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Family Oleaceae
Fraxinus griffithii C.B.Clarke
Guang la shu

Scientific names Common names
Fraxinus bracteata Hemsl.            Asaas (Tagalog)
Fraxinus eedenii Boerl. & Koord.    Lagilid (Tag..)
Fraxinus floribunda var. integerrima Wenz.    Evergreen ash (Engl.)
Fraxinus formosana Hayata     Griffith's ash (Engl.)
Fraxinus griffithii C.B.Clarke     Himalayan ash (Engl.)
Fraxinus griffithii var. koshunensis (K.Mori) R.Yamaz.    Philippine ash (Engl.)
Fraxinus guilinensis S.K.Lee & F.N.Wei      
Fraxinus minutepunctata Hayata      
Fraxinus philippinensis Merr.      
Fraxinus retusa var. koshunensis K.Mori      
Fraxinus sasakii Masam.      
Ligustrum vaniotii H.Lév.      
Fraxinus griffithii is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
CHINA: Guang la shu.
INDONESIA: Ektrak tiken.
JAVA: Pohon tiken, Bedali gombong, Pohon orang aring..

Gen info
- Fraxinus griffithii is a species of flowering tree in the family Oleaceae.
- Fraxinus, commonly called ash, is a genus of plants in the olive and lilac family, Oleaceae, comprising 45-65 species of medium to large trees, most of which are deciduous; some subtropical species, green.
- Etymology: The common name "ash" traces back to the Old English æsc, which relates to the Proto-Indo-European for the tree, while the generic name Fraxinus derives from Latin from a Proto-Indo-European word for birch. Both words also used to mean "spear", referring to the woods utility for making shafts. (2)
- An etymologic alternative:
Fraxinus derives from the Latin frango, meaning "to break", referring to the ease with which the wood can be split. The species epithet honors Dr. William Griffith (1810-1845), a British doctor and botanist, a civil surgeon in Burma. (6)

Trees 10-20 m, nearly evergreen. Branchlets pubescent, glabrescent; buds naked. Leaves 10-25 cm; petiole 3-8 cm; axis glabrous or puberulent; leaflets 5-7(-11); petiolule 5-10 mm; leaflet blade ovate to lanceolate, 2-10(-14) × 1-5 cm (basal pair usually smaller), leathery or thin leathery, adaxially glabrous, abaxially glandular dotted, base blunt to rounded, attenuate to petiolule, or oblique, margin entire, apex obliquely cuspidate to acuminate; primary veins 5 or 6(-10) on each side of midrib, obscure or rarely obvious. Panicles terminal, 10-25 cm, spreading, many flowered; bracts spatulate-linear, 3-10 mm, leafy, puberulent at first. Flowers bisexual, appearing after leaves. Pedicel slender, 2-4 mm. Calyx cupular, ca. 1 mm, puberulent or glabrous, subentire to broadly deltate toothed. Corolla white; lobes navicular, ca. 2 mm. Stamens ca. equal to corolla lobes. Samara broadly lanceolate-spatulate, 2.5-3 cm × 4-5 mm; wing decurrent to about middle of nutlet. (Flora of China)

• Generally evergreen, but semi-deciduous in cooler climates. Grows 4 to 7 m, depending on soil, smaller in restricted space. Bark is mottled green and cream. Leaves are pinnate with 5 to 7 leaflets, green on the upper surface, silvery below. Leaflet blades are ovate to lanceolate, the basal pair usually smaller, and have a leathery feel. White bisexual flowers are small, fragrant, with four petals, borne in large showy, erect panicles on the outside of leaves. Flowers are followed by clusters of small, winged fruits, known as "ash keys" that grow about 4 cm long, sometimes with a pink tinge when mature. (6)

- Native to the Philippines.
- Also native to
Bangladesh, China South-Central, China Southeast, Hainan, Jawa, Lesser Sunda Is., Myanmar, Nansei-shoto, Taiwan, Vietnam. (1)
- Commonly cultivated as a street and garden tree.
- In Australia, it is grown as an ornamental, and also an invasive species.

- Study of dried leaves of Fraxinus griffithii isolated three new secoiridoid glucosides, griffithosides A-C (1-3), and one new iridoid glucoside, 7-epi-7-O-(E)-caffeoylloganic acid (4), along with eight known secoiridoid glucodsides (5-12). (see study below) (3)
- Study of dried leaves isolated  two new glucosylated acyclic sesquiterpene alcohols, giffithosides D and E (1,2), along with iridoid and secoiridoid glycosides. A previous study isolated secoiridoids, griffithoside A-C (3-5) and 7-epi-7-O-(E)-caffeoylloganic acid (6). Other known secoiridoids from the plants were identified as formoside (7), fraxiformoside (8), 1"-O-ß-glucosylformoside (9), isoligustrosidic acid (10), isoligustroside (11), safghanoside C (12), safghanoside D (13), oleoside dimethyl ester (14) and syringalactone A (15). (see study below) (7)

- Studies have suggested radical scavening, anticonvulsant, cytotoxicity properties.

Parts used
Leaves, bark.


