Santol, Sentul or cotton fruit, is a tropical fruit native to maritime Southeast Asia. The santol is native to the Malesian floristic region
, but have been introduced to Indochina
, Sri Lanka
, northern Australia
, and Seychelles
. It is commonly cultivated throughout these regions and the fruits are seasonally abundant in the local and international markets.
Santol is a large, ornamental evergreen tree with a dense, narrowly oval crown; it usually grows around 25 metres tall but with some specimens up to 50 metres. The bole, which is sometimes straight but often crooked or fluted, is branchless for up to 18 metres; has a diameter up to 100 cm; and buttresses up to 3 metres high.
The tree yields an edible fruit that is popular in parts of the tropics. It also has a wide range of traditional medicinal uses and produces a useful timber. It is often cultivated in tropical areas, especially for its edible fruit and as an ornamental in parks, along roads etc.
The pounded leaves are sudorific when applied to the skin and are used to make a decoction against diarrhoea and fever. The powdered bark is an effective treatment for ringworms, and contains triterpenes with anti-cancer activity.
Both the seeds and the stems are being studied for the anti-carcinogenic substances that they contain.
The aromatic roots are employed as an anti-diarrhoeic, anti-spasmodic, carminative, antiseptic, astringent, stomachic and are prescribed as a general tonic after childbirth. The root can be bruised then soaked in vinegar and water to be used as an effective remedy for diarrhoea and dysentery