Buri palm is the most stately and largest of the Philippine palms. Trunk is
straight and erect, up to 1 meter in diameter and 20 meters in height.
Leaves are large and fan-shaped, rounded in outline, up to 3 meters
long, palmately split into about 100, lanceolate, 1.5 to 6 centimeters wide, segments extending one-half to two-thirds to the base; petioles are very stout, up to 3 meters long, 20 centimeters thick at the base, the margins armed with stout black spines. Inflorescence is pyramidal,
up to 7 meters high, the lower branches up to 3.5 meters long, the upper gradually shorter, the ultimate branches about 1 meter long. Flowers
are numerous, greenish-white, 5 to 6 millimeters in diameter. Fruits are globose,
fleshy, 2 to 2.5 centimeters in diameter. Seeds are hard, about 1.5 centimeters in diameter.
- Throughout the Philippines, in most islands and provinces, in some regions widely scattered, subgregarious in others and
abundant at low and
- Also occurs in India to Malaya.
- Sucrose is the produce of the sugar cane.
- Trunk yields large quantities of starch.
- Leaf extract yielded the presence of sterols, saponins, glycosides, and tannins. (see study below) (4)
- Phytochemical screening for secondary metabolites yielded alkaloids, unsaturated fats, sterols and terpenes, flavonoids,
and tannins, with absence of steroids, saponins, anthraquinone heterosides and cyanogenic glycosides. (11)
- Nutrient content of 100 g of gewang starch yields 11.005 g water, 0.518 g ash, 0.202 g fat, 0.691 g protein, 86.594 g carbohydrate, 32.726 g amylose, 51.11 g amylopectin, 12.278 g glucomannan, 100.52 mg calcium, 136,74 mg phosphorus.
- Sugar is demulcent, antiseptic, cooling, laxative and diuretic.
- Roots are demulcent, emollient, diuretic and stimulant.
- It flowers once at the end of its lifetime, with a massive inflorescence up to 5 meters tall containing up to one million flowers. and when it does,
- The tree is ready for processing when the palms have fallen off the trunk; then felled, barked, sectioned, immediately consumed or stored. (14)
- Studies have suggested anticancer and antibacterial properties.
Roots, leaves, stem.
- Trunk yields a large quantity of starch.
- Buds (ubod) used for salads or eaten as vegetable.
- Kernels of young fruits are edible and made into
- Sap used to make a fermented drink (tuba), alcohol, vinegar, syrup and sugar.
- An average tree yields up to 8 - 10 cavans of fruit. Fruit is a good source of starch.
- Starch used for making desserts.
- In some areas of East Timor, considered main staple food. In other regions, food used during gap between harvests, or as famine food. (14)
- In Indornesia, starch cooked with shredded coconut (akarbilann or puta' laka). (17)
- In the Philippines, not medicinally as useful as the coconut.
- In Pangasinan, northern Philippines, leaf decoction used as bathing remedy for pasma. (11)
- Negritos used applications of hot compress of boiled leaves for pospartum relapse.
- Decoction of young plant used for febrile catarrh.
- Used to treat toothache.
- In Iloilo, reportedly used for musculoskeletal and dermatologic conditions.
- In Zamboanga del Sur, stems used for treatment of over fatigue.
- In Malaya, starch used for bowel complaints and the juice of roots used for diarrhea.
- In Celebes, roots chewed for coughs.
- In Ayurveda, used for hemorrhoids, peptic ulcer, gastritis, excessive sweating, skin disease.
- In Indonesia, the midrib sap juice is used as traditional medicine to immediately arrest wound bleeding. (16)
- Ornaments: Mature seeds used for rosary beads and buttons.
- Fiber: Petiole yields the "buntal fiber," used in making the famous Baliuag and Lucban hats. Also, used for making rope. From the leaf is obtained a fiber, similar to raffia, used in making cloth, strings, and other fancy articles. Fiber from the ribs of unopened leaves used in making Calasiao or Pototan hats. Strips of unopened leaf used in making hats, mats, sails, baskets. (3)
- Leaf: Mature leaf used for covering tobacco bales; rarely, as thatch for houses; the ribs used for making brooms and weaving. Leaves also used for food wrapping.
- Trunk wood: Trunk can be used as firewood or made into wood frames for making nipa huts. (3) Wood also used as firewood. Also, as a temporary aqueduct for irrigation.
- Fencing: The large leaves armed with stout spines used as fencing against cattle. (14)
- Starch / Fruit: Fruit of the buri tree is a cheap source of food and good source of starch. An average tree can yield up to 8-10 cavans of fruits. (9)
• Antimicrobial Activity / Phytochemicals: Leaf extract analysis yielded the presence of sterols, saponins, glycosides, and tannins. Antimicrobial evaluated showed a zone of inhibition against Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Escherichia coli. (4)
• Antibacterial / Minimum Concentration: Study evaluated evaluated the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of Corypha elata Roxb. leaf extract to three test organisms viz. E. coli, S. aureus, and P. aeruginosa. In all concentrations of 100%, 75%, 50%, and 25%, a complete inhibitory activity (+++) and mild reactivity (2) to the test organisms. Even at lowest 25%, there was compete inhibition of growth. (10)
• Gebang Palm Trunk as Enrichment Culture Medium for Bacterial Growth: Study evaluated the effectiveness of Gebang palm trunk as an enrichment culture medium using E. coli and S. aureus. Results showed the powderized trunk palm of buri is capable of growing both E. coli and S. aureus, with potential as enrichment medium for microbiological study. (12)
• Piceatannol / Anticancer / Seed: Piceantannol is a stilbene compound isolated from methanol seed extract of Corypha utan Lamk. MTT assay of the compound for cytotoxicity activity showed very strong cytotoxic activity against Murine leukemia P-388 cell lines with IC50 of 1.56 ppm. (13)