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Family Meliaceae
Swietenia mahogani (L.) Jacq.

Tao hua xin mu

Scientific names Common names
Cedrela mahogani L. Mahogany (Engl.)
Swietenia acutifolia Stokes Big leaf mahogany (Engl.)
Swietenia mahogani C. DC. West Indian mahogany (Engl.)
Swietenia mahogani (L.) Jacq. Madeira redwood (Engl.)
Swietenia mahogani Lam.  
Swietenia mahogani L. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Da ye tao hua xin mu, Tao hua xin mu.
FRENCH: Acajou d'Amérique, Acajou de Cuba, Acajou de Santo Domingo, Mahogany.
GERMAN: Amerikanisches Mahagoni.
JAPANESE: Ooba Mahoganii.
PORTUGESE: Aguano, Araputanga, Caóba, Caóba, Cedro-í, Mogno, Mogno, Mogno-Brasileiro
SPANISH: Aguano, Caoba de Cuba, Caobilla, Caoba de Santo, Chiculte, Coabillo, Cóbano, Gateado, Mogno, Orura.

Mahogany is a deciduous, erect tree growing to a height of 10 meters, with a heavy, dark-green, and dense crown. The trunk is more or less buttressed. Bark is dark gray and ridged. Young leaves when in the flush are pink, soon turning green. Leaves are alternate, smooth, compound, about 15 centimeters long, in 3 to 6 pairs, most often 5 pairs, of leaflets. Leaflets are inequilateral, ovate to oblong-ovate, 5 to 8 centimeters long and half as wide, pointed at the tip, broadly obtuse or rounded at the base. Flowers are greenish yellow, about 8 millimeters wide, borne in axillary panicles shorter than the foliage. Calyx is rim-like and the petals are oblong, less than 5 millimeters in length. Staminal tube is slightly reddish, thick, and nearly as long as the corolla. Fruit is large, cylindrical, barrel-shaped, woody, grayish-brown, rough and less than 12 centimeters long. Body of the fruit splits into five thick outer valves and five thinner inside valves. The outer valves fall off when ripe exposing closely packed seeds attached by the tips of their wings. Seeds are brownish, 5 to 7 centimeters long, with a broad and thin wing and a corky, thickened part containing the embryo.

- Recently introduction in the Philippines.
- Cultivated for the commerce of its wood.

- Native of the West Indies.

• The bark contains tannin; leaves contain seven phragmalin limonoids.
• Two new tetranortriterpenoids, mahonin and secomahoganin were isolated from the cotyledons of SM.
• Study yields 6-Desoxyswietenine, a tetranortriterpenoid from Swietenia mahogani.
• Study on the acidic polysaccharide isolated from the gum exudate yielded residues of D-galactose, L-arabinose, L-rhamnose and D-galacturonic acid.

• Crude methanolic seed extract yielded alkaloids, terpenoids, anthraquinones, cardiac glycosides, saponins, and volatile oils. (see study below) (16)
• Phytochemical screening of air dried powdered leaf, stem bark and fruit yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, steroids and sterols, saponin, tannins, phenolic compounds, glycosides, carbohydrate, protein and amino acids. (see study below) (23)

• Considered astringent, antipyretic, abortifacient, depurative.

• Studies have suggested anticoagulant, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, antiprotozoal, anthelmintic, cytotoxic, gastroprotective, and hepatoprotective properties.

- Bark is antipyretic, tonic and astringent.
- Decoction of seeds used as abortifacient.
- Used for hypertension, amoebiasis, chest pains, parasitism, cancer.
- Used by Ifugao migrants for malaria, cough and miscarriage.  (11)
- In India, bark extracts used as astringent for wounds.
- Used for malaria, anemia, diarrhea, fever and dysentery.
- In Africa, bark decoction used as febrifuge
Wood: This is the true mahogany of commerce, yielding the highly prized reddish-brown wood. Because of its fast growth, it is much desired in Manila as a shade tree. In India, wood is a popular material for making of furniture, musical instruments, boats, caskets.

