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Family Fabaceae
Bauhinia malabarica Roxb.


Scientifric names  Common names 
Bauhinia acida Korth. Alambangbang (Tag.) 
Bauhinia castrata Hassk. Alibangbang (Tag., Bis., Pamp.) 
Bauhinia hawkesiana F.M.Bailey Balibamban (Pamp.) 
Bauhinia malabarica Roxb. Kalibanbang (Pang., Tag.) 
Bauhinia platyphylla Miq. Kalibangbang (Ilk.)
Bauhinia rugulosa Miq. Lilac bauhinia (Engl.)
Casparea castrata (Hassk.) Hassk. Malabar bauhinia (Engl.)
Pauletia acida (Korth.) Hassk. Malabar orchid (Engl.)
Piliostigma acidum (Korth.) Benth.  
Alibangbang is a common name shared by (1) Bauhinia malabarica, malabar orchid, and (2) Bauhinia monandra, Napoleon's plume
Some compilations list Bauhinia malabarica as synymous to Bauhinia tomentosa Blanco, Bauhinia purpurea Vidal, Piliostigma acidum Benth and Piliogtima Malabaricum (Roxb) Benth. Other compilations list them as separate species.
Bauhinia malabarica Roxb. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
BENGALI: Karmai.
HINDI: Amli, Amlosa, Jhinjora, Khatta.
INDONESIA: Kendayakan, Benculuk, Kripi..
KANNADA: Basavanapaada.
LAOS: Som sieo.
MALAYALAM: Amli, Kora.
MYANMAR: Bwegyin, Bwechin.
ORIYA: Gumbati.
SANSKRIT: Amlapatrah, Ashmantaka.
TAMIL: Malaiyatti, Puliyatti.
TELUGU: Puli chinta.
THAI: Chongkho, Salaeng phan, Sieo som.
VIETNAMESE: Mosng bof, Tai tuw owjng, Tai voi.

Gen info
- Bauhinia is a genus of more than 200 species. The genus was named after the Bauhin brothers, Swiss-French botanists. The species share the 'butterfly' configuration of the leaves.
- Alibangbang is an Ilongo word for butterfly.

Alibangbang is a small but stocky tree growing to a height of 8 to 10 meters. Bark is yellowish-brown. Branches are freely rebranched, with a dense crown, the ultimate ones smooth. Leaves are broader than long, 5 to 10 centimeters in length, heart-shaped at the base, deeply notched at the apex. Flowers are white and rather large. Pods are long, narrow, and flattened, 20 to 30 centimeters by 1.5 to 2.5 centimeters.

- Very common on open, dry slopes, in regions with long dry seasons in Luzon (Ilocos Norte to Laguna).
- Also occurs in India to Indo-China, Java and Timor.

• Bark contains a tannin, 9.5 %.
• Oil extracted from the seeds was 16%, with linolenic 0.81%, linoleic, 47.26%, oleic 15.26%, stearic 19.29%, palmitic 17.18%, myristic 0.02%.
• Yields antimalarial compounds, preracemosols A and B.
• Seeds yield a higher amount of crude lipid. Seeds are rich in minerals Ca, Mg, Fe. Glutelins (45%) comprise the major seed protein; globulins, 34%.
• Methanol extract of leaves yielded seven flavanols: 6,8-di-C-methylkaempferol 3-methyl ether, kaempferol, afzelin, quercetin, isoquercitrin, quercitrin, and hyperoside were isolated from the methanol extract of leaves.

- Seeds rich in minerals Ca, Mg, and Fe. Unsaturated fatty acids, oleic acid and linoleic acid, are dominant in seed lipids. (6)
- Phytochemical screening of various extracts yielded saponins, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, glycosides, carbohydrates, tannins, terpenoids, and proteins, with an absence of lipids and steroids. (see study below) (12)
- Study of methanol extract of leaves yielded seven flavonols, including 6,8-di-C-methylkaempferol 3-methyl ether, kaempferol, afzelin, quercetin, isoquercitrin, quercitrin, and hyperoside. (see study below) (1)
- Quantitative analysis of leaves for quercetin and quercetrin using RP-HPLC yielded 0.18g and 0.38 g in 100 g of dried crude drug (16)

- Considered digestive, antidysenteric, emmenagogue, antibacterial, antioxidant, antifungal, pectoral, stomachic, anthelmintic, antiperiodic.
- Studies have shown antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, nephroprotective, antifungal, hypolipidemic, antiatherogenic properties.

