Philippine Herbal Medicines
The Philippine medicinal plant entrees now number over 1000. There three separate listing of medicinal plants: a Tagalog list, an English list for those plants with English designations, and a Chinese list, for the medicinal plants with Chinese names. English names are included in the Tagalog lists for plants that have not acquired local names.
The difficulty in searching for a particular Philippine plant is the multiplicity of names that a plant may possess, from several scienfitic names to more than 30 common names, and often, many of the common names shared with plants of other species. The Freefind search engine will significantly facilitate your search through the haystack of scientific names, common and English names.
The compilation includes many ornamental plants, weeds and shrubs with no known folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines, but which on web-search and research reveal indigenous medicinal use in other countries and/or scientific investigations. Thus, because of the surprising wealth of information I have stumbled upon, I have started to include medicinal plant entrees without graphics. The use of public domain images and images through Creative Commons and GNUF Licenses have enormously helped provide visual elements to what would otherwise be bland pages of text.
- Aquilicia sambucina Blanco * Abang-abang (Tag.)
- Leea sambucina Blanco * Alumamani (Ilk.)
- Leea rubra F. - Vill. * Amamali (Pang., P. Bis.)
- Leea palawanensis Elm. * West indian holly (Engl.)
Abang-abang is a smooth or nearly smooth shrub or small tree, 3 to 5 meters in height. Leaves are three or four times pinnately compound, 50 to 80 centimeters long. Leaflets are elliptic-ovate to oblong lanceolate, 6 to 15 centimeters long, toothed at the margins, pointed at the tip and rounded or somewhat pointed at the base. Flowers are borne on large cymes, up to 50 centimeters in diameter, five-parted and about 3 millimeters long, a few opening at a time, the stalks and calyx are red, the petals, pale yellow. Fruit is dark red, depressed-globose and about 8 millimeters in diameter.
- Common in thickets and secondary forests at low and medium altitudes throughout the Philippines.
- Also reported in Taiwan, the Caroline Islands, and Yap.
Roots, branches, leaves.
- Decoction of roots, branches and leaves used for wound healing.
- In Thailand, root used for diarrhea and hallucination.
- In southern Western Ghats, leaf juice of the plant is mixed with coconut milk, given three times daily for treatment of dysentery with blood discharge.
• Anti-Hypertensive: In a study of the potential antihypertensive activity of Brazilian plants, Leea rubra was one of five plants (C brasiliense, C fruticosum, P roebelinii and T catappa) that showed significant angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition.
Seasonal fruiting and ubiquitous market produce.
Other scientific names
- Commelina nudiflora Linn.
- Tradescantia cristata Naves
- Alikbañgon (Tag.)
- Bañgar-an-lalaki (If.)
- Climbing dayflower (Engl.)
- Jie jie cao (Chin.)
Alikbangon is a mucilaginous, slender, creeping or ascending branched perennial herb, usually pubescent. Stems root at the nodes. Leaves are green, oblong-lanceolate, 3 to 7 cm long, 1 to 2 cm wide, pointed at both ends. Inflorescence is axillary and peduncled. Flowers are cymose, enclosed in a complicate leaf-like spathe, with free margins. Cymes are usually 2 in each spathe, and are few-flowered. Inner petals are larger, blue, 6 to 7 mm long, and the outer ones much smaller, pale or nearly white.
- Common throughout the Philippines in open grasslands and waste places in settled areas at low and medium altitudes.
Tasteless, cooling natured.
Entire plant in decoction is used as an emollient, eye-wash and is also employed to combat painful discharge of urine, diuretic.
Good blood coagulant, antifebrile and antidote, tonic for the heart.
In India young stems are steamed and eaten as vegetables.
Young leaves used in fresh salads or boiled with butter.
Small blue flowers and tender flowering tops can be steamed or used as salad green.
· For all kinds of fever symptoms due to infection: get drug (dried preparation 9 to 15 gms, 30 to 60 gms fresh material) boil to a concentrated decoction and drink.
· Bruised plant applied to burns, itches and boils.
· Mumps: get fresh plant, crush and squeeze out the juice, then drink.
· For poisonous snake bites: get fresh plant, crush, squeeze out the juice, then drink. This drug must be accompanied by an antidote preparation applied on the bite.
· Used for difficult urination, acute gastroenteritis, erysipelas, laryngopharyngitis, tonsillitis, colds.
· Used for external wound bleeding.
· Dosage: for 4 to 8, use 30 to 60 gms dried material or 90 to 120 gms fresh material in decoction; pounded fresh material may be applied externally as a poultice.
· In the Gold Coast, the leaves are pounded with the seeds of Leea guineensis and Piper nigrum, made into a poultic and wrapped in a heated plantain leaf and applied to relieve swellings of the groin.
· In Nigeria, taken as aperient. Decoction used for fevers. Leaf-infusion used as eyewash. Root decoction used for gonorrhea and dysmenorrhea.
· In Sierra Leone, plant used as wound dressing after circumcision.
· In Congo leaf-sap used for abscesses, buboes and headache. Leaves believed to be aphrodisiac.
· Carribean Indians have used the plant in medicinal baths and as tea to ward off influenza.
· In Mexico used for treatment of conjunctivitis, dermatitis, and dysmenorrhea.
· In Paraguay used for enteritis, gonorrhea and infertility treatments.
· In Ecuador and Peru decoction of tiny blue flowers used as tea for relief of headaches.
· In the Guianas juice from the whole plant used in a decoction agaiinst warts. Infusion used against hair loss, fever and biliousness. Juice drunk for high blood pressure. In NW Guyana, used for biliousness, hair loss, kidney disease and for cleansing of the wombs and tubes.
• Dye: Petal juice used as dye for painting.
• Fodder: In some parts of Africa and Asia, used as fodder for small livestock. In Maritius, contributes to the diet of dairy cows.
· Antioxidant / Antifungal: Commelina diffusa ais used as a wound -healing agent in traditional Ghana medicine. A study on the methanol extract of Commelina diffusa showed antioxidant and antifungal (against Tricophyton species) activity confirming its wound healing benefits.
· Antioxidant / Antifungal / Wound Healing: Study of methanol extracts showed antioxidant activity and antifungal activity against Tricophyton species. The use of plants for wound healing may be based on antioxidant and antiseptic effects of its constituents.
- Clerodendrum minahassae Teysm. & Binn.
- Clerodendrum blancoi Naves
- Clerodendrum blancoi Naves
- Clerodendrum infortunatum F.-Vill.
- Amamboligan (Ilk.)
- Bagauak-na-puti (Tag.)
- Tabugok (Sub.)
- Tube flower (Engl.)
Bagauak-na-puti is a smooth shrub growing to a height of 1.5 to 4 meters. Leaves are oblong to elliptic-oblong, 11 to 18 centimeters in length, and 5 to 9 centimeters wide, with pointed tips and rounded base, and somewhat entire or slightly toothed margins. Leaf stalks are 4 to 10 centimeters long. Flowers are fragrant, and borne in terminal cymose panicles. Calyx is inflated, green at the time of flowering, oblong-ovoid, about 2.5 centimeters long, and 1 centimeter in diameter. Corolla-tube is slender, cylindric, 5 to 8 centimeters long and straw-colored or whitish; lobes are narrowly oblong or linear-oblong, spreading, and about 2.5 centimeters in length. Stamens are exserted, and purple. Fruit is fleshy, blue, somewhat rounded, and about 1 centimeter in diameter. Calyx in the fruit is thickened, red or purple, split in five, 2.5 to 3 centimeters long lobes, and spreading when the fruit is mature.
- Common in thickets and secondary forests at low and medium altitudes from northern Luzon to Mindanao and Basilan, in most islands and provinces.
- Also occurs in Celebes and the Sulu Islands.
- Young leaves eaten as vegetable.
- In the Philippines, plant is used as an external remedy for chest and stomach complaints.
- Leaves are boiled and applied to carbuncles.
- Bougainvillea spectabilis Willd.
- B. spectabilis var. glabra (Choisy) Hook
- Bougainvillea glabra
- Ye zi hua (Chin.)
- Bogambilya (Tag)
- Great bougainvillea (Engl.)
- Paper flower (Engl.)
- Mao bao jin (Chin.)
Native to South America, The first species recorded in the Philippines was Bougainvillea spectabilis. The other species, B. glabra and B. peruviana were introduced much later. The cultivated hybrids have produced a considerable variety in size, color, form and numbers of showy bracts. The genus is derives its name from Antoiine de Bougainville, first Frenchman to cross the Pacific.
Bogambilya is a woody climber that can grow to a height of more than 10 meters, with large thorny stems and long drooping branches. The leaves are dark green, petioled, alternate, ovate, with entire margins, 6 to 10 centimeters long, broadest near the base. Thorns are the axils assist the plant in climbing. Flowers are in groups of threes, forming clusters at the terminal portion of the branches, each group subtended by three, broad, purplish, oblong-ovate and acuminate bracts, about 3 to 5 centimeters long. Flowers are small, each inserted on a bract, tubular, inflated midway through its length, of varying colors.
Numerous cultivars are cultivated in the Philippines, with single or multiple bracts, in varied colors of red, purple, pink, yellow or white.
- Native to South America.
- One of the most popular ornamental plants in the Philippines.
- Cultivars with variegated leaves were recently introduced.
- Reported constituents on B. glabra are pinitol, betacyanine, flavonoids, tannins and alkaloids.
- Study showed the presence of plastid-bound oxalic acid oxidase in the leaves.
- Studies have isolated flavonoids, phenolic compounds, ribosome inactivating proteins, amylase inhibitors, oxidase and pinitol.
- Leaves considered to have antiinflammatory activity.
- Considered anti-diabetic, antibacterial.
- Pinitol considered antidiabetic.
Leaves, stems, flowers
- Not known in the Philippines for any medicinal use.
- Traditional practitioners in Mandsaur use the leaves for a variety of disorders, for diarrhea, and to reduce stomach acidity.
- Used for cough and sore throat.
- For blood vessels and leucorrhea: a decoction of dried flowers, 10 g in 4 glasses of water.
- For hepatitis, a decoction of dried stems, 10 g in 4 glasses of water.
- In Panama, an infusion of the flowers of B. glabra used as treatment for low blood pressure.
- Nupe people of Niger use a crude extract of leaves for diabetes.
• Anti-ulcer / Anti-diarrheal / Anti-microbial: Leaves studied for antidiarrheal, anti-ulcer, and anti-microbial activities.• Pinitol / Insulin-like effect: Pinitol, an active principle of the traditional antidiabetic plant B. spectabilis, is claimed to exert insulin-like effects. The study supported the view that D-pinnitol (3-O-methyl-chiroinositol) may exert an insulin-like effect to improve glycemic control in hypoinsulinemic STZ-diabetic mice. D- pinitol may act via a post-receptor pathway of insulin action affecting glucose uptake.• Antibacterial: Study on various solvent extracts of Bougainvillea spectabilis leaves showed maximum inhibitory effect on tested bacteria (S aureus, B subtilis, S faecalis, Micrococcus luteus, E coli, P aeruginosa, S typhii, K pneumonia, P vulgaris, S marcescens, S flexneri.• Antidiabetic: Study of B spectabilis aqueous and methanolic extracts showed good glucose tolerance and significantly reduced intestinal glucosidase activity, with regeneration of insulin-producing cells and increase in plasma insulin. Results suggest a potential for development of new neutraceutical treatment for diabetes.• Amylase Inhibition: Study of the chloroform extract of B spectabilis showed significant alpha-amylase inhibitory property.• Color and Bioactivity: Study of the methanolic extracts of B spectabilis flowers of five different colors, screened biologically on antibacterial, antifungal, brine shrimp lethality and phytotoxicity assays showed that the extract of the white flowers was the most biologically active.• Anti-Fertility: Study showed the leaf extract showed adverse effects on male and female reproductive organs: male mice showed more degeneration of gonads in comparison to female mice, with decrease in total sperm count and titer of testosterone; extended the reproductive cycle of female mice by 1-2 days with prolonged metaestrus and decrease in serum estrogen.• Antihyperlipidemic / D-pinitol: Study showed the antihyperlipidemic effect of D-pinitol in STZ-induced type 2 diabetic rats, with significant lowering of LDL and VLDL cholesterol levels and significant increase in HDL cholesterol levels.• Radical Scavenging Activity: Study found the aqueous extracts of B spectabilis produced more free radical scavenging than B divaricata. Results were superior to common synthetic antioxidants used in the food industry and presents a potential for applications in pharmaceutical or alimentary preparations.• Effects on Liver and Kidney Functions in Rats: Study of extracts showed dose-dependent decrease in potassium ion concentration, possibly a result of cellular uptake of glucose effected by pinitol which may be accompanied by cellular uptake of potassium ion. An observed decrease in serum calcium ion concentration may be the result of impaired intestinal absorption of calcium and/or impaired conversion of vitamin D to the active 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. Results suggest the repeated administration of B. spectabilis extract may compromise the integrity of kidney and liver.• Antidiabetic / Root-Bark: Permanent hyperglycemia in alloxan-induced diabetic rats was reversed with a week's treatment with an ethanol extract of root bark. In the study, no considerable signs of toxicity were observed in the albino Wistar rats.• Natural Red Pigment: Study reported extraction of a red pigment with good solubility, light fastness, heat-resisting property, and good stability. The extraction is simple, the pigment reportedly non-toxic.• Lipid-Lowering / Antiatherogenic: Study of alcoholic extract on albino rats fed with a high-fat diet showed an excellent lipid lowering potential, with significant reduction in total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, VLDL and a significant increase in HDL. There was also significant improvement in atherogenic index.• Renal and Liver Effects: Study showed repeated administration of B. spetabilis may compromise the kidney and liver functions. There may also be ill-effects on patients with osteoporosis, renal diseases , and liver problems.AvailabilityCultivated.
