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Family Arecaceae
Arenga pinnata (Wurmb) Merr.
Sui mu

Scientific names Common names 
Arenga gamuto Merr. Bagatbat (C. Bis.)
Arenga griffithii Seem. ex H.Wendl. Bagobat (C. Bis.)
Arenga pinnata (Wurmb) Merr. Bat-bat (C. Bis.)
Arenga saccharifera Labill. ex DC. Hibiok (P. Bis.)
Borassus gomutus Lour. Hidiok (Bik., P. Bis.)
Caryota onusta Blanco Hiliok (Mbo.)
Gomutus rumphii Corréa Ibiok (C. Bis.)
Gomutus saccharifera Labill. ex. DC. Idiog (C. Bis.)
Gomutus vulgaris Oken Idiok (C., Bis.)
Saguerus gamuto Houtt. Igok (P. Bis.)
Saguerus pinnatus Wurmb Irok (Sbl.)
Saguerus rumphii (Corréa) Roxb. ex Fleming Kabo-negro (Tag.)
Saguerus saccharifer (Labill. ex DC) Blume Kaong (Tag.)
Sagus gomutus (Lour.) Perr. Kauing (Tag.)
  Onay (C. Bis.)
  Rapitan (Ilk.)
  Unau (C. Bis.)
  Malay sago palm (Engl.)
  Arenga palm (Engl.)
  Black fiber palm (Engl.)
  Black sugar palm (Engl.)
  Gomuti palm (Engl.)
  Sagwine (Engl.)
  Solitary sugar palm (Engl.)
  Sugar palm (Engl.)
Arenga pinnata (Wurmb) Merr. is an accepted name KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
ARABIC: Nakhlet Es Sukkar.
BURMESE: Taung-ong.
CHINESE: Sha Tang Ye Zi, Tang Shu, Guang lang, Sui mu.
DUTCH: Arengpalm, Arenpalm, Gomoetoepalm, Sagoeweerpalm, Suikerpalm.
FRENCH: Palmier à Sucre, palmier areng.
GERMAN: Zuckerpalme.
INDONESIAN: Ejow, Gomuti, Aren, Kaong.
ITALIAN: Palma dello zucchero, Palma arenga.
JAPANESE: Satou Yashi.
LAOTIAN: Taw tad.
MALAY: Kabung, Kabung Enau.
PORTUGUESE: Gomuteira.
RUSSIAN: Sakharnia Pal´ma (As a Saccharifera).
SPANISH: Barú, Bary, Palma De Azúcar, Palmera Del Azúcar.
THAI: Tao, Chok.
VIETNAMESE: Bung bang, Doác.

Gen info
- Kaong is considered the "official" sugar palm, the highest producer of the world's many sugar-producing palms. Possibly the highest yielder and commercially grown in large scale production, it yields up to about 25 tons of sugar per hectare.

Kaong or sugar palm is a palm tree, with a stout trunk with distinct annular scars, growing to a height of 12 to 15 meters, with a diameter of about 40 centimeters. Leaves are ascending, 6 to 8.5 meters long, ascending, the sheathing basal parts covered with stout black fibers (kabo-negro fibers). Leaflets are up to 100 or more on each side, linear, 1 to 1.5 meters long, the tip lobed and variously toothed, the base 2-auricled, the lower surface white or pale. Inflorescence is axillary with stout, decurved peduncle, the pendulous branches very numerous, up to1.5 meters long. Male flowers are in pairs, about 12 millimeters long. Fruits are rounded or depressed rounded, about 5 centimeters in diameter, containing 2 to 3 seeds.

Arenga pinnata is a solitary, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious feather palm. The bole is solitary, unbranched and usually reaches a height of 15- 20 m, with a diameter of about 30-40 cm. Leaves pinnate, ascending, up to 8.5 m long. Leaflets dark green above and whitish beneath, giving the trees a dirty greenish appearance. The leaf sheaths cover the stem; their margins are fibrous with black hairs. Young leaf sheaths are usually covered on their lower surfaces with an abundance of soft, mosslike white hairs. The first inflorescence arises from a node near the top meristem. Inflorescences appear in descending order from the uppermost leaf axil and continue for about 2 years until the palm is exhausted and dies. Each node bears only one inflorescence. Fruits are yellow when mature, about 5 cm in diameter, with 2-3 seeds each. (13)

- Native to the Philippines.
- Planted here and there about towns, and abundant in some forested areas, but never at any great distance from settled areas in Luzon (Rizal, Cavite, Bataan, Laguna, and Tayabas), Polilio, Biliran, and Mindanao.

