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Family Fabaceae
Bauhinia monandra Kurz


Scientifric names  Common names 
Bauhinia kappleri Sagot Alibangbang (Tag.) 
  Butterfly bauhinia (Engl.)
Bauhinia krugii Urban Butterfly flower (Engl.)
Bauhinia monandra Kurz Cow's foot (Engl.)
Bauhinia porosa Baill. Napoleon's plume (Engl.)
Bauhinia punctiflora Baker Pink bauhinia (Eng.)
Bauhinia richardiana Voight Pink butterfly tree (Engl.)
Caspareopsis monandra (Kurz) Britton & Rose Pink orchid tree (Engl.)
Caspariopsis monandra (Kurz) B & R Poor man's orchid (Engl.)
  St. Thomas tree (Engl.)
Alibangbang is a common name shared by (1) Bauhinia malabarica, alambangbang, malabar orchid, and (2) Bauhinia monandra, Napoleon's plume.
Orchid tree is an English common names shared by several Bauhinia species: (1) B. variegata (2) B. purpurea and (3) B. monandra.
Butterfly tree, derived from the "butterfly" shape of the leaves common to many Bauhinia species, is a common name shared by many Bauhinia species, among them: B. purpurea, B. monandra, B. variegata.
Bauhinia monandra is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHAMORRO: Flores mariposa.
CUBAN: Casco de mulo.
FRENCH: Bauhinia à fleurs roses.
HAITIAN: Caractere des hommes, Deux jumelles, flamboyan blanco, Mariposa, Seplina, Varital.
MAORI: Ipena, Pi, Pine, Pipi
SAMOAN: Vae povi.
SPANISH: Fringon, Huella de vaca, Orquidea del pobre, Pata de vaca.
TONGAN: Fehi, Napoleone.

Gen info
- Bauhinia is a genus of more than 200 species. The genus was named after the Bauhin brothers, Swiss-French botanists: Caspar (Gaspard) Bauhin (1560-1624) and Johann (Jean) (1541-1613). (25)
The species share the 'butterfly' configuration of the leaves. Species names monandra refers to the single stamen. (25)
- Alibangbang is an Ilongo word for butterfly.

Bauhinia monandra is a small tree, usually reaching 3 to 7 m tall, occasionally to 15 m. Bark is gray and smooth, becoming reddish-brown when mature. Leaves are sub-cordate, butterfly-shaped, simple and alternate, 7-20 cm long and wide. Petioles are 2.5-6 cm long. Flowers are five-petaled, borne in short, axillary raceme clusters; petals are pale pinkish, large and spreading, measuring 0.5 cm long and 0.3 cm wide, with 1 single, curved stamen measuring 25 - 50 mm long, style about 35 mm long. Fruit is a large, brown, flattened pod measuring 12-25 cm long and 2-3 cm wide, containing 10-20 seeds. Seeds are flat, 10-12 mm long and 7-8 mm wide. (25)

Similar to Bauhinia acuminata but grows only to medium size. Butterfly flower is an evergreen tree with a rounded crown, growing to a height of 3-10 meters. Flowers are showy and about 10 centimeters across; petals spreading, pink, purplish, the middle petal with numerous, small red-purple dots. Fertile stamen is only one.

- Introduced.
- Widely cultivated in cities and towns in the Philippines.
- Native to Borneo.
- Naturalized in tropical America,
- Invasiveness info: Many Bauhinia species have been introduced as ornamentals. Evidence shows Bauhinia monandra can escape cultivation and naturalize in disturbed areas, such as roadsides, waste ground urban areas., grasslands, and riparian areas. Once naturalized, the species can become weedy and invasive with potential to replace native vegetation. (23)

