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Family Rutaceae
Glycosmis pentaphylla (Retz.) Correa

Shan xiao ju

Scientific names Common names
Glycosmis pentaphylla (Retz.) Correa Aniñguai (Pang.)
Glycosmis citrifolia Lindl. Gingging (Tag.)
Glycosmis cochinchinensis Pierre Linauin (Ilk.)
Glycosmis angularis Elm Mabutan (Sul.)
Glycosmis greenei Elm Mayongtung (P. Bis.)
Glycosmis arborea Panigiran (Ibn.)
  Patulautulau (Ibn.)
  Panalayapen (Ilk.)
  Gin berry (Engl.)
  Orangeberry (Engl.)
  Toothbrush plant (Engl.)
  Shan xiao ju (Chin.)

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Shi ling ju.
FRENCH: Glycosmisier de Cochinchine.
HINDI: Ban nimbu.
KANNADA: Gunaamani, Guroda,
MALAYALAM: Kuttippanal, Panal.
MALAYSIA: Napan, Nerapan, Merapi.
SANSKRIT: Asvasakhotah, Kupiluh.
TAMIL: Anam.
THAI: Khoei tai, Luk khoei tai.

Gingging is a shrub growing 1 to 5 meters high. Leaves usually have 3 to 5 pinnately arranged leaflets, though these are sometimes reduced to one or two, all forms being often found on the same plant. Leaflets are oblong-lanceolate to lanceolate, 5 to 18 centimeters long, and 2 to 7 centimeters wide. Flowers are small, white, about 6 millimeters in diameter, borne in axillary, solitary or paired, interrupted, narrow, cymose panicles which are 5 centimeters long or less. Fruit is fleshy, pink or reddish, rounded, 1 centimeter in diameter, and contains a single nearly spherical seed which is about 4 millimeters in diameter. Mesocarp is fleshy and sweet.

- In thickets and secondary forests at low and medium altitudes, ascending to 1,100 meters, from northern Luzon to Palawan and Mindanao, in most if not all islands and provinces.
- Also occurs in India to Indo-China and Malaya.

- Study yielded carbohydrates, alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins and phenolic acids.
- Contains the active principle, glycosmin, a crystalline glucoside, present in traces throughout the plant
, its greatest concentration found in the new leaves and buds where it reaches 0.2 per cent; in the mature leaves, it varies from 0.08 to 0.1 per cent.
- Leaves also yield a tannin, a phlobaphene, traces of salicin, and about 2.1 per cent of sugars (reducing and non-reducing).
- From the leaves, study isolated glycolone, a quinolone alkaloid. (2)
- From the root bark, study isolated carbazole and 3-methylcarbazole. (3)
- Stem extract yielded a new naphthoquine, glycoquinone, and a new acridone alkaloid, glycocitrine-III along with 12 known compounds. (15)

Glycosmin is slightly bitter.
Considered astringent, vermifuge, anti-inflammatory and expectorant.

Parts used
Stems, roots, bark and leaves.


- Bitter juice of leaves used for fevers, liver complaints and intestinal worms, especially in children.
- Stems and roots of plant used on ulcers.
- Paste of leaves, with a bit of ginger, applied to eczema and other skin diseases; also, applied over the navel for worms and other bowel disorders.
- Infusion of leaves given to women after delivery to induce appetite.
- Wood is used for snake bites.
- Used for cough, jaundice, inflammation, rheumatism and anemia.
- In Bangladesh, used to reduce blood sugar and to relieve pain.
- In traditional Indian medicine, used for jaundice and other liver afflictions.
Toothbrush: In eastern Bengal, stems used as toothbrushes for its fibrous nature and slightly astringent and bitter quality.

Study showed extracts from G pentaphylla roots showed potent anthelmintic activity on the earthworm, Pheretima posthuma, the methanolic extract with greater activity than the chloroform extract. (1)
Hepatoprotective: Study evaluating the hepatoprotective activity of plant materials on Swiss albino rats with liver damage induced by CCl4 showed G. pentaphylla, B orellana, C caja, and C equisetifolia exhibited moderate dose-dependent protective effect evidenced by lowering of serum enzymes and supported by histopathological studies of liver tissue. (4)
Antibacterial: Study of the methanol extracts of seven medicinal plants, including Glycosmis pentaphylla, showed moderate activity against all the tested organisms. (5)
Sulfur-Containing Amides / Cytotoxicity: Chloroform extracts of G citrifolia and G elongata yielded a triterpene, four sulfur-containing amides (E-dambullin, Z-dambullin, E-methyldambullin and Z-methyldambulin) and two alkaloids (skimmianine and arborinine). The amides were strongly cytotoxic against a T-lymphoblastic leukemia cell line. (6)
Antioxidant: Study showed the extract of leaves of G. pentaphylla and
Bauhinia variegata inhibited free radical scavenging activity. The effect was attributed to flavonoids, phenolics and other phytochemical constituents. (7)
Antipyretic: Study of ethanolic extracts of B. variegata and Glycosmis pentaphylla exhibited significant antipyretic activities in Brewer's yeast induced pyrexia in rats. Activity was attributed to inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis in the hypothalamus. (8)
Antidiabetic / Analgesic: Study evaluated an ethanolic extract for antihyperglycemic and analgesic effects in Swiss albino male mice. Results showed an antihyperglycemic effect with blood sugar reduction more significant at 120 minutes, comparable to that induced by metformin. The extract also exhibited an analgesic effect comparable to diclofenac sodium. (12)
Apoptosis Inducing Effect / Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cell Line: Study evaluated the in vitro anticancer and apoptosis inducing activity of G. pentaphylla in hepatocellular carcinoma cell line, Hep3 B. Results showed concentration and time dependent induction of apoptosis. (13)
Anti-Diabetic / Anti-Arthritic / Stem Bark: Study evaluated the antidiabetic and anti-arthritic potential of an ethanolic extract of stem bark of G. pentaphylla. Results showed significant reductions in fasting glucose levels and inflammation observed in diabetic and arthritic animals. Observed increase in insulin levels was attributed to pancreatic ß cell regeneration. There was also significant improvement of hematologic parameters, including ESR. (14)
Antinociceptive / Anti-Arthritic / Stem Bark: Study investigated a methanolic extract of leaves for anti-nociceptive activity. The extract produced an antinociceptive effect with significant inhibition of late phase formalin induced pain and significant decrease in the number of writhing. (16)
Antimicrobial / Antioxidant / Cytotoxic / Leaves and Stems: A methanolic extract of stems showed moderate antioxidant activity, probably due to polyphenolic content. Both stem and leaves extracts showed moderate antimicrobial activity. The stems extract showed showed potent cytotoxic activity. Several antitumor alkaloids were identified. (17)


