Family • Fabaceae - Pterocarpus indicus Willd. - ROSEWOOD - Tzu tan

Scientific names

Pterocarpus indicus Willd.
Pterocarpus pallidus Blanco

Other vernacular names

BURMESE: Padauk.
CHINESE: Zi tan, Qing long mu, Huang bai mu, Qiang wei mu.
FRENCH: Santal rouge amboine.
KANNADA : Bethonne, Hanemara.
MALAY: Palauk.
SAMOAN: Pinati.
SANSKRIT : Pitasala.
TAMIL : Vengai maram.
TELUGU : Peddagi.
VANUATU: : Bluwota.

Common names

Agaña (Tag.) Odiau (Pang.)
Asana (Tag.) Sagat (Ilk., Neg.)
Balauning (Mang.) Tagga (Ibn.)
Bital (Sul.) Tagka (Ibn.)
Daitanag (Pamp.) Vitali (Lan.)
Hagad (Neg.) Amboyna wood (Engl.)
Kamarag (Ibn.) Malay padauk (Eng.)
Naga (Pamp.) Rosewood (Engl.)
Narra (Tag.) Tzu tan (Chin.)
Nara (Tag.)


Narra is the Philippine national tree, a majestic reddish hard wood tree, growing to 33 meters nigh and 2 meters in diameter with an irregular fluted trunk. Leaves are compound, pinnate, 15 to 30 centimeters long, with 7 to 11 leaflets which ovate to oblong-ovate, and 5 to 10 centimeters long. Flowers are numerous, yellow, fragrant, and about 1.5 centimeters long, on branched, axillary panicles. Pods are disc-shaped, flat, with winged margins, hairy when young but smooth or nearly so when mature, more or less reticulate and undulate, and very shortly beaked, orbicular to obovate, including the wing 4 to 5.5centimeters long, and the wing 1 to 1.5 centimeters wide.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Pterocarpus indicus Willd. / James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.

(2) Composition and method for the prevention and treatment of asthma / FreePatentsOnLine

(3) Isolation and Identification of an Antifungal Sesquiterpene Alcohol from Amboyna Wood / Irawan W Kusuma et al / Pakistan Journ of Biological Sciences 7 (10): 1735-1740, 2004

(4) Antitermitic Properties of Wood Extractives Pterocarpus indicus Willd and palaquium gutta Baill on Subterranean Termite Coptotermes curvighathus Holmgren (Isoptera: Rhinomitidae) / Brata T, Syafii, Nandika D / IPB Bogor Agricultural University,Scientific Repository

(5) Sorting Pterocarpus names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia / Copyright © 1997 – 2000 The University of Melbourne.

(6) Antimicrobial terpenoids from Pterocarpus indicus. / Consolacion Y Ragasa, Roderick D De Luna, Joy G Hofilena / Chemistry Department, De La Salle University, 2401 Taft Avenue, Manila 1004, Philippines /
Natural Product Research, 19(4):305-9. / DOI:10.1080/14786410410001704822

(7) Pterocarpus indicus / Species Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry / Common names and medicinal uses / April 2006 / www,traditionaltree,org

(8) A study on the acute anti-ulcer effects of narra (Pterocarpus Indicus Will.) on indomethacin-induced gastric ulcers in male albino rats (Rattus rattus) / Adrid, L et al / Acta Med Philipp, 2005

– In primary, and in some regions, secondary forests at low and medium altitudes throughout the Philippines.
– Grown from seeds and cuttings.
– Found in calcareous soil. Grows well in bottom lands.
– Occurs in Guangdong, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and Vietnam.

Parts utilized
Leaves, roots, bark

– Yields “kino,” containing kinotannic acid.
– Wood yields red coloring constituents: narrin, santalin and angolensin.
– Narrin is a dark red amorphous powder which yields phloroglucinol and resorcinol on fusion with alkali.
– Study yielded pterocarpin and pterostilben homopterocarpin, prunetin (prunusetin), formonoetin, isoliquiritigenin, p-hydroxyhydratopic acid, perofuran, pterocarpol, and b-eudesmol.


