Family • Meliaceae - Melia azedarach Linn. - BEAD TREE - K'u Lien

Scientific names

Melia azedarach Linn.
Melia azedarach L. var. umbraculifera Knox
Melia chinensis Sieber ex Miq.
Melia azedarach L. var. japonica (G. Don) Makino
Melia japonica G. Don
Melia toosendan Siebold et Zucc.

Common names

Paraiso (Span., Tag.)
Bead tree (Engl.)
Cape syringa (Engl.)
China berry (Engl.)
Chinese umbrella tree (Engl.)
Indian lilac (Engl.)
Pride of India (Engl.)
K’u Lien (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

AFRIKAANS: Bessieboom, Bessieboom syringa, Maksering. LAOTIAN: H’ienx, Kadau s’a:ngz.
ASSAMESE: Ghora nim. MALAY : Gringging, Marambung, Mindi, Mindi kecil .
BENGALI: Bakarjam. MALAYALAM : Malaveppu.
CATALAN: Mèlia. MARATHI: Bakan nimb.
CHINESE: Lian, Ku lian, Lian shu, Zi hua shu, Sen shu, Chuan lian zi, Jin ling zi. NEPALESE: Bakenu, Khaibasi.
CROATIAN: Melija, Očenašica. PERSIAN: Zanzalakht
CZECH: Zederach hladký. POLISH: Miotla.
DANISH: Paternostertræ. PORTUGUESE : Amargoseira, Amargoseira-do-Himalaio, Árvore-santa, Cinamomo, Conteira, Lilás-da-Índia, Lilás-das-Índias, Margoseira-do-Himalaio, Mélia, Paraíso, Sabonete-de-soldado.
DUTCH: Kralenboom. SANSKRIT: Mahanimbah.
FRENCH: Acacie d’Égypte, Adrézarach, Arbre à chapelets, Arbe margousier, Azédarac, Azédarach, Cascarelle, Cormier des indes, Lilas de Perse, Lilas des Indes, Margousier, Mélie Pater-noster. SPANISH : Agriaz, Agrión, Árbol de los rosarios, Arbol del para, Árbol del Paraíso, Árbol santo, Azedaraque, Cinamomo, Flor del paraiso, Melia, Paraíso, Paraíso sombrilla, Piocha, Rosariera.
GERMAN: Chinesischer Holunder, Indianischer Lilak, Indischer Zederachbaum, Indischer Zedrachbaum, Paternosterbaum, Persischer Flieder, Zedrachbaum. SWEDISH : Zedrak.
GREEK: Agriopaschaliá, Louloudiá, Moschokarfia, Paschaliá, Pseudomelia, Solomós. TAMIL: Kattu vembhu, Malai vembu, Malaivenimpu.
HINDI: Bakain, Bakānā nīmba, Bakayan, Mahanimb. TELUGU: Kali yapa, Kondavepa, Turakavepa, Turka vepa.
ITALIAN: Albero da rosari, Albero dei rosari, Albero dei paternostri, Lillà delle Indie, Perlaro. THAI: Hian, Lian, Lian bai yai, Khian, Krian.
JAPANESE: Sendan. TURKISH: Tespih aǧacı.
KANNADA : Bevu. URDU: Bakain, Dharek, Dhrek.
KHMER: Dâk’hiën, Sadau khmaôch. VIETNAMESE : Cây xoan, Sâ dông.
KOREAN: Meol gu seul na mu.

Paraiso is a shrub or small tree, usually not more than 3 to 4 meters high. Leaves are bipinnate, occasionally tripinnate, 20 to 40 centimeters long. Leaflets are numerous, oblong-ovate, toothed, and 4 to 7 centimeters long. Flowers are fragrant, 5-parted, borne on panicles 10 to 20 centimeters long. Petals are about 1 centimeter long, oblong-spatulate, and pale lilac, while the staminal-tube is usually dark purple and about 7 millimeters long. Fruit is ovoid or subglobose, about 1 centimeter long.


– Ornamentally cultivated in Manila and larger towns for its fragrant flowers.
– Nowhere naturalized,
– Introduced in earlier times from China.


