Aratiles is a fast growing tree, 5 to 10 meters high,
with spreading branches. Leaves are hairy, sticky, alternate,
distichous, oblong-ovate to broadly oblong-lanceolate, 8 to 13
centimeters long, with toothed margins, pointed apex and inequilateral
base, one side rounded and the other acute. Flowers are about 2 centimeters
in diameter, white, extra-axillary, solitary or in pairs. Sepals
are 5, green, reflexed, lanceolate, about 1 centimeter long. Petals are
white, obovate, 1 centimeter long, deciduous and spreading. Fruit is a berry, rounded,
about 1.5 centimeter in diameter, red on ripening, smooth, fleshy, sweet
and many seeded.
- Naturalized, widely distributed, growing in and about towns.
- Introduced from tropical America.
- Also reported in Thailand and Java.
- Phytochemical analysis of various leaf extracts yielded saponin, tannins, triterpene, steroid, and flavonoids.
- Dichlormethane extract of fruit yielded squalene (1), triglyceride (2), a mixture of linoleic acid (31) palmitic acid (3b) and α-linolenic acid (3c), and a mixture of ß-sitosterol (4a) and stigmasterol (4b). (see study below) (29)
- Fruit extract yielded phenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins tannins, saponins, etc. A methanolic fruit extract yielded 1.49 g/100g gallic acid of phenolic content, 3 mg/g CE of flavonoid, and 300
µg CGE/100g fresh mass fruit of anthocyanin. (18)
- Phytochemical screening of fruit yielded terpenoids (W), flavonoids (EMW), saponins (C), tannins (ECW), reducing sugars (ECW), phenols and (EMW). (E ethanol, M methanol, C chloroform, W water), Total phenolic content of chloroform extract of raw fruit yielded 3.8 µg. (27)
• Various solvent extracts (water, methanol, ethanol, chloroform, ether) yielded bioactive constituents saponin, tannin, and flavonoids. Qualitative phytochemical analysis of methanol solvent yielded epigallocatechin gallate and genistein of 135.15 µg/g and 135.29 µg/g, respectively. (30)
• GC-MS analysis of leaves for volatile compounds yielded myrcene (5.927%), thymol (3.543%), a-terpinol (11.831%), linalool (2,240%), geraniol (21.718%). nerol (4.375%), citronellol (12.837%), eugenol (17.498%), α-lonone (1.413%), ß-sitosterol (7.806%), α-amyrin (3.167%), lupelol (4.228%). α-tocopherol (1.975%) dan ß carotene (1.425%). (34)
• LC-MS analysis of leaves yielded fumaric acid (6.643%), succinic acid (4.903%), niacin (0.718%), malic acid (2.863%), cinnamic acid (4.945%), pyridoxine (1,893%), gallic acid (21,428%), ascorbic acid (6.121%), glucose (8.166%), fructose (20.690%), pantothenic acid (1.478%), biotin (1.025%), thiamin (1.158%), ), kaempferol (6.825%), catechin (14.407%), quercetin (10,623%), riboflavin (1.131%), and folic acid (1.553%). (34)
- Phytochemical screening of flower extract yielded flavonoids, carbohydrates, glycosides, saponins, and phenolic compounds. (see study below) (35)
- Phytochemical screening yielded sterols, flavonoids, alkaloids, saponins, glycosides and tannins in the leaf extract and triterpenes together with relative amounts of flavonoids, saponins, glycosides, and tannins in the stem extract. (see study below) (37)
- GC-MS analysis of leaves for volatile compounds yielded geraniol (26.335%), eugenol (19.950%), citronellol (16.958%), α-amyrin (6.225%), myrcene (3.440%), and α-terpineol (7.356%). LC-MS analysis for phenol compounds yielded gallic acid (18.607%), catechin (14.077%), quercetin (10.255%), ellagic acid (9.626%), and kaempferol (8.699%). (38)
- Study of stem wood yielded a new biflavan, (M),(2S),(2''S)-,(P),(2S),(2''S)-7,8,3',4',5',7'',8'',3''',4''',5'''-
decamethoxy-5,5'' biflavan (1), a new flavone, 4'-hydroxy-7,8,3',5'-tetramethoxyflavone (2),
and a new dihydrochalcone, (R)-2',β-dihydroxy-3',4'-dimethoxydihydrochalcone (3), together with 12 known compounds. (see study below) (39)
- Antispasmodic and emollient.
