- The genus Diospytos consists of over 700 species of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. The majority are native to the tropics, with a few species extending into temperate regions.
- Individual species are valued for their hard, heavy, dark wood, commonly referred to as ebony trees; others are valued for their fruit and known as persimmon trees.
- The genus name Diospyros derives from Greek words dios and pyros—literally meaning "Zeus wheat" or generally as "divine fruit" or "divine food."
Diospyros montana is a small deciduous tree growing up to a height of 15 meters. Bole and older branches are armed with long, hard, stiff, divaricate spines from the stumps of branches.. Bark is smooth, grey or yellowish grey. Branchlets are slender, glabrous. Leaves are simple, alternate, elliptic, lance-shaped, somewhat heart-shaped at the base, and sharp or blunt at the tip; smooth above and velvety underneath. Petioles are 5-10 mm, slender, grooved above, glabrous, Male and female flowers grow on separate trees. Male flowers are are borne in 3-flowered clusters while female flowers occur singly. Flowers are creamy white or greenish-white, tubular with 4 petals which are curved back. Sepals are ovate, velvety. Stamens of the male flower are longer than the flower tube. Fruit is a berry, 1.5-2 cm across, ovoid to obconical, yellow to orange when ripe, with 3-5 rough and black seeds.
- Native to the Philippines.
- Distributed all along the Western Ghats of India, Sri Lanka, Indo-China through to Australia.
- Phytochemical screening of leaves yielded alkaloids, steroids, saponins, flavonoids, and tannins. (6)
- Study of leaves for secondary metabolites isolated a significant amount of the pentacyclic triterpenes: oleanolic acid and ß-amyrin. (7)
- Study of heartwood and bark yielded diospyrin-3'-methoxydiospyrin, diospyrin-2-(epoxy-3-methyl-butanoate), diospyrin-2'-(2-hydroxypropanoate), sioapyrin-3'-(2-hydroxypropanoate), and tetrahydrodiopyrin. (8)
- Study of leaves isolated five flavonol glycosides (1-5), two naphthalene dimer glycosides (7 and 8), including three
new compounds (1, 2, and 8). (see study below) (12)
- Phytochemical screening of roots yielded carbohyydrates, protein and amino acids, fixed oils and fats, saponins, sterols, alkaloids, phenols, tannins, flavonoids, anthocyanins and anthraquinones in different solvent extracts. (20)
- GC-MS analysis of roots yielded about 100 bioactive compounds. Major constituents are 0-octadecenamide (7.88%), (Z)-ß-sitosterol (5.57%), 9-octadecenoic acid (Z)-2-hydroxy-1=(hydroxymethyl) ethyl ester (5.42%), dibutyl phthalate (4.81%), ar-tumerone (3.52%), cyclopentasiloxane decamethyl (3.28%), 6-octade cenoic acid methyl ester (Z) (3.08%), stigmasterol (2.80%), heptad cane, 9-hexyl (2.27%), and cyclohexasiloxane dodecamethyl (2.25%). (20)
Studies have suggested antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, anticancer. anti-filarial properties.
Bark, leaves, stem-bark, fruits.
= Caution: Fruits are reportedly poisonous.
- No reported folkloric medicinal use i the Philippines
- In central India, bark used for jaundice, vomiting, and dysentery.
- In Tamil Nadu, India, leaves used for diabetes; extract of fresh stem bark used for stomachaches. (17)
- In Jharkhad, India, stem bark used for vomiting; root and stem bark used for fever. (18)
- Fruits applied externally to treat boils. (19)
- Fish poison: Crushed leaves and fruits are used to stupefy fish.
- Wood: Wood is durable; moderately hard. There is a wide variation in amount of sapwood and heartwood. When produced, the heartwood can be black with rosy, yellowish, brownish or ashy streaks,; sometimes nearly or totally black, generally sharply demarcated from a thin or wide band of whitish, yellowish, or red sapwood. Texture is fine, smooth, and dense; the grain generally straight.