• Butanol fraction of a methanol extract of dried leaves yielded quercetin-3-rutinoside.
• Aqueous extract yielded a flavonoid: 3,7-di-O-α-
• Study on nutritional content of seeds showed: Lipids 28.7%, protein 33.09%, carbohydrate 21.45%, fiber 3.25%, phytate 11.5 mg/100g, hydrogen cyanide 0.32 mg/100g, tannins 6%, and saponins 2.05%.
Nutritional analysis of seeds yielded a protein content of 33.09%, 21.45% soluble carbohydrates, and 3.25% fiber. The hydrogen cyanide content was 0.32 mg/100g. (see study below) (8)
• Study of essential elements in seeds of Bauhinia yielded (mg/g) potassium 74.20 ± 2.46, calcium 77.9 ± 2.98, magnesium 2.8 ± 0.02, sodium 2.319 ± 0.07, sulphur 4.166 ± 0.005, phosphorus 1.594 ± 0.09, iron 1.710 ± 0.11. (see study below) (8)
• Phytochemical screening of leaves yielded flavonoids, terpenoids, steroids, alkaloid, cardiac glycoside, saponin, tannins, and phenols. (see study below) (16)
• TLC and GC-MS study of flowers for essential oil showed a yield of 0.06% with 7 compounds, with majorities characterized as panaxene 20.51% and α-guaiene 33.39%. The essential oil showed a predominance of sesquiterpene compounds (70.22%). (24)

- Astringent, febrifuge, laxative.
- Studies have shown anti-diabetic, antioxidative, insecticidal, hepatoprotective properties.

Parts used
Bark, pods.

- Leaves and pods eaten as vegetable in China.
In Africa, pods are pounded and boiled in water to provide a laxative drink.
- No recorded folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- In Brazil, used for diabetes.

- In India pod is used as astringent for diarrhea, dysentery and as cure for fever. Decoction of root and bark used for leprosy and small pox. Leaf extracts used for eye ailments.
- An anti-inflammatory ointment is made from the bark.
- Dyes: In Africa, pods and seeds are sources of black and blue dyes.
-Ornamental: Cultivated for its flowers.
- Fiber: In Eastern Sudan, crumble bark is a source of fiber for cordage.
- Wood: Hard wood used for fuel.
- Environmental: Used as boundary, barrier, or support. (23)

