Sambong is a half woody, strongly aromatic shrub, densely and softly hairy, 1 to 4 meters high.
Stems grow up to 2.5 centimeters in diameter. Leaves are simple, alternate, elliptic- to oblong-lanceolate, 7 to 20 centimeters long, toothed
at the margins, pointed or blunt at the tip, narrowing to a short petiole which are often auricled or appendaged. Flowering heads are stalked, yellow and numerous, 6 to 7 millimeters long, and borne on branches of a terminal, spreading or pyramidal leafy panicle. Discoid flowers are of two types: peripheral
ones tiny, more numerous, with tubular corolla; central flowers few,
large with campanulate corolla. Involucral bracts are green, narrow and hairy. Anther cells tailed at base. Fruits are achenes,
dry, 1-seeded, 10-ribbed, hairy at top.
- Common in open fields, grasslands and waste areas at low and medium altitudes.
- Flowering from February to
- Propagation by cuttings and layering.
- Also occurs in China, Hainan, Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam.
- Volatile oil,
0.1 - 0.4% - l-borneol, 25%, l-camphor, 75%, limonene, saponins, sesquiterpene
and limonene, tannins, sesquiterpene alcohol; palmitin; myristic acid.
- Yields flavonoids, terpenes (borneol, limonene, camphor, a-pinene, b-pinene, 3-carene, sesquiterpenes, monoterpenes, triterpenes, and cryptomeridiol), lactones (blumealactone A, B, C).
- Fractionation of ethylacetate extract of leaves isolated nine flavonoids.
- Main essential oil components are 1,8-cineole (20.98%), borneol (11.99%), β-caryophyllene (10.38%), camphor (8.06%), 4-terpineol (6.49%), α-terpineol (5.91%), and caryophyllene oxide (5.35%).
- Study yielded two new sesquiterpenoid esters and nine known flavonoids. (see study below) (2)
- Studies have isolated more than 100 volatile or non-volatile constituents, including monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, diterpenes, flavonoids, organic acids, esters, alcohols, dihydroflavone, and sterols. (23)
of volatile oil of B. balsamifera yielded 42 kinds of compounds. The volatile oil contains mainly sesquiterpenoids. (see study below) (24)
- Study of powdered dried leaves for quercetin collected from three different places in the Philippines yielded 0.2337 mg, 0.1350 mg, and 0.2940 mg per gram. (30)
- Study has yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, cardiac glycosides, saponins and tannins with the absence of terpenoids and phlobotaninaas. (32)
- Study of aerial parts yielded twelve compounds identified as 3,3',5,5',7-pentahydroxyflavanone (1), 3,3',4',5-tetrahydroxy-7-methoxyflavanone (2), chrysoeriol(3),3',4',5-trihydroxy-3,7-dimethoxyflavone (4), diosmetin (5), 3,3',4',5-tetrahydroxy-7-methoxyflavone (6), 3,5-dihydroxy-3',4',7-trimethoxyflavone (7), chrysosplenol C (8), 3,3',5-trihydroxy-4',7-dimethoxyflavanone (9), blumeatin (10), 3,3',5,7-tetrahydroxy-4'-methoxyflavanone (11), and 3',5,5',7-tetrahydroxyflavanone (12). (35)
- Study of ethanol extract of aerial parts isolated ten new sesquiterpenoid esters, blumeaenes A-J. with 13 known flavonoids. (see study below) (40)
- Study of leaves yielded five new guaiane sesquiterpenes, blumeaenes E1, E2, K, L and M and one new eudesmane sesquiterpene, samboginone (6), along with three known compounds, cryptomeridiol, 3,3',5,7-tetrahydroxy-4'-methoxyflavanone, and austroinulin. (42)
- Twenty-seven compounds were identified from 29 peaks of total flavonoids, including twenty-one flavonoid analogs, five CQA derivatives and one coumarin. (see study below) (46)
- Quantitative analysis of five naturally occurring flavonoids on addition to lyophilized powder and subsequent extraction showed average recoveries of pure flavonoids: dihydroquercetin-7,4'-dimethyl ether (DQDE) 100.6%, blumeatin (BL) 100%, quercetin (QN) 97.4%, 5,7,3',5'-tetrahydroxyflavanone (THFE) 99.9%, and dihydroquercetin-4'-methyl ether (DQME) 99.8%. (47)
- Considered anthelmintic, antidiarrheal,
antigastralgic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, emmenagogue, expectorant, stomachic, and vulnerary.
