Family • Fabaceae / Leguminosae - Sophora tomentosa Linn. - NECKLACE POD - Rong mao huai

Scientific names

Sophora tomentosa Linn.
Sophora glabra Hassk.
Sophora occidentalis L.

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Hai nan dou shu, Ling nan huai shu.
INDONESIA: Lolang Badjo, Lolang pante.
KENYA: Utupa wamwitu.
MALAYSIA: Pelotok, Pelochok.
SOUTH PACIFIC: Pofatu’ao’ao, Runa.
SRI LANKA: Mudu-murunga.
WEST INDIES: Sophora, Haricot bastard, Micar, Tambalista.

Common names

Bangil (Tag., Bis.)
Baraumarau (Tag., Bis.)
Gison (Tag., Bis.)
Golonaktau (Bag.)
Kabai-kabai (Tag.)
Kapon (Iv.)
Kauai (Tag., Bis.)
Mangguiau (Bik., Tag.)
Mantala (Tag., Bis.)
Olaomag (Bis.)
Pangalangan (Tag., Bis.)
Roknohan (Bis.)
Sandalaitan (Tag.)
Tambalagisa (C. Bis.)
Tambaleta (Tag.)
Tambalisa (Tag., S. L. Bis., P. Bis.)
Tambalisi (Tag.)
Tambiligisa (Tag.)
Tanbalisa (Bik.)
Necklace pod (Engl.)
Yellow necklace pod (Engl.)
Silverbush (Engl.)
Rong mao huai (Chin.)

Tambalisa is a gray, hairy shrub. Leaves are alternate, pinnately compound, about 15 to 30 centimeters in length, with 11 to 17 leaflets which are oval, 2.5 to 4 centimeters in length and extremely hairy. Flowers are bright yellow, about 1 centimeter long, borne on terminal racemes about 15 centimeters long. Pods are 10 to 15 centimeters in length, containing 6 to 8 seeds. Pods are characteristically rounded where the seeds occur, very narrow in the portions between the seeds.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Chemical Studies on Sophora tomentosa : the Isolation of a New Class of Isoflavonoid / Kinoshita Takeshi, Ichinose Koji, Takahashi Chiho et al / Chemical & pharmaceutical bulletin 38(10), 2756-2759, 1990-10-25

(2) (−)-Epilamprolobine and its N-oxide, lupin alkaloids from Sophora tomentosa / Isamu Murakoshi, Eiji Kidoguchi, Minako Nakamura et al / Phytochemistry, Vol 20, No 7, 1981, Pages 1725-1730 / doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)98564-9

(3) Cytotoxicty and Radical Modulating Activity of Isoflavones and Isoflavanones from Sophora Species / Yoshiaki Shirataki, Mari Wakae, Yukiyo Yamamoto et al / ANTICANCER RESEARCH 24: 1481-1488 (2004)

(4) Sophora tomentosa / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED

– Abundant along the seashore throughout the Philippines.
– Pantropic strand plant.


– Contains an alkaloid, sophorine, identical to cytisine fromCytisus laburnum and ulexine from Ulex europaeus.Cytisine resembles nicotine in its action.
– Study yielded a thick, red-brown fluid from the seeds, physiologically resembling the alkaloid cytisine from C laburnum seeds. Study also showed both ulexine and sophorine to be identical to cytisine. (Q)
– Study isolated two flavonoid compounds, sophoraisoflavanone A and sophoraflavanone B, together with sophoronol, isosophoranone and isobavachin from the aerial parts.
– Study of fresh leaves yielded three lupin alkaloids: (−)-epilamprolobine, (+)-epilamprolobine N-oxide and 5-(3′-methoxycarbonylbutyroyl)aminomethyl-trans-quinolizidine N-oxide, along with (+)-matrine, (+)-matrine N-oxide, (+)-sophocarpine N-oxide, (−)-anagyrine, (−)- baptifoline, (−)-cytisine, (−)-N-methylcytisine, (−)-N-formylcytisine, (−)-N-acetylcytisine and (±)-ammodendrine.

– Roots are yellow.
– Bark is bitter; the seeds more so.
– Plant considered diuretic, stomachic, sudorific, purgative, febrifuge.
– Seeds considered anticholeric, purgative, febrifuge, stomachic.
– Seeds are dangerously emetocathartic due to the cytisine-like alkaloid that is released.

Parts used
Oil, roots, stems, seeds.

– In the Philippines, plant used as a common remedy for stomach disorders; seeds used for stomach affections.
– Decoction of root, stem or seeds considered anticholeric. Seeds considered purgative; as little as two seeds may provide a drastic purgative action.
– Seeds used as febrifuge and stomachic.
Tambalisa4– Oil from seeds applied externally for bones aches associated with colds. Also, used as expectorant.
– In New South Wales, seeds are used for bilious sickness.
– In Eastern Malaysia, plant used for cholera and diarrhea; also, as antidote for eating poisonous fish and other marine animals.
– Powdered seeds used by the Malays as astringent for diarrhea; leaves and roots also so employed.

Study Findings
• Pterocarpans / Weigteone / Antifungal: Studies yielded two pterocarpans, sophoracarpans A and B, with three known isoflavonoids, eighteone (erythrinin B), sophoraisoflavanone A and I-maackianin. Wighteone is a known antifungal phytoalexin in several genera of leguminous plants.
• Phenylflavanones: Prenylflavanones from S tomentosa exhibited tumor-specific cytotoxicity and antimicrobial activity.
• Phenylflavanones / Radical Scavenging / Antimicrobial / Cytotoxic: Study was done on the biologic activity of ten phenylflavanones purified from S tomentosa and S moorcroftiana. Some of the flavanones showed tumor-speclfic cytotoxic activity, antimicrobial activity, and anti-HIV activity, radical generation, and 02- scavenging activity.