- Studies have shown antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic, analgesic, cytotoxic, hepatoprotective, gastroprotective, cardioprotective, antibacterial, antiulcer, insecticidal, tyrosinase-inhibitory and antifungal properties.
Bark, leaves and flowers.
- The ripe fruit is very popular among Filipino children.
- Fruits processed into jam; leaves used for making tea.
- Flowers are antispasmodic. Decoction of flowers for abdominal
- Decoction used as emollient.
- Flowers used as antiseptic and to treat spasms.
- Leaves used as antiseptics or antipruritic; also, to treat abdominal cram
- Also used to relieve colds and headaches.
- In the Antiles, used as antispasmodic.
- In Martinique, bark decoction is mucilaginous and used as emollient.
- In Peru, leaves used for treatment of gastric ulcers and to reduce prostate gland swelling. (36)
- Bark used for making rope.
- Wood is compact, fine-grained, moderately strong and light in weight
and durable, used for carpentry work.
- Fast growing tree that makes for a favorable shade tree.
• Antibacterial Activity:
The study concluded that M. calabura possesses a potential antibacterial
property that is comparable to the standard antibiotics used. The study
also suggests the presence of a more potent polar antibacterial compound. (1)
• Antistaphylococcal Activity Study isolated fractions from the methanol extract of MC with anti-staphylococcal activity.
• Flavanone Constituents: The study isolated a flavanone as well as 24 known compounds, which were mainly
flavanones and flavones.
• Antinociceptive / Anti-inflammatory
/ Antipyretic: The study concludes that M. calabura leaves possessed
antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic activities, justifying
the Peruvian folkloric medicinal use. (3)
• Cytotoxic Flavonoids / Anticancer: Study isolated 12 new flavonoids were isolated (7 flavans, 3 flavones, two biflavans).
Most of the isolates demonstrated cytotoxic activity and some exhibited
selective activities when evaluated with a number of human cancer cell
• Cytotoxic / Leaves and Stems : Study of leaves and stems of Muntingia calabura yielded cytotoxic flavonoids: chrysin, 2',4'-dihydroxychalcone and galangin 3, 7-dimethyl ether. The compounds were active against one or more panels of human and murine cell lines. (5)
• Cardioprotective: Pretreatment with M calabura leaf extract efficiently protected the myocardium against isoproterenol-induced myocardial infarction. It brought about a significant decrease in cardiac marker enzyme activities probably due reduction in extent of myocardial damage and restriction of leakage of enzymes from the myocardium. (6)
• Antinociceptive / Opioid Receptor Connect: Aqueous extract of Muntingia calibura showed significant antinociceptive activity against chemically and thermally induced noxious stimuli. The bioactive compounds responsible for the activity work partly through the opioid receptor system. (7)
• Antioxidant: Study showed high levels of antioxidant activity in the fruit extracts. There was a correlation between antioxidant activity and phenolic flavonoid contents. (8) Various fruit extracts were evaluated for in vitro antioxidant activity against DPPH radical quenching assay and reducing power. Higher antioxidant potential was seen in DPPH scavenging assay, with a positive correlation between phenolics and flavonoid contents and antioxidant properties of the extracts. (see constituents above) (18)
• Anticancer / Antiproliferative / Antoxidant: Study showed M. calabura leaves possess potential antiproliferative and antioxidant activities that could be attributed to high content of phenolic compounds.
• Hypotensive Effect: Study evaluated the cardiovascular effect of a methanol extract from the leaf of MC. A fractionated water-soluble extract elicited both a transient and delayed hypotensive effect via production of NO (nitric oxide). Activation of NO/sGC/cGMP signaling pathway may mediate the MC-induced hypotension. (11)
• Antinociceptive / Leaves / Mechanisms: Study on a methanol extract of leaves showed antinociceptive activity involving activation of peripheral and central mechanisms, and partly, via modulation of opioid receptors and NO/cGMP pathway. (12) A petroleum ether partition showed antinociceptive activity at the peripheral and central levels via modulation of, partly, opioid and several non-opioid receptors, glutamatergic, TRPV1, PKC and K+ channels systems, but not L-arg/NO/cGMP pathway.
