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Family Sapindaceae
Lepisanthes rubiginosa (Roxb.) Leenh.
Chi cai

Scientific names Common names
Cupaniopsis godefroyi Guillaumin            Aboi (P. Bis.)
Erioglossum cuneifolium Blume            Balinaunau (P. Bis.)
Erioglossum edule Blume      Balit (C. Bis.)
Erioglossum edule var. album Blume      Barit (P. Bis.)
Erioglossum edule var. subcorymbosum Blume      Buli-buli (C. Bis., P. Bis.)
Erioglossum rubiginosum (Roxb.) Blume            Buri-buri (P. Bis.)
Erioglossum rubiginosum var. villosum Gagnep.      Duka (Bis.)
Lepisanthes balansana Gagnep . Kalangkañgin (Tagk.)
Lepisanthes hirta Ridl . Kalayo (Tag.)
Lepisanthes rubiginosa (Roxb.) Leenh. Kalimaiu (Tag.)
Moulinsia cupanioides Cambess. Lagui (Ting.)
Moulinsia rubiginosa G.Don Liñgarau (Tag.)
Pancovia rubiginosa Baill. ex Kurz Magasilad (Mbo.)
Sapindus alternifolius Buch.-Ham. ex Wight & Arn. Malasaging-puti (Tag.)
Sapindus edulis Blume Palatangan-a-malabaga (Ilk.)
Sapindus fraxinifolius DC. Tagurirong (P. Bis.)
Sapindus longifolius Buch.-Ham. ex Wight & Arn. Togoriron (P. Bis.)
Sapindus pinnatus Roxb. ex Hiern Usau-usau (Sul.)
Sapindus rubiginosa Roxb. Rusty sapindus (Engl.)
Sapindus rubiginosus Roxb.  
Uitenia stilaginea Noronha ex Cambess.  
Lepisanthes rubiginosa (Roxb.) Leenh. is an accepted name. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
BANGLADESH: Bara harina, Chagalnadi.
BENGALI: Kaakjaam, Rubiharina.
BORNEO: Borobogan, Damai, Kundurui, Lipupudsu, Suang rason.
CHINESE: Chi cai.
MALAY: Buoh terajang, Kalaju, Katilayu, Kelat layu, Ki layu, Kulayo, Mertajam, Terajang.
THAI: Chan ru, Huat kha, Huat lao, Kamcham, Kasam, Kamsam, Ma cham, Ma huat, Ma huta pa, Sam sam, Si hok noi.
VIETNAMESE: Cây kén kén, Nhãn dê, Nhãn rừng.

Gen info
- Lepisanthes is a genus of 24 or 25 species of trees or shrubs native to tropical Africa, South and South East Asia, Australia, and Madagascar. It includes species formerly classified in the genera Aphania, Erioglossum, and Otophora.
- Etymology: The genus name Lepisanthes derives from Greek words "lepis" meaning scaly and "anthos" meaning flower.  Species epithet 'rubiginosa' means 'red-brown.

Kalayo is a shrub or small tree, with a compact, bushy crown. All parts are covered with hairs. Leaves are pinnate, 15 to 50 centimeters long, with 4 to 6 pairs of leaflets. Leaflets are narrowly elliptic, 7.5 to 18 centimeters long, 3 to 7 centimeters wide, and blunt on both ends. Flowers are very fragrant, white, about 5 millimeters wide, and arranged in small groups in upright panicles 12 to 30 centimeters long. Fruit is ovoid, in clusters, about 1 centimeter long and covered with fine hairs; in ripening it turns successfully yellow, orange, purple, and nearly black, and when ripe, with a thin, juicy, sweetish and slightly astringent pulp.

- Native to the Philippines.
- Common in forests at low and medium altitudes throughout the Philippines.
- Also native to Andaman Is., Assam, Australia, Bangladesh, Borneo, Cambodia, China, Himalaya, Hainan, India, Jawa, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is, Malaya, Maluku, Myanmar, Nepal, New Guinea, Nicobar Is., Sulawesi, Sumatera, Thailand, Vietnam.

