Terminalia bellirica (PROTA)

From PlantUse English
Jump to: navigation, search
Prota logo orange.gif
Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
Introduction
List of species


General importance Fairytale bookmark gold.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svg
Geographic coverage Africa Fairytale bookmark gold.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svg
Geographic coverage World Fairytale bookmark gold.svgFairytale bookmark gold.svgFairytale bookmark gold.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svg
Fruit Fairytale bookmark gold.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svg
Dye / tannin Fairytale bookmark gold.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svg
Medicinal Fairytale bookmark gold.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svg
Timber Fairytale bookmark gold.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svg
Fuel Fairytale bookmark gold.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svg
Ornamental Fairytale bookmark gold.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svg
Forage / feed Fairytale bookmark gold.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svg
Food security Fairytale bookmark gold.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svg


Terminalia bellirica (Gaertn.) Roxb.


distribution in Africa (planted)
Linedrawing Terminalia bellirica.gif
Protologue: Pl. Coromandel 2: 54, t. 198 (1805).
Family: Combretaceae
Chromosome number: 2n = 24, 26, 48

Vernacular names

  • Beleric myrobalan, bedda nut tree (En).
  • Myrobolan belleric, badamier blanc (Fr).

Origin and geographic distribution

Terminalia bellirica is indigenous to tropical Asia, from India to the Moluccas (Indonesia). It has been successfully grown at low altitudes in Mauritius, but it is no longer planted due its susceptibility to wood borer attack. It has occasionally been planted in mainland Africa, e.g. in Côte d’Ivoire, Uganda and Tanzania, mainly as individual trees in botanical gardens. Recently trial plantings of Terminalia bellirica for timber production have been established in northern Australia.

Uses

On Rodrigues Island (Mauritius) leaf decoctions of Terminalia bellirica together with those of Ficus benghalensis L. are taken to treat diabetes and dysentery. The astringent fruits are commonly used in India, often in Ayurvedic preparations together with other medicinal plants, to treat ophthalmia, diabetes, liver complaints, hypertension, asthma, wounds, skin diseases, haemorrhoids, diarrhoea and dropsy. In other parts of Asia such as Thailand and Java (Indonesia), they are used in local medicine for similar purposes. The bark is used as astringent, purgative and diuretic, and to treat diarrhoea, piles, leprosy, fever, ophthalmia and dropsy. In India the fruits are used for tanning hides into leather, particularly for sole leather. They yield a dye that is occasionally used together with iron sulphate for dyeing black cloth and matting and for the preparation of ink. The kernel of the fruit stone is edible, but has narcotic properties. The kernel oil is used in the manufacture of hair oil and soap. The tree bole is used for dug-out canoes, and the wood for furniture, boxes and, often after being steeped in water to make it more durable, house construction. Wood pulp of good quality for paper can be produced. The tree also yields a good-quality firewood and charcoal. In India Terminalia bellirica is known as a fodder tree.

Production and international trade

On Rodrigues Island leaves are only sometimes used for medicinal purposes. The wood is locally used for construction purposes, but not much traded.

Properties

3,4,5-Trihydroxy benzoic acid (gallic acid) was isolated from the fruits and showed hepatoprotective properties in rats and mice. The fruit rind yielded the lignans termilignan, thannilignan and anolignan B, together with 7-hydroxy-3’,4’-(methylenedioxy)flavan. These compounds showed in-vitro activity against HIV-1, Plasmodium falciparum and the fungi Penicillium expansum and Candida albicans. Triterpenoids such as methyl esters of arjungenin, methyl esters of tomentosic acid, bellericagenin and bellericaside were isolated from the bark; these compounds showed antimicrobial activity.

Aqueous fruit extracts showed hypotensive, cardiac depressant, intestinal antispasmodic and central nervous system depressant effects in animal tests. The positive effect of the fruits in the treatment of gastro-intestinal and respiratory disorders was confirmed in pharmacological tests, which revealed a combination of anticholinergic and Ca++ antagonist effects. Antihypertensive effects of fruit extracts have been ascribed to a Ca++ antagonist mechanism. Oral administration of methanolic fruit extracts (100 mg/kg body weight) reduced the blood sugar level in normal and in diabetic rats significantly within 4 hours. Continued, daily administration of the extracts produced a sustained effect. Ethanolic fruit extracts applied as an ointment showed wound-healing activity in rats, and aqueous and ethanolic fruit extracts had significant antidepressant-like effects in mice. Fruit extracts showed strong antifungal activity against various fungi and exhibited antimutagenic activity in strains of Salmonella typhimurium. Antibacterial effects against a wide array of bacteria were also demonstrated. Fruit extracts exhibited growth inhibitory effects on human hepatocellular carcinoma and lung carcinoma cells. Methanolic fruit extracts showed activity against Trypanosoma evansi, both in vitro and in vivo in mice. Ethanolic leaf extracts showed antifertility effects in rats.