– Leaf extract yielded alkaloids, tannins, saponins, phenols, steroids, terpenoids, glycosides, and flavonoids.
– Bark yields a bitter substance, named margosin by Cornish, and azadarin by Piddington.
– Study isolated an alkaloid from the bark of the roots – paraisine – soluble in petrol ether, benzene and chloroform.
– Study isolated an oil from the kernels, consisting of butyric and valeric acids 2.31%, stearic acid 21.38%, palmitic acid 12.62%, oleic acid 52.08%, linoleic acid 2.12%. arachidic and liquoceric acids 0.74%


– Root is very bitter and nauseating.
– Leaves considered anthelmintic, antilithic, diuretic, deobstruent, resolvent.
– Root considered resolvent, deobstruent, vermifuge.
– Bark is considered a bitter tonic, astringent, antiperiodic.
– Fruit considered emollient and purgative.
– Seeds are emetic, laxative, and antihelmintic.
– Expressed oil is pale yellow and bitter tasting, with a garlic-like odor.
– The oil is considered the most active medicinal part of the plant.
– Oil considered stimulant, antiseptic, alterative.

Parts utilized
· Fruits, leaves, bark of roots and bark of trunk.
· Collect fruits from November to April, leaves from May to October, roots and bark the whole year round.
· Remove the outermost bark, rinse, and sun-dry. Cut into sections.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) In Vitro Antibacterial Prospective of Crude Leaf Extracts of Melia azedarach Linn. against Selected Bacterial Strains / S Ramya, P J Jepachanderamoha et al / Ethnobotanical Leaflets 13: 254-58. 2009.

(2) Antibacterial effect of Melia azedarach flowers on rabbits 

(3) Pregnancy interceptive activity of Melia azedarach Linn. in adult female Sprague-Dawley rats / Contraception ISSN 0010-7824 CODEN CCPTAY / 2003, vol. 68, no4, pp. 303-306

(4) Antioxidative Activity of Melia azedarach Linn Leaf Extract / IRANIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACOLOGY & THERAPEUTICS / IJPT 7:31-34, 2008

(5) Antifungal Effects of Different Organic Extracts from Melia azedarach L. on Phytopathogenic Fungi and Their Isolated Active Components / Maria Carpinella, Laura Giorda et al / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2003, 51 (9), pp 2506–2511 / DOI: 10.1021/jf026083f

(6) Antiparasitic activity of Melia azedarach growing in Argentina / Victor Szewczuk, Elena Mongelli and Alicia Pomilio / Molecular Medicinal Chemistry / vol 1 July-September 2003, 54-57

(7) An Antiviral Meliacarpin from Leaves of Melia azedarach L. / Laura E. Alche, Guillermo Assad Ferek, et al / Z. Naturforsch. 58c, 215<ETH>219 (2003)

(8) Antilithiatic effect of Melia azedarach on ethylene glycol-induced nephrolithiasis in rats / Pharmaceutical biology ISSN 1388-0209 / 2006, vol. 44, No. 6, pp. 480-488

(9) Extracts of Azadirachta indica and Melia azedarach seeds inhibit folliculogenesis in albino rats / J K Roop, P K Dhaliwal and S S Guraya / Braz J Med Biol Res, June 2005, Volume 38(06) 943-947 (Short Communication) / doi: 10.1590/S0100-879X2005000600017

(10) Effect of cream containing Melia azedarach flowers on skin diseases in children / Free Library

(11) Human Melia azedarach poisoning / Phua DH, Tsai WJ, Ger J, Deng JF, Yang CC / Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2008 Dec;46(10):1067-70.

(12) Melia Azedarach Poisoning / Toh Keng Kiat / Singapore Medical Journal, Vol 10, No 1, March 1969

(13) Immunomodulatory Activities of Melia azedarach L. Leaf Extracts on Human Monocytes / Fabian Benencia, Maria Courreges et al / Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants, Vol 5, Issue 3, March 1998, pp 7-13 / DOI: 10.1300/J044v05n03_02

(14) Efficacy of Melia azedarach on the larvae of three mosquito species Anopheles stephensi, Culex quinquefasciatus and Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) / Murugesan Selvaraj and Muthusamy Mosses / European Mosquito Bulletin 29 (2011), 116-121

(15) Antifertility effect of Melia azedarach Linn. seed extract in female albino rats / Reshu Mandal & Patwant Kaur Dhaliwal / Indian Journ of Experimental Biology, Vol 45, Oct 2007, pp 853-860.

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

(17) Cytotoxic evaluation of Melia azedarach in comparison with, Azadirachta indica and its phytochemical investigation. / Jafari S, Saeidnia S, Hajimehdipoor H, Ardekani MR, Faramarzi MA, Hadjiakhoondi A, Khanavi M. / Daru. 2013 May 16;21(1):37. doi: 10.1186/2008-2231-21-37.


