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Family Anacardiaceae
Semecarpus cuneiformis Blanco

Xiao guo rou tuo guo

Scientific names  Common names
Semecarpus cuneiformis Blanco Agas (P. Bis.)
Semecarpus anacardium Blanco Anagas (P. Bis.)
Semecarpus perrottetii March. Hanagas (Bis.)
Semecarpus pubescens F.-Vill. Iñgas ( BiK.)
Semecarpus sideroxyloides Perk. Kamiing (Sbl.)
Anacardium longifolium Lam. Kaming (Pamp., Tag.)
  Kamiding (Ig.)
  Kamiling (Ting.)
  Kamiring (Ibn., Ilk.)
  Libas (Bon.)
  Lañgas (Bis.)
  Loñgas (C. Bis.)
  Ligas (Pamp., Tag.)
  Pakan (Bon.)
  Marking nut tree (Engl.)
  Oriental cashew (Engl.)
  Xiao guo rou tuo guo (Chin.)
  Kamiring (Ibn., Ilk.)
Quisumbing lists Semicarpus cuneiformis and S. anacardium as scientific synonyms. Studies below are mostly on Semecarpus anacardium. Other compilations separate the species. Both can cause acute and extensive dermatitis.
Folkloric uses include those of Semicarpus anacardium as used in other countries.
Libas is a common name shared by (1) Spondias pinnata (2) Salix tetrasperma (3) Balbas-bakiro (Momordica cochinchinensis) (4) Ligas (Semecarpus cuneiformis).

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Dun ye rou tuo guo, Xian guo tai dong qi.
MALAY: Kutang
MALAYALAM: Alakkucheru, Cherkuru, Thenkotta, Perkuru, Cheru, Cherumaram, Temprakku, Sambiri.

Ligas is a small tree growing to a height of 12 meters. Leaves are crowded at the end of the branches, lanceolate-obovate to oblong-obovate, 10 to 25 centimeters long, hairy, whitish beneath, rounded or somewhat pointed at the tip and usually pointed at the base. Flowers are whitish, 2 to 2.5 millimeters long, borne on panicles that are longer than the leaves. Fruits are borne in clusters, resembling the kasui, but much smaller. Drupe is ovoid, oblique, 1 centimeter long, grows at the top of a red or purple, fleshy and edible fruit, which is about as long as the drupe. The "fruit," like that of the kasui, is really the enlarged stalk and receptacle (torus) of the flower.

- Common in dry thickets and secondary forests at low altitudes in Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Bontoc, La Union, Pangasinan, Zambales, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Rizal, Pampanga, Bulacan, Laguna, Quezon and Sorsogon Provinces in Luzon; and in Mindoro, Palawan, Leyte, Negros, and Guimaras.

- Also reported in Indonesia.

- Cardol is the toxic principle of the sap found in the bark and fruit.
- Phytochemical study yielded biflavoinoids, phenolic compounds, bhilawanols, minerals, vitamins and amino acids.

- Nut of the shell contains biflavonoids, biflavones, tetrahydrorobustaflavone, jeediflavone, semecarpuflavone and gulluflavone.
- Oil from the nuts contain bhilavinol.
- Leaves contain amentoflavone.

Oil of pericarp is caustic and escharotic.
Fruits are considered acrid, bitter, astringent, thermogenic, emollient, digestive, carminative, purgative, liver tonic, aphrodisiac, antiarthritic, depurative, anti-inflammatory, cardiotonic, sudorific.

Caution !
- Although many persons are probably immune to poisoning from the hairs on the leaves, in the Philippines the plant is usually regarded as poisonous, with reports of severe contact dermatitis.
- The sap is considered a violent contact poison which can cause painful swelling and minute blistering pustular skin eruptions

Parts utilized
Leaves, fruit, gum.

• Oil of pericap is used as a caustic or escharotic; sometimes used for indolent ulcers.
• In Malaysia, leaves used for wounds.
• In India, fruit is traditionally used as folk remedy for the treatment of non-bleeding hemorrhoids. Also used as adjuvant treatment for ascites and tumors. Used for bronchospasms.
• Elsewhere, the gum-resin of S. anacardium has been used in leprosy and nervous debility.