- Polypodium punctatum (L.) Sw.
- Microsorum punctatum (L.) Sw.
- Cimbing bird's nest fern (Engl.)
- Fishtail strap-fern (Engl.)
Climbing bird's-nest fern is a robust ground fern with attractive leaves. Leaves are bright green, elongated, more or less ruffled at the margins and forking in various segments at the apex.
- Recently introduced; not widespread in the Philippines.
- Cutivated as an indoor plant.
- Widespread in the Old World.
- Reported in the Pacific islands, Malesia, tropical Asia, from southern China to India, Madagascar and Africa.
- No reported medicinal folkloric use in the Philippines.
- Decoction of plant used for coughing fits.
- Elsewhere, leaf juice used as purgative or enema.
- Leaf juice also used as diuretic and for healing wounds.
- Dichrocephala latifolia (Lam.) DC.
- Grangea latifolia Lam.
- Dichrocephala bicolor (Roth.) Schtdl.
- Dichrocephala integrifolia (L.f.) O. Kuntze
- INDONESIA: Jukut meurit (Sundanese), wedahan, seprah (Javanese).
- CAMBODIA: Klet choum thorn, kombet choun.
- THAILAND: Phakchee doi, saap haeng, haeng khong.
- VIETNAM: Rau chu[oo]i, l[uw][owx]ng s[ows]c l[as] nguy[ee]n.
- PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Taka, dekemp, dakumadan
Dichrocephala latifolia is an annual, erect or spreading, smooth or hairy weed, 30 to 60 centimeters in height. Leaves are entire or pinnatifid, ovate or lanceolate, up to 10.5 centimeters long and 4 centimeters wide; the terminal lobe is large, broadly ovate and coarsely toothed. Flowering heads are yellow or purplish, rounded, and about 3 millimeters in diameter. The ray flowers are very slender, curved, and obscurely toothed. Achenes are very minute and smooth.
- In open, waste places, old clearings, along trails, etc., chiefly at 900 meters and up to 2,200 meters in Bontoc, Ifugao, Benguet Subprovinces; and Nueva Vizcaya and Quezon Provinces in Luzon; and in Mindoro, Negros, and Mindanao.
- Also occurs in tropical and subtropical Africa, in Asia, and through Malaya.
- Study yielded six compounds were obtained and identified as stearic acid, stigmasta-7,22-dien-3-ol, α-amyrin, epifriedelanol, methyl stearate, and tritetracontane.
- Considered analgesic, anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, diuretic, sudorific, vulnerary.
Flower buds, young shoots.
- Decoction of flower buds used as sudorific and diuretic.
- In Cambodia, young shoots used as poultice for treating blenorrhagia and insect stings.
- In Cameroon, fresh leaves and stems used as anesthetic in atraumatic tooth extraction. It is placed on the fractured, painful, or carious teeth for two to three minutes, causing it to become loose, and then pulled. Plant is reapplied to the extraction site to enhance clotting and arrest bleeding.
- Livestock: In Cameroon used to treat cattle for swelling, infection, necrosis, edema, and pain.
• Antibacterial: Study evaluated the antibacterial activity of leaf extracts. Results showed chloroform extracts to be the most effective. S. typhi was found most sensitive and P. aeruginosa the most resistant to all extracts used.
• Anticancer: Dichrocephala integrifolia was one of 12 Yemeni herbs that showed inhibitory effect against three human cancer cell lines.
- Eucalyptus cinerea F. Muell. ex Benth
- Argyle apple (Engl.)
- Mealy stringybark (Engl.)
- Silver dollar eucalyptus (Engl.)
Spiral eucalyptus is a small tree with reddish brown, drooping branches. Leaves are opposite, stiff, leathery, silvery green to grayish blue, rounded, up to 7 centimeters across when young, becoming ovate to lanceolate, with a yellow midrib when mature.
- Native to New South Wales and Victoria, Australia.
- Recently introduced with limited distribution and cultivation.
- Usually planted as a garden plant.
- Yields essential oils, most effective is 1,8-cineole and anisole.
- Study evaluated the essential oil from different plant parts - leaves, flowers, and fruits. 1,8-Cineole was the main compound from leaves in spring, and flowers and fruits in winter. Other compounds in the aerial parts were a-pinene, limonene, a-terpineol, and a-terpinyl acetate.
Astringent and antiseptic.
- Not widely used as a medicinal plant in the Philippines. But as with other eucalyptus pants, is
used as an antiseptic and deodorant.
- Used for infections, colds, sore throats, flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, neuralgia and variety of skin infections.
- Decoction of leaves as tea for cough, asthma, hoarseness, fevers.
Extraction of oil
Boil mature leaves in water, condensing the vapor to recover the oil. Eucalyptus globulus yields less oil than the other varieties used for commercial production of medicinal grade oils.
• In South America, being studied for its use as a fumigant and repellant and head lice control. (Journal of Medical Entomology / Article: pp. 889–895)
• Chemical composition of the essential oil of nine Eucalyptus species growing in Morocco: The species studied included E. cinerea. All species were found to possess an oil rich in 1,8-cineole, exceeding 80% in E. cinerea.
• Fumigant / Repellent / Anti-Lice : In an Argentinian study of the fumigant and repellent properties of 16 essential oils and 21 chemical components against permethrin-resistant head lice, from 16 plants in Argentina, the most effective oil was the native M cisplatensis followed by E cinerea.
• Insecticidal Activity: In a study in Argentina of 12 essential oils and 17 individual terpenes for insecticidal activity against the house fly Musca domestica, Citrus sinensis was the most potent insecticide followed by C aurantium and Eucalyptus cinerea.
• Larvicidal / Aedes Aegypti: Study evaluated the homeopathic and larvicide effect of E. cinerea essential oil on Aedes aegypti. It showed a high larvicide effect. Results showed the essential oil was highly promisng for a public health system for control of A. aegypti.
• Essential Oil from Different Plant Parts/ Antimicrobial: Study showed 1,8-Cineole was the main compound from leaves in spring, and flowers and fruits in winter. Other compounds in the aerial parts were a-pinene, limonene, a-terpineol, and a-terpinyl acetate. The essential oil showed antimicrobial activities against bacteria (Strep pyogenes, Staph aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and yeasts (Candida albicans). E. cinerea can be employed as a source of 1,8-cineole, since the aerial parts (leaves, flowers, and fruits) show to be rich in these compound in al seasons of the year.
Other scientific names
- Bracteantha bracteata (Vent.) Anderb. & Haegi
- Everlasting (Engl.
- Strawflower (Engl.)
- Everlasting daisy (Engl.)
- Paper daisy (Engl.)
A stout annual herb growing to a height of 30-60 cm , with terete and sparingly branched stems. Leaves are alternate, oblong-lanceolate, with entire margins, and narrowed at the base. Blade is green on both sides. Flower head is terminal, up to 6 cm across, golden yellow, pink, orange to ivory white, enclosed by strawlike imbricated bracts of varying colors of red, yellow, brown and white.
Thrives best in the high altitudes, ie, Baguio and Tagaytay .
Constituents and chemical properties
• Studies have yielded flavonoids with a predominance of apigenin and luteolin along with 7-glucoside. source
• Study yielded four flavones and five flavanols. (See Studies below)
Flowers, aerial parts.
No reported folkloric use in the Philippines.
• A favorite decorative or altar flower, as it lasts indefinitely when dried.
• Scentless when fresh, but said to repel moths when dried.
• A 2007 study yielded a new gamma- pyrone, sterols and triterpenes from H. bracteatum. Of seven compounds isolated, 4 were from aerial parts, 3 from flowers. Gamma-pyrone compounds were considered potential anti-cancer drugs.
• Antiinflammator / Hepatoprotective: Study yielded four flavones, five flavonols, six caffeoyl derivatives of quinic acid from the flowers and aerial parts of Helichrysum bracteatum. The flavonolbractein was the most potent anti-inflammatory and antipyretic and the flavonol 3,5-dicaffreoylquinic acid was the most potent analgesic. The flowers showed significant hepatoprotective effect.
- Pyrostegia venusta (Ker-Gawl.) Miers.
- Bignonia ignea Vell.
- Pyrostegia ignea Vell.
- Pyrostegia acuminata
- Venusta vine (Engl.)
- Flower vine (Engl.)
- Flaming trumpet vine (Engl.)
- Orange trumpet creeper(Engl.)
- Pahu-pahu (Hawaii)
"Pyrostegia" is Greek derived, meaning 'fire' and "stege" meaning 'covering' with its various common names: Flame vine, flame flower, flaming trumpet vine, flower vine. source
Flame flower is a climbing shrub with 6 to 8 ribbed branchlets. Leaves are compound, with 2 or 3 leaflets, bearing 3-parted terminal tendrils. Leaflets are ovate, acuminate, up to 5 centimeters long. Flowers are reddish orange, in terminal panicled cymes, up to 5 centimeters long with reflexed corolla lobes. Fruit is a capsule, up to 30 centimeters long.
- Recently introduced.
- Grows well in the Baguio area.
- Native to Brazil and Paraguay.
- Phytochemical screening yielded terpenoids, alkaloids, tannins, steroids, and saponins.
- Phytochemical studies yield chemical constituents from the roots: allantoin, beta-sitosterol, 3b-O-beta-D glupyranosylsitosterol and hesperidin.
Considered antimicrobial, antioxidant, tonic, and vulnerary.
• No recorded folkloric use in the Philippines.
• In Iracambi, used as a tonic and antidiuretic.
• In Brazil, used as general tonic; also for diarrhea, dysentery, leucoderma and vitiligo, and common diseases of the respiratory tract, such as bronchitis, flu, and cold.
• Antioxidant: Phytochemical screening of P venusta showed the presence of carotenoids, steroids, terpenoids and anthraquinones in pet ether extract and flavonoids and tannins in the methanolic extracts. Results showed antioxidant activity due to the flavonoids and b-carotene, and a potential source of natural antioxidation.
• Antioxidant / Flowers and Roots: Study evaluated the antioxidant potential of P. venusta using DPPH, ABTS, and FRAP assays. Results showed P. venusta is a natural source of antioxidants. The extracts of flowers and roots contained significant amounts of phytochemicals with antioxidative properties to serve as inhibitors or scavengers of free radicals.
• ACE Inhibition: One of the plant extracts studied for angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition.
• Attenuation of Behavior Changes Induced by Lipopolysaccharide: Extract of P. venusta attenuated the depressive-live and exploratory behaviors induced by lipopolysaccharide. Results support the usefulness of the plant in traditional therapies for disorders like flu and cold, that induce sickness behaviors.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Antinociceptive: Study of a hydroethanolic extract in Swiss mice demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity. PvHE reduced paw edema induced by carrageenan and inhibited leukocyte recruitment into the peritoneal cavity. Extracts showed antinociceptive activity in acetic acid-induced writhing and formalin tests. The anti-inflammatory actions were attributed to the presence of acacetin-7-O-B-glucopyranoside.
