Home >Current Issue

Volume: 9, Issue: 7, July, 2019
DOI: 10.7324/JAPS.2019.90718

Review Article

Nutritional and therapeutic benefits of medicinal plant Pithecellobium dulce (Fabaceae): A review

Selvakumar Murugesan1, Dinesh Kumar Lakshmanan2, Velusamy Arumugam3, Ronaldo Anuf Alexander4

  Author Affiliations


Pithecellobium dulce, an evergreen medium-sized, spiny tree, each part of the plant has vast nutritional values; stuffed with essential vitamins, amino acids, and minerals. The fruits of P. dulce were widely used in Ayurvedic medicines and home remedies. The plant has also been a rich source of biologically active compounds such as tannin, olein, and glycosides. Totally 38 active phytocompounds like quercetin, kaempferol, and dulcitol were identified from the various parts of the plant. Notably, this plant has catechol type of tannins in the bark. There are polyphenol classes of phytocompounds which have found to hold potent antivenom activity. Their fruits are a rich source of phenols, flavonoids, and saponins reported for their efficacy to treat diabetes, oxidative stress, and gastrointestinal disorders. The plant leaf and seed have an antibacterial, antifungal, and adulticidal activities. Thus, the present review describes on exploiting the medicinal properties of P. dulce and its biomedicinal applications in therapeutic development.


Pithecellobium dulce, legume, nutrients, phytochemicals, therapeutic value.

Citation: Selvakumar M, Dinesh Kumar L, Velusamy A, Ronaldo Anuf A. Nutritional and therapeutic benefits of medicinal plant Pithecellobium dulce (Fabaceae): A review. J Appl Pharm Sci, 2019; 9(07):130–139.

Copyright: The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Al-Yahya MA, Mothana R, Al-Said M. Attenuation of CCl4- induced oxidative stress and hepatonephrotoxicity by Saudi Sidr honey in rats. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med, 2013; 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/569037

Aruoma OI. Free radicals, oxidative stress, and antioxidants in human health and disease. J Am Oil Chem Soc, 1998; 75:199-212. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11746-998-0032-9

Asmat U, Abad K, Ismail K. Diabetes mellitus and oxidative stress-a concise review. Saudi Pharm J, 2016; 24:547-53. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsps.2015.03.013

Bagchi S, Kumar KJ. Studies on water soluble polysaccharides from Pithecellobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth. Seeds. Carbohydr Polym, 2016; 138:215-21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.carbpol.2015.11.018

Bautista-Banos S, Garcia-Dominguez E, Barrera-Necha LL, Reyes-Chilpa R, Wilson CL. Seasonal evaluation of the postharvest fungicidal activity of powders and extracts of huamuchil (Pithecellobium dulce): action against Botrytris cinerea, Penicillium digitatum and Rhizopus stolonifer of strawberry fruit. Postharvest Biol Technol, 2003; 29:81-92. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0925-5214(02)00244-2

Bhargvakrishna P, Gupta MB, Mitra CR, Chittranjan R. Anti-inflammatory activity of saponins and other natural products. Indian J Med Res, 1970; 58:724-30.

Chaudhury A, Duvoor C, Reddy Dendi VS, Kraleti S, Chada A, Ravilla R, Marco A, Shekhawat NS, Montales MT, Kuriakose K, Sasapu A, Beebe A, Patil N, Musham CK, Lohani GP, Mirza W. Clinical review of antidiabetic drugs: implications for type 2 diabetes mellitus management. Front Endocrinol, 2017; 8:6. https://doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2017.00006

CSIR. The useful plants of India, publ. info. Directorae. New Delhi, India: C.S.I.R. (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research); 1988.

Edzard Ernst MD. Harmless herbs? A review of the recent literature. Am J Med, 1998; 170-8. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0002-9343(97)00397-5

Fu Z, Gilbert ER, Liu D. Regulation of insulin synthesis and secretion and pancreatic Beta-cell dysfunction in diabetes. Curr Diabetes Rev, 2013; 9:25-53. https://doi.org/10.2174/157339913804143225

Gao Y, Zhang M, Wu T, Xu M, Cai H, Zhang Z. Effects of D-pinitol on insulin resistance through the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway in type 2 diabetes mellitus rats. J Agric Food Chem, 2015; 63:6019-26. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.5b01238

Govindarajan M, Rajeswary M. Repellent properties of Pithecellobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth. (Family: Fabaceae) against fi lariasis vector, Culex quinquefasciatus Say (Diptera:Culicidae). J Med Herbs Ethnomed, 2015; 1:103-7. https://doi.org/10.5455/jmhe.2015.08.018

Govindarajan M, Sivakumar R, Rajeswary M, Yogalakshmi K. Adulticidal activity of Pithecellobiumdulce (Roxb.) Benth. Against Culexquinquefasciatus(Say). Asian Pacific J Trop Dis, 2012; 1:124-8. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2222-1808(12)60029-2

