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Family Fabaceae
Kakawate
Gliricidia sepium
(Jacq.) Steud.
ST. VINCENT'S PLUM


Scientific names Common names
Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) Steud. Kakaoati (Bon.)
Gliricidia maculata HBK Kakauati (Tag.) 
Galedupa pungam  Steud Kakawate (Tagalog)  
Milletia luzoniensis A. Gray ? Madrecacao (Tag., Span.)
Milletia splendidissima Naves Madrecaco (Tag.)
Robinia sepium Jacq. Madre kakau (Tag.) 
  Madre de cacao (French, Spanish) 
  Mandiri-kakau (Sul.)
  Marikadau (Tag.)
  Marikakaw (Tag.)
  Mata-raton (Span.)
  Gliricidia (Engl.)
  Aaron's rod (Engl.)
  St. Vincent plum (Engl.)
  Tree of iron (Engl.)

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Ge li dou.
FRENCH: Immortelle, Lilas ├ętranger, Madre de cacao.
INDONESIAN: Gamal.
PALAUAN: Rechesengel.
PORTUGUESE: Mae-do-cacau, Planta mae do cacau.
SINHALESE: Kona.
SPANISH: Madriado, Mata raton, Palo de hierro, Palo de parque, Pi├▒on florido, Varita de San Jose.


Gen info
Name "gliricidia" derives from the Lain 'glis' (dormouse) and caedere (to kill). The Spanish name "mata-raton" refers to the tree's rodenticial properties.

As the tree pods hang-dry in the sun, they curl and explode, making a popping cracking sound. A cluster of trees with their pods snapping and popping and falling to the ground, in unison, make a fascinating afternoon of nature's concoction of sound.

The tree is common in the southern Tagalog areas, shedding leaves around December and flowering February and March. In some areas, the blooming of its pink flowers is so profuse to deserve a comparison with the cherry blossoms.

Botany
Kakawati is a smooth, deciduous tree, 3 to 10 meters high. Leaves are 15 to 25 centimeters long with 13 leaflets which are opposite, oblong-ovate, 4 to 6 centimeters long, with a pointed tip and rounded base. Racemes are numerous on leafless branches, containing many flowers. Flowers are pink, 2 centimeters long, with a truncate calyx. The standard is reflexed and pale-yellow in the median part. The pods are narrowly oblong to oblanceolate, 10 to 14 centimeters long, about 2 centimeters wide, containing 6 to 8 seeds.

Distribution
- Thoroughly naturalized throughout the Philippines in settled areas at low and medium altitudes.
- Planted as an ornamental flowering tree for its beautiful pink flowers.
- Introduced by the Spaniards from Mexico.

Constituents
• Phytochemical studies have yielded a formosin (an isoflavan, reportedly with anti-tumor capacity), formononetin, gliricidin-6a-gliricidol-9a, medicarpin (pterocarpan), 7,4'-dihydroxy-3'-methoxyisoflavin, 2'O-methylsepiol, tannin, and a trihydroxyflavone.
• Heartwood yielded a stigmastanol glucoside and 3'4-dihydroxy-trans-cinnamic acid octacosylester 2 along with three other known constituents.
• Study yielded two new triterpene saponins (1 and 2), possessing 3beta, 21beta, 24--trihydroxy-22-oxoolean-12-ene as aglycon, together with known aromatic compounds. (11)

Properties
• Tannins are considered potentially antidiarrheal, antidysenteric, antimutagenic, antioxidant, bactericidal, hepatoprotective, pesticidal and viricidal.

Parts utilized
Leaves, bark, roots.

