Family • Meliaceae - Xylocarpus moluccensis - PUZZLENUT TREE

Scientific names

Xylocarpus granatum Koenig
Xylocarpus obovatus
Carapa obovata Blume
Carapa moluccensis

Common names

Bigi (Tagb.) Piyagaw (Tag.)
Kolimbaning (Ilk.) Pulit (Yak.)
Lubanayong (Ibn.) Tabigi (Tag., Bik., P. Bis., S. L. Bis., C. Bis.)
Migi (Pamp.) Tibigi (Tag., Bik.)
Nige (Tagb., Bik., Tag.) Tambo-tambo (Sub., Mag., Sul.)
Nigi (Tagb.) Tambu-tambu (Mag.)
Piadak (Tagb.) Puzzlenut tree (Engl.)
Piagau (Tag., P. Bis., Sul.) Cannonball mangrove (Engl.)

Tabigi is a small tree growing 3-12 meters high. Leaves are abruptly pinnate, with pairs of leaflets which are elliptic or obovate, 8 to 18 centimeters long, 4 to 8 centimeters wide, with a pointed base and rounded tip. Flowers are small, white, 4-parted, borne on short terminal or axillary panicles. Fruit is spherical, 9 to 12 centimeters in diameter, with 6 to 12 seeds. Pericarp is hard and fibrous, splitting into 4 valves. Seeds are angled, with a spongy integument.


– Throughout the Philippines in mangrove swamps, bordering tidal streams.
– Also occurs in India and Ceylon through Malaya and New Caledonia.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Neuropharmacological properties of Xylocarpus moluccensisSatyajit Sarker et al / Fitoterapia / Volume 78, Issue 2, February 2007, Pages 107-111 / doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2006.09.029

(2) Antidiarrhoeal activity of the methanol extract of the barks of Xylocarpus moluccensis in castor oil- and magnesium sulphate-induced diarrhoea models in mice / S J Uddin et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology / Volume 101, Issues 1-3, 3 October 2005, Pages 139-143 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2005.04.006


(4) Cytotoxic Effects of Bangladeshi Medicinal Plant Extracts / Uddin S J et al / Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009 Aug 25

(5) Moluccensins A−G, Phragmalins with a Conjugated C-30 Carbonyl Group from a Krishna Mangrove, Xylocarpus moluccensis / Min-Yi Li et al / J. Nat. Prod., 2009, 72 (9), pp 1657–1662 / DOI: 10.1021/np9003504

(6) Polyhydroxylated Phragmalins from the Fruit of a Chinese Mangrove, Xylocarpus granatum / Yuan Zhou, Fan Cheng, Jun Wu and Kun Zou / J. Nat. Prod., 2006, 69 (7), pp 1083–1085 / DOI: 10.1021/np050545c

(7) Assessment of antidiarrhoeal activity of the methanol extract of Xylocarpus granatum bark in mice model / Razina Rouf, Shaikh Jamal Uddin, Jamil Ahmad Shilpi, Mahiuddin Alamgir / Journal of Ethnopharmacology
Vol 109, Issue 3, 12 February 2007, Pages 539-542 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2006.08.015

(8) Protolimonoids and Limonoids from the Chinese Mangrove Plant Xylocarpus granatum / Jianxin Cui, Zhiwei Deng, Minjuan Xu et al / Helvetica Chimica Acta, Volume 92, Issue 1, pages 139–150, January 2009 / DOI: 10.1002/hlca.200800177

(9) Chemical constituents in seeds of Indian mangrove Xylocarpus granatum / Yang Xiao-bo, Yang Shen-xin et al / DOI: CNKI:SUN:ZCYO.0.2010-06-004

(10) Moluccensins H−J, 30-Ketophragmalin Limonoids from Xylocarpus moluccensis / Khanitha Pudhom, Damrong Sommit, Paulwatt Nuclear et al / J. Nat. Prod., 2010, 73 (2), pp 263–266
DOI: 10.1021/np900583h

– Solid fat, 40-60%; tannin.
– The seeds, fruits and stems yield a large number of limonoids.
– Phytochemical exam of fruits of X. granatum isolated five new protolimonoids, protoxylocarpins A-E, and two new limonoids, xylocarpins J and K, together with xyloccensis M and Y.
– Seeds yielded 13 compounds: a new one,named indiangranatumin A, together with known compounds swietemahonolide, febrifugin ,khayasin T, febrifugin A , gedunin, isolariciresinol, phaseic acid, aromadendrin, 4-hydroxy cinnamic acid, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, 4-hydroxyphenylacetic acid,and xylogranatinin.
– Seed kernels yielded three new phragmalin limonoids, moluccensins H-J.

Bitter, astringent, anti-diarrhetic.
Bark and root considered astringent.

Parts used and preparation
Fruits and seeds.

Fruits or seeds , powdered or decoction, are used for diarrhea.
In Tonga, the bark is used for candidiasis, scabies, baby rash, stomach pains, constipation.
In Malaya, used for cholera, colic diarrhea, and other abdominal affections.
In Fiji, bark used for headaches, fatigue, candidiasis (leaves and bark), joint pains, chest pains and buccal pains.
Also used for replapsing sickness.
In Bangladesh, used for gastrointestinal disturbances such as cholera, dysentery, diarrhea; also for fever.

Study Findings
• Neuropharmacological / CNS depressant activity: Study on the CNS effects of X moluccensis showed that both the bark and peumatophore extracts possess CNS depressant activity, the pneumatophore more potent than the bark. It produced dose-dependent reduction of pentobarbitone-induced hypnosis, reduction of locomotor and exploratory activities.
• Anti-bacterial / Anti-diarrheal: Study of the methanolic extract of bark of XM showed moderate inbitory activity against E coli, S aureus, S epidermis, Shigella dysentery, S typhii, among others suggesting a potential source for antidiarrheal drug development.
• Antimicrobial: Study of crude extract of X granatum showed significant antimicrobial activity against S epidermis, S aureus, Shigella boydii and Proteus spp and moderate activity against E coli and S pyogenes.
• Antioxidant / Flavonols: Methanol extract showed to be rich in flavan-3-ols and procyanidins. It exhibited excellent DPPH radical scavenging and 15-lipoxygenase inhibiting activities attributed to the high content of catechins and procyanidins.
• Cytotoxicity:  In a study of Bangladeshi medicinal plants, the methanol extract of Xm showed low toxicity against mouse fibroblasts but selective toxicity against different cancer cell lines. Study showed two of six extracts of X. moluccensis leaves and bark and XG bark exhibited promising cytotoxic activity against human hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2) cell line.
• Phragmalins:  Study yielded seven new phragmalins: moluccensins A-G. (2) Study isolated three new polyhydroxylated phragmalins, named xyloccensins Y, Z1 and Z2 from the fruit of Xylocarpus granatum, with eight known compounds.
• Antidiarrheal: Study of methanol extract of XG bark for in experimental diarrhea induced by castor oil and magnesium sulfate in mice showed significant dose-dependent antidiarrheal activity and supports its use in traditional herbal medicine.
• Antifilarial / Genudin and Photogedunin: Study in experimental rodent host evaluating the antifilarial activity of X. granatum showed the fruit extract contains promising in vitro and in vivo antifilarial activity against human lymphatic filarial parasite B. malayi. The activity was attributed to two pure compounds gedunin and photogedunin.