- Leaves (fresh or
dried) and young roots before flowering.
- Mature, healthy, fully expanded leaves are harvested while senescent
leaves are discarded. Air-dry until they crumble when crushed
with the fingers. Store in amber colored bottles in a cool, dry
- Leaves used a flavoring ingredient.
- Leaves as poultice for abscesses.
- Decoction of roots and leaves for fevers, kidney stones, and cystitis.
- Decoction of leaves used to induced diuresis for purpose of treating kidney stones.
- Sitz-bath of boiled leaves, 500 gms to a gallon of water, for rheumatic
pains of waist and back.
- Used in upper and lower respiratory tract affections like sinusitis, asthmatic bronchitis, influenza.
- Applied while hot over the sinuses. Used for wounds and cuts.
Fresh juice of leaves to wounds and cuts.
- Poultice of leaves applied to the forehead for relief of headaches.
- In Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur, the Subanens use leaf infusion for the treatment of cough. (51)
- Tea is used for colds and as an expectorant; likewise, has antispasmodic
and antidiarrheal benefits.
- Tea leaves use as emmenagogue, for treatment of menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea. As such, folklore advise against use during pregnancy or for women who want to get pregnant.
- In Vietnam, decoction of fresh leaves used for cough and influenza or as inhalation of vapour from boiling of leaves. Poultices of pounded leaves applied to hemorrhoids; an alcoholic maceration used as liniment for rheumatism.
- 3% ethanol solution used to soothe itching.
- In Thailand, dried leaves are chopped, made into cigarettes and smoked for treating sinusitis.
- For fever, leaves boiled and when lukewarm used as sponge bath.
- Decoction of roots used for fever.
- Decoction of leaves, 50 gms to a pint of boiling water, 4 glasses daily,
for stomach pains.
- In SE Asia widely used for various women problems. Postpartum, leaves are used in hot fomentation over the uterus to induce rapid involution. Also used for menorrhagia, dysmenorrhea, functional uterine bleeding and leucorrhea.
- Roots used for menorrhagia.
- Decoction of roots and leaves used for rheumatism and arthritis; also used for treatment of postpartum joint pains.
- Poultice of fresh leaves applied to affected joint.
- In Chinese and Thai medicine, leaves used for treatment of septic wounds and other infections.
- A sitz-bath of boiled leaves used in the treatment of lumbago and sciatica.
- In Chinese medicine, used as carminative, stimulant, vermifuge, expectorant, and sudorific.
- In Mizoram, India, decoction or infusion of leaves and bark taken orally as expectorant. (32)
- Dayak people in Central Kalimantan use the plant for antifertility effect. (39)
- In Malaysia, the Temuan tribe of Ayer Hitam use leaf decoction for cough, distended stomach, high blood pressure, and insomnia. Lotion applied to the whole body after childbirth; applied to the head for headache. (52)
- in northeast India, the Maring tribe of Manipur drink a paste of crushed leaves mixed in water for burning sensation of the stomach. Chewing leaves followed with water used for the same purpose. (53)
- Pesticide: Roots and leaves used as natural pesticides against storage pests and leaf hoppers in rice.
- Repellent: Used by Ayta people of Porac, Pampanga as repellent against hemtophagous insects. Dry or fresh leaves and stems are burned or hung inside the house. (41)
As a diuretic
and for dissolution of renal stones.
