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Family Lamiaceae
Vitex pinnata L.

Scientific names Common names
Aglaia pinnata (L.) Druce Molave (Tag.)
Pistaciovitex pinnata (L.) Kuntze Hairy-leafed molave (Engl.)
Vitex arborea Roxb. ex Jack Malayan teak (Engl.)
Vitex articulata Steud. Vitex (Engl.)
Vitex bracteata Horsf. ex Miq.  
Vitex buddingii Moldenke  
Vitex digitata Wight ex Steud.  
Vitex heterophylla Blume ex Miq.  
Vitex heterophylla var. puberula H.J.Lam  
Vitex heterophylla var. velutina Koord. & Valeton  
Vitex inaequifolia Turcz.  
Vitex latifolia Lam.  
Vitex pinnata L.  
Vitex pinnata f. glabrescens Moldenke  
Vitex pinnata f. pilota (Dop) Moldenke  
Vitex puberula Miq.  
Vitex pubescens Vahl.  
Vitex pubescens var. bicolor Kuntze  
Vitex pubescens var. lilacina Kuntze  
Vitex pubescens var. pantjarensis Hochr.  
Vitex pubescens var. pinnata Kuntze  
Vitex pubescens var. ptilota Dop  
Vitex quinata var. puberula Moldenke  
Vitex sebesiae H.J.Lam ex Leeuwen  
Vitex turczaninowii f. puberula Moldenke  
Vitex velutina (Koord. & Valeton) Koord.  
Wallrothia articulata Roth  
Molave is a common name shared by Vitex parviflora and Vitex pinnata.
Vitex pinnata L. is an accepted name. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
INDONESIA: Laban, Kalapapa, Gulimpapa.
MALAYALAM: Aattumayila,Kattumayila, Kattumayilellu.
MALAYSIA: Leban tandok, Leban buas, Leban papa, Kulim papa.
MYANMAR: Kyetyoh.
SRI LANKA: Kata manakka, Kaththamanaku.
THAILAND: Tinnok, Samo-tinpet.
VIETNAM: Binh linh ling.
OTHERS: Aattumayila, Kattumayila, Mayilaadi.

Gen info
- Vitex pinnata is a species of tree in the family Lamiaceae.
- The name "molave" is Spanish,
derived from 'mulawin', the Tagalog word for the tree.
- In the confusing landscape of commom names, "molave" is shared by Vitex parviflora (Mulawin, small-flower chaste tree) and Viitex pinnata (hairy-leafed molave). Both species are native to the Philippines.

Molave is a tree that reaches a height of 8 to 15 meters, smooth or nearly so, with inflorescences that may be slightly hairy. Leaflets are three, stalked, ovate to lanceolate, 7 to 18 centimeters long, pointed at the tip, shining and quite smooth. Flowers are blue, numerous, 6 to 8 millimeters long, hairy outside the corolla, borne on terminal, paniculate and ample inflorescences, up to 20 centimeters in length. Fruit is rounded, 5 to 6 millimeters in diameter.

Vitex pubescens is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree, up to 25(-30) m tall, often with a crooked bole, up to 70 cm in diameter at breast height; bark surface smooth, shallowly fissured or flaky, pale grey to yellowish-brown, inner bark pale yellow to bright orange; branches quadrangular, crown often spreading. Leaves opposite, compound, (3-)5 foliolate; leaflets and petioles pubescent below; lateral leaflet sessile or nearly so, elliptic, 10-20 cm long. Inflorescence terminal, paniculate, with prominent bracts; calyx cup-shaped, 5-lobed, lobes subequal, c. 2 mm long, flowers bisexual, zygomorphic, corolla bluish-white to violet, 0.8-1.25 cm long, 2-lipped, upper lip 2-lobed, lower lip much larger and 3-lobed, pubescent outside; stamens 4, inserted on the corolla tube, exserted, didynamous. Ovary superior, 2-4-chambered, with 1 filiform style having a bifid stigma. Fruit a drupe, subglobose, 7-13 mm in diameter, purplish-black when mature, sessile on the often enlarged calyx, 1-4 seeded. Seed obovoid or oblong, lacking endosperm. (2)

- Native to the Philippines.
- Also native to Andaman Is., Assam, Bangladesh, Borneo, Cambodia, Himalaya, India, Jawa, Lesser Sunda Is., Malaya, Maluku, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Thailand, Vietnam.

