Articles

Sembong

Plant Part Used

Leaves

Active Constituents

Levorotatory borneol, cineole, limonene, palmitic, myristic acids, sesquiterpene alcohol, dimethyl ether, pyrocatechic tannin, glycoside, levorotatory camphor , blumealactone A, blumealactone B, blumealactone C, xanthoxylin, crytomeridiol, dihydroquercetin-4',7-dimethyl ether, (2R,3R)-dihydroquercetin-4,7-dimethyl ether, (2R,3R)-dihydroquercetin-4-methyl ether, dihydroquercetin-4'-methyl ether, (2R,3R)-dihydroquercetin-4-methyl ether, (2R,3R)-7,5'-dimethoxy-3,5,2'-trihydroxyflavanone, blumeatin, quercetin, rhamnetin, tamarixetin, ombuine, velutin, luteolin, luteolin-7-methyl ether, stigmasterol, beta-sitosterol. (1) , (2) , (3) , (4) , (5)

Introduction

Blumea balsamifera is a plant that can grow 2-3.5m tall. It is a strongly aromatic herb. The leaves alternate and without stipules, they are large (7 cm-13 cm x 2.5 cm- 5 cm) with slightly toothed margins. They are hairy, membranous, elliptic-lanceolate, and are pointed at the base. The petioles are 2.5 cm long and head (5 mm) toward panicles. This plant also has flowers which are tiny and yellow, and the involucres bracts are linear and hairy. It is found on the roadsides, fields, lowlands, and mountainous areas extending from the Himalayas to the Philippines, Moluccas, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

In Malaysia, a decoction of the leaves is used as a lotion to treat beri-beri, lumbago, rheumatism, for bathing a woman after childbirth, and for skin conditions in children. (6) , (7) , (8) The crushed leaves are applied to heal wounds, to stop bleeding, and to treat stomachache and headache. (9) , (10) , (11) The leaves are eaten with betel to ease the pain in the region of the heart (which may be a digestion pain). (12) , (13) . In Sabah, the leaves are also used in pancreatitis. (14)

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

1g powdered leaves, 3-4 time per day.

Most Common Dosage

1g powdered leaves, 3-4 time per day.

Standardization

No standard marker has been reported. Other standard profiles have been documented in the Malaysian Herbal Monograph. (15)

Toxicities & Precautions

Introduction

In general, it is quite safe and effective in the cases of kidney stone and hypertension. (16)

Side Effects

No side effects are observed when used in the recommended dosage.

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

This herb should be not be used in pregnant women or nursing mothers.

Age Limitations

Safety in young children and the elderly has not been established.

Pharmacology

Blumeatin, one of the flavonoids isolated from Blumea balsamifera, has been reported to have a protective action against liver injuries induced by CCl4 and thioacetamide (TAA) in mice. (17) In CCl4-intoxicated mice, blumeatin given as an intraperitoneal (ip) inhibited the increase of serum alanine aminotransferase (AAT) and liver triglycerides and increased serum triglycerides, beta-lipoprotein, and liver glycogen content. The histological lesions of were less severe than those of hepatic injury control. Blumeatin given at doses of 0.65 and 3.25 mg.kg-1 intraperitoneally inhibited the increase of serum AAT and hepatic TG in thioacetamide (TAA)-intoxicated mice.

The flavonoids isolated from Blumea balsamifera leaves were found to be potent antioxidants that have a comparable activity as alpha-tocopherol and the widely used synthetic antioxidants, butylated hydrotoluene (BHT) and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA). (18) The antioxidant activity of the compounds (1.3% 10-3 M) tested using the beta-carotene bleaching method decreased in the order: tamarixetin > rhamnetin > BHT> luteolin > BHA > alpha-tocopherol > quercetin > 5,7,3',5'-tetrahydroxyflavanone > blumeatin > dihydroquercetin-7,4'-dimethyl ether > dihydroquercetin-4'-methl ether. The antioxidant activities of crude extracts were also assessed using the same method decreased in the order: methanol extract > chlroform extract > pet-ether extract.

Clinical Study

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over trial on Blumea balsamifera (sambong) in mild hypertension among Filipinos was conducted in the Philippines (11). Twenty-nine adults with mild hypertension (a systolic BP from 140 -160 mmHg or a diastolic BP from 90 -100 mmHg) were randomly treated with either 40 -60 mg/kg per day of sambong or an equivalent placebo. The patients underwent a three week treatment phase, followed by one week wash-out period and a three week crossover phase. All the patients completed the study with two withdrawals (5.4%) occurring during active treatment. Treatment with sambong did not show significant reduction in either systolic or diastolic BP (p > 0.1) and had no significant effect on heart rate. Mean 24-hour urine volume was higher but not statistically significant in patients treated with placebo as compared to those treated with sambong. The laboratory tests showed that SGPT was significantly higher after treatment with sambong. Three patients (10.3%) in sambong phase and 20.7% of patients in placebo phase reported adverse events (diarrhea, intestinal or headache). The study showed that sambong or Blumea balsamifera was not an effective antihypertensive regimen for adults with mild hypertension.

