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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 24  |  Page : 214-217  

A scientific review on three species of Diospyros

1 Department of Pharmacognosy, Centre for Pharmaceutical Sciences, JNTU Institute of Science and Technology, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
2 Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Phytochemistry and Nirmala College of Pharmacy, Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh, India
3 Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Phytochemistry, Vijaya Institute of Pharmacy, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication12-Oct-2018

Correspondence Address:
Mrs. S N. V. L. Sirisha
Centre for Pharmaceutical Sciences, JNTU Institute of Science and Technology, JNTU Hyderabad, Telangana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/phrev.phrev_6_18

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Diospyros species plants belong to Ebenaceae family are grown in most tropical areas and helpful for treating many diseases and disorders, which is mostly used by tribal people, but very few scientific evidence is available for approving its folklore uses. Hence, an attempt has been made to collect information regarding three of its genus plants known as Diospyros virginiana, Diospyros kaki, and Diospyros chloroxylon. Cultivational requirements, morphological characters, folklore uses, pharmacological evidence, phytochemical evidence has been discussed. This review will be helpful for plant researchers to proceed further work on these genus plant.

Keywords: Diospyros chloroxylon, Diospyros kaki, Diospyros virginiana, Ebenaceae

How to cite this article:
Sirisha S N, Male A, Kiran AS, Raj I S, Teja NB, Surendra G. A scientific review on three species of Diospyros. Phcog Rev 2018;12:214-7

How to cite this URL:
Sirisha S N, Male A, Kiran AS, Raj I S, Teja NB, Surendra G. A scientific review on three species of Diospyros. Phcog Rev [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 May 21];12:214-7. Available from: http://www.phcogrev.com/text.asp?2018/12/24/214/243201

   Introduction to Diospyros species Top

Diospyros is a genus of over 700 species of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. The majority are native to the tropics, with only a few species extending into temperate regions.[1] Depending on their nature, individual species are commonly known as ebony or persimmon trees. Some are valued for their hard, heavy, dark timber, and some for their fruits. Some are useful as ornamentals, and many are of local ecological importance. The generic name Diospyros comes from a Latin name for the Caucasian persimmon (Diospyros lotus), derived from the Greek diós and pŷrós. The Greek name literally means “Zeus's wheat” but more generally intends “divine food” or “divine fruit” [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4].[2]
Table 1: Geographical distribution of the selected species

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Table 2: Folklore uses of selected species

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Table 3: Morphological characters

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Table 4: Phenology of selected species

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Taxonomical Details[3]

Kingdom - Plantae

Subkingdom - Tracheobionta

Division - Magnoliophyta

Class - Magnoliopsida

Subclass - Dilleniidae

Order - Ebenales

Family - Ebenaceae

Genus - Diospyros L

Species - virginiana/kaki/chloroxylon.

   Geographical Source Top

  • Diospyros virginiana is a deciduous tree with a rounded oval crown that grows to 35–60' inches. It is native from Connecticut to Kansas South to Florida and Texas.[4] In Missouri, it typically occurs in rocky or dry open woods, limestone glades, prairies, thickets, abandoned fields, and along roadsides. It is one of the easiest trees to identify in winter because of its distinctive thick, dark gray bark that is broken into rectangular blocks
  • Diospyros kaki is a tall and deciduous tree growing to 12 m (39 feet) ×7 m (23 feet) at a medium rate with broad stiff leaves.[5] This species is native to China, but cultivation extends to other parts of East Asia, including Japan where it is very popular
  • Diospyros chloroxylon is a small tree to 6–10 m, deciduous rough bark, thorns found on young growth. It enjoys the full sun, component of deciduous forest type, rarely found in mature evergreen stands.

   Coming to Cultivational Requirements Top

Diospyros virginiana

Persimmon tree grows around in all types of forest soils and mainly in sandy loamy soils with a pH range of 6.5–7.5.[8] The soil should be well deeply ploughed and well prepared with enriched organic matters, etc., Seedlings are used for propagation and grow very fast in the hilly terrain areas. Fruiting is very fast in the plants those which are exposed to much sunlight. Excessive nitrogen fertilizers may cause shedding of fruits. The seeds are sown with onset of spring at low temperature hampers seed germination.

Diospyros kaki

D. kaki needs a subtropical to mild temperate climate. The soil should be well prepared, deeply plowed, and enriched with organic matter. Trees should be set out at spacing ranging from 4.5/1.5 to 6/6 m, depending on the habit of the cultivator. In Japan, 1000 plants/ha may be planted at the outset but thinned down to 200 trees/ha in 10–15 years.