Kahindi RK, Abdulrazak SA, Muinga RW. Effect of supplementing Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) with Madras thorn (Pithecellobium dulce) on intake, digestibility and live weight gains of growing goats. Small Ruminant Res, 2007; 69:83-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smallrumres.2005.12.008

Katekhaye SD, Kale MS. Antioxidant and free radical scavenging activity of Pithecellobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth wood bark and leaves. Free Radic Biol Med, 2012; 2:47-57. https://doi.org/10.5530/ax.2012.3.7

Kim MJ, Yoo KH, Kim JH. Effect of pinitol on glucose metabolism and adipocytokines in uncontrolled type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Res Clin Pract, 2007; 77:247-51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.diabres.2007.01.066

Hooper L, Cassidy A. A review of the health care potential of bioactive compounds. J Sci Food Agric, 2006; 86:1805-13. https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.2599

Lanas A, Chan FKL. Peptic ulcer disease. Lancet, 2017; 613-24. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)32404-7

Mateen S, Moin S, Khan AQ, Zafar A, Fatima N. Increased reactive oxygen species formation and oxidative stress in rheumatoid arthritis increased reactive oxygen species formation and oxidative stress in rheumatoid arthritis. PLoS One, 2016; 11:e0152925. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0152925

Megala J, Geetha A. Free radical- scavenging and H+, K+- ATPase inhibition activities of Pithecellobium dulce. Food Chem, 2009; 121:1120-8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2010.01.059

Megala J, Geetha A. Antiulcerogenic activity of hydroalcoholic fruit extract of Pithecellobium dulce in different experimental ulcer models in rats. J of Ethnopharmacol, 2012; 142:415-21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2012.05.011

Nagmoti DM, Kothavade PS, Bulani VD, Gawali NB, Juvekar AR. Antidiabetic and antihyperlipidemic activity of Pithecellobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth seeds extract in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Eur J Integrative Med, 2015; 7:263-73. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eujim.2015.01.001

Nelson RH. Hyperlipidemia as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Prim Care, 2013; 40:195-211. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pop.2012.11.003

Nigam SK, Gupta RK, Mitra CR. Pithecellobium dulce. I. Isolation and characterization of the constituents of the legume. J Pharm Sci, 1962; 52:459-62. https://doi.org/10.1002/jps.2600520512

Nigam SK, Misra G, Uddin R, Yoshikawa K, Kawamoto M, Arihara S. Pithedulosides A-G, Oleanane glycosides from Pithecellobium dulce. Phytochem, 1996; 44:1329-34. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0031-9422(96)00725-X

Nigam SK, Mitra CR. Pithecellobium dulce. IV. Constituents of flowers, heartwood, and root bark. Planta Med, 1968; 16:335-7. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0028-1099917

Nigam SK, Mitra CR. Pithecellobium dulce. V. Chemistry of the seed saponin and constituents of the leaves. Planta Med, 1970; 18:44-50. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0028-1099747

Olivares JF, Avilés NF, Albarrán PB, Castelán OA, Rojas HS. Nutritional quality of Pithecellobium dulce and Acacia cochliacantha fruits, and its evaluation in goats. Livest Sci, 2013; 154:74-81. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2013.02.017

Orwa C, Mutua A, Kindt R, Jamnadass R, Simons A. Agroforestree database: a tree species reference and selection guide version 4.0. World Agroforestry Centre ICRAF, Nairobi, KE, 2009.

Osefo N, Ito T, Jensen RT. Gastric acid hypersecretory states: recent insights and advances. Curr Gastroenterol Rep, 2009; 11:433-41. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11894-009-0067-6

Pal PB, Pal S, Manna P, Sil PC. Traditional extract of Pithecellobium dulce fruits protects mice against CCl4 induced renal oxidative impairment and necrotic cell death. Pathophysiology, 2012; 19:101-14. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pathophys.2012.02.001

Pirkle JL, Freedman BI. Hypertension and chronic kidney disease: controversies in pathogenesis and treatment. Minerva Urol Nefrol, 2013; 65:37-50.

Pithayanukul P, Ruenraroengsak P, Bavovada R, Pakmanee N, Suttisri R, Saen-oon S. Inhibition of Naja kaouthia venom activities by plant polyphenols. J Ethnopharmacol, 2005; 97:527-33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2004.12.013

Pradeepa S, Subramanian S, Kaviyarasan V. Evaluation of anti-microbial activity of Pithecellobium dulce pod pulp extract. Asian J Pharm Clin Res, 2014; 7:32-7.

