Velvet apple – proven medicinal benefits, uses


The scientific name of the velvet apple is Diospyros blancoi A. DC.

Scientific names Common names
Cavanillea mabolo Poir. Kamagong (Tag.)
Cavanillea philippinensis Desr. Mabolo (Tag.)
Diospyros blancoi A. DC. Velvet apple (Engl.)
Diospyros discolor Willd. Velvet persimmon (Engl.)
Diospyros durionoides Bakh.
Diospyros malacapal A.DC.
Diospyros merrilii Elmer
Diospyros philippinensis (Desr.) Gürke [Illegitimate]
Diospyros utilis Hemsl.
Embryopteris discolor G.Don. [Illegitimate]
Mabola edulis Raf.
Diospyros blancoi A.DC. is a synonym of Diospyros discolor Willd.
Diospyros discolor Willd. is an accepted name.
Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Mao shi, Tai wan shi, Yi se shi
FRENCH: Pommier velours.
MALAY: Buah lemah, Buan mentega, Buah sagalat, Kamagong, Kayu mentega.
PORTUGUESE: Pecego-de-India.
SPANISH: Camagon.

Velvet apple is a medium-sized tree growing to a height of 20 meters. Leaves are leathery, oblong, up to 20 centimeters long, with a round base and acute tip. The blade is glossy green, smooth above and softly hairy below. Female flowers are axillary and solitary, larger than the male. Fruits are fleshy, globose, up to 8-10 centimeters in diameter, densely covered with short brown hairs. The pulp is edible. The fruit hairs have to be rubbed off before eating as it can cause peri-oral itching and irritation.


In forests, at low and medium altitudes.

A shade tree, it is planted along roads and parks.


• Ethyl acetate extract of air-dried leaves yielded (1) isoarborinol methyl ether, (2) a mixture of a-amyrin palmitate, α-amyrin palmitoleate, ß-amyrin palmitate and ß-amyrin palmitoleate and squalene.

• Yields triterpenes.

• Leaf extract yielded alkaloids, reducing sugar, gum, flavonoids, and tannins.

• Fruit is high in tannin .

• Analysis for phenolic compounds yielded predominant amounts of rosmarinic acid followed by luteolin and hispidulin.

• Study of methanol extract of twigs yielded four new lanostane-type triterpenes, 24-ethyl-3beta-methoxylanost-9(11)-en-25-ol (1), 3beta-methoxy-24-methylenelanost-9(11)-en-25-ol (2), 3beta-methoxy-25-methyl-24-methylenelanost-9(11)-en-21-ol (3) and 3beta-methoxy-24-methyllanosta-9(11),25-dien-24-ol (4) together with three known triterpenes, betulinaldehyde, betulinic acid methyl ester, and ursaldehyde.

• Nutritional analysis per 100 g of edible fruit yields

113 kcal,

26.6 g carbohydrates,

1.5 g fiber,

0.1 g fat,

58 mg calcium,

2.8 g protein,

18 mg phosphorus,

0.6 mg iron,

35 IU vitamin A,

0.02 mg thiamine,

0.03 mg riboflavin,

0.03 mg niacin, and

18 mg vitamin C. (see study)


• It has an unpleasant, foul cheesy odor which can be dissipated by skin removal and processing.

• Considered astringent, antidiarrheal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial.

• Studies have suggested antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-diarrheal, anti-tumor, anti-asthma, vasorelaxant properties.

Parts utilized

Roots and leaves.

Edibility / Nutrition

– Fruit is edible, the tannin content declining as it ripens.

– A good source of vitamins A, C, and minerals.

– Studies show the fruit has good nutritive value and suggest use for making cakes and tarts. (see study)

Folkloric traditional medicinal uses

– Bark and leaves used for itchy skin ailments.

– Decoction of bark for coughs.

– Bark used for fevers, dysentery and diarrhea.

– In Southeast Asia, juice of unripe fruit used for wounds.

– Oil from seeds used for diarrhea and dysentery.

– Infusion of fruit used as gargle in aphthous stomatitis.

– In Bangladesh, juice of bark and leave used for snakebites.

– Bark and leaves used as eyewash.

– In Siddha medicine, gum is used to consolidate watery semen.

– In the Guianas, used for colds, diarrhea, heart problems, hypertension, spider bites, stomach aches, diabetes, eczema. Source

Scientific studies about velvet apple health  benefits and uses


Antioxidant and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1)-induced effects of selected Taiwanese plants: 12 selected indigenous Taiwanese plants, including Diospyros discolor, were studied for their antioxidant activity, superoxide radicals scavenging and reducing power activities. D discolor extracts, among others, showed to contain abundant phenolic constituents suggesting a potential source of natural antioxidants.

