Pandanus is a genus of monocots of about 600 known species, varying in size from small shrubs less than a meter to medium-sized trees of about 20 meters.
In the Philippines there are 48 species of Pandanus, many of them are endemic, growing in various habitats, from sandy beaches, mangroves and primary forests. The fruit of some species are edible, eaten by bats, rats, crabs, elephants and lizards. The majority of species are dispersed primarily by water.
Pandan is an erect, branched
small tree, growing 3 to 5 meters high; the trunk bearing many prop roots.
Leaves are spirally crowded toward the ends of the branches, glaucous,
linear lanceolate, slenderly long-acuminate, up to 1.5 meters
long, 3 to 5 centimeters wide, the margins and midrib beneath towards the apex, armed with sharp spiny
teeth that point toward the apex of the leaf. Male inflorescence
is fragrant, pendulous, up to 0.5 meter long. Fruit is solitary,
pendulous, ellipsoid to globose-ellipsoid, about 20 centimeters long,
each composed of 50 to 75 or more, obovoid, angular, fibrous and fleshy drupes,
4 to 6 centimeters long, narrow below and truncate at the apex; the stone 4- to 10-celled, slightly sulcate between the cells of the apex, becoming yellow-red to bright red-orange at maturity.
- In thickets along
seashores throughout the Philippines.
- Also occurs in Indo-Malayan and Polynesian regions, extending to southern China and tropical Australia.
- Essential oil, alkaloids,
glycosides, isoprene esters, and tannin.
- Blossoms yield an essential oil.
- Keora oil contains diterpene, d-linalool, phenylethyl acetate, citral,
phenylethyl alcohol ester, ester of phthalic acid, fatty acids and steroptene.
- Pandanus fruits contain significant amounts of vitamin C.
- Also contains significant amounts of provitamin A carotenoids.
- Phytochemical study of various extracts of leaves yielded glycoside, carbohydrates, phytosterols, saponins, phenolic compounds, proteins and amino acids, terpenoids, flavanoids, fixed oil and fats.
The prop roots possess diuretic properties.
Oil and attar considered stimulant and antispasmodic.
Fruits of wild forms contain calcium oxalate crystals which may cause mouth irritation.
Leaves and roots.
Edibility / Culinary
- An aromatic leaf used to perfume
- Ripe fruits of wild forms can be consumed after cooking and straining of the pericarp of the fruits.
- Diuretic: Take decoction of fresh or dried prop root as tea.
- Roots used to strengthen the gums.
- In the Philippines, as far back as 1837, water from cuts made near the base of the trunk use to stimulate urination.
Headache, arthritis, stomach spasms: Decoction of leaves.
- Poultice of
fresh leaves mixed with oil also used for headaches.
- Wound healing: Pulverized dried leaves used to facilitate wound healing.
- Poultice of mash of cabbage of plant, mixed with salt and juice of Citrus
microcarpa, for abscesses.
- Decoction of roots believed to have aphrodisiac and cardiotonic properties.
- Also used for arthritis and to prevent spontaneous abortion.
- Chewing the roots strengthens the gums.
- Decoction of aerial roots use as beverage for cases of blennorrhea.
- Decoction of roots combined with sap of banana plant for urethral injections
for variety of urinary complaints.
- Leaves of plant triturated into a mash, slightly salted and added with juice of Citrus microcarpa, used as hot poultice for new boils.
- In Ayurveda, leaves used for filarial diseases, leucorrhea, leprosy, smallpox, scabies, syphilis and
- In traditional Indian systems, used for filarial disease, leucorrhea and as emmenagogue.
- Anthers of male flowers used for earaches and headaches.
- In the Marshall Islands, used for abnormal menstrual bleeding, after delivery, infant jaundice, colic and restlessness. (5)
- In Palau, roots used to make a drink to alleviate stomach cramps. Leaves used to alleviate vomiting.
- Decorative: Use of flowers or seeds in making leis.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Fresh juice of the aerial root of Pandanus tectorius produced i34.5 % inhibition of carrageenin-induced edema.
• Intestinal Motility / Uterine Stimulant: Study in rats suggest stimulant property on gastrointestinal motility and uterine stimulant action.
• Antibacterial: Study results indicate that Pandanus tectorium have antibacterial effects on B subtilis but not on E coli, P aeruginosa, C albicans or S aureus. (3)
• Antitubercular / Triterpenes and Phytosterols: Study of a chloroform extract of leaves yielded a new tirucallane-type triterpene, 24,24-dimethyl-5β-tirucall-9(11),25-dien-3-one (1), squalene and a mixture of the phytosterols stigmasterol and β-sitosterol. Compound 1 inhibited the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv with a MIC of 64 μg/mL, while squalene and the sterol mixture have MICs of 100 and 128 μg/mL, respectively. (7)
• Fruits /Phenolic Compounds and Flavonoids: Study isolated 15 compounds (ten phenolics and five flavonoids) from the fruits of P. tectorius. Of the compounds, trans-ethyl acetate was the highest one with about 0.1% of the dry material. Most of the compounds possessed anti-oxidative activities, with some anti-inflammatory activities. (10)
• Diuretic / Leaves: A previous study has shown diuretic activity in a leaf extract. This study isolated squalene (1) from a chloroform extract. Both squalene 1 and the chloroform extract exhibited positive diuretic effects, although no comparable to the positive control, furosemide. (13)
• Neurobehavioral Activity / Leaves: Study evaluated an ethyl acetate fraction and n-butanol fraction of hydroalcoholic leaf extract for neurobehavioral activity using elevated plus maze, open field test and forced swim test in mice models. Results showed antidepressant and anxiolytic action. Phytochemical screening yielded flavonoids which could be responsible for the pharmacological action. Acute toxicity study on mice per OECD guidelines showed no significant toxicity. (14)
• Anti-Hyperlipidemic / Caffeoylquinic Acids: Study evaluated the anti-hyperlipidemic effect and mechanism of action of P. tectorius fruit extract in hamsters fed a high fat-diet. Treatment with PTF-b (fruit ethanol extract) enriched in caffeoylquinic acids (CQAs) significantly stimulated the activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) as well as serum and hepatic lipoprotein lipase, with moderation of hyperlipidemia and improvement of liver lipid profile. (16)
Small scale commercial production.