Paraiso is a shrub or small tree, usually
not more than 3 to 4 meters high. Leaves are bipinnate, occasionally tripinnate, 20 to 40 centimeters long. Leaflets are numerous, oblong-ovate, toothed, and 4 to 7 centimeters long. Flowers are fragrant, 5-parted, borne on panicles 10 to 20 centimeters long. Petals are about 1 centimeter long, oblong-spatulate, and pale lilac, while the staminal-tube is usually dark purple and about 7 millimeters long. Fruit is ovoid or subglobose, about 1 centimeter long.
- Ornamentally cultivated in Manila and larger towns for its fragrant flowers.
- Nowhere naturalized,
- Introduced in earlier times from China.
- Leaf extract yielded alkaloids, tannins, saponins, phenols, steroids, terpenoids, glycosides, and flavonoids. (27)
Bark yields a bitter substance, named margosin by Cornish, and azadarin by Piddington.
- Study isolated an alkaloid from the bark of the roots - paraisine - soluble in petrol ether, benzene and chloroform.
- Study isolated an oil from the kernels, consisting of butyric and valeric acids 2.31%, stearic acid 21.38%, palmitic acid 12.62%, oleic acid 52.08%, linoleic acid 2.12%. arachidic and liquoceric acids 0.74%.
- Aqueous and ethanolic extracts of leaves yielded
alkaloids, carbohydrates, reducing sugars, flavanoids, glycoside, tannins, saponins, proteins and amino acids. (31)
- Methanol extract of leaves yielded 48 bioactive compounds by GC-MS method. The major constituents were phytol (11.04%-diterpene), quercetin (16.47%-flavanoids), palmitic acid (15.49%-saturated fatty acid), 9,12,15-octadecatrienoic acid (3.43% - n-alkanoic acids). (37)
- Study of ethanolic extract of dried leaves yielded alkaloids, glycosides, tannins, saponins, and flavonoids. (see study below) (47)
- Root is very bitter and nauseating.
- Leaves considered anthelmintic, antilithic, diuretic, deobstruent, resolvent.
- Root considered resolvent, deobstruent, vermifuge.
- Bark is considered a bitter tonic, astringent, antiperiodic.
- Fruit considered emollient and purgative.
- Seeds are emetic, laxative, and anthelmintic.
- Expressed oil is pale yellow and bitter tasting, with a garlic-like odor.
- The oil is considered the most active medicinal part of the plant.
- Oil considered stimulant, antiseptic, alterative.
- Studies have shown antibacterial, analgesic, antioxidant, contraceptive, antiviral, anthelmintic, anti-plasmodial, immunomodulatory,
cardioprotective, antileishmanial, cytotoxic, larvicidal, antifungal, antilithiasis, antiulcer, hepatoprotective properties.
· Fruits, leaves, bark
of roots and bark of trunk.
· Collect fruits from November to April, leaves from May
to October, roots and bark the whole year round.
· Remove the outermost bark, rinse, and sun-dry. Cut into
- Root decoction or fluid extract used as anthelmintic.
- Root bark used as vermifuge; also used for intermittent fevers and dysentery.
- Root bark used in America as a cathartic and emetic.
- In India, before quinine, root bark used for malaria.
- Infusion of bark used as febrifuge especially for periodic fevers; also, for thirst and nausea.
- Poultice of bark used in leprosy and scrofulous ulcers.
- Leaves used in a variety of forms - poultice, wash, ointment or liniment - as external applications to ulcers and skin diseases
- Crushed leaves used as poultice for boils and sores.
- Internally, infusion of fresh leaves used as a bitter vegetable tonic and alterative. (The stools noticed to become a brilliant yellow after use.) Infusion also used for chronic malarial fevers; and as a powerful alterative for chronic syphilitic infections.
- Decoction of leaves used for ; also, for hysteria.
- Juice of leaves used internally as anthelmintic, antilithic, diuretic, and emmenagogue.
- Decoction of leaves used as astringent, anthelmintic and stomachic.
- In Sidh, poultice of leaves used for sprains.
- Paste of flowers used to destroy headlice and associated scalp eruptions. Also, used for prickly heat.
- Poultice of flowers and leaves applied for nervous headaches.
- Fruit used as purgative and emollient; useful for intestinal worms, urinary affections and piles.
- Fruit is considered both tonic and poisonous, and used for leprosy and scrofula; the fruit pulp used as anthelmintic. (The pulp of the fruit, mixed with grease, is reported to kill dogs.)
