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Family Apocynaceae
Bayag-usa
Voacanga globosa (Blanco) Merr.
TESTICLE TREE

Scientific names Common names
Tabernaemontana globosa Blanco Bayag usa (Tag.)
Voacanga cumingiana Rolfe Lapit-usa (Bulusan, Sorsogon)
Voacanga dolichocalyx Quisumb. & Merr. Tambagisa (Lanao del Norte)
Voacanga globosa (Blanco) Merr. Testicle tree (Engl.)
Voacanga latifolia Quisumb. & Merr.  
Voacanga globosa (Blanco) Merr. is an accepted name The Plant List

Botany
Bayag-usa is a tree reaching a height of up to 3 meters. Leaves are simple, opposite, oblong-elliptic; dark green in the upper surface and pale beneath. Flowers are creamy white and showy. Fruit comes in pairs, brownish, 3 to 5 centimeters in diameter. Seeds are embedded in the pulp.

Distribution
- Endemic to the Philippines.
- In secondary forests and thickets at lower elevations.
- Sometimes ornamentally cultivated for its flowers.

Constituents
- Preliminary phytochemical screening of leaves yielded alkaloids, saponins, 2-deoxysugars, and hydrolyzable tannins. (see study below) (10)
- A bioassay-guided purification yielded Globospiramine (1), a new spirobisindole alkaloid possessing an Aspidosperma-Aspidosperma skeleton, together with deoxyvobtusine (2), deoxyvobtusine lactone (3), vobtusine lactone (4) and lupeol (5).
(see study below) (11)

Properties
- Studies have suggested anti-tumor, antimycobacterial, and anticholinesterase properties.

Uses
Folkloric
- In Bataan, used in the treatment of ulcers, wounds, and tumors. (9)
- Fruit used as antidote for food poisoning. (8)
Others
- Pounded fruits used to stupefy eels. (6)

Studies
Anti-cancer:
A study reports nine of 35 tree species tested had positive anticancer activity. Voacanga globosa was added to the list of trees with anticancer substances based on a report on actual remission and inhibition of induced cell division.
Alkaloids / Tabernaemontanine:
Further studies on the alkaloids of Voacanga globosa (Blanco) Merrill Isolation and characterization of tabernaemontanin.

Anticancer: Study of medicinal plants in the Philippines lists nine of 35 tree species to possess anticancer activity, including Voacanga globosa, with anticancer substances based on remission and inhibition of induced cell division.
Anti-Colon Cancer / Apoptosis: Study evaluated the cytotoxic and pro-apoptotic activity of fractions of leaves on HCT116 human colon carcinoma and A549 human lung carcinoma cell lines. Results showed the MP3 fraction exerted cytotoxic activity on HCT116 cells via induction of apoptosis triggered by loss of mitochondrial membrane potential crucial for cell survival. (9)
Antibacterial / Antifungal / Antiprotozoal / Leaves: Study evaluated ethanol extracts of leaves of Voacanga globosa for cytotoxicity and for activity against bacteria, fungus, and protozoa. Results showed antibacterial activity against Staph aureus, Bacillus cereus, P. aeruginosa, Micrococcus luteus, and Salmonella typhimurium; antifungal assay showed inhibition of Candida albicans; antiprotozoal assay showed activity against Trichomonas vaginalis and Entamoeba histolytica. (10)
Antimycobacterial / Anticholinesterase: Bioassay-guided purification yielded globospiramine, a new spirobisindole alkaloid, together with deoxyvobtusine, deoxyvobtusine lactone, vobtusine lactone, and lupeol. Globospiramine exhibited potent antituberculosis activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis H(37)Rv. The bisondole alkaloids also showed promising anticholinesterase activity. (11)
Cytotoxicity Screening of Alkaloids / Leaves: Study evaluated the cytotoxic activity of alkaloids from T. pandacaqui and Voacanga globosa leaves using Brine Shrimp Lethality Assay. The alkaloid content of the extracts were quantified as milligrams of Vincristine Sulfate Equivalent (mg VSE) using Bromocresol Green Assay. VG yielded an alkaloid content of 105.3 mg VSE translating to a yield of 0.527%, with a LC50 value of 40.8 ppm. Results warramt further investigation for cytotoxic action with potential use in cancer chemotherapy. (12)

Availability
Wildcrafted.

Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Updated January 2016

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Medicinal Uses Of Selected Fruit Trees And Woody Perennials / Saturnina Halos / University of the Philippines, National Science Research Institute, Diliman, Quezon City
(3)
Alkaloid from Voacanga globosa with potent antituberculosis activity / Research Center for the Natural Sciences,, University of Santo Tomas and Institute of Tuberculosis Research, University of Illinois at Chicago

(4)
Medicinal Uses Of Selected Fruit Trees And Woody Perennials / Saturnina Halos / University of the Philippines, National Science Research Institute, Diliman, Quezon City / Journal of Tropical Medicinal Plants/ Volume 5 No. 2
(5)
Voacanga globosa (Blanco) Merr. / Synonyms / The Plant List
(6)
Voacanga globosa / CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants / Umberto Quattrocchi / BooksGoogle
(7)
Lapit-usa: Testicle Tree / Bulusan, Flora and fauna, Nature / Bulusan Rural Vagabond
(8)
Tambagisa / Voacanga globosa (Blanco) Merr. / Philippine Traditional Knowledge Digital Library on Health
(9)
Apoptosis-inducing activity of HPLC fraction from Voacanga globosa (Blanco) Merr. on the human colon carcinoma cell. / Acebedo AR, Amor EC, Jacinto SD. / Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014;15(2):617-22
(10)
Antimicrobial activity, cytotoxicity, and phytochemical screening of Voacanga globosa (Blanco) Merr. leaf extract (Apocynaceae). / Vital PG, Rivera WL. / Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2011 Oct;4(10):824-8. doi: 10.1016/S1995-7645(11)60202-2.
(11)
Mycobacterium tuberculosis and cholinesterase inhibitors from Voacanga globosa.
/ Macabeo AP, Vidar WS, Chen X, Decker M, Heilmann J, Wan B, Franzblau SG, Galvez EV, Aguinaldo MA, Cordell GA. / Eur J Med Chem. 2011 Jul;46(7):3118-23. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2011.04.025. Epub 2011 Apr 19
(12)
Toxicity screening of alkaloids from tabernaemontana pandacaqui POIR (Pandakaki-puti) and voacanga globosa (Blanco) MERR.(Bayag-Usa) leaf extracts using brine shrimp assay. / Andaya, Genesis Faye and Hulipas, Gladys Dianne / Undergraduate thesis, De La Salle University-Dasmarinas. 2012
(13)
Voacanga globosa / Synonyms / The Plant List

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.

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