Family • Simarubaceae - Harrisonia perforata (Blanco) Merr. - Niu jin guo

Scientific names

Harrisonia perforata (Blanco) Merr.
Harrisonia bennetii Hook. f.
Harrisonia citrinaecarpa Elm.
Paliurus perforatus Blanco
Paliurus dubius Blanco
Fagara piperita Naves
Lasiolepis multijuga Benn.
Lasiolepis paucijuga Benn.

Common names

Asimau (Tag.)
Bakit (Ilk., Pamp.)
Dagiangas (Mbo.)
Kamuñgi (Sul.)
Laiya (Tag.)
Mamikil (Tag.)
Muntani (Bis.)
Sapleng (Sbl.)
Sapsapang (Ilk.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Nin jin guo.
INDONESIA: Sesepang, Garut, Ri kengkeng.
LAOS: Don kin ta.
MALAYSIA: Kait-kait.
THAILAND: Khonthaa, Naam chee.
VIETNAM: S[aa]n, Da da, H[ar]i s[ow]n.

Mamikil is a somewhat climbing and nearly erect shrub, growing from 2 to 4 meters in height. Branches are armed with short, sharp spines. Leaves are pinnate, with an unpaired terminal leaflet up to 20 centimeters long. Leaflets are 1 to 15 pairs, oblong-ovate, 1.5 to 3.5 centimeters long, and with entire or crenate margins. Flowers are white, and borne on terminal racemes 3 to 5 centimeters long. Fruit is somewhat globular, fleshy, smooth, and 1 to 1.5 centimeters in diameter.


– In thickets at low altitudes in Ilocos Sur, Nueva Viscaya, Pangasinan, Rizal, and Batangas Provinces in Luzon; and in Samar and Mindanao.
– Also occurs in Burma to southern China and Java.


– Roots yield a bitter principle, abundant in the cortical parenchyma. The organic base was provisionally called mamikilina, and the bitter principle, harrisonine.
– Extraction of dried leaves yielded a novel tetranortriterpenoid (limonoid), perforatin, of the obacunol class.
– Study yielded eight limonoids including three A, B and D-seco-16-nor-type ones, 5,6-dehydrodesepoxyharperforin C2, harrpernoid B, and its C-9S epimer, harrpernoid C, along with six known compounds, were isolated from fruits of Harrisonia perforata.
– Fractionation of ethanol extract of fruits yielded 18 compounds[ 12 were elucidated as Ethyl 3,4,5-Trihdroxybenzoate、4-ethylgallic acid、Hydroxyhydroquinone、Gallic acid、β-Sitosterol、β-Daucosterol、Stigmasterol、Protocatechuic acid、Palmitic acid、Linoleic acid、Cis-Oleic acid、5-hydroxymethyl-2-Furancarboxaldehyde.
– Fractionation of a petroleum ether extract yielded 29 compounds, amounting to 69.67% of the total detected constituents. The major constituents were identified as Z-9,12-Octadecadien-1-ol (12.35%), Palmitic acid (9.67%), Z-9,17-octadecadienal (8.97%), Ethyl Oleate (5.81%), β-Sitosterol (4.88%), Ethyl Linoleate (4.10%).
– Alcohol extraction yielded 12 compounds amounting to 71.00% of the total detected constituents. The major constituents were identified as Quinic acid (40.44%), pyrogallol (14.64%),5-(hydroxymethyl)-2-Furancarboxaldehyde (5.89%).

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Perforatin: a Novel Tetranortriterpenoid From Harrisonia perforata / LT Byrne, M Vantri, NM Phuong, MV Sargent, BW Skelton and AH White / Australian Journal of Chemistry 44 (1) 165 – 169

(2) Chemical constituents from fruits of Harrisonia perforata / Xiao-Hui Yan, Ying-Tong Di, Xin Fang et al / Phytochemistry, Vol 72, No 6, April 2011, Pages 508-513 / doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2011.01.010

(3) In vitro antimicrobial activity of plants used in Cambodian traditional medicine / Chea A, Jonville MC, Bun SS, Laget M, Elias R, Duménil G, Balansard G. / Am J Chin Med. 2007;35(5):867-73.

(4) Inhibitory effect of some herbal extracts on adherence of Streptococcus mutans / Limsong, J., Benjavongkulchai, E., Kuvatanasuchati / J. Journal of ethnopharmacology. (2004)

(5) Harrisonia perforata (Blanco) Merr / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED

(6) In vivo and in vitro anti-inflammatory activity of Harrisonia perforata root extract / Pattama Somsil, Nijsiri Ruangrungsi, Wacharee Limpanasitikul, Chandhanee Itthipanichpong / Pharmacognosy Journal 11/2012; 4(32):38–44. DOI: 10.5530/pj.2012.32.8

(7) Inhibitory Effect on β-Hexosaminidase Release from RBL-2H3 Cells of Extracts and Some Pure Constituents of Benchalokawichian, a Thai Herbal Remedy, Used for Allergic Disorders / Thana Juckmeta, Pakakrong Thongdeeying, and Arunporn Itharat / Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2014 (2014) /

