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Family Salicaceae
Salix tetrasperma Roxb.

Scientific names Common names
Salix tetrasperma Roxb. Libas (Tag.)
Salix azaolana Blanco Maksa (C. Bis.)
Pleieina tetrasperma (Roxb.) N. Chao & G T Gong Malatiki (Tag.)
  Tiaun (Tag.)
  Indian willow (Engl.)
Libas is a common name shared by (1) Spondias pinnata (2) Salix tetrasperma (3) Balbas-bakiro (Momordica cochinchinensis) (4) Ligas (Semecarpus cuneiformis).

Malatiki is a small deciduous tree, flowering after leafing. Bark is rough, with deep, vertical fissures. Young shoots and young leaves are silky. Leaves are lanceolate, 8 to 15 centimeters long, with minutely and regularly toothed margins. Male sweet-scented catkins are 5 to 10 centimeters long, and are borne on leafy branchlets. Female catkins are 8 to 12 centimeters long. Capsules are long, stipulate, in groups of 3 to 4. Seeds are 4 to 6, in a capsule.

- In forests and swamps and near streams at low and medium altitudes.
- Found in Cagayan, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan Provinces in Luzon; in Bohol; and in Mindanao.

- Also occurs in India to China, in Taiwan, and southward to Sumatra and Java.

- Phytochemical screenings yield various types of sapogenins: quinovic acid, salicortin, saligenin, phenolic glycosides and pyrocatechol from the bark and leaves.
- Bark yields salicin.
- Plant yields tannins, triterpenes, viz., ß0amyrin, lupeol and chalcinasterol, steroids viz., ß-sitosterol and stigmasterol, with very low concentrations of free salicylaldehyde.
- Study of stem bark isolated 7 compounds: friedelin, 3 β-friedelinol acetate, β- sitosterol, β-sitosteryl-3-O-D-glucopyranoside, β-sitostenone, cis-1,2- cyclohexanediol, and long chain ester. (7)

Bark considered febrifuge and analgesic.
Dried leaves reported to be cardiotonic and neurotonic.

Parts used
Bark, leaves.


- In India, the new flowers are lightly boiled and mixed with mashed potatoes.
- Bark used to treat fever.
- Used in Egyptian folk medicine as antirheumatic sedative and analgesic. Leaves and bark used as remedy for aches and fever.
- Decoction of leaf and root used for whooping cough in children.
- Paste of both leaf and root used externally for scorpion stings, bug bites, sores and warts.
- Decoction of dried root taken internally for treatment of hepatitis.
- Sap of stem taken orally for dysmenorrhea.
- Hot water extract of entire plant instilled in vaginal cavity as abortifacient; rectally to treat local rectal sores.
- Fuel wood.
- Planted along water courses to prevent erosion.
- Used for making cricket bats and light furniture.

A study of extracts of five plants abundantly growing in Egypt, including Salix tetrasperma, revealed anti-inflammatory activity of the extracts under investigation. Activity was attributed to flavonoids. (2)
Cardiotonic: Aqueous extract of dried leaf reported to possess cardiotonic activity.
Reverse Transcriptase Inhibition: Methanol extract of dried leaf exhibit reverse transcriptase inhibition effect.

Diuretic / Laxative: Study of aqueous extract of Salix tetrasperma in albino rats showed significant diuretic activity as well as laxative activity in a dose-dependent manner. (3)
Antibacterial / Insecticidal / Cytotoxicity: Extracts of leaves, bark, and roots were evaluated for antibacterial, insecticidal, and in vivo cytotoxic activities. Bark extract was active against all tested Gr+ and Gr- organisms. Root and leaf extracts showed insecticidal activity against Tribolium castaneum. In invivo cytotoxicity study, the root and bark extract showed moderate cell growth inhibition. (6)
Cataract Prevention: Study showed Salix tetrasperma leaves extract prevents cataract progression in naphthalene- and galactose-induced cataract in animals. Vitamin E was used as reference drug. (8)


Last Updated May 2013

IMAGE SOURCE: Public Domain / File:Salix tetrasperma Bra58.png / D. Brandis, Illustrations of the Forest Flora of North-West and Central India, 1874 / puiblished by Kurt Stuber / Wikimedia Commons
IMAGE SOURCE: PHOTO / File:Salix tetrasperma.jpg / P. Jeganathan / 16 Feb 2011 / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license./ Click on image to go to source page / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Public Domain / Salix tetrasperma /Salix tetrasperma Roxb./ [Bildquelle: Roxburgh. -- Vol I. -- 1795. -- Image courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.botanicus.org. -- Creative Commons Lizenz (Namensnennung, keine kommerzielle Nutzung) / www.payer.de/amarakosa

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Indian willow / Flowers of India
PHYTOCHEMICAL STUDY AND EVALUATION OF THE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY ACTIVITY OF SOME MEDICINAL PLANTS GROWING IN EGYPT / Mohamed S Karawya, Nagwa M Ammar et al / Medical Journal of Islamic World Academy of Sciences 18:4, 139-150, 2010
Studies on diuretic and laxative activity of the bark of Salix tetrasperma Roxburgh / Mondal Sumanta, Hechhu Ramana et al / IRUP 1(1)2010, 145-149
Studies on the traditional uses of plants of Malam Jabba valley, District Swat, Pakistan / Ilyas Iqbal and Muhammad Hamayun / EthnoLeaflets
Salix tetrasperma Roxb. / The Plant List
A / Islam et al. / IJPSR, 2011; Vol. 2(8): 2103-2108
Chemical Constituents of Salix Tetrasperma Roxb. Stem Bark
/ S. Charoensuk, P. Martyam, M. Chaisorn, A. Panyasiri, S. Saejeamg, A. Jintsirikul, K. Werawattanaametin and P. Vejkarnchana / 25th Congress on Science & Technology of Thailand OCT/1999 pp2 THA
EVALUATION OF CATARACT PREVENTIVE ACTION OF SALIX TETRASPERMA / Prima Freeda D'souza, Ankita Kotak, Ashok Shenoy, A.Ramakrishna.Shabraya / scientificipca.org/paper/2011/09/15/201109151146080A.doc‎

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