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Family Urticaceae
Debregeasia longifolia (Burm.f.) Wedd.
Chang ye shui ma

Scientific names Common names
Boehmeria angustata Hassk.       Ngamey (Philippines)
Boehmeria dichotoma (Blume) Hassk.       Orange wild rhea (Engl.)
Conocephalus niveus Woght       Wild rhea (Engl.)
Debregeasia angustifolia C.B.Rob.        
Debregeasia dichotoma (Blume) Wedd.    
Debregeasia libera J.J.Chien & C.J.Chen      
Debregeasia longifolia (Burm.f.) Wedd.    
Debregeasia longifolia var. affinis (Miq.) J.J.Sm.    
Debregeasia longifolia var. monticola Hochr.   
Debregeasia luteocarpa Elmer    
Debregeasia velutina Gaudich.    
Leucocnide affinis Miq.    
Leucocnide angustata Miq. ex Blume   
Leucocnide dichotoma (Blume) Miq.    
Leucocnide sororia Miq.    
Missiessya velutina (Gaudich.) Wedd.    
Morocarpus affinis Blume    
Morocarpus affinis var. robustus Blume    
Morocarpus angustatus Blume ex Zoll.   
Morocarpus dichotomus (Blume) Blume   
Morocarpus dichotomus var. ochraceus Blume   
Morocarpus longifolius Blume   
Morocarpus lutescens Blume ex Zoll.   
Morocarpus sororius Miq.   
Morocarpus velutinus Blume   
Morocarpus virens Blume   
Urtica angustata Blume        
Urtica dichotoma Blume        
Urtica muricata B.Heyne ex Wall.        
Urtica verrucosa Moon        
Debregeasia longifolia (Burm.f.) Wedd. is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
CHINA: Chang ye shui ma.
HINDI:  Sansaru, Tusara.
INDONESIA: Dara manuk.
IRULA: Manalie chedi.
MALAYALAM: Kattunochi, Narambili, Neeranji, Njandumutta, Poonoolmaram, Pulichi.
MISHING: Bayo esing, Dalah esing.
TAMIL: Kaatu nochchi, Katunochchi. Kattu-mayilai.
TIBET: Rang-shing.

• Shrubs or small trees 3-6 m tall, dioecious or monoecious. Branchlets slender, reddish or purplish brown; branchlets and petiole densely spreading hirtellous. Stipules oblong-lanceolate, 6-10 mm, 2-cleft in distal 1/3; petiole 1-4 cm; leaf blade adaxially dark green, oblong- or obovate-lanceolate, sometimes linear or narrowly ovate, 7-18(-23) × 1.5-5(-6.5) cm, papery, sometimes thinly so, 3-veined, lateral ones straight, reaching to middle, secondary veins 5-8(-10) on each side from basal 1/3, anastomosing at margin, abaxial surface thinly greenish gray or gray-white tomentose, densely hirtellous on veins, adaxial surface sparsely appressed strigose, sometimes rugose, base rounded or subcordate, rarely broadly cuneate, margin finely serrulate or denticulate throughout, apex acuminate. Inflorescences borne on current and previous years’ branches, 2-4-dichotomously branched, 1-2.5 cm; peduncle 0.3-3 cm, spreading hirtellous; glomerules globose, 3-4 mm in diam.; bracts triangular-ovate, ca. 1 mm, membranous. Male flowers shortly pedicellate, obovoid in bud, 1.2-1.5 mm in diam.; perianth lobes 4, broadly ovate, puberulent abaxially, connate at middle, apex acute; rudimentary ovary sessile, obovoid, ca. 0.5 mm. Female flowers sessile, obovoid, ca. 0.8 mm; perianth tube membranous, 4-denticulate at apex. Achene reddish or orange, ca. 1-1.5 mm, enclosed by fleshy perianth and adnate to it. (Flora of China)

- Native to the Philippines.
-  In Luzon: Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Rizal; Mindanao: Agusan del Norte, Misamis Occidental. 
- Common in thickets, ravines and damp forests, 1000-2000 m. (3)
- Also native to Assam, Bangladesh, Borneo, Cambodia, China, East Himalaya, India, Jawa, Laos, Lesser Sunda Is., Malaya, Maluku, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Thailand, Tibet, Vanuatu, Vietnam. (1)

- Fruit contains ash (16.19%), moisture (65.56%), crude fat (2.39%), crude fiber (1.26%), protein (11.99%),  and carbohydrate (68.15%). (4)
- GC-MS study of leaves revealed main compounds of cis-jasmon (19.03%) and benzene propanoic acid, 3,5-bis(1,1-dimethyl ethyl)-4-hydroxy-,methyl ester (14.98%). Kumar et al 2016) (4)
- Proximate analysis of leaves yielded dry matter (91.42%), ash (18.65%), ether extract (2.86%), crude fiber (10.74%), and crude ash (19.56%), P (1.98 µg/g), Zn (30.18 µg/g), Fe 753.4 µg/g, Mg (4.031 µg/g), Ca (51.05 µg/g), Na (41.80 µg/g), K (8.11 µg/g), and S (2.131 µg/g) (Lihong et al 2007) (4)
- UHPLC study for polyphenols in leaves revealed presence of chlorogenic acid (6.25 µg/g dw), gallic acid (0.02 µg/g dw), catechin (0.39 µg/g dw), coumaric acid (0.29 µg/g dw), epicatechin (1.99 µg/g dw), caffeic acid (3.09 µg/g dw), rutin (46.91 µg/g dw), umbelliferone (0.8 µg/g dw), kaempferol (16.07 µg/g dw), ellagic acid (0.93 µg/g dw), and total polyphenols (76.79 µg/g dw). (4)
- Study isolated five flavonoids from the ethyl acetate fractions of alcohol extract, namely: epicatechin, quercetin 3-O-beta-D-galactopyranoside, kaempferol 3-O-beta-D-galactopyranoside, quercetin 7-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside, apigenin 7-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside. (5)
- Quantitative analysis of ME of leaves yielded total phenolic content of 113.918 mg GAE equivalents/g and total flavonoid content of 52.70 mg QE equivalents / g. (see study below) (7)
- In a study of medicinal plants, D. longifolia showed tocopherol content of 3.36 mg/100g and ascorbic acid of 26.49 mg/100g. (9)
- GC-MS study for volatile constituents isolated 108 peaks and identified 83 compounds. Main components were butylated hydroxytoluene, pentadecane, dibutyl phthalate, 2,6-dimethyl naphthalene, decanoic acid ethyl ester, etc. (10)

- Studies have suggested antioxidant, antiproliferative properties.