- As a diuretic in hypertension
and fluid retention. Also used for dissolution of kidney stones. Some
clinical studies, including double blind/placebo randomized studies,
have shown encouraging results for Sambong to be both safe and effective
in the treatment of kidney stones and hypertension. The National Kidney
and Transplant Institute has promoted the use of this herbal medicine
for many renal patients to avert or delay the need for dialysis or organ
- Being promoted by the Department of Health
(DOH) as a diuretic and for dissolution of renal stones. One of a few
herbs recently registered with the Bureau of Foods and Drugs as medicines.
- Possible benefits in use patients with elevated cholesterol and as an
analgesic for postoperative dental pain.
decoction of roots; boil 2 - 4 handfuls of the leaves. Use the lukewarm
decoction as a sponge bath.
apply pounded leaves on the forehead and temples. Hold in place with
a clean piece of cloth.
distention: boil 2 tsp of the chopped leaves in 1 cup of water for 5
minutes. Drink the decoction while warm. Also used for upset stomach.
• Postpartum, for mothers'
bath after childbirth.
• Boils: Apply pounded leaves as poultice daily.
Boil 2 tbsp chopped leaves in 2 glasses of water for 15 minutes. Take
1/2 of the decoction after every meal, 3 times a day.
• Can be cultivated
as a source of camphor. Experiments in China produced 50,000 kilos of
leaves per hectare, with a possible borneol yield of 50-200 kilos per
hectare. L-borneol is easily oxidized to camphor. source
and Plasmin-Inhibitory Flavonoids: Study
yielded two new sesquiterpenoid esters 1 and 2. Compound 2 showed to
be weakly cytotoxic against Jurkat human T-cell leukemia cells. Nine known flavonoids were also isolated, two
of which showed plasmin-inhibitory activity. (2)
• Anticancer / Hepatoma: Study of methanolic extract of Blumea balsamifera induced growth inhibitory activity in rat and human hepatocellular cells without cytoxicity in rat hepatocytes used as cell model. suggest a possible therapeutic
potential in hepatoma cancer patients and the depletion of cellular APRIL (proliferation related ligand) may be an important mechanism in the growth inhibitory effect of the extract. (1)
• Anticancer / Growth Inhibitory Effect / Hepatoma: Study of B balsamifera extract induced growth-inhibitory activity in rat and human hepatocellular carcinoma cells without cytotoxicity. Findings suggest a possible therapeutic role for the B balsamifera methanol extract in treatment of hepatoma cancer patients. (6)
• Chemolytic Effect / Urolithiasis / Calcium Stones: In vitro study shows sambong to be a promising chemolytic agent for
calcium stones. Results showed statistically significant stone dissolution of a 1 cm stone sample. A 40 mg/day dose showed maximum therapeutic effects. (3)
• Antispasmodic / Cryptomeridiol: Study isolated cryptomeridiol from the dried leaves. Results showed antispasmodic activity from various plant parts.
• Antifungal / Antibacterial: Phytochemical study of leaves yielded icthyothereol acetate, cyptomeridiol, lutein and ß-carotene. Antimicrobial tests showed activity against A niger, T mentagrophytes and C albicans. Results also showed activity against P aeruginosa, S aureus, B subtilis and E coli. (7)
• Dihydroflavonol / Abrogation of TRAIL Resistance in Leukemia Cells: Study shows combined treatment with a dihydroflavonol extracted from Blumea balsamifera exhibited the most striking synergism with TRAIL (tumor necrosis factor [TNF]-related apoptosis-inducing ligand) and suggests a new strategy for cancer therapy. (8)
• Antibacterial: Study of 12 crude alcoholic and aqueous extracts from 5 medicinal plants, including B balsamifera, showed potential antibacterial effect against S aureus.
• Radical Scavenging: Study of Blumea balsamifera extracts and flavonoids showed the methanol extract exhibiting higher radical scavenging activity than the chloroform extract.
