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Family Adoxaceae / Caprifoliaceae
Viburnum odoratissimum Ker Gawi
Shan hu shu

Scientific names Common names
Microtinus odoratissimus (Ker Gawi) Oerst. Apiit (Ig.)
Viburnum odoratissimum Ker Gawi Idog (Benguet)
  Laglagim (Ifugao)
  Manmanuk (Ifugao)
  Sweet viburnum (Engl.)
Viburnum odoratissimum Ker Gawi is an accpeted name. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Shan hu shu. Shan hu dang.

Gen info
- Viburnum is a large group of more than 150 species and numerous cultivars, which include deciduous and evergreen shrubs and small trees,
- Previously belonging to the family Caprifoliaceae, it has been recently moved to the family Adoxaceae.
- The word "coral" in the Chinese name "Coral Tree" refers to the red fruit.

- The Igorot name "apiit" refers to the "smell of chicken being cooked by boiling", which is unpleasant to some.
- The species is often confused with Viburnum japonicum and V. awabuki.
- "Emerald lustre" has pink tinged new growth, with lustrous green mature leaves.

Viburnum odoratissimum is a shrub or small evergreen tree, up to 10-15 m tall. Bark is grayish brown with raised tuberculate lenticels. Branchlets green or reddish, glabrous or sometimes sparsely yellowish-brown stellate pubescent. Leaves are elliptic, oblong to obovate, leathery, opposite; margins irregularly or shallowly undulate-serrate at the upper part, or subentire; adaxially dark green and glossy,abaxially sometimes sparsely with dark-red small glands, often with tufted brown hairs aggregating at axils of veins; lateral veins and midveins conspicuously raised abaxially. Flowers are fragrant. Inflorescences terminal, pyramidal. Rotate corolla white, later turning yellowish white or reddish. Lobes ovate-orbicular, reflexed. Fruits are drupes, ovoid-ellipsoid, red when young, turning black when mature, and contains a single large seed. (1)

- Native to the Philippines.
- Also native to China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, the Himalayan region in India. Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

- Cultivated as garden ornamental.

- Bioassay-directed fractionation of methanolic extract of flowers and leaves of V. odoratissimum isolated two new diterpenes, vibsanol A and B (1,2), along with two new triterpenoids. 6ß-hydroxylup-20(29)-em-3-oxo-27,28-dioic acid (3) and 6α-hydroxylup-20(29)-en-3-oxo-27,28-dioic acid (4), and known terpenoids vibsanins B and E, and 6α-hydoxylup-20(29)-en-3-oxo-28-oic acid. (see study below) (6)
- Volatiles in flowers consist of esters, alkanes, ketones, alcohols, aldehydes, and acids. Main compounds in flowers are methyl o-anisate, heneicosane, methyl salicylate, 1-[2-(1-hydroxy-1-methylethyl)cyclopropyl] ethanone, Triterpenes and trans-phytol fatty alcohol have been detected in the roots. (9)

- Studies have suggested antioxidant, antibacterial, cytotoxic, antitumor, neuroprotective, insecticidal properties.

Parts used
Leaves, seeds, bark.


- Fruit is edible.
- In Kabayan, Benguet, boiled leaves and stems used for treating sore eyes.
- Leaves ground to a paste are applied to bruises, swelling and fractures. (1)
- In China, decoction of whole plant parts used for treatment of rheumatism. (10)
- Wood: Used as material for fine woodworking.

- Agroforestry: Used as background planting as a screen, hedge, or wind-break in open areas. At maturity, provides a dense, multibranched rounded canopy. Attracts nectar eating birds and insects.

