Palo maria

Family • Clusiaceae - Calophyllum inophyllum - SWEET-SCENTED CALOPHYLLUM / ALEXANDRIAN LAUREL - Hong hou ke

Scientific names

Calophyllum inophyllum Linn.
Calophyllum bintagor Roxb.
Balsamaria inophyllum (L.) Lour.

Common names

Batarau (Neg.)
Bitaog (Ilk., Sbl., Pamp., Tag.)
Bitok (Tag.)
Bitaoi (Pang.)
Bitong (Tag.)
Butalau (Tag., S.L. Bis., C. Bis., Mbo.)
Dagkalan (Tag.)
Dagkaan (Bag.)
Dangkalan (Tag., Bik., P. Bis., Mag.)
Dingkalan (Bik., Tag.)
Langkagan (Mag.)
Palo maria de la playa (Tag., Sul., Span.)
Pamitaogen (Ilk.)
Vutalau (Iv.)
Alexandrian laurel (Engl.)
Beauty leaf (Engl.)
Ball Nut Tree (Engl.)
Indian laurel (Engl.)
Laurelwood (Engl.)
Poon (Engl.)
Sweet-scented calophyllum (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

BENGALI: Kathchampa, Punnang, Sultanachampa.
BURMESE: Ph’ông, Ponnyet.
CHINESE: Hong hou ke, Hai tang mu, Hang tai guo, Jun zi shu, Ya la pu, Hu tong, Qiong ya hai tang shu.
FRENCH: Arbre sacré des Polynésiens, Calophylle, Foraha, Huile de tamanu, Kamani (Tahiti), Laurier d’Alexandria, Tamanu (Tahiti).
GERMAN: Alexandrinischer Lorbeer, Tacama Hacharz.
HINDI: Sultanachampa, Sultan champa, Surpan, Surpunka, Undi.
ITALIAN: Albero di Pannay.
LAOTIAN: Ka ting.
MALAY: Bentagor bunga, Bintangor, Pegana laut, Penaga pudek .
SANSKRIT: Nagachampa, Punnaga, Punnage.
SINHALESE: Domba, Pûna.
SPANISH: Palo de Santa María, Palo María.
SWAHILI: Mtomondo, Mtondoo.
TAMIL: Pinnay, Punnagam,Punnai.
THAI: Ka ka thing, Ka kra thueng, Kra thing, Kra thueng, Nao wakan, Saraphi naen, Saraphi thale, Thing.

Palo-maria is a medium-sized or large tree, reaching a height of 20 meters. Leaves are leathery, shiny, elliptic to obovate-elliptic, 9 to 18 centimeters long, narrowed to a pointed base and somewhat rounded tip. Flowers are fragrant, white, 2 to 2.5 centimeters diameter, borne on axillary racemes 5 to 10 centimeters long. Fruit is round, yellow, smooth, pulpy, 3 to 4 centimeters in diameter.

Palo maria

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Cancer chemopreventive agents, 4-phenylcoumarins from Calophyllum inophyllum 
Cancer Letters / 2001, vol. 169, pp. 15-19

(2) Cytotoxic prenylated xanthones from Calophyllum inophyllum 
Journal of Asian Natural Products Research, Volume 10, Issue 10 October 2008 , pages 993 – 997

(3) Antibacterial principle of the root bark of Calophyllum inophyllum: isolation and antibacterial activity

(4) Xanthones from leaves of Calophyllum inophyllum Linn/ Li Y, Li ZL, Liu MS et al / Yao Xue Xue Bao. 2009 Feb;44(2):154-7.

(5) Studies on flavonoids from stems and leaves of Calophyllum inophyllum / Li YZ, Li ZL, Hua HM, Li ZG, Liu MS / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2007 Apr;32(8):692-4

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

Palo maria3Distribution
-Throughout the Philippines, along the seashore, where it forms a characteristic strand.
– Cultivated for in Manila and large towns use as shade tree on lawns, avenues and boulevards, particularly along the beach.
– Also found in India to tropical East Africa and through Malaya to Polynesia.

Palo maria2

– Kernels reported to contain 70-75% bitaog oil.
– Oil is reported to contain a poisonous resin to which its color and odor are due.
– Bark yields 11.9 % tannin; exudes oleoresin when cut.
– Resin reported to contain benzoic acids.
– Seeds contain coumarins: calanolide A and B.
– Study yields inocalophyllins A, B and methylesters from the seeds. source

– Considered antiinflammatory, antiviral, anticancer, antibacterial, diuretic.
– Oil is considered vulnerary, cicatrizing, rubefacient and irritant.
– Resin considered sudorific.
– Fruit infusion is considered pectoral.
– Bark is considered astringent, emetic, purgative, demulcent.
– Milky juice is irritant and blinding to the eye.