- Seeds are emetic, laxative and anthelmintic; in Indo-China, used for typhoid fever and urinary retention.
- Oil used for syphilitic sores and indolent ulcers; also, for leprosy, suppurating scrofulous glands and rheumatism.
- Oil used as application for erysipelas, scrofula, and various skin diseases; also, as parasiticide in various cutaneous affects as ringworm and scabies.
- Internally, the oil used for chronic malarial fevers, syphilis, and leprosy.
- In Ayurveda, used for leprosy, inflammation, cardiac disorders and scrofula; as antihelmintic, antilithic, diuretic.
- In India, seeds used for piles;
bark used asgargle for mouth ulcers; leaves used as mouth wash for gingivitis; seed powder used for leucorrhea, menorrhagia, and intestinal parasites; bark decoction used as blood purifier; dried leaves, bark and seeds used for goiter; leaf decoction used as vaginal wash; boiled leaves applied topically for arthritic and gout pains. (35)
- In Mauritius, the root bark is used as anthelmintic; in Algeria, as tonic and antipyretic; elsewhere, the heartwood is used to relieve asthma, as emetic or as emmenagogue.
• Insecticidal: Leaf extract has insecticidal property; repels insects in clothing. Powdered dust of fruit, crude extract of wood and bark are also insecticidal.
• Fodder: Leaves used as fodder.
• Wood: Resembles mahogany; used to manufacture agricultural implements, furniture, boxes, tool handles, cabinetry. Known resistance to termites. (44)
• Crafts: Fruit stones used as beads in making necklaces and rosaries. (44)
• Antibacterial / Crude Leaf Extract:
Study showed the leaves of M. azedarach are effective against both gram positive and gram negative strains of bacteria. (1)
• Antibacterial / Flowers: Methanol extract of MA flowers showed potent antibacterial action in
rabbits with S aureus skin infection. (2)
• Antibacterial / Cream Formulation: A formulated cream contain Melia azedarach flowers showed a strong potential to cure bacterial infections in young children, comparable to neomycin skin ointment.
Ethanolic extract of MA roots prevented pregnancy in 60-75% of female
rats with decreased rate of implantation. (3)
• Antioxidant / Leaf Extract: Study
showed the leaves of MA to possess an erythrocyte protective activity
against drug-induced oxidative stress. (4)
• Antioxidant: Study showed the extract of Melia azedarach, which contains the highest amount of phenolic compounds, exhibited the greatest anti-oxidant activity compared to A. indica.
• Antifungal / Seed:
Extracts from different parts of MA exhibited fungistatic activity against
A flavus, D phaseolum, F oxysporum, F solani, among others. The ethanolic seed extract showed to be the most active. (7)
Drupe extracts of MA in Argentina showed better activity against tapeworm
than standard piperazine phosphate used for Cestodal infections. (6)
• Antiviral: Extract
of leaves of MA isolated a limonoid which showed antiviral activity
against vesicular stomatitis and herpes simples virus. (7)
Study of aqueous extract of MA showed to be effective against ethylene
glycol-induced nephrolithiasis in albino rats. (8)
Study concludes the polar and non-polar fractions of A indica and M azedarach seed extracts significant reduced the number of follicles in rats, with maximum reduction occurring with the Azedarach extract. (9)
Leaf extract from M azedarach L. inhibited phagocytosis of opsonized sheep erythrocytes and the respiratory burst triggered by post-receptor stimuli in human monocytes.
• Antioxidant / Hepatoprotective:
Study of the antioxidant and antihepatotoxic activities of the biherbal ethanolic extracts of M azedarach and Piper longum showed
potent antihepatotoxic activity against carbon tetrachloride-induced acute toxicity in rat liver. The effect was probably related to its marked antioxidant activity. (15)
Ethanolic extract of Melia azedarach showed effective larvicidal activity against Anopheles stephensi, Culex quinquefasciatus and Aedes aegypti. Results suggest a potential use as larvicidal agent to control mosquito populations.
• Hepatoprotective / Paracetamol / Carbon Tetrachloride:
Study of a methanolic leaf extract of Melia azedarach against paracetamol-induced hepatic damage in rats showed significant hepatoprotective activity.
(17) Study of leaf extract of M. azedarach showed significant hepatoprotective activity against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) induced hepatotoxicity. (36)
Study of aqueous extract of leaves of Melia azedarach on anti-ulcer activity in aspirin-induced and pylorus-ligated rate showed antiulcer effects comparable to the standard drug Omeprazole. (18)
Study of Melia azedarach seed extract in adult cyclic Wistar rats
showed a reduction in fertility index and average number of embryos in mated rats with associated histological changes. Results suggest the plant extract has a potential use in a rodent control program.
