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Family Caesalpinaceae
Caesalpinia decapetala (Roth) Alston

Yun shih

Scientific names Common names
Biancaea decapetala (Roth) O.Deg. Puto (Ig.)
Biancaea scandens Tod. Cat's claw (Engl.)
Biancaea sepiaria (Roxb.) Tod. Liane sappan (Engl.)
Caesalpinia benguetensis Elmer Shoofly (Engl.)
Caesalpinia decapetala (Roth) Alston  
Caesalpinia ferox Hassk.  
Caesalpinia sepiaria Roxb.  
Mezoneuron benguetense (Elmer) Elmer  
Reichardia decapetala Roth  
Reichardia decapetala Wight ex Steud.  
Caesalpinia decapetala (Roth) Alston is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
AFRIKAANS: Kraaldoring, Mauritiusdoring.
CHINESE: Yun shih.
FRENCH: Bois Sappan.
KOREAN: Silgorinamu.
MALAGASY: Roimainty, Roinombilahy, Tsiafakomby, Tsifakombilahy.
URDU: Kander, Relan.
ZULU: Ubobo-Encane, Ufenisi, Ulozisi.

Puto is a straggling, perennial, woody, thorny, stout climber, vines growing up to 30 feet high. Branches are finely downy, with small yellow prickles. Leaves are two-pinnate, 25 to 40 centimeters long. Leaflets are 10 to 24, opposite, oblong, and 1 to 2.5 centimeters long. Flowers are large, bright chrome-yellow, and on terminal, large, erect racemes. Pod is smooth, nearly flat, obliquely oblong, 5 to 8 centimeters long and about 2.5 centimeters wide, and tipped with persistent style base. There are 4 to 8 oblong, mottled seeds.

- In Isabela and the Benguet Provinces in Luzon, in thickets about limestone cliffs and boulder, at altitudes of 1,200 meters.
- Also occurs in India and Japan, and southward to Malaya.
- Introduced into tropical Africa, America and Australia.

- Study yielded seven compounds: lupeol acetate, lupeol, oleanoic acid, pentacosanoic acid 2,3-dihydroxypropyl ester, 1-(26-hydroxyhexacosanoyl)-glycerol, stigmasterol, and beta-sitosterol.
- Ethanol extract of stems yielded seven compounds: 6′-hydroxy-3, 4-(1′′-hydroxy-epoxy-propane)-2′, 3′-(1′′β-hydroxy-2′′′-carbonyl-cyclobutane)-1, 1′-diphenyl (1), octacosyl 3, 5-dihydroxycinnamate (2), 2′, 4, 4′-trihydroxychalocone (3), bonducellin (4), 7, 3′, 5′-trihydroxyflavanone (5), daucosterin (6), and β-sitosterol (7).
- Study isolated 14 known compounds viz. andrographolide (1), quercetin (2), ß-sitosterol (3), bergenin (4), rutin (5), emodin (6), betulin (7), stigmasterol (8), baicelein (9), polydatin (10), salicin (11), apigenin (12), epicatechin (13), and cinnamic acid (14). (see study below) (12)
- Study isolated seven compounds viz. peol acetate (I), lupeol (2), oleanoic acid (3), pentacosanoic acid 2,3-dihydroxypropyl ester (4), 1-(26-hydroxyhexacosanoyl)-glycerol (5), stigmasterol (6), beta-sitosterol (7). (13)
- GC-MS study of essential oil yielded 72 components representing 99.6% of total oil identified. Main components were β-caryophyllene (17.2%), followed by β-myrcene (16.6%), (E)-β-ocimene (12.4%), limonene (10.4%), and caryophyllene oxide (9.6%). Monoterpenids and sesquiterpenoids accounted for 90% of the essential oil; both contributed to the characteristic odor of C. decapetala. (15)
- Study of seeds isolated a new cassane diterpenoid designated phanginin Q (1) together with three known cassane diterpenoids, caesaljapin (2), caesaldekarin A (3), and caesaldekarin B (4). (16)

- Purgative, astringent, anthelmintic , antipyretic, antimalarial.
- Reported as psychoactive and hallucinogenic.
- Studies have shown antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antipyretic, anti-diarrheal, anti-implantation properties.