(19) Antiparasitic activity of Melia azedarach growing in Argentina / Víctor D. Szewczuk, Elena R. Mongelli and Alicia B. Pomilio* / Molecular Medicinal Chemistry, Vol 1 July-September 2003, 54-57

(20) Larvicidal Activities of Different Parts of Melia azedarach Linn. against Culex quinquefasciatus Say. (Diptera: Culicidae) / Ikram Ilahi*, Imran Khan, Mohammad Tariq and Izhar Ahmad / Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences, 2012, 8, 23-28

(21) Phytochemical investigation and radical scavenging activities of Melia azedarach and its DNA protective effect in cultured lymphocytes / Srinivasan Marimuthu, Padmaja Balakrishnan, and Sudarsan Nair / Pharmaceutical Biology / doi:10.3109/13880209.2013.791323

(22) Hepatoprotective activity of Melia azedarach leaf extract against simvastatin induced Hepatotoxicity in rats / A. Srinivasa Rao, Mohammed Fazil Ahmed and Mohammed Ibrahim / Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science 02 (07); 2012: 144-148


– Root decoction or fluid extract used as anthelmintic.
– Root bark used as vermifuge; also used for intermittent fevers and dysentery.
– Root bark used in America as a cathartic and emetic.
– In India, before quinine, root bark used for malaria.
– Infusion of bark used as febrifuge especially for periodic fevers; also, for thirst and nausea.
– Poultice of bark used in leprosy and scrofulous ulcers.
– Leaves used in a variety of forms – poultice, wash, ointment or liniment – as external applications to ulcers and skin diseases
– Crushed leaves used as poultice for boils and sores.
– Internally, infusion of fresh leaves used as a bitter vegetable tonic and alterative. (The stools noticed to become a brilliant yellow after use.) Infusion also used for chronic malarial fevers; and as a powerful alterative for chronic syphilitic infections.
– Decoction of leaves used for ; also, for hysteria.
– Juice of leaves used internally as anthelmintic, antilithic, diuretic, and emmenagogue.
– Decoction of leaves used as astringent, anthelmintic and stomachic.
– In Sidh, poultice of leaves used for sprains.
– Paste of flowers used to destroy headlice and associated scalp eruptions. Also, used for prickly heat.
– Poultice of flowers and leaves applied for nervous headaches.
– Fruit used as purgative and emollient; useful for intestinal worms, urinary affections and piles.
– Fruit is considered both tonic and poisonous, and used for leprosy and scrofula; the fruit pulp used as anthelmintic. (The pulp of the fruit, mixed with grease, is reported to kill dogs.)
– Seeds are emetic, laxative and anthelmintic; in Indo-China, used for typhoid fever and urinary retention.
– Oil used for syphilitic sores and indolent ulcers; also, for leprosy, suppurating scrofulous glands and rheumatism.
– Oil used as application for erysipelas, scrofula, and various skin diseases; also, as parasiticide in various cutaneous affects as ringworm and scabies.
– Internally, the oil used for chronic malarial fevers, syphilis, and leprosy.
– In Ayurveda, used for leprosy, inflammation, cardiac disorders and scrofula; as antihelmintic, antilithic, diuretic.
– In Mauritius, the root bark is used as anthelmintic; in Algeria, as tonic and antipyretic; elsewhere, the heartwood is used to relieve asthma, as emetic or as emmenagogue.

• Insecticidal: Leaf extract has insecticidal property; repels insects in clothing. Powdered dust of fruit, crude extract of wood and bark are also insecticidal.