- It almost disappeared in Cavite but thrives in the town of Indang that provides sanctuary to the trees.
- Generally planted in most islands and provinces.
- Also native to Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Sri Lanka,Thailand, Vietnam. (13)

- Yields sugar, starch, a fermented drink, alcohol, thatching material and fibers with industrial utility.
- The husk of the fruit contains numerous, microscopic needlelike, stinging crystals (raphides) that can be quite irritating.

- Bud is deficient in phosphorus and iron; only a fair source of calcium.
- Study of ethanol extract of fruit yielded five compounds, namely (5-(hydroxymethyl) furan-2-yl) methanediol,4'-hydroxy-N-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzoyl)-3',5'-dimethoxybenzamide, (+)-lyonirenisol-3a-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, (-)-lyonirenisol-3a-O-β-glucopyranoside and liquiritin. (see study below) (18)
- Study of 70% EtOH extract of fruits isolated two new terpenoids (1 and 2), arenterpenoid D (1) and pinnasesquiterpene A (2), along with 16 phenylpropanoids (318) and 8 known terpenoids (1926). (see study below) (20)
- Study of fruits isolated three new ent-kauran-type diterpenes (1-3), named arenterpenoids A-C, along with five known ones (4-8). (21)
- Study of palm sugar produced by spray dryer yielded quite large total phenolic content within the range of 49 ± 0.01 to 63.6 ± 0.01 mg of GAE/100 g sample. (22)

- The unripe fruit is edible; ripe, is known to be a violent poison for dogs.
- The petiole fuzz is hemostatic and cicatrizant.
- Root is stomachic and pectoral.
- Petioles are diuretic and antithermic.
- Although the fruit's immature endosperm is edible, the mesocarp pulp of the ripe fruits contain irritating needle crystals that make them inedible.
- Palm sugar is nutrient-rich and low-glycemic, rich in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. It is not a calorie-free sweetener, but with its low-glycemic index, calories are absorbed at a much slower rate than sugar.
Galvanic index is 35, compared to honey at 55-65, fructose corn syrup at 62, maltodextrin 105.
- It has a glycemic index of 35. By comparison, the GI of honey is 55 - 60; high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), 62; regular table sugar, 68. Maltodextrin, a common powder often added to many sweeteners, has a GI of 105!
- Sweet sap: A single tree can yield a total if 6 liters per day, from 3 harvests that yields 2 liters per tap. The sweet sap is processed to brown sugar by continuous boiling for up to 6 hours, requiring regular stirring to ensure good mixing and avoid burning. Soon after coagulation, it is put into coconut shells or bamboo moulds where it cools and hardens.
Organic sweeteners
- Considered by some to be superior in taste to regular sugar, the taste resembling brown sugar, rich flavored with a tinge of caramel and butterscotch. And to boot, a lower glycemic index.
- Studies have suggest analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, low-glycemic index, cosmeceutical properties.

Parts used
Fruits, roots, leaves.

