c Ipil, intsia bijuga, borneo teak, sevi : Herbal Mediciine / Philippine Alternative Medicine / StuartXchange
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Family Leguminosae
Intsia bijuga (Colebr.) O. Kuntze

Kala bau

Scientific names Common names
Afzelia bijuga A.Gray Ipil (Ibn., Tag., Bik., Mag., Bis.)
Afzelia cambodiensis Hance Ipil-lalao (Tag.)
Afzelia retusa Kurz Ipil-laut (Tag.)
Eperua decandra Blanco Itil (Mag.)
Intsia amboilensis DC. Labnig (Tag.)
Intsia bijuga (Colebr.) O. Kuntze Mulato (C. Bis.)
Intsia cambodiensis (Hance) Pierre Nala (Sbl.)
Intsia madagascariensis DC. Taal (Tag.)
Intsia moelebei Vieill. Tigal (Tagb.)
Intsia retusa (Kurz) Kuntze Borneo teak (Engl.)
Intsia tashiroi Hayata False teak (Engl.)
Jonesia monopetala Hassk. Moluccan ironwood (Engl.)
Jonesia triandra Roxb. Pacific teak (Engl.)
Macrolobium amboinense Hassk. Scrub mahogany (Engl.)
Macrolobium bijuga Colebr.  
Macrolobium bijugum Colebr.  
Outea bijuga (Colebr.) DC.  
Pahudia hasskarliana Miq.  
Tamarindus intsia Spreng.  
Intsia bijuga (Colebr.) Kuntze is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
FIJIAN: Vesi, Vesi dina.
FRENCH: Cohu, Faux teck.
GUAM: Ifit.
INDONESIAN: Merbaoe, Merbau, Merbau asam, Merbo, Mirabow, Taritish.
MALAY: Merbau ipil.
PALAUAN: Dort, Wantal.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Kwila, Iban, Mboan, Bon, Menau.
SAMOAN: Ifilele.
THAI: Lumpho-thale, Pradu thale, Maka-mong, Lum-paw.
VIETNAMESE: G[ox], Go-nuoc, Go nuo.

Botanical snippet
- Intsia bijga, ifit, is the official tree of the United States Territory of Guam.

Ipil is a medium-sized, slow growing tree reaching a height of 20 to 45 meters and a trunk of 0.5 to 5 meters. Mature trees have steep rounded buttresses. Bark is 5 to 8 millimeters thick, gray in color with an orange tinge. The inner bark is light brown and mottled with brown specks. Leaves are alternate and simply compound with usually two pairs of leaflets, 8 to 12 centimeters long and 5 to 8.5 centimeters wide. Flowers are fragrant, white or reddish, borne in panicles 6 to 10 centimeters long. Pods are oblong or pear-shaped, woody, tardily dehiscent, 10 to 25 centimeters long and 4 to 6 centimeters wide, with 3 to 9 orbicular seeds.

- Along the seashore, and in some localities, in inland forests, from the Babuyan Islands and northern Luzon to Mindanao and Palawan.
- Also occurs in India, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Guinea to Australia and the Pacific Islands.

- IUCN listed as Vulnerable. (1998) (9)

- Bark yields tannin.
- Wood yields a khaki-colored dye.
- Phytochemical screening of leaves yielded anthrones, flavonoids, glycosidic flavonoids, phenolic compounds, steroids, tannins, triterpenes, anthraquinones and coumarins.
- Study has shown robinetin as the main polyphenol of the heartwood of I. bijuga, together with 3,5,4'-tri and 3,5,3',4'-tetrahydroxystilbenes, dihydromyricetin myricetin, and narigenin (Hills and Yazaki, 1973). (11)

Parts utilized
Leaves, bark, fruit.

• Seeds can be eaten after careful preparation: soak in salt water for 3-4 days, and then boiled.
• Bark, which contains tannin, used for diarrhea.
• Fruit used as laxative.
• Bark used for urinary conditions.
• In Fiji, decoction of bark used for rheumatism, chills, diarrhea, muscle rigidity and rheumatoid arthritis; mixed with the extracts of other plants, used for broken bones. Juice of stems used for asthma.
• Decoction of leaves used when body is possessed by spirits.
• Mixed with other plant extracts, used for toothache and sore tongue. Also used for scabies and headaches.
• Bark infusion given to women after delivery.
• In the Solomon Islands, used to treat very dark urine caused by sorcery; also used for rheumatism, diarrhea and dysentery.
• In Samoa, bark used for treating enlarged lymph nodes.
• In Vanuatu, the inner bark of Intsia bijuga, squeezed in coconut water, is taken as a remedy for asthma. The leaves or inner bark are squeezed in salt water and the solution is ingested for diabetes.   (2)
• In Madagascar, women from Agnalazaha littoral forest use leaves for cough and placental appositioning. (12)
Ritual: In Fiji, once considered a sacred tree. The traditional drinking bowl for yagona was made from the wood of the tree. Also, leaf decoction drank to rid the body of evil spirits.
Wood: Known for its hard and durable wood; used for timber, furniture making or carving craftwood. Durable against dry-wood termite, Cryptotermes cynocephalus the the subterranean termite Coptotermes curvignathus. (10)
Dye: Wood yields a khaki colored dye. Fresh sap makes indelible stains on paper or cloth.
Repellent: An insect repellent is made from the seeds.