- Study analyzed the essential oil from flowers and fruits. Major components of flower essential oil were nerolidol (34.8%), palmitic acid (13.2%), and farnesol (10.0%). Fruit essential oil yielded palmitic acid (66.1%), myristic acid (10.0%), and linolenic acid (5.5%). (See study below)  (4)
- Methanolic fraction isolated a tetrasaccharide derivative of farnesol named rubiginoside along with known triterpenoid saponins. (5)
- Study of methanol extract of barks yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, phenols, saponins, and carbohydrates. Physiochemical evaluation showed moisture content of 8.07%, total ash value 18.00%, acid soluble ash value 21.00%, water soluble ash value 9.50^, alcohol soluble extractive value 1.00%, and water soluble extractive value of 0.50%. (see study below) (10)
- Study of ethanol extract of leaves isolated two new glycosides, lepisantheside A (1) and lepisantheside B (2), along with two known compounds acutoside A (3) and 3-O-[ß-D-xylopyranosyl-{1->3)-ß-D-glucopyranosyl-]-oleanolic acid (4), (see study above) (13)
- Study of ethyl acetate extract of plant yielded five compounds viz. lupeol, diosmetin, heptadecanoic acid, ß-sitosterol, and ß- sitosterol-3-O-ß-D-glucopyranoside. (14)
- Study of methanolic extract of L. rubiginosa stem bark isolated three new triterpenoid saponins, lepiginosides A-C (1-2), a new farnesyl glycoside, lepiginoside D (4), together with lepisantheside B (5) and gleditsoside C (6). (18)
- GC-FID and GC-MS studies of Lepisanthes rubiginosa leaves for essential oil identified 24 components, representing 99.5% of essential oil. Major compounds included
α-cadinol (40%), safrole (12.6%), α-amorphene (9.5%), (E)-isosafrole (5.0%), δ-cadinene (4.2%), and t-muurolol (4.1%). (see study below) (16)
- Study compared the essential oils from flowers and fruits of L. rubiginosa by capillary GC and GC-MS. Major components of flower EO were nerolidol (34.8%), palmitic acid (13.2%), and farnesol (10.00%). Fruit EO yielded palmitic acid (66.1%), myristic acid (10.0%), and linoleic acid (5.5%) as major constituents.
(see study below) (19)

- Roots are astringent.
- Roots and leaves considered febrifugal.
- Studies suggest anti-inflammatory, membrane stabilizing, antioxidant, anticancer, antimicrobial, CNS depressant, anti-acetylcholinesterase inhibitory properties.

Parts used
Roots, leaves and seeds.


- Fruit is edible, with a sweet slightly astringent pulp; for some, not a pleasant edibility.
- In Java, shoots and leaves eaten as vegetable.
- Decoction of roots, leaves, fruits and seeds used for fevers.
- Malays apply a poultice of leaves and roots to the head during a fever and to the body for skin problems.
- In the Dutch Indies, leaves are used for poulticing.
- In Indonesia, young stems eaten to induce sleeping.
- Leaves eaten to cure insomnia.
- In Bangladesh, leaf juice taken for fever.
- In
India, plant used for treatment of leprosy. (7)
- Decoction of seeds used for whooping cough.

- Used by the Nicobarese for abortion, contraception, and anti-fecundation. (15)
- In Indonesia, pounded young leaves mixed with water used as liniment to reduce fatigue. Chewed leaves applied for peeled skin. (17)
- Used by loocal people in Terengganu for treatment of bone fracture and muscle sprain. (20)
- Leaf juice used for treatment of flatulence. Pills made from leaves used to treat constipation. Leaf juice used to treat epilepsy. Paste of leaves applied to lipomatous tumors. Decoction of roots and leaves used for fever. Seed decoction used for whooping cough. Leaf extract used in hot baths to treat skin diseases. (21)
- Wood: In some places considered a valuable timber; in other places, used as fuel and for making tool handles and rice pounders.
- Superstition / Latex: In East Java, plant believed to produce "fossil latex" with magical ability to attract attention of others, even increase fishing catch; or used as a charm taliman. (17)