Parts used
Bark, leaves, flowers.

Edibility / Culinary / Nutritional
- Young shoots are edible.
- Sour leaves are consumed in India, Indonesia, and Thailand, among others.
- In the Philippines, commonly used as flavoring for meat and fish (sinigang and sinampalukan dishes).
- Excellent source of calcium; good source of iron.

- Infusion of fresh flowers for dysentery.
- In Malabar, decoction of root bark used for liver problems.
- Bark also used for dysentery.
- Leaves applied to the forehead for fevers.
- The roots of Desmodium elegans, combined with the bark juice of Bauhinia malabarica has been used for the treatment of cholera.
- In traditional Thai medicine, used for wound healing, diuretic, emmenagogue, and for dysentery.

- In southern India and sub-Himalayan tracts, youg shoots used to treat cough, gout, glandular swellings, goiter, menorrhagia, worm infestations, and wounds, among others. (15)

Flavonols / Leaves:
Seven flavanols were isolated from the methanol extract of leaves. Of the isolated compounds, isoquercetin showed the highest scavenging activity. (see constituents above (1)
Antinociceptive / Anti-Inflammatory / Antipyretic:
A study of aqueous extract of Bauhinia purpurea leaves on animal models showed significant anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive and antipyretic activities and confirms the folkloric use of the plant for pain and inflammation. (3)
An extract study for the antioxidant activity of six Thai medicinal plants showed Bauhinia malabarica leaves to have potent inhibitory effect in inhibition of hemoglobin precipitation caused by oxidants. (4)
Phytochemical Screening:
Edible and therapeutically important parts of B. tomentosa and B. malabarica were evaluated phytochemically. Acetone extracts of both plants showed substantial amounts of total phenolics, tannins, condensed tannins, flavonoids, and vitamin C. Seed extracts also exerted significantly higher flavonoid and condensed tannin contents. Results suggest a potential sources for health, food, and pharmaceutical products. (7)
Study evaluated an ethanol extract of leaves of B. purpurea and unripe pods for protective effects on gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity in rats, Results showed significant protection of rat kidneys from gentamicin-induced histopathological changes. There was also normalization of gentamicin-induced increased in serum creatinine, uric acid and BUN. (8)
Antihyperlipidemic / Antiatherogenic:
Study evaluated the antihyperlipidemic effect of ethanol extracts of unripe pods and leaves in rats with diet-induced hyperlipidemia. The extracts significantly suppressed induced hyperlipidemia suggesting antihyperlipidemic and antiatherogenic potential of the extracts. (9)
Antioxidant / Antifungal:
Methanol and chloroform extracts showed good antioxidant property. The methanol extract showed highest total phenolic content and reducing power. Study indicated the presence of biomolecules to combat pathogenic fungi in the antifungal study. (see constituents above) (12)
Antioxidant / Pods and Seeds: Study evaluated the antioxidant and free radical scavenging effects of 70% acetone and 50% methanol extracts of B. malabarica pod and seed using various assays. All extracts showed good antioxidant activity comparably higher than synthetic BHT and BHA. The acetone extract of seed showed significant (p<0.05) antioxidant activity in terms of reducing power, DPPH, metal chelating, and ABTS activity. Results suggest consumption of such legume food can be a source of nutrients and potential source of nutraceuticals for human health. (13)
Inhibition of Heinz Body Induction / Antioxidant / Leaves: In a study of six common Thai medicinal leaves and creeping stems for antioxidant activity via inhibition of Heinz body induction, the leaves of B. malabarica was one of three that showed most potent inhibition effect. (14)
Hepatoprotective / Acute Toxicity Study / Stem Bark:
Study evaluated an aqueous methanolic extract of stem bark for effects on liver function serum biochemical markers and antioxidant markers in liver tissues of Wistar albino rats with carbon tetrachloride induced hepatotoxicity. Acute toxicity study of the extract showed no toxic effect even at highest dose of 5000 mg/kg. Results showed considerable hepatoprotective activity of B. malabarica stem bark as evidenced by biochemical observations and histopathological examination of the liver.