Last Updated August 2013

IMAGE SOURCE: / illustration / File:Glycosmis pentaphylla Blanco1.137-cropped.jpg / Flora de Filipinas / 1880 - 1883 / Francisco Manuel Blanco (O.S.A) / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Photo / File:Glycosmis pentaphylla plant.jpg / 2 September 2012 / Vinaraya / Creative Commons Attribution / Click on image to go to source page / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Glycolone, a quinolone alkaloid from Glycosmis pentaphylla
/ P Bhattacharyya and B K Chouwdhury / Phytochemistry Volume 24, Issue 3, 1985, Pages 634-635 / doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)80795-5
Carbazole and 3-methylcarbazole from Glycosmis pentaphylla / B K Chowdhury, A Mustapha et al / Phytochemistry, Volume 26, Issue 7, 1987, Pages 2138-2139 / doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)81785-9
Hepatoprotective Activity of Methanol Extract of Some Medicinal Plants Against Carbon Tetrachloride-Induced Hepatotoxicity in Rats / Rajib Ahsan, Monirul Islam et al / European Journal of Scientific Research
ISSN 1450-216X Vol.37 No.2 (2009), pp.302-310
In vitro Antibacterial Screening and Toxicity Study of Some Different Medicinal Plants / Rajib Ahsan, Monirul Islam et al / World Journ of Agri Sciences 5 (5): 617-621, 2009.
Alkaloids and Sulphur-containing Amides from Glycosmis citrifolia and Glycosmis elongata / MAWARDI RAHMANI*, ROSMIATI MUHAMMAD SERANG & NAJIHAH Mohd HASHIM et al / Sains Malaysiana 39(3)(2010): 445–451
In-vitro Comparative Antioxidant Activity of Ethanolic Extracts of Glycosmis pentaphylla and Bauhinia variegata / Bhatia L, Bishnoi H, Chauhan P, Kinja K, Shailesh S / Recent Research in Science and Technology 2011, 3(7): 01-03
A Comparative Antipyretic Activity of the Crude Extracts of the Ariel Parts of Glycosmis pentaphylla and Bauhinia variegata / Mandal S, Upadhyay N, Sharma I, Rohit S, Mandloi A / Recent Research in Science and Technology 2011, 3(7): 16-18
Pharmacognostic and preliminary phytochemical studies on the leaves of Glycosmis pentaphylla Corr. / Namita Arora, M.S. Ranawat, Pankaj Arora, K. Zaman / Namita Arora et al. / Journal of Pharmacy Research 2011,4(6),1800-1801
Glycosmis pentaphylla Corrêa (accepted name) / Chinese name / Catalogue of Life, China
Glycosmis pentaphylla / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED
Antidiabetic and Analgesic Effects of Glycosmis pentaphylla (Retz.) in Swiss Albino Mice / Most. Chand Sultana Khatun, M Ripon Mia, M Ashraf Ali, M Moshiur Rahman, Khadiza Begum, Kohinur Begum / Ibrahim Medical College Journal > Vol 6, No 1 (2012)
The apoptosis inducing effect of Glycosmis pentaphylla (Retz.) Correa and its influence on gene expression in hepatocellular carcinoma cell line, Hep3 B / Sreejith PS, Mascarenhas RR, Praseeja RJ, Asha VV / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Vol 139, No 2, 31 January 2012, Pages 359–365
Chemical Constituents of Glycosmis pentaphylla. Isolation of A Novel Naphthoquinone and A New Acridone Alkaloid / Chihiro ITO,* Yuichi KONDO, K. Sundar RAO, Harukuni TOKUDA, Hoyoku NISHINO, and Hiroshi FURUKAWA / Chem. Pharm. Bull. 47(11) 1579—1581 (1999)
Anti-nociceptive activity of methanolic extract of leaves of Glycosmis pentaphylla
/ Namita Arora*, M S Ranawat and Pankaj Arora / Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research, 2012, 4(1):54-58
Antimicrobial, antioxidant, and cytotoxic effects of methanolic extracts of leaves and stems of Glycosmis pentaphylla (Retz.) / Md. Amran Howlader, Farhana Rizwan, Shapna Sultana, Mohammad Rakibur Rahman, K M Shams-Ud-Doha, Rumana Mowla, and Apurba Sarker Apu / Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science 01(08); 2011: 137-140.

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