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Calanolide A

What is Calanolide A?

Calanolide A is a compound isolated from the latex of the tree, Calophyllum lanigerum (var. austrocoriaceum), that grows in the rain forest of the Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo.

Scientific Name(s)

Calophyllum lanigerum

What is it used for?

Traditional/Ethnobotanical uses

Rain forests are a very promising source of natural medicines because of their vast diversity. It has been estimated that more than half of the world's 250,000 plant species exist in tropical rain forests. Searching for natural drugs in these areas, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) contracts scientists to gather specimens for analysis. In 1987, an Illinois team obtained samples from many trees, one of which was Calophyllum lanigerum. Four years later, the NCI discovered that a preparation from this gum tree was very effective against the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1).


Initial studies show promise for treating HIV-1. Calanolide A has been found to inhibit a wide variety of HIV-1 strains, drug-resistant strains, and HIV disease in various stages.

Calanolide A appears to act early in the infection process, as calanolide A is an investigational drug. No clinical data is available yet.

Calanolide A has been synthesized in the lab and was found to have similar actions to the natural product.

What is the recommended dosage?

Calanolide A is an investigational anti-HIV drug that has been given in early clinical trials at an oral dose of 200 to 800 mg; however, it is not available for use. Its safety and efficacy remain to be defined.


Contraindications have not yet been identified.


Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


None well documented.

Side Effects

Because this product is a relatively new discovery, no data are available.


Calanolide A is an investigational anti-HIV drug. Its safety and efficacy remain to be defined.


1. Calanolide A. Review of Natural Products. factsandcomparisons4.0 [online]. 2006. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed April 23, 2007.

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