• Analgesic / Antipyretic / Leaves: Study of chloroform extract of M. calabura leaves showed remarkable antinociceptive and antipyretic, but less effective anti-inflammatory activities in various animal models. (16)
• Antimicrobial / Leaves: Study evaluated the in vitro antimicrobial activity of Muntingia calabura leaf extracts against a selected panel of microorganisms. A methanol extract produced inhibition zones against S. aureus, P. aeruginosa, E. coli, K. pneumonia and C. neoformans. Results suggest potent antibacterial activity and the presence of more potent polar antibacterial compound. (17)
• Effect on Isoproterenol-Induced Myocardial Infarction: Study evaluated the effects of an aqueous extract of MC on isoproterenol-induced myocardial infarction. in Wistar albino rats. Pretreatment with the aqueous extract had a significant effect on the activities of marker enzymes (CK, LDH, and transaminases. (18)
• Antihyperglycemic / Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated Muntingia calabura leaves extracts for in vitro antioxidant and antidiabetic property in Streptozotocin-Nicotinamide induced type II diabetic rat model. In four complementary antioxidant assays, the ethanolic extract of leaves showed high phenolic and flavonoid content. Treatment of STZ-N induced type II diabetic rats with the extracts caused a significant reduction in fasting glucose level in a dose dependent manner. All the extracts showed dose-dependent antioxidant and anti-hyperglycemic activity with potential to protect against free radical medicated damages. (19)
• New Cytotoxic Flavonoids / Anti-Cancer / Roots: Study of cytotoxic Et2O-soluble extract of Muntingia calabura roots isolated 12 new flavonoids, viz. seven flavans 207, three flavones 8,10, and 12,and two biflavans 9 and 11. Most of the isolates demonstrated cytotoxic activity against P-388 cells. Some of the flavonoids exhibited somewhat selective activities against a number of human cancer cell lines. (20)
• Gastroprotective Cytotoxic Flavonoids / Anti-Cancer / Roots: Study evaluated a methanol extract of M. calabura leaves for the mechanism of gastroprotective effect in a pylorus ligated induced gastric ulceration model in rats. The MEMC exerted gastroprotective effect via several mechanisms including anti-secretory, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities. The activities could be attributed to the presence of tannins, saponins, and flavonoids (e.g., rutin, quercitrin, fissetin and dihydroquercetin). (21)
• Hepatoprotective / Paracetamol Induced Liver Toxicity / Leaves: Study evaluated the hepatoprotective activity of a methanol extract of Muntingia calabura leaves in a paracetamol-induced liver damage animal model in rats. Results showed a hepatoprotective effect with successful reversal of the PCM-induced hepatotoxic effect with reduction of ALT, AST. and ALP possibly through the extract's ability to inhibit cytochrome P450 and/r ability to promote PMC gucuronidations. (22)
• Anti-Ulcer / Leaves: Study evaluated the anti-ulcerogenic properties of leaf extract of Muntingia calabura in Sprague-Dawley male rats with ethanol-induced gastric ulcers. Results showed significant protection of gastric mucosa against ethanol-induced injury as evidenced by increased mucus production and decrease acidity of gastric content. (24)
• Acute Toxicity Testing / Leaves: In acute toxicity testing with animals treated with MCELE at doses of 2 and 5 g/kg for 14 days, there was no mortality and no manifestation of significant sign of toxicity. (24)
/ Flowers and Fruits: Study evaluated the insecticidal effects of hexane and ethanolic extracts of flowers and fruits of MC against diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella. While all extracts were toxic to larvae and pupae, ethanolic extracts of flowers and fruits were most toxic against 1st instar larvae with LC50 values of 0.61 µg and 1.63 µg mL, respectively. Results suggest a potential as commercial insecticide. (25)
• Tyrosinase Inhibition / Skin Whitening / Antioxidant:
