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Family Melastomataceae
Memecylon ovatum

Scientific names Common names
Memecylon ovatum Smith Bayan (Tag.)
Memecylon tinctorium Blanco Diok (Pang.)
Memecylon parviflorum Blanco Gisian (Tag.)
Memecylon lucidum Presl Kandong (ilk.)
Memecylon prasinum Naud. Kolis (Tag.)
Memecylon edule Roxb. Kulis (Sbl.)
Memecylon parviflorum Roxb. var. ovatum Malabahi (Bik.)
Memecylon umbellatum Burm. f. Malabanggi (Kuy.)
  Sagingsing (Bis.)
  Sisirai (Ilk.)
  Delek air tree (Engl.)
  Ironwood tree (Engl.)
Some compilations list Memecylon umbellatum and M. edule as separate species. Quisumbing's compilation lists them as synonyms.

Other vernacular names
HINDI: Anjan, Kaya.
TEUGU: Mandi, Lakhone.
ORIYA: Neymaru.

Kolis is a smooth shrub or small tree reaching a height of 8 meters. Leaves are leathery, oblong-ovate to oblong elliptic, 6 to 14 centimeters long, green, shining, and usually pointed at both ends. Flowers are faintly scented, numerous, about 7 millimeters across, deep blue or purple, and borne on axillary, solitary or fascicled cymes, 2 to 4 centimeters long. Fruit is rounded, 7 to 10 millimeters diameter, fleshy and dark purple.

- Common in thickets at low altitudes, especially along the seashore but also extending inland from the Batan Islands and northern Luzon to Palawan and Mindanao.
- Also occurs in India to Malaya.

- Plant yields alkaloids, triterpenes, flavonoids and saponins.
- Aerial parts yield umbelactone, beta-amyrin, ursolic acid, oleanolic acid, sitosterol and its glucoside.
- n-hexane extract of roots of M. umbellatum yielded octocosonoic acid, cerotic acid, ethyl palmitate, palmitic acid and butyric acid.

- Fruit and leaves are astringent.
- Leaf is spasmolytic, hypoglycemic.

Parts used
Roots, leaves.

- Decoction of roots used for excessive menstrual discharge.
- Infusion or lotion of leaves used as astringent in ophthalmia.
- Leaf considered astringent and antileucorrheic.
- In India, leaves used in the treatment of gonorrhea.

Antibacterial: . Results showed the ethyl acetate and chloroform extracts of the plant with moderate antibacterial activity. Maximum activity was shown by the chloroform extract against Bacillus subtilis. (1)
Radical Scavenging / Anti-Inflammatory / Analgesic: . The ethyl acetate extract showed the highest stimulation for interleukin-10 production; it also caused significant inhibition of the writhing response. The methanol fraction exhibited radical scavenging activity. (2)
Green Synthesis of Gold and Silver Nanoparticles: An aqueous leaf extract of M. edule was found to be a suitable plant source for the green synthesis of silver and gold nanoparticles. On treatment with aqueous solutions of silver nitrate and chloroauric acid with M. edule leaf extract, stable silver and gold nanoparticles were rapidly formed. The M. edule nanoparticles have potential for various medical and industrial applications. (4)
Hypoglycemic Effect: Study on an alcoholic extract of leaves of Memecylon umbellatum showed significant lowering of serum glucose levels in normal and alloxan-induced diabetic mice. The mechanism was unclear. (5)
Antimicrobial: Study of methanol extracts of M. edule and M. umbellatum showed significant activity against gram-positive, gram-negative bacteria and fungus. (8)
Apoptogenic / Human Gastric Carcinoma: Study evaluated the anti-proliferative and apoptogenic activity of an ethyl acetate extract of leaves of Memecylon edule in various cancer cell lines. Results showed the extract inhibited the gastric cancer cell growth in a dose-dependent manner, inducing apoptosis by mitochondrial dependent pathway. (9)
Antioxidant / DNA Protection Properties: Study evaluated methanolic extracts of three species of Memecylon i.e., M. umbellatum, M. malabaricum, and M. talbotianum. M. umbellatum and M. malabaricum could scavenge hydroxyl radicals and thus protect DNA. (10)


Last Update November 2013

IMAGE SOURCE / PHOTO / Delek Air Tree, Ironwood Tree (Memecylon umbellatum, syn. M. edule), Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, India.
References: Flowers of India, Forest Flora of Andhra Pradesh / File:Memecylon umbellatum (1).jpg / Dinesh Valke from Thane, India / 6 December 2008 / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE / ILLUSTRATION / File:Memecylon edule Blanco2.373-original.png / Flora de Filipinas / Franciso Manuel Blanco (OSA), 1880-1883 / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Phytochemical and Antibacterial studies of Seed extracts of Memecylon edule / Tamizhamudu Elavazhagan, Kantha D. Arunachalam / International Journal of Engineering Science and Technology
Vol. 2(4), 2010, 498-503
Anti-inflammatory, analgesic and wound healing activities of the leaves of Memecylon edule Roxb. / Somsak Nualkaewa, Kwanchai Rattanamaneeb, Suchitra Thongpraditchotec, Yuwadee Wongkrajangc, Adolf Nahrstedtd / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 121, Issue 2, 21 January 2009, Pages 278-281 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2008.10.034
Indian Medicinal Plants / An Illustrated Dictionary / C P Khare
Memecylon edule leaf extract mediated green synthesis of silver and gold nanoparticles
/ Tamizhamudu Elavazhagan and Kantha D Arunachalam / Int J Nanomedicine. 2011; 6: 1265–1278./ doi: 10.2147/IJN.S18347
Evaluation of the hypoglycaemic effect of Memecylon umbellatum in normal and alloxan diabetic mice
/ Amalraj T, Ignacimuthu S./ J Ethnopharmacol. 1998 Oct;62(3):247-50.
Fatty Acids from Memecylon umbellatum (Burm.) / Himanshu Joshi, Arun B Joshi, Hemlata Sati, Gururaja MP, Prajwal R Shetty, EVS Subrahmanyam and D Satyanaryana / Asian J. Research Chem. 2(2): April.-June, 2009
Ironwood tree / Common names / Flowers of India
/ Mohideen, S.; Hari Babu, L.; Anbuselvam, C.; Balasubramanian, M. P. / International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review & Resear; Jul/Aug 2012, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p79
Apoptogenic activity of ethyl acetate extract of leaves of Memecylon edule on human gastric carcinoma cells via mitochondrial dependent pathway. / VGM Naidu, Uma Mahesh Bandari, Ashwini Kumar Giddam, Kuppan Rajendran Dinesh Babu, Jian Ding, K Suresh Babu, B Ramesh, Rajeswara Rao Pragada, P Gopalakrishnakone / Asian Pacific journal of tropical medicine, Volume 6, Issue 5, 13 May 2013, pp 337-45
/ SHAILASREE SEKHAR, SAMPATH-KUMARA KK, NIRANJANA S R AND PRAKASH H S* / International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vol 5, Suppl 2, 2013

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