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Family Rubiaceae
Guettarda speciosa Linn.

Scientific names Common names
Cadamba jasminiflora Sonn. Bagaolan (Tag.)
Guettarda speciosa Linn. Balañgigan (Bis.)
Guettarda tahitensis Nadeaud Balibagan (Bis.)
Jasminum hirsutum (L.) Willd. Banaro (Tag.)
Matthiola speciosa (L.) Kuntze Kalumpañgin (Tag.)
Mogorium hirsutum (L.) Poir. Kapagan (Ilk.)
Nyctanthes hirsuta Linn. Lagbangan (C. Bis.)
  Lambon (P. Bis.)
  Malasurut (Bik.)
  Tabon-tabon (Tag.)
  Tabug (Sul.)
  Tambon (P. Bis.)
  Tulatalisai (Bik.)
  Beach gardenia (Engl.)
  Zebra wood (Engl.)
Guettarda speciosa L. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
MICRONESIA: Belau (Pl-Mad), Balaaw, Bl'ow (Yap), Iuth (Ulithi), Outh (Fais), Ut (Woleai), Ot, Wut, Wutu (Ifaluk), Wut (F:83-Eu), Mvester (Lamotrek), Mwoosor, Mwéwúkkay (Chuuk), Mwohor (Pulusuk), Mohor (NN), Mosor (NM, NW), Mwoosor (Etal), Mosér (Namonuito), Ihd (Pohnpei), Pua (Nukuoro), Utilomar (Marshall), Te uri, Te uri rara (Kiribati) (7)

Banaro is a tree, 5 to 15 meters high, with a rounded sprawling crown. Leaves are hairy beneath, obovate, 10 to 25 centimeters long, 7.5 to 20 centimeters wide, small at the tip, rounded or heart-shaped at the base. Flowers are white, fragrant, about 3 centimeters across, with a yellow corolla-tube 2.5 to 5 cm long, borne in axillary inflorescences in terminal clusters, 3 to 11 centimeters long. Fruit is without a stalk, green but later whitish, rounded but rather flattened, 2.5 to 3 centimeters wide, faintly and closely ribbed, with 4 to 6 cells, each cavity having one seed.

- Scattered along the seashore throughout the Philippines.
- Pantropic, always occurring along the seashore, sea cliffs, beach thickets, and low land forests.

- Widely distributed from East Africa to India and through Malaysia to the South Pacific.

- Phytochemical analysis identified alkaloids, flavonoids, triterpenoids, carbohydrates, tannins, phenols, gums and mucilage.
- Bark reported to yield loganic acid and secologanin.
- Study on various extracts of leaves yielded proteins, amino acids, carbohydrates, alkaloids, flavonoids, phytosterols, saponin, phenols, tannins, fixed oil, glycerine, cardiac glycosides, glycosides, terpenoids, and coumarin. The water extract yielded the maximum number of secondary metabolites. (10)
- Chemical profiling of leaves by GC-MS yielded 53 components: Cladosporide A (27.34%) provided the largest peak; with duvatriendiol (0.01%) and docosanoic acid, 1,2,30porpanetriyl ester (CAS) (0.01%) yielded the least peaks.
- Study of 1-BuOH-soluble fraction of a MeOH extract of leaves isolated two new compounds (1,2) together with six known compounds. Compounds 1 and 2 were shown to be derivatives of a glycerol α-glucuronide and a megastigmane glycoside, respectively. (14)
- Study of root-bark isolated a tryptophan-derived alkaloid 5α-carboxystrictosidinic acid along with 5α-carboxystrictosidine, the iridoid glucoside loganic acid and 5-O-caffeoylquinic acid. A leaf extract yielded 3-O-caffeoylquinic acid and 4,5-di-O-caffeoylquinic acid. (18)

- Flowers are very fragrant, open in the evening, fall before dawn.
- Considered febrifugal, antidiarrheic, anticholinergic, vulnerary.
- Studies have suggested anti-diarrheal, anti[seizure, antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, membrane stabilizing properties.

