Herbs & Plants

Durian (Durio zibethinus L./Murr)

Botanical Name :Durio zibethinus Murr.
Family: Malvaceae/Bombacaceae
Subfamily: Helicteroideae
: Durioneae
Genus: Durio
Order: Malvales

Scientific Names : Durio zibethinus Murr.,Durio acuminatissima Merr.

Common Names : Dulian (Lan., Sul., Mag., Bag.) ,Durian (Lan., Span., Engl.),Duren (Indonesia) ,Durio (Bag.) ,Duryan (Tag., Ilk.) ,Duyan (Sul.) ,Liu lian (Chinese) ,Civet-cat fruit tree (Engl.)

:The durian, native to Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, has been known to the Western world for about 600 years. The 19th-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace famously described its flesh as “a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds”.

Tree grows to a height of 20 meter or more. Leaves are dark green, smooth and shiny above, oblong to obovate-oblong, about 20 cm long, 5 to 9 cm wide. The flowers are white to white-yellowish with a pouchlike calyx. Fruit is globular, large, 15 to 25 cm long, covered by a hard shell with stiff, sharp spines. The shell breaks into five parts to which the flesh adherent, with 2 to 4 large seeds in each section covered by the flesh. The flesh is soft and whitish with the consistency of soft cheese. The flesh has a characteristic unpleasant rank and repugnant odor, a quality that bans it from hotel lobbies and rooms. The flesh can be consumed at various stages of ripeness, and it is used to flavour a wide variety of savoury and sweet edibles in Southeast Asian cuisines. The seeds can also be eaten when cooke..

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Durian flowers are usually closed during the daytime.The name durian comes from the Malay word duri (thorn) together with the suffix -an (for building a noun in Malay). D. zibethinus is the only species commercially cultivated on a large scale and available outside of its native region. Since this species is open-pollinated, it shows considerable diversity in fruit colour and odour, size of flesh and seed, and tree phenology. In the species name, zibethinus refers to the Indian civet, Viverra zibetha. There is disagreement regarding whether this name, bestowed by Linnaeus, refers to civets being so fond of the durian that the fruit was used as bait to entrap them, or to the durian smelling like the civet.

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Durian flowers are large and feathery with copious nectar, and give off a heavy, sour and buttery odour. These features are typical of flowers pollinated by certain species of bats that eat nectar and pollen. According to research conducted in Malaysia in the 1970s, durians were pollinated almost exclusively by cave fruit bats (Eonycteris spelaea). However, a 1996 study indicated two species, D. grandiflorus and D. oblongus, were pollinated by spiderhunters (Nectariniidae) and another species, D. kutejensis, was pollinated by giant honey bees and birds as well as bats.

Propagation & Cultivation:
Durian may be propagated by seed or grafting.  Seeds must be planted fresh, as they lose viability quickly, especially if allowed to dry out.  They germinate in about a week, and are fast growing.  Durian may be grafted by cleft, side veneer or approach.  Grafted trees begin to bear in 4-5 years, while seedlings can take 15 years or more.  In Thailand, ‘Chanee’ is commonly used as a rootstock.  Other species, such as Durio malaccensis, Durio mansoni and Durio lowianus are also used as rootstocks in order to impart disease resistance to the root fungus Phytophthora palmivora.  In India, the related species Cullenia excelsa is used as a rootstock to promote early fruiting.

Durian requires a tropical climate with relatively high rainfall which is fairly well distributed throughout the year.  It grows best in fertile, deep soils with abundant organic matter and a pH of 6-7.  Trees respond well to fertilizer, mulch and manure application, and supplemental irrigation during periods of drought.  Durian produces best from sea level to about 700 feet (213 m) elevation, but is reported to fruit as high as 2,600 feet (792 m) in elevation.  In Puerto Rico, durian flowers in April and May, and fruits ripen in August and September.  Average yield for mature trees is about 50 fruits per year, each fruit weighing from 3.3-9  pounds (1.5-4 kg).

Edible Uses: There are 30 recognised Durio species, at least nine of which produce edible fruit. Durio zibethinus is the only species available in the international market: other species are sold in their local regions. There are hundreds of durian cultivars; many consumers express preferences for specific cultivars, which fetch higher prices in the market.
The seeds are eaten, either boiled or roasted.

Medicinal Uses:
Properties and constituents:-
• Fruit is considered tonic, operative, depurative, and vermifuge.
• The odor of the flesh believed to be dues to indole compounds which are bacteriostatic.
• Study identified the three strongest sulfury durian odorants and one non-sulfurous odorant with the highest odor impact.

Parts used : Fruit. leaves and root.

Nutritional Facts
• Serving size: 1 – cup, chopped or diced (8.6 oz)
• Calories 357
• Total Fat 13.0 g
• Cholesterol 0 mg
• Total Carbs 65.8 g
• Fiber 9.2 g
• Protein 3.6 g
• Calcium 14.6 mg
• Potassium 1059.5 mg *

· Decoction of root and leaves taken for fevers.
· Leaves are used in medicinal baths for jaundice.
· The juice is used in a solution for bathing the head of a patient with fever.
· Fruit walls used externally for skin problems.
· In Malaya, decoction of leaves and roots used as febrifuge.
• Leaf juice applied on head for fever.
• Leaves used in medicinal baths for jaundiced patients.
• Decoction of leaves and fruits used for swelling and skin diseases.
• Flesh used as aphrodisiac.
• In China, decoction of leaves and roots used for fever. Used for colds, phlegm. Leaves used in medicinal baths for patients with jaundice. Ash of burned rind taken after childbirth. Used to improve sexual function.
• In Malaysia, leaf juice applied to head for fever.
• A Malay prescription for fever is a decoction or poultice of boiled roots of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Durio zibethinus, Nephelium longan, Nephelium mutabile and Artocarpus integrifolia. source.