- Phytochemical study of V. pinnata isolated a mixture of steroids ß-sitosterol and stigmasterol (1a and 1b) and three known flavonoids identified as 5-hydroxy-3,7,4'-trimethoxyflavone (2), 5-hydroxy-7,4'-dimethoxy-flavone (3) and 5-hydroxy-3,3',4',7-tetranethoxyflavone (4). (5)
- GC-MS study of ethanol extract of leaves yielded major chemical constituents of 3,7,11,15-tetramethyl-hexadecen-2-en-1-ol, gamma-stigmasterol, 9,12,15-octadecatrienoic acid and n-hexadecanoic acid. (see study below) (8)
- Study of bark isolated one new iridoid glucoside, pinnatoside (1), and three known flavonoids, viscioside (2), apigenin (3), and luteolin (4). (see study below) (10)

- Studies have suggested antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, wound healing, estrogenic, anti-inflammatory,  antitrypanosomal, cytotoxic properties.

Parts used
Leaves, bark, roots.


-  Leaves are edible. Use for making herbal tea.
- Leaves and bark used for stomachache. Poultice of leaves used to treat fevers and wounds.
- Roots and bark used for herbal baths.
- Aceh people of Indonesia use leaves to treat hypertension, fever, toothache.
- Kutai and Dayak people of Kalimantan, Indonesia, consume ground seeds to cure malaria.
- In Sri Lanka, bark decoction prescribed for diarrhea. Leaf infusion used to wash diseased skin. Dried bark powder applied on forehead to relieve headaches. (3)
- Roots used to relieve backache, body ache, and fatigue.

- Wood: Brown, hard and durable. Unlike Vitex parviflora, the timber is not of commercial importance because it is not available in larger dimensions. Locally, it is used for construction, boats, implements.
- Fuel: Produces high quality charcoal.

Antitrypanosomal Activity:
Phytochemical study of V. pinnata isolated a mixture of steroids ß-sitosterol and stimasterol (1a and 1b) and three known flavonoids identified as 5-hydroxy-3,7,4'-trimethoxyflavone (2), 5-hydroxy-7,4'-dimethoxy-flavone (3) and 5-hydroxy-3,3',4',7-tetranethoxyflavone (4). Compounds 1-4 showed moderate antitrypanosomal activity against Trypanosoma brucei brucei with MICs of 6.25 µg/ml, 19,0, 21.0, and 17.0 µM, respectively. (5)
Toxicity by Brine Shrimp Lethality Test / Fruit: Toxicity test was done to determine safe limit of concentrations that can be consumed without causing side effects, using Brine Shrimp Lethality Test (BSLT) with Artemia salina Leach shrimp larvae. The ethanolic extract of laban fruit was toxic with LC50 of 600,608 mg/mL. (6)
Antibacterial / Leaves: Vitex pinnata is known to inhibit the formation of Streptococcus mutans in human teeth. Study evaluated the antibacterial activity of various extracts of Laban leaves against Streptococcus mutans, the MIC and minimum kill concentration. The methanol extract inhibited bacteria more quickly and at smallest concentration of 0.05% average colony-1.48 CFU/ml. The smallest concentration of extracts (n-hexane, ethyl acetate, and methanol) is able to kill S. mutans bacteria. (7)
Estrogenic Activity and Effect on Lipid Profile / Leaves: Study evaluated the estrogenic activity and lipid profile of ethanol extract of leaves of V. pinnata with 17 ß-estradiol in bilaterally ovariectomized (OVX) rats. The extract at dose of 1000 mg/kg significantly increased uterine and vaginal weight and endometrial thickness. Doses of 500 and 1000 mg/kb induced significant (p<0.05) decrease in triglycerides and total cholesterol in OVX rats. Results may be of benefit for postmenopausal women. (see constituents above) (8)
Antioxidant / Antibacterial / Wound Healing: Study evaluated the antioxidant, antimicrobial, and wound healing properties of methanol extract of leaves V. pinnata fractionated with hexane, chloroform, and ethyl acetate solvents. All extracts showed antioxidant activities, with the EA extract showing highest DPP)H radical scavenging activity.  On disc diffusion assay, the ethyl acetate extract showed antibacterial activity against all four tested strains i.e., S. aureus, B. subtilis, E. coli, and P. aeruginosa. On wound healing studies, ointment formulation of 50% (w/w) showed significant wound contraction in excision wound model in Wistar rats. (9)
Antifungal / Bark: Study of bark isolated one new iridoid glucoside, pinnatoside (1), and three known flavonoids, viscioside (2), apigenin (3), and luteolin (4). Compound 1 exhibited modest antifungal activity against Candida albicans. (10)
Anti-TB / Cytotoxicity / Bark: GC-MS study evaluated the chemical profile of V. pinnata (VP) bark lipophilic extract and its anti-TB and cytotoxic activities. GC-MS revealed a total of 81 compounds representing 86% of identified compounds. In silico docking study on major identified compounds, showed n-nonane with the most favorable binding affinity. In vitro anti-TB of V. pinnata lipophilic extract using Microplate Alamar Blue Assay exhibited MIC of 62.5 µg/mL. Results suggest potential use of the V. pinnata extract as a natural anti-TB. (11)
Effect of Leaf Toothpaste Formulation on Saliva pH: Maintaining pH balance of saliva is one way of preventing dental caries. The pH balance is influenced by the rate of salivary secretion, which can be stimulated chemically or mechanically. Study evaluated the effect of use of laban leaf methanol leaf extract on salivary pH. Results showed the use of methanol extract toothpaste of laban leaves was more effective in increasing salivary pH (p<0.05). Results suggest potential of laban leaves as raw material for toothpaste. (12)


