Malay apple – proven health benefits & uses

The scientific name of the Malay apple is Syzygium malaccense. It is also known as Makopa, Tersana rose apple, Mountain apple, and Water apple.

Other names include

BURMESE: Thabyo thabyang, Thabyo thabyay.
CHINESE: Hong hua pu tao, Ma lai pu tao, Ma liu jia pu tao, Yang pu tao.
FRENCH: Jambosier rouge, Poire de Malacca, Poire Malaque, Pomme de Malaisie, Pomme de Tahiti, Pomme d’eau, Pomme Malacca.
GERMAN: Malacca-Apfel, Malakka-Apfel.
JAPANESE: Maree futo momo.
KHMER: Chompuh kraham.
MALAY: Darsana, Jambu bar, Jambu bol, Jambu bubul, Jambu kapal, Jambu kling, Jambu melaka, Jambu merah, Jambu tersana (Indonesia).
PORTUGUESE: Jambo vermelho (Brazil), Jambeiro.
RUSSIAN: Malaiskoe iabloko, Sitsigium malakskij, Sizigium malakkskij,
SPANISH : Cajualito (Dominica Rep.), Mazana de agua (Costa Rica), Manzana de agua, Manzana malaya, Pera de agua (Venezuela), Pomagás (Venezuela), Pomalaca, Pomarosa de Malaca (Colombia), Marañon japonés ((El Salvador), Pomarrosa de Malaca, Yambo.
THAI: Chom phûu daeng, Chom phûu mamieo, Chom phûu saaraek.
VIETNAMESE: Cay dao, Cay roi, Dièu dò, Man hurong tau.

Malay apple is a tree reaching a height of 10 meters. Leaves are pinkish when young. Older leaves are large, drooping, elliptic-oblong to broadly oblong-lanceolate, 15 to 30 centimeters long, 7 to 15 centimeters wide, narrowed and pointed at both ends. Flowers are large, showy, crimson, 5 to 6 centimeters in diameter, borne on the branches below the leaves, clustered on short, few-flowered racemes, 6 centimeters long or less. Fruit is shiny, oblong or pear-shaped, 5 to 7.5 centimeters long, either white splashed, striped with pink, or wholly crimson to purplish, and slightly shiny, seedless or one-seeded. Flesh is white, pithy, juicy. Although rather tasteless, some varieties have a pleasant flavor.


– Cultivated for its edible fruit.
– Nowhere naturalized.
– Also occurs in Indo-Malaya.
– Now planted in most tropical countries.


• Leaf oil largely composed of monoterpenes (30% sesquiterpenes, 9 % caryophyllene).

• Study yielded leaf fraction for essential oil yielded three compounds – ursolic acid, B-sitosterol, and sitos-4-en-3-one. (See study )

• Study of essential oil from fresh leaves yielded showed 61.1% monoterpenes characterized mainly by (+)-α-pinene (7.3%), (−)-β-pinene (8.0%), p-cymene (13.5%), and α-terpineol (7.5%). Sesquiterpenes constituted 30.8% of the oil with (−)-β-caryophyllene (9.0%) as the major component. (see study)

Medicinal properties of Mountain apple

– Considered diuretic, emmenagogue, abortifacient, febrifuge.

Parts used

Leaves, fruit

Uses/Nutrition / Culinary

– Fruit is eaten raw but may be prepared with flavoring.

– In Puerto Rico, used for making of table wines.

– In Indonesia, flowers eaten in salads. Young shoots and leaves eaten, raw or cooked.

Folkloric traditional remedies and uses of Malya apple

– In the Moluccas, the astringent bark is used for making a mouthwash for thrush (dapulak).

– A root-bark decoction used for dysentery and amenorrhea.

– Malays applies the dried, powdered leaves for cracked tongues.

– Root applied to itches.

– For sore throat, the inner bark is scraped or the whole bark is decocted.

– Root-bark used as abortifacient; also for amenorrhea and dysentery.

– In Hawaii, juice of salted pounded bark used for wounds.

– In Molucca, decoction of bark used for thrush.

-Malayans use powdered dried leaves for cracked tongues. Root preparations for itching.

– In Cambodia, decoction of fruit, leaves and seeds used for fever. Juice of leaves used for baths and lotions. The root is considered diuretic.

– In Brazil, used for diabetes, cough, headaches, constipation.

– In Malaysian Borneo, Malaysian Borneo, decoction of stem and bark for diarrhea.

Other uses

– Timber: Wood is used for construction, bowls and boards.

Scientific proven healthbenefits and uses of Malay apple


Flavan-3-ols isolated from some medicinal plants inhibiting COX-1 and COX-2 catalyzed prostaglandin biosynthesis: S malaccense was one of four plants tested that were traditionally used for inflammatory conditions.


Study of 58 underutilized Malaysian fruits of 32 different species, showed fruits from some genera, including Syzygium, had higher antioxidant capacity compared to other genera.

Leaf Oil Analysis:

Study of hydrodistilled essential oil from the fresh leaves of SM grown in Nigeria showed the oil to be largely composed of monoterpenes (61.1%) characterized mainly by a-pinene, b-pinene, p-cymene and a-terpineol. The sesquiterpenes constituted 30.8% of the oil with b-caryophyllene as the major component.