• Antimicrobial / Wound Healing: Study of extract showed potent wound healing capacity as shown by wound contraction and increased tensile strength. Induction in cytokine production may be one of the mechanisms involved in the wound healing acceleration. A PvE also showed moderate antimicrobial activity against B subtilis, S epidermis, S pyogenes, S aureus, E coli, M luteus, P aeruginosa, C albicans among others.
About 300 species are found worldwide. Its beauty makes it one of the most widely cultivated of flowers, in brilliant hues of red, orange, or purplish-reds, with short-lived but continuing blooms. The red flowered variety has been preferred in medicine.
Gumamela is an erect, much-branched, glabrous shrub, 1 to 4 meters high. Leaves are glossy green, ovate, acuminate, pointed, coarsely-toothed, 7 to 12 centimeters long, alternate, stipulate. Flowers are solitary, axillary, very large, about 10 centimeters long, and 12 centimeters in diameter. Outermost series of bracteoles are 6, lanceolate, green, and 8 millimeters long or less. Calyx is green, about 2 centimeters long, with ovate lobes. Petals are red, orange or rose-white, obovate, entire, rounded tip, and imbricate. Stamens form a long staminal tube enclosing the entire style of the pistil and protruding out of the corolla. Ovary is 5-celled, styles are 5, fused below. Fruits are capsules, loculicidally 5-valved, but rarely formed in cultivation.
- Ornamental cultivation throughout the whole country.
- Commonly planted as a hedge and fence or as landscape shrub.
- Native of the Old World.
- Now pantropic.
· Considered emollient, emmenagogue, anodyne, expectorant, refrigerant.
· Anti-infectious, anthelmintic, antiinflammatory, diuretic, antipyretic.
· Hypotensive, antispasmodic.
· Prepared drug has sweet taste, neutral natured.
· The Hibiscus with five petals noted for its medicinal properties, the flowers are considered astringent. The roots contain a mucilage that is soothing on the mucous membranes of the digestive and respiratory tracts.
· Proanthocyanidins are considered antioxidant, antipyretic, analgesic, spasmolytic.
- Flowers reported to yield hisbiscetin.
- Flowers yield polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins.
- Polysaccharides which promote wound healing and are immune-modulating.
- Studies have isolated flavonoids, cyanidin, quercetin, hentriacontane, calcium oxalate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, ascorbic acid.
· Flowers, roots, and leaves.
· Harvest the roots and leaves anytime of the year.
· Wash, cut into slices, and sun-dry. The flowers should be collected from May to August, sun-dry.
Edibility / Culinary
A tasty tea is brewed from its petal.
· In the Philippines, flower buds, beaten to a paste, applied as poultice to boils, cancerous swellings, and mumps.
·Poultice of leaves and flower buds applied externally to swellings; the same mixture, with the addition of lime, hastens the maturation of tumors.
· Mumps, infection of the urinary tract: use dried drug materials 15 to 30 gms, boil to decoction and drink.
· For abscesses, carbuncles and boils: crush fresh leaves and poultice the infected area.
· Decoction of roots, barks, leaves and flowers used as an emollient.
· Decoction from roots of red and white-flowered plants is a Kelantan antidote for poison. Same decoction is drunk for venereal diseases and fevers.
· Decoction of roots also used for coughs.
· Decoction of flowers and or roots used as natural diuretic.
· Bark is an emmenagogue; also used to normalize menstruation.
· Malays uses a decoction of leaves as a lotion for fevers, and the roots for glands in the neck.
· Infusion or poultice of leaves used for headaches.
· In China, leaves used as emollient, anodyne, and a gentle aperient.
· Decoction of root used as drops for sore eyes.
· Seeds used as a stimulant and for cramps.
· Decoction of leaves for fevers.
· For headaches, an infusion of leaves or poultice of leaves.
· Leaves are mildly laxative.
· Mucilage applied during labor.
· Juice of leaves, along with that of Vernonia cinerea, used by midwives to stimulate the expulsion of the placenta
· In the Dutch Indies the red flowers are used to regulate menstruation; also, considered somewhat purgative and sometimes said to cause abortion
· In Sind, flowers are fried in clarified butter and used for checking excessive menstruation
· Red flowers used for sprue.
· Infusion of flowers and leaves used as expectorant in bronchitis
· The Chinese and Annamites use the flowers for paralysis and dysmenorrhea.
· Infusion of flowers, exposed all night to the dew, used for gonorrhea.
· Flowers fried in ghee, given for menorrhagia. The dark red petals are used as a mucilaginous infusion for painful urination, strangury, cystitis, and other irritable genitourinary conditions
· Infusion used as a refrigerant drink for fevers and as demulcent for coughs.
· Red flowers are purgative; when taken with papaya seeds, may be abortive.
· Hair stimulant: oil made by mixing the juice of fresh petals and olive oil in equal proportions, and boiled till the water has evaporated, used for stimulating hair growth.
· Seeds, pounded to a pulp and mixed with water, used for gonorrhea.
· In Costa Rica, used as a purgative.
· In Venezuela, used to treat tumors.
· In the Caribbean, used as analgesic, anti-inflammatory.
· In the Dominican Republic, used to treat hematomas.
· Dye / Coloring: In Ceylon, juice of flowers reported to serve as shoe-blackening. Chinese and Hindus use the juice of petals for blackening of their eyebrows. Flowers used as food coloring. Wound Healing Activity: Results on flower extracts study suggest H. rosa-sinensis aids wound healing in the rat model.
• Cardioprotective: Study evaluated the cardioprotective effect of the Hibiscus rosa sinensis flowers in an oxidative stress model of myocardial ischemic reperfusion injury in rat: The study concludes that the flower of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis augments endogenous antioxidant activity and prevented isoproterenol induced myocardial injury.
• Spasmogenic / Spasmolytic Constituents: Presence of cholinergic and calcium channel blocking activities explains the traditional use of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis in constipation and diarrhoea: Study indicates the crude extract had spasmogenic and spasmolytic constituents to explain its traditional use in constipation and diarrhea.
• Phytochemical / Hypotensive Activity: Flowers extract studies isolated four new phytoconstituents. The hydroalcoholic extract showed the most significant hypotensive activity.
• Hypoglycemic / Hypolipidemic Activity: (1) Study of ethanol flower extract on lipids and blood glucose of STZ-induced diabetic rats showed a lipid lowering effect (decrease cholesterol and serum triglycerides with increase in HDL) and diminution in blood glucose comparable to that of glibenclamide but through a mechanism other than insulin release. (2) Study showed a hypolipidemic effect compared to the standard drug guggulipid. Histopath findings in rat liver supported the role of H rosa sinensis root extract in preventing cholesterol HFD-induced hepatic steatosis.
• Antitumor / Anticancer: Study to investigate the ameliorative potential of H rosa sinensis extract in mice skin showed the extract of HRS exerts a protective effect against tumor promotion stage of cancer development.
• Cytotoxicity: Studies have showed H. rosa-sinensis flower decoction has cytotoxic properties in plant test systems. Decoction of flowers was toxic on root output and length in A. cepa and reduced the mitotic index significantly. Results suggest that H. rosa-sinensis flowers contain antimitotic constituents which stop cell division in anywhere of the cell cycle.
• Excipient Potential: Study concludes that a novel hydrophilic excipient, a mucilage extracted from H rosa sinensis can be used in the development of sustained-release tablets.
• Gentisic Acid / Tumor Inhibition / Anti-Carcinogenesis: Study evaluated the role of gentisic acid, a chemical constituent of H. rosa-sinensis, on DBMA/croton-oil-mediated carcinogenesis in mouse skin. Results suggest the gentisic acid plays a role in the modulatory activity of H. rosa-sinensis extract.
• Antianxiety / CNS Effect: Study showed statistically significant decrease in exploratory behavior, latency, and increased rearing and ambulatory behavior. Results suggest H. rosa-sinensis has significant anti-anxiety associated psychobehaviour modulation.
• Analgesic: Study of alcohol and aqueous extracts of dried leaves showed marked dose-dependent analgesic activity.
• Blood Pressure Lowering: Study showed drinking of hibiscus tea lowered blood pressure in a group of pre-hypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults.
• Hair-Growth Potential: Petroleum ether extract of leaves and flowers of HRS were studied for hair growth potential over shaved skin of albino rats. Results showed the leaf extracts to exhibit more potency on hair growth.
Cultivated for ornamental use.
Guyong-guyong is a smooth, branched, small- to medium-sized tree, up to 20 meters high. Leaves are opposite, ovate, oblong or oblong-elliptic, 5 to 15 centimeters long, 3 to 7 centimeters wide, smaller at the apex, entire, pointed at the apex, blunt or rounded at the base. Petioles are very short. Flowers are red and small, borne on terminal or axillary panicles, 5 to 7 centimeters long. Fruit is smooth, dark reddish-brown, ellipsoid, about 1 centimeter long, subtended at the base by a persistent calyx, dehiscing apically into 3 parts, containing numerous small, thin, brown, winged seeds, each 5 milimeters long.
- In thickets and secondary forests at low altitudes throughout the Philippines.
- Endemic species.
- Considered galactagogue and abortifacient.
Bark and leaves.
- Crushed leaves placed on the forehead and breast for colds.
- Internally, decoction of bark and leaves used as abortifacient.
- Decoction of bark used as galactagogue.
Hikau-hikauan is a shrub or tree reaching a height of 20 meters or less, with the trunk reaching a maximum diameter of 50 centimeters. Leaves are very thick, leathery, oblong to elliptic-oblong, 4 to 10 centimeters long, 2 to 4 centimeters wide, somewhat pointed at the tip, and tapering to a nearly blunt base. Flower is solitary. Calyx is green, 2.5 to 3 centimeters long, and comprises six segments which are longer than the tube. Petals are six, linear, pink or white, about as long as the calyx- segments. Fruit is hard, rounded-depressed, 3 to 4 centimeters in diameter, surrounded nearly to the middle by the calyx-tube; the persistent lobes are spreading. Seeds are numerous.
- Along small tidal streams near the limits of salt or brackish water; rarely on the open beach.
- Occurs in China, India through Malaya to the Moluccas.
Bark contains a moderate proportion of tannin.
Edibility / Culinary
- Fruit, slightly acidic, used as food; also for making vinegar.
- Leaves consumed in certain areas.
Fruit used as poultice in sprains and swellings.
Fermented juice useful in arresting hemorrhage.
- Air roots sued for making wooden soles of women's slippers – "korcho" – an of bottle stoppers.
- Referred to as corktree, because fishermen make fishing net floats out of the pneumatophores.
- Wood also used as firewood.
• Antimicrobial / Cytotoxicity: Study isolated nine compounds from the fruits of S caseolaris. Screened against a rat glioma C-6 cell line, compounds 1, 2 and 6 were found to show moderate cytotoxic activity and suggests a potential foundation for further chemotaxonomic studies.
• Flavonoids / Antioxidant: Study yielded two flavonoids, luteolin and luteolin 7-O-B-glucoside. Both compounds showed to possess antioxidant activity.
• Antioxidant: Of 57 samples of 32 species tested, the calyces of Sonneratia caseolaris exhibited strong antioxidant activity followed by stamens of S. caseolaris. It also exhibited strong antilipid peroxidation.
This ornamental plant, Japanese honeysuckle, is a hardy, low-climbing or trailing shrub, up to 5 meters or more in length. Leaves are oblong, oblong-ovate, or ovate, 3 to 6 centimeters long, 1.5 to 2.5 centimeters wide, pointed or blunt at the tip, blunt at the base and borne on short petioles. Flowers are tubular, 3 to 4 centimeters long, white, but turning yellow with age, borne in pairs in axils of the leaves on young shoots. Corolla is smooth, the tube slender and widening gradually, the limb has two lips, the upper lip broad, erect and divided into four-strap segments, and the lower lip having one linear-strap-shaped recurved segment. The berries are black.
- Ornamentally cultivated for its fragrant, attractive and profuse flowers.
- A recent introduction.
- Native of Japan.
Vine, leaves and flowers.
• Vine contains saponin, tannin and ash.
• Vine, leaves and flowers considered antifebrile, corrective and astringent.
• Volatile oils in the flower and stems were highly similar to each other â€“ palmitic acid and linoleic acid are the highest principles.
• Study yielded seven compounds: luteolin, luteoloside, quercetin, quercetin-3-0-beta-D-glucoside, quercetin-7-0-beta-D-glucoside, rutin, chlorogenic acid.
