Red cedar proven benefits and uses

Scientific names Common names
Cedrela calantas (Merr. & Rolfe) Burkill Anipla (Iv.)
Cedrela odorata Blanco ? Danigga (Ibn.)
Toona calantas Merr. & Rolfe Danupra (Ilk.)
Kantingen (Ilk., Sbl.)
Lanigda (Bik.)
Lanigpa (Bik.)
Lanigpa (Bik., S.L. Bis., C. Bis.)
Porak (Ilk.)
Philippine mahogany (Engl.)
Philippine cedar (Engl.)
Red cedar (Engl.)
Toona calantas Merr. & Rolfe is an unresolved name The Plant List
There are conflicting attributions of synonyms on Toona calantas.
The genus Cedrela is included in the tribe Cedreleae of subfamily Sietenioideae, as is the genus Toona. All the easter species of Cedrela have been transferred to Toona. Cedrela differs from Tooby by its prominent androgynophore with adnate petals and filaments, the cuplike calyx, the bigger and woodier capsule, and seedlings with entire leaflets. (World AgroForestry)


Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Hong chun.
JAVA: Soeren.
MALAYA: Serai wangi.

Red cedar

Red cedar or Kalantas is a large forest tree. Leaves are alternate, oddly pinnate, 30-50 centimeters long or longer. Leaflets are smoothy or hairy along the nerves below, oblong or broadly lanceolate, 12 centimeters long and 5 centimeters wide. Panicles are profuse, lax, equal to or shorter than the leaves. Fruit is 3 to 4 centimeters long, with a 5-ridged central column. Seeds are distinctly but unequally winged on each side.

Distribution of red cedar tree

– In primary forests at low and medium altitudes in the Batan Islands, Cagayan to Sorsogon Provinces in Luzon; Mindoro, Samar, Negros, Leyte, Cebu and Mindanao.

– Also reported in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea.

Chemical Constituents of Red cedar tree

– Wood contains 0.3 to 1.2 % essential oil; caninene is one of the principal constituents.

– Study yielded three new norlimonoids, toonaciliatins A, F, and G; four new limonoids and five known compounds.

Properties of Red cedar tree

– Considered astringent, antiseptic and antispasmodic.

– Heartwood is reddish brown, while the narrow sapwood is pale red in color.

Parts used

Bark, flowers.

Folkloric and traditional benefits and uses of Red cedar

– Decoction of bark is astringent and used for cleaning wounds.

– Powder of the bark is considered antiseptic and is dusted over gangrenous ulcers.

– Decoction of flowers used as an antispasmodic.

Other uses

Wood: Used in the manufacture of cigar boxes. Also used for decorative applications such as timber veneers, paneling, joinery and furniture. Also used for building boats, piano cases and carving.

Scientific studies on health benefits and uses of Red cedar

Anti-Ulcer / Gastroprotective:

Study of ethanol extract of Toona ciliata showed gastroprotective effect in ethanol-induced and stress-induced ulcers in rats.

Analgesic / helps relieves pain :

In a study of Indian medicinal plants, the ethanolic extract of Toona ciliata showed the most significant analgesic activity.

Anti-tumor / Cytotoxicity:

Crude extract study yielded a major isolate, siderin. T ciliata was found to exhibit significant cytotoxicity and mild to moderate antitumor activity. Results were compared to those produced by vincristine sulphate.


In a screening of twelve Meliaceae species for the presence of lectins, Toona calantas was one of eight that tested positive for lectin activity. Studies on lectins show its possible participation in the wound healing process.



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