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Family Sapotaceae

Chrysophyllum cainito Linn.

Niu nai guo

Scientific names Common names
Chrysophyllum cainito Linn. Caimito (Tag., Span.)
Achras cainito Ruiz & Pavon. Caymito (Bis.) 
Cainito pomiferum Tussac Cainito (Engl.) 
Calophyllum inophyllum Linn. Star apple (Engl.)
  Star plum (Engl.)
  Niu nai guo (Chin.)

Other vernacular names
BURMESE: Hnin-thagya.
CHINESE: Niu nai guo.
CZECH: Zlatolis obecny.
DANISH: Stjerneæble.
DUTCH: Apra, Goudblad boom (Surinam), Sterappel.
FRENCH: CaimitIer, Pomme surette, Kaymit, Macoucou, Pomme de lait, Pomme étoilée.
GERMAN: Sternapfel, Sternapfelbaum.
INDONESIA: Sawo ijo, Sawo hejo, Sawo kadu.
JAPANESE: Hoshi ringo, Kaimito, Kainitto, Miruku furuutsu, Suishougaki, Sutaa appuru.
MALAYSIAN: Sawu duren, Pepulut.
PORTUGUESE: Ajara, Cainito.
RUSSIAN: Zevezdnoe iabloko, Chrizofillum.
SINGAPORIAN: Chicle durian.
SPANISH: Ablaca, Aguay, Caimitero, Caimito, Guyabillo, Olivoa, Pipa, Sapotillo.
THAI: Sataa appoen.
VIETNAMESE: C[aa]y v[us] s[uwx]a.

Caimito is a tree with a spreading crown, growing to a height of 15 meters. Branches are numerous and slender, the young tips are copper-colored and covered with appressed hairs. Leaves are leathery, ovate or oblong, 7.5 to 13 centimeters long, pointed at the tip, blunt or rounded at the base and covered underneath with silky, golden-brown, soft hairs. Flowers are purplish-white, small and clustered in the axils of leaves, with 5 sepals, and a tubular corolla with 5 lobes. Fruit is large and rounded, 6 to 10 centimeters in diameter, shiny and smooth, purplish or light-green skin, with a translucent whitish or purplish, soft pulp surrounding flattened seeds about 1 to 1.5 centimeters long. The flesh, contains a small amount of milky juice, is somewhat fibrous, sweet, mild and pleasant tasting.

- Cultivated for its edible fruit and as an ornamental tree.
- Recently introduced from tropical America.

- Seed contains saponin, 0.19%; pouterin, 0.0037%; a bitter principle (lucumin), 1.2%; a fixed oil, 6.6%; and dextrose, 2.4%.
- Leaves contain an amorphous bitter principle, some alkaloids, and no saponin.
- Bark is rich in tannin.
- Analysis for volatile constituents yielded 104 compounds in the aroma concentrate. Major constituents were: (E)-2-hexenal, 1-hexanol, limonene, linalool, α-copaene and hexadecanoic acid. (8)
- Various extracts of fresh fruits yielded nine known polyphenolic antioxidants viz. (+)-catechin (1), (−)-epicatechin (2), (+)-gallocatechin (3), (−)-epigallocatechin (4), quercetin (5), quercitrin (6), isoquercitrin (7), myricitrin (8), and gallic acid. (see studies below)

- Seed is tonic, diuretic and febrifuge.
- Pectoral, tonic, stimulant.

Parts used
Seeds, leaves, bark, fruit.

• Fruit eaten ripe, with a sweet and flavorful pulp.
• Also, an ingredient of ice cream and sherbet.
• In Jamaica, made into preserves.
• In Mexico, decoction of the bark given for dysentery.
• In Costa Rica, infusion of bark is tonic and refreshing.
• Tonic: Infusion of the bark is tonic and refreshing.
• Latex is used for abscesses.
• Dried latex used as antihelminthic.
• In some countries, the fruit is used for diabetes.
• Bitter seed sometimes used as tonic, for diarrhea and fevers.
• Fruit eaten for inflammation in laryngitis and pneumonia.
• Used for diabetes.
• Decoction used for angina.
• In the Ivory Coast, decoction of leaves used for hypertension. Leaf decoction also used for diabetes.
• In Venezuela, unripe fruit used for intestinal problems.
• In Puerto Rico, fruit used in treatment of diabetes.
• Decoction of bark used as tonic and stimulant; used for diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhages and treatment of gonorrhea.
Cubans in Miami reported to use the leaf decoction for cancer treatment.
• In Brazil, bark latex used resolutive on abscesses; and as a potent vermifuge when dried and powdered.