• Considered antibacterial, antiinflammatory, antispasmodic, antiviral, depurative, diuretic, febrifuge.
• Flowers and leaves.
• Tea made from leaves, buds and flowers.
• Leaves cooked as vegetable. (See toxicity concerns below)
• In Chinese medicine, vine, flowers and leaves are used to increase vitality and lengthen life.
• Used for infections and poisoning.
• Considered antisyphilitic.
• Infusion of stems and flowers used for common colds, upper respiratory infections and flu-like symptoms.
• Infusion used in lotions for ulcers and abscesses.
• Flowers applied as wash for skin inflammations, rashes and sores.
• In Brazil, used as depurative and to facilitate childbirth.
• Biflavonoids / Anticancer: Biflavonoids isolated from Lonicera japonica and Benincasa hispidadisplayed different patterns of growth inhibition among the human cancer cell lines.
• Acute and Subacute Toxicity Studies: The ethanol extract of leaves of Lonicera japonica showed no toxicity on hematologic, blood chemistry and gross and histopathologic parameters.
• Luteolin / Anti-Inflammatory: Luteolin, isolated from the flowers of Lonicera japonica, inhibited the induction of inflammatory cytokines, exerting a regulatory effect on mass cell-mediated inflammatory diseases, such as IBD, RA and allergy diseases.
• Antipyretic: Study showed L japonica to have obvious antipyretic effects on IL-1ÃŸ-induced febrile rabbits and acts by inhibiting expression of EP3 mRNA in the POAH.
• Anti-Angiogenic / Antinociceptive / Anti-Inflammatory: Study on the ethanolic extract of L japonica showed antiangiogenic, antinociceptive and antiinflammatory activities.
• Growth Hormone Release: Study showed induction of rat growth hormone (rGH) by addition of methanol extract in rat pituitary cell culture.
• Apoptosis: Study results suggested the photoactivated Lj extract-induced apoptosis is mediated by change in distribution of cytoskeleton. Results indicate the cytoskeleton is the potential target in the photoactivated Lonicera japonica extract-induced CH27 cell apoptosis.
• Leaves contain saponins; although toxic, are poorly absorbed and cooking, changing the water once, remove most of the saponins.
Ilang-ilang gubat is a rather small erect or climbing shrub, 1.5 to 3 meters height. Leaves are oblong to oblong-ovate, 8 to 15 centimeters long, pointed at the tip and rounded at the base, and nearly smooth. Flowers are yellowish white, solitary on a 2- to 5-centimeter long peduncle, borne opposite or nearly opposite to leaflets. Calyx are 3, ovate, 3 to 5 millimeters long. Corolla are 6, fixed, arranged in 2 whorls, oblong or oblong-lanceolate, 3 to 4 centimeters long, the outer whorl bigger than the inner one; stamens numerous. Peduncle extra-axillary, about 5 centimeters long, with one flower. Sepals are ovate-lanceolate, about 1.5 centimeters long. Petals are somewhat hairy, yellow, fragrant, 4 to 5 centimeters long. Fruits are dehiscent, peduncled, arranged in dense clusters, 2 to 5 centimeters long, 1 to 7 seeded.
- In thickets and forests at low and medium altitudes in Palawan, Basilan, Mindanao (Zamboanga).
- Also occurs in India, Assam, and Burma to southern China, and southwards throughout Malaysia and the Malay Peninsula.
· Roots, leaves.
· Collect the whole year round.
· Rinse, macerate, and sun-dry.
• Fragrant flowers yield a volatile oil. Fruit also yields oil.
• A new cytotoxic fatty acid, desmosic acid, was isolated from Desmos cochinchinensis.
• Desmosflavone - 5-Hydroxy-7-methoxy-6,8-di-C-methylflavone.
• Study yielded eleven compounds: lawimal, desmosal, desmethoxymatteucinol, unonal , isounonla, desmoflavone, allantoic acid, succinic acid, daucosterol, beta-sitosterol and stearic acid.
· Decoction of 15-30 g of dried leaves: Used for gastrointestinal distention, indigestion, nephritis-edema, bronchitis.
· Leaves used for treating bruises, pain, intestinal parasitism, rheumatism, diarrhea.
· Decoction of dried roots (15-30 g): Used for rheumatic muscular pain.
· In Malaya, roots used for dysentery and fever.
· Decoction of roots given after childbirth; also used for vertigo.
· In Chinese folk medicine, used for malaria.
· In Vietnam, used as antimalarial, insecticidal, antirhumatic and analgesic. Also, leaves are used for constipation.
• Anti-Malaria: Study isolated three flavonoids from the petroleum extract of the root of Desmos cochinchinensis. Pharmacologic study exhibited anti-malarial activity.
• Anti-Microbial : Study on the crude extracts of DC leaves showed strong antibacterial activity against S. aureus, S epidermis and B subtilis and strong inhibition against all dermatophytes
• Cytotoxic Fatty Acid: Study yielded desmosic acid, a novel cytotoxic fatty acid.
• Cytotoxic Cycloartane Triterpenoids: Study isolated desmosinal, a novel cycloartane triterpenoid from the stem of Desmos cochinchinensis Lour.
• Phenolic Compounds / NFAT Transcription Inhibiton : Study yielded six phenolic compounds from the methanolic extract of the dried leaves of Dc. Of these, compounds 2 (negletein) and 3 (2',3'-dihydroxy-4',6'-dimethoxydihydrochalcone exhibited potent inhibitory activity against nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) transcription factor.
Jasmin is a smooth, woody vine, reaching a length of 8 meters, often with pendulous branches. Leaves are odd-pinnate, 6 to 9 centimeters long, with 7 to 9 leaflets. Lower leaflets are shortly stalked, while the upper ones are stalkless and often somewhat fused; both are ovate, 1 to 2 centimeters long, and pointed at the tip. Flowers are white with faint, pinkish streaks or a purplish tinge outside, delightfully fragrant, and borne in lax, terminal inflorescences. Calyx-teeth are very slender, about 7 millimeters long. Corolla is white, with a slender tube nearly 2 centimeters long; the spreading lobes about 1.5 centimeters long.
- Cultivated in Manila and other large towns for its very fragrant flowers.
- Nowhere spontaneous.
- Native of India.
- Flowers contain a volatile oil, jasminol, and indol.
- Essence also contains benzyl-acetate, linalol, indol, and a ketone called jasmone.
- Ethereal extract from the leaves yield an alkaloid, jasminine.
- Study reports salicylic acid and an astringent principle in the leaves.
- Study yielded moderate phenols and abundant flavonoids and terpenoids.
- Phytochemical screening yielded alkaloids, glycoside, flavonoid, triterpenes, saponins, tannin, resin, and salicylic acid.
- Plant considered deobstruent, anthelmintic, diuretic, emmenagogue.
- Considered anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-tumor, anticarcinogenic.
- In China, oil considered tonic.
- Considered aphrodisiac.
- Tea considered calming and helpful for nervous debility.
To extract 2.2 lb of jasmine essence, 2,200 lbs of fresh flowers are needed.
Flowers, leaves, oil.
- Flowers used for tea.
- In the Philippines, water in which the flowers were macerated the night before used as eyewash.
- Flowers macerated in oil or alcohol extract used for rheumatism.
- Cataplasm of flowers used as poultice to prevent the flow of milk.
- Leaves used in treating ulcerative stomatitis, ulcers, and wounds.
- Hindu physicians use the leaves as a remedy for skin diseases, ulcers of the mouth, and otorrhea.
- Fresh juice of leaves used to soften corns; oil prepared with it used for otorrhea.
- In Bhavaprakasa, the leaves are chewed for ulcerations of the mucous membranes of the mouth.
- In Ayurveda, used for skin diseases and wound healing.
- Plaster of flowers applied to the loins and pubes as an aphrodisiac.
- In south China, used for treatment of hepatitis.
- In China, oil used as tonic.
- Leaves used in preventing and treating cancers.
- In Thailand, infusion of flowers used as cosmetic after bathing.
- Cosmetics: In Siam, infusion of flowers used as cosmetic after bathing. Extracts used in facial moisturizing products, bleaching, anti-aging, lotions, sprays and shampoos.
- Flowers used in biotherapy, aromatherapy and perfumery.
• Flower Chemical Constituents: Study isolated six secoiridoids from the flowers of J officinale: jasgranoside, jaspolyoside, 8-epi-kingiside, 10-hydroxy-oleuropein, 10-hydroxy-ligstroside, oleoside-7, 11-dimethyl ester.
• Antifertility: Study of aqueous extract of JO on female fertility in rats showed a dose-dependent significant anti-implantation effect, but failed to produce complete infertility. Treatment from day 8 to day 20 of pregnancy did not produce any significant abortifacient activity. A significant decrease in serum progesterone on day 5 of pregnancy may be responsible for the antiimplantation effect.
• Oleuropein / Anti-Hepatitis B: Oleuropein, derived from the flowers of Jasminum officinale effectively blocks HBsAg secretion in HepG cells in a dose-dependent manner. It also reduced viremia in DHBV-infected ducks.
• Glycosides: Study isolated 7 glycosides from the flower of J officinale var grandiflorum.
• Antibacterial: In a study on the antibacterial activity of extracts of J. grandiflorum and J. sambac, both showed effective activity against tested pathogens. J. grandiflorum scored highest with Salmonella typhi and lowest with Proteus mirabilis.
• Anti-Ulcer: Study of ethanolic extract of leaves in pyloric-ligated and aspirin-induced ulcer models in rats showed significant dose-dependent decrease in the ulcerative lesion index compared to the standard drug Omeprazole. The reduction in gastric fluid volume, free acid, total acid and increase in pH in rats proved an antisecretory and potential antiulcer activity of leaves of J. grandiflorum.
• Antioxidant / Anti-Ulcer: Study of 70% ethanolic extract of leaves in rat showed dose-dependent decrease in the ulcerative lesion index in 3 ulcer models. The free radical scavenging activities of JGLE was dependent on concentration and the antiulcer activity may be attributed to its antioxidant mechanism of action.
• Antifungal: Study exhibited antimycotic activity against fungi causing onychomycosis in cancer patients. without significant side effects. It significant retarded the growth of fungi Alternaria sp.
• Chemopreventive / Anti-Lipid Peroxidative Potential: Study of an ethanol extract of Jg flowers on 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA)-induced rat mammary carcinogenesis showed potent chemopreventive efficacy. It also exerted significant anti-lipid peroxidative effect and improved the antioxidant defense system in DMBA-treated rats.
• Antihelmintic: Study of various extracts of Jg leaves against adult earthworm Pheretima posthuma showed the methanol, chloroform and aqueous extracts to show better anthelmintic activity compared with the standard drug albendazole.
Oil, teas, extracts in the cybermarket.
Kandikandilaan is an erect and branched half-woody plant, 1 to 1.5 meters high. Stems are terete, the younger ones slightly angled. Leaves are elliptic to oblong-ovate, 2.5 to 10 centimeters long, with pointed tips and toothed margins, the base decurrent on the petiole. The spikes are terminal, rather slender, 10 to 30 centimeters long, 3-4 millimeters thick, green and continuous. Calyx is small, oblique, and 4-toothed. Corolla is deep blue, 1 centimeter long, The fruit is enclosed in the calyx, appressed to and somewhat sunk in the rachis, smooth, oblong, and about 4 millimeters long.
- Common weed in open and waste places at low and medium altitudes in settled areas throughout the Philippines.
- Native of tropical America.
- Now pantropic.
- Phytochemical studies have yielded flavonoids, triterpenes, monoterpenes, iridoids, phytosterols, aromatic acids, GABA, dopamine and alkanes.
- Phytochemicals isolated include epigenol-7-glucoronide, alpha-spinasterol, stachytarphine, scutellarein, uroslic acid, scultellarein and verbascoside.
- A glucoside, stachytarphine has been isolated from the plant.
- An iridoid glycoside, verbascoside or acetoside, has been isolated from the plant, shown to be a powerful antioxidant phytochemical.
- A flavonoid, scuttelarein, has been isolated, with cardioprotective, anti-inflammatory and antiviral actions.
- Hopidulin, another flavonoids, is reported to be bronchodilator, antispasmodic and anti-asthmatic.
- Phytoscreening yielded phenolic compounds, tannin, saponins, terpenoids and flavonoid.
- Considered analgesic, antacid, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic; flowers, emollient, anti-ulcerogenic, gastroprotective, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, hypotensive, immunomodulatory, oxytoxic, sedative and tonic.
