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Family Fabaceae
Sophora tomentosa Linn.

Rong mao huai

Scientific names Common names
Sophora tomentosa Linn. Bangil (Tag., Bis.)
Accepted Infraspecifics Baraumarau (Tag., Bis.)
Sophora tomentosa var. angustifoliolata A.Barreto Gison (Tag., Bis.)
Sophora tomentosa subsp. australis Yakovlev Golonaktau (Bag.)
Sophora tomentosa var. littoralis (Schrad.) Benth Kabai-kabai (Tag.)
Sophora tomentosa var. occidentalis (L.) Isely Kapon (Iv.)
Sophora tomentosa subsp. tomentosa Kauai (Tag., Bis.)
Sophora tomentosa var. truncata Torr. & A.Gray Mangguiau (Bik., Tag.)
  Mantala (Tag., Bis.)
  Olaomag (Bis.)
  Pangalangan (Tag., Bis.)
  Roknohan (Bis.)
  Sandalaitan (Tag.)
  Tambalagisa (C. Bis.)
  Tambaleta (Tag.)
  Tambalisa (Tag., S. L. Bis., P. Bis.)
  Tambalisi (Tag.)
  Tambiligisa (Tag.)
  Tanbalisa (Bik.)
  Necklace pod (Engl.)
  Yellow necklace pod (Engl.)
  Seaside pigeon pea (Engl.)
  Silverbush (Engl.)
Sophora tomentosa L. is an accepted name. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Hai nan dou shu, Ling nan huai shu, Rong mao huai.
FIJIAN: Kau ni yalewa.
INDONESIA: Lolang Badjo, Lolang pante.
KENYA: Utupa wamwitu.
MALAYSIA: Pelotok, Pelochok.
SOUTH PACIFIC: Pofatu'ao'ao, Runa.
SRI LANKA: Mudu-murunga.
WEST INDIES: Sophora, Haricot bastard, Micar, Tambalista.

Gen info
- Sophora is a genus of about 45 species of small trees and shrubs in the pea family Fabaceae. The generic name derives from sophera, an Arabic name for a pea-flowered tree.
- The common name Necklacepod derives from the characteristic string of seed pods that develop after the yellow flowers germinate into seeds.

- Etymology: The genus Sophora is an Arabic name for a pea-flowered tree. The species epithet derives from Latin tomentosa meaning 'thickly matted with hair', possibly referring to the underside of leaves.   (20)

Tambalisa is a gray, hairy shrub. Leaves are alternate, pinnately compound, about 15 to 30 centimeters in length, with 11 to 17 leaflets which are oval, 2.5 to 4 centimeters in length and extremely hairy. Flowers are bright yellow, about 1 centimeter long, borne on terminal racemes about 15 centimeters long. Pods are 10 to 15 centimeters in length, containing 6 to 8 seeds. Pods are characteristically rounded where the seeds occur, very narrow in the portions between the seeds.

- Abundant along the seashore throughout the Philippines.
- Pantropic strand plant.