Uses
Folkloric
- Dermatitis, skin itching: Apply juice or decoction of leaves, bark or roots on the skin as antipruritic.
- Fresh leaves applied to the skin as insect
repellent.
- As counterirritant: Crush leaves and apply as poultice for rheumatic pains, sprains and closed fractures.
- Sap of bark, leaves and roots have been used for wound healing.
- Treatment of scabies.
- In Guatemala, the bark and leaves are used to treat skin diseases.
- In Guatemala and Costa Rica, bark decoction is used against baterial and protozoal infectons.
- In many folkloric regimens of other countries, used for headache, bruises, burns, colds, cough, fever, fatigue, gangrene, gonorrhea, skin itches and sores; as antidote, insecticide, insect repellent
.
- In Panama, decoction of leaves used in urticaria, rash, burns, and erysipelas.

Others
-
Wood: Wood is hard and durable used for small housing needs, posts, implement handles and firewood. In the Tagalog areas, popularly used as a living fence.
- Fleas and Ticks: Leaves have a fetid smell; crushed, used to rid dogs of fleas and ticks and cattle, of ticks.
- Plant used as rodent poison.
- The juice from leaves is applied to daily for one week to areas affected by external parasites,
-
Insect repellent: In Latin American, used by farmers to repel insects. Leaves are ground up, mixed with water, and the resulting paste use to bathe animals, and repeated every 7 to 14 days, decreasing the infections from tropical warble fly.



Studies
Anti-Pseudomonas:
Crude extract of Gliricidium sepium showed potential antipseudomonas drug potential with an in vitro study showing a minimum inhibitory concentration at 1%. (1)
Anti-Scabies:
The study concluded that the "kakawati" preparation is as effective as sulfur lotion in the treatment of scabies. (2)

Antimicrobial:
Study of 10 medicinal plants in Colombian folk medicine, including G sepium, was done screening for antimicrobial activity. The ethanol extracts were all active against S aureus except for J secunda. (4)
Antimicrobial:A possible alternative in the treatment of non-nosocomial infections: G. sepium was one of ten medicinal plants screened for antimicrobial activity, all of which were found effective against three or more pathogenic microorganisms, corroborating their use in folk
loric medicine.

Saponins:
Study yielded three new hederagenin-based acetylated saponins from the fruits of Gliricidia sepium
. (6)
Insecticidal / Nematicidal / Antibacterial:
Study showed nematicidal activity against Meloidogyne incognita nematode with 60%
mortality; mosquito repellent activity against Aedes aegypti with maximum 78% repellency; and antibacterial activity against E. coli, S aureus, Pseudomonas spp, S typhi and Klebsiella spp with best results against E Coli. (7)
Antimicrobial / Bark:
Study on the antimicrobial activity on the bark of five tree species showed G sepium to have antimicrobial effects against S epidermis, S aureus, P aeruginosa, B pumillus and V cholerae.
(8)
Anti-Scabies: In a study of scabies treatment among selected residents of Titay, Zamboanga, results showed a significant difference between pre-treatment and post-treatment scores after one week. However, there was a noted increase of scabies lesions 2 and 4 weeks after. (10)

Antimicrobial: Study investigated an ethanolic extract of Gliricidia sepium for antimicrobial activity against gram-positive, gram-negative bacteria, and fungi. Maximum inhibitory activity was between 0.5 and 1 mg ml-1 against bacteria and 2.5 mg ml-1 against fungi. (12)
Antibacterial / Bark, Flower and Leaf: Study investigated various extracts of bark, flower, and leaf for antibacterial activities against various pathogenic bacteria. Results showed various extracts of flower, bark, and leaves can be used as potential external antiseptic and incorporated into drug formulations. (13)

Preparation for scabies treatment
Courtesy of: Dr. Joel Bañez, Section of Dermatology, UERMMH
Ingredients:
1. White
candlesticks (4)
2. Coconut oil or any cooking oil: 500 cc
3. Kakawati leaves 250 g
Instructions:
1. Clean kakawati leaves thoroughly
2. Chop leaves finely
3. Add 250 g (approximately 1 glass) of finely chopped leaves into 2 glasses of coconut oil.
4. Mix while boiling.
5. Gather leaves on the surface of the oil, then drain using a strainer.
6. Get 4 white candles ('esperma") and chop finely.
7. Add to the boiled preparation and mix until all chopped candles are melted.
8. Again, using a strainer, drain and transfer mixture into a clean glass container. Let it cool.

