Buboi is an erect, deciduous tree,
growing to a height of 15 meters or less. Trunk is cylindric, forming butaves are palmately compound, with 5 to 9 leaflets, lanceolate, 6 to 15 centimeters long,
pointed at both ends. Flowers are numerous large, fragrant, and creamy white, about 3 centimeters long.
Fruits are capsules, hartresses, usually bearing
scattered, large spines. Branches are in distant whorls, spreading horizontally.
Led, pendulous, leathery, oblong, about 15 centimeters long, 5 centimeters thick, containing
numerous black seeds embedded in fine, silky hairs.
- Planted in settled areas throughout the Philippines.
- Native to tropical America.
- Now pantropic.
- Seeds contain oil, 24.2%; ash, 5.22%; crude fiber, 23.9 %; albuminoids,
18.9%; carbohydrates and others, 15.9%.
- The oil is a mixture of fatty acid, 70% liquid, 30% solid palmitic acid.
- Kapok oil has a composition similar to American cotton-seed oil.
- Study yielded bioactive compounds: phenolics, alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, saponins, phytate, trypsin inhibitors, and hemagglutinin inhibitors.
- Proximate analysis of leaf contained 4.891% moisture, 12.97% protein, 52.06% carbohydrate, 4.35% fat, 7.54% ash, 18.15% crude fiber, 0.73 µg/g vitamin A, 4.91 mg/g vitamin C, 0.18 mg/g vitamin E. Bioactive components yielded phenolics, alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, saponins, phytate. (11)
- Proximate analysis of leaves yielded a high percentage of moisture (47.37%), protein (16.81%), carbohydrate (25.23%), low percentage of fiber (4.47%), fats (2.23%) and ash (2.14%). Phytochemical analysis yielded alkaloids, terpenoids, flavonoids, polyphenol, and saponins. Vitamin composition yielded vitamin A 2.323 µg/g, vitamin C 0.6863 mg/100g, vitamin E 1.883 mg/100g.
(See study below) (26)
- Phytochemical screening of aerial parts yielded
carbohydrates, glycosides, steroids, tannins, flavonoids, saponins, resins, fats, and oils. (32)
- Roots are diuretic, aphrodisiac, antipyretic, tonic.
- Bark is acrid, bitter, thermogenic, diuretic, emetic, febrifuge, purgative
- Unripe fruit considered demulcent and astringent.
- Young leaf extremely high in fiber content.
Bark, roots, leaves, fruit.
Edibility / Nutrition
- In Malaya, Java and Celebes, young leaves eaten as
- Sprouts and young pods are also edible.
- In Nigeria, leaves are cooked into a slurry sauce, like okra.
- In West Africa, young leaves cooked and eaten as soup herb.
- Young leaves are very good sources of calcium and iron.
Sprouts and young pods are also edible.
- Bark is reported to be
vomitive and aphrodisiac.
- Decoction of bark used for catarrh.
- Tender fruit used as emollient.
- Decoction of bark regarded as a specific in febrile catarrh.
- Gum is astringent; used for bowel complaints. In children, gum with milk, given as cooling laxative. Also used for urine incontinence in children.
- Gum used as styptic, given in diarrhea, dysentery, and menorrhagia.
- In Liberia, Infusion of bark used as mouthwash.
- Infusion of leaves, onions, and a little tumeric, used for coughs.
- Young roots, shade-dried and powdered, is a chief ingredient in aphrodisiac medicines.
- Tap-root of young plant used for gonorrhea and dysentery.
- Bark in diuretic; in sufficient quantities, produces vomiting.
- In Cambodia, bark used for fevers and diarrhea. Also, as a cure for inebriation, used to bring about perspiration and vomiting.
- Malays used the bark for asthma and colds in children.
- In India, roots used for gonorrhea, dysuria,
fevers. Decoction of bark used for chronic dysentery, diarrhea, ascites, and anasarca. Tender leaves also used for gonorrhea.
- In Java, bark mixed with areca nuts, nutmegs, and sugar candy, used as diuretic and for treatment of bladder stones. Infusion of leaves used for cough, hoarseness, intestinal catarrh, and urethritis. Leaves also used for cleaning hair.
- In the Cameroons, bark, which has tannin, is pounded and macerated in cold water and applied to swollen fingers.
- In French Guiana, decoction of flowers used for constipation.
- In Mexico, used for boils, insect bites, mange; used as anti-inflammatory; bark and leaf decoctions used as poultices. Bark decoction taken internally as emetic, diuretic and antispasmodic.
- Bark used for liver and spleen conditions, abdominal complaints, flatulence,
- Leaves used as emollient. Decoction of flowers is laxative.