Diospyros chloroxylon

D. chloroxylon is able to grow in a wide range of soils, but all soils need to be free draining. The tree is propagated by seeds.

   Pharmacological Evidence Top

Diospyros virginiana

Priya and Nethaji have reported that the ethanolic leaf and bark of D. virginiana have produced antipyretic effect more effectively than paracetamol. They have conducted the experiments on rats using yeast-induced pyrexia. The D. virginiana both extracts caused a dose-dependent decrease in rectal temperature when compared to the control. The ethanolic D. virginiana leaf extracts revealed a significant decrease (P< 0.05) in temperature between 2 and 5 h after administration. D. virginiana bark extract showed the significant decrease (P< 0.05) in temperature 3–5 h, respectively. However, paracetamol (10 mg/kg) used as the reference drug caused a greater reduction in the rectal temperature of the rats at the onset, which was significant different (P< 0.05), when compared to both control and control-treated groups. The antipyretic effect started as from the 1st h after drug and extract administration and was sustained for 4 h while the control showed no antipyretic effect in the entire period of experiment. The results of the present study indicate that the ethanol leaf extracts of D. virginiana possesses significant antipyretic effect compared to the effect of bark extract on yeast-induced hyperthermia in rats.[9]

Priya, et al. have reported that the ethanolic extract of the leaves and bark of D. virginiana has shown antidiarrheal effects. The extract was evaluated for castor oil-induced diarrhea and intestinal transit in rats. D. virginiana significantly dose-dependently reduced frequency of stooling in castor oil-induced diarrhea and intestinal motility in rats. Castor oil + D. virginiana leaves at 500 mg/kg concentration reduced the gastrointestinal (GI) mobility up to the level of 79.95% and castor oil + D. virginiana bark at the same concentration reduced 62.7% GI mobility, whereas loperamide-treated animal group showed only 45.10% reduction of antidiarrheal activity. These findings suggest that the ethanolic extract of the leaves and bark of D. virginiana may contain some biologically active ingredients that are active for the treatment of diarrhea in herbal traditional medicine.[10]

Sirisha et al. have concluded that the berries of D. virginiana were found to be good gastroprotective agents as well as nutrient supplements. In this research, they have used chloroform, ethanol, and petroleum ether as extractive material to extract the active chemical constituents in D. virginiana. Results shown by chloroform extract at a dose of 200 mg/kg b.w are almost significant with that of standard drug and it was found 70% protection against gastric ulcers. Moderate significant action was shown by ethanolic extract whereas minimum action or least action was shown by petroleum ether extract. From this work, they had concluded that chloroform extract at a dose of 200 mg/kg b.w has shown the best protective action against ulcer induced by pyloric ligation; it could be due to the presence of flavonoids and alkaloids. Hence, folklore usage has been validated for D. virginiana as antiulcer agent.[4]

Diospyros kaki

Quan et al. have reported that the use of D. kaki peel reduced the fat content in mice body and it also reduces the atherosclerotic plaque level in the mice. Experiments were conducted on low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor-deficient mice with emphasis on lipid metabolism. Mice were fed high-fat diet supplemented with 10% dried and powdered persimmon peel (PP) for 12 weeks. High-fat diet feeding increased plasma level of oxidized 2-glycoprotein 1 complexes regarded as an atherogenic autoantigen, while PP supplementation significantly blocked the increment (P< 0.05). After a 12-week feeding of PP to mice, the atherosclerotic autoantigen concentration has been decreased by 70% as compared to that of mice fed with high-fat diet. PP feeding also reduced urinary 11-dehydro-thromboxane B2, a stable metabolite of the platelet activation marker thromboxaneA2, but level of IgM antioxidant LDL antibodies was not changed. Thus, the above results show that the PP has antiatherotic property through normalization of lipid metabolism and reduced production of atherogenic complexes.[11]

Singh et al. have conducted various experiments using D. kaki extract on pathogenic fungi, which cause various diseases in humans. The pathogenic fungi are Candida albicans MTCC 227, Candida tropicalis ATCC 6258, Candida krusei ATCC 750, Cryptococcus neoformans ITCC 1672, Sporothrix shenkii ITCC 2317, Fusarium oxysporum ITCC 4998, Trichophyton mentegrophytes ITCC 3572, Microsporon gypseum ITCC 5277, Aspergillus flavus ITCC 5290, Aspergillus fumigatus ITCC 4880, Curvularia lunatus ITCC 5248, Rhizomucor pusillus ITCC W-14, Phialophora verrucosa MCCL 32006, and Pseudallescheria boydii MCCL W-14. The antifungal activity of petroleum ether, ethyl acetate, chloroform, methanol, and aqueous extracts of the root bark of D. kaki was evaluated against 14 human pathogenic fungi using agar diffusion method. The results showed that all the five extracts except aqueous have shown antifungal activity. The chloroform extract has shown maximum antifungal activity with the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) in the range of 160–2500 μg/ml. The results obtained in the present study authenticate and support the use of D. kaki in folklore medicine for the treatment of various skin diseases.[12] The MIC values of the above-mentioned pathogenic fungi are provided in [Table 5].
Table 5: MIC values of pathogenic fungi

