Spanish Plum (Spondias purpurea)
Family • Anacardiaceae
Spondias purpurea Linn.
Sineguelas is a deciduous tree growing to a height of 5 meters. Trunk is stout, with thick spreading branches. Leaves are pinnate, 15 to 25 centimeters long. Leaflets occur in 5 to 9 pairs, oblong-ovate, 5 to 7 centimeters long. Flowers are solitary or fascicled in the axils of the fallen leaves, reddish, and 3 to 3.5 millimeters long. Fruit is smooth and thin-skinned, oblong or subglobose, about 2.5 centimeters long, with a fleshy pericarp, yellowish green or dark-purplish outside, with a large and stony seed. When ripe, the seed is surrounded by a soft, sweet, and aromatic juicy pulp.
- Cultivated for its edible fruit throughout the Philippines.
- Introduced from tropical America by the Spaniards.
- Now pantropic; naturalized throughout the tropics all over the world.
- Mineral content and food values are: Moisture 75.6 - 85.44%, ash 0.57-0.9%, phosphorus 0.11%, calcium 0.01%, iron 0.003%, proteins 0.63%, fats 0.09%, carbohydrates 21.16%, crude fiber 0.62%.
- Study of amino acid composition of the gum yielded hydroxyproline (main AA), aspartic acid, glutamic acid, serine, proline, threonine, and alanine.
- Peels of jocote fruits yielded phenolic acids and several flavonol O-glycosides of quercetin, kaempferol, kaempferide and rhamnetin. (8)
- Fruit is astringent; considered diuretic and antispasmodic.
- Shoots are astringent.
- Seeds considered toxic.
• Fruit has a thin skin and a large seed, surrounded by a soft, sweet, aromatic, and juicy pulp when fully ripe.
Although much eaten, it is not considered a high-quality fruit, with a tendency to cause stomachaches when eaten semi-ripe in large quantities.
• Also used as seasoning for sweets and pickling.
• In the Ecuadorian coastal plain and Andes, processed into marmalade, wine, liquor.
• Decoction of the bark used for dysentery and infantile tympanites.
• Sap of the bark is applied to the infants mouth for stomatitis (dapulak).
• Fruit is astringent and useful in diarrhea.
• In Brazil, decoction of bark used for diarrhea; decoction of flowers and leaves used for constipation and stomach aches. Decoction of the fruit used for diarrhea, dysentery, gonorrhea.
• The Tikunas Indians of the Amazon use the decoction of bark for pain and excessive menstrual bleeding, for stomach pains and diarrhea, and for washing wounds.
• Cubans used the fruit as emetic.
• Dominicans use it as laxative.
• Bark used for minor skin ulcers.
• In Haiti, leaf juice taken orally for swollen glands and trauma. Crushed leaves applied for headaches. Fruit consumed in large amounts for constipation. Also used for diarrhea and dysentery. Fruit syrup used for angina.
• Fruit decoction used to bathe wounds.
• Juice of fresh leaves used for thrush.
• Decoction of leaves and bark used as febrifuge.
• Crushed leaves applied as head bath for headaches.
• In the Guianas fruit used as ingredient in marmalade laxative; shoots as astringent.
• In Nigeria, infusion of shredded leaves used to wash wounds, cuts, sores and burns.
• In Jamaica, leaves are boiled to make a cold remedy; also used for sore gums, diarrhea and dysentery. In Maya medicine, plant used to make baths for skin diseases.
• Resin of tree used with pineapple and soursop for jaundice.
• Amazonian Indians use a daily cup of decoction for permanent sterility.
• In Peru, leaf and bark decoctions used to aid delivery.
• In Guatemala, used for gastrointestinal disorders.
• Stains: Fruit used to remove stains from clothing and for washing hands.
• In French Guiana, shoots are considered astringent. Fruit used as ingredient in laxative marmalade. Seeds considered toxic.
• Veterinary: In Eastern Nigeria, fresh leaves of S. mombin used to aid delivery and expel the placenta in small ruminants.
• Many compilations list Spondias purpurea (sineguelas) and Spondias mombin (hevi) separately; some compilations list them as synonyms. There is also an overlap for synonyms and common names on both species. Red mombin is applied to Spondias purpurea and yellow mombin to Spondias mombin.
• Until resolved, I have included the studies for Spondias mombin.
• Antimicrobial / Anti-Enterobacterial: In a study of 84 plants screened for in vitro activity against five enterobacteria pathogenic to man, Spondias purpurea was one of ten plants that showed the best antibacterial activity and provides scientific basis for use in enterobacterial infections in man.
• Polysaccharide Gum: Study of S. purpurea var. lutea polysaccharide gum yielded 3-O- and 6-O-galactosyl residues, terminal and 3-O-α-l-arabinofuranosyl, terminal rhamnosyl residues and uronic acids, represented by β-d-glucuronic acid and its 4-O-methyl derivative. (6)
• Gum / Pharmaceutical Binding: Study showed the S. purpurea bark gum has binding abilities which can be employed when high mechanical strength and fast to moderate release is required.
• Antioxidant / Pharmaceutical Binding: Study evaluated five tropical Brazilian fruits for antioxidant activity using four different assays. All results showed high antioxidant properties for siriguela (S. purpurea).
• Mutagenic Potential: Study evaluated the mutagenic potential of S. purpurea through the micronucleus test in peripheral blood of mice in vivo. Results showed no mutagenicity. (10)
• Antinociceptive Activity / Leaves: Study evaluated the in vivo effects of leaf extracts of S. mombin on reproductive performance of female rats. Results showed antinociceptive activity, but no abortifacient or estrogenic activity.
• Anxiolytic Activity: Study evaluated the anxiolytic properties of various extracts of Spondias mombin leaves using aggressive behavior response and depression-related swimming behavior activities. All test extracts abolished aggressive attacks in rats and reduced swimming time in mice. Results suggest an anxiolytic effect mediated by GABAergic transmission.(13)
• Male Antifertility Effect / Leaves: Study evaluated an ethanol extract of Spondias mombin leaf on male rats for antifertility effect. There were histomorphological changes in the testis with significant reduction of serum testosterone. Results suggest potential sterility through suppression of spermatogenesis.
• Lipid Lowering Effect / Leaves: Study evaluated an aqueous extract of leaves on the serum profile of rabbits. Results showed significant reduction of serum total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL.
• Haematinic Potential / Leaves: Study evaluated the haematinic potential of an ethanol extract of Spondias mombin in female Wistar rats. The extract significantly increased erythrocyte count, hemoglobin concentration and packed cell volume. Result collaborates its traditional use as a haematinic.
• Uterine Smooth Muscle Effect / Leaves: Study evaluated ethanolic crude and neutral leaf extracts of S. mombin on serum estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone on albino rabbits and compared with oxytocin. In vivo studies showed the crude extract caused more prolonged muscle contraction, unlike the more forceful effect with oxytocin. While oxytocin synergistically enhances estrogen activity, the extract mechanism of action was apparently dependent on competitive binding to estrogen receptor sites.
• Phytochemical and Nutrient Evaluation / Leaves: Phytochemical and nutrient evaluation of S. mombin leaves yielded the presence of bioactive compounds tannins 3.82%; Saponins 7.60%; Flavonoids 3.00%, alkaloids 6.00% and phenols 1.00%. Vitamin analysis yielded ascorbic acid 19.35mg100-1g; Niacin 3.75mg100-1g. Riboflavin 0.25 mg100-1g and Thiamine 0.05 mg100-1g. Mineral analysis yielded K 2.55%, Mg 0.3045%, Na 0.100%, Ca, 1.310% and P, 0.200%.