Parts used
Bark, leaves, flowers.


- In the Dutch Indies, bark is use to cure chronic dysentery.
- In Indo-China, applied to wounds and abscesses.
- In India, the inner bark traditionally used to treat epilepsy; also used in diarrhea. Decoction of leaves are used to treat cough, colds and sore throats. The inner bark traditionally used in epilepsy.
- Inner bark used in the treatment of conjunctivitis.
- Leaves used as poultices.
- In the Marshall Islands, flowers are pounded and mixed with mother's milk for weakness and lethargy in newborn babies. Juice of flowers squeezed into the vagina as a douche. Infusion of flower juice drank for postpartum internal bleeding. Also used for treating hemorrhoids and headaches. Fruit mixed with coconut is considered a fast-acting antidote for fish poisoning. (6)
- In Kiribati, skin of fruit mixed with a part of root of Scaevola, used for treating venereal diseases.
- In Tonga, tea made from the inner bark used to treat epilepsy.
- In Tahiti, used as antidiarrheic, febrifugal, and anticholinergic.
- In New Guinea, bark preparation used for dysentery.
- In the French Mayotte Island, flowers and leaves used for acne and allergies. (22)
• Flowers: Because of their fragrance, girls in the Pacific wear them in their hair. The Fijians and Samoans string them into necklaces.
• Herbal Baths / Ritual Use: In the Marshall Islands, flowers buds are used in the preparation of deodorizing herbal baths. Ritual Use: Flowers are pounded and rubbed over the body while bathing. As part of a ritual use, flower buds, crushed and pounded, made into an "O," and mixed with a teaspoon of mother's milk, and given to newborn baby.
• Essential Oil:
In India, it is reported that some kind of attar is prepared from the flowers.
• Fibers:
Bark is a source of cellulose fibers. (see study below) (19)

