Pulasari scientifically in Latin is called Alyxia reinwardtii Blume. In Indonesia, apart from being known as pulasari, this plant is also popular under the names pulosari, pulawaras or palasan.
The genus name Alyxia comes from the Greek 'halusis' meaning chain, referring to the manufacture of leis in the Pacific. Leis is a series of leaves and bark that are processed after being peeled from the wood (Alyxia Reinwardtii - Useful Tropical Plants, 2023).
Pulasari is an endemic plant that has its origins starting from S. Yunnan in China, Palawan in the Philippines and the islands of Java, Bali and Sumatra in Indonesia (Alyxia Reinwardtii Blume | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science, 2014).
Shape Description and Habitat
Pulasari or Alyxia reinwardtii is a shrub that grows uphill with round stems that can grow to a height of 3 meters and has small branches. The stems have a distinctive aroma which is widely sold and used as an ingredient in herbal medicines.
The leaves grow opposite or circular in 3 to 5 strands with inflorescences appearing in the axils or terminals of the leaves. Meanwhile, when the fruit is ripe, it is black with brown seeds.
This plant generally grows in lowland to mountain forests. However, it can also be found in various other habitats such as primary or secondary lowlands to mountain forests or peat swamps, bushes and open mountains. On granite, sandy, clayey or ultramafic soils from sea level to a height of 3,050 meters (Alyxia Reinwardtii - Useful Tropical Plants, 2023).
Ingredients and Benefits of Pulasari for Health and Other Uses
Pulasari contains several compounds that can be used as ingredients in various traditional medicines. People in Indonesia have widely used this plant, especially the stems, to cure various diseases. The bark is one part of the plant that is often found in herbal and herbal medicine shops.
According to Alvina et al. (2023) several compounds contained in pulasari include essential oils, tannins, bitter substances, alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, polyphenols and organic acids. Meanwhile, traditionally this plant is widely used to treat flatulence, fever, stomach inflammation, stomach cramps, relieve coughs, canker sores and to help increase appetite, facilitate menstruation, reduce vaginal discharge, maintain the body's immune system, excess stomach acid, and dysentery.
Other research results also state that pulasari contains compounds that can produce ethanol extract which is useful as an antibacterial to fight E. coli and S. aureus. However, there have been no reports regarding side effects from using this plant as a medicinal ingredient. Therefore, its use is not recommended for children and breastfeeding mothers (Doctor of Agricultural Sciences, 2022).
Not only is it used as a herbal medicine in various traditional medicines, the bark is also used like cinnamon as a spice and flavoring in making rum, while the dried bark is made into a fine powder which is used as an ingredient for making incense in Java. A collection of dry twigs used as a fragrance is said to last up to two years. The wine industry also sometimes uses plant species from the genus Alyxia to flavor products with the substance coumarin found in the bark (Alyxia Reinwardtii - Useful Tropical Plants, 2023).