Anti-Inflammatory / Membrane Stabilization:
Study evaluated a methanol extract of Erioglossum rubiginosum in experimentally induced inflammation in a human red blood cell (HRBC) membrane stabilization method. Results showed significantly inhibited hypotonic solution induced lysis of human RBC membrane. The membrane stabilizing action and inhibition of erythrocyte lysis may be the possible mechanism of anti-inflammatory action. (3)
Essential Oil of Fruits and Flowers / Antioxidant / Anticancer / Antimicrobial:
Study analyzed Erioglossum rubiginosum fruits and flowers for essential oil. (See constituents above). In a study for anticancer activity against three human cancer cell lines, only the flower essential oil showed anticancer activity against NCI-H187 (small cell lung cancer). Flower essential oil also showed antioxidant activity. Both flower and fruit essential oils showed strong antimicrobial activity against Tricophyton mentagrophytes and moderate activity against E. coli, S. aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans. (4)
CNS Depressant Effect / Fruit:
Study of an aqueous extract of pericarp of fruits at intraperitoneal doses significant reduced spontaneous locomotor activity, increased thiopental-induced sleeping time and affinity toward dopaminergic receptors, inhibited apomorphine-induced climbing behavior in mice, and exhibited affinity toward D2 receptors, suggesting dopamine D2 antagonism. (8)
Antimicrobial / Low Cytotoxicity / Bark:
Study of methanol extract of bark showed significant antibacterial activity against gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus, gram-negative Salmonella typhi and Shigella dysenteriae and mild antifungal activity against Aspergillus niger and Candida albicans. Cytotoxicity evaluation by brine shrimp lethality bioassay showed very low cytotoxic property with LC50 value of 29.47 µg/ml compared to vincristine sulfate standard (0.451 µg/ml). (see constituents above) (10)
Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitory Activity / Fruits:
In a study of six aqueous fruit extracts from 19 analyzed fruits for potential acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, A. sapota showed the highest AChE inhibitory activity (IC50 1.17 mg/ml) followed by L. rubiginosa, F. elephantum, T. bispinosa, Z. jujuba and P. peruviana. (11)
Antioxidant / Analgesic / Antihyperglycemic / Neuropharmacological / Antidiarrheal / Leaves:
Study evaluated ethanolic extract of leaves for antioxidant, analgesic, antihyperglycemic, neuropharmacological and antidiarrheal properties in mice. TLC analysis showed the presence of
antioxidant compounds with IC50 of 31.62 µg/mL, compared to ascorbic acid with 12.02 µg/mL. In acetic acid and induced writhing, the extract showed 46.07% and 58.43% writhing inhibition. The extract showed significant (p<0.05) antihyperglycemic activity. In neuropharmacological evaluation, the animals showed a noticeable decrease in locomotion as evidenced by decrease in number of squared crossed and head dipping Extract showed 57.89% and 77.19% inhibition of defecation with doses of 250 and 500 mg/kg. compared to loperamide (3 mg/kg) 88.59% inhibition. (12)
Cytotoxicity / Anticancer / Leaves: Study of leaves isolat4d two new glycosides along with two known compounds. Their cytotoxicity was tested against four human cancer cell lines: KB, HepG2, SK-LU-1, and MCF7. Compound 4 exhibited significant activity with IC50s of 9.57, 6.66, 6.97, and 18.32 µM, respectively. , compared with positive control ellipticine. (13)
Anticholinesterase Activity / Essential Oil: Study evaluated the chemical composition and anticholinesterase inhibitory activity of essential oil from Lepisanthes rubiginosa leaves. GC-FID and GC-MS studies identified 24 components, representing 99.5% of essential oil. Using Ellman method, essential oil demonstrated moderate inhibitory activity against  acetycholinesterase (75.2%) and butylcholinesterase (70.2%) at concentration of 1000 µg/mL. (see constituents above) (16)
Anticancer / Antioxidant / Antimicrobial / Essential Oil of Flowers and Fruits: Study compared the essential oils from flowers and fruits of L. rubiginosa by capillary GC and GC-MS. The flower EO showed anticancer activity against NCI-H187 Small cell lung cancer with IC50 of 43.90 µg/mL. The flower EO also showed antioxidant activity (ABTS) with 25.4% inhibition. Both flower and fruit EO showed strong antimicrobial activity against Trichophyton mentagrophytes and moderate activity against
Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans. see constituents above) (19)
Anti-Inflammatory / Bark: Study evaluated L. rubiginosa bark for anti-inflammatory activity. Macrophage RAW 264.7 was induced with lipopolysaccharide. Inhibition of myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity indicated the presence of anti-inflammatory properties. At 20 µg/mL the methanol extract of bark decreased MPO concentration by 51.9%, which will lead to inhibition of neutrophil infiltration. (20)


Updated January 2023 / January 2021 / March 2016

                                                  PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
IMAGE SOURCE: Photo: Sapindaceae: Mertajam--Lepisanthes rubiginosa -- leaves and fruits / Reuben C J Lim / CC by NC-SA 2.0 / Click on image to go to source page / flickr

IMAGE SOURCE: Photo: Sapindaceae: Mertajam--Lepisanthes rubiginosa -- leaves / Reuben C J Lim / CC by NC-SA 2.0 / Click on image to go to source page / flickr

IMAGE SOURCE: Photo: Sapindaceae: Mertajam--Lepisanthes rubiginosa -- fruits / Reuben C J Lim / CC by NC-SA 2.0 / Click on image to go to source page / flickr