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Diospyros chloroxylon

Georgios tsoulfas, Waseem Rizvi, and Weiting Wang have reported that the methanolic leaf extract of D. chloroxylon ameliorates oxidative stress, DNA damage, and cell proliferation in the liver of rats. They also reported that the combination of dimethylamine (DMA) and D. chloroxylon leaf extract (DCLE) has reduced the weight of rat, suggesting that the potential of a phytochemicals present in the extract for weight regulation. When compared with DMA and malondialdehyde (MDA), DCLE significantly (P< 0.05) increased superoxide dismutase and catalase activities and lowered MDA level in serum and liver against DMA treatment; however, it significantly lowered DNA fragmentation in the (DCLE + DMA) group. Histological data reveal that DMA caused periportal cell infiltration in hepatocytes whereas the control, DCLE, and DCLE + DMA groups showed no visible lesions. Immunohistochemical staining of CD34 showed a strong expression in DMA group, while DCLE + DMA showed a moderate expression.[13]

   Phytochemical Evidence Top

Diospyros virginiana

Priya et al. have identified 40 bioactive phytochemical compounds and 30 compounds in leaves and bark of D. virginiana. The identified compounds predominantly consist of phenolic derivatives. They also include hydrocarbons, carbohydrates, fatty acid, fatty acid ester, alcoholic compounds, alkaloids, ketones, and alkenes compounds. These phytochemical compounds were screened by gas chromatogram-mass spectrometry method of analysis. From the results, it was observed that hexadecanoic acid, 3, 7, 11, 15-tetramethyl-2-hexadecen-1-ol, was the major component in the extract. Palmitic acid is reported to be an antioxidant, a nematicide, and a pesticide,[9] while phytol is said to be cancer preventive. Other antioxidants present were tetradecanoic acid; hexadecanoic acid; heptadecanoic acid; 2, 6, 10, 15, 19, 23-hexa methyl; and gamma-tocopherol.[14]

Priya and Nethaji have investigated the preliminary phytochemical screening of the leaves and bark of D. virginiana belonging to family Ebenaceae. The dried leaves and bark of the plant were subjected to successive Soxhlet extraction by continuous hot percolation method using organic solvents of increasing polarity such as ethanol. Both the extracts were subjected to qualitative phytochemical screening. The phytochemical analysis of the D. virginiana extracts showed the presence of tannins, alkaloids, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds. Tannins have been found to form irreversible complex with proline-rich protein synthesis. The results showed that the plants hold tremendous promise in providing the variable secondary metabolites and mineral supply that could enhance the curative process of ill health.[15]

Diospyros kaki

The chemical constituents present in D. kaki are betunalic acid, flavonoids, fibers, minerals, vitamins, cartenoids, mucilage, pectin, tannins, kaempferol-3 glucoside, quercetine-3 glucoside, Vitamin C, and shibuol.[16]

Diospyros chloroxylon

Ali et al. have reported the isolation of the binaphthaquinones, diospyrin, and (-) isodiospyrin from the wood of D. chloroxylon. On chromatography of the crude chloroform extract of the wood on a silica gel column with chloroform-benzene (4:1), 7-methyl juglone, diospyrin, diospyrin-iso-diospyrin mixture, and diospyrin-xylospyrin mixture were eluted.[17]

Thomas et al. have done comparative preliminary study on the phytochemistry of acetone, methanol, ethanol, and aqueous extracts of the leaves of D. chloroxylon of family Ebenaceae using specific color reaction tests. Phytochemical studies indicated that the leaf contain a broad spectrum of secondary metabolites such as carbohydrates, cardiac glycosides, alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, amino acids and proteins, and saponins. The results obtained showed that acetone was the best extractive solvent. The acetone extracts of the leaf have shown positive results for carbohydrates, cardiac glycosides, terpenoids, alkaloids, phenols, tannins, and saponins. However, flavonoids, quinines, fixed oils, and fats are absent in all the four extracts. The presence of these metabolites suggests great potential for the D. chloroxylon plant as a source of useful phytomedicines. For instance, the presence of tannins could also shows that it is an astringent that helps in wound healing and antiparasitic. Tannins bind to proline-rich proteins and interfere with the protein synthesis.[18]