Noted for its hardiness and rapid growth.
Grows well in bottom lands, wind-firm and less susceptible to disease and pests.
Considered antibacterial, anti-bilious, emetic.

– Young leaves and flowers are reportedly edible; the flowers, a source of honey.


– Infusion of the leaf used as shampoo.
– Used for bladder ailments, diarrhea, headache, stones, sores and dropsy.
– The young leaves applied to boils, prickly heat and ulcers.
– Decoction of shredded bark taken orally for diarrhea and dysentery.
– Decoction used as a gargle for sore throats; as an astringent; as a mouthwash for toothaches.
– Decoction of wood used for dropsy and to dissolve bladder stones.
– The resin “kino” has similar actions as tannin and catechu. It is taken for its astringent effect in chronic diarrhea, leucorrhea, blenorrhea and hemorrhages. Used as a solution for enemas for prolapse of the rectum and anal fissure.
– Red latex used in folk medicine for tumors, cancers and warts.
– Juice of root applied to syphilitic sores.
– In Papua New Guinea, used for tuberculosis, headaches, sores, and as purgative. In the Solomon Islands, used to treat dysentery, menorrhagia, and gonorrhea. In Vanuatu, used for treat cuts and wounds, stomachache and diarrhea in infants. In Indonesia, young leaves used for boils, ulcers, and prickly heat rashes.
– In Java, decoction of the bark or kino used for thrush; kino used to arrest diarrhea.
– Malays used the resin for buccal sores. Plant used as folk remedy for bladder ailments, diarrhea, dropsy, headache, stones, thrust, and tumors of the abdomen.


– Timber: Old narra is a much sought-after wood for its durability and use in floorings, cabinetry, construction, furniture making, decorative carvings, and musical instruments. A preferred wood for boatmaking because of resistance to seawater.
– Dye: A source of red dye, narrin.
– Wood is also a source of kino, a gum used as astringent and for tanning.

Study Findings
– Immune Enhancing / Anti-Asthma:The root, bark and wood of Pterocarpus indicus (Philippine Narra tree) is a component in a pharmaceutical formulation touted to be immune enhancing and purported use for the prevention and treatment of asthma.
• Polyphenolic Antiplasmin Constituent / Bark / Anti-Cancer: A polyphenolic substance with antiplasmin activity was isolated from the bark of P indicus. The substance showed carcinostatic effect on ascitic mice with Erlich carcinoma.
• Antifungal Sesquiterpene: Study isolated an antifungal compound in the methanolic extract of amboyna wood. It was identified as a B-eudesmol, a sesquiterpene alcohol and showed dose-dependent antifungal activity against P pulmonarius.
• Anticancer: 1970 study on leaves showed significant inhibition of growth of Ehrlich ascites carcinoma in mice.
• Anti-Termite: Study evaluated the use of wood extractives as preservative treatment for wood to inhibit subterranean termite activity. Results showed the n-hexane extract from P. indicus and ethyl ether extract from P. gutta showed more active inhibition effect on the activities of C. curnignatizus Holmgren.
• Antimicrobial Terpenoids: Study yielded a mixture of loliolide and paniculatadiol from the ethyl acetate leaf extract of P. indicus. Air-dried flowers yield lupeol and phytol esters. 1 and 2 showed moderate activity against Candida albicans and low activity against P. aeruginosa, E coli, and Aspergillus niger.
• Antiulcer: Study evaluated the gastroprotective effects of narra leaf decoction and sulcralfate in indomethacin-induced gastric ulcers in male albino rats. Result suggest narra may have anti-ulcer effects, and suggesting further studies at higher dosage and longer duration of exposure.
• Antibacterial: Various extracts of leaves, root, and stem barks of Pterocarpus indicus were studied for antibacterial activity. All fractions exhibited a wide spectrum of antibacterial activity, more pronounced in the butanol and methanol fractions.

Herbal teas and pills.