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Lepisanthes rubiginosa (Roxb.) Leenh. / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Sorting Lepisanthes names / Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 - 2000 The University of Melbourne.
Membrane stabilization – A possible mechanism of action for the anti-inflammatory activity of a Bangladeshi medicinal plant: Erioglossum rubiginosum (Bara Harina)
/ Pankaj Chandra Debnath, Abhijit Das, Amirul Islam, Md. Ariful Islam, Md. Mahadi Hassan, Sultan Md. Gias Uddin / Pharmacognosy Journal, Volume 5, Issue 3 , Pages 104-107, May 2013
A comparative study of the essential oil from flowers and fruits of lepisanthes rubiginosa
/ Stephen G. Pyne, Boonsom Liawruangrath, Saisunee Liawruangrath, A Teerawutkulrag, J Chuangbunyat / Acta Pharmaceutica Sciencia, 2011, 53(4): pp 535-542.
Rubiginoside, a farnesyl glycoside from Lepisanthes rubiginosa. / Adesanya SA, Martin MT, Hill B, Dumontet V, Van Tri M, Sévenet T, Païs M. / Phytochemistry. 1999; 51(8): pp 1039-1041 / ISSN/ISBN: 0031-1041 / PMID: 10444858 / DOI: 10.1016/s0031-9422(98)00701-8
Anti-leprotic Plants of Chhattisgarh: A Review / M. Vinod, M. Sharma, A. kesharwani*, R. Thakur, H. Verma Rungta College of Pharmaceutical Science and Research, Kohka Road, kurud, Bhilai, C.G, India.
Effect of an extract of Erioglossum edule on the central nervous system. / Sattar M A, Gan EK, Loke SE, Mah KF, Wong WH. / J Ethnopharmacol 1989;25:217–220. / Ethnopharmacology of Medicinal Plants
Asia and the Pacific Christophe Wiart, PharmD
Pharmacological, Phytochemical and Physicochemical properties of methanol extracts of Erioglossum rubiginosum barks / Santanu Barua, S. M. Masud Rana, Md. Mustahsan Billah, Zannatul Naim, Golam Sarwar / Journal of Health Sciences, 2013; 3(11): pp 51-62
Acetylcholinesterase inhibitory potentiality of some minor fruits of West Bengal, India / Susmita Das, Bratati De / Journal of Pharmacy & BioAllied Sciences
Phytochemical and pharmacological evaluation of ethanoic extract of Lepisanthes rubiginosa L. leaves / Md Mahedi Hasan, Amir Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman et al / BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2017; 17, Article no 496 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-017-2010-y
Two new glycosides, farnesyl pentaglycoside and oleanane triglycoside from Lepisanthes rubiginosa, a mangrove plant collected from TThua Thien- Hue province, Vietnam
/ Loc Van Tran, Ninh Pham Thi, Luu Nguyen Thi, Chien Van Tran, Nhu Thi Quynh Vo, Anh Ngoc ho et al / Natural Product Research, 2020 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14786419.2020.1817010
Chemical Constituents of Ethyl Acetate Extract of Lepisanthes rubiginosa Collected in Phu Loc District, Thua Thien-Hue Province / Pham Thi Ninh, Tran Thi Phurong Thao, Tran Van Loc, Nguyen Thi Dung, Do Xuan Cam, Tran Van Sung / Vietnam Journal of Chemistry, 2017; 55(1) /
DOI: 10.15625/0866-7144.2017-00407
Plants used as abortifacient and contraceptive by the Nicobarese / H S Dagar / Journal of the Andaman Science Association, 1989; 5(2): pp 169-170
Chemical composition and anticholinesterase activity of Lepisanthes rubiginosa (Roxg.) Leenh. essential oil / Salleh WMNHW, Ghani NA, Abdel-Aal AM / Zeitschrift fur Naturforschung. C, Journal of Biosciences, 2022; 77(11-12): pp 525-529 / PMMID: 36112782 / DOI: 10.1515/znc-2022-0105

Katilayu (Lepisanthes rubiginosa (Roxb.) Leenh.) Population in Mt Baung Nature Tourism Park
/ Deden Mudiana, E E Ariyanti / 2021 Conf. Ser: Earth Environ. Sci. 743: 012023 /
DOI: 10.1088/1755-1315/743/1/012023
Lepiginosides A-D: three new triterpenoid saponins and a new farnesyl glycoside from the stembarks of Lepisanthes rubiginosa (Roxb.) Leenh / Siti Zafirah Zulkifli, Nurunajah Ab Ghani, Nor Hadiani Ismail et al /  Natural Product Research, 2022 / DOI: 10.1080/14786419.2022.2102629

A comparative study of the essential oil from flowers and fruits of Lepisanthes rubiginosa (Roxb.) Leenh / Jiraporn Chuangbunyat, Aphiwat Teerawutgulrag et al / Acta Pharmaceutica Sciencia, 2011; 53(4)
In-vitro anti-inflammatory activity of methanol extract of Lepisanthes rubiginosa bark / Azwa Abdullah / Thesis: Universiti Teknologi MARA
Lepisanthes rubiginosa / Md Salah Uddin / NATURE INFO Electronic Database

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

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