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Family Boraginaceae
Ehretia acuminata R.Br.
Hou ke shu

Scientific names Common names
Cordia thyrsiflora Siebold & Zucc.            Balulai (Philippines)
Ehretia acuminata R.Br.        Kalibuning (Philippines)
Ehretia acuminata var. grandiflora Pamp.        Tanaua (Tagalog)
Ehretia acuminata var. laxiflora Benth.        Sinsud (Sulu)
Ehretia acuminata var. obovata (Lindl.) I.M.Johnst.        Brown cedar (Engl.)
Ehretia acuminata var. pilosula (F.Muell.) I.M.Johnst.        Koda tree (Engl.)
Ehretia acuminata var. polyantha (A.DC.) I.M.Johnst.        Kodo wood (Engl.)
Ehretia acuminata var. pyrifolia (D.Don) I.M.Johnst.        Silky ash (Engl.)
Ehretia acuminata var. serrata (Roxb.) I.M.Johnst.        Wild peach (Engl.)
Ehretia argyi H.Lév.         
Ehretia kantonensis Masam.         
Ehretia onava A.DC.        
Ehretia ovalifolia Hassk.         
Ehretia pilosula F.Muell.         
Ehretia polyantha A.DC.         
Ehretia pyrifolia D.Don.         
Ehretia retroserrata Shao Y.Yang & F.Du         
Ehretia serrata Roxb.         
Ehretia serrata var. obovata Lindl.         
Ehretia serrata var. pyrifolia (D.Don) DC.         
Ehretia taiwaniana Nakai    
Ehretia thyrsiflora (Siebold & Zucc.) Nakai        
Ehretia thyrsiflora var. latifolia Nakai        
Ehretia virgata Blanco    
Ehretia acuminata is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
AUSTRALIA: Koda, Australian silky ash.
CHINESE: Hou ke shu.
INDIA: Bowal, Gual, Pojar, Pujar, Puruja, Ujal, Uzal (Assamese); Bol-artok (Garo); Chelwan-arong, Chorsing-soh (Karbi); Sishu-payang (Mishing).
INDONESIA: Sembung ijo, Kendal kebo, Kendal maesa.
JAPANESE: Chishanoki.
LAOS: Sang.
MYANMAR: Taw-petsut, Petthin.
NEPALI: Nalsura
THAILAND: Kaai kom, Kom.
TRADE NAME: Silver ash.

Gen info
- Ehretia is a genus of flowering plants in the borage family, Boraginaceae. It contains about 50 species.
- The genus name Ehretia honors German botanical illustrator Georg Dionysius Ehret (1708-1770). (2)

Tree to 30 m high, often ± deciduous, mostly glabrous; bark gray, smooth. Leaves: Leaves ovate to elliptic; lamina 8–15 cm long, mostly 2.5–5.5 cm wide, apex acuminate, margins toothed, lamina glabrous, veins pinnate to arcuate; petiole 12–25 mm long. Flowers: Inflorescence a many-flowered panicle. Calyx glabrous or sparsely pubescent. Corolla c. 5 mm long and 6 mm diam., white; lobes 1.5–2 mm long. Anthers exserted. Ovary 4-locular with 1 ovule per loculus; style exserted. Fruits: Drupe with 2 pyrenes, 5–7 mm diam., orange to yellow.

• A medium to large size tree, occasionally reaching 30 meters in height and a 90 cm in trunk diameter. Bark is of a creamy gray color, with vertical fissures. Koda is often easily identified in winter as being deciduous and of the characteristic flutings at the base of the trunk. Leaves: Leaves are alternate and simple, tapering to a tip, finely toothed, 8 to 13 cm long. Smooth and green on both surfaces slightly hairy above. The midrib and lateral veins are distinct on both sides of the leaf, raised beneath. Flowers: Flowers are white, sweetly scented, in panicles. Individual flowers are without a stalk, about 4 mm in diameter. Flowers appear in September to November in the southern hemisphere. Fruit: Fruit is a yellow or orange drupe, 4 to 5 mm in diameter, containing four seeds.

- Native to the Philippines.
- Also native to
Assam, Bangladesh, China South-Central, China Southeast, East Himalaya, India, Japan, Jawa, Korea, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Maluku, Myanmar, Nansei-shoto, Nepal, New Guinea, New South Wales, Queensland, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, West Himalaya. (1)

- GC-MS study of fruit essential oil yielded 30 components, 29 of which were identified, with highest content of 2,4-decadienal (37.54%), (E,E)-2,4-decadienal (20.31%), 2-(prop-2-benzyloxy) tetradecane (10%), diethyl phthalate (5.28%). (see study below) (5)
- Phytochemical screening of hydroalcoholic extract of leaves showed presence of tannin, saponin glycoside, cardiac glycoside, flavonoid, steroid, protein, carbohydrate, and alkaloid. (see study below) (14)

- Studies have suggested antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antihemolytic, antimicrobial, photoprotective, antidiabetic, antileishmanial, antimalarial, analgesic, muscle relaxant, antispasmodic properties.