Preethi S, Mary Saral A. Screening of natural polysaccharides extracted from the fruits of Pithecellobium dulce as a pharmaceutical adjuvant. In J Bio Mac, 2016; 92:347-56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2016.07.036

Rahmat AA, Dar FA, Choudhary IM. Protection of CCl4-induced liver and kidney damage by phenolic compounds in leaf extracts of Cnestis ferruginea (de Candolle). Pharmacogn Res, 2014; 6:19-28. https://doi.org/10.4103/0974-8490.122913

Rajeswary M, Govindarajan M. Adulticidal properties of Pithecellobiumdulce (Roxb.) Benth. (Family: Fabaceae) against dengue vector, Aedes aegypti (Linn.) (Diatera: Culicidae). Asian Pacific J Trop Dis, 2014; 1:449-52. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2222-1808(14)60489-8

Raman N, Sudharsan S, Veerakumar V, Pravin N, Vithiya K. Pithecellobiumdulce mediated extra-cellular green synthesis of larvicidal silver nanoparticles. Spec Acta Part A Mol Biomol Spec, 2012; 96: 1031-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.saa.2012.08.011

Rao GN, Nagender A, Satyanarayana A, Rao DG. Preparation, chemical composition and storage studies of quamachil (Pithecellobium dulce L.) aril powder. J Food Sci Technol, 2010; 48(1):90-5. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-010-0135-9

Rashid MH, Biswas SU, Abdullah-AL-Mamun MO, huque A, Bhuiyan JR. Phytochemical screening and analgesic, anti-bacterial and cytotoxic activity evaluation of ethanol extract of Pithcellobium dulce (Roxb.) benth leaf. Asian J Pharm Clin Res, 2015; 8:451-6.

Saegusa J, Kawano S, Kumagai S. Oxidative stress and autoimmune diseases. Oxid Stress Dis Cancer, 2006; 461-75. https://doi.org/10.1142/9781860948046_0013

Sahu NP, Mahato SB. Anti-inflammatory triterpene saponins of Pithecellobium dulce: characterization of echinocystic acid bisdesmoside. Phytochem, 1994; 37:1425-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0031-9422(00)90425-4

Saklani A, Kutty SK. Plant-derived compounds in clinical trials. Drug Discov Today, 2008; 13:161-71. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drudis.2007.10.010

Satheesh Kumar N, Nisha N. Phytomedicines as potential inhibitors of β amyloid aggregation: significance to Alzheimer's disease. Chin J Nat Med, 2014; 12:801-18. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1875-5364(14)60122-9

Saxena VK, Singhal M. Novel prenylated flavonoid from stem of Pithecellobium dulce. Fitoterapia, 1999; 70:98-100. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0367-326X(98)00012-4

Shanmugakumar SD, Amerjothy S, Balakrishna K. Pharmacognostical, antibacterial and antifungal potentials of the leaf extracts of Pithecellobium dulce Benth. Phcog Mag, 2006; 2:163-7.

Shyur LF, Yang NS. Metabolomics for phytomedicine research and drug development. Curr Opin Chem Biol, 2008; 12:66-71. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpa.2008.01.032

Sukantha TA, Subashini KS, Ravindran NT, Balashanmugam P. Evaluation of in vitro antioxidant and antibacterial activity of Pithecellobium dulce Benth fruit peel. Int J Curr Res, 2011; 1:378-82.

Sukantha TA, Subashini KS, Ravindran NT. Antibacterial activity of selected medicinal plant in traditional treatment of wound infection in Southeast India. Int J Pharm Sci, 2014; 6:511-3.

Sukantha TA, Subashini KS. Isolation and characterization of secondary metabolites from Pithecellobium dulce benth fruit peel. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci, 2015; 7:199-203.

Suzuki H, Nishizawa T, Tsugawa H, Mogami S, Hibi T. Roles of oxidative stress in stomach disorders. J Clin Biochem Nutr, 2012; 50:35-9. https://doi.org/10.3164/jcbn.11-115SR

Ung L, Pattamatta U, Carnt N, Wilkinson-Berka JL, Liew G, White AJ. Oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species: a review of their role in ocular disease. Clin Sci 2017; 131:2865-83. https://doi.org/10.1042/CS20171246

Vergeer M, Holleboom AG, Kastelein JJ, Kuivenhoven JA. The HDL hypothesis: does high-density lipoprotein protect from atherosclerosis? J Lipid Res, 2010; 51:2058-73. https://doi.org/10.1194/jlr.R001610

Yoshikawa K, Suzaki Y, Tanaka M, Arihara S, Nigam SK. Three acylated saponins and a related compound from Pithecellobium dulce. J Nat Prod, 1997; 60:1269-74. https://doi.org/10.1021/np9703555

Zhou X, Zhang W, Liu X, Zhang W, Li Y. Interrelationship between diabetes and periodontitis: role of hyperlipidemia. Arch Oral Biol, 2015; 60:667-74. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.archoralbio.2014.11.008

Article Metrics