Kalachuche is a small, deciduous tree, 3
to 7 meters high, with a crooked trunk, smooth and shining stems, succulent, with abundant sticky, milky latex. Bark has a smooth, papery outer layer which is grey, shining, and constantly exfoliating in small flakes. Wood is yellowish-white and soft. Branches are thick, fleshy, swollen and leafy at the tips. Leaves are crowded at the terminal end of the branch, commonly
oblong in shape, 20 to 40 centimeters long, 7 centimeters wide, spirally arranged at the ends of the branches. Flowers are numerous, fragrant and large, the upper portion whitish, while the inner
lower portion yellow, 5 to 6 centimeters long. Fruits are linear-oblong or ellipsoid follicles, with a pointed tip, 15 to 20 centimeters long, 1.5 to 2 centimeters in diameters. Seeds are numerous and winged.
There are several species of cultivated Plumiera, very similar to P.
rubra but for the color of the corolla.
- Usually cultivated for
- Nowhere established.
- Introduced from Mexico by the Spaniards.
- Now pantropic.
leaves and flowers.
- Flowers suppose to be
source of perfume known as "Frangipiani."
- Bark contains a bitter glucoside, plumierid (2%).
- Latex contains resins, caoutchouc and calcium salts of plumieric acid:
cerotinic acid and lupeol.
- Leaves contain a volatile oil.
- Phytochemical screening of methanol extract yielded steroids, flavanoids, tannins, alkaloids, and glycosides.
- Powdered leaf yielded alkaloids, cyanogenic glycosides, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, terpenoids, tannins, and saponins.
- Sweet tasting and neither
warming nor cooling in effect, aromatic.
- Seeds considered hemostatic.
- Considered antiinflammatory, antipyretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge,
of bark is used as purgative, emmenagogue, and febrifuge. Latex is similarly employed.
· Preventive for heat stroke: the material may be taken as a
· Root-bark taken internally as a strong purgative.
· Root-bark used as abortifacient.
· Root bark used as remedy for gonorrhea and venereal sores.
· Bark decoction used as antiherpetic.
· Used in treatment of ulcers, herpes, scabies.
· Bruised bark use as plaster over hard tumors.
· In India,
bark used as purgative. Bark also used as application for abscesses.
· In Java and Madera,
bark decoction used for gonorrhea, dropsy, and dysuria due to venereal disease.
· In Yucatan,
latex is used for toothache.
· In Persia,
bark is employed against blenorrhagia.
· For dysentery, diarrhea during summer season: use 12 to 24
gms of dried material in decoction.
· Arthritis, rheumatism, pruritic skin lesions: Mix the latex
(sap) with coconut oil, warm, and apply to affected area.
· Decoction of the bark is used as a counterirritant on the gums
· The latex mixed with coconut oil is used for itching.
· The juice is rubefacient in rheumatic pains, and with camphor,
is also used for itching.
· A poultice of heated leaves is beneficial for swellings.
· Decoction of leaves for cracks and eruptions of the soles of
· Infusion or extract from leaves is used for asthma. Leaves also used as cigarettes to inhale in asthma.
· In Puerto Rico,
in emulsion, the milk produces abundant, bilious, watery stools.
· In Mexico,
decoction of flowers used in diabetes.
• Cytotoxic / Antitumor: In
Indonesia, six cytotoxic constituents were isolated from the bark of
P rubra. The substances demonstrated cytotoxic activity with panel of
murine lymphocytic leukemia cell lines and a number of human cancer
cell-types (breast, colon, fibrosarcoma, lung, melanoma, KB). (1)
Cytotoxic / Antibacterial / Molluscicidal:
From the heartwood, study yielded plumericin and isoplumericin
which molluscicidal, cytotoxic and antibacterial activity.
P rubra was one 41 plants extracts from 18 species that showed
antibacterial activity. (3)
Oils : Comparative study of the essential oils of
genus Plumiera Linn. from Malaysia showed the oil of P. acuminata (white
flower) was predominantly of benzyl salicylate, benzyl benzoate, trans-nerolidol,
neryl phenylacetate and linanlool. (4)
/ Antimicrobial: Study yielded the presence of tannins,
phlobatannins, saponins, flavonoids, steroids, terpenoids, cardiac glycosides
and reducing sugar from the crude extract. The antibacterial assay showed
the methanol extract to inhibit growth of 14 indicator bacteria. The
extract of the flower was more active against B cereus. (5)
/ Hypolipidemic: Study of a flavone glycoside isolated from P rubra produced a significant reduction of serum triglycerides in alloxan-induced hyperglycemic rats. Antioxidant activity was confirmed through in vitro studies. (7)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: A methanol extract of P. acuminata exhibited significant anti-inflammatory activity on acute and chronic experimental animal models. The effect was comparable to that of indomethacin, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agent. (17)
• Antioxidant / Free Radical Scavenging Activity: A methanol extract showed dose-dependent antioxidant activity using a DPPH radical, superoxide anion radical and hydroxyl radical scavenging assays. (16)
• Antimutagenic: Study of ethanol extract of green leaves yielded 4 isolates; three were elucidated a stigmast-7-enol, lupeol carboxylic acid, and ursolic acid. A1 reduced the number of MPCE induced by mutagen, mitomycin C. (9)
• Antimycotic: Study evaluated the antimycotic activity of four medicinal plant extracts: kalachuchi bark (P. acuminata), atsuete bark (Bixa orellana), akapulko leaves (C. alata), and neem leaves (A. indica) compared to standard clotrimazole treatment of otomycosis. Of the four, only kalachuchi bark extract exhibited antifungal activity against Aspergillus and Aspergillus niger. (13)
• Antifungal / Otomycosis: Study evaluated a kalachuchi ointment made from a bark extract on patients diagnosed clinically and microbiologically to have otomycosis. Results showed Kalachuchi extract ointment may be a promising antifungal ointment. Cure rate was 75% compared to 87.5% for clotrimazole cream. (14)
• Antipyretic / Antinociceptive: Study of a methanol extract of P. acuminata leaves in several experimental models showed the antipyretic and antinociceptive activity. Results were attributed to phytoconstituents isolated on preliminary screening: alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, terpenes, and steroids. (15)
• Antitumor / Antioxidant: Study evaluated the antitumor and antioxidant properties of P. acuminata crude methanol extract of leaves against Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma (EAC) bearing Swiss albino mice. Results showed an antitumor effect through modulation of lipid peroxidation and augmentation of antioxidant defense system. (16)
• Comparative Phytochemicals / Flowers of P. alba and P. rubra: Study of flower extracts yielded steroid, flavonoid, and alkaloid in P. alba and tannin, carbohydrate, glycosides, steroids and flavonoid in the flowers of P. rubra. (19)
• Antimutagens / Leaves: Study of ethanol extract of green leaves yielded three antimutagens viz. stigmast-7-enol, ursolic acid and lupeol carboxylic acid. The mechanism of action was proposed as a reaction of the oxygen of the hydroxyl group with the C-10 of Mitomycin C to form mono-or difunctional adducts. In addition, changes in membrane permeability which could prevent Mitomycin C from entering into the cell and reacting with the DNA. (20)
In some regions, it is
not planted in the immediate vicinity of habitation, believed to cause
difficulties with personal relationships and separations.
Cultivated for ornamental use.