Herbs & Plants

Blumea balsamifera

Botanical Name : Blumea balsamifera DC
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Inuleae
Genus: Blumea
Species: B. balsamifera
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales
Common Names : Kakaronda ,Alibum (P. Bis.)  Lakad-bulan (Bis., Sul.)
Alimon (P. Bis.) Lalakdan (Bis.)
Ayoban (Bis.) Lakdanbulan (Bis.)
Bukadkad (S. L. Bis.) Sambun (Sul.)
Bukodkud (Bis.) Sambong (Tag.)
Dalapot (C. Bis.) Sob-sob (Ilk.)`
Gabuen (Bis.) Subusub (Ilk.)
Gintin-gintin (Bis.) Subsob (Ilk.)
Hamlibon (Bis.) Sobosob (Ig.)
Kaliban (Tagb.) Takamain (Bag.)
Kalibura (Tagb.) Blumea camphor (Engl.)
Kambibon (Bis.) Ngai camphor (Engl.)

Habitat :Abundant in open fields, grasslands and waste areas, flowering from February to April. Propagation by cuttings and layering.The genus Blumea is found in the tropical and sub-tropical zones of Asia, especially the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Blumea balsamifera is one of its species that is used in Southeast Asia.


Softly hairy, half woody, strongly aromatic shrub, 1-4 meters (m) high. Simple, alternate, broadly elongated leaves, 7-20 cm long, with toothed margin and appendaged or divided base. Loose yellow flower head scattered along much-branched leafy panicles. Two types of discoid flowers: peripheral ones tiny, more numerous, with tubular corolla; central flowers few, large with campanulate corolla. Anther cells tailed at base. Fruit (achene) dry, 1-seeded, 10-ribbed, hairy at top.

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Loose yellow flower head scattered along much-branched leafy panicles.  Fruit (achene) dry, 1-seeded, 10-ribbed, hairy at top.


Volatile oil, 0.1 – 0.4% – l-borneol, 25%, l-camphor, 75%, limonene, saponins, sesquiterpene and limonene, tannins, sesquiterpine alcohol; palmitin; myristic acid.

Medicinal Uses:

Parts used:
Leaves (fresh or dried).
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 place.

Vulnerary, antidiarrhetic, antigastralgic, expectorant, stomachic, antispasmodic, emmenagogue, astringent, anthelmintic.

In Thai folklore, it is called Naat  and is reputed to ward off spirits.
It is also used in traditional Chinese medicine, in Malay folk medicine and in Indian Ayurvedic medicine .

*Leaves as poultice for abscesses.
*Decoction of roots and leaves for fevers and cystitis.
*Sitz-bath of boiled leaves, 500 gms to a ballon of water, for rheumatic pains of waist and back.
*Applied while hot over the sinuses. Used for wounds and cuts.
*Fresh juice of leaves to wounds and cuts.
*Poultice of leaves to forehead for headaches.
*Tea is used for colds and as an expectorant; likewise, has antispasmodic and antidiarrheal benefits.
*Postpartum baths.
*Decoction of leaves, 50 gms to a pint of boiling water, 4 glasses daily, for stomach pains.
• Fever: decoction of roots; boil 2 – 4 handfuls of the leaves. Use the lukewarm decoction as a sponge bath.
• Headaches: apply pounded leaves on the forehead and temples. Hold in place with a clean piece of cloth.
• Gas 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.
Diuretic: 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.

New applications:
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 radomized 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 transplantation.

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.

Other benefits
Possible benefits in use patients with elevated cholesterol and as an analgesic for postoperative dental pain.

Other Uses:

*Besides its medicinal uses, it may also be used as a decorative dry plant.
*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.

• Sesquiterpenoids and plasmin-inhibitory flavonoids: Study yielded two new sesquiterpenoid esters 1 and 2. Compound 2 showed to be slightly cytotoxic. Nine known flavonoids were also isolated, two of which showed plasmin-inhibitory activity.

• Anticancer: (1) Study of methanolic extract of BB suggest a possible therapeutic potential in hepatoma cancer patients. (2) 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 treatement of hepatoma cancer patients.

• Urolithiasis: Study shows sambong to be a promising chemolytic agent for calcium stones.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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