Study Findings
• Antibacterial / Crude Leaf Extract: Study showed the leaves of M. azedarach are effective against both gram positive and gram negative strains of bacteria.
• Antibacterial / Flowers: Methanol extract of MA flowers showed potent antibacterial action in rabbits with S aureus skin infection.
• Antibacterial / Cream Formulation: A formulated cream contain Melia azedarach flowers showed a strong potential to cure bacterial infections in young children, comparable to neomycin skin ointment.
• Contraceptive: Ethanolic extract of MA roots prevented pregnancy in 60-75% of female rats with decreased rate of implantation.
• Antioxidant / Leaf Extract: Study showed the leaves of MA to possess an erythrocyte protectiveactivity against drug-induced oxidative stress.
• Antioxidant: Study showed the extract of Melia azedarach, which contains the highest amount of phenolic compounds, exhibited the greatest anti-oxidant activity compared to A. indica.
• Antifungal: Extracts from different parts of MA exhibited fungistatic activity against A flavus, D phaseolum, F oxysporum, F solani, among others. The ethanolic seed extract showed to be the most active.
• Anthelmintic: Drupe extracts of MA in Argentina showed better activity against tapeworm than standard piperazine phosphate used for Cestodal infections.
• Antiviral: Extract of leaves of MA isolated a limonoid which showed antiviral activity against vesicular stomatitis and herpes simples virus.
• Anti-lithiasis: Study of aqueous extract of MA showed to be effective against ethylene glycol-induced nephrolithiasis in albino rats.
• Anti-Folliculogenesis: Study concludes the polar and non-polar fractions of A indica and M azedarach seed extracts significant reduced the number of follicles in rats, with maximum reduction occurring with the Azadirachta extract.
• Immunomodulatory: Leaf extract from M azedarach L. inhibited phagocytosis of opsonized sheep erythrocytes and the respiratory burst triggered by post-receptor stimuli in human monocytes.
• Antioxidant / Hepatoprotective: Study of the antioxidant and antihepatotoxic activities of the biherbal ethanolic extracts of M azedarach and Piper longum showed potent antihepatotoxic activity against carbon tetrachloride-induced acute toxicity in rat liver. The effect was probably related to its marked antioxidant activity.
• Larvicidal: Ethanolic extract of Melia azedarach showed effective larvicidal activity against Anopheles stephensi, Culex quinquefasciatus and Aedes aegypti. Results suggest a potential use as larvicidal agent to control mosquito populations.
• Hepatoprotective: Study of a methanolic leaf extract of Melia azedarach against paracetamol-inducedhepatic damage in rats showed significant hepatoprotective activity.
• Anti-Ulcer: Study of aqueous extract of leaves of Melia azedarach on anti-ulcer activity in aspirin-induced and pylorus-ligated rate showed antiulcer effects comparable to the standard drug Omeprazole.
• Anti-Fertility: Study of Melia azedarach seed extract in adult cyclic Wistar rats showed a reduction in fertility index and average number of embryos in mated rats with associated histological changes. Results suggest the plant extract has a potential use in a rodent control program.
• Antiproliferative Potential / Anticancer: Study investigated the anti-cancer activity in comparison to A. indica on cancer lines. Results showed the seed kernel extract of M azedarach had the highest cytotoxic activity and selectivity to cancer cell lines. Study showed an abundance of flavonols in the leaves.
• Antimicrobial: Study evaluated various leaf extracts of Melia azedarach for antimicrobial efficacy against eight human pathogens. The alcoholic extract showed maximum zone of inhibition and minimum inhibitory concentration against all the microorganisms.
• Antiparasitic: Antiparasitic activity of drupe extracts of M. azedarach growing in Argentina was tested against a tapeworm and earthworm. Results showed better activity against tapeworms than the standard piperazine phosphate, which is used for Cestoda infections.
• Larvicidal / Culex quinquefasciatus: Various concentrations of aqueous extracts of leaves, fruits, and bark were tested for larvicidal activity against C. quinquefasciatus. The aqueous extract of bark showed to be more toxic and efficient. Results suggest a good source of preparations for pest control, especially mosquito control.
• Radical Scavenging / DNA Protective in Cultured Lymphocytes: Study of an ethanol leaf extract showed significant dose-dependent inhibition on in vitro radical scavenging assays and protection against H2O2-induced DNA damage in cultured lymphocytes. Results suggest a potential for an effective antioxidant during oxidative stress.
• Hepatoprotective / Leaf Extract / Simvastatin Hepatotoxicity: Study evaluated the hepatoprotective activity of leaves extract against simvastatin induced hepatotoxicity. Results showed significant changes in biochemical parameters, restored towards normalization in M. azedarach treated animals.

• Report on Human Poisoning: Review of Chinese medical literature reports that human M. azedarach poisoning occur when 6 to 9 fruits, 30 to 40 seeds, or 400 g of bark are consumed. Symptoms occur within 4-6 hrs, or as short as 1/2 hour, consisting of weakness, myalgia, numbness and ptosis. M azedarach poisoning may result in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory or neurological effects, and death in severe cases.
• Case Report on a Fatality: There have been scattered reports of human fatalities and non-fatal toxicities: A woman who died after a bark decoction of M azedarach was taken for dysmenorrhea. A fatality from a bark decoction enema. Illnesses from decoctions and infusions causing stomatitis, hematemesis, oliguria.
• Animals: Pulp of seeds reportedly fatal to dogs.