Herbs & Plants

Michelia champaca (Sharnachampa)

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Botanical Name :Michelia champaca
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Magnoliales
Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Michelia
Species: M. champaca

Other scientific Names : Michelia aurantiaca   ,Michelia pubinervia Blume

Common Names:Champaka (Tag.),Champaka-laag (Sul.)Champaka-pula (Tag.) ,Sampaka (Tag.) ,Tsampaka (Tag.),Tsampakang pula (Tag.) ,Champaca (Engl.),Joy perfume tree (Engl).

Other Common names include champaca, champak, Sonchaaphaa, Michelia champaca Shenbagam in Tamil, Chenbagam in Malayalam or golden champa,  Sorno champa in  Bengali, champa, cempaka, sampenga and sampangi in Telugu sampige and shamba. All other names above apply to plumeria varieties as well with the exception of Sonchaaphaa which is exclusively this particular subvariety as considered in the western regions, with some half a dozen varieties of Plumeria along with Michelia Champaka (three varieties) and two varieties of Ylang Ylang covered under the generic name Chaaphaa in Marathi, and some given independent names ending in the generic Chaaphaa; red plumeria variety for instance is Dev Chaaphaa or God’s Champa, and the two Ylang Ylang varieties each have a separate name as well.

Habitat :Native to South Asia and Southeast Asia.

A small tree, growing to a height of 6 meters or more. The bark is smooth and grey; the wood, soft with a white sapwood and a light olive-brown heartwood. Young shoots are silky; branchlets are appressed-pubescent. Leaves are ovate-lanceolate, 12 to 20 cm long, 2.5 to 6 cm wide, narrowing upward to a long pointed apex. Flowers are fragrant, pale yellow or orange, 4 to 5 cm long. Perianth segments are usually 15 to 20, deciduous, in whorls of 3, the outer ones oblong, the inner ones linear. Fruiting spike is 8 to 15 cm long. One- to two-seeded, brown when old, polished and variously angled.

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Michelia champaka is cultivated and used as an ornamental tree in temperate climate gardens, such as in coastal California.


*Volatile oil, 0.2% – cineol, iso-eugenol, benzoic acid, benzyl alcohol, benzaldehyde, p-cresol methyl ether; alkaloids.
*The bark contains a volatile oil, fixed oil, resin, tannin, mucilage, starch and sugar.
*Studies have reported an alkaloid in M. parvifolia and M. champaca.
*Champacol, a camphor, has been obtained from champaca wood by distillation.
*The flower, seeds and bark contain a bitter and aromatic principle.
*A study reports a volatile oil from the leaves.

Medicinal Uses:
Parts used: Leaves, root, root-bark, flowers, fruit and oil.

*The bark is bitter, tonic, astringent, antiperiodic and alterative.
*Root is purgative and the root-bark, emmenagogue, purgative and demulcent.
*The flowers are stimulant, tonic, carminative, demulcent and diuretic.

*Fever: Take 1% decoction of bark as tea.
*Powdered bark also used for fevers.
*Rheumatisim: Crush leaves, mix with oil, and apply on affected joints.
*An infusion or decoction of the flowers used for dyspepsia, nausea and fevers.
*The flowers, macerated in sweet oil, used for cephalalgia and ophthalmia and fetid nasal discharges; vertigo, rheumatism and gout.
*Seeds are used for rheumatism and for healing cracks in the soles of the feet.
*Flowers, seeds and bark reported to be abortifacient.
*In India, flower buds used for diabetes and kidney diseases.

• Cytotoxic / Antitumor: Study showed ethanol extract of bark of Michelia champaca showed activitya against human epidermo0id carcinoma of the nasopharynx test sytem. Active constituents isolated were sesquiterpene lactones – parthenolide and costunolide.
• Antiinflammatory : Study of the methanolic extracts of flowers of M. champaca showed anti-inflammatory activity presumed to be due to the presence of flavonoids in the flowers.
• Antidiabetic: Study of the ethanolic extract of M champaca exhibited significant dose-dependent antihyperglycemic activity but did not produce hypoglycemia in fasted normal rats. Results support the traditional use of the plant for various diabetic-associated complications.
• Antifungal: Study of crude extracts of M champaca yielded the maximum number of growth inhibiting compounds against Cladosporium cucumerinum.
• Leishmanicidal Activity : One of the timber extracts that showed potent leishmanicidal activity.
• Wound Healing Activity : Study showed the co-administration of dexamaethasone and M champaca significantly increased the breaking strength and increased hydroxyproline content. Results conclude M champaca is an effective agent for healing wounds in immunocompromised patients.
• Antiinfective Activity : Study showed the dichlormethane extract of M champac and A madagascarienjse showed the maximum number of growth inhibiting compounds against Cladosporium cucumerinum; the crude extracts showed activity against several phytophathogenic filamentous fungi.
Antihyperglycemic Activity : Study of the ethanolic extract of M champaca exhibited significant dose-dependent antihyperglycemic activity but did not produce hypoglycemia in fasted normal rats. Results support the traditional use of the plant for various diabetic-associated complications.
• Flower Phytochemicals : Study of flowers of M champaca yielded flavonoid quercetin and an unidentified flavonoid glycoside togetgher with 3-sitosterol, unsaturated aliphatic ketones and hydrocarbons.

Others Uses:
* Flowers used for scenting rooms; also, as floral decorations strewn on briday beds.
* Flowers yield an essential oil used in perfume.
* Yields a fine timber for construction, toy making, carving.

The flowers are used in Southeast Asia for several purposes. They are primarily used for worship at temples whether at home or out, and more generally worn in hair by girls and women as a means of beauty ornament as well as a natural perfume. Flowers are used to be floated in bowls of water to scent the room, as a fragrant decoration for bridal beds, and for garlands.

“Michelia champaka however is more rare and has a strong perfume, and is not that commonly or plentifully used – for example in hair it is worn singly or as a small corsage but rarely as a whole garland, and for bridal beds it is most often jasmine and roses while for bowls of water to be placed around rooms usually other, more colourful for visual decoration and less strongly perfumed flowers are used.”

The flower is the main scent present in the French perfume “Joy” and is sometimes commonly called the ‘Joy perfume tree.’

Flowers and used for making  scented floral necklaces or the perfuming of clothes in storage. Also used to scent hair oils.

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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