Elephant apple (DILLENIA INDICA L.)

Family: Dilleniaceae

Bengali/vernacular name: Chalta, Chalita.
Tribal name: Ulugach, Dabrusi (Chakma); Kra Aning (Marma); Jhaipola (Tipra); Thabru, Dabru, Chauralei (Murong).
English name: Elephant apple.
Description of the plant:
A medium-sized, semi deciduous tree, branches spreading. Leaves fascicled at the end of the branches, oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, 20-30 cm long, sharply serrate. Flowers white, large, up to 15 cm diam., solitary, towards the end of each branchlets. Fruit large, 7.5-10 cm diam., subglobose.
Indian Catmon is a more or less deciduous tree growing up to 10 meters or more in height, with a few wide-spreading branches. Leaves are alternate, mostly terminal, oblong or broadly lanceolate, 20 to 30 centimeters long, 6 to 12 centimeters wide, stiff, curving outward, with toothed margins, and beautifully ribbed, with 30 to 40 pairs of side veins. Flowers are very large, 15 to 20 centimeters across, solitary at the ends of the twigs, are facing downward. Sepals are rounded and yellowish green, while the petals are white, free, obovate, and 5 to 7.5 centimeters wide. Fruit, which is made of ripened carpels and enclosed by greatly enlarged and thickened imbricating sepals, is large, somewhat rounded or broadly ovoid, 12.5 to 15 centimeters in diameter, yellowish green hard, and tough. Seeds are numerous and compressed, with a hairy margin.


Using information:
The fruits are tonic and laxative; used in diarrhoea, dysentery and burns in Khagrachari. The fruit juice is used as a cooling beverage in fevers and as an expectorant in cough mixture. The bark and leaves possesses astringent properties (Yusuf et al. 2009).
Seed extract possesses antimicrobial activity.

Chemical constituents:
Chief contents of the fleshy sepals are tannins, malic acid, arabinogalactan and glucose. They also contain an arabinogalactan, betulin, betulinic acid and flavonoids. Bark and wood contain flavonoids, betulin, betulinic acid, betulinaldehyde, lupeol, β-sitosterol, myricetinhydroxy-lactone, dihydroisorhamneti, dillentin and glucosides. Leaves contain flavones, cycloartenone, betulinic acid, n-hentriacontanol and β-sitosterol. Stem bark contains betulinaldehyde, betulin, lupeol, β-sitosterol, myricetin, a new hydroxylactone, dihydro-isorrhamnetin, dillentin and glucosides.
– Fruit is very watery, 86.4% water, with 10% insoluble matter, and very little of that is nutritious.
– Calyces of the fresh ripe fruit yields: moisture 86.40%, alcohlic extract 3.0 %, water extract 0.37%, and insolubles 10.23%.
– Composition of an alcoholic extract was: Moisture 8.20, tannin 1.40, glucose 12.15, mallic acid 2.21, petroleum ether solubles (fats, etc.) 0.72, albuminoids 0.85, ash 12.63, and pectous matter, etc., 61.84.
– Kernel of D. indica yielded antioxidant compounds 1-Dotriacontano and BHT.
– Phytochemical screening have yielded lupeol group of triterpene-like betulinic acid and betulin, and flavonol such as myricetin.
– Yields flavonoids: kaempferol, quercetin, isorhamnetin, naringenin and phenolic materials.
– Stem extract yielded four compounds: lupeol, betulinaldehyde, betulinic acid and stigmasterol.
– A phytochemical screening yielded steroids, terpenoids, saponins, fatty acids, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, glycosides and carbohydrates.

– Bark and leaves are astringent.
Parts utilized
Fruit, bark, leaves.
– In Malaya, fruit is used as flavoring with curries. Also made into jam.
– Bark and leaves are astringent.
– Fruit is slightly laxative; in excess, may induce diarrhea.
– Fruit used for relieving abdominal pains.
– Mixed juices of leaf and bark taken orally for treatment of cancer and diarrhea.
– Juice of the fruit, mixed with sugar and water, used as a cooling beverage in fevers and as a cough mixture.
– In Sabah, young leaves or stem bark pounded and applied as paste on swellings and wounds.
– In Thailand, fruit pulp used in washing the hair.
– Fruit juice used as cardiotonic.
• Red dye: A red dye is obtained from the tree bark.

• CNS Depresssant: Alcoholic extract has shown central nervous system depressant activity.
• Chemical Constituents / Triterpenoids / Flavonoids: (1) Study isolated four compounds from the n-hexane and chloroform fractionates: 3,5,7-trihydroxy-3’4′-dimethoxy flavone, betulinic acid (dillenetin), ß-sitosterol and stigmaterol. Results indicate Dillenia indica may provide a rich source of triterpenoids and flavonoids. (2) Contains the lupeol group of triterpene (betulinic acid, betulinaldehyde, betulin) and flavonol (myricetin). Stem bark contains myricetin, isorrhamnetic, dillenetin and glucosides.
• Betulinic Acid / Anti-Leukemic: The methanolic extract of D indica fruit showed significant anti-leukemic activity in human leukemic cell lines. Betulinic acid, the major compound isolated, could explain the anti-leukemic activity.
• Anti-Inflammatory: The anti-inflammatory activities of the methanol extract of Dillenia indica leaves were observed in various models related to inflammation. The findings support the folkloric use of Dillenia indica in diseases related to inflammatory processes.
• Antioxidant: Study of extracts of Dillenia indica fruits antioxidant activity to be highest in the methanol extract, followed by ethyl acetate and water extracts. Results indicate the extent of antioxidant activity correlated with the amount of phenolics present and that D. indica is rich in phenolics and may provide a good source of antioxidants.
• Anti-Diabetic / Antihyperlipidemic: It also showed significant reduction in serum cholesterol, triglycerides, and serum transaminases levels, with improvement in HDL levels.
• Antimicrobial: Study of methanolic extracts and fractions of the bark of DI showed remarkable activities against all test bacteria. An n-Hexane fraction showed highest activity against Shigella dysenteriae. A methanol extract showed highest activity against fungus Candida albicans.
enhanced serum insulin levels in diabetic rats.
• Antimicrobial / Antioxidant / Cytotoxicity: Crude methanolic extracts showed weak antimicrobial activity against bacteria and fungi. Extractives exhibited significant cytotoxic activity on brine shrimp lethality bioassay. Extractives also exhibited significant free radical scavenging activity.
• Anxiolytic: Study of a hydroethanolic leaves extract showed prominent anxiolytic activity in mice. Diazepam was used as the standard drug.
• Free Radical Scavenging Activity: Study of methanolic leaves extract showed significant reducing power and concentration-dependent free radical scavenging effect. Total phenolic contents of the leaves extract were gallic acid equivalents and total flavonoids were catechin equivalents.

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