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Family Verbenaceae / Lamiaceae
Premna odorata Blanco


Scientific names  Common names
Premna curranii H. Lam.  Abgau (P. Bis.)
Premna oblongata Miq,   Adgau (P. Bis., Bik.)
Premna pubescens Blume  Adiyo (Tag.)
Premna serratiflolia Blanco  Aggau (C. Bis.)
Premna vestita Schauer  Alagau (Tag., Ilk.)
  Alagaw (Tag.)
  Anobran (Ilk.)
  Argau (P, Bis.)
  Atiñgi (Gad.)
  Duragau (Sub.)
  Guachal (Ig.) 
  Lagau (Mag.) 
  Lassi (Ibn.) 
  Pumuhat tangli (Pang.) 
  Saliargao (C. Bis.)
  Tibangñgen (Bon.) 
  Fragrant premna (Engl.) 
Alagau is a shared common name for: (1) Magilik, alagau (P. Bis.), Premna cumingiana (2) Alagau-gubat, Premna nauseosa and (3) Alagau, Premna odorata.
Quisumbing's compilation lists Premna integrifolia Blanco as a separate specie from Premna serratifolia L. Other compilations list them as synonymous species. Some compilations list Premna serratifolia Linn.as separate species from P. serratifolia Blanco.

Alagau is a small hairy tree, 3 to 8 meters high. Leaves are ovate to broadly ovate, 10 to 20 centimeters long, with broad, rounded, or somewhat heart-shaped base, and pointed tips. Under surface of the blade is usually covered with short hairs, aromatic when crushed. Flowers are greenish-white or nearly white, 4 to 5 millimeters long and borne on terminal inflorescences (cymes) 8 to 20 centimeters in diameter. Fruit is fleshy, dark purple, rounded, about 5 millimeters in diameter.

- Common In thickets and secondary forests at low altitudes from the Batan Islands and northern Luzon to Mindanao, in most islands and provinces.
- Reported in Nepal, India to Myanmar, China, Taiwan, Indo-China, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia and Australia.

- Leaves do not contain alkaloid, tannin, saponin or cyanogenetic substance.
- Leaves yield 0.02 percent yellowish-green essential oil with a characteristic scent.
- Study isolated two iridoid glycosides: 2″- and 3″-caffeoyl-6-α-l-rhamnopyranosylcatalpol respectively. (
- Study isolated ten 10-O-acylated derivatives of catalpol and asystasioside E from a 1-butanol-soluble fraction of a methanol extract of leaves.
- Study isolated acyclic monoterpenediol diesters, premnaodorosides A, B, and C, together with phenethyl alcohol glycosid4es, verbscoside, isoacteoside, bioside (decaffeoylverbascoside) and cistanoside F. (10)

Sudorific, pectoral, carminative.

Parts utilized
Leaves and flowering tops, fresh or dried.

Young leaves used in the cooking of "paksiw" and "bopis."
· In the Philippines, sugared decoction of leaves with a little "calamansi" as tea helps loosen up phlegm and effective for coughs.
· Decoction of fresh leaves used for vaginal irrigation.
· Decoction of leaves for fever and colds, cough and bronchitis, fever blisters of the lips and stomachaches.
· "Kochoi," a local patent preparation, is claimed to benefit tuberculosis.
· Decoction of leaves used for flatulence (gas pains) in adults; in children, crushed leaves mixed with a little coconut or sesame oil are applied to the abdomen.
· Crushed leaves applied to forehead and temples for headaches.
· Leaf decoction has been used for tuberculosis.
· Roots are chewed and the saliva swallowed for cardiac troubles.
· Infusion of leaves is carminative.
· Decoction of roots, leaves, flowers, and fruits used as sudorific, pectoral, and carminative.
· Decoction of shoots used as parasiticide.
· Decoction of leaves used for bathing infants; also used as treatment for beriberi.
· Extract of leaves for cleaning wounds and for ticks and fleas.
· Leaves applied over the bladder facilitates urination.
Pito-pito: Leaves are one of the seven ingredients of the popular herbal Filipino tea blend – alagaw, banaba, bayabas, pandan, manga, anis and cilantro. (See: Pito-Pito)

Ethno-Veterinary / Fumigation: Dried leaves and bark used for fumigation of poultry houses, reportedly effective for getting rid of lice and ticks. (11)
• Decoction of leaves and flowering tops used as vaginal wash or douche; antiseptic properties make it useful for cleansing and incorporation with bath-care products.