Quisumbing lists Semicarpus cuneiformis and S. anacardium as scientific synonyms. Studies below are mostly on Semecarpus anacardium. Other compilations separate the species. Both can cause acute and extensive dermatitis.
There are no published studies on Semicarpus cuneiformis.

Antioxidant / Antiarthritic: Milk extract of Semecarpus anacardium nuts significantly decreased the
lipid peroxide levels in plasma and tissues of adjuvant arthritis. The SA nut extract brought back the altered antioxidant defense components to almost normal levels. The antiarthritic effect may be due to the retardation of lipid peroxidation and a subsequent modulation of the cellular antioxidant defense system. (1)
Antioxidant / Prooxidant: Nut purification studies suggested that the oil part of the nuts is prooxidant whereas the alcoholic fraction is antioxidant; and the use of hexane is better for purification of SA nuts and therapeutic enhancement.
Antiinflammatory: (1) Studies have yielded phenolic compounds (semicarpol and bhilawanol) found to inhibit the acute tuberculin reaction in sensitized rats and primary phase of adjuvant arthritis. IN rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory activity has been attributed to flavonoids or the inhibition of early mediator release (histamin and serotonin) and inhibition or cyclo-oxygenase. (2) Study of extract of SA demonstrated a protective immunological and pharmacological role.
Antifungal: Alcoholic extract of dry nuts of SA showed dose-dependent antifungal activity against Aspergillus fumigatus and C albicans.
Neuroprotective: SA has been shown to have neuroprotective effect, especially to the hippocampal region in stress-induced neurodegeneration like Alzheimer's disease.
Antispermatogenic Effect: SA extract feeding caused antispermatogenic effect with reduction in the numbers of spermatogenic cells and spermatozoa.
Antiatherogenic: The antiatherogenic effect may be due to its antioxidant, anticoagulant, hypolipidemic, anti-platelet aggregation and lipoprotein lipase releasing properties.
Hypoglycemic: Ethanolic extract shown to significantly lower blood glucose level in alloxan induced diabetic rats.

Toxicity Studies: Acute toxicity studies showed no mortality at all dose levels. Subtacute toxicity studies showed not hematologic and biochemical alterations; in the highest dose, there was a moderate increase in blood sugar; histopath exam showed no morphological disturbances.
Cardioprotective: (1) Study undertaken to evaluate the cardioprotective effect of the hydroalcoholic extract of SA nuts showed it possesses a potential to ameliorate the myocardial damage induced by isoproterenol in rats. (2) Study on the bioactivity in the ethanolic extract of SA fruits on experimentally induced myocardial damage in rats showed high dose of EESA significantly reduced endogenous biomarker enzymes, with significant increase in biological antioxidants and catalase activities, while providing significant recovery from ischemia.
Antioxidant / Anticarcinogenesis: Administration of aqueous extract of SA to lymphoma-transplanted mouse caused an increase in antioxidant enzyme activities, with significant decrease in LDH activity, indicating decrease in carcinogenesis. The extract effect was more than doxorubicin, an anticarcinogeic drug.
Hypoglycemic / Antihyperglycemic Effect: Ethanolic extract of dried nuts of SA showed reduction of blood glucose in normal rats and also significantly lowered blood glucose in STZ-induced diabetic rats. Antihyperglycemic effect was compared with tolbutamide.
Anti-Tumor / Anti-Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Study was done to evaluate the effect of Semecarpus anacardium nut extract on the hepatocarcinogenicity of aflatoxin B1 in adult albino male Wistar rats. Results clearly showed antitumor efficacy of SA nut extract on aflatoxin B1-induced hepatocellular carcinoma.
Anti-Inflammatory / COX-2 Inhibitory Activity: Extract of the bark stem of SA showing in vitro anti-inflammatory activity in carrageenan induced rat paw edema was studied to identify its active compounds. The study yielded 2 compounds – butein and a trihydroxyflavone. The compounds showed moderate COX-2 inhibitory activity. (13)
Reproductive Effects / Spermatogenic Arrest: S. anacardium fruit extract administration resulted in spermatogenic arrest in albino rats. Sperm motility and density were significantly reduced.
Toxicological Study of Anacardium Nut Extract: Toxicological study on S. anacardium nut extract was done to determine its safe non-toxic dose. Toxicity was found to be dose-dependent. Results could be of some use in cancer chemotherapy study of the fraction.