• Anti-Ulcer / Anti-H. Pylori / Seeds:
Study in female Spragiue-Dawley rats found a potential effect on the healing of gastric ulcers, attributed to the phospholipid and long chain unsaturated fatty acid content of mahogany seeds, with a healing effect similar to that of misoprostol. Results provide an attractive possibility for H. pylori therapy. (1)
Hypoglycemic / Hypolipidemic: Study on streptozotocin and nicotinamide-induced type 2 diabetes in rats concludes that the ME of seeds of Swietenia macrophylla has hypoglycemic as well as hypolipidemic effect. (3)
• Antioxidant / Xanthine Oxidase Inhibition: Study of the methanol extract of Swietania mahogani exhibited both high free radical scavenging and xanthine oxidase inhibition activities. (4)
Cytotoxic: Study on the cytotoxic activities of the crude ethanolic extracts of seed, bark and leaf of Sm and their various fractions showed promising results with the seed extract and some fractions showing the most significant cytotoxic properties. (5)
Hepatoprotective: Study of an aqueous leaf extract of S. mahogani in chronic alcohol-induced liver injury in rats exhibited hepatoprotective activity. (8) Study of a defatted methanol extract of SM bark exerted remarkable hepatoprotective activity against paracetamol-induced hepatic damage in rats, probably attributable to its augmenting endogenous antioxidant mechanisms. (
Anti-Protozoal: In a study of 10 lectins screened for cytotoxic activity against Acanthamoeba sp. (a keratitis-causing amoeba) and Tetrahymena pyriformis, lectins from Schefflera odorata and Swietenia macrophylla were found to possess high cytotoxic activity against the test organisms. (9)
Anti-Diabetic / Seeds: An ethanolic extract of seeds produced significant reduction of blood glucose level. Histological examination of the pancreas showed retaining of islets and few degranulations of beta cells.  (12) Study of SM seeds in alloxan induced diabetic mice showed significant reduction of blood glucose. (1
Hypoglycemic / Bark Extracts: Bark extract of mahogany was evaluated for in vivo hypoglycemic activity against alloxan-induced diabetic rats. A hot water extract showed significant dose-dependent hypoglycemic effect compared to standard drug. Histopath study showed significant ß-cell count. (1
Antiulcer Activity / Ethanol-Induced Injury / Leaf Extract / Acute Toxicity Study: Study of an ethanol extract of leaves showed antiulcer activity against ethanol-induced gastric ulcer in rats. Pretreatment resulted in significant protection of gastric mucosa and increase in mucus production. Acute toxicity study did not show any toxicological signs in rats. (1
Gastroprotective / Seed Extract / Ethanol-Induced Injury: An ethanol extract of seed showed anti-ulcerogenic activity against ethanol induced gastric mucosal injury in rats, ascertained grossly and histologically. (15)
Antimicrobial / Seeds: Study evaluated the antimicrobial activities of S. mahogani crude methanolic seed extract. Results showed inhibitory effects on growth of Candida albicans, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Streptococcus faecalis and Proteus mirabilis. (16)
Antioxidant / Seeds: Study evaluated the antioxidant potential of methanolic and aqueous extracts of SM seeds by various in vitro models. The extracts contained phenolic compounds and were capable of inhibiting free radicals. Results showed a significant and linear relationship between the antioxidant activity and phenolic content. (17)
Hypoglycemic / Comparative Study with Rosiglitazone: Study compared the blood glucose lowering effect of S. mahogani seeds with rosiglitazone in experimentally induced diabetic rats. Administration of ethanolic extract of seeds in group C and rosiglitazone in group D produced significant reduction in blood glucose. Histological exam showed destruction of beta cells in pancreatic islets in group B, with retention of islets and few degranualations of beta cells in groups C and D. (
Acute Toxicity Study / Leaves: Study evaluated the acute toxicity of Swietenia mahogani whole leaf powder in Wistar rats. Study showed non-toxicity of the leaf powder, with no mortality or toxic reaction, no behavioral or physical changes, and no significant changes in serum biochemical parameters. (
Anticoagulant / Bark: Phytochemical analysis of Swietenia mahogani yielded terpenes and steroids. A methanol extract of bark exhibited significant anticoagulant activity. (
Antioxidant / Free Radical Scavenging: Study on different solvent extracts of leaves, stem bark and fruits of S. mahogani at five different concentrations (20-100µg) exhibited dose dependent free radical scavenging activity by DPPH method. (see constituents above) (
Anthelmintic / Seeds: Study evaluated various solvent extracts of Swietenia mahogani seeds for in-vitro anthelmintic activity against Indian adult earthworm Pheretima posthuma. An aqueous extract showed more potent activity compared to chloroform and acetone extract. Piperazine citrate was used as standard drug.   (
Acaricidal Against Varroa destructor in Honeybee Colonies: Study evaluated the acaricidal (miticidal) activity of 90% ethanolic extract of leaves and stem bark of S. mahogani and S. macrophylla against Varroa destructor mite. Treatment decreased the rate of infestation to 0.11% (S. mahogani bark), and 2.41% and 1.08% (S. macrophylla leaves and bark). Results suggest the potential of natural plant extracts as an ecofriendly biodegradable alternative for the control of Varroa mite. (