The fruit kernel contains approximately 35% protein and 37–47% of a sweet-smelling oil on a dry weight basis. The major fatty acids of the oil are oleic acid (24–56%), palmitic acid (18–35%), linoleic acid (about 31%) and stearic acid (about 8%). There are indications that heat-stable antinutritional factors are present in the kernel. In tests Terminalia bellirica showed allelopathic effects in crops.

The wood is whitish to yellowish grey. The grain is fairly straight, texture coarse. At 12% moisture content, the wood has a density of 675–900 kg/m³. In a test in India at 13% moisture content, the modulus of rupture was 111.5 N/mm², modulus of elasticity 15,100 N/mm², compression parallel to grain 61 N/mm², Janka side hardness 6365 N and Janka end hardness 5965 N. The wood is difficult to plane smoothly, but mortises and bores fairly well. Pre-boring for nailing is advised to avoid splitting. The wood produces good-quality veneer. It is not durable and prone to insect attack.

Description

Briefly deciduous, medium-sized to large tree up to 50 m tall; bole branchless for up to 20 m, straight, up to 200(–300) cm in diameter, with large buttresses; bark surface finely longitudinally cracked or fissured, bluish or ash-grey to pale grey-brown, inner bark yellowish; twigs thick, initially densely short-hairy. Leaves arranged spirally, often crowded at the ends of twigs, simple and entire; stipules absent; petiole 2.5–9 cm long; blade broadly elliptical to obovate-elliptical, 4–18 cm × 2–11 cm, rounded to cuneate at base, rounded or obtuse, sometimes slightly acuminate at apex, thin-leathery, glabrous, pinnately veined with 6–9 pairs of lateral veins. Inflorescence an axillary spike 3–15 cm long, short-hairy. Flowers bisexual, regular, 4–7 mm in diameter, yellowish; calyx with densely hairy tube and 5 recurved lobes; corolla absent; stamens 10, exserted; ovary inferior, 1-celled. Fruit a nearly globose to broadly ellipsoid drupe 2–3.5 cm long, with 5 longitudinal ridges, densely short-hairy. Seedling with hypogeal germination; cotyledons thick and fleshy; first leaves opposite or alternate, small, subsequent leaves alternate and larger.

Other botanical information

Terminalia is a pantropical genus of about 200 species. In mainland tropical Africa about 30 species occur naturally, in Madagascar about 35. Several orthographic variations occur of ‘bellirica’, including ‘belerica’ and ‘bellerica’.

Growth and development

Seedling growth is moderate during the first growing season, but this improves afterwards under good conditions. A long stout taproot is formed. Young trees grow rapidly and have a straight and terete stem. In experimental plantations in Java (Indonesia) on good soil, trees reached a height of up to 25 m in 15 years, after a few thinnings. Inoculation with vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi promotes growth of seedlings.

The architectural tree model is Aubréville’s model, characterized by a monopodial stem with rythmic growth and whorled branches. Trees are often leafless for a short period in the dry season. The flowers are pollinated by insects such as flies, which are attracted by an unpleasant odour. In closed stands fruiting is sparse; when trees grow in the open, fruiting is more abundant. Dispersal of fruit stones is by animals including pigs and goats. However, seeds are often destroyed by rodent and insect attacks.

Ecology

In its natural habitat, Terminalia bellirica occurs scattered in deciduous forest, in dry regions associated with teak, sometimes in considerable numbers. It is seldom found in evergreen forest. It does not grow above 600 m altitude and prefers periodically dry soils. It is light-demanding, but somewhat shade-tolerant in youth. It is fairly sensitive to frost when young and moderately drought-tolerant. In its natural area of distribution mean annual rainfall varies from 1000 to over 3000 mm.

Propagation and planting

Germination takes (2–)4–11 weeks after sowing. Pre-treatment of the fruit stones enhances the germination rate; soaking in sulphuric acid for 15 minutes and breaking the stone with a hammer stroke are effective, with 80% and 75% germination, respectively. Depulped stones soaked in cold water for 48 hours even showed a germination rate of 89%. Experiments with vegetative propagation by cuttings were not successful, but patch budding gave better results.

When seedlings are raised in the nursery, transplanting to the field before the taproot has developed is strongly preferable. Clipping of roots and shoots checks growth considerably; stumping is not advised. For good results, plantations have to be established on fertile soils, and spacing has to be fairly wide.

A protocol for micropropagation has been established in India, using axillary buds from seedlings.

Management

Locally in India, Terminalia bellirica is grown as medicinal plant in agroforestry and social forestry systems. Trees react well to coppicing, but less well to pollarding.

Diseases and pests

Living trees have few diseases and pests. Phytophthora leaf blight has been reported for seedlings. The seeds and the wood are frequently attacked by boring insects. Cankers caused by Corticium salmonicolor are commonly found in India in trees having wounds.

Genetic resources

Locally in India, Terminalia bellirica has become vulnerable. It is planted only occasionally in tropical Africa and the genetic diversity there is very limited.

