Uses of Katurai
From Indonesia, katurai tree spread to other places in the Tropics. The different parts of the tree have different uses. For example, the leaves contain 26.5% crude protein, 5% nitrogen and oleanolic acid, and 60% starch.
In Sri Lanka, katurai tops are chopped, mixed with onions and cooked in coconut milk. Here in the Philippines, the flowers are made into salad, soup and the young leaves as vegetable.
In Java, the young leaves and fruits are given to lactating mothers.
In Java, the young leaves and fruit cures stomach ache of infants. Flowers and leaves juice have mint flavor and have the property of making veins and muscles to shrink. It can relieve sinusitis, accompanying sluffy nose, colds and headache. It can also relieve fever and a diuretic. Boiled katurai can relieve chicken fox and fever. Boiled bark is a mint tonic. Root extracts relieve phlegm and cough.
Leaves relieve constipation. A concoction of leaves and roots is good for rheumatism, swelling, skin allergy and contusions. Flower extracts relieves poor eyesight.
In Indonesia and Hawaii, katurai leaves are fed to pregnant and lactating goats as well as to
its young. In Java, katurai leaves are fed to lactating cows to increase its milk production, in addition to
the traditional feeding of grass. Hence, katurai trees could be found almost everywhere – as fence, along the farm or dike, anywhere, because like in Thailand, katurai is fed to animals since it grows faster than the grass. In Western Samora, it is planted with gabi (Dioscorea sps.) so that when its leaves are pruned, the pruned leaves serves as cover to the Dioscorea plant. In India, katurai tree serves as stakes for pepper and beted nut as well as shade for the growing coconut tree. In South Vietnam, katurai is planted with fruit trees to increase soil fertilization. In India and Africa, katurai is used as windbreaker to banana trees. In Israel and West Indies, katurai is also windbreaker to coffee plants. In Central Java, it is planted with other trees to hasten reforestation. Here in the Philippines, at UP Los Baños, it was found that katurai leaves are good fertilizer for corn instead of urea. It is mixed with soil. Pruned trees recover leaves faster.
If the bark of katurai tree is cut, it produce a white, pulverized substance with red stain, which
when exposed to air becomes dark purple in color. Researchers found that it could be a
substitute for gum Arabic (from acacia tree).
Katurai seeds also contain rubberized substance in its inner covering. This substance can be
used for processing food such as ice cream, softdrinks, candies and confectionaries, beer and
The same substance is also used in paper making, textile, paints, mining and in well drilling.