- No report on edibility.
- No reported folkoric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- Elsewhere, bark used as laxative. (6)
- Wood: Wood is fairly hard
- Opium adulterant:
In certain parts of Indonesia, extract of bark and leaves used as adulterant of illegal opium. (

Secoiridoid Glucosides / Radical Scavenging Activity / Leaves:
Study of dried leaves of Fraxinus griffithii isolated three new secoiridoid glucosides, griffithosides A-C (1-3), and one new iridoid glucoside, 7-epi-7-O-(E)-caffeoylloganic acid (4), along with eight known secoiridoid glucosides (5-12). Compounds 3, 4, and 7 exhibited substantial radical-scavenging activity. (3)
Antiseizure Effect / Ligustrosid Glycoside: Study evaluated the antiseizure effect of Ligustrosid, an active CNS substance, isolated from the bark of F. griffithii. Ligustrosid increased the seizure threshold on epileptic animals injected by CD 90 Metrazol i.p., and prevented seizure spread. It also decrease Metrazol lethality on test animals. Results suggest possible activity against absence seizures and myoclonic seizures. Activity may be attributable to increased GAUGE-facilitated inhibition in the CNS through interaction with Benzodiazepine receptor of GABA-BZD-BARB/PICRO-CL receptor complexes. Its ability to prevent seizure spread against anti MES test suggest it may be clinically active against generalized tonic clonic seizures and partial seizures. The antiseizure effect may be via stabilization of membrane through interaction with sodium channel receptors. (4)
Ligustroside / Antiseizure Effect / Neurotoxicity Study: Study evaluated the antiseizure and neurotoxicity effects of Ligustrosid isolated from F. graffithii compared to antiseizure standards Phenytoin and Diazepam. Study suggests Ligustrosid has a broader spectrum of antiseizure effects than phenytoin and diazepam. It is clinically predicted that Ligustrosid has clinical efficacy against various seizure types i.e., generalized tonic clonic, partial seizure, myoclonic seizure, absence seizure, and status epilepticus. Neurotoxicity testing showed minimum neurological deficit and motor disturbances. TD 50 neurotoxicity was 1413.63 mg/BW, a dosage much higher than antiseizure activity dosage of Ligustrosid (290-466 mg/kg BW i.p. (5)
Glucosylated Sesquiterepene Alcohols / Radical Scavenging / Cytotoxicity to A549 Human Lung Adenocarcinoma Cells / Leaves: Study of dried leaves isolated  two new glucosylated acyclic sesquiterpene alcohols, griffithosides D and E (1,2), along with iridoid and secoiridoid glycosides. The isolated compounds were tested for radical scavenging activity and cytotoxicity against A549 human lung adenocarcinoma cells and Leishmania major parasites. Assay results showed compounds 5, 6, and 13 exhibited significant radical scavenging activity. Compounds 9 and 11 showed moderate cytotoxicity against A549 cells with IC50 46.5 and 40.8 µM, respectively. No compounds showed selective cytotoxicity against Leishmania major parasites. (see constituents above) (7)
Ethanol Extract as CNS Depressant: Study reports on the standardization and process of extraction using different plant parts, different solvents and extraction methods. Phenobarbital induced sleeping time was performed on each extract. All extracts exhibited CNS depressant activity, but eaves extracted with 70% ethanol by kinetic maceration yielded the highest extract and showed highest CNS depressant activity. (8)


April 2024

                                                 PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
IMAGE SOURCE: Fraxinus griffithii / KENPEI / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Click on image or link to go to source page / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Fraxinus griffithii leaves / © Nick Lambert / CC BY-NC-SA Some rights reserved / Click on image or link to go to source page / iNaturalist
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Fraxinus griffithii leaves / © Donald Simpson / Non-commercial use / Click on image or link to go to source page / Some Magnetic Island Plants

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Fraxinus griffithii / KEW: Plants of the World Online

Fraxinus / Wikipedia
Secoiridoid and iridoid glucosides from the leaves of Fraxinus griffithii / Rene Angelo Macahig, Liva Harinantenaina, Katsuyoshi Matsunami, Hideaki Otsuka, Yoshio Takeda, Takakazy Shinzato / Journal of Natural Medicinez, 2010; Vol 64: pp 1-8 / DOI: 10.1007/s11418-009-0354-4
Fraxinus griffithii / Donald Simpson / Some Magnetic Island Plants
Glucosylated sesquiterpene alcohols from Fraxinus griffithii / Rene Angelo Macahigh, Liva Harinantenaina, Sachiko Sugimoto, Katsuyoshi Matsunami, Hideaki Otsuka, Yoshio Takeda, Takakazu Shinzato / Nat Prod Commun, 2012; 7(4): pp 467-470 / PMID: 22574443
Development of Standardized Ethanol Extract of Fraxinus Griffithii as CNS Depressant / Kartini, Sutarjadi, Aguslina Kirtishanti, Dini Kesuma, Doediatmoko Soediman, Kusuma Hendrajaya / Journal of US-China Medical Science, 2011; 8(10): pp 617-625 / ISSN: 1548-6648

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)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants
                                          New plant names needed
The compilation now numbers over 1,300 medicinal plants. While I believe there are hundreds more that can be added to the collection, they are becoming more difficult to find. If you have a plant to suggest for inclusion, native or introduced, please email the info: scientific name (most helpful), local plant name (if known), any known folkloric medicinal use, and, if possible, a photo. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

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