Essential Oils / Ichthyotoxicity:

Preliminary ichthyotoxic test on all parts of SM showed the leaves fraction to be most ichthyotoxic against tilapia fish (Tilapia oreochromis). Study isolated three compounds – ursolic acid, B-sitosterol, and sitos-4-en-3-one. None of the compounds gave any significant ichthyotoxicity.

Aldose Reductase Inhibition / Cataract Prevention:

Cataractogenesis is a common complication in diabetes, and aldose reductase in a lens enzyme involved in its development. In a study, S malaccense was one of the best four plant extract inhibitors with a preventive effect on cataract formation.

Hypoglycemic / Antidiabetic:

Study of SM aqueous and alcoholic bark extracts in STZ-induced diabetic rats showed reduction of blood sugar and improvement in hyperlipidemia and liver glycogen depletion. The alcohol extract was more effective than the aqueous extract and equivalent to that of glibenclamide.

Candied Fruit Slices:

Study was done to develop pomera (S. malaccense), an underutilized highly perishable fruit, into a candied fruit product. Results showed the color, taste, and texture of the candied fruit to be acceptable.

Antioxidant / Leaves:

A methanolic extract of fresh leaves exhibited high antioxidant activity with DPPH and hydroxyl radical scavenging assays. A strong correlation was noted with phenolic and flavonoid contents.

Hypoglycemic / Hypolipidemic:

Study evaluated the effect of aqueous and alcoholic extracts of S. malaccense on serum glucose, lipid profile and liver glycogen in normal and hyperglycemic rats. Results showed reduction of FBS and significant reversal of diabetes induced hyperlipidemia and liver glycogen depletion.

Anticancer Effect:

Study evaluated the antiproliferative effects of three Syzygium fruits, viz., water apple, milk apple, and malay apple against two types of cancer-origin cells: MCF-7 (hormone dependent breast cancer cell line) and MDA-MB-231 ( nonhormone-dependent breast cancer cell line. The extracts of water apple and malay apple displayed antiproliferatiion effects on MCF-7 cell lines in 72 hours. The methanol extract of S. malaccense showed a more significant effect. (14) Study showed malay apple extract showed anti-proliferation effects on MCF-7 cell lines (p<0.05) in 72 hours. A methanolic extract showed 79% cell viability of MCF7.

Subacute Toxicity Testing / Hematological and Liver Tissue Effects:

Study evaluated the subacute effects of extract of S. malaccense in albino rats in doses of 50, 100, 250, 500 mg/kbw for 28 days.. Results showed a tendency to affect the hematopoeitic elements and alter the structural integrity of the liver tissue if ingested at higher doses.

Calcium Antagonist / Anti-Diarrheal:

Study evaluated the use of the plant in hypermotility states of the gut. A hexane extract was found to dose-dependently relax the spontaneously contracting isolated rabbit jejunum. Four flavonoids isolated from the hexane extract showed dose dependent spasmolytic activity with SS2 showed the most potency. These compounds exhibiting spasmolytic and calcium antagonist activity may be responsible for the medicinal use of the plant in diarrhea.

No Anti-Inflammatory Activity / Fruits:

Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory activities of methanol extracts of Syzygium malaccense fruits on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages. The methanol extract did not show any anti-inflammatory activity. The author suggests the testing of other extracts as bioactive compounds could be extracted from different solvent systems.

Antioxidant / Pulp in Ripe and Unripe State: Study of both extracts of ripe and unripe rose apple fruits showed high antioxidant activity and free radical scavenging; however, the unripe rose apple showed greater activity.


Tinctures in the market.

Read about other interesting fruits

Acai berry        Ambarella         Avocado           Bael       Banana      Bilberry      Cocunut   

 Cantaloupe        Cashew apple      Dragon Fruit    Durian      Fig      Jack fruit   Jamun      

 Kiwi       Mango        Mangosteen       Miracle fruit         Pomelo      Papaya       Passion fruit

Phalsa      Pineapple           Plum       Pomegranate        Prickly pear           Quince       

Rambutan           Roselle          Santol          Sapota       Sea buckthorn       Sour Orange     

Soursop           Sweet Lime         Star gooseberry         Star Apple          Strawberry     

Surinam Cherry          Sweet lime              Tamarind               Tomato           Tree tomato     

 Wampi       Watermelon         Wood apple

Read about herbs and spices

Allspice          Alfalfa       Ashwagandha        Bay leaf              Black cohosh           

Black onion seeds       Black pepper        Celery          Chives         Chamomile        Clove

Coriander       Curry leaf         Cumin        Eucalyptus        Fennel            Fenugreek

Garlic      Ginger         Gotu Kola        Hibiscus         Holy basil     Jasmine      Kava Kava

Licorice       Lotus      Majoram          Marigold     Mugwort      Mustard seeds        Neem

Nutmeg       Oregano      Peppermint       Red  clover          Rose         Rosemary           Sage

Sensitive plant     St.John’s wort        Tarragon           Thyme           Triphala powder

 Turmeric       Wheat grass      Wild amarnath

Exit mobile version