Prospects

Although Terminalia bellirica is not indigenous in Africa and has been planted in the past with little success, it may have prospects as medicinal plant in Africa. There exists extensive pharmacological information, which confirms many applications in traditional medicine in Asia, including the treatment of high blood pressure, diabetes, gastro-intestinal complaints and wounds. The activity in the treatment of trypanosomiasis is particularly interesting for Africa because of increasing resistance of the Trypanosoma parasite to the usual drugs. Moreover, the fruits are the most interesting part of the tree with regard to the medicinal applications, and this makes sustainable harvesting relatively simple. However, experimental plantings of Terminalia bellirica in various regions of Africa are needed, as well as more research on safe and optimal use of medicines prepared from this tree before its exploitation in tropical Africa can be established.

Major references

  • Choudhary, G.P., 2008. Wound healing activity of the ethanol extract of Terminalia bellirica Roxb. fruits. Natural Product Radiance 7(1): 19–21.
  • Fundter, J.M., de Graaf, N.R., Hildebrand, J.W. & van Valkenburg, J.L.C.H., 1991. Terminalia bellirica (Gaertner) Roxb. In: Lemmens, R.H.M.J. & Wulijarni-Soetjipto, N. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 3. Dye and tannin producing plants. Pudoc, Wageningen, Netherlands. pp. 118–120.
  • Gilani, A.H., Khan, A.U., Ali, T. & Ajmal, S., 2008. Mechanisms underlying the antispasmodic and bronchodilatory properties of Terminalia bellirica fruit. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 116(3): 528–538.
  • Nag, A. & De, K.B., 1995. In search of a new vegetable oil. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 43(4): 902–903.
  • Shaba, P., Pandey, N.N., Sharma, O.P., Rao, R.J. & Singh, R., 2009. Therapeutic evaluation of Terminalia bellirica (Combretaceae) dried fruits against Trypanosoma evansi. The Internet Journal of Veterinary medicine 7(1).

Other references

  • Anand, K.K., Singh, B., Saxena, A.K., Chandan, B.K., Gupta, V.N. & Bhardwaj, V., 1997. 3,4,5-Trihydroxy benzoic acid (gallic acid), the hepatoprotective principle in the fruits of Terminalia belerica-bioassay guided activity. Pharmacological Research 36(4): 315–321.
  • Dhingra, D. & Valecha, R., 2007. Evaluation of antidepressant-like activity of aqueous and ethanolic extracts of Terminalia bellirica Roxb. fruits in mice. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 45(7): 610–616.
  • Gurib-Fakim, A., Guého, J., Sewraj, M.D. & Dulloo, E., 1994. Plantes médicinales de l’île Rodrigues. Editions de l’Océan Indien, Rose-Hill, Mauritius. 580 pp.
  • Kotangale, V.Z., Vadlamudi, V.P. & Rajurkar, S.R., 2006. Pharmacological investigations of Terminalia bellirica fruit extracts. Indian Veterinary Journal 83(3): 271–274.
  • Nandy, A.K., Chakraborty, A. & Podder, G., 1997. Antimicrobial activity of Terminalia bellerica triterpenoids. Fitoterapia 68(2): 178–180.
  • Pinmai, K., Chunlaratthanabhorn, S., Ngamkitidechakul, C., Soonthornchareon, N. & Hahnvajanawong, C., 2008. Synergistic growth inhibitory effects of Phyllanthus emblica and Terminalia bellirica extracts with conventional cytotoxic agents: doxorubicin and cisplatin against human hepatocellular carcinoma and lung cancer cells. World Journal of Gastroenterology 14(10): 1491–1497.
  • Rukmini, C. & Rao, P.U., 1986. Chemical and nutritional studies on Terminalia bellirica kernel and its oil. Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society 63(3): 360–363.
  • Sabu, M.C. & Kuttan, R., 2002. Anti-diabetic activity of medicinal plants and its relationship with their antioxidant property. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 81(2): 155–160.
  • Sosef, M.S.M., Boer, E., Keating, W.G., Sudo, S. & Phuphathanaphong, L., 1995. Terminalia L. In: Lemmens, R.H.M.J., Soerianegara, I. & Wong, W.C. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 5(2). Timber trees: Minor commercial timbers. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. pp. 474–492.
  • Valsaraj, R., Pushpangadan, P., Smitt, U.W., Adsersen, A., Christensen, S.B., Sittie, A., Nyman, U., Nielsen, C. & Olsen, C.E., 1997. New anti-HIV-1, antimalarial, and antifungal compounds from Terminalia bellerica. Journal of Natural Products 60(7): 739–742.

Sources of illustration

  • Fundter, J.M., de Graaf, N.R., Hildebrand, J.W. & van Valkenburg, J.L.C.H., 1991. Terminalia bellirica (Gaertner) Roxb. In: Lemmens, R.H.M.J. & Wulijarni-Soetjipto, N. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 3. Dye and tannin producing plants. Pudoc, Wageningen, Netherlands. pp. 118–120.

Author(s)

  • E.N. Matu, CTMDR/KEMRI, P.O. Box 54840–00200, Nairobi, Kenya
  • R.H.M.J. Lemmens, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article

Matu, E.N. & Lemmens, R.H.M.J., 2013. Terminalia bellirica (Gaertn.) Roxb. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(2): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 2. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands. Accessed 9 October 2019.