• Collagen Network / Acetoside:
Study of methanol extract of leaves of Premna odorata exhibited a promotion of collagen network formation by M cells and isolated acetoside, an phenylethanoid with a variety of biological activities. Acetoside may contribute to wound healing. (1)
• Anti-Viral Activity: Study of 61 medicinal plants in Malaysia showed P odorata was 1 of 11 plants to show selective activity against vesicular stomatitis (VSV) viruses. (2)
• In-vitro Photo-Cytotoxic Activity: A study of 155 extracts from 93 species of plants in Malaysia screened for in vitro photo-cytotoxic activity using a human leukemia cell lin, P odorata was one of 29 plants that was able to reduce in vitro cell viability by more than 50% when exposed to broad spectrum light. (3)
• Hepatoprotective / Cytotoxic Activity: Study showed the alcoholic extract with significant hepatoprotective activity evidenced by decrease of serum enzymes, bilirubin and lipid peroxidation, comparable to drug silymarin. It also exhibited significant in-vitro cytotoxic activity. Results showed the alcoholic extract not only as an effective hepatoprotective agent, but with also significant antitumor activity. (4)
• Antiparasitic Activity:
In a study of 18 medicinal plants in New Caledonia evaluated in vitro against several parasites, Scaevola balansae and Premna serratifolia were the most active against Leishmania donovani. (5)

• E. Coli Inhibitory Activity: Various extracts were tested against E. Coli. A 100% ethanol bark extract showed activity against E. coli, while aqueous extract concentrations were inactive against E. coli. However, the inhibitory activity could not compete with ciprofloxacin. (7)
• Diosmetin / Acacetin: Study of leaves isolated diosmetin and acacetin. Diometin has been commercially available as the glycoside diosmin, used as a vasotonic agent for the treatment of varicose veins, hemorrhoids and other venous diseases.
• Flavones / Antimicrobial / Anti-Inflammatory / Chemopreventive: Partitioning and fractionation of crude ethanolic extract of leaves yielded two amorphous powders identified as flavone aglycones — acacetin and the nonwidespread diosmetin. Earlier studies reported antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and chemopreventive activities. (8)


Last Update February 2014

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
A Collagen Network Formation Effector from Leaves of Premna subscandens / September 1999 / Hirokazu SUDO, Kaori KIJIMA et al / Chem. Pharm. Bull. 47(9) 1341—1343 (1999)

Antiviral and Cytotoxic Activities of Som.e Plants Used in Malaysian Indigenous Medicine / Ali, Abdul Manaf and Mackeen et al / Pertanika J. Trop. Agric. Sci., 19 (2/3). pp. 129-136.
Systematic analysis of in vitro photo-cytotoxic activity in extracts from terrestrial plants in Peninsula Malaysia for photodynamic therapy / Cheng Yi Ong et al / Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology • Volume 96, Issue 3, 4 September 2009, Pages 216-222 / doi:10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2009.06.009
Evaluation of Hepatoprotective and In-vitro Cytotoxic Activity of Leaves of Premna serratifolia Linn / R Vadivu et al / J. Sci. Res. 1 (1), 145-152 (2009)
Antiparasitic activity of some New Caledonian medicinal plants / Julie Desrivot et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology • Volume 112, Issue 1, 30 May 2007, Pages 7-12 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2007.01.02
Two iridoid glycoside caffeoyl esters from Premna odorata / Hideaki Otsuka, Naoko Kubo, Kazuo Yamasaki, William G. Padolina / Phytochemistry, Volume 28, Issue 2, 1989, Pages 513–515
Inhibitory Effect of Alagaw (Premna Odorata) Bark Aqueous and Ethanol Extracts Against Escherichia coli In - Vitro / FAITH L. MALECDAN DAN JOHNSON E. MALIONES HESTER ORVEN K. MAYAPIT AISAREL JOY A. MENDOZA GEORGE D. MARRERO /
Isolation and characterization of antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive flavones from Premna odorata Blanco / Lunesa C. Pinzon, Mylene M. Uy, Kung Hong Sze, Mingfu Wang and Ivan Keung Chu / Journal of Medicinal Plants Research Vol. 5(13), pp. 2729-2735, 4 July, 2011
10-O-acylated iridoid glucosides from leaves of Premna subscandens / Hirokazu Sudo, Toshinori Ide et al / Phytochemistry, Volume 46, Issue 7, December 1997, Pages 1231–1236
Premnaodorosides A, B and C, iridoid glucoside diesters of an acyclic monoterpenediol from leaves of Premna odorata / Hideaki Otsuka, Naozumi Kashima, Tomoki Hayashi, Naoko Kubo, Kazuo Yamasaki, William G. Padolina / Phytochemistry, Volume 31, Issue 9, September 1992, Pages 3129–3133
Ethno-Veterinary Practices for Control of Ectoparasites / Jan 07, 2014 / Copyright © SAPPLPP 2013

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