- Secondary metabolites display oxytoxic, neuroprotective, antiviral, antibacterial, cardioactive and antitumor effects.
Leaves, stems, roots.
- Decoction or roots are abortive.
- Decoction of leaves are vermifuge to children.
- In the Antilles, juice of fresh leaves is emetocathartic.
- Decoction of leaves in enemas used to expel intestinal worms; also used as purging vehicle for other vermifuges.
- Infusion of roots has been used for gonorrhea.
- Triturated fresh leaves used on ulcers. Used as maturative cataplasm for boils.
- Bruised leaves rubbed on sprains and bruises.
- In Brazil, used for coughs, fever, to expel worms and promote menstruation; as a diuretic and laxative. Also used for rheumatism.
- In the West Indies, used to expel worms.
- Creoles use the leaf tea for dysentery.
- In North Nigeria, decoction used for dysentery. Also used as vermifuge.
- In Peru, used for diabetes.
- In Cuban herbal medicine, used as an abortive.
- In immigrant Haitian communities in Cuba, an infusion made from three whorls or tops of S. jamaicensis is used for children in the morning on an empty stomach as an anthelmintic.
- In traditional medicine, leaves and stem extracts used to prepare drugs for use as stomach tonic, for dyspepsia, allergies, asthma, fevers and liver problems. Externally, used for ulcers, sores, cuts and wounds.
In the Bahamas, called the Voodoo plant or voodoo flower.
In Trinidad, report of use of leaves as high protein feed for horses.
• Antidiarrheal / Antimicrobial: The methanol extract of Stachytarpheta jamaicaensis leaves showed significant antidiarrheal activity and moderate inhibitory activity against E coli, Staph epidermis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
• Antioxidant / O2-Scavenging Activity: Inhibitory effects of leaf extracts of Stachytarpheta jamaicensis (Verbenaceae) on the respiratory burst of rat macrophages: Extract showed potent O2-scavenging activity. Study suggest SJ may have potential pharmaceutical value for immunologic diseases related to oxidative stress.
• Anti-Hypertensive / Bradycardic Effect: Some Cardiovascular Effects of the Aqueous Extract of the Leaves of Stachytarpheta jamaicensis L. Vahl: The aqueous extract of SJ leaves caused a dose-dependent drop in blood pressure and heart rate. The acute hypotensive effect could be partly caused by a negative chronotropic effect of direct effect on vascular smooth muscles.
• Antinociceptive / Antiinflammatory: The study of the ethanol extract of SJ showed significant dose-dependent nociceptive activity in all nociceptive models tested. The extract also showed significant antiinflammatory activity in both acute and chronic models. The analgesic activity was assumed to be modulated via peripheral and central mechanisms, partly involving the activation of the opioid receptor system.
• Phytochemicals / Antimicrobial / Toxicity Study: Phytochemical study yielded secondary metabolites including tannins, saponins and flavonoids. Crude aqueous extract showed activity against B subtilis, E coli, C albicans, S aureus, P aeruginosa, P vulgaris, P mirabilis. No toxicity was found even at high concentrations.
• Toxicity Study: A study on 20 Wister rats on the effect of powdered SJ leaves, using serum biochemistry and ultrasonography showed no toxicity, suggesting a wide therapeutic margin of safety.
• Antimalarial :The ethanolic extract of Stachytarpheta cayennensis exhibited significant schizonticidal activity comparable to that of the standard drug, chloroquine. The antiplasmodial activity confirms its folkloric use in the treatment of malaria.
• Anti-Dyslipidemia / Anti-Atherogenic:The effects of Stachytarpheta jamaicensis tea on plasma lipid profile and atherogenic indices were studied in rabbits. Treatment caused significant decreases in plasma total cholesterol, LDL, VLDL and triglycerides with also significant decreases in atherogenic indices. The results suggest the use of TJ tea in the management of primary and secondary dyslipidemia.
• Steroidal Glucosides: Study reported two novel steroid glucosides from the leaves of S. jamaicensis. The occurrence of steroidal glucoside in SJ may explain the use of the plant in phytomedicine for birth control, abortion, treatment of menstrual disorders and as a lactagogue.
• Antimicrobial: Study showed more antimicrobial activity with the chloroform extract against gram positive organisms like Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis and B. subtilis. The chloroform and alcohol extracts showed antifungal activity against C. albicans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
• Lanostane Glycoside: Study of leaves isolated a new lanostane triterpenoid glycoside 16ß-(ß-D-glycopyranosyl-3-8,-dihydroxylanstan-5,22-diene-11-methoxy-1ß-yl-6-O-(2,3-dimethoxybenzoyl)-ß-d-glycopyranoside.
• Antimicrobial / Cytotoxic: Root extract was found to inhibit most of the bacterial growth compared to leaves and stem extracts. In the study on cytotoxic effect, leaves extracts showed the highest inhibition on the growth of Hela cancer cells compared to the root and stem extract.
Kolintang-violeta is an erect, unarmed, branched ornamental shrub, 1 to 3 meters high. Branches are sparingly hairy. Leaves are oblong to elliptic, 4 to 10 centimeters long, pointed at the tip and somewhat hairy beneath. Flowers are borne singly or in pairs, and terminal or in the upper axils of the leaves. Bracteoles are linear. Two outer sepals are green, ovate-lanceolate, nearly 2 centimeters long, persistent, and laciniately toothed. Corolla is 6 to 7 centimeters long, slender-tubed, winged above; limb is 4 to 5 centimeters in diameter, violet or nearly white, or streaked with violet and white.
- Widely cultivated ornamental hedge plant.
- Also occurs in India, China, and Malaya.
Considered antibacterial, antidotal.
Roots, leaves, seeds.
- Seeds used as antidote for snake bites.
- Roots and leaves used to reduce swellings.
- Infusion of roots and leaves used for coughs.
- In India used for treatment of cough.
- Elsewhere, used for toothaches, anemia and inflammatory disorders.
• Anti-Inflammatory: (1) Methanol extract of leaves of Barleria cristata was evaluated for anti-inflammatory activity. The effect was compared to the activity of indomethacin and cyproheptadine as reference standard. Results revealed BC possesses significant anti-inflammatory activity. (2) Study of aqueous extract of BC leaves exhibited anti-inflammatory activity with significant dose-dependent inhibition of carrageenan-induced paw edema, prostaglandin activity, vascular permeability.
• Phytochemicals / Antioxidant Activity: Phytochemical screening yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, saponins, phenols and tannins in the ethanol and aqueous extracts of BC. The 50 % ethanol extract of leaves showed significant antioxidant activity probably from the occurrence of secondary metabolites.
Langkawas na Pula
Tall, leafy, perennial herb, growing to 2 to 3 m tall. Stems are reedlike, 0.4 to 1 m high. Leaves are lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 60-70 cm long, 8 - 10 cm wide, smooth on both sides with hairy margins. Inflorescence is nodding and about 30 cm long. White calyx is subcampanulate, about 1.8 cm long. Corolla tube is white and about 3 cm long; the red lobes are broadly elliptic, and about 3 cm long. Lip is broad, ovate and about 4 cm long, yellow with red striations and dots. Capsule is somewhat spherical, about 2 cm in diameter and reddish.
Widely cultivated in Philippine gardens.
Alpinia zerumbet is aromatic in all its parts.
The main constituents of the volatile oil from the leaves are d-camphor (30%) and d-camphene (17%), with lineol and limonene in smaller amounts.
Seeds contain 0.51% essential oils comprised of monoterpenoids, oxygenated monoterpenoids, sesquiterpenoids, oxygenated sesquiterpenoids, aldehydes, acid and esters.
Considered analgesic, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-platelet, antispasmodic, diuretic, hypotensive, muscle relaxant, uterine stimulant.
Parts used and preparation
• Decoction of leaves used as bath and wash in fevers.
• In Brazilian folk medicine, used as decoctions and infusions for intestinal and cardiovascular disease – as a diuretic, antihypertensive, antiulcerogenic.
Cooking / Nutrition
In Ambonia, leaves are used as wrappers in cooking rice.
In Malaysia, the pith of the young stem near the rhizome is commonly eaten.
• Antihypertensive / Cardiovascular Effects: Study showed the intravenous treatment with the essential oil of A zerumbet and its main constituent terpine-4-ol in the experimental hypertensive rat decreased blood pressure giving further support to a previous hypothesis of its hypotensive effect partially attributable to the actions terpenene-4-ol.
• Antinociceptive: Study showed the essential oil of Alpinia zerumbet promoted a dose-dependent antinociceptive effect through a mechanism that probably involves the participation of opiate receptors.
• Sciatic Nerve Effect: Study of the essential oil of AZ on rat sciatic nerve showed significantly reduced compound action potential.
• HDL / Lipid Benefits: Study showed the high contents of rutin, quercetin and polyphenolics in ethanolic extract of AZ seeds exhibited moderate antilipoperoxidative and potent DPPH free radical scavenging activities. Both seed powder and seed oil are effective hypolipidemics with potent HDL-C elevating capabilities and offers a promising lipid-benefiting plant medicine.
• Flavonoids / Kava Pyrones: Study yielded flavonoids and kava pyrones. The flavonoids rutin, kaempferol-3-0-rutino-side, kaempferol-3-O-glucuronide, (+)-catechin (-)-epicatechin are substances known to contribute hypotensive, diuretic and anti-ulcer activity while the kava pyrones have been attributed antiulcer and antithrombotic benefits. These compounds may explain the use of the plant in the treatment of hypertension.
• Antihypertensive / Vasodilator: Study showed chronic administration of AZ induced significant reduction of systolic, mean, and diastolic arterial pressure in rats with DOCA-salt hypertension. The vasodilator effect is probably dependent on the activationn of NO-cGMP pathway. The results provide experimental support for its use as an antihypertensive medicinal plant.
Ulasiman-aso is a shared common name of: (1) Ulasimang-aso, Baccopa monnieria, water hyssop, and (2) Malaulasiman, ulasiman-aso, malaulasima, Oldenlandia corymbosa.
Malaulasiman is a slender, erect or spreading, branched, annual herb, 20 to 50 centimeters in length. Leaves are stalkless, linear-oblanceolate to linear-oblong, and 1.5 to 3 centimeters long. Flowers occur in axillary, peduncled, 2- to 5-flowered umbels, with slender peduncles which are 5 to 10 millimeters long; the pedicels are half as long or less; and solitary flowers are often intermixed. Corolla is small and white. Capsules are shaped like a top, about 2 millimeters long, and do not protrude beyond the short, acuminate, calyx-lobes.
This plant closely resembles H. diffusa, differentiated mainly by the 2- to 7-flowered inflorescence (in H. diffusa, there is only 1 flower subtended per pedicel) and moreover, by the longer pedicel.
- Found throughout the Philippines, common in and about towns, in open waste places, grasslands, etc.
- Probably a native of the Old World.
• The pharmacological properties of this species is fundamentally identical with that of H. diffusa, however, with reference to its anticancer actions, H. diffusa (Ulasiman kalat) is regarded as a more powerful drug than H. corymbosa.
• Considered cooling, febrifuge, pectoral, digestive, diuretic, depurative, diaphoretic, stomachic, and vermifuge.
• Thai study isolated ten compounds, among them: geniposide, 6a-hydroxygeniposide, scandoside methyl ester.
• Study isolated three new iridoid glycosides, nine iridoid and lignan glucosides and rutin.
• Rich source of ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
• Decoction of plant used for fevers and stomach aches.
• A cooling medicine used in remittent fevers with gastric irritability and nervous depression caused by deranged air and bile. Entire plant prescribed in decoction, and combined with aromatics.
• Decoction applied to the surface of the body and given internally to cure heat eruptions.
• Used for jaundice and diseases of the liver.
• In Konkan, juice is applied for burning of the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. For burning at the pit of the stomach, the juice is taken with a little milk and sugar.
• In Martinique, tincture of roots used as vermifuge.
• In the Antiles, used as a vermifuge.
• In India, plant juice mixed with sugar and milk for stomach burning.
• In India, used for jaundice and liver problems, giddiness, dyspepsia, flatulence, colic, constipation, helminthiasis, leprosy, bronchitis.
• In the Congo, used for facilitation of childbirth.
• In Chinese medicine used for viral infections, cancer, acne, boils, appendicitis, hepatitis, eye problems and bleeding.
• Hepatoprotective: Study on the effect of methanolic extract of HC against paracetamol overdose-induced liver damage in Wistar rats showed significant hepatoprotective effects evidenced by decreased enzyme activities and an almost normal histological architecture.