- Immature seeds are edible, usually boiled with sugar.
- Edible starch from the stem and trunk.
- Young crown top or terminal bud (ubod or palm cabbage) is eaten as salad or cooked.
- The unripe fruit is reportedly edible, but when ripe is said to be a violent poison for dogs.
- Juice boiled down to make arenga syrup, used in various dishes, sweets, beverages, preserves; as sweetener for pastries, cakes, cereals, and juices.
- In Indonesia, arenga sago is used as ingredient of bakso (noodles) and cakes. In Java, used in making a syrup called chendol. In India, tender young leaves prepared and eaten as pickle. (16)
- Stems are diuretic.
- Root decoction is beneficial to the lungs; assists digestion and improves appetite.
- Root decoction used for bladder problems.
- Fuzz of petioles used as a hemostatic and cicatrizant.
- In other traditional systems, used for colds and sinus problems, sore throat and cold sores.
- In Cambodia, root is considered stomachic and pectoral.
- Petioles used as diuretic and antithermic Used in chronic paludism (malaria) with enlargement of the spleen.
- In Malaysia, young roots used for treating kidney stones; old roots used for toothache. (16)
- Petiole fuzz (fibers) are styptic, used as hemostatic and cicatrizant for wounds. (16)
- Sugar: Palm sugar made from the sap.
- Saguir: Sugary sap from the cut inflorescence makes a drink called saguir.
- Arrack: Also fermented into arrack, a distilled liquor.
- Vinegar: Sugary sap is processed into vinegar: sap is placed in earthen jars for 3 to 4 weeks, then pasteurized and bottled.
- Apiculture: Flowers are a good source of nectar for honey production. (13)
- Fiber: Leaf sheath is a source of a tough, black fiber (gomuti or yonot fiber) used for making rope, tolerant of fresh and salt water and fire. Used For marine work, thatching, weaving fish nets and baskets. (13) (19)
- Wood: Hard outer part of the trunk used for making barrels, flooring, and furniture; posts for pepper vines, boards, tool handles and musical instruments. (13)
- Poison: Fruit when ripe is said to be a violent poison for dogs.
- Repellent: Roots used as insect repellent. (13)
- Fuel: Old woody leaf bases and long leaves can be used as fuel. Hairs on base of leaf sheaths are very good tinder for igniting fire. (13)
- Others: Pith of leaf rachis has ideal shape for used as a drinking cup. (13)