- Contains an alkaloid, sophorine, identical to cytisine from Cytisus laburnum and ulexine from Ulex europaeus. Cytisine resembles nicotine in its action.
- Study yielded a thick, red-brown fluid from the seeds, physiologically resembling the alkaloid cytisine from C laburnum seeds. Study also showed both ulexine and sophorine to be identical to cytisine. (Q)
- Study isolated two flavonoid compounds, sophoraisoflavanone A and sophoraflavanone B, together with sophoronol, isosophoranone and isobavachin from the aerial parts. (see study below) (12)
- Studies of acetone extract of dried aerial parts yielded two pterocarpans, sophoracarpans A and B, with three known isoflavonoids, wighteone (erythrinin B), sophoraisoflavanone A and I-maackianin. (1)
- Study of fresh leaves yielded three lupin alkaloids: (−)-epilamprolobine, (+)-epilamprolobine N-oxide and 5-(3′-methoxycarbonylbutyroyl)aminomethyl-trans-quinolizidine N-oxide, along with (+)-matrine, (+)-matrine N-oxide, (+)-sophocarpine N-oxide, (−)-anagyrine, (−)- baptifoline, (−)-cytisine, (−)-N-methylcytisine, (−)-N-formylcytisine, (−)-N-acetylcytisine and (±)-ammodendrine. (3)
- Study of aerial parts of Sophora tomentosa isolated two new benzofuran derivatives (1), mp 235 - 2370, C15H10O5 and (2), mp 179 - 1810, C16H12O5, together with 1-maackiain, stigmasterol, medicagol, formononetin and 2',4',4-trihydroxychalone (isoliquiritigenin). (8)
- Study of root and stem of S. tomentosa isolated five new flavonoids, Tomentosanols A-E, along with 15 known flavonoids. (9)
- GC/MS analysis of S, tomentosa leaves yielded 87.74% for unsaponifiable matter and 38.70% for fatty acid methyl esters. Dominant compounds in unsaponifiable matter were n-nonacosane 43.80% and 2-methyltriacontaine 11.94%. In saponifiable fraction, saturated fatty acids were 58.37%, with 34.51% unsaturated fatty acids. Major compounds was methyl palmitate 40.02%. (see study below) (13)
- Study isolated two new pterocarpans named sophoracarpans A and B, elucidated as 6β, 9-dimethoxy-3-hydroxyperocarpan (I) and 3-hydroxy-6β-methoxy-8, 9-methylenedioxypterocarpan (III). (15)
- GC/MS analysis of essential oils from fresh flowers identified 17 components (85.08%) with major components of n-pentacosane (36.83%) and n-heptacosane (19.03%). (17)
- Study of roots isolated a new chromone, named sophorachromone A (I), mp 138-139°C, C19H22O4, and a new flavanone, named sophoraflavanone A (II), mp 144-145°C, C25H28O5. The structures of I and II were established to be 8-geranyl-5, 7-dihydroxychromone and 6-geranyl-5, 7, 4'-trihydroxyflavanone, respectively, on the basis of chemical and spectral evidence. (19)

- Roots are yellow.
- Bark is bitter; the seeds more so.
- Plant considered diuretic, stomachic, sudorific, purgative, febrifuge.
- Seeds considered anticholeric, purgative, febrifuge, stomachic.
- Seeds are dangerously emetocathartic due to the cytisine-like alkaloid that is released.
- Studies have suggested antifungal, antimicrobial, radical scavenging, anti-parkinsonism, neuroprotective, anti-SARS-CoV-1, Anti-MERS-CoV, insecticidal properties.

Parts used
Oil, roots, stems, seeds.


- The pod is inedible.
- In the Philippines, plant used as a common remedy for stomach disorders; seeds used for stomach affections.
- Decoction of root, stem or seeds considered anticholeric. Seeds considered purgative; as little as two seeds may provide a drastic purgative action.
- Seeds used as febrifuge and stomachic.
- Oil from seeds applied externally for bones aches associated with colds. Also, used as expectorant.
- In New South Wales, seeds are used for bilious sickness.
- In Eastern Malaysia, plant used for cholera and diarrhea; also, as antidote for eating poisonous fish and other marine animals.
- Powdered seeds used by the Malays as astringent for diarrhea; leaves and roots also so employed.
- In India, seeds and infusion of roots used to treat bilious attacks.
- In Fiji, crushed leaves in coconut oil use for treatment of fractures. (10)

Pterocarpans / Wigteone / Antifungal:
Studies yielded two pterocarpans, sophoracarpans A and B, with three known isoflavonoids, wighteone (erythrinin B), sophoraisoflavanone A and I-maackianin. Wighteone is a known antifungal phytoalexin in several genera of leguminous plants. (1)
Phenylflavanones: Prenylflavanones from S tomentosa exhibited tumor-specific cytotoxicity and antimicrobial activity.