• Antimicrobial: Screening method for the identification of plants possessing anti-microbial activity and tolerance to abiotic stresses: In a study of 50 species, Datura metel and Oldenlandia corymbosa exhibited the highest antimicrobial activity.
• Anti-Malarial: Study of A paniculata and Hedyotis corymbosa, both known for their hepatoprotective and fever-reducing abilities, showed inhibitory activity in the ring stage of the parasite without in vivo toxicity, with increased in vivo potency when used in combination and with curcumin.
• Immunocompetent Activity: Study showed prior administration of J corymbosa and H diffusa ameliorated the leukopenia and splenic cellular decrease associated with sublethal irradiation.
• Oxytocic Activity / Antimicrobial: O affinis is one of many plants used in the Congo and Central Africa regions for the facilitation of childbirth. Study isolated uterotonic substances - cyclic peptides (kalata-peptides) and a main peptide, B1. The kalata-peptide B1 have also shown to hold antimicrobial activity and presents a potential for the design of new peptide antibiotics.
• Ascorbic Acid Content: Study of fresh and dried leaves of two edible plants - O corymbosa and D rotundifolia - found them to be rich sources of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) when compared to some common garden fruits and vegetables, more in the fresh than in the dried leaves.
• Antioxidant / Radical Scavenging Activities: (1) Study on the antioxidant and radical scavenging activities of three traditional Chinese medicines – HD (H. diffusa), HC (Hedyotis corymbosa) and MP (M. pentaphylla), showed HD had the strongest inhibition of lipid peroxidation, followed by HC, while H corymbosa had the highest radical scavenging activity. The differences may explain the variation in therapeutic properties when the herbal medicines are used interchangeably in medicinal preparations. (2) Study showed marked antioxidant activity of the HC extract, attributed to the presence of total phenolic and total flavonoid contents..
• Peh-Hue-Juwa-Chi-Cao / Anti-Tumor / Radioprotective Activity: A study was done on three different crude drugs that take the same name (Peh-Hue-Juwa-Chi-Chao) as an antitumor agent and evaluated for its antitumor activity against malignant implanted subcutaneous tumors and protective effect against radiation-induced hematopoeitic damage. Results showed the three kinds of Peh-Hue-Juwa-Chi-Cao drugs all showed similar antitumor effects and protection from radiation damage.
Niog-niogan is a large climbing, woody shrub reaching a length of 2 to 8 meters. Brown hairs give the younger parts a rusty appearance. Leaves are oblong to elliptic, opposite, 7 to 15 centimeters long, rounded at the base and pointed at the tip. Flowers are fragrant, tubular, showy, first white, then becoming red, reddish-purple or orange, exhibiting the range of colors in clusters, on the same flower stalk. Fruit is narrowly ellipsoid, 2.5 to 3 centimeters long, with five, sharp, longitudinal angles or wings. Seeds are pentagonal and black.
- In thickets and secondary forests throughout the Philippines.
- Ornamentally planted for its flowers.
- Also occurs in India to Malaya.
- Introduced in most tropical countries.
Seeds (dried nuts) and leaves.
- Phytochemical screening yields major classes of constituents: alkaloids, carbohydrates, protein, amino acid, saponins, glycosides, steroids, tannins, flavonoids and phenolic compounds.
- Plant yields a fatty oil, 15%; gum; resin.
- The nut yields 12.96 percent moisture; a yellow oil, 28.37 percent of the original nut.
- Studies yield quisqualic acid, quisqualin A.
- An analysis of the seed reported the presence of oleic and palmitic acids in the oil, in addition to sitosterol, and an acetyl derivative from the saponifable matter.
- Leaves yield rutin, trigonelline, L-proline, L-aspargine, and quisqualic acid.
- Flower gum yields pelargonidin-3-glucoside.
- The taste resembling coconuts.
- Oil from the seeds are purgative.
- Considered anthelmintic, antiinflammatory.
- Study on ascariasis reported the plant to possess anthelmintic properties.
- Excessive dosing reported to cause hiccups.
- Fruit is considered tonic and astringent.
• Flowers are edible.
• Anthelmintic: Dried seeds preferable for deworming.
• Adults: Dried nuts-chew 8 to 10 small- to medium-sized dried nuts two hours after a meal, as a single dose, followed by a half glass of water. If fresh nuts are used, chew only 4-5 nuts. Hiccups occur more frequently with the use of fresh nuts.
• Children 3-5 years old: 4-5 dried nuts; 6 - 8 years old: 5-6 dried nuts; 9-12 years old: 6-7 dried nuts.
• Roasted seeds for diarrhea and fever.
• Plant used as a cough cure.
• Leaves applied to the head to relieve headaches.
• Pounded leaves externally for skin diseases.
• Decoction of boiled leaves used for dysuria.
• Ifugao migrants use it for headache.
• Ripe seeds roasted and used for diarrhea and fever.
• In Thailand, seeds used as anthelmintic; flowers for diarrhea.
• In India and Ambonia, leaves used in a compound decoction to relieve flatulent distention of the abdomen. Leaves and fruits are reported to be anthelmintic; also used for nephritis.
• In India and the Moluccas, seeds are given with honey as electuary for the expulsion of entozoa in children.
• In Indo-China, seeds are used as anthelmintic and for rickets in children.
• The Chinese and Annamites reported to use the seeds as vermifuge.
• In China, seeds macerated in oil are applied to parasitic skin diseases. Seeds are also used for diarrhea and leucorrheal discharges of children.
• In Amboina compound decoction of leaves used for flatulent abdominal distention.
• In Bangladesh, used for diarrhea, fever, boils, ulcers and helminthiasis.
Adverse reactions - diarrhea, abdominal pain, distention and hiccups - are more likely if nuts are eaten in consecutive days or when fresh nuts are eaten.
• Polyphenols / Antioxidant: Flower extract yielded high polyphenol contents and showed strong antioxidant acitivity.
• Anti-Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitor: Acetylcholine is one of the most important neurotransmitters in the central or peripheral nervous system. The methanolic extract of Q indica flower dose-dependently inhibited acetylcholinesterase activity.
• Fixed Oil Storage Effect: Study showed one year storage does not significantly affect the physical constants of the fixed oil.
• Larvicidal Activity: In a study screening 11 plant species of local flora against the IV instar larvae of Aedes aegypti, Quisqualis indica was one of the plants that showed some larvicidal activity against Ae aegypti, albeit, at comparatively higher doses.
• Antipyretic: Study evaluated the antipyretic activity of the methanolic extract of leaves of Q. indica in brewer yeast-induced pyrexia model in rat. Results showed significant dose-dependent antipyretic activity.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study evaluated the anti-infammatory activity of a hydroalcoholic extract in Wistar rats. Oral administration of the extract showed dose-dependent and significant anti-inflammatory activity in acetic acid- induced vascular permeability and cotton-pellet granuloma model, comparable to Diclofenac. the anti-infammatory activity was attributed to bradykinin and prostaglandin synthesis inhibition property of the polyphenols.
• Immunomodulatory: Study evaluated the immunomodulatory activity of a hydroalcoholic extract of flowers in Wistar rats in a cyclophosphamide-induced myelosuppression model. Results showed signnificant immunomodulatory activty.
The plant is a branching annual, 30 to 100 cm in height. Leaves are long petioled, ovate or ovate-cordate, 15 to 20 cm long, 5 to 12 cm wide, and covered with soft, silky, grey hairs. Racemes are cylindric, laxly panicled, 8 to 13 cm long. Flowers are white. Nut is rounded, black and shining, about 3 mm in diameter.
A variety of the plant has rose-pink flowers.
In open, wet places along streams at low and medium altitudes.
Rootstock yields oxymethyl-anthraquinone, 0.05%.
Study yielded six compounds: myricitrin, luteolin, gallic acid, catechin, protocatechuic acid and p-hydroxycinnamic acid.
Nuts prescribed for flatulence and for tuberculous swellings.
• Taxifolin / Antioxidant: (1) Study showed the taxifolin from Polygonum orientale showed potent antioxidant activity. (2) Study investigated the free radical scavenging potentials of P orientale extracts. Results showed the free radical-scavenging activities to be: methanol>ethanol>water>ethyl acetate>chloroform.
Pakpak-lawin na babe is an epiphytic fern, with the short rootstock covered with linear-lanceolate, acuminate scales. Stipes are tufted, rigid, erect, brown, 3 to 30 cm long.
Fronds are simply pinnate, oblong in outline, 7 to 40 cm long; pinnate opposite or alternate, 2 to 12 cm on each side, 2 to 15 cm long, 1 to 3 cm wide, lanceolate. Sori are in close, long, parallel, oblique lines reaching from the midrib nearly to the margin.
Widely distributed in dry thickets in the Philippines.
Also in tropical Asia to Polynesia.
• Decoction of the fronds is a diuretic. Also used for the treatment of dysuria and bladder complaints associated with beri-beri.
• In India, fronds used as diuretic for conditions with defective urination.
Rabbit's Foot Fern
Rabbit's foot fern is an epiphytic, dimorphic fern with stems 1 cm or more in diameter. Sterile leaves are pinnate, sub-opposite, broadly deltoid, up to 20 cm long; base tripinnate and narrowly deltoid. Fertile leaves are more deeply lobed, with each lobe bearing several sporangia.
Widespread in the Philippines.
Also found in the Malay Peninsula to Polynesia.
Cultivated as a hanging plant or air plant.
Study yieled 4 new compounds: 3' -O-p-hydroxybenzoylmangiferin, 4'-O-p-hydroxybenzoylmangiferin, 6' -O-p-hydroxybenzoylmangiferin, and 3-O-p-hydroxybenzoylmangiferin, as well as eight known
compounds - mangiferin, 2-C-b-D-xylopyranosyl-1,3,6,7-tetrahydroxyxanthone, 4b-carboxymethyl-(À)-epicatechin, 4b-carb-oxymethyl-(À)-epicatechin methyl ester, eriodictyol, eriodictyol-8-C-b-D-glucopyranoside, icariside E5, and icariside E3.
Considered antibacterial, tonic, laxative, purgative, anti-inflammatory.
No known medicinal use in the Philippines.
Rhizomes used as herb tonic; for treatment of osteoporosis, arthralgia and arthritis.
In Fiji, used as antibacterial; used for asthma, sore throat.
In Tahiti, used for dysmenorrhea, uterine hemorrhage, and to promote healthy pregnancy.
In New Caledonia, used for fish poisoning.
In Moorea, French Polynesia, used as laxative and purgative; for fractures and sprains; as cleansing bath for newborns.
In Chinese medicine, used for physique ache, inflammation, cancer and bone injuries.
In Samoa, leaves used externally as poultice for arthritis.
• Phenolics / Antioxidant: Study showed aqueous extract contains a high content of phenolic compounds with strong DPPH scavening activity.
• Gusuibu / Antioxidant: Gusuibu is a known folk remedy in traditional Chinese medicine, composed of six different fern ingredients: Drynaria fortunei, Pseudodrynaria coronans, Daval-lia divaricata Bl., Davallia mariesii, Davallia solida (Forst.) Sw., and Humata griffithiana. In the study, all the extracts of six sources exhibited reducing power in a concentration dependent manner. Results suggest the total polyphenol compounds in the extracts of the six folk medicinal ferns used as "Gusuibu" contributes significantly to the antioxidant capacities.
Chanca piedra is spanish for "stone breaker," used by indigenous peoples of the Amazon as an effective remedy for the treatment of gallstones and kidney stones.
Sampasampalukan is an erect, branching, slender, smooth herb growing 50 to 60 centimeters high. Leaves are small and oblong, alternate and often imbricated, oblong to elliptic-oblong, 5 to 8 millimeters long, rather pale beneath, and on very short stalks. Flowers are axillary and solitary, pale green or white, about 0.5 millimeter long. Capsules are smooth, rounded or somewhat flattened, 1.5 to 2 millimeters in diameter.
- A common roadside and garden weed throughout the Philippines.
- Now pantropic, probably introduced into the New World.
- Plant yields phyllanthin, previously identified as pseudo-chiratan. It crystallizes in colorless needles or flakes, with an intensely bitter taste, almost insoluble in water but easily soluble in alcohol, petroleum ether, ether, chloroform, benzene, and glacial acetic acid.
- From the leaves, phyllanthin and hypophyllanthin, lignansniranthin, nirtetralin and phyltetralin.