Sound Absorption of Fiber:
Arenga pinnata is an abundant natural fiber that can be used as sound proofing material. Study showed good sound absorption coefficients from 2000 Hz to 5000 Hz within the range of 0.75 - 0.90, with optimum sound absorption coefficient obtained from the 40 mm thickness. Results suggest the A. pinnata fiber to have potential as raw material for sound absorbing, with low cost, light weight, and biodegradability. (3)
Flexural Properties: Study evaluated the flexural properties of A. pinnata fibers as natural fiber and epoxy resin as matrix. Results showed the woven roving Arenga pinnata fiber has a better bonding between its fiber and matrix compared to long random and chopped random A. pinnata fibers. (4)
Socio-Economic Potentialities: A Case Study of Indigenous Knowledge on the Utilization of A Wild Food Plant in West Java: (1) Gen info: Natural regeneration or seed diffusion through animal (civet) ingestion and excretion. (2) Average life cycle of 15 to 20 years. (3) Tapped sap processed into brown sugar, its main product. (4) Parts potential: (a) Leaf: Young leaf can be used to roll a pinch of tobacco. Leaf is also used in agricultural ceremonies. As building material, leaves are woven into kiray units to roof huts in the field. Old leaves can be used for wrapping: brown sugar, durian, fruits, etc. (b) Leaf ribs are used for making lidi brooms; a woven bunch of lidi used as hammer to smoothen a mattress while it is being sun and aired. (c) Leaf stem used as carrying pole, rancatan. Also, it can be used as firewood and its ash as facial powder (wedak sarangkawung) to smoothen the skin. (d) Inflorescence: Used as religious item and ornament. (e) Fiber: Black fiber, ijuk, obtained from the bull length of the trunk, can be used for making brooms, brushes, septic tank filters, water filters, door mats, rope, fish nets, among others. (f) Kawul: Soft fiber that sticks to the tree trunk used as flammable material. (g) Trunk can be a source of either the sweet sap or starch. The starch is a source of food for humans (cakes, etc) and for livestock. The economic potential for starch is small compared to the sweet sap. The trunk is also a source of good quality wood for the production of bolo, axe, or sickle handles; also, as firewood. (h) Fruit is a source of additives for drinks, or used in making desserts. (5)
Low Glycemic Index: Study has shown palm sugar to be a healthy alternative sweetener with a glycemic index (reports vary from 30 to 36) that is lower than cane sugar, agave nectar, or honey.
• Galactomannan / Cosmeceutical Effects / Fruits: Galactomannan was extracted from the fruits of A. pinnata and evaluated for tyrosinase inhibition in both cell-based (melanocytes) and enzymatic assays, antioxidant activity using FCA (ferrous iron chelating assay) and anti-photoaging activity for inhibiting gene expression of MMP-1 and MMP-13. The galactomannan fraction from fruits showed enlightening effect, antioxidant, and anti-photoaging activity in a dose-dependent manner. Results suggest potential cosmeceutical effects for skin healthcare. (14)
• Potential as Starch Films Plasticized by Glycerol and Sorbitol: Study explored the physiochemical characteristics of sugar palm starch film for potential hard capsule application. Results showed sugar palm starch was successfully developed as main material using casting method for the preparation of films. (15)
• Antioxidant / Inhibition of Lipoxygenase Activity / Fruit: Study evaluated an ethanol extract of fruit for antioxidant activity and potential inhibition of lipoxygenase activity from sugar palm fruit. Results showed antioxidant activity by DPPH method with EC50 of 141.3929 µg/ml and FRAP with EC50 of 60.2083 µg/ml. Inhibition of lipoxygenase activity showed inhibitory concentration of 50% value of 71.376 µg/ml. (17)
• Antinociceptive/ Anti-Inflammatory / Acute Toxicity Testing / Fruit: Study evaluated the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties and mechanism of ethanol extract of A. pinnata fruit in mice and rats. In acute toxicity testing, no treatment-related toxicological signs or mortality was observed in mice up to dose of 26 g/kg. The EAF significantly inhibited pain response induced by acetic acid and increased the latency time in hot plate test in mice. Nociception induced by injection with capsaicin and cinnamaldehyde was significantly reduced. EAF significantly inhibited the formation of xylene-induced ear edema and CFA adjuvant-paw swelling, and markedly inhibited production of IL-1ß, TNF-α, PGE2, and IL-6 induced by CFA in paw tissues. Results showed analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities and suggests the EAF as a potential candidate for reducing pain and inflammatory disorders (see constituents above) (18)
• Gomuti / Potential for Fiber Composite: Gomuti is a natural fiber obtained from Arenga pinnata. Study evaluated the physical, mechanical, and thermal characteristics of gomuti fiber for its viability as natural fiber composite material. Treated gomuti fibers showed altered diameter range, density, single fiber tensile properties and different thermogravimetric plots. Results suggest gomuti fiber has potential as a natural fiber composite. (19)
• Terpenoids / Anti-Inflammatory / Fruits: Study of 70% EtOH extract of fruits isolated two new terpenoids (1 and 2), arenterpenoid D (1) and pinnasesquiterpene A (2), along with 16 phenyl-propanoids  (318) and 8 known terpenoids (1926). On anti-inflammatory testing, compounds 2 and 21 exhibited moderate suppressive effects against NO generation in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated RAW   264.7 cells. (20)
• Enhancement of Antioxidant Activity by Processing Method / Palm Sap: Study evaluated the effects on physiochemical properties and antioxidant activity of palm saps when subjected to open palm cooking, freeze drying, and vacuum evaporating methods. Results showed vacuum evaporation method significantly (p<0.05) enhanced the antioxidant activity and moisture content as well as pH of the sample. Other qualities like brix, carbohydrate, protein, and HMF were slightly lower, which may be due to induction of non-enzymatic browning between reducing sugars and amino acids in the palm sap at the processing stage. (23)
• Sulfation of Palm Seed Galactomannan / Week Antibacterial / Mild Toxicity / Seed:   Galactomannan has been widely used in food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and paper industries. Study reports on extraction of palm seed galactomannan and synthesis of sulfated galactomannan with chlorosulfonic acid as sulfating agent. The galactomannan showed weak antibacterial activity. Acute toxicity test in mice at 5000 mg/kbw observed dying on day 14, suggesting mild toxicity. (24)

Products (sugar, vinegar, arrack, etc.) in the cybermarket.

Updated January 2023 / March 2018 / November 2015
August 2009

Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: File:Arenga pinnata Blanco2.419.jpg / Flora de Filipinas / 1880 - 1883 / Francisco Manuel Blanco (O.S.A) / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Tropical palms / FAO Corporate Document Repository

