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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Herbs & Plants


Botanical Name : Plumeria rubra

Division: Magnoliophyta
Family: Apocynaceae
Specific Epithet: Plumeria rubra acutifolia
Common Name: Frangipani Tree or West Indian Jasmine or Temple Tree.  (Katchampa  in Bengali)

English: Frangipani, Temple power, Graveyard flower

Origin: Mexico
It has over 200 varieties and species.

Plumeria (common name Frangipani; syn. Himatanthus Willd. ex Roem. & Schult.) is a small genus of 7-8 species native to tropical and subtropical Americas. The genus consists of mainly deciduous shrubs and trees. P. rubra (Common Frangipani, Red Frangipani), native to Mexico, Central America, and Venezuela, produces flowers ranging from yellow to pink depending on form or cultivar. From Mexico and Central America, Plumeria has spread to all tropical areas of the world, especially Hawaii, where it grows so abundantly that many people think that it is indigenous there.

Plant Description:
Plumeria is related to the Oleander, Nerium oleander, and both possess poisonous, milky sap, rather similar to that of Euphorbia. Each of the separate species of Plumeria bears differently shaped leaves and their form and growth habits are also distinct. The leaves of P. alba are quite narrow and corrugated, while leaves of P. pudica have an elongated oak shape and glossy, dark green color. P. pudica is one of the everblooming types with non-deciduous, evergreen leaves. Another species that retains leaves and flowers in winter is P. obtusa; though its common name is “Singapore”, it is originally from Colombia.

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Plumeria flowers are most fragrant at night in order to lure sphinx moths to pollinate them. The flowers have no nectar, and simply dupe their pollinators. The moths inadvertently pollinate them by transferring pollen from flower to flower in their fruitless search for nectar.

Plumeria species are easily propagated by taking a cutting of leafless stem tips in spring and allowing them to dry at the base before inserting them into soil. They are also propagated via tissue culture both from cuttings of freshly elongated stems and via aseptically germinated seed.

Growers of plumerias/Champak

Etymology and common names
The genus, originally spelled Plumiera, is named in honor of the seventeenth-century French botanist Charles Plumier, who traveled to the New World documenting many plant and animal species. The common name “Frangipani” comes from an Italian noble family, a sixteenth-century marquess of which invented a plumeria-scented perfume.

In Mexico, the Nahuatl (Aztec language) name for this plant is “cacalloxochitl” which means “crow flower.” It was used for many medicinal purposes such as salves and ointments.

Depending on location, many other common names exist: “Kembang Kamboja” in Indonesia, “Temple Tree” or “Champa” in India, “Kalachuchi” in the Philippines, “Araliya” or “Pansal Mal” in Sri Lanka, “Champa” in Laos, “Lantom” or “Lilarwadee” in Thai and “Dead man’s fingers” in Australia, for example. The Australian name is perhaps taken from its thin, leafless, finger-like branches. Many English speakers also simply use the generic name “plumeria”.

In culture:
They are now common naturalised plants in southern and southeastern Asia, and in local folk beliefs provide shelter to ghosts and demons. The scent of the Plumeria has been associated with a vampire in Malay folklore, the pontianak. They are associated with temples in both Hindu and Buddhist cultures, though Hindus do not use the flowers in their temple offerings.

In several Pacific islands, such as Tahiti, Hawaii and Tonga, Plumeria is used for making leis. In modern Polynesian culture, it can be worn by women to indicate their relationship status – over the right ear if seeking a relationship, and over the left if taken.

P. alba is the national flower of Nicaragua and Laos, where it is known under the local name “Sacuanjoche” (Nicaragua) and “Champa” (Laos).

In the book “A Varanda do Frangipani” by Mozambican author, Mia Couto, the shedding of the tree’s flowers serves to mark the passage of time, and whose conclusion sees the protagonists submerging into the tree’s roots as the ultimate solution to fix their shattered world.

In Bangladeshi culture most white flowers, and particularly plumeria , are associated with funerals and death.

Medicinal Uses:

Parts utilized for medicines:
· Bark, leaves and flowers.
· Collect from May to October.
· Sun-dry.

Flowers suppose to be source of perfume known as “Frangipiani.”
Bark contains a bitter glucoside, plumierid (2%).
Latex contains resins, caoutchouc and calcium salts of plumieric acid: cerotinic acid and lupeol.
Leaves contain a volatile oil.

Characteristics and Pharmacological Effects
Sweet tasting and neither warming nor cooling in effect, aromatic.
Antipyretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, purgative, rubefacient.

•Decoction of bark is used as purgative, emmenagogue, and febrifuge.
•Preventive for heat stroke: the material may be taken as a cooling tea.
•For dysentery, diarrhea during summer season: use 12 to 24 gms of dried material in decoction.
•Arthritis, rheumatism, pruritic skin lesions: Mix the latex (sap) with coconut oil, warm, and apply to affected area.
•Decoction of the bark is used as a counterirritant on the gums for toothache.
•The latex mixed with coconut oil is used for itching.
•The juice is rubefacient in rheumatic pains, and with camphor, is also used for itching.
•A poultice of heated leaves is beneficial for swellings.
•Decoction of leaves for cracks and eruptions of the soles of the feet.
•Infusion or extract from leaves is used for asthma.

Ethnobotanical/Economic Uses:Common ornamentals and some members of the family have medicinal uses.The Plumeria Flower Is Used Abundantly In Lei Making.

Chemical Composition of the Essential Oils of Four Plumeria Species Grown on Peninsular Malaysia

Research Article on Plumeria Linn. from Malaysia

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


Kalatsutsi – Scientific name: Plumeria acuminata Ait

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