Family • Hippocrateaceae - Salacia prinoides (Willd.) DC. - CHINESE SALACIA - Suo la mu

Scientific names

Salacia prinoides (Willd.) DC.
Salacia chinensis Willd.
Salacia latifolia Blanco
Salacia sinensis Blanco
Tontelea prinoides Willd.
Comocladia errata Blanco

Common names

Matang-ulang (Tag.)
Ope (Ig.)
Chinese salacia (Engl.)
Lolly berry (Engl.)
Lolly vine (Engl.)
Snotty gobbles (Engl.)
Suo la mu (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

AYURVEDIC: Saptrangi.
CHINESE: Wu ceng long.
MALAYALAM: Cherukoranti.
THAI: Khampangjed chan.

Matang-ulang is a climbing, smooth shrub, reaching a height of 4 meters or more. Leaves are oblong, 8 to 16 centimeters long, margins entire or faintly and distantly toothed, and pointed at both ends. Flowers are borne in clusters in the axils of the leaves. Sepals are very small; petals are five and about 3.5 millimeters long. Fruit is ovoid or rounded, red, fleshy, about 1 centimeter in diameter, containing one seed.


– In thickets and forests at low altitudes, often near the sea, in Zambales, Bataan, Batangas, Quezon, and Camarines Provinces in Luzon; and in Mindoro, Palawan, Biliran, Romblon, Leyte, Panay, Bucas Grande, Mindanao, and the Sulu Archipelago.
– Also occurs in India, through Malaya to tropical Australia.

– Study isolated sixteen compounds, including seven triterpenes ( lupeol, lupendiol, 30-hydorxylupenone, 3, 22-dioxo-29-normoretane, ursolid acid, beta-sitosterol, beta-daucosterol); four flavanoids (quercetin, quercet-in-3′, 4′-dimethylether, Isorhamnetin, kaempferol-4′-methylether); three phenolic acids (gallic acid, ethyl gallate, egallic acid); two fatty series (hentriacontanol, hentriacontan-12-ol).
– Roots contain alkaloids, glycosides, polyphenols, flavanoids, coumarins, proteins, carbohydrates, gums and mucilage, fixed oil and volatile oil. Stem and roots are abundant in triterpenoids like lupanes, hopanes and friedelanes.
– Root bark yields diketones, fatty matter, rubber, dulcitol, mangiferin, phlobatannin, and glycosidal tannins.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Studies on chemical constituents of Salacia prinoides / Gao X H, Xie N, Feng F / Zhong Yao Cai. 2008 Sep;31(9):1348-51.

(2) Herbal Formulation for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes Mellitus and Diabetic Micro-Vascular Complications / Free Patents On Line

(3) Biological Activities of Salacia chinensis Originating in Thailand: The Quality Evaluation Guided by α-Glucosidase Inhibitory Activity / Yoshikawa Masayuki, Pongpiriyadacha Yutana et al / Journal of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan 123(10), 871-880, 2003-10-01

(4) Genotoxicity Studies of Magiferin Isolated from Salacia chinensis Linn / Yuvaraj Govindaraj, Vijayalakshimi Melanaphuru et al / Academic Journal of Plant Sciences 2 (3): 199-204, 2009

(5) Triterpenoid compound for the treatment of diabetes / Free Patents On Line


(6) Nephroprotective role of salacia chinensis in diabetic CKD patients: a pilot study. / Singh RG, Rathore SS, Kumar R; Usha, Agarwal A, Dubey GP. / Indian J Med Sci. 2010 Aug;64(8):378-84. / doi: 10.4103/0019-5359.100341.

(7) Antihyperlipidemic activity of Salacia chinensis root extracts in triton-induced and atherogenic diet-induced hyperlipidemic rats / Mukesh S. Sikarwar and M. B. Patil / Indian Journal of Pharmacology, 2012, Jan-Feb; 44(1): 88-92.

(8) Salacia root, a unique Ayurvedic medicine, meets multiple targets in diabetes and obesity / Yuhao Li, Tom Hsun-Wei Huang, Johji Yamahara / Life Sciences, Vol 82, Nos 21–22, 23 May 2008, pp 1045–1049

(9) Effect of mangiferin isolated from Salacia chinensis regulates the kidney carbohydrate metabolism in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats / Periyar Selvam Sellamuthu*, Palanisamy Arulselvan, Balu Periamallipatti Muniappan and Murugesan Kandasamy / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2012)S1583-S1587

(10) Hypotensive Effect of n-butanol Extract from Stem of Salacia chinensis in Rats / C Jansakul, N Jusapalo, S. Mahattandaul / Acta Hort. 678, ISHS 2005

(11) Study on chemical constituents and cytotoxic activities of salacia chinensis growing in vietnam / Minh T.T.; Anh N.T.H.; Thang V.D.; Sung T.V. / 2010, Volume 65, Issue 10, Page 1284-1288 /

(12) Antimicrobial activity of the ethanolic and aqueous extracts of Salacia chinensis Linn. against human pathogens / Moorthy kannaiyan.* Virgin Nisha Manuel. Vinodhini Raja. Punitha Thambidurai. Suresh Mickymaray. and Thajuddin Nooruddin. / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease (2012)S416-S420

(13) Effect of NR-Salacia on post-prandial hyperglycemia: A randomized double blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study in healthy volunteers. / Koteshwar P, Raveendra KR, Allan JJ, Goudar KS, Venkateshwarlu K, Agarwal A. / Pharmacognosy Magazine, 2013, Vol 9, No 36, pp 344-349

– Considered invigorating to the circulation.
– Roots considered astringent and abortifacient.
– Studies have shown anti-diabetic properties.