Parts used and preparation
Kernels, bark, leaves.

Palo maria4

– Gas pains, indigestion, colic: Crush some kernels and apply on abdomen.
– Infusion or decoction of leaves used for disorders of the eye.
– Balsam (oleoresin) from the bark used as cicatrizant.
– Oleoresin sometimes taken internally for lung ailments.
– Gum resin from the bark applied to wounds and old sores.
– Oil used as external application for indigestion and colic.
– Poultice of leaves or water from pressed leaves used as astringent for hemorrhoids.
– In Indo-China, pounded bark applied to orchitis.
– Infusion of leaves taken for heatstroke.
– Oil used externally as an antiinflammatory, for rheumatism and gout.
– Crushed kernels on affected joints in rheumatism.
– In Hawaii, bark resin used for ulcers.
– In the Netherland Indies, decoction of bark taken internally after childbirth.
– In Java, used for its diuretic properties.
– In Fiji, leaves used as lotion for sore eyes.
– In Indo-China, pounded bark used used for orchitis; bark also used for dysentery and intestinal colds.
– Astringent juice from the bark used as purgative; decoction used for internal hemorrhages.
– In Samoa, leaves used for skin inflammation, leg ulcers and wounds.
– In India, the gum from wounded branches, mixed with strips of bark and leaves, is steeped in water, and the oil that separates and surfaces is used for application to sore eyes. Also, oil is used as external applications for rheumatism and gout.
– In the Netherland Indies, compound decoction of the bark with other barks, used internally after childbirth, for vaginal discharges, passing of blood and gonorrhea.
– In India, leaves are used for migraines, vertigo, ophthalmia; the seed oil, for gout, leprosy, scabies and dysuria. source.

Palo maria5

– Flowers: In the Philippines, fragrant flowers used for bouquets and wreaths. Also, used to decorate Filipino women’s hair.
– The thin, rounded seed shells used as containers for “buri” sugar which are sold as confection.
– Illuminant: Oil used as illuminant; for making soap; also used as varnish.
– Tannery: Bark may be suitable for direct use in tannery.
– Cosmetics: Oil used in many cosmetic products.
– Fuel: Considered a biodiesel potential.
– Arrow poison: In Samoa, the plant is used for production of arrow poison.

Study Findings
•Anti-tumor / Chemopreventive: Cancer chemopreventive agents, 4-phenylcoumarins from Calophyllum inophyllum: A screening of ten 4-phenylcoumarins isolated from C inophyllum showed some of them might have a potential for cancer chemoprevention.
• Cytotoxicity: Cytotoxic prenylated xanthones from Calophyllum inophyllum: Study yielded a new prenylated xanthone, caloxanthone N, with two other known constituents. Study showed compounds with cytotoxicity against chronic myelogenous leukemia cell lines.
• Inophylline A / Larvicidal: Study of roots yielded a new prenylated pyranoxanthone, Inophyllin A, with triterpenes friedelin and stigmasterol and suggests a potential for a natural larvicide.
• Antitumor: Study of ten 4-phenylcoumarins of Calophyllum inophyllum showed some of them with a potential as cancer chemoprotective agents.
• Xanthones: Study of the leaves of C inophyllum isolated a new xanthone named inophyxanthone A and four known compounds: pancixanthone A, gerontoxanthone b, jacareubin and pyranojacareubin.
• Flavonoids: Study of stems and leaves yielded nine compounds: 2-hydroxyxanthone, 4-hydroxyxanthone , 1, 5-dihydroxyxanthone, 1, 7-dihydroxyxanthone, 1, 3, 5-trihydroxy-2-methoxyxanthone, 6-deoxyjacareubin, amentoflavone, kaempferol-3-O-alpha-L-rhamnoside and quercetin-3-O-alpha-L-rhamnoside.
• Antimicrobial: Study of the antimicrobial activity of C. inophyllum the extracts showed both ethanolic and ethyl acetate extracts were more active against both gram positive and negative bacterial and fungal organisms. Results suggest the extracts possess compounds with antimicrobial properties.

Tamanu oil in the cybermarket.