Antidiarrheal / Inner Bark:
Study of the ethanol extract of the inner bark of Guettarda speciosa for anti-diarrheal effects against castor oil-induced diarrhea model in rats showed marked reduction in the number of diarrhea stools and reduction in the weight and volume of the intestinal contents, as well as reduction of in intestinal transit. (1)
Anti-Seizure / Effect on Biogenic Amines on Rat Brain: Study of ethanol extract of GS to examine biogenic amines concentrations in rat brain after induction of seizures suggests G speciosa increased the monoamines on rat brain which may decrease the susceptibility to maximum electroshock of pentylenetetrazole induced seizure in rats. (2)
Anti-Seizure / Bark: Study of inner bark showed significant antiseizure activity against various models of epilepsy.
Antibacterial / Antifungal: Study showed both the chloroform and ethanolic extract exhibited potent antifungal and antibacterial activity. (3)
Antiepileptic / Antioxidant: Study evaluated the effect of an ethanolic extract of GS on antioxidant enzymes in rat brain after induction of seizures by MES and PTZ. Anticonvulsant activity was dose-dependent and may be attributed to the antioxidant properties and the delay in the generation of free radical in MES and PTZ induced epilepsy. (5)
Nitric Oxide Scavenging / Antioxidant: Study evaluated the in-vitro antioxidant activity of various extracts of G. speciosa leaves using Nitric Oxide scavenging activity assay. The water extract showed highest antioxidant activity (IC50 77.22±0.60 µg/ml), and also showed the maximum amount of phenols (115.81±0.67 TAE/g extract) compared to the other extracts. (12)
Anti-Amyloidogenic / Cyclooxygenase Inhibitory: Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory, cytotoxicity, and inhibition of amyloid-beta (Aß) aggregation effects Chloroform and methanol extracts showed more selective COX-1 inhibition with 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 3.56 µg/ml and 4.98 µg/ml, respectively. Neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y inhibition and thioflavin assay Aß aggregate inhibition showed potential therapeutic effects against Alzheimer's disease.. Results suggest promising lead for source of pharmacologically active compounds. (13)
Anti-Inflammatory / Inhibition of Inflammatory Mediators Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory effects of a methanol extract of G. speciosa in murine macrophages. The MGS reduced nitric oxide (NO) production through regulation of expression of iNOS in lipopolysaccharide-activated RAW 264.7 cells. MGS suppressed the transcription of IL-6. The effect on pro-inflammatory mediators resulted from inhibition of activation of spleen tyrosine kinase and c-Jun N-terminal kinase. Results suggest a potential candidate for a therapeutic agent for alleviating inflammation. (15)
Anti-Inflammatory / RBC Membrane Stabilization / Bark: Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory activity of bark ethanolic extracts using suppression of hypotonicity-induced human red blood cell membrane lysis as measure of activity. Results showed anti-inflammatory activity possibly through suppression of prostaglandin synthesis. (16)
Anti-Inflammatory / Amelioration of Acute Lung Injury: Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory activity of methanol extract of G. speciosa using an acute lung injury (ALI) mouse model induced by intratracheal injection of lipopolysaccharide in C57BL/6 mice. The extract suppressed the high level of neutrophils, increased pro-inflammatory cytokines and tissue damage induced by LPS. MGS suppressed lung inflammation probably through multiple mechanisms, including activation of Nrf2 and the suppression of NF-kB and neutrophil elastase enzymatic activity by the extract. (17)
Physicochemical, Mechanical and Thermal Properties / Bark Fibers: Natural cellulose fibers have been identified from G. speciosa. Study evaluated the characteristics of the fiber extracted from the bark of G. speciosa and its physicochemical properties. Cellulose content (872.59 wt%), density (905kg/m3) and crystalline index (52.99%) properties were identified in the fibers. Results suggest that the fiber properties could be an alternative reinforcement material as green composites in the automobile and manufacturing industries. (19)
Potential Therapeutic Agents Against Alzheimer's Disease: Study evaluated 25 Philippine plant extracts for bioactive constituents as possible source of pharmacologically relevant compounds against Alzheimer's disease (AD). Cytotoxicity was determined by ATP cytotoxicity assay using SH-SY5Y and HEK-293 cell lines. Several plants viz. Guettarda speciosa, Pandamus amaryllifolius, P. simplex, P. tectorius, Lasianthus trichphlebus and Psydrax puberula prevented the oigomer aggregation of amyloid-beta in the mutant cells. Results suggest the plants have potential as nutraceuticals to minimize the effects of AD. (20)
Wound Healing / Leaves: Study evaluated the wound healing activity of ethanolic leaf extract of Guettarda speciosa using excision wound model on Wistar albino female rats. 5% and 10% (w/w) leaf extract ointment extracts were used with Lyramycin
as standard reference drug. The 10% leaf extract ointment showed significant wound healing in a dose-dependent manner. (21)
Antiulcerogenic / Leaves: Study evaluated the phytoconstituents and anti-ulcer activity of ethanol extract of G. speciosa leaves in albino rats.


Updated July 2021 / November 2015

IMAGE SOURCE: / File:Guettardia2.jpg / Casliber / July 2002 / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Guettardia speciosa / Bot. Reg. 1393, 1831 / The Families of Flowering Plants / L Watson and M J Dallwit / Delt-Intkey