Last Updated September 2013

Photos ©Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / File:Semecarpus microcarpa Blanco1.75-cropped.jpg / Plate from book / Flora de Filipinas / Francisco Manuel Blanco (OSA) / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Liner Drawing / Figure 51 from Philippine Resins, Gums, Seed Oils, and Essential Oils Bulletin No. 20 / Augustus P. West and William H. Brown, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry, Philippine Islands/ 1903 / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Salubrious effect of Semecarpus anacardium against lipid peroxidative changes in adjuvant arthritis studied in rats / T. Vijayalakshmi et al / Journ of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry • Volume 175, Numbers 1-2 / October, 1997 / DOI 10.1023/A:1006837312145
Purification of nuts of Semecarpus anacardium Linn., a herbal drug for arthritis / Yamini B. Tripathi, Nidhi Pandey and Pratibha Tripathi / CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 94, NO. 8, 25 APRIL 2008
MEDICINAL POTENTIALS OF SEMECARPUS ANACARDIUM NUT- A REVIEW / Majumdar, S H, Chakraborthy G S et al / Journal of Herbal Medicine and Toxicology 2 (2) 9-13 (2008)
ANACARDIACEAE — 5 Sclerocarya - Swintonia (Cashew family)
Toxic studies on biochemical parameters carried out in rats with Serankottai nei, a siddha drug–milk extract of Semecarpus anacardium nut / T Vihayalakshmi et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Vol 69, Issue 1, January 2000, Pages 9-15 / doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(99)00020-3 |

MYOCARDIAL POTENCY OF SEMECARPUS ANACARDIUM NUT EXTRACT AGAINST ISOPROTERENOL INDUCED MYOCARDIAL DAMAGE IN RATS / Asdaq SMB and Chakraborty M / International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research, Vol 2, Issue 2, May – June 2010; Article 002

Protective effects of Semecarpus anacardium fruit extract against myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury in rats / S. M. Basheeruddin Asdaq & S. Prasannakumar / The Internet Journal of Alternative Medicine. 2009 Volume 7 Number 1
Semecarpus anacardium nut extract promotes the antioxidant defence system and inhibits anaerobic metabolism during development of lymphoma / Verma N, Vinayak M / Biosci Rep. 2009 Jun;29(3):151-64.
Hypoglycemic and antihyperglycemic effect of Semecarpus anacardium Linn in normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats / Arul, B., Kothai, R., Christina, A.J. / Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol 2004, 26(10): 759 / DOI: 10.1358/mf.2004.26.10.872556
Cyclooxygenase Inhibitory Flavonoids from the Stem Bark of Semecarpus anacardium Linn. / C Selvam et al / Phytother. Res. 18, 582–584 (2004)
Immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects of Semecarpus anacardium LINN. Nut milk extract in experimental inflammatory conditions / Ramprasath VR et al / Biol Pharm Bull. 2006 Apr;29(4):693-700.
Effect of Semecarpus anacardium fruits on reproductive function of male albino rats / Arti Sharma et al / Asian J Androl 2003 Jun; 5: 121-124
Studies on the mechanism of action of Semecarpus anacardium in rheumatoid arthritis / M N Sari, R B Ghool and B K Patwardhan / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 25, Issue 2, April 1989, Pages 159-164 / doi:10.1016/0378-8741(89)90017-2 |
Sorting Semecarpus names / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE/ Porcher Michel H. et al. 1995 - 2020 / (M.M.P.N.D) - A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia.
Semecarpus anacardium - Marking nut tree
/ Malayalam names / India Biodiversity Portal
Toxicological study of Semecarpus anacardium nut extract. / Kesava Rao KV, Gothoskar SV, Chitnis MP, Ranadive KJ. / Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1979 Apr-Jun;23(2):115-20.

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