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Medicinal Plant: Rambutan

By goGreen | December 29, 2011
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Family • Sapindaceae

Nephelium lappaceum Linn.
Shao tzu

Scientific namesCommon names
Nephelium lappaceum Linn.Usare (Sul.)
Nephelium glabrum Cambess.Usau (Bis.)
Nephelium chryseum Blum.Rambutan (Malaya)
Nephelium sufferrugineum Radlk.Ramboutanier (Engl.)
Euphobia nephelium DCShao tzu (Chinese)
Dimocarpus crinita Lour.



Rambutan is an evergreen, bushy tree, growing to a height of 20 meters, with a dense, low, round and spreading crown. Leaves are pinnately compound, 15 to 40 centimeters long, with 3 to 8 leaflets. The leaflets are elliptic, 7.5 to 20 centimeters long, and 3.5 to 8 centimeters wide. Flowers are greenish white, fragrant, very small, without petals, and borne on axillary pannicles. Fruit is oblong, 4 to 5 centimeters long, red to yellow, covered with thick, coarse hairs or soft spines. Pulp is edible, white, opaque, translucent, juicy and sweet.


- Cultivated in most parts of the Philippines.
- Also reported in India to Indo-China and Malaya, and extensively cultivated in Java and Malaya.

Parts utilized:
Roots, leaves and bark.


• Seeds yield 40-48 % rambutan tallow. The insoluble fatty acids of the tallow contain about 45 percent oleic acid. The tallow contains abundant arachin, some stearin and olein.
- The seeds have traces of an alkaloid, sugar 1.25%, starch 25%, and ash 2%.
- Flesh or pulp of the fruit yields saccharose 7.8^%, dextrose 2.25%, levulose 1.25%,
- Fruit contains fat 35%, ash 2%, vitamin C 4%.
- The shoots yield saponin.
- The testa of the seed is toxic due to the presence of Nephelium saponin and tannin.

Ripe rambutan fruit.


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• Fruit is considered astringent, stomachic, vermifuge, febrifuge.
- Seeds reported as bitter and narcotic.



- The Malays use a decotion of roots for fevers; the leaves for poulticing, and the bark as astringent for diseases of the tongue.
- Fruit decoction used for diarrhea and dysentery.
- Edible pulp (aril) is used as an refrigerant in fevers.
- In China, fruit is recommended for severe dysentery, and as a warm carminative in “cold” dyspepsia.
- In Malaya, astringent bark is used as remedy for thrush. Decoction of roots taken as febrifuge. source


Elsewhere, seed used to extract oil; also roasted and eaten.



Source: Philippine Medicinal Plant

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