Parts used
Stems, roots.


– Decoction of roots used for amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea.
– Considered abortifacient.
– Used in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine as an antidiabetic drug.
– In India, hot water extraction of the whole plant has been used orally as anti-diabetic; dried parts of the plant including the rootbark, also used for the same.
– Used as tonic, blood purifier, and for treatment of dysmenorrhea and amenorrhea.
– Root bark, decoction or boiled in oil, used for treatment of rheumatism, gonorrhea, itches, asthma and ear diseases.
– In traditional South and Southeast Asian herb medicine, used as antidiabetic agent.

Study Findings
• Anti-Diabetic / Herbal Formulation: An herbal formulation of Salacia chinensis with an extract from Hippophae rhamnoides or Coccinia indica studied for the prevention of endothelial dysfunction and microvascular complications. In a study on streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats, Salacia chinensis showed better glucose lowering effect than S. oblonga Antidiabetic function attributed to a-glucosidase inhibitory activity.
• Chemical Constituents: Studies yielded 16 compounds, including 7 triterpenes, four flavanoids, three phenolic acids.
• Anti-Hyperglycemic / Antioxidant / a-Glucosidase Inhibition / Salcinol: Study showed the methanolic extract from the stems of Salacia chinensis showed potent anti-hyperglycemic effects in oral sucrose or maltose-loaded rats, inhibitory effects on intestinal a-glucosidase, rat lens aldose reductase and radical scavenging activities. Study also isolated the a-glucosidase inhibitor, salacinol.
• Mangiferin Constituents / Anti-Mutagenic: Mangiferin was found to be non-mutagenic to five S. typhimurium tester strains. The ethanol extract showed a significant dose-dependent anti-mutagenic activity. Results suggest that triterpenoids might contain antioxidants which protect against mutagens.
• Triterpenes / Radical Scavenging Activity: Study of stems isolated two new friedelane-type triterpenes, salasones D and E, a new norfriedelane-type triterpene, salaquinone B, and a new polyacylated eudesmane-type sesquiterpenes. Some norfriedelane-type triterpene, lignan, and catechin constituents showed radical scavenging activity.
• Triterpenoid / Diabetes Treatment: A novel hopoglycemically active triterpenoid compound was isolated from S. prinoides, useful for treating insulin-dependent type 1 and non-insulin diabetes type 2 diabetes.
• Toxicity Study / Reproductive Effect: Studies of SC extract showed no toxic effects on reproductive outcome, any parameters of reproductive function or survival, growth, sensory reflex or function development in Sprague-Dawley rats, even at a remarkably high dose level.
• Nephroprotective Study / Diabetic Renal Disease: Study evaluated S. chinensis for effects on stabilization of renal functions and endothelial dysfunction in chronic diabetic kidney disease. Results show Salacia chinensis may retard the progression of chronic kidney disease. There was also a significant decline in markers of endothelial dysfunction (serum homocysteine and IL-6 levels).
• Antihyperlipidemic / Root Extracts: Study evaluated various extracts of S. chinensis root for anti-hyperlipidemic activity. The chloroform and alcoholic extract of roots showed significant antihyperlipidemic activity.
• Roots / Multiple Targets in Diabetes and Obesity: Recent pharmacological studies have demonstrated that Salacia roots modulate multiple targets (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha-mediated lipogenic gene transcription, angiotensin II/angiotensin II type 1 receptor, alpha-glucosidase, aldose reductase and pancreatic lipase) which may mainly contribute to Salacia root-induced improvement of type 2 diabetes and obesity-associated hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia and related cardiovascular complications seen in humans and rodents and fulfill a multiple-target strategy in the prevention and treatment of diabetes and obesity.
• Mangiferin / Anti-Diabetic: Study evaluated the effect of mangiferin in STZ-induced diabetic rats. There was a significant decrease in blood glucose. Results showed the antidiabetic potential of mangiferin, mediated through the regulation of key carbohydrate metabolic enzyme activities.
• Hypotensive / Stems: Study investigated an S. chinensis extract of dried stems for hypotensive activity in anesthetized female rats in estrus and for vasodilator activities on isolated thoracic aortic rings in vitro. Results showed a hypotensive effect. The vasodilation could be an indirect effect by stimulated release of nitric oxide from vascular endothelial cells.
• Cytotoxicity / Triterpenoids: Study yielded two new triterpenoids, namely 7α,21α-dihydroxyfriedelane-3-one and 7α,29-dihydroxyfriedelane- 3-one (2) together with a known triterpenoid 21α,30-dihydroxyfriedelane-3-one. Compound one showed good activity against four tested cancer cell lines Hep-G2, LU, KB, and MCF-7.
• Antimicrobial / Leaves: Study evaluated the antimicrobial effects of ethanolic and aqueous extracts of Salacia chinensis against pathogenic bacteria and fungi. An ethanolic extract showed significant antimicrobial activity against S. epidermis, C. albicans and C. neoformans. An aqueous extract showed showed significant inhibition against S. epidermis and C. neoformans.
• Hypoglycemic / Post-Prandial Effect / Randomized Double-Blind Placebo Controlled: Study using a 1000 mg extract and placebo showed a lowering of post-prandial blood sugar after a carbohydrate-rich meal and can be used as an oral hypoglycemic agent.