Herbs & Plants

Litsea cubeba

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Botanical Name : Litsea cubeba
Family: Lauraceae
Genus: Litsea
Species: L. cubeba
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Laurales

Common Names:May Chang ,Aromatic litsea

Habitat :Litsea cubeba is native to China, Indonesia, Taiwan and other parts of Southeast Asia.

Litsea cubeba is an evergreen tree or shrub 5-12 meters  high found in tropical areas. The leaves are typically a vibrant green with a pleasant, lemon like smell. It produces small, pepper-like fruits from which the essential oil is extracted.

Color: It has a yellow color.


A famous spice among Taiwanese aborigines, a proposed National Park at Yilan County is named “Magao” after the spice. It produces a fruit which is processed for its lemony essential oil. The oil can also be extracted from the leaf, but this is considered to be lower in quality. The timber is sometimes used for making furniture and crafts. Plant parts are also used in medicine.

Oil extraction:
Essential oil yields from the fruit are 3-5%. The oil’s primary isolate is citral, at 70-85% of the oil. It is mainly produced in China from plantations and is marketed as “Litsea cubebea”, with production estimates between 500 – 1,500 tonnes of oil per annum. The oil is used as a fragrance (especially in bar soap and for flavouring in its own right. It is also used as a raw material by the chemical industry for the synthesis of vitamin A and violet-like fragrances

Medicinal Uses:
Litsea cubeba  is most valued for its calming and anti- inflammatory properties. Other therapeutic uses often found with litsea cubeba include as an astringent, antiseptic, insecticide, hypotensive, stimulant and tonic.

The root and stem are used in traditional Chinese medicine.   It expels wind and dampness, promotes the movement of qi and alleviates pain: for wind-damp painful obstruction and stomach aches.  Most commonly used for lower back pain.  It promotes the movement of qi and blood, warms the channels and alleviates pain: for dysmenorrhea that presents primarily with a distended and painful lower abdomen that improves with heat or pressure.  Also for blood stasis pain due to trauma, or other gynecological pain associated with blood stasis.  Also used for chills, headaches and muscle aches due to an exterior disorder. Has been reported to be useful in treating motion sickness.
The fruits are reputed to alleviate chronic asthma, as well as being a treatment for coronary heart disease and high blood pressure.

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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