• Antiproliferative Potential / Anticancer:
investigated the anti-cancer activity of Melia azedarach in comparison to A. indica on cancer lines HT-29, A-549, MCF-7 and HepG-2 and MDBK cell lines. Results showed the seed kernel extract of M azedarach had the highest cytotoxic activity and selectivity to cancer cell lines. The methanol leaf fraction of M. azedarach seems to be safer in terms of cytotoxicity. Study showed an abundance of flavonols in the leaves. (22)
Study evaluated various leaf extracts of Melia azedarach for antimicrobial efficacy against eight human pathogens. The alcoholic extract showed maximum zone of inhibition and minimum inhibitory concentration against all the microorganisms. (23)
Antiparasitic activity of drupe extracts of M. azedarach growing in Argentina was tested against a tapeworm and earthworm. Results showed better activity against tapeworms than the standard piperazine phosphate, which is used for Cestoda infections. (24)
• Larvicidal / Culex quinquefasciatus:
Various concentrations of aqueous extracts of leaves, fruits, and bark were tested for larvicidal activity against C. quinquefasciatus. The aqueous extract of bark showed to be more toxic and efficient. Results suggest a good source of preparations for pest control, especially mosquito control.
Acetone extract of both Melia azedarach and Carica papaya showed highest mortality rate and larvicidal activity against Culex quinquefasciatus. (42)
• Radical Scavenging / DNA Protective in Cultured Lymphocytes:
Study of an ethanol leaf extract showed significant dose-dependent inhibition on in vitro radical scavenging assays and protection against H2O2-induced DNA damage in cultured lymphocytes. Results suggest a potential for an effective antioxidant during oxidative stress. (26)
• Hepatoprotective / Leaf Extract / Simvastatin Hepatotoxicity:
Study evaluated the hepatoprotective activity of leaves extract against simvastatin induced hepatotoxicity. Results showed significant changes in biochemical parameters, restored towards normalization in M. azedarach treated animals. (27)
• Toxicological Studies / Mild CNS Sedative Effect:
Toxicological evaluation of M. azedarach in rats and mice showed the aqueous and alcoholic extracts to be non-toxic until a dose of 1500 mg/kg orally. Intravenously, the aqueous extract had an LD50 of 395,580 mg/kg (flowers) and 700,925 mg/kg (berries) respectively in mice and rats.
Aqueous and ethanolic extracts also showed mild CNS sedative effect. (29)
• Antileishmanial / Larvicidal / Antioxidant / Cytotoxic / Fruit:
the potential of aqueous extracts of green and ripened fruits for antileishmanial, larvicidal, antioxidant and brine shrimp cytotoxicity assay. Green fruit showed significant activity against L. tropica and excellent larvicidal activity against Cx. quinquefasciatus. On cytotoxicity assay, green and ripe fruits showed LD50 of 18.07 µg/mL and 530.2 µg/mL, respectively. Green fruit showed antioxidant potential (IC50 232.23 µg/mL) with total phenolic contents of 10.54 mg/g DW. The green fruit yielded more active compounds than ripe fruits. (30)
• Pesticidal, Insecticidal, Acaricidal Properties / Review:
Extracts of fruits, seeds and leaves of M. azedarach have shown pesticidal activities against several pathogenic pest organisms. Extracts of M. azedarach has shown efficacy against the tick Boophilus micoplus, the malarial vector Anopheles stephensi, the dengue vector, Aedes aegypti and the human lice Pediculus humanus capitis. (32)
• Effects of Various Fractions on Biochemical Parameters / Fruits: Study evaluated various fractions of a methanolic extract of M. azedarach fruits on various biochemical parameters.