• Leaf Volatile Oil Components: Analysis of leaf essential oil revealed 50 components contributing to 99.07 % of the oil: borneol (33.22%), caryophyllene (8.24%), ledol (7.12%), tetracyclo[6,3,2,0,(2.5).0(1,8) tridecan-9-ol, 4,4-dimethyl (5.18%), with phytol(4.63%), caryophyllene oxide(4.07%), guaiol (3.44%), thujopsene-13 (4.42%), dimethoxydurene (3.59%) and γ-eudesmol (3.18%). (11)
• Antiplasmodial Activity: Study of roots and stem showed significant antiplasmodial activity.
• Hepatoprotective Activity: Study isolated blumeatin (Blu, 5,3,5'-trihydroxy-7-methoxy-dihydro-flavone and showed hepatoprotective activity against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) and thioacetamide. It also shortened the pentobarbital sleeping time in CCl4-intoxicated mice.
• Antimicrobial Activity / Essential Oil: In a study of various extracts and essential oil for antibacterial and antifungal activities, results showed the essential oil to be most potent. The oil showed significant activity against B. cereus, S. aureus and C. albicans; a hexane extract, against E. cloacae and S aureus. Results showed B. balsamifera extracts have activity against various infections and toxin-producing microorganisms. (13)
• Xanthine Oxidase Inhibitory Activity / Aerial Parts: Study of aerial parts yielded a new dihydroflavonol, (2R,3S)-(−)-4′-O-methyldihydroquercetin, together with seven known compounds. Most of the compounds showed significant concentration-dependent xanthine oxidase inhibitory activity. Compounds 1, 6, and 8 showed more potent inhibitory activity than control allopurinol. (14)
• Urinary Stone Dissolution: Sambong used in-vitro showed dissolution of urinary stones, with a faster activity on uric acid stones. No significant effect was noted with struvite and calcium stones. (15)
• Anti-Tyrosinase / Anti-Cancer Activities: An ethylacetate extract of leaves yielded nine flavonoids. The anti-tyrosinase activity of dihydroflavonols (1,2) and flavonols (5,6,7) were stronger than arbutin. In cytotoxicity evaluation, compounds 2,4 and 9 were active against KB cells. Compound 9 showed strong cytotoxicity against human lung cancer cell lines and moderate toxicity against oral cavity (KB) cancer cell lines. (18)
• Fumigant Compounds / Essential Oil: Essential oil was found to have fumigant toxicity against maize weevils, Sitophilus zeamais. Essential oil components 1,8-Cineole, 4-terpineol, and α-terpineol showed pronounced fumigant toxicity against S. zeamais adults, more toxic than camphor. The crude essential oil also possessed strong fumigant toxicity against S. zeamais adults. (19)
• Apigenin / Aldose Reductase (AR) Inhibitory Agent: Study evaluated fractions of Blumea balsamifera for their ability to inhibit aldose reductase activity in rat lenses. Apigenin, identified from the active EtOAc fraction, exhibited high AR inhibitory activity. Results suggest a useful natural source for a novel AR inhibitory agent against diabetic complications. (20)
• Insect-Repellent Potential: Study evaluated 54 species of plants from 49 genera and 26 families for insect-repellent activity. Blumea balsamifera (UV=0.09) was one of 7 species with insect repellency based on their UVs (useful value). The leaves and stems, dried and burned, is said to drive insects away. (21)
• Hepatoprotective / Blumeatin: Study showed oral blumeatin (5,3',5-trihydroxy-7-methoxydihydro-flavone) exhibited significant protective activity against liver injury cause by paracetamol and prednisolone. (Xu, S.B.; Hu, Y.; Lin, Y.C.; Yang, Z.B. Study on protection of blumeatin against experimental liver injury and aggregation of platelet. Suppl. J. Sun Yatsen Univer. 1994, 48–53) (23)
• Volatile Oil / Biologic Activities: Study of volatile oil from dried leaf powder yielded 42 kinds of compounds. Screening for biologic activity showed relatively strong antitumor activity and anti-plant pathogenic fungi and some antioxidation activity. (24)