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Pharmacological studies of anti-diarrhoeal activity of Guettarda speciosa (L.) in experimental animals. / Gandhimathi r, Saravana Kumar A et al / J. Pharm. Sci. & Res. 2009; 1(2): pp 61-66 / ISSN: 0975-1459
EFFECT OF GUETTARDA SPECIOSA EXTRACTS ON BIOGENIC AMINES CONCENTRATIONS IN RAT BRAIN AFTER INDUCTION OF SEIZURE / A Saravana Kumar and R Gandhimathi / International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vol. 1, Suppl 1, Nov.-Dec. 2009
ANTIBACTERIAL AND ANTIFUNGAL ACTIVITIES OF VARIOUS EXTRACTS OF GUETTARDA SPECIOSA L. / Thamizhvanan K, Pavan Kumar P et al / International Journal of Phytopharmacology. 1, 2010, 20-22.
Study on the Antiseizure Activities of Inner Bark of Guettarda Speciosa (L.) / S. ARUMUGAM, A. PALANIVELU, G. RETNASAMY and D. RAMAIYAN / Iranian Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 8: 73-76, 2009
Effect of Guettarda speciosa extracts on antioxidant enzymes levels in rat brain after induction of seizures by MES and PTZ / A. Saravana Kumar, R. Gandhimathi, /Journal of Natural Products, 2010; Vol. 3: pp 80-85 / ISSN: 0974-5211
Utilomar / Traditional Medicine of the Marshall Islands: The Women, the Plants, the .../ Irene J. Taafaki, Maria Kabua Fowler, Randolph R. Thama / Google EBook

Guettarda speciosa-Rubiaceae / People and Plants of Micronesia
Guettarda speciosa / Synonyms / The Plant List
Phytochemical analysis of Guettarda speciosa Linn. / Revathi D. and Rajeswari M. / Asian Journal of Plant Science and Research, 2015, 5(9): pp 1-4 / ISSN: 2249-7412
Chemical Profiling of Guettarda speciosa Linn. by GC-MS / Revathi, D., Rajeswari, M / Chemical Profiling of Guettarda speciosa Linn. by GC-MS
Anti-Amyloidogenic and Cyclooxygenase Inhibitory Activity of Guettarda speciosa / Mario A Tan, Mark Wilson D Lagamayo, Seong Soo A An et al / Molecules, 24(22) / DOI: 10.3390/molecules24224112
A glycerol α-D-glucuronide and a megastigmane glycoside from the leaves of Guettarda speciosa L. / Wen-Hu Cai, Katsuyoshi Matsunami, Yoshio Takeda et al / Journal of Natural Medicines, 2011; 65: pp 354-369
/ DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11418-010-0484-8
Methanol extract of Guettarda speciosa Linn. inhibits the production of inflammatory mediators through the inactivation of Syk and JNK in macrophages / Hien Thi Thu Le, Young-Cheng Cho, Sayeon Cho / International Journal of Molecular Medicine, 2018 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.3892/ijmm.2018.3377
In vitro anti-inflammatory activity of ethanolic bark extrack of Guettarda speciosa (L.) by human red blood cell membrane stabilization / Gandhimathi R, Saravanakumar A / Drug Invention Today, Nov 2019; 11(11): pp 2859-2861
The methanol extract of Guettarda speciosa Linn. ameliorates acute lung injury in mice / Kyun Ha Kim, Ji Yeon Lee, Myungsoo Joo et al BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies, 2020; 20, Art No 40 /
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-020-2828-6
A novel tryptophan-derived alkaloid and other constituents from Gutterda speciosa (Rubiaceae: Cinchonoideae-Guettardeae) / Wanitcha Muangrom, Johann Schinnerl et al / Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, April 2021; Vol 95, 104239
Investigation of physicochemical, mechanical and thermal properties of the Guettarda speciosa bark fibers / K Solai Senthi Kumar, F Steephun Raj / Materials Today: Proceedings, 2021; 37(Part2): pp 1845-1849
Potential therapeutic agents from Philippine medicinal plants against Alzheimer's disease / Mario A Tan, Seong Soo An / Alzheimer's & Dementia, 16(59) / e038909
Wound healiing activity of Guettarda speciosa Linn. / Revathi D, Rajeswari M / Indo American Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2018; 5(8) / ISSN: 2349-7750
Plants used in traditional medicine and cosmetics in Mayotte Island (France): An ethnobotanical study / Matthew Saive, Michel Frederich and Marie-Laure Fauconnier / Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, Oct 2018; 17(4): pp 645-653

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

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