All extracts significantly decreased serum glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL concentrations with elevation of HDL levels. However, only the aqueous extract was considered safe, as the other extracts showed significant alterations in serum levels of GTP, ALP, and creatinine. (33)
• Larvicidal Against Cx. quinquefasciatus / Bark: Study evaluated
the larvicidal activity of aqueous extracts of different parts of M. azedarach against Culex quinquefasciatus. Among the aqueous extracts of fruits, leaves, and bark, the bark extract showed to be more toxic and efficient against Cx. quinquefasciatus, with 17.60 ± 7.3% mortality and LC50 of 368.3 ppm. Results suggests the bark as a potential good source of preparations for mosquito control. (34)
• Antihyperglycemic / Leaves: Study of an ethanolic extract of leaves in alloxan induced diabetic rats showed marked decrease in blood glucose level and significant reduction of blood glucose in the glucose tolerance test. (38)
• Antipyretic / Leaves: Study of a hydroalcoholic extract of M. azedarach leaves showed significant (p<0.05) reduction of yeast induced temperature in rabbits at 500 mg/kg as compared to standard drug paracetamol. (39)
• Zinc Oxide Nanopartices: Study reports on the inexpensive, single-step, and eco-friendly bioproduction of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) from aqueous extracts of leaves, stems, roots, flowers, and fruits of M. azedarach. (40)
• Anti-Viral Against Human Cytomegalovirus: The aqueous extracts of three medicinal plants, Carissa edulis, Prunus africana, and Melia azedarach showed significant reduction in the replication of human CMV in human embryonic lung (HEL) fibroblasts cells in vitro. Using the plaque inhibition assay, results showed potential anti-viral activities of the three plant extracts. (41)
• Hematological Changes / Fruits: Study evaluated the clinical and hematological changes in rabbits exposed to M. azedarach fruits under experimental conditions. Results showed increase in body temperature and heart rate, decrease in body weight, prolongation of bleeding time and clotting time. Hematologic changes included decrease in erythrocyte count, Hb and MCV values, increase in heterophils and monocyte percentages, and decrease in lymphocytic and eosinophil percentage. (43)
• Antibacterial / Fruits: Study evaluated the antibacterial effects of methanolic and aqueous extracts of M. azedarach fruit against various bacterial strains. P. aeruginosa, S. aureus, Proteus and Klebsiella sp. showed sensitivity to the aqueous extract. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Proteus showed significant sensitivity to the alcohol extract. (45)
• Antifungal / Bark: Study evaluated the antifungal potential of n-hexane and methanolic extracts of M. azedarach bark. The extracts showed high inhibition against Candida kruzei and moderate effect on Cryptococcus marinus. There was no response on Candida albicans and C. tropicalis. (46)
• Analgesic / Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated the potential analgesic and antioxidant activity of ethanolic extract of M. azedarach dried leaves. Results showed analgesic activity with significant (p<0.001) inhibition of writhing reflex in mice. The ethanolic extract showed free radical scavenging activity in DPPH assay with IC50 of 95µg/mL, comparable to ascorbic acid. (see constituents above) (47) |
• Anticancer / Combination of M. azedarach, Doxorubicin and Cyclophosphamide / Breast Cancer: Previous studies have shown M. azedarach has potent cytotoxicity effect on MCF-7 via induction of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. Study evaluated the anticancer activity of MA, doxorubicin, and cyclophosphaide combination. The combination can decrease the volume of adenocarcinoma mammary tumors in CH3 mice via increase in BAX expression and decrease AgNOR expression. (48)
• Insecticidal / Fruit: Study evaluated M. azaderach extracts and limonoid fraction for insecticidal activity against beet armyworm Spodoptera exigua. Results showed the extract disturbed development of S. exigua. (49)
• Inhibition of α-Glucosidase Activity / Antidiabetic / Leaves: Study evaluated the α-glucosidase activity of an ethanolic leaf extract of M. azedarach. The crude ethanolic leaf extract showed α-glucosidase inhibitory activity. Although it showed less inhibitory activity than acarbose, results suggest a potential candidate for development of anti-hyperglycemic formulation. (50)
• Antidiabetic / Gastric Emptying Inhibitory Effect / Leaves: Study evaluated the antidiabetic effect of leaf extracts inT2 diabetic experimental animals. Results showed the leaf extract elicits diabetic activity through a multitargeted effect, primarily an increased insulin-sensitizing effect resulting in blood glucose reduction and improved peripheral disposal, together with reduced gastric emptying and decreased insulin demand. (51)
• Report on Human Poisoning:
Review of Chinese medical literature reports that human M. azedarach poisoning occur when 6 to 9 fruits, 30 to 40 seeds, or 400 g of bark are consumed. Symptoms
occur within 4-6 hrs, or as short as 1/2 hour, consisting of weakness, myalgia, numbness and ptosis. M azedarach poisoning may result in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory or neurological effects, and death in severe cases.
• Case Report on a Fatality:
There have been scattered reports of human fatalities and non-fatal toxicities: (1) A woman
who died after a bark decoction of M azedarach was taken for dysmenorrhea. (2) A fatality from a bark decoction enema. (3) Illnesses from decoctions and infusions causing stomatitis, hematemesis, oliguria.
Pulp of seeds reportedly fatal to dogs.