While it rarely grows to sufficient size, It is a beautiful furniture wood. The density makes it a difficult wood to work with, but can yield a beautiful surface. Small trees containing little or no sapwood are used locally to make posts, beams, joists, rafters window sills, small implements, scabbards, and canes. (19)
• Selenium Nanoparticles / Anticancer, Antioxidant, Antimicrobial / Leaves: : Study reports on an easy plant-mediated synthesis of selenium nanoparticles using an aqueous leaf extract of Diospyros montana. The biosynthesized SeNPs showed potential antioxidant property by DPPH and reducing power assays. The NPs exhibited significant antimicrobial activity against microorganisms such as Gram+ Staphylococcus aureus and Gram- Escherichia coli and fungus Aspergillus niger. On cytotoxicity testing, the NPs showed activity against human breast cancer cells (MCF-7) cells, inhibiting cell growth in a dose-dependent manner. (3)
• Silver Nanoparticles Antioxidant / Antibacterial / Stem Bark: Study reports on the eco-friendly biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) using stem bark of D. montana. The AgNPs showed antioxidant effect by DPPH and H2O2 assays, which increased with increasing concentration. The AgNPs showed antibacterial activity against both Gram+ (B. subtilis and S. aureus) and Gram- (E. coli and K. aerogenes) strains. (4)
• Diospyrin / Tumor Inhibitory / Stem Bark: Study isolated diospyrin, a tumor inhibitory agent from the stem bark of Diospyros montana, Study reports on a sensitive high-performance thin-layer chromatographic (HPTLC) method for the precise estimation of diospyrin. (5)
• Free Radical Scavenging / Heartwood: Study the free radical scavenging activity of methanolic extract of D. montana heartwood using DPPH and reducing power assays. In DPPH method, IC50 was 115.31 µg/ml compared to ascorbic acid standard of 174.7 µg/ml. Significant results were observed in the reducing power method. (9)
• ß-Sitosterol / Detection and Quantitation: ß-sitosterol is a plant sterol present in Diospyros, which is reported to possess anticancer and adaptogenic properties. HPTLC (High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography) was done for detection and quantification of ß-sitosterol in D. montana. Estimated values were 651.99, 467.06, 447.14, and 323.87 µg/ml for leaves, stem bark, roots, and seeds respectively. Leaves were the richest source of ß-sitosterol in D. montana. (10)
• Anti-Filarial Activity / Fruit: Study evaluated the potential anti-filarial activity of petroleum and alcoholic extracts pf D. montana fruits. In vivo study was carried out on both whole worm preparation and nerve muscle preparation of Setaria cervi. The petroleum ether extract produced initial stimulation followed by reversible paralysis in whole worm. The alcoholic extract caused reversible paralysis in whole worm and irreversible paralysis in nerve muscle preparation. (11)
• Phenolic Compounds / Radical Scavenging Activity / Leaves: Study of leaves isolated five flavonol glycosides (1-5), two naphthalene dimer glycosides (7 and 8). Compound 1 showed radical scavenging activity. (12)
• Diospyrin / Anticancer / Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma / Bark/ : Study isolated diospyrin, a bis-naphthoquinone derivative, from a bark extract of D. montana. The compound inhibited the in vivo growth of Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma (EAC) in Swiss albino mice. (13)
• Diospyrin / Tumor-Inhibitory: Diospyrin and its derivatives have shown significant tumor inhibitory activities against murine tumors in vivo. Studies were done on the effects on mice inoculated with Ehrlich ascites carcinoma after treatment with diospyrin and four synthetic derivatives, measuring hematological status, serum protein and creatinine levels, activities of serum glycolytic enzymes and histopathology. Results showed no noticeable adverse effects on vital parameters suggesting potential for use of diospyrin and derivatives as therapeutic agents. (15)
• Antiproliferative Diospyrin Derivatives: Epoxide: Derivatisation of diospyrin, a bisnaphthquinonoid isolated from Diospyros montana, led to the modification of its inhibitory activity in vitro towards a murine tumor model, Ehrlich ascites carcinoma (EAC) and to human cancer cell lines viz., malignant skin melanoma (A375) and epidermoid laryngeal carcinoma (Hep2). Among the novel derivatives,an epoxide exhibited the maximum antiproliferative activity (IC50 range of 0.03-0.21 µM) and with comparatively lower toxicity in normal human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). The compound presents as a potential lead compound as an antiproliferative agent against cancer. (16)