Reported Uses

Kidney stone and hypertension.
Extensive tests were carried out by the department of Science and Technology of the Department of Health in the Philippines on Blumea balsamifera. Clinical studies which include double blind/placebo randomised studies have shown that Blumea balsamifera is both safe and effective for the treatment of kidney stones and hypertension. (19)

Uses reported in folk medicine, but not supported by clinical data.
The leaves are stomachic, expectorant, anti-urolithiasis, antispasmodic, and diaphoretic. (20) They are also used for beri-beri, lumbago, rheumatism, fever, bathing woman after childbirth, increasing appetite, skin diseases, wounds (21) , (22) , (23) liver cirrhosis, and pancreatitis. (24) The crushed leaves are useful for healing wounds, stopping bleeding, and headache. (25)

Read More

  1) Botanical Info

  2) Safety

References

  1. Zhari I, Norhayati I, Jaafar L. Malaysian herbal monograph. Malaysian Monograph Committee. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 1999;1:9-12.
  2. Perry LM. Medicinal plants of East and Southeast Asia: Attributed properties and uses. Cambridge, Massachusettes and London, England: The MIT Press; 1980:87-88.
  3. Fujimoto Y, Soemartono A, Sumatra M. Phytochemistry. 1988;27:1109-1111.
  4. Barua NC, Sharma RP. (2R,3R)-7,5’-dimethoxy-3,5,2’-trihydroxyflavanone from Blumea balsamifera. Phytochemistry. 1992;31(11):4040.
  5. Nessa F, Ismail Z, Mohamed N, Hakim MR, Haris M. Phytochemistry investigation on Blumea balsamifera DC. J Trop Med Plants. 2001;2:17-22.
  6. Perry LM. Medicinal plants of East and Southeast Asia: Attributed properties and uses. Cambridge, Massachusettes and London, England: The MIT Press; 1980:87-88.
  7. Burkill IH. A Dictionary of the Economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Government of the Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States by the Crown Agents for the Colonies. London. 1935;1(A-H):334-339.
  8. Wiart C. Medicinal plants of Southeast Asia. ed. Wong FK. Kuala Lumpur: Pelanduk Publications; 2000:158-159.
  9. Perry LM. Medicinal plants of East and Southeast Asia: Attributed properties and uses. Cambridge, Massachusettes and London, England: The MIT Press; 1980:87-88.
  10. Burkill IH. A Dictionary of the Economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Government of the Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States by the Crown Agents for the Colonies. London. 1935;1(A-H):334-339.
  11. Wiart C. Medicinal plants of Southeast Asia. ed. Wong FK. Kuala Lumpur: Pelanduk Publications; 2000:158-159.
  12. Perry LM. Medicinal plants of East and Southeast Asia: Attributed properties and uses. Cambridge, Massachusettes and London, England: The MIT Press; 1980:87-88.
  13. Burkill IH. A Dictionary of the Economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Government of the Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States by the Crown Agents for the Colonies. London. 1935;1(A-H):334-339.
  14. Kulip J. A preliminary survey of traditional medicinal plants in the West Coast and Interior of Sabah. J Trop Forest Sci. 1997;10(2):217-274.
  15. Zhari I, Norhayati I, Jaafar L. Malaysian herbal monograph. Malaysian Monograph Committee. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 1999;1:9-12.
  16. Sambong – Blumea balsamifera. http://philippineherbs.com/sambong/ cited 28 July 2003.
  17. Xu SB, Chen WF, Liang HQ, Lin YC, Deng J, Long KH. Protective action of blumeatin against experimental liver injuries. Zhongguo Yao Li Xue Bao. 1993;14(4):376-378.
  18. Fazilatun N, Zhari I, Mohamed N. Antioxidant activity of extracts from the leaves of Blumea balsamifera DC and their major flavonoids with Æ’Ã’-carotene-linoleic acid model system. Abstract of MPS Pharmacy Scientific Conference 2002. Penang, Malaysia. Nov2002;41.
  19. Sambong – Blumea balsamifera. http://philippineherbs.com/sambong/ cited 28 July 2003.
  20. Burkill IH. A Dictionary of the Economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Government of the Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States by the Crown Agents for the Colonies. London. 1935;1(A-H):334-339.
  21. Zhari I, Norhayati I, Jaafar L. Malaysian herbal monograph. Malaysian Monograph Committee. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 1999;1:9-12.
  22. Perry LM. Medicinal plants of East and Southeast Asia: Attributed properties and uses. Cambridge, Massachusettes and London, England: The MIT Press; 1980:87-88.
  23. Fujimoto Y, Soemartono A, Sumatra M. Phytochemistry. 1988;27:1109-1111.
  24. Kulip J. A preliminary survey of traditional medicinal plants in the West Coast and Interior of Sabah. J Trop Forest Sci. 1997;10(2):217-274.
  25. Wiart C. Medicinal plants of Southeast Asia. ed. Wong FK. Kuala Lumpur: Pelanduk Publications; 2000:158-159.