Phenylflavanones / Radical Scavenging / Antimicrobial / Cytotoxic: Study was done on the biologic activity of ten phenylflavanones purified from S tomentosa and S moorcroftiana. Some of the flavanones showed tumor-specific cytotoxic activity, antimicrobial activity, and anti-HIV activity, radical generation, and scavenging activity. (2)
Antifungal / Aerial Parts: Study isolated two flavonoid compounds, sophoraisoflavanone A and sophoraflavanone B, together with sophoronol, isosophoranone and isobavachin from the aerial parts. Sophoraisoflavanone A (1) exhibited antifungal activity. (12)
Antimicrobial / Cytotoxic / Leaves: Study evaluated phytoconstituent composition, antimicrobial, and cytotoxic activities of lipoidal matter of leaves of S. tomentosa and S. secundiflora. MTT assay of lipoidal matter for in vitro for cytotoxic activity towards HCT-116 carcinoma cell line showed IC50 of 38.76 µg/mL. Using agar well diffusion, S. tomentosa displayed moderate antimicrobial activity at concentration of 50 mg/mL. (see constituents above) (13)
Neuroprotective / Prevention of Induced Parkinsonism: Study evaluated the phytoconstituents, radical scavenging capacity,  and neuroprotective mechanism against of ST extract against MPTP (1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine)-induced Parkinsonism assaying the activities of the dopaminergic system and antioxidant defenses, glycogen synthase kinase 3ß (GSK3-ß) phosphorylation, and α-synuclein levels in C57BL/6 mice. In vitro, the extract showed high ABTS radical scavenging capacities through higher phenolic contents, especially protocatechuic acid and epicatechin. Results showed potential of the extract to counteract MPTP-induced motor deficit. The neuroprotective mechanism against MPTP-induced parkinsonism might be related to decreasing GSK-3ß phosphorylation and restoring the activities of striatal antioxidant defenses to restore nigrostriatal dopaminergic function and decrease α-synuclein accumulation. (14)
Anti-SARS-CoV-2 and Anti-MERS-CoV: Study evaluated the anti-MERS-CoV activities of three medicinal plants (Sophora tomentosa, Azadirachta indica, and Artemisia judaica). S. tomentosa recorded the highest viral inhibition percentage (96%), with virucidal main mode of action. The anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity was very high (100%). Phytochemical investigation identified nine compounds. Compound 4 (genistein 4'-methyl ether) showed superior anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity with IC50 of 2.13 µm, with very effective virucidal and adsorption mechanisms. IC50s against SARE-CoV-2 and MERS-CoV were 1,01 and 3.11 µg/mL, respectively. (16)
Insecticidal against Culex pipiens / Quinolizidine Alkaloid: Study evaluated of Sophora tomentosa and S. secundiflora alkaloids fraction isolated one new quinolizidine alkaloid (1) 13-methoxyanagyrine together with six known ones (2-7). Study evaluated the insecticidal activity of 70% methanol extract of leaves of S. tomentosa and S. secundiflora and isolated alkaloids against 3rd instar larvae of Culex pipiens. Sophora tomentosa showed highest mortality rate with LC50 of 3.11 ppm after 24h and 0.66 ppm after 48h, and anagyrine (6) exhibited remarkable insecticidal activity with LC50 of 3.42 ppm after 24 h exposure. On cytotoxicity testing, anagyrine (6) exhibited IC50s of 25.3 and 30.2 µg/mL against MCF-7 and HEPG2 cancer cells, respectively. (18)


