Family • Lecythidaceae - Barringtonia racemosa (L.) Spreng. - FISH-KILLER TREE - Yu rui

Scientific names

Barringtonia racemosa (L.) Spreng
Barringtonia racemosa (L.) Blume ex. DC
Barringtonia pallida (Miers) Koord. & Valeton
Barringtonia rosata (Sonn.) R. Knuth.
Barringtonia stravadium Blanco
Barringtonia salomonensis Rech.

Common names

Kasouai (Mbo.)
Kutkut-timbalon (Sul.)
Nuling (C. Bis.)
Paling (Ibn.)
Potat (Tag.)
Putad (Tag.)
Putat (Tag., Bik., S. L. Bis.)
Tuba-tuba (C. Bis.)
Freshwater mangrove (Engl.)
Fish-killer tree (Engl.)
Fish-poison wood (Engl.)
Yu rui (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

AFRIKAANS: Poeierkwasboom .
BURMESE: Kye-bin, Kyi.
INDONESIA: Butan darat, Butun darat, Penggung, Putat sungal.
LAO: Som pawng.
MALAY: Putat ayam, Putat ayer, Putat aying, Putat kampong.
SANSKRIT: Samudraphala.
SWAHILI: Mtomondo.
THAI: Chik ban, Chik suan.


Putat is a smooth, small tree, growing to a height of 10 meters. Branches have prominent leaf-scars. Leaves occur at the ends of the branches, subsessile, oblong-ovate, 10 to 30 centimeters long, pointed at both ends, toothed at the margins. Flowers are white or pink, borne on terminal racemes or on drooping races from axils of fallen leaves, 20 to 60 centimeters long. Calyx encloses the bud, later splitting irregularly into 2 or 3 ovate, concave segments. Petals are oblong-ovate to lanceolate, 2 to 2.5 centimeters long, slightly united at the base. Stamens are very numerous, 3 to 4 centimeters long. Fruit is ovoid to oblong-ovoid, 5 to 6 centimeters long, somewhat 4-angled, crowned by a persistent calyx. Leathery pericarp of the fruit is green or purplish in color.

– Throughout the Philippines in most or all islands and provinces, occurring In thickets and damp places along the seashore and streams at low altitudes.
– Occasionally planted as a roadside ornament for its drooping inflorescences of white and pink flowers.
– Also occurs in India to Malaya and Polynesia.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Antinociceptive effect and toxicological study of the aqueous bark extract of Barringtonia racemosa on rats/ S A Deranlyagaia, W D Ratnasooriya and C L Goonasekara / Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Vol 86, Issue 1, May 2003, Pages 21-26 / doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(03)00015-1

(2) Antitumour property and toxicity of Barringtonia racemosa Roxb seed extract in mice / T Jose Thomas, Beena Panikkar et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Vol82, Issues 2-3, October 2002, Pages 223-227 /
doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(02)00074-0 |

(3) Anti-arthritic Activity of Bartogenic Acid Isolated from Fruits of Barringtonia racemosa Roxb. (Lecythidaceae) / Kalpesh Ramdas Patil, Chandragouda Raosaheb Patil et al / eCAM, doi:10.1093/ecam/nep148

(4) [Chemical constituents of mangrove plant Barringtonia racemosa] / Sun HY, Long LJ, We J / Zhong Yao Cai. 2006 Jul;29(7):671-2.

(5) Nasimaluns A and B: neo-Clerodane Diterpenoids from Barringtonia racemosa / Choudhury M Hassa et al / J. Nat. Prod., 2000, 63 (3), pp 410–411 / DOI: 10.1021/np990488l

(6) Anti-Inflammatory and Analgesic Activity of B. racemosa Roxb. Fruits / P Shikha, PG Latha, S R Suja et al / Indian Journ of Natural Products and Resourced, Vol 1, No 3, Sept 2010, pp 356-361.