Toxicity Study:
Acute and subacute toxicity study in rats of a methanolic leaf extract of Bauhinia showed relatively low toxicity on acute administration but advises caution when used subacutely as anti-diabetic remedy. (1)
Anti-Diabetic / Stimulation of Insulin Release / Leaves: Study of methanol extract of dried leaves of B. monandra in alloxan-induced diabetic rats showed significant blood glucose reduction of 65%. A water fraction had 71.5% hypoglycemic activity comparable to glibenclamide. Subfractions of butanol fraction reduced hyperglycemia in alloxan-induced diabetic rats 62 and 66% and induced insulin release from INS-1 cells. Results justifies the ethnomedical use of the plant as antidiabetic remedy. (2)
Non-Genotoxic / Non-Cytotoxic / Antioxidative Potential: BmoLL (Bauhinia monandra leaf lectin) is a galactose-specific lectin purified from the leaves of Bauhinia monandra with a hypoglycemic potential demonstrated in rats. Study showed the lectin Bmoll did not produce any genotoxicity and cytotoxicity in all assays used. A significant decrease in spontaneous mutation frequency was noted in E coli strains, especially in the repair-deficient strain, suggesting an anti-oxidative potential. (3)
Antioxidant: In a DPPH assay, leaf extracts exhibited very potent antioxidant activity, compared with pure catechins used as positive controls. (5)
Flavonoids / Antioxidant: Study of ethyl acetate extract of leaves isolated 2 active compounds: quercetin-3-O-rutinoside and quercetin. Compound 2 had higher antioxidant activity while compound 1 had lower activity than L-ascorbic acid. (6)
Reproductive Benefits: Study of aqueous and ethanol extracts of dried leaves on pregnant Wistar rats showed no evidence of maternal or fetal toxicities and the aqueous extract promoted increased implantation and decreased post-implantation loss in pregnant rats. (7)
Seeds / Nutritional Study / Potential Nutrient Source: Protein content was 33.09%, comparing fairly with soya beans (Glycine max) and groundnuts (Arachis hypogaea). Seeds also yield 21.45% soluble carbohydrates, comparing favorably with soybean 20.7% and peanut 24.6%. It also yields 3.25% fiber. The hydrogen cyanide content was 0.32 mg/100g; chronic exposure has been reported to cause neurological, respiratory, cardiovascular and thyroid debilities. Study concludes BM seeds are rich in nutrient and low in anti-nutritional compounds. If popularized, the plant may serve as a complimentary source of essential nutrients to man and livestock provided toxicants are removed. (8)
Nephrotoxic Effect at High Doses: Study of leaf extract in alloxan-induced diabetic rats showed significant elevation of creatinine at higher dose of B. monandra. Although it showed an ability to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetic rats, excessive administration of BM extract above 2g/kg can be toxic to the kidney. (10)
Hepatoprotective / Antidiabetic: Study evaluated the effects of a leaf extract in the liver of alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Results showed significant reduction of blood sugar level in diabetic rats as well as a hepatoprotective effect. (11)
Reproductive Effects / Toxicity:
Study of aqueous and ethanol extracts from dried leaves of B. monandra in pregnant Wistar rats showed no maternal or fetal toxicities, no impairment of reproductive performance or delay in fetal development. The aqueous extract promoted increased implantation and decreased postimplantation loss in pregnant rats. (12)
Insecticidal / Leaf Lectin: Bauhinia monandra leaf lectin was evaluated for anti-insect activity against C. maculatus, Z. subfasciatus, and A. kuehniella larvae. BmoLL produced about 50% mortality to Z. subfasciatus and C. maculatus. While it did not significantly decrease survival of A. kuehniella larvae, it produced a 40% decrease in weight. (13)
Antimicrobial / Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated EA and n-hexane fractions of ethanolic extract of leaves for antioxidant activity (DPPH assay), phytoconstituents, and antimicrobial potential. The EA fraction showed more higher antioxidant and antimicrobial activities than the hexane fraction. (see constituents above) (16)
Hypoglycemic Effect / Leaves: Study of aqueous extracts of Bauhinia monandra and B. forficatya in normoglycemic mice showed hypoglycemic activity. 3,7-di-O-α- rhamnopyranosylquercetin was identified in the aqueous extract of B. monandra. The hypoglycemic activity may be related to the presence of glucosyl flavonoids. (17)
Anti-Inflammatory / Antinociceptive / Leaf Lectin: Lectins are proteins or glycoproteins of non-immunogenic origin with identified biological activities, i.e., insecticidal, antifungal, antibacterial, antiproliferative, anti-diabetic, wound healing etc. They have shown anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive properties. This study evaluated the potential anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive activity of pure B. monandra leaves in mice using 1% carrageenan-induced inflammation in mice for anti-inflammatory activity and acetic-acid induced abdominal writhing and hot plate testing for antinociceptive activity. BmoLL showed a significant (p<0.05) anti-inflammatory activity in mice. Results reinforce the hypothesis that the antinociceptive response of lectin may be explained by their specificity for different sugars, which could enhance the lectin-carbohydrate interaction and cell receptors. (18) |
Increased Insulin Secretion in Prenatal Malnourished Rats: Study investigated the effects of a methanolic extract of B. monandra on blood glucose levels, insulin and lipid control on prenatal malnourished rats. Acute extract administration in control rats reduced glucose with no effect on insulin secretion. In malnourished rats, it induced insulin peak. In chronic study, the extract lower glucose with higher insulin levels in prenatal malnourished rats. (19)
Intestinal Effect on Ingestion of Seed Extract / Inhibition of Enzyme Synthesis: Study has shown a high hemagglutinating activity against trypsin-treated erythrocytes of rabbit. In the study rats were given a NaCl extract of seeds. Histopathological studies showed the the lectins from B. monandra seeds did not cause visible intestinal damage even when they seem to be able to bind to the enterocyte brush border. Low dissaccharidase activity in the membrane and enterocyte fractions,which represent enzyme synthesis level, indicates the lectins could reduce synthesis of the enzymes rather than inhibit active sites of the enzymes. (20)
• Genotoxicity Potential / Leaves: Study evaluated the genotoxicity, cytotoxicity and mutagenicity of an aqueous infusion of B. monandra leaves. Various infusion concentrations did not cause mutagenicity or cytotoxicity. However, highest concentration (100 µg/mL) induced breaks in DNA phosphodiester bonds and form abasic sites. Results revealed risk and benefits of the extract for therapeutic use and effects on genetic integrity. (21)
• Hypoglycemic / Effect on Insulin Release / Leaves: Oral administration of methanol extract of dried leaves to alloxan-induced diabetic rats showed significant blood glucose reduction of 65%, similar to the effect of glibenclamide. Quercetin-3-rutinoside was isolated from a butanol fraction and characterized. Results suggest stimulation of insulin release is one of the modes of action of the butanol fractions and some subfractions. (22)
Flower Essential Oil: TLC and GC-MS study of flowers for essential oil showed a yield of 0.06% with 7 compounds, with majorities characterized as panaxene 20.51% and a-guaiene 33.39%. The essential oil showed a predominance of sesquiterpene compounds (70.22%). The allied techniques, classic and modern, demonstrated different ways of evaluating essential oil chemical composition, with both techniques showing high efficiency and precision. (24)
Effect of Processing on Mineral Content and Proximate Composition / Seeds: Study reports on the effect of boiling seeds on mineral composition, nutritive value, and anti-nutritional factors. Mineral contents yielded concentrations of Potassium 103.33mg/g, Iron 75.92mg/g, Calcium 56.55mg/g, Sodium 53.33mg/g, Phosphorus 47.60mg/g, Magnesium 43.33mg/g, and Zinc 01.11mg/g. Proximate compositions of the seeds showed high crude protein in the boiled (25.75-31.69mg/g) and low crude fiber (7.11-10.75mg/g) in the raw samples. Phytochemical screening of the seeds showed that the concentration of Hydrogen cyanide, fluorine and sulphur levels reduced significantly (P<0.05) as the boiling times increased compared to the raw samples. The study discussed the implications of the findings.(26)

