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Family Amaryllidaceae
Proiphys amboinensis (L.) Herb.

Scientific names Common names
Amaryllis rotundifolia Lam. Abod (Bis.)
Cearia amboinensis (L.) Dumort. Abur (Bis.)
Cearia amboinensis (L.) Kuntze Dausum (Bis.)
Crinum nervosum L'Hér. Katañgal (Bis.)
Eurycles alata Sweet Katungal (Tag.)
Eurycles amboinensis (L.) Lindl. ex Loudon Katunggal (Tag.)
Eurycles autralasica (Ker Gawl.) G.Don Kosol (Bis.)
Eurycles nuda Sweet Panabor (Bis.)
Eurycles rotundifolia M.Roem. Taliunud (Bik.)
Pancratium nervifolium Salisb. Talaonor (Bis.)
Pancratium ovatifolium Stokes. Tambal (Tag.)
Proiphys amboinensis (L.) Herb. Tanual (Bis.)
Stemonix nervosus (L'Hér.) Raf. Cardwell lily (Engl.)
  Christmas lily (Engl.)
  Northern christmas lily (Engl.)
  Seashore eurycles (Engl.)
Eurycles amboinensis (L.) Lindl. ex Loudon is a synonym of Proiphys amboinensis (L.) Herb. The Plant List
Proiphys amboinensis (L.) Herb. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
SPANISH: Hojas de potro, Cebollas del monte.
INDONESIA: Daun sapenoh, Bunga sepenuh.
MALAY: Sapenoh.
TONGAN: Lile pilisipeni.

Tambal is an herb with bulbs 5 to 10 centimeters in diameter. Leaf blade is somewhat rounded or broadly ovate, up to 25 centimeters long and wide, with broadly cordate base, and shortly and abruptly acuminate tip. Petiole is longer than the blade, and dilated at the base. Peduncle is about as long as the leaves, bearing from 15 to 30 flowers in a dense umbel. Flowers are white, waxy, and scented. Staminal corona is six-partite. Perianth is about 5 centimeters long, the segments as long as the tube. Fruit is a globose berry.

- In secondary forests at low altitudes and never far from settlements.
- in Cavite, Rizal and Laguna Provinces in Luzon, in Mindoro and Palawan.
- Probably introduced.

- Occurs from the Malay Peninsula and Archipelago to tropical Australia.

- The bulb yields an alkaloid, lycorine.
- The active principle is alkaloidal in nature.

- Reported minimum fatal dose by intravenous injection is 0.55 gm per kg body weight.
- Leaves yield methyl eugenol, aliphatic hydrocarbons, and long-chain carboxylic acids.

- Emetic.
- Studies have shown antibacterial properties.

Parts used
Bulb, leaves.


- Small doses of raw bulbs ingested to induced vomiting.
- Leaves used externally as anti-rheumatic topical.
- Subanens in Zamboanga del Sur apply poultice of leaves and roots on inflammation. (8)
- In the Bicol area, fire-warmed lightly-oiled young leaves are applied to abdomen for stomach aches, to the forehead for headaches, and to the chest for colds and chest congestion. Also applied over sprains and fractures.
- Bulb chewed to relived oppression and giddiness resulting from eating poisonous fish or crustaceans.
- In Indonesian Pre-Christian era, plant has recorded use for the treatment of small pox: A plaster or compress was made from leaves and placed on wounds to draw pus. (6)
- Superstition: In Malaysia, plant used to prevent spirits from haunting houses.

Methyl Eugenol:
Methyl eugenol is a phenylpropanoid chemical directly derived from eugenol, a phenylalanine product through caffeic acid and ferulic acid. Synthetic ME is used extensively: as flavoring agent in processed foods, soft drinks, and sauces; in perfumery; as essential oil in aromatherapy. Study showed the green parts of Proiphys amboinensis leaves contain a trace quantity of ME, especially during browning on the leaf, attracting many male fruit flies.
Icals / Methyl Eugenol / Fruit Fly Attractant:
Icals from the browning part of leaves of P. amboinensis yields a mixture of methyl eugenol, 5-allyl-1,2,3-trimethoxybenzene, 3,4,5-trimethoxyacetophenone, aliphatic hydrocarbons and long-chain carboxylic acids. Male fruit flies of the Bactrocera dorsalis complex (B. carambolae and B. papayae) are attracted to the brown part of leaves because of the presence of the major component, methyl eugenol.
Antibacterial Potential in Aquaculture: Study investigated the antibacterial profile of ten local ornamental plants against pathogenic bacteria from aquaculture sites. The methanolic extracts of five plants, including Proiphys amboinensis, showed therapeutic potency to be a natural based antibacterial agent for use in the aquaculture industry.
• Lycorine: Plant contains traces of the alkaloid lycorine that inhibited the generation of tumor necrosis factor-alpha by macrophages stimulated with bacterial lipopolysaccharides. (7)


© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D. / StuartXchange

Updated August 2018 / December 2015

IMAGE SOURCE: Proiphys amboinensis (L.) Herb. / Adaduitokla / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike / Click on image to go to source page / flickr
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Pancratium Amboinense / Plate 20 / Priscilla S. Bury's Amaryllis & Lilies / Reproductions of Early 1800's Extremely Rare Botanicals. / Montecito Design
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Flower / Closeup / Cardwell Lily flower / Plate 20 / John E. Hill / 04:38, 18 February 2007 / CC BY 2.5. / click on image to go to source page / Wikipedia
Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Methyl Eugenol: Its Occurrence, Distribution, and Role in Nature, Especially in Relation to Insect Behavior and Pollination / Keng Hong Tan and Ritsuo Nishida / J Insect Sci. 2012; 12: 56. / doi: 10.1673/031.012.5601
Proiphys amboinensis (L.) Herb / Synonyms / The Plant List
Methyl eugenol, a fruit-fly attractant, from the browning leaves of Proiphys amboinensis (amaryllidaceae) / C.H Chuah∗, H.S Yong∗, S.H Goh / Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, Vol 25, Issue 5, July 1997: Pp 391-393 / DOI: 10.1016/S0305-1978(97)00097-5
Antibacterial profile of methanolic extracts from ten local ornamental plants against pathogenic bacteria isolated from aquaculture sites / Ho, Kit Yeng / Undergraduate Final Project Report, 2015
Eurycles amboinensis / Medicinal Plants of China, Korea, and Japan: Bioresources for Tomorrow's ... / Christophe Wiart
INCANTATIONS AND HERBAL MEDICINES: ALUNE ETHNOMEDICINAL KNOWLEDGE IN A CONTEXT OF CHANGE / Margaret J. Florey, Xenia Y. Wolff / Journal of Ethnobiology, Summer 1998; 18(1): pp 39-67
Eurycles amboinensis / Christophe Wiart / Medicinal Plants of China, Korea and Japan: Bioresources for Tomorrow's. . .
Medicinal Plants of the Subanens in Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines / Lady Jane G. Morilla, Nanette Hope N. Sumaya, Henry I. Rivero and Ma. Reina Suzette B. Madamba / International Conference on Food, Biological and Medical Sciences (FBMS-2014) Jan. 28-29, 2014 Bangkok (Thailand)
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.

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