(8) A Novel Iodomethylene-dimethyl-dihydropyranone Induces G2/M Arrest and Apoptosis in Human Cancer Cells / JÉRÔME BIGNON, MICHEL BÉNÉCHIE, DENYSE HERLEM, JIAN-MIAO LIU, ALEXIA PINAULT, FRANÇOISE KHUONG-HUU and JOANNA WDZIECZAK-BAKALA / Copyright© 2009 International Institute of Anticancer Research

(9) In vitro antimicrobial activity of plants used in Cambodian traditional medicine. / Aun Chea, Marie-Caroline Jonville, Sok-Siya Bun, Michèle Laget, Riad Elias, Gérard Duménil, Guy Balansard / Am J Chin Med 2007 ;35(5):867-73

(10) Antimicrobial activity of the extracts from Benchalokawichian remedy and its components. / Nuaeissara S, Kondo S, Itharat A. / J Med Assoc Thai. 2011 Dec;94 Suppl 7:S172-7.

(11) ANTIPYRETIC AND ANTINOCICEPTIVE EFFECTS OF BEN-CHA-LO-KA- WI-CHIAN REMEDY / Anusara Jongchanapong, Chatubhong Singharachai, Chanida Palanuvej, Nijsiri Ruangrungsi and Pasarapa Towiwat* / 9th NRCT-JSPS Joint Seminar on Natural Medicine in Pharmaceutical Sciences

(12) Acute and subchronic toxicity study of the water extract from Harrisonia perforata Merr. in rats / Seewaboon Sireeratawong; Nirush Lertprasertsuke; Umarat Srisawat; Amornat Thuppia; Anongnad Ngamjariyawat; Nadthaganya Suwanlikhid; Kanjana Jaijoy / Thammasat University Publications



– Antidiarrheal, anti-dysentery.
– Studies suggest antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-malarial, anti-inflammatory properties.

Parts used
Shoots, bark.

– In the Philippines, decoction of root bark used as remedy for diarrhea and dysentery; also used against cholera.
– In the Dutch East Indies, shoots are used as a remedy for diarrhea.
– In Thailand, the wood was also recorded as medicinal. Roots used in treatment of fever.
– Harrisonia perforata is one of five root components of Benchalokawichian (BCW), a Thai traditional herbal formulation, used as antipyretic and to treat skin disorders.

Study Findings
• Antimalarial: A South Vietnam study identified 49 plants traditionally used to treat malaria. Harrisonia perforata was one of six plants with possible novel antimalarial compounds.
• Antioxidant: Parts of petroleum ether, ethyl acetate and ethanol extract showed high antioxidant activity by the DPPH free radical scavenging method.
• Acute and Subchronic Toxicity Study: Water extract from Harrisonia perforata was studied for acute and subchronic toxicities in rats. Results showed no acute and subchronic toxicities in rats.
• Antimicrobial Activity: In a Cambodian study of 27 plant species for in vitro antibacterial and antifungal activities, Harrisonia perforata roots exhibited bactericidal effect against S. aureus and its roots and stems exhibited bactericidal effect against Mycobacterium smegmatis.
• Inhibitory Effect on Strep Mutans Adherence: Study showed A. paniculata, C. alata, Chinese black tea and Harrisonia perforata could inhibit adherence of S. mutans ATCC 25175.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Roots: Study investigated the in vivo and in vitro anti-inflammatory effect of an ethanolic root extract. Results showed significant reduction of inflammation in rat paw edema after carrageenan injection. The mechanism could be through suppression of proinflammatory cytokines.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Limonoids and Chromones: Study of fruits and roots yielded two new rearranged limonoids, harperforatin and harperfolide, and a new chromone, harperamone, together with eight known compounds. Harperfolide (compound 2) exhibited potent anti-inflammatory activity via suppression of nitric oxide production. The effect was probably mediated by reduction of iNOS protein expression, attributable to the inhibitory action of LPS-induced NO production.
• Novel IDDP/ Apoptosis in Human Cancer Cells: Leaves of Harrisonia perforata have yielded limonoids. Haperforin B1, one of the isolated limonoids from the leaves of H. perforata, yielded an intermediate product, E-5-iodomethylene-6,6-dimethyl-5,6-dihydropyran-2-one (IDDP). IDDP was found more toxic to human cancer cell lines than haperforin B1. Study describes the IDDP synthesis and its in vitro anti-proliferative activity against several chemosensitive and resistant cancer cell lines, as well as its ability to induce cell death by apoptosis.
• Bactericidal / Staphylococcus aureus: Study evaluated 27 plant species in Cambodia for in vitro antibacterial and antifungal activities. H. perforata showed antimicrobial activity especially on Gram-positive bacteria, and showed a bactericidal effect against S. aureus (500 µg/ml) and M. smegatis (roots and stems, 250 µg/ml).
• Antimicrobial / Benchalokawichian: Study evaluated the antimicrobial activity of extracts from Benchalokawichian remedy and its components against clinical isolates. Harrisonia perforata and the other components showed antimicrobial activity against Candida albicans, and most Gram positive and Gram negative isolates.
• Antipyretic / Antinociceptive / Benchalokawichian: Study of root extract of BLW showed both antipyretic and antinociceptive properties in well-established animal models.