Marabutan is a large tree, often epiphytic, with
slender aerial roots. Bark is brown and smooth. Leaves are dark green, with a thick waxy outer covering, elliptic,
ovate or obovate, 5 to 10 centimeters long, the apex rounded or with short and blunt tapering points, narrowing
into a petiole 6 to 12 millimeters long. Male flowers are numerous, scattered,
stalkless or short-pedicelled. Female flowers are stalkless
and much smaller. Fruit is stalkless, yellow or reddish, about
1 centimeter in diameter.
- In thickets and forests at low and
medium altitudes throughout the Philippines, ascending to 1,500 meters.
- Also occurs in India to southern China, in Taiwan, and through Malaya to Australia and New Caledonia.
- Study yielded a wide range of phytochemicals: sterols, terpenoids, glycoside, flavonoids, polyphenols, proteins and carbohydrates.
- HPLC analysis of bark showed the predominant presence of oleanolic, betulinic acid, lupeol, ß-sitosterol, catechin, and gallic acid. (11)
- Study of aerial parts yielded two new polyphenolic compounds named retusaphenol [2-hydroxy-4-methoxy-1,3-phenylene-bis- (4- hydroxy-benzoate)] and (+)-retusa afzelechin [afzelechin - (48) - afzelechin - (48) - afzelechin] together with ten known compounds: luteolin, (+) - afzelechin, (+) - catechin , vitexin , -sitosterol acetate, -amyrin acetate, moretenone, friedelenol, -amyrin and -sitosterol. (see study below) (18)
- Leaves and bark are antirheumatic.
- Plant considered pungent, bitter, and aphrodisiac.
Leaves, rootlets and bark.
- Leaves and bark used as poultice for
- In Concan, juice of leaves used for flatulent colic and the juice of bark used for liver diseases.
- Bark juice used for liver diseases.
- Bark has been used for diabetes, ulcers, hemorrhages, leprosy.
- The rootlets are dried and powdered, mixed with salt and applied to
- Latex considered aphrodisiac.
- In India, used for diabetes; Leaves fumigated and steam inhaled for relief of fever. Leaf paste along with fruit, combined with cumin, is taken orally to cure swellings, lung blockage. Also, applied topically over fractured bones. (15)
- In China, adventitious rootlets used
for toothaches, for which they are dried, powdered and applied to the
decaying or aching tooth.
- In Ayurveda, used to treat liver disorders, hepatomegaly, wounds and ulcers.
- In Kerala, India used for treatment of leucoderma, ulcers, leprosy, itching, and biliousness. Bark used for liver diseases. Powdered leaves and bark used for rheumatic headaches. Leaves and roots used for wounds and bruises.
- Coir: Stem fibers used in coir production.
• Phenolic Content / Radical Scavenging Activity: Study of the leaves of eleven Ficus species growing in Egypt were subjected to free radical scavenging activity. Six methanol extracts, including Ficus nitida showed high activity. (2)
• Anti-Diabetic: Study of water and methanolic extracts of Ficus retusa leaves showed significant lowering of blood glucose in a dose-dependent manner. No over sign of hepatotoxicity and renotoxicity were observed in chronic toxicity studies. Results conclude the extracts present a potential and safe alternative antidiabetic treatment. (3)
• Antioxidant / Antibacterial: Results showed the methanol extracts of bark, fruits and leaves of F. microcarpa exhibited excellent antioxidant activities and also possessed activity against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. The activities may be attributed to its high level of phenolic compounds. (4)
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory effects of ethyl acetate and methanolic extract of leaves in albino wistar rats. Results showed significant anti-inflammatory effects in reducing rat paw edema induced by carrageenan. Diclofenac was the reference anti-inflammatory agent. (7)
• Hepatoprotective / Leaves: Study of ethyl acetate and methanolic extracts of leaves showed significant dose dependent hepatoprotective (p<0.001) activity against carbon tetrachloride induced hepatotoxicity in rats. (8)
• Anti-Secretory / Antiulcer: Study evaluated an ethanol extract of stem bark in albino rats. Phytochemical analysis yielded alkaloids, triterpenoids, and flavonoids. The ethanol extract showed dose-dependent inhibition in ethanol-induced gastric lesions. Results support it ethnomedical use in the treatment of gastric ulcer. (9)
• Wound Healing: Study evaluated various extracts and solvents of air-dried parts of plant for wound healing activity on incision and excision models in rats. A 5% of petroleum ether and ethanolic extracts showed safety for topical administration. Results showed wound healing activity which was attributed to its antimicrobial, hemostatic, and antioxidant properties, together with the involvement of secondary metabolites. (12) The comparative wound healing effect of F. retusa extract and framycetin 1% w/w suggests an antimicrobial effect of the extract plays a major role in its wound healing activity. Furthermore, wound healing activity is probably partly due to tannins which act as free radical scavenger and secondary metabolites saponins. (18)
• Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory: Study evaluated a methanol extract of leaves for analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity in animal models. Results showed significantly reduced edema induced by carrageenan and histamine. In acetic acid-induced writhing model, the extract showed good analgesic effect with dose dependent decrease of licking time and licking frequency. (13)
• Antidiarrheal / Leaves: Study evaluated the antidiarrheal activity of F. microcarpa against experimentally induced diarrhea in albino rats. Results showed a marked anti-diarrheal effect with anti-enteropooling activity. (14)
• Biologic Activity / Aerial Parts: Study of aerial parts yielded two new polyphenolic compounds plus ten known compounds. Study for anticancer (Ic50 68.64 µg/ml against Hep G2 cells and >100 µg.ml against HCT-116 cells), antioxidant (SC50 0.85 µg/ml), antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities of different plant extracts showed significant results. (see constituents above) (17)
• Silver Nanoparticles / Antibacterial / Dye Decolourising / Leaves: Study reports on the synthesis of AgNPs using aqueous F. retusa leaf extract. The AgNPs were evaluated for antibacterial and high catalytic activity in enhancing decolourisation of eriochrome black T dye. (18)