   Conclusion Top

Diospyros genus plants grown majorly in the tropical areas, found to have many folklore uses mainly in the treatment of diarrhea, for decreasing the increased cholesterol level, improve cognitive function used for inflammatory disorders, but very few scientific evidence is available in relating to these three plants of the present review. With this review, it will be helpful for researchers to prove scientific evidence of the folklore uses.[19]

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Available from: https://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persimmon. [Last accessed on 2018 Jan 20].  Back to cited text no. 1
Subbarao KV, Vivek K. Pharmacological study on diospyros virginiana. Int Food Res J 2013;24:2353-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Mohamed AA, Habeeb HR, Azer SA. Taxonomic revision of Ebenaceae in Egypt. Curr Sci Int 2014;3:414-25.  Back to cited text no. 3
Sirisha SN, Prabhu K, Sambasiva Rao A. Screening of gastroprotective action of Diospyros virginiana berry extracts against pyloric ligation process in Wistar albinorats. EJPMR 2018;5:318-22.  Back to cited text no. 4
Jeon JH, Kim YK, Lee SG, Lee GH, Lee HS. Insecticidal activities of a Diospyros kaki root-isolated constituent and its derivatives against Nilaparvata lugens and Laodelphax striatellus. J Asia Pac Entomol 2011;14:449-53.  Back to cited text no. 5
Available from: http://www.pitchandikulam-herbarium.org/contents/description-habit.php?id=56. [Last accessed on 2018 Jan 20].  Back to cited text no. 6
Available from: https://www.botanical-online.com/english/persimmonproperties.htm. [Last accessed on 2018 Jan 20].  Back to cited text no. 7
Yonemori K, Honsho C, Kitajima A, Aradhya M, Giordani E, Bellini E, et al. Relationship of European persimmon (Diospyros kaki Thunb.) cultivars to Asian cultivars, characterized using AFLPs. Genet Resour Crop Evol 2008;55:81-9.  Back to cited text no. 8
Priya S, Nethaji S. Antipyretic activity of ethanolic extract of leaf and bark of Diospyros virginiana in yeast induced pyrexia. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci 2014;7:502-4.  Back to cited text no. 9
Priya S, Nethaji S, Sindhuja R. Evaluation of the antidiarrheal activity of ethanolic extract of Diospyros virginiana in rats. Int J pharma sci 2014;3:74-8.  Back to cited text no. 10
Quan N, Kobayashi K, Matsunami Y, Ide M, Makarova M, Shen L, et al. Persimmon (Diospyros kaki Thunb 'Saijo') peel improved dyslipidemia and its related production of atherogenic autoantigen complexes in low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient mice. Open Nutr J 2012;6:12-20.  Back to cited text no. 11
Singh S, Joshi H, Prasad R. Antifungal potential of root bark of Diospyros kaki against some human pathogenic fungi. Pelagia Res Lib Der Pharm Sinica 2011;2:210-6.  Back to cited text no. 12
Adeleke GE, Adedosu OT, Afolabi OK, Arinde OO, Oyedokun TM. Methanolic leaf extract of Diospyros chloroxylon, modulates hepatic redox profile and cell proliferation in dimethylamine-treated rats. Br J Med Med Res 2017;21:1-12.  Back to cited text no. 13
Priya S, Nethajiand S, Sindhuja B. GC-MS Analysis of some bioactive constituents of Diospyros virginiana. Res J Pharm Technol 2014;7:429-32.  Back to cited text no. 14
Priya S, Nethaji S. Phytochemical screening and trace element analysis of Diospyros virginiana. Res J Pharmacol Pharmacodyn 2014;6:5-7.  Back to cited text no. 15
Available from: https://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diospyros_kaki. [Last accessed on 2018 Jan 20].  Back to cited text no. 16
Mahmood Ali S, Prasad KK, Sankaram AV, Sidhu GS. antinflammatory acion of diospyros. Tetrahedron Lett 1971;12:700-5.  Back to cited text no. 17
Thomas RP, Antony AM, Mamen AA. Comparative phytochemical analysis of Diospyros chloroxylon leaves in various extracts. Int J Sci Res Publi 2013;3:1-4.  Back to cited text no. 18
Subbarao KV, Vivek K. Folklore uses of diospyros. Int Food Res J 2017;24:2353-9.  Back to cited text no. 19


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]


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