Parts used
Leaves, fruit, bark.


- Fruits are edible.
- Fruits used for making wine.
- In Indonesia, the Batak Karo use the leaves for vegetables.
- Use for treatment of scabies, digestive disorders, indigestion, skin diseases, and sunburn.
- In India, fruits and barks used as shampoo and for digestion by the Sumi tribe in Nagaland. Tender leaves eaten for dysentery; paste of crushed leaves used as poultice for arthritis. (4)
- Fruits and leaf juice used for treatment of scabies. Leaf decoction used for treatment of diabetes, fever, and high blood pressure. In Himalaya, bark used for treatment of bone fracture. (4)
The Nocte tribe of easter Himalaya use fruit and young leaves for treatment of stomachace and bloody dysentery. (6)
- The Monpa in Medog County, Tibet, use decoction of roots for prevention of miscarriage and treating bruises. (8)
- Fuel: Wood used for making charcoal.

- Fiber: Fiber extracted from bark used for fishing lines. (•) In south India, fine fiber used as string for sewing clothes. (4)
- Veterinary: Leaves used for bone fractures and to enhance lactation in animals. Ripe fruits eaten raw for diarrhea and flatulence. (4)
- Fodder: Leaves used as pig fodder.

Antioxidant / Fruits,  Leaf, Stems:
Study of fruit by ABTS, reducing power, and DPPH showed a potential source of antioxidant. Study of ethanolic extracts of leaf and stem showed both extracts contain flavonoids, phenols, tannins, alkaloids, and saponin. (4)
Antiproliferative / Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated a methanol extract of leaves for antioxidant and antiproliferative activity. The ME of leaves showed significantly radical scavenging activity by DPPH and hydroxyl radical scavenging assays. IC50s of the ME for DPPH was 39.15 µg/ml, and 48.98 for OH radical scavenging activity. Cytotoxic activity was evaluated by MTT assay using HepG2 cell line showed maximum cell death of 41.17% and cell viability of 58.83% at 500 µg/ml.  The ME extract showed higher toxicity at lower concentration in liver cancer cell line, indicating safety. (see constituents above) (7)


December 2023

                                                 PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
IMAGE SOURCE: Debregeasia longifolia / Ewen Cameron / Collection: Auckland War Memorial Tamaki Paenga Hira / Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International / click on image or link to go to source page / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Debregeasia longifolia / Ewen Cameron / Close-up leaves and fruits / Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International / click on image or link to go to source page / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Debregeasia longifolia (Burm.f.) Wedd. / KEW: Plants of the World Online

Debregeasia longifolia / India Biodiversity Portal
Debregeasia longifolia / elser, P.B., J.F. Barcelona & D.L. Nickrent (eds.). / Co's Digital Flora of the Philippines
Debregeasia longifolia: Biochemistry, Functions and Utilization / Nuha Mohamed Osman Mahmoud / Edited by Addalbasit Adam Mariod / Wild Fruits: Composition, Nutritional Value and Products
Investigation on the chemical constituents of Debregeasia longifolia / Qin Bo, Wang Hanqing, Zhu Dayuan / Natural Product Research and Development, 2003; 15(1): pp 21-23 / CBA: 361087
Ethnobotanically Important Plants Used by the Nocte Tribe of Eastern Himalaya / Tonlong Wangpan, Nonya Chimyang et al / Journal of Bioresources, 2019; 6(1): pp 36-45 / ISSN: 2394-4315
Antioxidant and Antiproliferative Activities of Methanol Extract of Leaves of Debregeasia longifolia Linn / Sathak Sameer S M, P Manigandan, C Sivaraj, H Sekar Babu, P Arumugam, S Sindhu / International Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemical Research, 2014; 6(3): pp 567-572 / ISSN: 0975-4873
Monpa, memory, and change: an ethnobotanical study of plant use in Mêdog County, South-east Tibet, China / Shan Li, Yu Zhang, Yongjie Guo, Lixin Yang, Yuhua Wang / J Ethnobiol Ethnomed., 2020; 16(5) / PMID: 32000826 / DOI: 10.1186/s13002-020-0355-7
Ascorbic acid and tocopherol content of ten medicinal plant extracts of Manipur having anti-inflammatory properties / Okram Abemsana Devi, Mamoni Das, Ananta Saikia, Pranati Das / International Journal of Home Science, 2016; 2(1): pp 308-312
Study on the Volatile Constituents of Debregeasia longifolia / Qin Bo, Lu Run-Hua, Wang Han-Qing, Wang Min / Chinese Bulletin of Botany, 2000, 17(5): pp 435-438

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
                                          New plant names needed
The compilation now numbers over 1,300 medicinal plants. While I believe there are hundreds more that can be added to the collection, they are becoming more difficult to find. If you have a plant to suggest for inclusion, native or introduced, please email the info: scientific name (most helpful), local plant name (if known), any known folkloric medicinal use, and, if possible, a photo. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

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