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Family Boraginaceae
Tsaang gubat
Carmona retusa (Vahl.) Masam.
Ji ji shu

Scientific names  Common names 
Carmona retusa (Vahl.) Masam.  Alangit (Bis.)  
Carmona heterophylla Cav.  Alangitngit (Tag., Bis.) 
Carmona microphylla (Lam.) G. Don. Balingsaa (C. Bis.) 
Ehretia buxifolia Boxb.  Buntatai (P. Bis.) 
Ehretia heterophylla Spreng.  Buyo-buyo (Sul.) 
Ehretia microphylla Lam. Buyok-buyok (Sul.) 
  Cha (Tag.) 
  Chaang-bundok (Tag.) 
  Chaang-gubat (Tag.) 
  Gari (Bag.) 
  Icha-nga-atap (Ilk.)
  Icha-ti-bakir (Ilk.) 
  Itsa (Ilk.)
  Kalamoga (Tag.) 
  Kalimomog (Tag.) 
  Kalimumog (Tag.) 
  Mangit (Tag., Bis.) 
  Mara-mara (Bis., S.L. Bis.) 
  Maratia (Ibn.) 
  Mura-mara (P. Bis.) 
  Palupo (Iv.) 
  Putputai (Bik.)
  Santing (Sul.) 
  Tsa (Tag.) 
  Fukien tea tree (Engl.) 
  Philippine tea tree (Engl.) 
  Scorpionbush (Engl.) 
  Wild tea (Engl.) 
Tsa is a common name shared by two species: (1) Tsaang-gubat, tsa, Carmona retusa, Philippine wild tea, Theaceae, and (2) Tsa, Thea sinensis, tea tree, Boraginacea.
In Quisumbing's compilation, buyok-buyok is a local name shared by (1) Heterostemma cuspidatum, buyok-buyok (Tag.) (2) Ehretia microphylla, chaang-gubat, buyok-buyok (Sul.), and (3) Momordica cochinchinensis, buyok-buyok, patolang-uak (Tag.).

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Ji ji shu.
INDONESIA: Kinangan, Serut lanang, Pinaan.
THAILAND: Khoi cheen, Chaa yeepun, Chaa.
VIETNAM: Kim li[ee]n, C[uf]m r[uj]n, B[uf]m r[uj]n.

Tsaang gubat is an erect, very branched shrub growing up to 1 to 4 meters 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 millimeters in diameter, fleshy, with a 4-seeded stone, fleshy on the outer part, and stony inside.

- Easily found from the Batan Islands and northern 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.

Parts utilized
Leaves, roots.

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.
New Application
• 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 and Sambong, were studied for possible anti-allergic substances to counter the histamine release from mast cells that cause type-1 reactions. From tsaang-gubat, rosmarinic acid and microphyllone were isolated. (1)
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. (3)
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. (4)
Anti-Tumor: Carmona retusa leaf extracts were tested for anticancer property and results showed it can be used as an anticancer agent. (5)
Antiallergic Dimeric Prenylbenzoquinones: A methanol extract showed inhibitory activity on exocytosis in antigen-stimulated rat basophils. (10)
Antibacterial / Constituents: Methanol, chloroform, and petroleum ether extracts yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, phenols, tannins, cardiac glycosides, terpenoids, cardenolides and phlobatannins. All the extracts exhibited moderate to appreciable antibacterial activities against Bacillus subtilis, K. pneumonia, Shigella flexneri and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. (11)
Anti-Inflammatory: Study of an alcoholic extract of Carmona retusa by in vitro assays (human RBC membrane stabilization method, heat induced hemolysis, and proteinase inhibitory activity) showed anti-inflammatory activity comparable to standard diclofenac. (12)
Triterpene Mixture from Leaves / Analgesic, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Diarrhea, Antimicrobial:The major constituent of Carmona retusa leaves is an intractable mixture of triterpenes viz. alpha-amyrin (43.7%), beta-amyrin (24.9%), and baurenol (31.4%). The mixture showed analgesic activity (51%) and anti-inflammatory activity (20%), antidiarrheal activity (29%) with the charcoal tracing test, and moderate activity against S. aureus, Candida albicans, and T. mentagrophytes. (13)

Wild crafted.
Commercial: Tablets and tea bags

Last Update January 2014

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Evaluation of the bioactivity of triterpene mixture isolated from Carmona retusa (Vahl.) Masam leaves / Journal of Ethnopharmacology • Volume 92, Issue 1, May 2004, Pages 53-56 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2004.01.017

Antimutagen from leaves of Carmona retusa (Vahl) Masam. / Irene Villaseñor and Ddeborah Edu / Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology • Volume 298, Issue 3, January 1993, Pages 215-218/ doi:10.1016/0165-1218(93)90043-D
Evaluation of the bioactivity of triterpene mixture isolated from Carmona retusa (Vahl.) Masam leaves / Irene Villaseñor et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology • Volume 92, Issue 1, May 2004, Pages 53-56 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2004.01.017
In Vitro Anti-Tumour Activity Of Carmona Retusa / Govindappa Melappa et al / 2nd International Conference on Drug Discovery and Therapy / Feb 1-4, 2010 / Dubai, UAE
Carmona retusa (flower and fruit) / ERHSS Ediriweera, WD Ratnasooriya / Carmona retusa (flower and fruit)
Antibacterial activity of extracts of twelve common medicinal plants from the Philippines / Gerard Penecilla and Celia Magno / Journal of Medicinal Plants Research Vol. 5(16), pp. 3975-3981, 18 August, 2011
Antiallergic dimeric prenylbenzoquinones from Ehretiamicrophylla / Satoshi Yamamura, Lourdes R. Simpol, Koichiro Ozawa et al / Phytochemistry, Volume 39, Issue 1, May 1995, Pages 105–110
PHYTOCHEMICAL SCREENING AND ANTIBACTERIAL PROPERTY OF CARMONA RETUSA (VAHL.) MASAM / Chandrappa C P, Govindappa M* and N V Anil Kumar / Int. J. Pharm. Med. & Bio. Sc. 2012
IN VITRO ANTI-INFLAMMATORY ACTIVITY OF CARMONA RETUSA (VAHL.) / Chandrappa CP, Govindappa M*, Anil Kumar NV and Channabasava R / World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 5, 3991-3997.
Evaluation of the bioactivity of triterpene mixture isolated from Carmona retusa (Vahl.) Masam leaves. /
Villaseñor IM, Canlas AP, Faustino KM, Plana KG / J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 May;92(1):53-6
Carmona retusa / Vernacular names / GLOBinbMED

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