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Premna tomentosa Willd.


Premna cordata Blanco Premna tomentosa f. jejuna Moldenke, Premna flavescens Juss. [3]

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Bebaus, Sarang Burong, Tembaroh
English Bastard Teak
Indonesia Bulang, Gembulang (Java); Leban Capo, Bebulang Handak (Sumatra)
Thailand Po Fan, Sak Ke Kai, Kapiat, Saam Pang, Sak Khe Khwai
Myanmar Kyunbo, Kyunnalin, Nathabyu
India Naguru [1][2]

General Information


Premna tomentosa is a member of the Lamiaceae family. It is a small to medium-sized tree that can reach up to 20m tall and a bole diameter of up to 30cm. The bark is fissured or striate and shaggy, grey or yellowish to pale brown or rusty coloured. The leaves are ovate or ovate-orbicular to ovate-oblong, measuring 10-35cm x 6-22cm, with entire edges and densely tomentose beneath. The leaves are petiolated. Flowers are with pedicel measuring 0.5-1mm long. The corolla is white, greenish-white or yellowish in colour. The fruits are obovoid-globose and about 3-6mm long and are green initially but turning black when ripens. [7]

Plant Part Used

Roots, barks and leaves [1]

Chemical Constituents

2-(4-methoxyphenyl)-2-butanone; 4-(4-methoxy phenyl)-2-butanone; 8, 11, 13-icetexatriene-10-hydroxy, 11, 12,16-tri acetoxyl; 8, 11, 13-icetexatriene-7, 10, 11-dihydroxy-12, 13-dihydrofuran; acetoxy syranzaldehyde; apigenin derivatives; beta caryophyllene; betulin; coniferaldehyde; d-limonene; dl-limonene; lupeol; premnones A-C; syringaldehyde; syranzaldehyde. [5][15-17]

Traditional Uses

The leaves are considered diuretic and vulnerary. [5] 

Gastrointestinal diseases

The plant has properties that had rendered it useful in the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. The roots and leaves can be used to treat stomachache. Among the Malay community of Southeast Asia the decoction of the roots are given for stomachache while that of the inner bark is used for diarrhea. The Indians expressed the juice of the leaves and used it as a remedy for stomachache. [1][2][5-7]

Postnatal care

In postnatal care, the plant makes up part of the ‘rempah ratus’ used in the potherb given to women in the post partum period of confinement (from the fourth day onwards). Decoction of the leaves is given after childbirth and the infusion of the roots or a decoction of the leaves are used in medicinal bath following delivery. [5-7]

Other uses

The shoots and young leaves are eaten as vegetable. Poultice of the leaves is a remedy for infected wounds with maggots in animals. The leaves are diuretic and is used in the treatment of dropsy. In Thailand, the dried plant is used to soothe skin irritation due to caterpillars.  [4][6][7]

Pre-Clinical Data


Anti-inflammatory activity

The alcoholic extract of the leaves of P. tomentosa has anti-inflammatory activity in albino rats. It also caused a reduction in the weight of the spleen, thymus and adrenals together with a reduction in some of serum biochemical parameters including acid phosphatase and transaminases. The anti-inflammatory activity was comparable to phenylbutazone. [8]

Immuno-modulatory activity

Chromium (IV) induced immunosuppression in splenic lymphocytes can cause increase cytoxicity, apoptosis and reactive oxygen species (ROS) and decrease lymphocyte proliferation and antioxidant levels. When the cells were pretreated with extracts of P. tomentosa (at 500µg concentration), it was observed that cytotoxicity and ROS levels were reduced, antioxidant levels maintained and the lymphocyte proliferation was restored. This was also observed in J799 macrophage cell line [9][10]

Anti-nociceptive and hypnotic activity

The methanol extract of the leaves of P. tomentosa was able to reduce pain induced by various methods in animal models (acetic acid-induced writhing, tail flick and tail clip tests). The extract also decrease the locomotor activity and potentiated the pentabarbitone-induced sleep time. [11]

Hepatoprotective activity

The leaves of P. tomentosa is known to protect the liver as recorded by the Ayurvedic physicians. A number of experiments done showed that pretreatment with extracts of leave of P. tomentosa showed significant protection against hepatic damage by acetaminophen. The extract prevented the decrease in the levels of membrane-bound enzymes (total ATPase, Mg2+ ATPase, Ca2+ATPase and Na+/K+ATPase); inhibited induced alterations in the levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, free fatty acids, phospholipids, serum lipoproteins and lipid-metabolizing enzymes. At the mitochondrial level the extract was seen to reverse the effects of acetaminophen through the effects of one antioxidant compound (D-limonene). This compound is known to enhance conjugation of toxic metabolites by maintaining liver glutathione concentrations. [12-14]

Cytotoxic activity

A number of compounds isolated from P. tomentosa showed significant cytotoxic activity. The clerodane diterpenoids, premnones A – C, from the chloroform-soluble fraction of the leaves, showed cytotoxic activity against LNCaP, Lu1 and MCF-7 cell lines. Three icetaxanes diterpenes isolated from the stem bark and compounds 1 and 3 were active against MCF-7 and HT-29 cell lines. [15][16]