- In Nigerian folk medicine, used for treatment
of diabetes and infections. Leaves used as alterative and laxative, and as infusion for colic in man and in livestock. Seed oil used in rheumatism. Also, leaves used as curative dressings on sores and to maturate tumors.
- Compressed fresh leaves used for dizziness; decoction of boiled roots used to treat edema; gum eaten to relieve stomach upset; tender shoot decoction used as contraceptive; leaf infusion taken orally for cough and sore throat.
- In India and Malaya, used for bowel complaints.
- In the Ivory Coast, mucilage obtained by boiling used to remove foreign bodies from the eye. Also, bark sap given to sterile women to promote conception.
- In West Africa, used for diarrhea and gonorrhea.
- Fibers: Pod fibers are used in
the stuffing of pillows, cushions, mattresses and the manufacture and
- Oil: Kapok oil, extracted from the seeds, used in the manufacture of soap;
also, a substitute for cotton-seed oil. Also used for cooking and as lubricant.
- Wood: Tree is used for fencing and telephone poles.
- Fresh cake valuable as stock feed.
- Ashes of the fruit used by dyers in Malaysia.
- Study showed the C. pentandra fiber may be useful in recovering
oil spilled in seawater.
- Fodder: Sheep, goats, cattle relish the foliage. Pressed cake as cattle feed yields about 26% protein. (34)
• Hypoglycemic / Bark:
A study of aqueous bark extract of Ceiba pentandra
in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats caused a statistically
significant reduction of plasma glucose supporting the hypoglycemic
effects of C pentandra. (1)
• A New Isoflavone Glycoside from Ceiba
pentandra (L.): A bark extract study of C. pentandra isolated
a new isoflavone with other known isoflavones, vavain and vavain glucoside. (3)
• Two New Isoflavones / COX-Catalyzed Prostaglandin Biosynthesis: Study of bark yielded two new Isoflavones from Ceiba pentandra: the new isoflavone glucoside vavain 3′-O-ß-D-glucoside (1) and its aglycon, vavain (2), together with the known flavan-3-ol, (+)-catechin. Compounds 1 and 2 exhibited inhibitory effects on cyclooxygenase-1-catalyzed prostaglandin biosynthesis. (5)
• Toxicological Studies: Toxicological studies reveal that C pentandra has a very low toxicity profile in all tested animals and is relatively safe for herbal oral medication. (7) Study evaluated a methanolic extract for acute and subacute toxicity in adult Wistar rats. Results showed no toxicity effects, reflecting innocuous nature of the extracts on hepatic, renal and hematopoetic system of rats. (31)
• Anti-Fungal: Alcohol and water extracts of C citratus, C pentandra and L bengwelensis were investigated for antifungal activities. Phytochemical studies yielded saponins, tannins, fats and oils, alkaloids and phenol. All the extracts inhibited the growth of test organisms: E flocosum, M canis, T rubrum and Candida albicans. The activity was attributed to the presence of saponins and phenols. (8)
• Adsorbent / Removal of Lead and Zinc: Study investigated the ability of low-cost activated carbon from C pentandra hulls, an agricultural waste material, for the removal of zinc and lead from aqueous solutions. (10)
• Nutritional / Medicinal Potential: Study showed C. pentandra contain nutrients and mineral elements useful in nutrition, while bioactive compounds explained the medicinal action of plant leaves and provide scientific basis for its folkloric use.
• Hepatoprotective: Study showed the ethyl acetate fraction of a methanolic extract of C. pentandra possesses hepatoprotective potential against paracetamol-induced hepatotoxicity in rats. (12)
• Antihyperglycemic / Antilipidperoxidative: Study of an ethanolic bark extract of CP showed potent antihyperglycemic and antilipidperoxidative potential in STZ-induced diabetic rats. (13)
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study of petroleum ether and ethanolic extract of seeds showed anti-inflammatory effects when assessed by carrageenan-induced rat paw edema. (14)
• Anti-Diarrheal / Stem Bark: Study evaluated a methanolic extract of stem bark of Ceiba pentandra for antidiarrheal activity. Extract showed significant protection against castor oil-induced diarrhea but no significant delay in intestinal transit time. (16)
• Biodiesel from Kapok Seed Oil: Study showed Kapok seed oil can be used as raw material for the production of biodiesel. CaO catalyst can be regenerated up to 3 times with the smallest yield of 64.3%. (17)
• Antioxidant / Seed Oil: Ceiba pentandra seed oil exhibited remarkable phytochemical and antioxidant properties in DPPH, FRAP, reducing power assay, and hydroxyl radical scavenging activity. Phytochemical screening yielded phenols, flavonoids, alkaloids, and tannins. (18)
• Hypoglycemic / Antidiabetic: Study of a methylene chloride/methanol
root extract of Ceiba pentandra in normal and diabetic rats showed hypoglycemic effects. The extract was capable of ameliorating at lower doses, hyperglycemia in STZ-induced diabetic rats. (19)