- Plant yields a considerable amount of potsh
- Astringent, cholagogue, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, stomachic, laxative, obstruent.
- Considered antiviral, antilithiatic, anthelmintic.
- Bark is considered purgative.
- Decoction of entire plant used as tonic for the stomach.
- Bitter fruit used for tubercular ulcers, wounds, sores, scabies, and ringworm.
- Used for kidney stones and gallstones.
- Fresh root used as remedy for jaundice.
- Used as emmenagogue and febrifuge.
- Also used for genitourinary problems: renal colic, cystitis, prostate problems, jaundice, constipation, dyspepsia, gonorrhea.
- Young leaves used for fevers.
- Chewing of fresh leaves used for hiccups.
- Used for baths in newborns.
- Decoction used for coughs in infants.
- Infusion of root and leaves used as tonic and cold, taken cold in repeated doses.
- In Santo Domingo and Puerto Rico, bitter decoction of leaves and roots used for intermittent fevers.
- Infusion of young shoots and leaves given for dysentery.
- Salted poultice of leaves used for scabby affections; without salt, applied to bruises and wounds; and made with rice water, poultice lessens edematous swellings and ulcers.
- As a Tamil galactagogue, root bruised with a little water and administered with milk.
- In Indo-China, used as diuretic, depurant, and antisyphitic.
- In the Konkna rubbed down with rice-water and used as a remedy for menorrhagia.
- In La Reunion, used for blenorrhagia, dropsy, and diarrhea.
- In Haiti, decoction of roots and leaves used for stomachaches.
- In the Gold Coast and India, pounded leaves used for gonorrhea.
- In Sind, roots, leaves, and young shoots are much employed in gonorrhea and other genito-urinary affections.
- Bark used as purgative.
- Milky juice applied to offensive sores.
- In Unani medicine, used for sores and chronic dysentery; fruits used for tubercular ulcers, sores, scabies and ringworm.
- In Ayurveda, used for asthma, bronchitis, leprosy, anemia hiccups and as diuretic.
- In different parts of India, used for snake bites.
- In South America, used to treat excess uric acid.
- Dye: In India, decoction of leaves and stem used for dyeing cotton black.
- Fish poison: From the phyllanthin, plant is used as fish poison.
• Antiviral / Anti-Hepatitis B: (1) Studies of extracts have shown marked anti-hepatitis B surface antigen activity possibly through inhibition of viral genetic material. (2) A study reports P niruri has profound effets in vitro on HBsAg, on woodchuck hepatitis virus surface antigen (WHsAg) and on the DNAp of both viruses and in vivo on the replication of WHV (woodstock hepatitis virus) and in some controlled studies, it appeared to eliminate WHV from carriers.
• Hypolipidemic: Studies have demonstrated lipid-lowering effects in triton and cholesterol fed hyperlipidemic rats
• Anti-diabetic: (1) Studies have shown potential anti-diabetic action of PN. (2) Study of aqueous extract of the plant yielded alkaloids, flavonoids and saponins. Administration of aqueous extracts in mice showed a significant decrease in blood glucose with a significant effect in controlling the loss of body weight. Results showed a hypoglycemic effect in diabetic rats with no evidence of hepatotoxicity.
• Anti-malarial: Extract studies of Pyllanthus niruru showed inhibitory activity of Plasmodium falcifarum.
• Analgesic: Methanolic extract showed nociceptive effects.
• Calculi dissolution: Although test did not show prevention of further growth, PN modified the shape and texture of the stone into a more fragile form which may help in elimination and dissolution. source
• Platelet Aggregation Inhibition: Methyl brevifolincarboxylate, isolated from PN, was found to have i nhibitory effects on platelet aggregation
• Hepatoprotective: Study showed PN to possess hepatoprotective activity against nimesulide-induced liver toxicity, probably through an antioxidant defense mechanism. Another study demonstrated a protein fraction of PN to be protective against acetaminophen hepatotoxicity by increasing antioxidative defense.
• Calcium Oxalate Cyrstal Growth and Aggregation Inhibition: Study showed an inhibitory effect of P niruri extract on CaOx crystal growth and aggregation in human urine, suggesting an interference with the early stages of stone formation and presents an alternative form of treatment and / or prevention of urolithiasis.
• Antihyperuricemic Effect: Study showed the methanol extract of P niruri and its lignans were able to reverse the plasma uric acid of hyperuricemic animals. The effect could be through its uricosuric action and partly through xanthine oxidase inhibition. The antihyperuricemic effect of the lignans was attributed to their uricosuric action.
Tsaang gubat is an erect, very branched shrub growing up to 1 to 4 m high. Leaves are in clusters on short branches, obovate to oblong-obovate, 3 to 6 centimeters long, entire or somewhat toothed or lobed near the apex and pointed at the base, short stalked and rough on the upper surface. Flowers are white, small, axillary, solitary, 2 or 4 on a common stalk, borne in inflorescences shorter than the leaves. Calyx -lobes re green, somewhat hairy, and linear, about 5 to 6 millimeters long. Corolla is white, 5 millimeters long, and divided into oblong lobes. Fruit is a drupe, rounded, yellow when ripe, 4 to 5 milimeters in diameter, fleshy, with a 4-seeded stone, fleshy on the outer part, and stony inside.
- Easily found from the Batan Islands and nothern Luzon to Palawan and Mindanao, in most or all islands and provinces, in thickets and secondary forests at low and medium altitudes.
- Also occurs in India to southern China, Taiwan, and Malaya.
- Phytochemical screening yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, tannins, terpenoids, and saponins.
- Major constituents of leaves yielded an intractable mixture of triterpenes, namely a-amyrin, b-amyrin, and baurenol.
- Considered analgesic, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antispasmodic and anti-mutagenic.
Tea made from the leaves.
- Leaf decoction or infusion for abdominal colic, cough, diarrhea and dysentery.
- Root decoction used as an antidote for vegetable poisoning.
- For diarrhea: Boil 8 tbsp of chopped leaves in 2 glasses of water for 15 minutes; strain and cool. Use 1/4 of the decoction every 2 or 3 hours. Decoction has also been used as a dental mouthwash.
- Decoction of leaves used as disinfectant wash after childbirth.
- In Sri Lanka, used for diabetes: 50 gm of fresh leaves or roots are chopped; 100 cc of water is added, and 120 cc of juice is extracted by squeezing, and given once or twice daily.
• Being promoted by the Department of Health (DOH) as an antispasmodic; for stomach/abdominal pains.
• One of a few herbs recently registered with the Bureau of Foods and Drugs as medicines
• Antiallergic Activity: Tsaang gubat, together with Lagundi andSambong, were studied for possible anti-allergic subtances to counter the histamine release from mast cells that cause type-1 reactions. From tsaang-gubat, rosmarinic acid and microphyllone were isolated.
• Antibacterial / Antinocicpetive / Anti-inflammatory: Study of CR leaves yielded an intractable mixture of triterpenes– a-amyrin, ß-amyrin and baurenol and a wide range of bioactivity. The mixture showed analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrheal and antibacterial activities.
• Antimutagen: An antimutagenic principle was extracted from the leaves of C retusa with ethyl alcohol.
• Triterpene Bioactivities/ Analgesic / Anti-inflammatory / Anti-diarrheal / Antimicrobial: Study OF Carmona retusa leaves yielded an intractable mixture of triterpenes, a-amyrin (43.7%), ß-amyrin (24.9%) and baurenol (31.4%). The mixture exhibited analgesic activity (51%), some anti-inflammatory activity (20%), anti-diarrheal activity (29%), and moderate antimicrobial activity against S aureus, C albicans and T mentagrophytes.
• Anti-Tumor: Carmona retusa leaf extracts were tested for anticancer property and results showed it can be used as an anticancer agent.
• Antiallergic Dimeric Prenylbenzoquinones: A methanol extract showed inhibitory activity on exocytosis in antigen-stimulated rat basophils.
Commercial: Tablets and tea bags
Utong is a coarse and branched half-woody plant, prickly or unarmed, growing to a height of 0.4 to 1 meter. Stems are prickly and covered with soft short hairs. Leaves are ovate to oblong-ovate, broad as they are long, 10 to 25 centimeters long, armed on both surfaces with long, stout spines, stellate-hairy beneath, and irregularly and shallowly lobed at the margin. Inflorescences are umbelliform and lateral, with 1 to 6 flowers. Flowers are axillary, about 2.5 centimeters long, purplish or bluish. Fruit is fleshy, smooth, purple when ripe, up to 25 centimeters long, extremely variable in shape - rounded, oblong, or cylindric-oblong
- In thickets and waste places along the roads at low altitudes in Leyte; Zamboanga, Mindanao, and Jolo.
- Cultivated in some gardens in Manila and neighboring towns as a curiosity because of the shape of the fruit.
- Introduced from tropical America.
- Propagated by seeds.
- Fruit contains trigonelline, choline, vitamins A, B, and C; fat 0.1 percent, and protein 2.2 percent.
- Fruit considered toxic, containing solanine saponine, mallic and gallic acids.
- Fruit yields a glycoalkaloid, solamargine.
- Fruit considered purgative, phlegmatic, generative.
- Leaves are anodyne, narcotic.
Parts used and preparation
Roots, leaves, fruits.
Fruit makes an excellent vegetable, the elongated kind is most cultivated, eaten before it ripens, before the seed hardens.
Good source of calcium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamin B.
The green leaves are a good source of vitamin C.
- Root decoction taken for asthma and as general stimulant.
- Leaves used for hemorrhoids.
- In Costa Rica, decoction of leaves used as remedy for diseases of the kidney and bladder.
- In El Salvador, seeds used as a remedy for colds.
- In Yucatan, decoction of leaves used for cleansing wounds.
- Root, boiled with sour mik and grain porridge used to treat syphilis.
- Juice of fruit with pounded leaves and roots used for a variety of skin diseases.
- Roots, dried stalk, and leaves used in decoction for washing sores.
- Astringent for bladder hemorrhage.
- Decoction or infusion of leaves used for stomach problems.
- Burnt fruit used for liver problems.
- Fruit is cooling, and when bruised with vinegar, is used as a poultice for abscesses and cracked nipples.
- Fruit used for phthisis, cough and loss of appetite.
- The peduncle (stalk of flower or fruit) when burned is used for piles, toothache and intestinal hemorrahges.
- Seeds are used as stimulant but may cause dyspepsia and constipation.
- In Bolivia, fruit used for scabies.
- Decorative: Fruit collected ripe with the branches used for interior decoration. Studies
• Antiproliferative / Indioside D: Study isolated indioside D, a furostanol glycoside from Solanum mammosum and was found to possess antitiproliferative activity toward a panel of human cancer cell lines. Results showed indioside D induced apoptosis in HeLa cells via both intrinsic and extrinsic cell death pathways.
• Antimalarial: In a study of 46 different species screened for antimalarial activity, Solanum mammosum fruit extract was one of those found moderately active.
Together with another Viola tricolor (heartease) used medicinally since ancient times. Used by the Athenians to "moderate anger." Violet garlands were worn to prevent headaches and dizziness. Heartease was once used in love potions.
An herb with stout rootstocks. Stems are short or lacking, with slender stolons. Leaves are crowded at the ends of the stems, orbicular to subreniform, 5-8 cm long, heart-shaped base, round tipped, with toothed margins. Flowers are fragrant, 1.5 to 1.8 cm. Sepals are green, about 1 cm long, petals are violet with the throat marked with white spots or lines.
Ornamental cultivation as border plants around houses. Thrives best in Baguio and the Benguet area; not well adapted to lower altitudes.
Properties and constituents
Considered antiinflammatory, anticancer, demulcent, diuretic, emetic, expectornat, purgative.
The flowers contain a coloring matter and traces of a volatile oil, three acids, and a principle called violin. The violin is supposed to be found in all parts of the plant.
The flowers contain a glucoside. The seeds contain salicylic acid.
Contains saponins, salicylates, alkaloids, flavanoids.
Leaves, flowers, roots.
Young leaves and flower buds, raw or cooked.
Leaves make a good salad.
Leaves and flowers for tea.
Flowers, both decorative and edible, for salads and deserts.
Decoction of root is a strong emetic; in large doses, the roots and seeds are poisonous.
Poultice or compress of fresh leaves for inflammation and pruritic skin diseases.
Cancer: Decoction of leaves, 4 to 5 glasses daily; poultice of leaves externally. Infusion of leaves, syrup made from petals, or a liquid extract of fresh leaves used for cancer of the throat and tongue. In other countries, used for breast and lung cancer.
