Bark: In Java bark sometimes used as soap.

Study Findings
• Anticonvulsant Activity: Study showed the ethanolic extract of the leaves of A lebbeck exhibited anticonvulsant activity. The effect was attributed to the methanolic fraction of the chloroform soluble part of the extract which was also found to be anxiogenic and a general depressant of the central nervous system.
• Antimicrobial: Study screened the invitro antimicrobial activity of Albizzia lebbeck against some pathogens isolated from diarrheal patients. Results showed the methanol extracts of AL was effective against E coli and Salmonella strains associated with infectious diarrhea.
• Phytochemical Screening: Study yielded the presence of alkaloids, tannins, carbohydrates, flavonoids, proteins and amino acids.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study results of marked inhibitory effect on paw edema showed Albizzia lebbeck possesses remarkable anti-inflammatory activity, supporting its folkloric use in the treatment of various inflammatory diseases.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Analgesic: Study on AL extract demonstrated significant analgesic (acetic acid-induced writhing test and radiant heat tail-flick method) and anti-inflammatory (carrageenan-induced rat hind paw edema model) properties.
• Free Radical Scavenging Activity / Anti-Arthritic: Study of the methanol extract of AL which exhibited significant anti-inflammatory activity was studied for its antioxidant potential in adjuvant-induced arthritic rats. Results concluded that Albizzia lebbeck ME possesses strong anti-arthritic and antioxidant properties.
• Review / Anti-Asthma: Albizzia lebbeck is included in a review of antiasthmatic herbal drugs. The effect of the stem bark extract is attributed to a mast cell stabilizing activity. .
• Anti-Allergic / Mast Cell Stabilizing: Study investigated the anti-allergic activity of the standard extract of AL with respect to catechin, a polyphenolic phytomarker. Results support the conclusion that AL has potent mast cell stabilizing property. The inhibitory potential of catechin could be due to modulation of two important effector functions- histamine release and cytokine expression of antigen-IgE activated mast cells.
• Immunomodulatory: The immunomodulatory effect of the bark of AL was evaluated studying humoral and cell mediated immune responses. The lebbeck treated mice developed higher serum antibody titers compared to the control group. Delayed type hypersensitivity response was suppressed in mice treated with AL extract.
• Anti-Ulcer: Study showed the 70% ethanolic extract of the plant possesses antiulcer properties. The effect may be attributed to the polyphenolic compounds present in the plant.
• Inhibitory Effects on Reproductive System of Male Rats: Study in male rats brought about a significant decrease in the weights of testes, epididymis, seminal vesicles and ventral prostate, with reductions in sperm count and motility.
• Atopic Allergy: Study showed A. lebbeck has significant cromoglycate-like action on mast cells and also inhibited the early processes of sensitization and synthesis of reaginic-like antibodies.
• Antioxidant / Anti-Diabetes: Study in alloxan diabetic rats showed Albizzia lebbeck is a promising plant in respect to its antioxidant potential to alleviate diabetes.
• Compositional Studies / Antioxidant Potential / Pods and Seeds: Study evaluated the composition and antioxidant potential of various parts of the A. lebbeck plant. Carbohydrates was a major component while saponin was a major antinutrient in both pods and seeds; amino acids showed arginine and lysine in excessive amounts; potassium was high; linoleic acid was a major fatty acid in pod and seed oil; a-tocopherol was a major component in the oil. Various assays showed potent antioxidant potential.
• Phytochemical Screening / Antimicrobial: Study of leaf extract yielded alkaloids, glycoside, tannins, saponins, flavanoids, and carbohydrates. An ethyl acetate extract showed inhibitory effect against E. coli, S. aureus, P. aeruginosa and B. cereus.
• Nootropic / Anxiolytic: Study evaluated a saponin containing n-butanolic fraction extracted from dried leaves on cognitive behavior and anxiety in albino mice. Results showed significant improvement on retention ability. It significantly inhibited passivity and hypothermia induced by baclofen (a GABA agonist). Results suggest nootropic and anxiolytic activity of the saponin probably through involvement of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid).
• Diuretic: Study evaluated the diuretic activity of a methanolic extract in rats using metabolic cages and furosemide as standard. Results showed significant increase in volume of urine, urinary concentration of Na+ K+, and Cl-.
• Cytotoxic Saponin / Anti-Cancer: Study of a methanolic extract of stem bark isolated a new cytotoxic saponin. The saponin exhibited potent cytotoxic activity against human squamous cell carcinoma (HSC-2 and HSC-3.)