Gen info / Etymology
Referred to as manila tamarind because of the sweet-sour tamarind-like taste. Genus Pithecellobium derives from from the Greek words 'pithekos' (ape) and 'lobos' (pod), and the species name 'dulce' from the Latin 'dulcis' meaning sweet.
Kamatsile is a tree 5 to 18 meters
high, with pendulous branches, with short, sharp stipular spines.
The leaves are evenly 2-pinnate, 4 to 8 centimeters long. The flowers
are white, in dense heads, 1 centimeter in diameter. Pods are turgid,
twisted, and spiral, 10 to 18 centimeters long, 1 centimeter wide, and dehiscent
along the lower suture. Seeds are 6 to 8, with an edible, whitish,
pulpy aril. The arillus is sweet when the fruit is ripe.
Found throughout the
Philippines at low or medium altitudes.
- Tannin, 25.36%; fixed
oil, 18.22%, olein.
- A glycoside quercitin has been isolated.
- Seeds have been reported to contain steroids, saponins, lipids, phospholipids,
glycosides, glycolipids and polysaccharides.
- Bark yields 37% tannins of the catechol type.
- Leaves yield quercitin, kaemferol, dulcitol and afezilin.
- Considered abortifacient,
anodyne, astringent, larvicidal, antibacterial, antiinflammatory,
- Bark considered astringent.
- Leaves considered astringent, emollient, antidiabetic, and abortifacient.
- Roots reported to be estrogenic.
Parts used and preparation
Pulp around the seed
• Frequent bowel
movements: Decoction of bark taken as tea.
• The leaves, when applied as plasters, used for pain, venereal
• Salted decoction of leaves, for indigestion; also used as
• Bark used in dysentery, dermatitis and eye inflammation.
• In Brazil, P. avaremotem, used
as a cancer elixir.
• In Mexico, decoction of leaves for earaches, leprosy, toothaches
• In India, bark of the plant used as astringent in dysentery, febrifuge. Also used for dermatitis and eye inflammations. Leaves used as abortifacient.
• In Guiana, root bark used for dysentery and as febrifuge.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Antibacterial: Study of the fresh flowers of Pithecellobium dulce
yielded a glycoside quercitin. The activity of the flavonol glycoside confirmed its antiinflammatory and
• Phenolics / Antioxidant: Free Radical Scavenging Activity
of Folklore: Pithecellobium dulce Benth. Leaves: Study
of the aqueous extract of Pithecellobium dulce leaves revealed phenolics
including flavonoids and showed potent free radical scavenging activity..
• Anti-inflammatory Triterpene: Anti-inflammatory triterpene saponins of Pithecellobium dulce:
characterization of an echinocystic acid bisdesmoside. A new bisdesmodic
triterpenoid saponin, dulcin, was isolated from the seeds of PD
• Genotoxicity: Mutagenic and Antimutagenic Activities in Philippine Medicinal
and Food Plants: In a study of 138 medicinal plants for genotoxicity,
Pithecellobium dulce was one of 12 that exhibited detectable genotoxicity in any system.
• Anti-tuberculosis / Antimicrobial: Hexane, chloroform and alcoholic leaf extracts were studied for activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains. The alcoholic extract showed good inhibitory activity and antimicrobial activity against secondary pathogens.
• Anti-Diabetic: Study of ethanolic and aqueous leaf extract of P dulce in STZ-induced diabetic model in rats showed sigificant activity, aqueous more than the alcoholic extract, comparable to glibenclamide.
• Anti-Ulcer / Free Radical Scavenging: Study of the hydroalcoholic extract of PD was found to possess good antioxidant activity and suggests possible antiulcer activity with its free-radical scavenging and inhibition of H, K-ATPase activities comparable to omeprazole. Phytochemical screening yielded flavonoids - quercetin, rutin, kaempferol, naringin, daidzein.
• Hepatoprotective: Study of an aqueous extract of P. dulce in a murine model showed hepatoprotection against CCl4-induced oxidative impairments probably through its antioxidative property. Results were supported by histological findings.
• CNS Depressant: Study evaluating the locomotor activity of aqueous and alcoholic extracts of PD in albino mice showed significant CNS depression, the alcoholic extract exhibiting greater effect when compared to chlorpromazine. The activity was attributed to an increase in the concentration of GABA in the brain.
• Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory: Study of methanol extract showed significant anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects comparable to standard drugs.