Butea superba

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Butea superba
Plants of the coast of Coromandel Coast Tamil Nadu Andhra Pradesh India Flora Fruits Flowers (38).jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Butea
Species: B. superba
Binomial name
Butea superba

Butea superba is a vining shrub native to Thailand, Vietnam, and India thought by locals to be an aphrodisiac among other effects. It is abundantly distributed in the Thai deciduous forest and has been popular among Thai males for its supposed effects on rejuvenation and sexual vigor.[1] In English it has variously been called red kwao krua, creeping butea, butea gum tree, flame of the forest, and climbing palas.[citation needed]


Existing open trials have come to conflicting conclusions about the efficacy of butea, though they used completely different products at different doses and in different populations.[2] No placebo-controlled clinical studies exist so far to support aphrodisiac activity.


The tuberous roots of Butea superba were found to contain flavonoids and flavonoid glycosides as well as sterol compounds, including β-sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol.[3]


One study in rats found the application of high doses of dried plant material (200 mg/kg body weight) had a negative impact on several blood parameters and decreased testosterone but not LH levels. These adverse effects were dose-dependent and not reported with lesser applied quantities.[4] A similar trial using doses 5 times this level in male rats found no reproductive toxicity, making it difficult to reach any conclusions about toxicity of this herb in rodents let alone humans.[5] One case study reported a 35-yr-old Thai male who developed elevated serum dihydrotestosterone and increased libido after taking uncharacterized butea capsules for a few weeks with no other observable adverse effects.[6] Existing human clinical trials have found no toxicity with use of butea products, though they were insufficiently large or of sufficient duration to be certain.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Suntara A. The remedy pamphlet of Kwao Krua tuber of Luang Anusarnsuntarakromkarnphiset. Chiang Mai, Thailand: Chiang Mai Upatipongsa Press; 1931.
  2. ^ Yarnell, Eric (2016). Natural Approach to Urology and Men's Health (2nd ed.). Wenatchee, WA: Wild Brilliance Press. ISBN 978-1-933350-69-1.
  3. ^ Roengsamran S, Petsom A, Ngamrojanavanich N, Rugsilp T, Sittiwichienwong P, Khorphueng P, et al. (2000). "Flavonoid and flavonoid glycoside from Butea superba Roxb. and their cAMP phosphodiesterase inhibitory activity". J Sci Res Chula Univ. 25: 169–76.
  4. ^ Cherdshewasart W, Bhuntaku P, Panriansaen R, Dahlan W, Malaivijitnond S (June 2008). "Androgen disruption and toxicity tests of Butea superba Roxb., a traditional herb used for treatment of erectile dysfunction, in male rats". Maturitas. 60 (2): 131–7. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2008.04.011. PMID 18554827.
  5. ^ Pongpanparadon A, Aritajat S, Saenphet K (2002). "The toxicology of Butea superba, Roxb". Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 33 (suppl 3): 155–8. PMID 12971499.
  6. ^ Chaiyasit K, Wiwnaitkit V (2012). "Hyperandrogenemia due to ingestion of Butea superba". Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 16 (3): 485–6. doi:10.4103/2230-8210.95756. PMC 3354878. PMID 22629537.