Sorting Arenga names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE
Sound Absorption of Arenga Pinnata Natural Fiber / Lindawati Ismail, Mohd. Imran Ghazali et al / World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology 67 2010
Flexural Properties of Arenga pinnata Fibre Reinforced Epoxy Composites / H.Y. Sastra, J.P. Siregar , S.M. Sapuan, Z. Leman and M.M. Hamdan / American Journal of Applied Sciences, (Special Issue): 21-24, 2005
Arenga pinnata: A Case Study of Indigenous Knowledge on the Utilization of A Wild Food Plant in West Java / Opan S.Suwartapradja / Aren Indonesia.
Arenga Pinnata: It's Not Just A Vinegar / Mr. Basil Reyes
Arenga pinnata (Black Sugar Palm) / Common names / Zipcodezoo
Edible Medicinal and Non-Medicinal Plants: Volume 1, Fruits
/ T. K. Lim / Google Books
Why Organic Palm Sugar is the next big thing in natural sweeteners / Mike Adams / Natural News
Coconut Palm Sugar / The Truth About Coconut Palm Sugar: The Other Side of the Story! / Tropical Traditions
Perennial Staple Crops of the World / Animal Forage, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Seeds, Trees / by Eric Toensmeier / Permaculture Research Institute
Arenga pinnata / KEW:  Plants of the World Online
Arenga pinnata / World AgroForestry
Cosmeceutical Effects of Galactomannan Fraction from Arenga pinnata Fruits In vitro
/ Yanti, Madriena, and Soegianto Ali / Pharmacognosy Res., Jan-Mar 2017; 9(1): pp 39-45 / doi:  10.4103/0974-8490.199773
A Physicochemical Study of Sugar Palm (Arenga Pinnata) Starch Films Plasticized by Glycerol and Sorbitol / Crescentiana D. Poeloengasih, Yudi Pranoto, Septi Nur Hayati, Hernawan et al / AIP Conference Proceedings 1711, 080003 (2016) / doi: 10.1063/1.4941650
Arenga pinnata / Lim T K / Edible Medicinal and Non-Medicinal Plants: Vol 1, Fruits
ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITY AND INHIBITION OF LIPOXYGENASE ACTIVITY ETHANOL EXTRACT OF ENDOSPERM ARENGA PINNATA (WURMB) MERR. / Berna Elya, Nuraini Puspitasari, Annisa Chairani Sudarmin / Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, Vol 10, Special Issue; Oct 2017 / DOI: 10.22159/ajpcr.2017.v10s5.23102
Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effectsof the ethanol extract of Arenga pinnata (Wurmb) Merr. fruit / Fengjin Li, Jinhai Huo, Yan Zhuang, Hongbin Xiao, Weiming Wang, Luqi Huang / J Ethnopharmacol, 2020; 248: 112349 / DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2019.112349
A study into the characteristics of gomuti (Arenga pinnata) fibre for usage as natural fiber composites 
/ Adriana Ticoalu, Thiru Aravinthan, Francisco Cardona / Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites, 33(2) / DOI: 10.1177/0731684413503191
Two new terpenoids with anti-infllammatory activity from fruits of Arenga pinnata (Wurmb) Merr. / Jia-Tong Wu, Adnan Mohammed Algradi, Bing-You Yang et al / Natural Product Research, 2022; 36(22): pp 5753-5761 / DOI: 10.1080/14786419.2021.2023869
New Diterpenes from Arenga pinnata (Wurmb.) Merr. Fruits / Ji-fei Liu, Jin-Hai Huo, Chang Wang, Feng-Jin Li, Wei-Ming Wang, Lu-Qi Huang /  Molecules, 2019; 24(1) / DOI: 10.3390/molecules24010087
Phenolic Analysis and Characterization of Palm Sugar (Arenga pinnata) Produced by Spray Dryer / Jayanudin, Teguh Kurniawan, Indar Kustiningsih / Oriental Journal of Chemistry, 2019; 35(1) /
DOI: 10.13005/ojc/350116
Physicochemical properties and enhanced antioxidant activity of Arenga pinnata sap through different processing methods / Nurul Janah Yunos, Alawi Sulaiman, Nor Azma Yusif, Dzil Razman Ghazali / Solid State Science and Technology, 2018; 26(1): pp 253-262 / ISSN: 0128-7389
Sulfation of palm seed (Arenga pinnata Merr.) galactomannan: Antimicrobial activity and toxiity text / J Kaban, J Reveny, J Tarigan, N F Zebua / RASAYAN J Chem/. 2018; 11(1): pp 294-299 / pISSN: 0974-1496 / eISSN: 0976-0083 / CODEN: RJCABP

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)

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