Parts used
Leaves, seeds, roots.


- Roots are considered purgative.
- In Chamba, the bruised leaves are applied to burns.
- Seeds are considered astringent, antipyretic, anthelmintic, and antimalarial.
- Used for the treatment of ague.
- In China, decoction of flowers used to expel intestinal worms. Plant also used for malaria and skin affections. In excess, use reported to cause idiocy.
- In india, plant decoction used for baths in treatment of jaundice. Leaves are used for burns, biliousness and stomach problems. Also used as laxative, tonic, and antipyretic.
- In Bhandrdara, India, fresh leaves are boiled with tea powder in a cup of goat's milk and taken twice daily for 3-4 days to control gingivitis and pyorrhea. (14)
- Tanning: In southern India, bark is used for tanning.
- Magic / Superstition: In Chinese herbal medicine, flowers reported to have magical properties, producing levitation and communication with spirits.
Decoction of flowers drunk as tea to communicate with spirits or dispel evil forces.
- Psychoactive: Preparations of crushed and powdered seeds combined with seeds of Hyoscyamus niger (lang-tang) made in incense possess psychoactive properties when burned.

C. sepiaria is one of nine plants in a study that confirmed the plants have anti-implantation effect. (2)
Antidiarrheal: On 182 plants studied, C. sepiaria was one of 28 flowering plants with antidiarrheal activity. (3)
Antioxidant: Study of methanol extracts from the wood and pericarp of C. decapetala showed significant concentration and dose-dependent antioxidant activity. Total phenols, flavonoids and total flavonols were higher in the pericarp than the wood. (5)
Gallic Acid / Radical Scavenging Activity : Study investigated the antioxidant capacities and phenolic contents of gallic acid isolated from Caesalpinia decapetala. The total phenolic content was 4.31%. Isolated Gallic Acid showed significant in vitro free radical scavenging activity. (8)
Caesaldecan / Cassane Diterpenoid: Study isolated a new cassane diterpenoid, caesaldecan, from the leaves, together with eight known compounds viz. spathulenol, 4,5-epoxy-8(14)-caryophyllene, squalene, lupeol, trans-resveratrol, quercetin, astragalin, and stigmasterol. (9)
Seed Gum As Drug Release Vehicle: Seed gum isolated from C. pulcherrima kernel powder can be used for controlled release of both water-soluble and water insoluble drugs. (10)
Antitumor / Antioxidant: Study isolated 14 known compounds. Emodin (6), baicalein (9), and apigenin (12) showed significant antitumor activities against MGC-803 cell lines with IC50 of 15.6, 16.3, and 13.2 µmol/L, respectively. Baicalein (9), epicatechin (13), quercetin (2) and rutin (5) showed significant DPPH scavenging capacities, stronger than ascorbic acid. (see constituents above) (1
Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory / Antipyretic: Study evaluated 70% aqueous methanolic and n-hexane extracts of C. decapetala using Swiss albino mice. Aqueous methanolic extract showed significant (p<0.05) activities in various pain models viz. acetic acid-induced writhing, formalin-induced licking, and hot plate method and significant antipyretic and anti-inflammatory activities more than the n-hexane extract. (1


Last Update June 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: Plants of Hawaii / Caesalpinia decapetala (cat's claw, wait a bit, Mysore thorn, pua kelekino) / Leaves and flowers at Hwy11 Kapapala, Hawaii. December 05, 2001. / Forest & Kim Starr / Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 / HearOrg
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Seed Pods / Biancaea sepiaria (Roxb.) Todaro / Seedpods splitting open at Kakipi Gulch, Maui / Plants of Hawaii - Image licensed under a Creative Commons / Forest & Kim Starr / Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 / alterVISTA