Bioactive Triterpenes / Antibacterial / Analgesic / Anti-inflammatory / Dried Leaves:

Ethyl acetate extract of air-dried leaves yielded (1) isoarborinol methyl ether, (2) a mixture of α-amyrin palmitate, α-amyrin palmitoleate, ß-amyrin palmitate and ß-amyrin palmitoleate and squalene. Compounds 1 and 2 showed antibacterial activity against E coli, P aeruginosa, C albicans, Staph aureus and T mentagrophytes. Sample 2 showed analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities.

Chemical Composition / Volatile Components:

Study yielded 96 compounds of which the fruit characterized by the existence of many esters – benzyl butyrate (33.9%), butyl butyrate (12.5% and (E)-cinnamyl butyrate (6.8%).

Constituents / Antioxidant / Antimicrobial:

Leaf extract yielded tannins and alkaloids. It showed statistically significant free radical scavenging activity. It showed antidiarrheal property with an increase in latent period of diarrheal induction. Extract also showed significant antimicrobial activity and significant lethality in brine shrimp assay.


Methanolic extract showed anti-inflammatory activity in an airway inflammation mouse model. Histological exam of lung tissue showed marked attenuation of allergen-induced eosinophilic inflammation and mucus-producing goblet cells in the airway.

Biofuel Potential:

Mabolo, a much neglected fruit in the Philippines, was studied as a possible inexpensive source of biofuel. An ethanolic extract proved to be as effective as alcohol fuel. On emission testing, it emitted the least amount of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, compared with commercial regular and unleaded gasoline.


Evaluation of antidiarrheal potential was done on ethanolic extracts of three Bangladesh medicinal plants. Results on ethanolic extracts of leaves of D. blancoi and bark of Acacia nilotica suggest antidiarrheal activities. Results were comparable to standard antidiarrheal drug loperamide.

Antidiarrheal / Antioxidant:

Study showed antidiarrheal activity in a castor-oil induced mice model, with significant reductions in faecal output. Extract also showed dose-dependent antioxidant activity in a DPPH-scavenging assay.

In a study designed to evaluate the antidiarrheal activity of ethanolic extracts of three Bangladesh medicinal plants, Diospyros blancoi leaves significantly inhibited the mean number of defecation, increased the latent period and significantly decreased the number of stools.

Antitumor Activity / Apoptosis Induction:

Study investigated various extracts of aerial parts of Salvia plebeia for antitumor activity and apoptosis induction. The dichloromethane extract may inhibit cancer cell proliferation by inducing cell apoptosis.

Vasorelaxant / Leaves:

Study evaluated various extracts for vasorelaxant activity and total phenolic content. Analysis showed all the extracts and fractions contain polyphenols expressed as gallic acid equivalent. The ethyl acetate fraction of leaf extract exhibited 52% relaxation of isolated rat aortic rings, while the methanol extract produced almost 100% relaxation at the same concentration. Results suggest the extract possess endothelium-dependent and NO-mediated vasorelaxant effects.

Antimicrobial / Fruit Juice:

Study evaluated the antimicrobial effect of D. discolor juice on bacteria and fungi (P. aeruginosa, S. aureus, and C. albicans). Results showed the juice contains alkaloids, terpenes, reducing sugars and tannins. The mabolo juice showed concentration dependent antimicrobial activity attributed to the alkaloids and tannins.

Comparative Antioxidants Activity of Different Plant Parts:

Study evaluated the antioxidant activity of methanol extracts from different parts of the plant including leaf, fruit and bark. The bark showed the highest antioxidant activity, followed by the fruit and leaf.

Aroma Compounds / Nutrient Contents / Peel and Fruit:

Study of intact fruit and peel yielded 24 compounds while the pulp yielded 28 compounds.

The most important aroma compounds were esters and α-farnesese.

Nutrient analysis showed the mabolo fruit to be

rich in dietary fiber (3.2%) yielding nutrients

malic acid (227.1 mg/100g),

vitamin B2 (0.075 mg/100g),

vitamin B3 (0.157 mg/100g),

folic acid (0.623 mg/100g),

pantothenic acid (0.19 mg/100g), and

choline chloride (62.52 mg/100g), and

rich in mineral, calcium (42.8 mg/100g) and zinc (3.6 mg/100g). (see study)




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