• External Application of Volatile Oil / Safety Study: Study of volatile oil yielded 41 components. Damaging effects of BB oil diluted with olive oil on liver was assessed. Results confirm the safety of short term BB oil consumption, although high oil doses may lead to mild liver injury and the response might be weakened in the case of cutaneous wounds. (25)
• Anti-Arthritic / Antioxidative: Study evaluated the effect of an ethyl acetate fraction of BB residue on rats with adjuvant arthritis immunized through Freund's complete adjuvant (FCA). Results showed high dose BBE could significantly ameliorate joint swelling and arthritis index, effectively inhibit synovial hyperplasia, down-regulate the levels of MDA, NO, OH, ALP, AST, ALT, NAG, SA, IL-1, IL-6, TNFa and up-regulate serum levels of SOD and GSH. (26)
• Anti-Diabetic / Antioxidative: Study evaluated the antidiabetic and in vivo antioxidant property of hydro-ethanolic extract of leaves of B. balsamifera in streptozocin induced diabetic rats. Results showed significant reduction in blood glucose. There was also significant alteration in elevated lipid profile along with serum marker enzymes. Antioxidant potential was evidenced by significant increase in GSH and CAT measurements. (27)
• Wound Healing / Volatile Oil / Leaves: Study evaluated the effectiveness of volatile oil from Blumea balsamifera leaves on wound healing in mice. Results showed promotion of capillary regeneration, blood circulation, collagen deposition, granular tissue formation, epithelial deposition and wound contraction. Wound healing mechanism may be related to the induction of SP (neuropeptide substance P) secretion and the proliferation and differentiation of mesenchymal cells. (28)
• Effect on Calcium Oxalate Crystallization: Study showed B. balsamifera extract increased the crystallization rate of calcium. The increased crystallization rate would favor the formation of smaller crystals that are easily eliminated from the urinary system. (29) Study evaluated the effect of BB extract on morphology of calcium oxalate crystals. Results showed decreased crystal size, shifted crystal phase from COM to COD and prevention of aggregation of calcium oxalate crystals. (43)
• Quercetin / Leaves: Quantitation study of powdered dried leaves for quercetin collected from three different places (Cotobato, Nueva Ecija, and Leyte) in the Philippines yielded 0.2337 mg, 0.1350 mg, and 0.2940 mg per gram. The variations may be due to various factors such as cultivation conditions (soil, temperature, moisture and agricultural practices (use of fertilizers and pesticides). (30) Study measured the amount of quercetin in DCM fraction of ethanolic extract of B. balsamifera powdered leaves macerated with 95% ethanol and subjected to liquid-liquid partitioning. All fractions that tested positive for DPPH test were pooled. Final quercetin concentration in the pooled fractions of HPLC was 2.022 mg/ml and 2.25 mg/ml in TLC-bioactography method. (44)
• Sambong Tea as Therapeutic Drink / Calcium Oxalate Stones: Sambong tea is believed to aid in the treatment of kidney stones. Study evaluated the effect of Blumea balsamifera tea in the nucleation of calcium oxalate crystals. Results showed decrease in induction time associated with increase nucleation rate with the formation of large number of smaller stones that are easier to eliminate by urination. (31)
• ACE Inhibition Activity of Dried Sambong Tea: ACE inhibition has been proven to be an effective strategy in the prevention and treatment of hypertension. Study evaluated the angiotensin converting enzyme inhibition activity of sambong tea in a rabbit lung ACE-induced hydrolysis of FAPGG. Results showed sambong tea possess inhibitory activity on rabbit lung ACE. Activity was attributed to flavonoids and terpenoids. (34)
• Wound Healing / Leaves: Study evaluated the effect of B. balsamifera leaf decoction on wound healing in an experimental deep-wound mice model. Results showed wound healing ability. Betadine was used as positive control. The effect of sambong leaf decoction and betadine in the number of days, redness and swelling in mice was statistically insignificant. (36)