Poultice of grated leaves applied to wounds. Leaf decoction used for hypoglycemia. Fruit used for treating fever and hemorrhage. (13)
Timber: Yields a brown and hard, but no durable wood. Used for indoor construction: planking, light framing, interior trim, shelving, panelling, etc. (13)
Dye: Bark yields tannin and dyestuff. (13)

Polyphenolic Antioxidants / Fruits:
Study on various fruit extracts yielded nine known phenolic antioxidants. The ethyl acetate soluble fraction displayed the highest antioxidant activity, and of the compounds, compound 5 (quercetin) showed the highest antioxidant activity. (see constituents above) (2)
Anthocyanin Antioxidant: Study of extracts of 12 edible fruits showed nine to exhibit high antioxidant activity; C cainito yielded cyanidin-3-O-ß-glucopyranoside, an anthocyanin antioxidant. (3)
A preliminary study on the relaxant effect of the crude extract and fractions of the bark of Chrysophyllum cainito L. in isolated rat thoracic aorta: Methanolic bark extract study on rats showed vasorelaxant activity on the smooth muscle. (5)
Lectin Activity:
Plant samples of 178 species and 62 families were studied for lectin activity. Potent lectins possessing more than 100,000 unites per gram were found in the fruits extracts of C arabica and Chrysophyllum cainito. (4)
Antidiabetic Activity / Leaves:
Study of the aqueous decoction of C cainito leaves showed hypoglycemic activity at doses of ≥ 20 g/l. From 30 g/l, the plant would exert a toxic effect. The hypoglycemic effect was mainly attributed to alkaloids, sterols, or triterpenes. (6)
Hypotensive Effect:
Phytochemical study attributes the hypotensive effect flavonoids with vasodilation effect and inhibition of adrenergic receptors. (7)
Glue Effect:
Study explored the potential of star apple extract as glue. Results showed the glue from the star apple extract can be used as a substitute for commercial glue. (12)
Anti-Inflammatory / Anti-Hypersensitivity Effects / Leaves:
Study of crude methanolic extract of leaves demonstrated anti-inflammatory and anti-hypersensitivity effects on carrageenan-induced paw edema and hypersensitivity. Reduction of hypersensitivity attributed to isolated compound Lup-20(29)-en-3β-O-hexanoate > than 3β-Lup-20(29)-en-3-yl acetate. (14)

- Wild-crafted.
- Cultivated for its edible fruit.
- Seasonal market produce.
- Tinctures of bark, leaves and fruits in the cybermarket.

Last Updated November 2014

Photos ©Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: SEEDS / Public Domain/ File:Chrysophyllum cainito seeds.jpg / Steve Hurst @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database 7 / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Star Apple / Chrysophyllum cainito L. / Achras caimito Ruiz & Pavon
Polyphenolic Antioxidants from the Fruits of Chrysophyllum cainito
/ Xiao-Dong Luo, Margaret J. Basile and Edward J. Kennelly / DOI: 10.1021/jf011178n / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2002, 50 (6), pp 1379–1382

Anthocyanin antioxidants from edible fruits / doi:10.1016/S0308-8146(03)00162-6 / Linda S Einbond et al / Food Chemistry Vol 84, Issue 1, January 2004, Pages 23-28
Studies on Lectins from Thai Plants / J. Sci.Soc.Thailang, 24,. (1995)27-36

A preliminary study on the relaxant effect of the crude extract and fractions of the bark of Chrysophyllum cainito L. in isolated rat thoracic aorta / Quentela, Albert et al / Acta Manilana • 2001,vol./issue 49
Effect of aqueous extract of Chrysophyllum cainito leaves on the glycaemia of diabetic rabbits / N'giessan Koffi et al / African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology Vol. 3(10) pp. 501-506, October 2009
Ethnobotanical Study of Plants Used to Treat Arterial Hypertension, in Traditional Medicine, by Abbey and Krobou Populations of Agboville (Côte-d’Ivoire) / N'guessan Koffii / European Journal of Scientific ResearchISSN 1450-216X Vol.35 No.1 (2009), pp 85-98
Volatile constituents of star apple (Chrysophyllum cainito L.) from Cuba / Jorge Pino, Rolando Marbot, Aristides Rosado / Flavour and Fragrance Journal, Volume 17, Issue 5, pages 401–403, September/October 2002 / DOI: 10.1002/ffj.1116
Ethnobotanical Study of Plants Used to Treat Diabetes, in Traditional Medicine, by Abbey and Krobou People of Agboville (Côte-d'Ivoire) / N'guessan Koffi / American Journal of Scientific Research, No 4 (2009), pp45-58
Chrysophyllum cainito L. / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED
Sorting Chrysophyllum names / Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1995 - 2020 The University of Melbourne.
Production of white glue out of star apple (Chrysophyllum Cainito) extract
/ Mecua, John Michael O. / 2011 DOST Region 9, SCHOOL Don Pablo Lorenzo Memorial High School / DOST SciNET-PHIL
Chrysophyllum cainito / WorldAgroForestry

Anti-inflammatory and anti-hypersensitive effects of the crude extract, fractions and triterpenes obtained from Chrysophyllum cainito leaves in mice. / Meira NA, Klein LC Jr, Rocha LW, Quintal ZM, Monache FD, Cechinel Filho V, Quintão NL / J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Feb 3;151(2):975-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2013.12.014. Epub 2013 Dec 14.

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