Updated January 2023 / October 2018 / August 2013

IMAGE SOURCE: Photo: Seedpods /  Katherine Wagner-Reiss / CC BY SA 4.0 / click on image to go to source page / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photo / Sophora tomentosa leaves / Copyright © 2011 by Leonardo L Co (contact: pieter.pelser@canterbury.ac.nz) [ref. 26949] / Non-Commercial Use / click on image to go to source page / Phytoimages.siu.edu
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photo / Sophora tomentosa flowers / Cerlin Ng / CC BT NC-ND / click on image to go to source page / Florida Wildflower Foundation
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Public Domain / File:Sophora heptaphylla Ypey81.jpg / Adolphus Ypey, Vervolg ob de Avbeeldingen der artseny-gewassen met derzelver Nederduitsche en Latynsche beschryvingen, Eersde Deel, 1813 / published by Kurt Stüber / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE / Seeds / Sophora tomentosa L. yellow necklacepod / Tracey Slotta @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Chemical Studies on Sophora tomentosa : the Isolation of a New Class of Isoflavonoid / Kinoshita Takeshi, Ichinose Koji, Takahashi Chiho et al / Chemical & pharmaceutical bulletin, 1990; 38(10): pp 2756-2759 / DOI: 10.1248/cpb.38.2756
In vitro biological activity of prenylflavanones / Shirataki Y, Motohashi N, Tani S, Sakagami H et al / Anticancer-Res. 2001 Jan-Feb; 21(1A): 275-80
(−)-Epilamprolobine and its N-oxide, lupin alkaloids from Sophora tomentosa / Isamu Murakoshi, Eiji Kidoguchi, Minako Nakamura et al / Phytochemistry, Vol 20, No 7, 1981, Pages 1725-1730 / doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)98564-9
Cytotoxicty and Radical Modulating Activity of Isoflavones and Isoflavanones from Sophora Species / Yoshiaki Shirataki, Mari Wakae, Yukiyo Yamamoto et al / ANTICANCER RESEARCH 24: 1481-1488 (2004)
Sophora tomentosa L. (accepted name) /
Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Sophora tomentosa / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED
Sophora tomentosa / Synonyms / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Studies on the constituents of Sophora species, 12 / Komatsu, Manki; Yokoe, Ichiro; Shirataki, Yoshiaki / JournalChemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin (Tokyo); v. 26(4); p. 1274-1278
Flavonoids from the root and stem of Sophora tomentos / Toshiyuki Tanaka, Munekazu linuma, Fujio Asai, Charles L. Burndt / Phytochemistry, Dec 1007; 46(8): pp 1431-1437 /
DOI: 10.1016/S0031-9422(97)00474-3
Medicinal Plants for Wounds, Cuts, and Burns / Aaron Matas / Google Books
Sophora tomentosa / Wikipedia
Studies on the Constituents of Sophora Species. XIII. Constituents of the Aerial Parts of Sophora tomentosa L. (2) / M Komatsu, I Yokoe, Y Shirataki / Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 1978; 26(12) / DOI: 10.1248/cpb.26.3863
Phytochemical investigation using GC/MS analysis and evaluation of antimicrobial and cytotoxic activities of the lipoidal matter of leaves of Sophora secundiflora and Sophora tomentosa / Shaza Hussiny Aly, Ahmed Elissawy, Omayma Eldahshan, Mohamed Elshanawany, Abdel-Nasser Singab / Archives of Pharmaceutical Sciences Ain Shams University, 2020; 4(2): pp 207-214 / pISSN: 2356-8380 / eISSN: 2356-8399 / DOI: 10.21608/aps.2020.38371.1039
Sophora tomentosa Extract Prevents MPTP-Induced Parkinsonism in C57BL/6 Mice Via the Inhibition of GSK-3ß Phosphorylation and Oxidative Stress / Hung-Chi Chang, Keng-Fan Liu, Chi-Rei Wu et al / Nutrients, 11(2): DOI: 10.3390/nu11020252
THE ISOLATION OF A NEW CLASS OF ISOFLAVONOID METABOLITES FROM SOPHORA TOMENTOSA L. / Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 1986; 34(7): pp 3067-3070 /
DOI: 10.1248/cpb.34.3067
Investigating the Potential Anti-SARS-CoV-2 and Anti-MERS-CoV Activities of Yellow Necklacepod among Three Selected Medicinal Plants: Extraction, Isolation, Identification, In Vitro, Modes of Action, and Molecular Docking Studies /  Howaida I Abd-Alla, Omnia Kutkat, Heba-tollah M Sweelam, Ahmed A Al-Karmalawy et al /  Metabolites, 12(11) / DOI: 10.3390/metabo12111109
Variability of the Chemical Composition of the Essential Oils of Flowers and the Alkaloid Contents of Leaves of Sophora secundiflora and Sophora tomentosa / Shaza H Aly, Ahmed M Elissawy, Omayma A Eldahshan, Mohamed A Elshanawany, Abdel Nasser B Singab / Journal of Essential Oil Bearing Plants, 2020; 23(3) / DOI: 10.1080/0972060X.2020.1750489
New quinolizidine alkaloid and insecticidal activity of Sophora secundiflora and Sophora tomentosaagainst Culex pipiens (Diptera: Culicidae)   / Shaza H Aly, Ahmed M Elissawy, Mohamed A Elshanawany et al / Natural Product Research, 2022; 36(11) / DOI: 10.1080/14786419.2021.1919108
Studies on the Constituents of Sophora Species. XVIII. Constituents of the Root of Sophora tomentosa L. /
Yoshiaki Shirataki, Masaaki Endo, Ichiro Yokoe, Manki Komatsu / Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 1983; 31(8): pp 2859-2863 / DOI: 10.1248/cpb.31.2859
Sophora tomentosa / National Parks: FLORA & FAUNA WEB

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

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