Extracts, capsules and seeds in the cybermarket.

Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Update February 2016

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Photograph /Swietenia mahogani L. / mahogany tree / © Karen Blix / Dominican Republic / click on image to go to source page / PlantIllustrations.org

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
The Effect of Swietenia Mahogani( Mahogany) Seed Extract On Indomethacin-Inducd Gastric UlcersI in Female Sprague-Dawley Rats / Bascal K, Chavez L et al / Acta Medica Philippina
Indian Mahogany
Hypoglycemic effect of Swietenia macrophylla seeds against type II diabetes / Anup Malti et al / International Journal of Green Pharmacy • Volume 2, Issue : 4, Page : 224-227, 2008
In Vitro Antioxidant and Xanthine Oxidase Inhibitory Activitiesof Methanolic Swietenia mahagoni Seed Extracts / Geethan Sahgal et al / Molecules 2009, 14, 4476-4485; doi:10.3390/molecules14114476
In Vitro Cytotoxic Properties of Ethanolic Extracts of VariousParts of Swietenia Mahagoni / Mohammad Ahsanul Akbar et al / European Journal of Scientific ResearchISSN 1450-216X Vol.32 No.4 (2009), pp.541-544
Structural studies on the polysaccharide of Swietenia mahogany gum / Pradyot K Ghosal and Swapnadip Thakur / Carbohydrate Research Volume 112, Issue 2, 1 February 1983, Pages 253-259 / doi:10.1016/0008-6215(83)88290-1
Evaluation of Hepatoprotective Activity of Aqueous Leaf Extract of Swietenia Mahogani (Maliaceae) in Chronic Alcohol-Induced Liver Injury in Rats / Samuel Udem, Innocent Nwaogu, Obinna Onyejekwe / Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences. 2011 Mar 15; 4(1):31-36. doi:10.3889/MJMS.1857-5773.2011.0154
Evaluation of Some Lectins as Anti-protozoal Agents / Marla A. Endriga, Elmer-Rico E. Mojica, Florinia E. Merca, Marivic S. Lacsamana and Custer C. Deocaris / Journal of Medical Sciences, 5: 31-34.