- Wild-crafted.

Updated January 2022 / February 2018 / November 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: Bauhinia monandra - Leaves, flowers, pods in Tonga / File:Bauhinia monandra.jpg / Tau'olunga / 17 November 2007 / GNU Free Documentation License / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE / Seeds / Bauhinia monandra Kurz / Tracey Slotta @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Flower / Fil:Bauhinia-monandra-Réunion.jPG/ Bauhinia monandra, november 2004, La Réunion/ Bouba / Creative Commons / Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Acute and oral subacute toxicity of methanolic extractof Bauhinia monandra leaf in rats / G O Alade, M A Akanmu, E M Obuotor et al / African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology Vol. 3(7). pp. 354-358, July, 2009
Evaluation of the hypoglycaemic activity of Bauhinia monandra leaf in Alloxan- diabetic rats and INS-1 insulin cells / G.O Alade, O.R. Omobuwajo et al / J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2011, 3(2):506-521
Evaluation of the genotoxic potential of Bauhinia monandra leaf lectin (BmoLL) / Herbert Ary Arzabe Antezama Costa Nóbrega Sisenando, Márcia Fernanda Silva Macedo et al / Food and Chemical Toxicology, Volume 47, Issue 2, February 2009, Pages 303-308
Hypoglycemic activity of two Brazilian Bauhinia species: Bauhinia forficata L. and Bauhinia monandra Kurz. / Fabio de Sousa Menezes, Andrea Barreto Mattos Minto et al / Brazilian Journal of Pharmacognosy
17(1): 08-13, Jan./Mar. 2007
Antioxidant activity of leaf extracts from Bauhinia monandra / Argolo AC, Sant'Ana AE, Pletsch M, Coelho LC. / Bioresour Technol. 2004 Nov;95(2):229-33.
Evaluation of Bauhinia monandra aqueous and ethanol extracts in pregnant rats
/ Mendes CC, Marinho CM, Moreira-Junior VF et al / Pharm Biol. 2010 Jul;48(7):780-5.
Nutritional Potential of the Seeds of Bauhinia monandra / Anhawange BA, VO Ajibola, SJ Oniye / Journal of Food Technology 3(2):204-208, 2005.
Bauhinia monandra / Common name details from PIER
Effect of Ethanolic Extract of Bauhinia monandra Leaf on the Liver of Alloxan Induced Diabetic Rats / Onyije F M, Avwloro O G / J Phys Pharm Adv 01/2012; 2(1):59-63
Evaluation of Bauhinia monandra aqueous and ethanol extracts in pregnant rats. / Mendes CC, Marinho CM, Moreira-Junior VF, Queiroz FM, Dantas GL, Macedo MF, Oliveira CN, Schwarz A. / Pharm Biol. 2010 Jul;48(7):780-5. doi: 10.3109/13880200903280018.
Bauhinia monandra / Synonyms / The Plant List
Quercetin, a minor constituent of the antihyperglycemic fraction of Bauhinia monandra leaf / Gideon O. Alade, Adeleke C. Adebajo, Olarenwaju R. Omobuwajo, Peter Proksch andEugene J. Verspohl / Journal of Diabetes, Volume 4, Issue 4, pages 439–441, December 2012 / DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-0407.2012.00222.x
Insecticidal action of Bauhinia monandra leaf lectin (BmoLL) against Anagasta kuehniella (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), Zabrotes subfasciatus and Callosobruchus maculatus (Coleoptera: Bruchidae) / Maria Lígia Rodrigues Macedo, Maria das Graças Machado Freire, Maria Barbosa Reis da Silva, Luana Cassandra Breitenbach Barroso Coelho / Comp. Biochem. Physiol., Part A Mol. Integr. Physiol., 2007 Apr 20;146(4): pp 486-98.
The Studies of Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Potentials of the Leaf Extract of Bauhinia monandra Plant / Ajiboye AT*, Musa MD, Otun KO, Jimoh AA, Bale AT, Lawal SO and Arowona MT / Natural Products Chemistry & Research 3:180. / doi: 10.4172/2329-6836.1000180
Hypoglycemic activity of two Brazilian Bauhinia species: Bauhinia forficata L. and Bauhinia monandra Kurz. / Fábio de Sousa Menezes*, Andréa Barreto Mattos Minto, Halliny Siqueira Ruela, Ricardo Machado Kuster, Helen Sheridan, Neil Frankish / Brazilian Journal of Pharmacognosy 17(1): 08-13, Jan./Mar. 2007

Anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activities of Bauhinia monandra leaf lectin / Janaína K.L. Campos, Chrisjacele S.F. Araújo, Tiago F.S. Araújo, Andréa F.S. Santos, José A. Teixeira, Vera L.M. Lima, Luana C.B.B. Coelho / Biochimie Open, Volume 2, June 2016, Pp 62–68
Leaf Ethanolic Extract of Bauhinia monandra Increases Insulin Secretion in Rats Subjected to Intrauterine Malnutrition / A. C. C. Argolo, V. C. R. Dantas, A. C. R. D. Saturnino, A. F. S. Santos, J. Brandão-Neto, A. D. O. Paixão and L. C. B. B Coelho * / International Journal of Biochemistry Research & Review: 9(4): 1-9, 2016, Article no.IJBcRR.22434
Effect of the ingestion of an extract from Bauhinia monandra seeds on rats / Dr. M. Abreu, A. Castillo, A. Rodriguez, I. González, N. Rodriguez, D. Piñón / Molecular Nutrition: Food Research / DOI: 10.1002/food.19900340806
Determining the genotoxicity of an aqueous infusion of Bauhinia monandra leaves / Márcia Fernanda Silva Macêdo; Herbert A. A. A. C. N. Sisenando; Jana Dara F. Queiroz; Adriana C. C. Argolo; Ana Conceição R. Dantas Saturnino; Luana C. B. B. Coelho; Sìlvia R. Batistuzzo de Medeiros / Rev. bras. farmacogn, Vol 18, No 4, João Pessoa Oct./Dec. 2008 / http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-695X2008000400002  
Evaluation of the hypoglycaemic activity of Bauhinia monandra leaf in Alloxan- diabetic rats and INS-1 insulin cells / G.O Alade, O.R. Omobuwajo C.A. Adebajo and E.J. Verspohl / J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2011, 3(2): pp 506-521
Bauhinia monandra (Napoleon's plume) / CABI
Chromatographic analysis and physiochemical evaluation of essential oil of Bauhinia monandra Kurz flowers / Antonio Carlos Pereira de Menezes Filho, Luciene Teixeira Goncalves Romao, Marilene Silva Oliveira et al / Research, Society and Development Journal, 9(8) / DOI: https://doi.org/10.33448/rsd-v9i8.5970
Bauhinia monandra / FLORA & FAUNA WEB
Effect of processing on the mineral content, proximate composition, and phytochemical factors of the seeds of Bauhinia monandra (Kurz.) / M Agbugui, S J Oniye, and J Auta / Bayero Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences, June 2010; 3(1)


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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