Decoction of dried flowers for fever.
Syrup of the violet is used for cough and hoarseness.
Seeds are purgative and diuretic.
Plant poultice also used for headaches, coughs, colds, bronchitis, nervousness and general debility.
• Essential oil from flowers used in perfumery.
• Pigment extract from flowers used for litmus testing strips.
• Makes excellent ground cover.
• Cyclotides / Cytotoxic Activity: (1) Study isolated cyclotide cycloviolacin O2 from Violo odorata, Cyclotides belong to the largest family of naturally cyclized proteins with potent cytotoxic activity. Study showed disintegration of cell membranes of exposed human lymphoma cell lines. (2) Study isolatede three naturally occurring macrocyclic peptides (cyclotides) from two violets - V arvensis and V odorata. All three cyclotides exhibited strong dose-dependent cytotoxic activities. With its chemical and biologic stability, they present a potential pharmacologic tool as antitumor agents.
• Antitumor: Study evaluated the cytotoxic activities of three naturally occurring macrocyclic peptides (cyclotides) – varv A, varv F and cycloviolacin O2 – from two violets, V arvensis and V odorata. With a new mode of action, the cyclotides present a novel pharmacologic tool and potential antitumor agent.
• Antipyretic: Study showed significant oral antipyretic activity in rabbits with the various extracts of plants, including V odorata. More prominent activity was found in the hexane-soluble portion of the plants tested.
• Antibacterial: In a study of aqueous extracts of ten medicinal plants tested for antibacterial potential against strains of human pathogenic bacteria, Viola odorata was found to be the most effective antibacterial.
• Phytochemicals / Elemental Composition: Flowers contained an odorous principle, blue coloring matter and a glucoside. Salicylic acid, a natural aspirin, was found in the plant. Violine, an alkaloid, was found in roots, leages, flowers and seeds. Elemental analysis showed C, O, Na, Mg, Al, Si, Cl, K, Ca Fe in different parts of the plant.
• Anticancer / Chemosensitizing / Cycloviolacin O2: Cycloviolacin, a cyclotide from Viola odorata has antitumor effects and causes cell death by membrane permeabilization. The study documents several cyclotides with robust cytotoxicity that may be promising chemosensitizing agents gainst drug resistant breast cancer.
Genus name derives from the Greek god Tithonus, a favorite of Aurora, goddess of dawn.
Small to medium-sized annual shrub with rather stout, almost glabrous branches. Leaves are alternate, petioled, membranaceous, ovate to orbicular, entire or 3- to 5-lobed, with toothed margins.
Introduced to the Philippines as an ornamental.
Has escaped cultivation to become a weed in waste places.
- Leaf oil showed an abundance of a-pinene (32.9%), b-caryophyllene (20.8%), germacrene D (12.6%), b-pinene (10.9%), and 1,8-cineole (9.1%).
- Flower oil yielded germacrene D (20.3%), b-caryophyllene (20.1%) and bicyclogermacrene (8%).
No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
In Central America, leaf extracts are used externally for the treatment of wounds and hematomas.
• Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory: Study of methanol extract of dried leaves of TD produced dose-related inhibition of carrageenan-induced paw edema and cotton pellet-induced granuloma in rats. The analgesic effect was observed with hot plate latency assays. Results confrim the traditional use of TDfor the treatment of painful inflammatory conditions.
• Toxicity Studies: (1) Study of a 70% methanol extract showed a dose- and time-dependent toxic effect. Used in mice to reduce parasitemia with Plasmodium, the observed kidney and liver toxcity at the lowest dose tested, although reversible, raises concern over the safety of the use of the plant extract against malaria. (2) Study resulsts on the aqueous extracts of TD leaves suggest it may have adverse effects on the functions of the liver, heart and kidney.
• Sesquiterpene Lactones / Anti-Inflammatory / Antibacterial: The main sesquiterpene lactones of species growing in Costa Rica – diversifolin, diversifolin methyl ester and tirotundin – were studied for their anti-inflammatory activity. Results showed inhibitory activity of the 3 compounds, attributed to aklation of cysteine residues. Diversifolin was also found to have antibacterial activity, moderately active against B subtilis.
• Antimicrobial: Chemical analysis of the leaf of Tithonia yielded sesquiterpene lactones, e.g. Tagitinin which possess insecticidal properties. Study showed it possessed antimicrobial activity, active against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, with activity against S aureus, E coli and P aeruginosa, suggesting they can be used in treating gastrointestinal infections, skin diseases and urinary tract infections in man.
• Anti-Diabetic: Study on an 80% ethanol extract of TD showed reduction of blood glucose in KK-ay mice 3 weeks after a single oral dose, also significantly lowering plasma insulin, decreasing blood glucose in an insulin tolerance test. Results suggest it may be useful for the treatment of type2 diabetes.
• Potential Cancer Chemopreventive: Study isolated three new sesquiterpenoids – 2a-hydroxytirotundin, tithofolinolide, and 3a-acetoxy-8b-isobutyryloxyreynosin along with 8 known sesquiterpene lactones. Among the isolates, 2 compounds showed significant antiproliferative activity, 3 compounds induced HL-60 cellular differentiation, one significantly inhibited lesion formation in the mouse mammary organ culture assay.
• Antimicrobial / Germacranolide-type Sesquiterpene Lactone: Results indicate the non-polar leaf extract of T diversifolia could be useful in the treatment of some disease conditions and the sesquiterpene lactone is a potential candidate as a phytotherapeutic agent against some bacterial infections.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Hepatoprotective: Results indicate the treatment with a water extract of the aerial part of T diversifolia decreased paw edema induced by carrageenan, with reduction of the elevated liver enzymes, with improvement in the pathologic hepatic changes caused by carbon tetrachloride.
• Anti-Malarial / Repellant: The aqueous and methanolic extracts had 50% and 74% clearing of parasites respectively, compared to 100% for chloroquine, more effecgtive when administered at the onset of infection, suggesting a time-dependency of the anti-malarial effects. On mosquitocidal repellency, although the volatile oil extract showed higher repellent effect on Anapholes gambiae, its repellant and protective effects on all the other species of mosquito can not be underestimated.
Yellow bell is an erect, branched, sparingly hairy or nearly smooth shrub, about 2 to 4 meters in height. Leaves are opposite, odd-pinnate, and up to 20 centimeters in length, with 5 or 7 leaflets. Leaflets are lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, 6 to 13 centimeters long, pointed at both ends, and toothed at the margins. Flowers are yellow, faintly scented, borne in short, dense, terminal clusters. Calyx is green, 5 to 7 millimeters long and 5-toothed. The capsules are linear, compressed, 15 to 20 centimeters long, 6 to 8 millimeters wide, pointed and hanging from the branches. Seeds are numerous, less than 2 centimeters long, 7 millimeters wide and furnished with a transparent wing.
- Widely distributed in cultivation, although scarcely naturalized in the Philippines.
- Native of tropical America.
- Planted as an ornamental throughout the tropics and subtropics.
- Phytochemical analysis yielded tannin, flavonoids, phenol, alkaloids, steroids, anthraquinones and saponins in all solvent extracts.
- Isolated from the seed kernels: water, fixed oil, ash, tannin, resin, a bitter principle and a tannoid. From the leaves, water, ash, fat, resin and resinic acid. From the bark, water, ash, curnarin, a little fat, resin.
- Plant yields monoterpene alkaloids.
- Air-dried flowers yielded a new fatty acid cinnamate ester and a mixture of stigmasterol and sitosterol in a ratio of 1:1.
- In India, a foliage study yielded 17% crude protein, 6% ash, 18% fat, 25% fiber, and 14% total polyphenols.
Considered diuretic, tonic, anti-syphilitic, and vermifuge.
No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
Roots are reported to be diuretic, tonic, anti-syphilitic and vermifuge.
In Veracruz, decoction of flowers and bark are used for stomach pains.
In some parts of Mexico and in central and south America, the plant is used in the treatment of diabetes.
In Guadalajara, roots used for making beer.
• Lipoxygenase Inhibitory Activity:Screening of 20 extracts from different parts of 10 Malaysian plants belong to 4 families showed the methanol extract of leaves and stems of Stenolobium stans had moderate inhibitory activity against soybean 15-lipoxygenase.
• Phytochemicals / Secondary Metabolites: Air-dried flowers of Stenolobium stans yielded a new fatty acid cinnamate ester and a mixture of stigmasterol and sitosterol in a 1:1 ratio.
• Genotoxic / Cytotoic Potential: Study evaluated the genotoxic activity of aqueous and ethanolic extracts. On higher concentrations, the plant extracts had a cytotoxic effect on a Mouse Embryo Fibroblast cell line. No clastogenic effect was noted in vivo but showed cytotoxic effects on mouse embryo in vitro.
• Antiulcer: Study of ethanolic extract for antiulcer properties showed a reduction of gastric juice, pH, free acid ulcer socre, and percentage of ulcer protection in pyloric ligated models. It was as effective as standard synthetic drugs like Ranitidine. Results showed a therapeutic potential for control of ulcer.
• Antidiabetic: Study of evaluated the antidiabetic mechanisms of Tecoma stans and Teucrium cubense. Results showed both exert their antidiabetic effects through stimulation of glucose uptake in both insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant murine and human adipocytes without significant proadipogenic and antiadipoigenic side effects.
• Antimicrobial / Antioxidant: Study of methanol and ethanol extracts showed potent antimicrobial activity against E. coli, S. aureus, K. pneumonia, P. aeruginosa, P. fluorescens and moderate activity against Xanthomonas oryzae. All solvent extracts showed high activity against Aspergillus and Alternaria. Although the DPPH radical scavenging activity was less than ascorbic acid, results showed a proton donating ability and a potential to serve as free radical inhibitors or scavenging, acting possibly as primary antioxidants.
• Nephroprotective: Study an ethyl acetate floral extract showed an important role of reactive oxygen species and the relation to renal dysfunction and suggest a therapeutic potential of T. stans in gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity.
• Antifungal: In a study of antifungal activity of nine different plant species, Tecoma stans showed to give the best zone of inhibition against the fungal activity.
• CNS Depressant Activity: Study in albino mice evaluated the CNS depressant potential of different extracts of T. stans flowers by measuring pentobarbitone-induced sleeping time and locomotor activity. The methanolic extract exhibited the highest depressant activity.
Wild-crafted and ornamental cultivation.
Seeds in the cybermarket.
Zamioculcas is a genus of flowering plant in the Araceae family, with the single species Zamioculcas zamiifolia.
Zu zu plant is an evergreen plant that grows from a stout underground, succulent water-storing rhizome, attaining a height of 45 to 60 centimeters. Leaves are pinnate, 40 to 60 centimeters long, with 6-8 pairs of leaflets 7 to 15 centimeters long, smooth, shiny and dark green. Flowers are small bright yellow to brown on bronze spadix 5 centimeters long, partly hidden among the leaf bases.
- Common pot cultivation in the Philippines.
- Native to eastern Africa, from Kenya to northeastern South Africa.
- Widescale commercial propagation by Dutch nurseries around 1996.
• No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
• In the jungles of Ghana, leaves used by shamans to relieve stomach ache.
• Considered to have air-purifying property; included in the list of "Plants that Detoxify the Air."
All parts of the plant are reported poisonous if ingested.
• Air-purifying: Research studies showed ZZ to be one of the plants most effective in counter-acting off-gassed chemicals and maintaining a balanced internal humidity.
• Can plants control indoor air pollution? Recent reports in the media and promotions by the decorative houseplant industry characterize plants as "nature's clean air machine", claiming that National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) research shows plants remove indoor air pollutants. While it is true that plants remove carbon dioxide from the air, and the ability of plants to remove certain other pollutants from water is the basis for some pollution control methods, the ability of plants to control indoor air pollution is less well established. Most research to date used small chambers without any air exchange which makes extrapolation to real world environments extremely uncertain. The only available study of the use of plants to control indoor air pollutants in an actual building could not determine any benefit from the use of plants69. As a practical means of pollution control, the plant removal mechanisms appear to be inconsequential compared to common ventilation and air exchange rates. In other words, the ability of plants to actually improve indoor air quality is limited in comparison with provision of adequate ventilation.
While decorative foliage plants may be aesthetically pleasing, it should be noted that over damp planter soil conditions may actually promote growth of unhealthy microorganisms.