Parts used
Bark, leaves oil.


- Fruit is eaten raw, sweet tasting.
- Unripe and mature fruit can be pickled.
- No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- Traditionally, leaves and bark used for treatment of fever, sores on the tongue, dysentery.
- Oil used for skin diseases and rheumatism. (2)
- Juice of bark used for fevers.
- Extract of leaves mixed with water, taken orally, once daily for 2-3 days to treat acute dysentery. Juice from bark used for fevers and to treat sores on tongue. (9)
- Wood: Light, soft, tough; used for carrying poles and building furniture.

- Fuel: Wood used for fuel.
- Fodder: Leaves used as fodder for livestock.

- Agroforestry: Used as erosion controller in farm forestry.

Antioxidant / Anti-Inflammatory / Antihemolytic / Photoprotective / Fruit Essential oil:
Essential oil of E. acuminata fruit was evaluated for antioxidant, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antihemolytic, photoprotective, and antimicrobial activity. Fruit EO yielded highest DPPH radical scavenging activity at concentrations ranging from 25 µg/mL to 1000 µg/mL. In vitro α-amylase inhibitory activity showed IC50 of 40.81 µg/ml, which reflects obstrusive inhibitory activity. The EO also showed noticeable α-glucosidase inhibitory activity with IC50 of 285.67 µg/mL. The EO showed concentration-dependent inhibition of protein (albumin) denaturation at concentration range of 50 to 2000 µg/mL. EO also showed substantial antihemolytic potential and photoprotective activity with SPF in the range of 21.17. The EO was also shown to be effective in suppressing microbial growth of food poisoning bacteria (Gm+ Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus and Gm- Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) with variable potency at concentration of 25 mg/ml. (see constituents above) (5)
Antioxidant / Bark: Study evaluated different bark extracts of E. acuminata for free radical properties using ascorbic acid and gallic acid as standard antioxidant. Free radical scavenging activity was evaluated using DPPH, ABTS, FRAP, and nitric oxide assays. Antioxidant activity was strongest in ethyl acetate and weakest in the water extract. EA IC50 ranged between 22 and 140 µg/ml compared to ascorbic acid at 28 µg/mL. The ABTS showed high reproducibility, was simple and rapidly performed, and had highest correlation with both ascorbic acid and total phenolics. (6)
Antidiabetic / Anti-Inflammatory / Bark: Study evaluated the antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory activities of E. acuminata bark extracts by α-amylase and α-glucosidase inhibition method. Anti-inflammatory activity was assessed using egg albumin of hen. The ethyl acetate and ethanol extract showed significant anti-inflammatory effects (IC50s 170 and 172 µg/mL respectively). Only the chloroform extract showed significants antidiabetic effect (IC50 42-45 µg/mL). (7)
Antileishmanial / Antiplasmodial / Cytotoxicity / Leaves: In a study of selected plants of Nepal, a methanol extract of leaves showed antiprotozoal activity (IC50- 54.5 µg/ml, SI 0.9), anti-Plasmodium falciparum activity (IC50 12.1, SI 4.2), and cytotoxicity against MRC-5 cell lines (CC50 5.0.5). (9)
Analgesic / Muscle Relaxant / Antispasmodic / Bark: Study evaluated the pharmacognostic potency of bark extracts from E. acuminata in four activities, i.e., analgesic, muscle relaxant, antispasmodic, and acute toxicity. The distilled water bark extract showed significant dose dependent analgesic activity (p<0.001) on acetic acid-induced writhing in mice.  The extract showed significant dose dependent muscle relaxant potential. The distilled water bark extract showed significant dose dependent antispasmodic activity (p<0.05). (10)
Antidiabetic / Anti-Inflammatory / Antihemolytic / Antimicrobial / Leaves: Study evaluated crude extracts of E. acuminata leaves for antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antihemolytic activities. Highest antidiabetic activity was seen in the chloroform extracts (IC50 260-265 µg/mL). In anti-inflammatory assay, the ethyl acetate extract showed highest potential (IC50 290 µg/mL). The ethanol extract showed highest zone of inhibition (12-18mm) with different food poisoning microbes. The EA extract showed highest antihemolytic potential with IC50 90 µg/mL. (12)
Silver and Copper Nanoparticles / Antibacterial Fabrics against Nosocoial Infections: Study focused on a sustainable approach for green synthesis of silver and copper nanoparticles, and the effect of extracted phytochemicals on cotton fibers, and the development of durable antibacterial fabrics with the copper and silver particles firmly attached to the fabric surface. Coated cotton fibers were investigated for antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. All particles showed excellent reduction percentages while the phytochemicals showed no activity. Overall strongest antibacterial effect was found on fabrics coated with green synthesized copper particles with ZOI 5mm and quantitative reduction of 99.99%. The developed antibacterial fabrics can be applied in the field of hospital textiles i.e., fabrication of antibacterial surgical gowns, panel covers, bed sheets, coveralls, curtains, chair covers, etc. (13)
Topical Ointment and Gel Formulations / Leaves: Study reports on the preparation and evaluated the topical dosages of ointment and gel formulations from E. acuminata leaves extracts, in measures of physicochemical parameters viz., pH, viscosity, washability, spreadability, rate of drug release, rheological properties, etc. Formulation F1 and F3 for ointment and gel, respectively, was found stable, safe, and efficient.