• Poison: Seed oil repels stored products, tenebrionid pest

The ethanol extract showed good and specific activity against Trypanosoma cruzi. However, it also exhibited high cytotoxicity which might explain its observed activity. Study has also suggested immuno-modulatory activity.
Phytochemicals / Radical Scavenging Activity:
In a study of four Philippine medicinal plants, phytochemical screening of Intsia bijuga revealed anthrones, flavonoids, glycosidic flavonoids, phenolic compounds, steroids, tannins and triterpenes. The tannins may justify its folkloric use for dysentery (leaves). I. bijuga showed lowest radical scavenging activity, with EC50 of 1846 µg/ml. (3)
On brine shrimp lethality assay, I. bijuga leaves had an LC50 value of 86.5 µg/ml. All crude methanol extracts of the four Philippine medicinal plants tested had 100% mortality to brine shrimp at 1000 µg/mL. (3)
Anti-Ulcer / Leaves:
Study evaluated methanol extracts of leaves of nine plants, including Intsia bijuga, for anti-ulcer activity using HCl-ethanol as ulcerogen. All extracts showed inhibitory activity with I. bijuga among those that showed more than 50% inhibition. (5)
Xanthine Oxidase Inhibitory Activity:
Xanthine oxidase inhibitors is a urate lowering agent, blocking the synthesis of uric acid, and used in the treatment of hyperuricemia and gout. Study evaluated the xanthine oxidase inhibitory activity of methanol leaf extracts of 10 plants, including Intsia bijuga. All the extracts inhibited the action of xanthine oxidase. (6)


© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D. / StuartXchange

Updated August 2018 / September 2016

IMAGE SOURCE / Ipil leaves / File:Intsia bijuga feuilles.jpg/ Feuille de Kohu (Intsia bijuga) - Noter les nervures parallèles. / Denis.prevot / 26 January 2005 / GNU Free Documentation License / Wikimedia Commons
IMAGE SOURCE / Ipil tree / File:Intsia bijuga.jpg / Intsia bijuga ou Kohu à l'Ile des Pins - Nouvelle-Calédonie / Denis.prevot / 26 January 2005 / GNU Free Documentation License / Wikipedia
IMAGE SOURCE / Line drawing / Pod and Leaves / Intsia bijuga (Colebr) O. Kuntze / Niobioinformatics,in

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Intsia bijuga (vesi) / Species Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry / Randolph R. Thaman, Lex A. J. Thomson, Robin DeMeo, Francis Areki, and Craig R. Elevitch
Ethnobotanical Survey and Biological Screening of Medicinal Plants from Vanuatu / Dissertation / vorgelegt von Gesine Bradacs / aus Frankfurt am Main 2008
Antioxidant and cytotoxic activities and phytochemical screening of four Philippine medicinal plants / Nonita P Peteros and Mylene M Uy / Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, 4 March 2010; 4(5): pp 407-414
Fijian Medicinal Plants / RC Cambie, J Ash / Google Books
ANTI-ULCER ACTIVITY OF LEGUMINOSAE PLANTS / Noemi D. PAGUIGAN, Darryl Hannah B. CASTILLO, Christine L. CHICHIOCO-HERNANDEZ / Arquivos de Gastroenterologia, vol.51 no.1 São Paulo Jan./Mar. 2014 / http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0004-28032014000100013
Xanthine oxidase inhibitory activity of some Leguminosae plants / Leomel E. Argulla, Christine L. Chichioco-Hernandez* / Asian Pac J Trop Dis 2014; 4(6): 438-441 / doi:10.1016/S2222-1808(14)60602-2
Intsia bijuga / Synonyms / The Plant List
Intsia bijuga / Wikipedia
Intsia bijuga / IUCN Red List
Intsia bijuga / World Agro Forestry
Potency of Indonesian Medicinal Plants as Tyrosinase Inhibitor and Antioxidant Agent / I Batubara, L K Darusman, T Mitsunaga, M Rahminiwati, and E Djauhari / Journal of Biological Science4s, 2010; 10(2): pp 138-144.
Medicinal plants used by women from Agnalazaha littoral forest (Southeastern Madagascar) / , Alyse R Kuhlman, Harison Rabarison et al / Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 2013; 9:73 / https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-4269-9-73

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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