• Anti-Venom / Di-n-octyl Phthalate / Leaves: Study evaluated the efficacy of Di-n-octyl phthalate isolated from the leaves of Ceiba pentandra for its anti Echis ocellatus venom properties. The isolate was biologically active in dose-dependently inhibiting PLA2 activity. Results suggest the isolated compound has a potential for a highly effective therapeutic agent for reducing snake envenomation. (20)
• Antiulcer / Di-n-octyl Phthalate / Leaves: Study evaluated the effect of Ceiba pentandra on ethanol-induced and pylorus-induced ulcers in rats. Results showed a dose-dependent antiulcerogenic effect with significant reduction of the index of gastric lesion in both ulcer induced models. (21)
• Antibacterial / Leaves and Stem Bark Extracts: Study evaluated the antibacterial activities of an ethanol extract of leaf, stem bark, and their combination in vitro against selected human pathogens: K pneumonia, P aeruginosa, S aureus, and E coli. The extracts and their combination showed significant antibacterial activity, without synergistic or additive effects with the combined extract. (22)
• Hypoglycemic / Root Bark: Study showed a root bark extract of Ceiba pentandra has hypoglycemic effect in normal and alloxan-induced diabetic rats. (23)
• Oily Water Filtration / Kapok Fibers: A deep-bed kapok filtration column showed to be successful in achieving oily water separation. The oil and water front movements were influenced by the affinity of liquid to kapok fibers. Results show excellent physiochemical property of Malaysian kapok for oil removal from water. (24)
• Anti-Urolithiasis: Study evaluated aqueous and alcohol extracts of bark of C. pentandra on calcium oxalate urolithiasis in male albino Wistar rats. The extracts significantly reduced elevated urinary oxalate showing a regulatory action on endogenous oxalate synthesis. Results suggest a potential curative agent for urolithiasis. (25)
• Nutritional Potential / Leaves: Proximate analysis of leaves yielded a high percentage of moisture (47.37%), protein (16.81%), carbohydrate (25.23%), low percentage of fiber (4.47%), fats (2.23%) and ash (2.14%). Phytochemical analysis yielded alkaloids, terpenoids, flavonoids, polyphenol, and saponin, and the presence of vitamins A, C, and E. Results found C. pentandra leaves as rich in certain nutrients and phytochemicals supporting its ethno-medical usages. (26)
• Hemolytic / Antioxidant / Fruits: Study of various extracts (aqueous, methanol, chloroform, ethyl acetate) of spike and young fruit extracts of Ceiba pentandra showed significant antioxidant and antihemolytic activities. The antihemolytic activity was attributed to the ability of phenolic compounds including flavanoids in neutralizing free radicals generated by H2O2 and thereby protecting the erythrocytes membrane from destruction and lysis. (27)
• Antiulcerogenic / Anti-Oxidative / Leaves: Study evaluated the protective effects of a methanol extract of C. pentandra leaves on indomethancin and ethanol induced gastric ulcer and on oxidative stress indices on alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Results showed potent anti-ulcerogenic and anti-oxidative properties and a potential use as herbal remedy for the treatment of gastrointestinal ulcer and management of diabetes. (29)
• Antidiabetic / Hypolipidemic / Combination with Amaranthus viridis: Ethanolic extracts of Amaranthus viridis and Ceiba pentandra and their combination showed a significant decrease in serum glucose, triglycerides, LDL, VLDL, and a significant increase in body weight, HDL, liver glycogen and tissue glycogen levels. (30)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Analgesic / Stem Bark: Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory (carrageenan induced paw edema in mice) and analgesic activity (Eddy's hot plate method in albino mice) of a methanol extract of stem bark of C. pentandra. Results showed significant anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect compared to standard drugs, indomethacin and pentazocine, respectively. (33)
• Fiber as Component of Metal Sensor for Lead: The kapok fiber contains lignocellulosic materials and has been used as metal-binding substance in a carbon paste electrode and used in the voltammetric analysis of heavy metals. Analysis showed it can detect lead ions and has a potential application in testing for the purity of domestic and industrial waters. (35)
• Anti-Obesity / Hypolipidemic / Leaves: Study evaluated the anti-obesity and hypolipidemic activity of the ethanolic leaf extract of C. pentandra in Cafeteria diet treated Wistar albino rats. Results showed C. pentandra has an anti-obesity activity which may be partly mediated via inhibition of intestinal lipid absorption and thermogenesis, with a therapeutic potential in the management of obesity. (36)
• Biorefinery Study on Seed and Secondary Waste: The combination of methanol transesterification and pyrolysis processes transforms kapok seed and its secondary waste into biodiesel, bio-oil, and char. (37)
Cultivated for ornamental use.