- 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
• 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)
- 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)
- Considered digestive, antidysenteric, emmenagogue,
antibacterial, antioxidant, antifungal, pectoral, stomachic, anthelmintic,
- Studies have shown antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, nephroprotective, antifungal, hypolipidemic, antiatherogenic
Bark, leaves, flowers.
Edibility / Culinary / Nutritional
- Leaves are sour.
- In the Philippines,
used as flavoring for meat and fish (sinigang and sinampalukan dishes).
- Excellent source of calcium; good source of iron.
- Infusion of fresh flowers
- 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.
• Flavonols from Bauhinia malabarica:
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
• Antioxidant: 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)
• Nephroprotective: 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)