Antioxidant / Seeds:
Study evaluated the antioxidant activities of crude extract and four fractions of seeds of V. odoratissimum. The n-butanol-soluble fraction (BF) was the richest fraction in total flavonoids and total phenolic. The ethyl acetate-soluble fraction and BF showed good superoxide radical scavenging activity and reducing power. A petroleum ether soluble fraction showed highest inhibition of lipid peroxidation activity. There were statistically significant correlations between antioxidants and antioxidant activities. (5)
Vibsane Diterpenes and Lupane Triterpenes / Cytotoxicity / Human Gastric Tumor Cells / Leaves and Flowers: Bioassay-directed fractionation of methanolic extract of flowers and leaves of V. odoratissimum isolated two new diterpenes, vibsanol A and B (1,2), along with two new triterpenoids (3,4), and known terpenoids. Vibsanol A (1) and compound 3 exhibited significant cytotoxicity against human gastric (NUGC) tumor cells. (see constituents above) (6)
Neuroprotective / Terpenoids / Leaves: Study of leaves isolated two new iridoid glycosides, vibsansuspenside A-B (1-2) along withe five known terpenoids (3-7). Compounds were evaluated for neuroprotective effects against H2O2-induced damage in human dopaminergic neuroblastoma cells (SH-SY5Y). Compound 3 exhibited the most potent neuroprotective activity and can protect SH-SY5Y cells from oxidative damage through inhibiting cell apoptosis. (7)
Inhibition of Melanin Synthesis and Cell Proliferation of B16 Melanoma Cells / Seed and Bark: Methanol extracts of V. odoratissimum wood and bark inhibit4d melanin biosynthesis and cell proliferation of B16 melanoma cells at 100 and 50 µg/ml, respectively (Shimizu et al, 2007). (9)
Insecticidal / Methyl Salicylate / Soil Rhizosphere: Methyl salicylate produced by Viburnum odoratissimum is known to exert lethal or sublethal effects on insects. Study evaluated the behavioral and toxicological responses of red imported fire ant (RIFA Solenopsis invicta) (Hymenoptera: Buren Formicidae) at different soil depths in the rhizosphere of V. odoratissimum. Results of insecticidal activity bioassays indicated mortality for minor and major ants in soil under V. odoratissimum at depths of 0-10 cm exhibited excellent insecticidal effect in controlling RIFA. (11)

- Wild-crafted.
- Cultivated.


November 2021

IMAGE SOURCE: Photo: Viburnum odoratissimum flowers / ©I, KENPEI cc-by-sa-3.0 / click on image to go to source page EOL

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Sweet viburnum--Viburnum odoratissimum /
GLTMS: Greening, Landscape & Tree Management Section
Viburnum odoratissimum / Plants of the World Online
Viburnum / Home and Garden Information Center
Plants and Culture: Plant utilization among the local communities in Kabayan, Benguet Province, Philippines / Teodora Balangcod, Kryssa D Balangcod / Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, Oct 2014; 17(4): pp 609-622
Quantification of Total Flavonoids, Total Phenolic Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Extracts from the Seed of Viburnum odoratissimum / Shu Mei Qiu, Hai Lan Huang, Hai Yuan Wang, Zong Hua Wang / Advanced Materials Research, Vol 709: pp 879-882 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.4028/www.scientific.net/AMR.709.879
New Vibsane Diterpenes and Lupane Triterpenes from Viburnum odoratissimum / Ya-Ching Shen, Meng-Chieh Hung et al / J Nat Prod., 2002; 65(7): pp 1052-1055 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1021/np020007p
Neuroprotective terpenoids from the leaves of Viburnum odoratissimum / Yan Zhang, Wei-Yu Zhou, Shao-Jianmg Song et al / Natural Product Research, May 2020; 34(10): pp 1352-1359 /
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14786419.2018.1514400
Some comments on Bontoc ethnobotany / Lawrence A Reid, Domingo Madulid / Philippine Journal of Linguistics
Genus Vibrunum: Therapeutic Potentialities and Agro-Food-Pharma Applications / Javad Sharifi-Rad Zabia Khan Shinwari et al / Pxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, Vol 2021. Article ID 3095514
Table e Medicinal plants used for herbal tea in the traditional market of Jianghua Country on Dragon Boat Festival / Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
Insecticidal Activity of the Soil in the Rhizosphere of Vibrinum odoratissimum against Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) / Yue Zhang, Jiantao Fu, Conglin Huang, Dongmei Cheng, Filin Huang, Zhi-Xiang Zhang / Sociobiology, 2017; 64(1) / DOI: https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v64i1.1067

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants

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