Updated December 2022 / June 2019 / September 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: Photo / Lamiaceae : Vitex pinnata / Inflorescence / Copyright © 2014 by P.B. Pelser & J.F. Barcelona (contact: pieter.pelser@canterbury.ac.nz) [ref. DOL88931] / Non-Commercial Use / click on image to go to source page / Phytoimages.siu.edu
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photo: Vitex pubescens tree / uploaded by © Thenmozhi Shanmugam /  click on image to go to source page / Researchgate
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Illustration: Vitex pinnata / Flora de Filipinas / 1880 - 1883 / Francisco Manuel Blanco (O.S.A) / Public Domain Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Vitex pinnata / KEW: Plants of the World Online

Vitex pinnata / WorldAgroForestry: Tree Functional Attributes and Ecological Database
Vitex pinnata / NBC: Asia Medicinal Plants Info
Traditional Anti-Malaria Plants Species of Balikpapan Botanic Garden, East Kalimantan-Indonesia / Farid Kuswanntoro / ICBS Conference Proceedings / DOI: 10.18502/kls.v3i4.690
Anti-infective Activities of Secondary Metabolites from Vitex pinnata / Nurhalida Kamal, Carol Clements, Alexander I Gray, Ru Angelie Edrada-Ebel /Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science, 2016; 6(1): pp 102-106 / DOI: 10.7324/JAPS.2016.600117 / ISSN: 2231-3354
Toxicity Test of Laban Fruits (Vitex pinnata Linn) by Using Brine Shrimp Lethality Test (BSLT) Method / MI Rasyid, H Yuliani, N Triandita, L Angraeni, and M Anggriawin / IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, Volume 1059: 012051 / DOI: 10.1088/1755-1315/1059/1/012051
Antibacterial Activity Tests of N-hexane, Ethyl Acetate, and Methanol Leaves (Vitex) Extract (pinnata) against Streptococcus mutans / Cut A Nuraskin, Marlina Marlina, C Sosraya et al / Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, 2020; 8(A) / DOI: 10.3889/oamjms.2020.3482
Effect of Vitex pinnata L. leaf extract on estrogenic activity and lipid profile in ovariectomized rats / Wilawan Promprom, Wannachai Chatan, Phukphon Munglue / Pharmacognosy Magazine,  2020; 16(5): pp 492-497 / DOI: 10.4103/pm.pm_443_19
Evaluation of antioxidant, antibacterial, and wound healing activities of Vitex pinnata / Nurul Ashifah Shafie / F1000Res, 2020; Vol 9 / DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.21310.2 / PMID: 32874549
Minor Chemical Constituents of Vitex pinnata / Athar Ata, Nathan Mbong, Chad D Iverson, Radhika Samarasekera / NPC: Natural Product Communications, 2009; 4(1): pp 1-4
GC-MS profiling of Vitex pinnata bark lipophilic extract and screening of its anti-TB and cytotoxic activities / Safa Abdelbaset, Dina M El-Kersh, Iriny M Ayoub, Omayma A Eldahshan / Natural Product Research, 2022 / DOI: 10.1080/14786419.2022.2124512
The effect of using Laban leaf (Vitex pinnata) methanol extract toothpaste on saliva pH in Students of SD Negeri I Pagar AIR / Cut Aja Nuraskin / IJBCP: International Journal of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology, 2022; 11(5) / DOI: 10.18203'2319-2003.ijbcp20222132

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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