Swietenia macrophylla (Big-leaf Mahogany) / Common names / ZipcodeZoo
The use of medicinal plants by Ifugao-migrants in the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountain range / Jasper Wester
Effect of Ethanolic Extract of Swietenia mahagoni Seeds on Experimentally Induced Diabetes Mellitus in Rats
/ SMM Mahid-Al-Hasan, MI Khan, BU Umar / Faridpur Med. Coll. J. 2011;6(2):70-73
Hypoglycemic Effect of Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla King) Bark Extracts in Alloxan-induced Diabetic Rats / Syamsul Falah, Mega Safithri, Takeshi Katayama, and Toshisada Suzuki / www.mapeki.org
Anti-ulcer activity of Swietenia mahagoni leaf extract in ethanol-induced gastric mucosal damage in rats /
Salmah Al-Radahe, Khaled Abdul-Aziz Ahmed*, Suzy Salama, Mahmood Ameen Abdulla, Zahra A. Amin, Saad Al-Jassabi and Harita Hashim / Journal of Medicinal Plants Research Vol. 6(12), pp. 2266-2275, 30 March, 2012 / DOI: 10.5897/JMPR10.409
Gastroprotective Activity of Swietenia Mahagoni Seed Extract on Ethanol-Induced Gastric Mucosal Injury in Rats / Salma Saleh Alrdahe, Mahmood Ameen Abdulla, Shaharudin Abul Razak, Farkaad Abdul Kadir, Pouya Hassandarvish / World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology 43 2010
Phytochemical and antimicrobial activity of Swietenia mahagoni crude methanolic seed extract.
/ Geethaa Sahgal, Surash Ramanathan, Sreenivasan Sasidharan, Mohd Nizam Mordi, Sabariah Ismail / Tropical biomedicine, 12/2009; 26(3):274-9.
Antidiabetic Activity of Swietenia mahagoni Seed Powder in Alloxan Induced Diabetic Mice
/ R. Sathish, K. Natarajan, S. Selvakumar / Research Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacodynamics< Vol 2, No 4, 2010
Swietenia mahogani (L.) Jacq. / Synonyms / The Plant List
Comparative study of the effect of ethanolic extract of Swietenia mahagoni seeds with rosiglitazone on experimentally induced diabetes mellitus in rats. / Hasan SM, Khan MI, Umar BU, Sadeque MZ. / Bangladesh Med Res Counc Bull. 2013 Apr;39(1):6-10.
PRECLINICAL SAFETY EVALUATION OF SWIETENIA MAHAGONI LEAF IN WISTAR RATS / NAVEEN Y P, ASNA UROOJ* / International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Vol 7, Issue 5, 2015
Explorative study of anticoagulant activities of extracts of Swietenia mahogany, Cissampellos mucronatta and Heckeria insignis / De, N and Gabriel, P / Nigerian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 13. pp. 67-75.
Phyto-Chemical Studies and In vitro Free Radical Scavenging Activity of Swietenia mahagoni (L.) Jacq.

/ Amarasuriyan C*, Raju K and Raja A / Indian Journal Of Natural Sciences, Vol.4 / Issue 23/ April 2014
IN VITRO ANTHELMINTIC ACTIVITY OF SWIETENIA MAHAGONI SEED EXTRACTS AGAINST PHERITIMA POSTHUMA / Subhadip Hajra*, Archana Mehta and Pinkee Pandey / nternational Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research, Volume 12, Issue 1, January – February 2012; Article-019
Hepatoprotective Efficacy of Swietenia Mahagoni L. Jacq. (Meliaceae) Bark against Paracetamol-induced Hepatic Damage in Rats / Pallab K. Haldar*, Soumitra Adhikari, Samit Bera, Sanjib Bhattacharya, Siva P. Panda, Chandi C. Kandar / Ind J Pharm Edu Res, Apr-Jun, 2011/ Vol 45/ Issue 2
Acaricidal activity of Swietenia mahogani and Swietenia macrophylla ethanolic extracts against Varroa destructor in honeybee colonies / Soheir M. El Zalabani, Hesham I. El-Askary, Ola M. Mousa, Marwa Y. Issa, Ahmed A. Zaitoun, Essam Abdel-Sattar / Experimental Parasitology 130 (2012) 166–170

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