• Xanthine Oxidase Inhibition / Leaves: Xanthine oxidase is the enzyme responsible for catalyzing the oxidation of hypoxanthine and xanthine to form uric acid. Study of a methanol extract of leaves showed total flavonoid content of 72.7 mg/g dw, promising inhibition of xanthine oxidase activity with IC50 of 27.6 µg/mL, with a significant decrease in serum urate and reduced xanthine oxidase in the liver. (37)
• Extraction of (-)-Borneol, Camphor, and Isoborneol / Leaves: Study reports on an ultrasonic and microwave assisted GC-FID extraction of three target compounds (-) -borneol, camphor and isoborneol in leaves samples from 14 different harvest periods. Results showed (-)-borneol content was higher from mid-October to January. Study suggests a potential tool for quality assessment of leaves. (38)
• Antifertility Effect: Study evaluated extracts of B. balsamifera, C. tiglium, M. sagu, and F. racemosa for antifertility effects on Swiss Webster mice at dose of 0.26 mg/kbw for 8 days and mated with male SW mice. Results showed inhibition in estrous cycle, especially estrus and metestrus phases. Decrease in corpus luteum and fetuses suggests inhibition of foliculogenesis. Of the four extracts tested, B. balsamifera showed more potential antifertility activity. (39)
• Blumeaenes / Inhibitory Effect Against LPS-Induced NO Production: Study of ethanol extract of aerial parts isolated ten new sesquiterpenoid esters, blumeaenes A-J. with 13 known flavonoids. All sesquiterpenoid esters were tested for inhibitory activity against LPS-induced NO production in RAW264.7 macrophages. Compounds 1, 4, and 5 showed slight inhibitory effect on NO production with IC50 values of 40.06, 46.35, and 57.80 µg/mL, respectively. (40)
• Anti-Candidal: Study evaluated the antimicrobial activity of 19 medicinal plants using 21 solvents extracts (n-hexane, ethyl acetate and ethanol). Results showed the B. balsamifera, V. arborea and S. jamaicensis were the most active species to exhibit anticandidal activity with potential to be developed as natural anticandidal agents. (45)
• Effect of Total Flavonoids on Skin Wounds: Study evaluated the effects of total flavonoids from Blumea balsamifera on skin excisional wound on the back of Sprague-Dawley rats. Study postulates all the ingredients in the total flavonoid sample may exert a synergetic effect on wound curing and that the flavonoids were the main active constituents that contributed to the excisional wound healing. Mechanisms of wound healing were attributed to wound contraction, capillary regeneration, collagen depostion, and re-epithelialization. (see constituents above) (46)
• Gastroprotective /
Herbal Combination: Study evaluated the gastroprotective effect of hot water extracts combination of Sembung leaf (B. balsamifera), Pulasari stem bark (Alyxia reinwardtii) and Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) against aspirin-induced gastric ulcer model in rats. Results showed marked protective effects as evidenced by less number and smaller area of gastric ulcers, along with a smaller number of eosinophils and mast cells. (48)
• Wet Wipe Containing Blumea balsamifera Oil: Study/Invention reports of a utility model relating to a wet wipe containing B. balsamifera oil, comprised of two moisturizing layers and two medicinal layers. The wet wipe has the effects of resisting bacteria, relieving inflammation, stopping itching, accelerating wound healing, among others. The model has a simple preparation process, conveniences of use, with no report of skin damage with long-term use. (49)
• Effect of Climate Change: Study reports on the potential impact of climatic change on medicinal plants used in northern Thailand. Blumea balsamifera was one of eight plant species with forecasted future climatic change. It is also one of seven species listed as high extinction risk (critically endangered) due to the over 80% predicted loss of their suitable areas under AAA1B and A2 scenarios by 2080. (50)
- Tablets and extracts in the cybermarket.