Updated November 2019 / June 2016

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Flavonols from Bauhinia malabarica / The Japanese Society of Pharmacognosy (Nat Med (Tokyo)) / 2008-July; 62(3): pp 364-365 / DOI: 10.1007/s11418-008-0249-9
Fatty Acid Composition of Bauhinia malabarica Seed Oils
/ Sh. Zaka, M. Saleem, N. Shakir, Sh. Ahmad Khan
Antinociceptive, Anti-Inflammatory and Antipyretic Properties of the Aqueous Extract of Bauhinia purpurea Leaves in Experimental Animals / Zainul Amiruddin Zakaria, Loo Yi Wen, et al / Med Princ Pract 2007;16:443-449 (DOI: 10.1159/000107749)

Inhibition of Heinz body induction of six common Thai medicinal leaves and creeping stems in in vitro antioxidant study model./ Soogarun, S., Wiwanitkit, V., Suwansuksri, J.
Free radical scavenging flavonols from Bauhinia malabarica / Rawiwun Kaewamatawong, et al /
Chemical composition and nutritional potential of the tribal pulse (Bauhinia malabarica Roxb). / Vijayakumari K, Siddhuraju P, Janardhanan K.
/ Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1993 Nov;44(3):291-8.
Preliminary phytochemical screening from different parts of Bauhinia tomentosa L. and Bauhinia malabarica Roxb. (Caesalpiniaceae) / Thenmozhi Krishnasamy, Manian S, Paulsamy S / Research & Reviews, Vol 1, No 1 (2012)
Protective effect of Bauhinia purpurea on gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity in rats / B.V.S Lakshmi, N Neelima, N Kasthuri, V Umarani, M Sudhakar / Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2009, Vol 71, No 5, pp 551-554.
Antihyperlipidemic activity of Bauhinia purpurea extracts in hypercholesterolemic albino rats
/ B.V.S. Lakshmi*, N.Neelima, N.Kasthuri, V.Umarani, M. Sudhakar / International Journal of PharmTech Research CODEN (USA): IJPRIF ISSN : 0974-4304 Vol.3, No.3,pp 1265-1272, July-Sept 2011
Bauhinia malabarica Roxb. / Synonyms / The Plant List
Sorting Bauhinia names / /Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1995 - 2020 / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The Univers ity of Melbourne. Australia.
Antioxidant, Antifungal, And Phytochemical Analysis of Bauhinia Malabarica: An In-vitro Study / Mahendra Sharma, G. Neerajarani, Mujeeb C. A, Anu V, B. Sravan, Arunoday Kumar / International Journal of Advanced Health Sciences, October 2014, Vol 1, Issue 6
Studies on in vitro antioxidant potential of pod and seed parts of Bauhinia malabarica Roxb. (Caesalpiniaceae) / Thenmozhi Krishnaswamy, Karthika Krishnamoorthy, Manian S, Paulsamy S / Asian Journal of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2014; Vol 4, No 32 / doi: 10.15272/ajbps.v4i32.505
Inhibition of Heinz Body Induction of Six Common Thai Medicinal Leaves and Creeping Stems in In Vitro Antioxidant Study Model / Suphan Soogarun, Jamsai Suwansuksri, Viroj Wiwanitkit / Proc. WOCMAP III, Vol.6: Traditional Medicine & Nutraceuticals
Pharmacological credence of the folklore use of Bauhinia malabarica in the management of jaundice / K Thenmozhi, N Anusuya, M Ajmal Ali, S Jamuna et al / Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, Jan 2018; 25(1): pp 22-26 / https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sjbs.2017.08.001
Pharmacognostic Specifications, Quercetin and Quercitrin Quantification in Bauhinia malabarica Leaf / Paphitchaya Thetsana, Chayanon Chaowuttikul, Chanida Palanuvej and Nijsiri Ruangrungsi / Pharmacogn J. 2019; 11(1): pp 155-160

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