April 2024

                                                 PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
IMAGE SOURCE: Puna (Ehretia acuminata) iNaturalistUK /CC0 / Click on image or link to go to source page / iNaturalistUK
IMAGE SOURCE: Puna (Ehretia acuminata) / 葉子 / iNaturalistUK / CC0 / Click on image or link to go to source page / iNaturalistUK

OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Ehretia acuminata / Leaves and fruits / HeavenOnEarthFruitTrees / Non-commercial use / Click on image or link to go to source page / HeavenOnEarthFruitTrees

IMAGE SOURCE: Puna (Ehretia acuminata) / 李芬芳 / iNaturalistUK / CC BY 4.0 DEED Attribution 4.0 International / Click on image or link to go to source page / iNaturalistUK

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Ehretia acuminata / KEW: Plants of the World Online

Ehretia / Wikipedia
Ehretia acuminata / PlantNET
Puna (Ehretua acuminata) / iNaturalistUK
Exploration of Chemical Composition and Biological Activities of the Essential Oil from Ehretia acuminataR. Br. Fruit / Amanpreet Kaur, Man Vir Singh, Neha Bhatt, Sarika Arora, Abha Shukla / ES Food & Agroforestry, 2024; Volume 15 / DOI: 10.30919/esfaf1068
COMPARATIVE EVALUATION OF ABTS, DPPH, FRAP, NITRIC OXIDE ASSAYS FOR ANTIOXIDANT POTENTIAL, PHENOLIC & FLAVONOID CONTENT OF EHRETIA ACUMINATA R. BR. BARK / Amanpreet Kaur, Abha Shukla, Rishi Kumar Shukla / International Research Journal of Pharmacy, 2018; 9(12) / ISSN: 2230-8407 / DOI: 10.7897/2230-8407.0912301
In vitro antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory activities of the bark of Ehretia acuminata R.Br. / Amanpreet Kaur, Abha Shukla, Rishi Kumar Shukla / Indian Journal of Natural Products, 2021; 12(4): pp 538-543
Ehretia acuminata / Practical Plants
In vitro antileishmanial and antimalarial activity of selected plants of Nepal / Bishnu Joshi, Sarah Hendrickx, Lila Bahadur Magar, Niranjan Parajuli, Pierre Dorny, Louis Maes / Jornal of Intercultural Ethnopharmacology, 2016; 5(4): pp 383-389 / DOI: 10.5455/jice.20160728031236 / PMID: 27757268
Pharmacognostic Study of Ehretia acuminata R.Br. / Hikmat Ullah Jan, Anis Saeed, Gulnaz Parveen, Naila Mukhtar, Muhammad Siraj, Zulqarnain, Amtul Sami, Muhammad Tayyab Gul /  Proceedings of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences: B - Life and Environmental Sciences, 2023; 60(2): pp 267-272 / pISSN: 2518-4261 / eISSN: 2518-427X / DOI: 10.53560/PPASB(60-2)743
Silver ash (Ehretia acuminata) / ITTO: Lesser Used Species
EVALUATION OF DIFFERENT BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES OF LEAVES OF EHRETIA ACUMINATA R. BR. / Abha Shukla, Amanpreet Kaur, Rishi K Shukla / Indian Drugs, 2021; 58(04) /
DOI: 10.53879/id.58.04.12201
The Comparative Performance of Phytochemicals, Green Synthesised Silver Nanoparticles, and Green Synthesised Copper Nanoparticles-Loaded Textiles to Avoid Nosocomial Infections / Muhammad Farrukh Tahir, Muhammad Zaman Khan, Safira Attacha, Noreen Asim Blanka Tomkova et al / Nanomaterials, 12(20) / DOI: 10.3390/nano12203629
DEVELOPMENT AND EVALUATION OF TOPICAL FORMULATION OF HERBAL EXTRACT OF EHRETIA ACUMINATA / Dr Dipti B Ruikar, Mr Chetan M Jain, Tejas Pande, Abhishek Gore et al / Journal of Cardiovascular Disease Research, 2021; 12(1) / ISSN: 0975-3583 / ISSN: 0976-2833

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)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants
                                          New plant names needed
The compilation now numbers over 1,300 medicinal plants. While I believe there are hundreds more that can be added to the collection, they are becoming more difficult to find. If you have a plant to suggest for inclusion, native or introduced, please email the info: scientific name (most helpful), local plant name (if known), any known folkloric medicinal use, and, if possible, a photo. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

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