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Caesalpinia sepiaria - Yun Shih / Entheology
The quest for a herbal contraceptive / RR Chaudhury / Natl Med J India. 1993 Sep-Oct;6(5):199-201.
Ethnobotanical survey of antidiarrhoeal plants of Parinche valley, Pune district, Maharashtra, India / P Tetali, C Waghchaure et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology (2009), Volume: 123, Issue: 2, Pages: 229-236
Studies on chemical constituents of Caesalpinia decapetala (Roth) Alston / Li M, Zhang C, Chong L. / Zhong Yao Cai. 2002 Nov;25(11):794-5.
Antioxidant Properties of the Methanol Extract of the Wood and Pericarp of Caesalpinia decapetala
/ C R Pawar and S J Surana / J Young Pharm. 2010 Jan-Mar; 2(1): 45–49. / doi: 10.4103/0975-1483.62212
Chemical Constituents from the Stems of Caesalpinia decapetala / Qiong Zhang, Xue-Ting Liu, Jing-Yu Liang and Zhi-Da Min / Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines, Vol 6, Issue 3, May 2008, Pages 168-172 / doi:10.1016/S1875-5364(09)60015-7
Caesalpinia decapetala (Bois Sappan) / Common names / Zipcodezoo /
In Vitro Free Radical Scavenging Activity of Gallic Acid Isolated From Caesalpinia Decapetala Wood / Upendra Bhadoriya*, Praveen Sharma, Shailendra Singh Solanki / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease (2012)
Caesaldecan, a cassane diterpenoid from the leaves of Caesalpinia decapetala. / Phan Van Kiem, Chau Van Minh, Hoang Thanh Huong, Jung Joon Lee, Young Ho Kim / Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2005 Apr ;53 (4):428-30
Drug Release Studies from Caesalpinia pulcherrima Seed Polysaccharide / Somasundaram Jeevanandham*, Duraiswamy Dhachinamoorthi and Kothapalli Bannoth Chandra Sekhar / Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research (2011), 10 (3): 597-603
Chemical Constituents of Caesalpinia decapetala (Roth) Alston / Xiao-Hua Wei, Sheng-Jie Yang, Na Liang, De-Yu Hu, Lin-Hong Jin, Wei Xue and Song Yang * / Molecules 2013, 18, 1325-1336 / doi:10.3390/molecules18011325
Analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-pyretic activities of Caesalpinia decapetala / Amna Parveen, Muhammad Sajid Hamid Akash,* Kanwal Rehman, Qaisar Mahmood, and Muhammad Imran Qadir * / Bioimpacts. 2014; 4(1): 43–48. / doi: 10.5681/bi.2014.013
Studies on chemical constituents of Caesalpinia decapetala (Roth) Alston / Li M , Zhang C , Chong L / Zhong yao cai -Journal of Chinese Medicinal Materials [2002, 25(11):794-795
A SURVEY OF PLANTS IN TRADITIONAL HOME REMEDIES FROM BHANDRDARA AREAS OF AHMEDNAGAR DISTRICT (M.S.), INDIA / *Salave Ashok P. and P. G. Reddy / World Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, Vol 3, Issue 6 (2014)
Characteristic odor components of essential oil from Caesalpinia decapetala / Mitsuo Miyazawaa*, Tsukasa Nagataa, Hiroshi Nakahashia & Toshiyuki Takahashia / Journal of Essential Oil Research, Volume 24, Issue 5, 2012 / DOI:10.1080/10412905.2012.703475
A new cassane diterpenoid from the seeds of Caesalpinia decapetala / Hua Wei, Xiao-Qian Liu, Jing-Jing Zhu, Liang-Liang Gao, Zhi-Min Wang* and Li-Hua Yan / Journal of Asian Natural Products Research, 2015 / http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10286020.2015.1055255

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.

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