Study investigated with potential skin-lightening and antioxidant potential of Muntingia calabura extracts from various parts (leaf, flower, and fruit). Results showed leaves possessed maximum tyrosinase inhibiting potential among extracts tested. The hydroalcoholic extract showed dose dependent DPPH scavenging activity with IC50 of 8.5 µg. (26)
• Antimicrobial / Leaf, Bark, Fruits: Study evaluated aqueous and methanol extracts of leaf, bark, and fruits for phytochemicals and antimicrobial activities. Results showed antibacterial activity against M. luteus, P. aeruginosa, and B. cereus and antifungal activity against Fusarium sp and Penicillium sp. (28)
• Known Biologic Activities of Phytoconstituents: Study of dichlormethane extract of fruit yielded constituents with previously known biologic activities: squalene, reported to possibly possess chemopreventive activity against colon carcinogenesis; triacyglycerols which have exhibited antimicrobial activity; linoleic acid reported to be anticarcinogen in some animal models; ß-sitosterol reported to possess growth inhibitory effects in human breast MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 adenocarcinoma cells; stigmasterol which has shown efficacy against Ehrlich ascites carcinoma. (see constituents above) (29)
• Anti-Diabetic / Root Proteins: Study investigated the in vitro antidiabetic activity of proteins from M. calabura root. Study concludes root proteins possess significant antioxidant and antidiabetic activity. In vitro antidiabetic potential was confirmed through alpha amylase enzyme, alpha glucosidase enzyme inhibition studies and glucose uptake in yeast cell studies. Antioxidant activity was done using DPPH model. (32)
• Antifungal / Fungal Phytopathogens / Leaves: Study of various extracts of M. calabura leaves showed potential antifungal property with the presence of more potent polar antifungal compounds. (33)
• Antispasmodic / Flowers: Study evaluated the aqueous extract of flowers of Muntingia calabura for antispasmodic activity on isolated rabbit's jejunum. The flower extract exhibited significant dose-dependent relaxation of spontaneous contractions in isolated rabbit's jejunum preparation with IC100 value of 36 ± 3.02 µg/ml, more potent than the standard drug verapamil with IC100 of 40 ± 1.02 µg/ml. (35)
• Cytotoxicity / Anticancer / Leaves: Study evaluated the in vitro cytotoxic activity of M. calabura leaf against cancer (HJ60 and MCF-7) and normal cell lines using MTT assay. Fraction 5 showed strong inhibition against HL60 with an IC50=3.98—0.09 µg/ml as compared to other cell lines and fractions. (36)
• Antimicrobial / Leaves and Stems: Study evaluated bioactive phytochemicals and antimicrobial activity of leaf and stem ethanolic extracts of Muntingia calabura. The extracts showed varying degrees of antimicrobial activity against P. aeruginosa, S. aureus, B. subtilis, S. typhimurium and Candida albicans. (see constituents above) (37)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Inhibition of Neutrophil Pro-Inflammatory Responses / Stem Wood: Study of stem wood yielded a new bifavan, a new flavone, and a new dihydrochalcone, together with 12 known compounds (4-15). Compounds 5-hydroxy-7-methoxyflavone (5), quercetin (6), and (2S)-7-hydroxyflavanone (10) exhibited potent inhibition of 1MLP-induced superoxide anion generation by human neutrophils, with IC50 of 177 ± 0.70, 3.82 ± 0.46 and 4.92 ± 1.71 µM, respectively. (see constituents above) (39)
• Inhibition of Glucosyltransferase
Activity of Streptococcus mutans / Dental Caries / Leaves: Streptocccus mutans is a bacteria that can cause dental caries; it has GTF which can catalyze glucan synthesis to cause the progression of dental caries. Study of a 10% concentration of M. calabura leaves showed a significant lowering of GTF activity. (40)
• Chromium Biosorption / Leaves: Chromium is a heavy metal with wide applications in tannery and electroplating industries. Above permitted level, Chromium VI in surface water leads to severe health hazards. Study showed efficient biosorption of chromium by cherry leaves. (41)