Indian Almond, Katapang

Terminalia catappa L. (Combretaceae)

Terminalia catappa L. is a tall tree, up to 25 m tall. Branches are horizontally whorled, giving it a pagoda shape. Leaves are shiny, obovate, 10-25 cm long, tapering to a short thick petiole. Leaves are yellow that turn red before shedding. Flowers are small and white. Fruits have smooth outer coat, 3-6 cm long, flattened edges, with a pointed end. Pericarp is fibrous and fleshy.


Native to tropical and temperate Asia, Australasia, the Pacific and Madagascar.


Catappanin A, chebulagic acid, 1-desgalloylleugeniin, geraniin, granatin B, punicalagin, punicalin, tercatain, terflavins A & B, tergallagin, euginic acid and others.

Traditional Medicinal Uses

Terminalia catappa has been used to treat dysentery in a number of Southeast Asian countries. In Indonesia, the leaves are used as a dressing for swollen rheumatic joints while in the Philippines, they are used to expel worms. In Karkar Island, New Guinea, juice from the squeezed leaves is applied to sores and the sap from the white stem pith is squeezed and drunk to relieve cough. In Nasingalatu, Papua New Guinea, the flower is crushed, mixed with water and drunk to induce sterility. In New Britain, the old yellow leaves are crushed in water and drunk to sooth sore throat. In Bougainville, the leaves are heated and placed on pimples and the bark is applied to sores. In Tonga, the juice from pounded leaves and bark is applied to mouth sore. In Irian Jaya, the leaves are applied to wounds and burns while in Somoa, it is used to cure cough and sore throat. The fruits are used after childbirth to strengthen the back. An enema made from the crushed fruit mixed with Trigonella foenum-graecum, animal fat and warm water is administered to the new mother after childbirth. The leaves are used for the treatment of scabies and skin diseases while the juice is used to treat headache and colic. The bark is used as a diuretic, cardiotonic and for dysentery. The leaves of this plant have also been used as a folk medicine for treating hepatitis in India and Philippines.

Pharmacological Activities

Antimicrobial, Anticancer / Antineoplastic, Anti-inflammatory, Hypoglycaemic, Antioxidant, Hepatoprotective, Antiviral, Chemopreventive, Aphrodisiac and Antimutagenic.


2 tablespoons of a decoction (few leaves in 200 ml water) is given every 2 hours to stop diarrhoea.

Adverse Reactions

No information as yet.


Preliminary oral LD50 doses of petroleum ether, methanol and aqueous extracts of T. catappa in mice were found to be 343, 195, and 210 mg/kg respectively. Rats fed on T. catappa diet maintained their body weight but suffered from stomach, small intestine and pancreas hypertrophies as well as spleen atrophy. Larger doses enhanced liver damage.


No information as yet.

Drug-Herb Interactions

No information as yet.