Toxicity
Tannins: In South America, in times of scarcity, the forage is fed to livestock. Although goats can consume large quantities of plants with tannins, some animals, like cattle and sheep may not tolerate it due to a salivary protein binding factor that binds the tannins.

Availability
Wild-crafted. 

Last Update July 2013

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: /Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) Kunth ex Walp. - quickstick GLSE2 /Steve Hurst @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Gliricidium sepium leaf extract: A potential antipseudomonas drug / Ma. L. Capinpin , MD , J. Sy, MD, R. Torres, MD, U. Bigol, MD, C. Lapaz, MD / University of Sto. Tomas Hospital
(2)
Clinical Trial on the Effectiveness of Gliricidia sepium (Kakawati) in Treating Patients with Scabies / Joel A. Bañez MD, Rowena Nazareno MD, Ruth Medel MD / Phil J Microbiol Infect Dis 1999; 28(4):147-153
(3)
Screening for antimicrobial activity of ten medicinal plants used in Colombian folkloric medicine: a possible alternative in the treatment of non-nosocomial infections / Jhon J Rojas, Veronica J Ochoa, Saul A Ocampo et al / BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2006, 6:2doi:10.1186/1472-6882-6-2
(4)
Medicinal Plants for Livestock / Cornell University, Dept of Animal Science
(5)
New constituents from Gliricidia sepium / H M T B Herath and Susila de Silva / Fitoterapia / Volume 71, Issue 6, December 2000, Pages 722-724 / doi:10.1016/S0367-326X(00)00219-7
(6)
Saponins from Gliricidia sepium / Kojima, K (K); Zhu, X B (XB); Ogihara, Y (Y) / Phytochemistry / 1998-Jul; vol 48 (issue 5) : pp 885-8
(7)
INSECTICIDAL, NEMATICIDAL AND ANTIBACTERIAL ACTIVITIES OF GLIRICIDIA SEPIUM / RAHILA NAZLI et al / Pak. J. Bot., 40(6): 2625-2629, 2008 /
(8)
Antimicrobial study of bark from five tree species / Salud Pérez G et al / Phytotherapy Research / Volume 15 Issue 4, Pages 356 - 359
(9)
Gliricidia sepium (gliricidia) / Species Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry / Craig R Elevitch and John K Francis /
(10)
A STUDY ON THE EFFICACY OF GLIRICIDIA SEPIUM (MADRE DE CACAO) DECOCTION ON THE TREATMENT OF SCABIES AMONG SELECTED RESIDENTS OF TITAY, ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY / ARJAY A. LAO / Research Catalogue by Genner R Cerna

(11)
Studies on the constituents of Gliricidia sepium (Leguminosae) leaves and roots: isolation and structure elucidation of new triterpenoid saponins and aromatic compounds. / Rastrelli L, Caceres A, De Simone F, Aquino R. / J Agric Food Chem. 1999 Apr;47(4):1537-40.
(12)
Pakistan J. Agric. Res. Vol 24 No.1-4, 2011. ANTIMICROBIAL PROPERTY OF GLIRICIDIA SEPIUM PLANT
EXTRACT
/ Rahila Nazli, Tehmina Sohail, Bushra Nawab and Zahra Yaqeen* /
(13)
EVALUATION OF ANTIBACTERIAL ACTIVITY OF THE BARK, FLOWER AND LEAF EXTRACTS OF
GLIRICIDIA SEPIUM FROM SOUTH INDIA
/ L. JOJI REDDY1 AND BEENA JOSE* / International Journal of Current Pharmaceutical Research, Vol 2, Issue 3, 2010
(14)
Gliricidia sepium (Jacq.) Kunth ex Walp. (accepted name) / Chinese name / Catalogue of Life, China


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