The flesh is said to serve as a vermifuge. In Malaya, a decoction of the leaves and roots is prescribed as a febrifuge. The leaf juice is applied on the head of a fever patient. The leaves are employed in medicinal baths for people with jaundice. Decoctions of the leaves and fruits are applied to swellings and skin diseases. The ash of the burned rind is taken after childbirth. The leaves probably contain hydroxy-tryptamines and mustard oils.

The odor of the flesh is believed to be linked to indole compounds which are bacteriostatic. Eating durian is alleged to restore the health of ailing humans and animals. The flesh is widely believed to act as an aphrodisiac because it improves sexual function for those who are kidney yang deficient.

In the late 1920’s, Durian Fruit Products, Inc., of New York City, launched a product called “Dur-India” as a “health-food accessory” in tablet form, selling at $9 for a dozen bottles, each containing 63 tablets -a 3-months’ supply. The tablets reputedly contained durian and a species of Allium from India, as well as a considerable amount of vitamin E. They were claimed to provide “more concentrated healthful energy in food form than any other product the world affords”  to keep the body vigorous and tireless; the mind alert with faculties undimmed; the spirit youthful.

A toothpaste flavored with durian is currently marketed for durian fanciers. The Malays, besides looking on the durian fruit as tonic, consider the root medicinal, taking a decoction of it for a fever, which has lasted three days. The leaves and root are used in a compound for fevers. The leaves are utilized in medicinal baths for jaundice. The juice enters into a preparation for bathing the head of a fever patient. In Java the fruit-walls are used externally for ski complaints. Considered by many to be the strongest aphrodisiac in the world
Decoction of the leaves and roots is used as antipyretic; the leaves are used in medicinal baths for people with jaundice; decoctions of the leaves and fruits are applied to swellings and skin diseases; the ash of the burned rind is taken after childbirth.

• Lipid Lowering Effect: Lipid entrapment property of polysaccharide gel (PG) extracted from fruit-hulls of durian (Durio zibethinus Murr. Cv. Mon-Thong) : Results suggest that PG from fruit-hulls of durian may be a potential dietary fiber/ medicinal supplement for a blood lipid / cholesterol lowering effect.
• Durian-Alcohol Combination: Study investigated the adverse, and sometime lethal, effect of ingesting durian while imbibing alcohol with its Disulfiram-Ethanol type reaction arising from inhibition of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). (See Toxicity below)
• Immunomodulatory / Antibacterial: Polysaccharide gel from the fruit rind of D zibethinus has been characterized to be a pectic polysaccharide with immunomodulating and antibacterial activities.
• Hyperthermic Effect / Paracetamol Interaction: Believed to have body-warming properties with concerns on consumption with paracetamol. Rat study showed no significant body temperature elevation. Rats receiving a durian-paracetamol combination showed a significant drop in body temperature. No mechanism for toxicity was identified.
• Antibacterial / Wound Healing Effect: (1) Polysaccharide gel extracted from fruit-hulls of durian seems to have a beneficial effect on wound healing in a pig study.(2) Bactericidal effect of polysaccharide gel was clearly demonstrated against S. aureus and E. coli. Study showed accelerated wound healing.
• Phenolic Content / Antioxidant Effect: Study showed the durian cultivars’ high bioactivity and total polyphenols were the main contributors to the overall antioxidant capacity and provides a source of nutritional supplement.
• Fruit-Hulls Antimicrobial Activity: PG inhibited the growth of 2 bacterial strains tested: S aureus and E coli. The yeast strains were resistant.

• Durian with Alcohol: Reports have been made of believed adverse and sometimes lethal effects of ingesting durian while drinking alcohol. The scientific basis has not been established. A study showed a dose-dependent inhibition of yeast ALDH (aldehyde dehydrogenase) by sulphur-rich fruit extract. Results support the role of durian fruit’s high sulphur content in its ALDH-inhibiting property providing insight into the disulfiram-ethanol-like reaction with the simulataneous fruit ingestion and alcohol consumption.

Known Hazards:
As a potassium-rich food it could be a good fruit to supplement potassium needs for patients on diuretic therapy. However, it’s potassium content should be of concern in patients with kidney failure or varying degrees of renal impairment or those already taking other forms of potassium supplementaion or potassium-sparing diuretics.

Other Uses:
• Dried rinds burned as fuel and used to smoke fish>
• Ash used to bleach silk.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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One reply on “Durian (Durio zibethinus L./Murr)”

I found durian grown in 1,080 meters ASL in Baracatan Toril Davao City Philippines. the area is near the rainforest (virgin forest within Mt. Apo National Park) with freezing temperature anytime of the day.

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