α-glucosidase inhibitory activity

Three compounds isolated from the roots of P. tomentosa exhibited α-glucosidase inhibitory activity, two of which are identified icetexane diterpenes (8, 11, 13-icetexatriene-10-hydroxy, 11, 12,16-tri acetoxyl (1) and 8, 11, 13-icetexatriene-7, 10, 11-dihydroxy-12, 13-dihydrofuran (2)) and the third one is acetoxysyranzaldehyde. These compounds also exhibited free radical scavenging (DPPH) activities. [17]


No documentation

Teratogenic effects

No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

No documentation

Age Limitations

Neonates / Adolescents

No documentation


No documentation

Chronic Disease Conditions

No documentation


Interactions with drugs

No documentation

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation



No documentation

Case Reports

No documentation


  1. Priyadi H, Takao G, Rahmawati I, Supriyanto B, Ikbal Nusal W, Rahman I. Five Hundred Plant Species in Gunung Halimun Salak National Park, West Java. Bogor Barat, Indonesia: CIFOR;  2010. p. 17.
  2. Sharma AN, Gautam RK. Indigenous Health Care and Ethno-medicine. New Delhi, India: Sarup & Sons; 2006. p. 39.
  3. The Plant List. Version 1.1. [Internet]. [Place unknown]: 2013 [cited 2014 May 05]. Available from:
  4. Ong HC. Tumbuhan Liar: Khasiat Ubatan dan Kegunaan Lain. Kuala Lumpur: Utusan Publications & Distributors Sdn. Bhd'; 2008. p. 53.
  5. Khare CP. Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary. Berlin: Springer-Verlag; 2007. p. 517.
  6. Burkill IH. A Dictionary of the Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula. Kuala Lumpur: Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative; 1966. p. 1839
  7. ASEAN Tropical plant Database [Internet]. Republic of Korea. National Institute of Environment; 2005 [cited 2013 September 09] Available from:
  8. Alam M, Joy S, Susan T, Ali SU. Anti-inflammatory activiy of Premna tomentosa Willd. In albino rats. Anc Sci Life. 1993 Jul;13(1-2):185-8.
  9. Pandima Devi K, Sai Ram M, Sreepriya M, Ilavazhagan G, Devaki T. Immunomodulatory effects of Premna tomentosa extract against Cr (VI) induced toxicity in splenic lymphocytes--an in vitro study. Biomed Pharmacother. 2003 Mar;57(2):105-8.
  10. Devi KP, Sairam M, Sreepriya M, Devaki T, Ilavazhagan G, Selvamurthy W. Immunomodulatory effects of Premna tomentosa (L. Verbenaceae) extract in J 779 macrophage cell cultures under chromate (VI)-induced immunosuppression. J Altern Complement Med. 2004 Jun;10(3):535-9.
  11. Devi KP, Sreepriya M, Devaki T, Balakrishna K. Antinociceptive and hypnotic effects of Premna tomentosa L. (Verbenaceae) in experimental animals. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003 May;75(2):261-4.
  12. Devi KP, Sreepriya M, Balakrishna K, Devaki T. Protective effect of Premna tomentosa (L. Verbenaceae) extract on membrane-phosphatases and inorganic cations transport in acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Aug;93(2-3):371-5.
  13. Devi KP, Sreepriya M, Balakrishna K, Veluchamy G, Devaki T. Assessment of the protective potential of Premna tomentosa (L. Verbenaceae) extract on lipid profile and lipid-metabolizing enzymes in acetaminophen-intoxicated rats. J Altern Complement Med. 2004 Jun;10(3):540-6.
  14. Devi KP, Sreepriya M, Balakrishna K, Devaki T. Protective effect of Premna tomentosa extract (L. Verbanacae) on acetaminophen-induced mitochondrial dysfunction in rats. Mol Cell Biochem. 2005 Apr;272(1-2):171-7.
  15. Chin YW, Jones WP, Mi Q, Rachman I, Riswan S, Kardono LB, Chai HB, Farnsworth NR, Cordell GA, Swanson SM, Cassady JM, Kinghorn AD. Cytotoxic clerodane diterpenoids from the leaves of Premna tomentosa. Phytochemistry. 2006 Jun;67(12):1243-8. Epub 2006 Jun 14.
  16. Hymavathi A, Suresh Babu K, Naidu VG, Rama Krishna S, Diwan PV, Madhusudana Rao J. Bioactivity-guided isolation of cytotoxic constituents from stem-bark of Premna tomentosa. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2009 Oct 1;19(19):5727-31. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2009.08.002. Epub 2009 Aug 6.
  17. Ayinampudi SR, Domala R, Merugu R, Bathula S, Janaswamy MR. New icetexane diterpenes with intestinal α-glucosidase inhibitory and free-radical scavenging activity isolated from Premna tomentosa roots. Fitoterapia. 2012 Jan;83(1):88-92. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2011.09.018. Epub 2011 Oct 8.

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