(7) Immunomodulatory effects of fruits of Barringtonia racemosa Linn. / Prabhakar R. Patil, Mahesh R. Patil, Abhay Mane, Sudha Patil. / Int J Basic Clin Pharmacol. 2013; 2(2): 216-219 / doi: 10.5455/2319-2003.ijbcp20130318

(8) Barringtonia racemosa (L.) Spreng. is an accepted name / Synonyms / The Plant List



– Study of ethyl acetate extract of stem bark isolated five compounds: 3,3′-dimethoxy ellagic acid, dihydromyticetin, gallic acid, bartogenic acid and stigmasterol.
– Ethanolic extract of roots yielded two novel neo-clerodane-type diterpenoids – nasimalun A and nasimalun B.
– Bark contains tannin.
– Fruit kernels yield two sapogenins: barringtogenil and barringtogenic acid.

– Considered analgesic, antipyretic.
– Bark is antirheumatic.
– Roots are considered deobstruent and cooling.
– Seeds are aromatic.
– Studies have show anti-tumor activity.


Parts used
Bark, leaves, fruit, seeds.

– Decoction of bark used as antirheumatic.
– Poultices of leaves used for skin itches, chicken pox, alone or with bark or root.
– Fruit used for asthma, coughs and diarrhea.
– Seeds are used in colic and ophthalmia.
– Bark and leaves are used for rat and snake bits, on boils and gastric ulcers.
– Pulverized fruit used as snuff for hemicrania; combined with other remedies, applied for skin affections.
– Seeds, given with milk, used for colic; also used for parturition.
– Powdered fruit used as snuff to clear the nostrils; also applied externally, in combination with other remedies, for throat and skin eruptions.
– In Kerala, India, seeds traditionally used to treat cancer-type diseases.
– In Malaysia, used as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer.

– Fish poison: Bark is used as a fish poison. Seeds are used for intoxicating fish.
– Illuminant: Oil from the seed used as illuminant.
– Wood: In some places, used for making native huts.

Putat6Study Findings
• Antinociceptive / Toxicological Studies: Study of aqueous bark extract showed antinociceptive activity without producing unwarranted side effects and toxicity. The effect was mediated mainly via opioid mechanisms, probably through phenolic and steroidal constituents in the extract.
• Anti-Tumor / Non-Toxic: Study of methanolic seed extract on mice challenged with Dalton’s Lymphoma Ascitic cells showed remarkable dose-dependent anti-DLA activity in mice in an efficacy better than standard drug, vincristine. The extract seemed devoid of acute and short-term toxicity.
• Molluscicidal / Cercaricidal / Mosquito Larvicidal / Antiplasmodial: Study of aqueous extracts of fruit and seed approximately equipotent molluscicidal, cercaricidal, larvicidal and antiplasmodial properties in experimental models used. Biological effects were attributed to the triterpenoid saponins, esp barringtogenol and barringtogenic acid in the fruit and seed of the plant.
• Anti-Arthritic / Fruits: Study of validates the ethnomedicinal use of fruits of BR in the treatment of pain and inflammatory conditions and establishes its potent anti-arthritic.
• Antifungal: Study of extracts of B racemosa leaves and bark yielded two different phenolic acids (gallic and ferrulic) and four flavonoids (naringin, rutin, luteolin and kaempferol). Results showed antifungal activity against Fusarium sp, Aspergillus sp. and T koningii. Results provide scientific basis for use of the plants extracts for future development of antifungal, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents.
• Antioxidant / Anti-Inflammatory / Lycopene: Study showed the crude extracts to be strong inhibitors of NO. Phytochemical analysis showed B racemosa to be an important source of lycopene, long recognized as an important antioxidant, in vivo and in vitro. The study concludes with a correlation between the antioxidant activity and lycopene content of B racemosa.
• Antioxidant: Study of methanolic and ethanolic extracts of all aerial parts exhibited very strong antioxidant properties when compared to BHT, ascorbic acid, and a-tocopherol in free radical scavenging and reducing power assays.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Analgesic: Study of ethanol extract of fruits showed significant inhibition of carrageenan/formalin-induced paw edema. The activity was comparable to that of Indomethacin. It also showed significant inhibition of acetic acid-induced writhing, almost comparable to acetylsalicylic acid.
• Immunomodulatory / Fruits: Study evaluated a hydroalcoholic extract of fruits of B. racemosa for immunomodulatory properties in animal models. Results showed significant decrease in DHT (delayed-type hypersensitivity) reaction using sheep RBCs. Effect was less compared to cyclophosphamide treated group. Also, the SRBC’s induced antibody titer was also reduced.