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Baeckea frutescens L.


No documentation

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia: Cucur Atap, Curan Atap, Hujung Atap, Cina Maki
 English: False Rue
Indonesia: Ujung Atap, Jung Rabat, Kayu Rachak (Javanese); Junjung Atap, Tutup Atap, Ijar Atap (Bangka); Si Gamei-gamei (Sumatran)
Cambodia Moreck Ansai
Thailand Son Naa, Son Saai (peninsular); Son Hom (South-Eastern)
Vietnam Ch[oor]i Xu[eer], Ch[oor]i S[er], Thanh Hao.

General Information


Baeckea frutescens L. is a small tree which is found in Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra, and is also found distributed along the coastal areas of southern China and Australia. It grows wild on arid soils in the mountains and midlands. In Peninsular Malaysia, it is found both on the mountain tops and sandy coasts.[1] 

The tree trunk is short with several upright branches that spread out and droop at the ends as fine twigs. The leaves are opposite, small and very narrow, needle-like, only about 6-15mm long. The leaves when crushed will give off a resinous aromatic fragrance. The flowers are bisexual, solitary in the axil of the leaves, white in colour with a pink centre. The short petals have oil glands. The tiny fruits split, releasing minute angular seeds.[2][3]

Plant Part Used

Entire plant (except the root), leaf, flower, essential oil.[1]

Chemical Constituents

There is variation in the content of the main chemical constituents and their amount in different locations. The leaves contain an essential oil and the constituents are: pinenes, g-terpinenes, 1,8-cineole, p-cymene, limonene, linalool, a-terpineol, b-caryophyllene and a-humelene. The sesquiterpenes isolated are: humulene epoxide, cryophyllene epoxide and clovane-2,9-diol (3). The aerial parts of Baeckea frutescens yielded a series of chromones (5-hydroxy-7-methoxy-2-isopropyl-, 5-hydroxy-7-methoxy-2-isopropyl-8-methyl- and 5-hydroxy-7-methoxy-2-isopropyl-6-methyl-, 5-hydroxy-7-methoxy-2-methyl-, and 5-hydroxy-7-methoxy-2,8-dimethylchromones), five new chromanones ((2,5-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-2-isopropyl-, 2,5-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-2-isopropyl-8-methyl-, 2,5-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-2-isopropyl-6-methyl-, 2,5-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-2,8-dimethyl- and 2,5-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-2,6-dimethylchromanones). Their structures were deduced from 2-D NMR spectroscopy and from comparison of NMR spectra with known chromones, also present in the extract.[4] 

Five new chromone C-glycosides have been obtained from the leaves of Baeckea frutescens. They are: 6-β-C-glucopyranosyl-5,7- dihydroxy-2-isopropylchromone, 8-β-C-glucopyranosyl-5,7-dihydroxy-2-isopropylchromone, 6-β-C-glucopyranosyl-5,7-dihydroxy- 2-methylchromone, 6-β-C-(2′-galloylglucopyranosyl)-5,7-dihydroxy-2-isopropylchromone and 8-β-C-(2′-galloylglucopyranosyl)-5,7-dihydroxy-2-isopropylchromone.[5] 

Two new phloroglucinols, named BF-1 and BF-2, were isolated together with a known compound baeckeol from the dried leaves of Baeckea frutescens. Their structures were determined by their 1H and 13C NMR and mass spectral data.[6] 

Three novel flavanones, named BF-4, BF-5 and BF-6, were isolated from the leaves of Baeckea frutescens. The structures of these flavanones were determined by their mass, 1H and 13C NMR spectral data.[7]

Traditional Use:

The entire plant, except the roots, is used as an antibacterial, an antidysentery, an antipyretic and a diuretic. It is claimed to be effective in treating influenza, coryza, epistaxis, fever, headache, measles, colic, abdominal pain, dyspepsia, jaundice, haemorrhagic dysentery and irregular menstrual cycles. Its external usage is in treating furunculosis and impetigo.[1] 

The leaves are also used to treat impetigo. Chinese use the leaves as remedy for sunstroke and fever. In Malaysia and Indonesia, they are used as an ingredient of the traditional medicine given to mothers during confinement.[1] 

The flowers of this plant are used to treat dyspepsia and menstrual problems. They are also used in massaging postpartum women for the treatment of body aches and numbness of the limbs. The essential oil from this plant is used in the treatment of rheumatism.[1]

Pre-Clinical Data


Cytotoxic activity

The ethanolic extract from the dried leaves of Baeckea frutescens produced isolates BF-1, BF-2, BF-3. Only BF-2 exhibited strong cytotoxic activity (IC50 = 5.0μg ml)) against leukaemia cells (L 1210) in tissue culture.[6] Another study investigated further the constituents of the plant. This led to the isolation of three new flavanones, BF-4, BF-5 and BF-6 from the leaves of Baeckea frutescens. BF-4 and BF-5 showed strong cytotoxic activity (IC50=0.2-0.5μg/ml) against leukemia cells (L1210) in tissue culture.[7]

Anticariogenic activity

The methanol extracts from five tropical plants (Baeckea frutescens, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Kaempferia pandurata, Physalis angulata and Quercus infectoria) were investigated for their anticariogenic activity against Streptococcus mutans. The extracts of all plants exhibited potent antibacterial activity against Streptococcus mutans causing dental caries at all concentrations tested.[8]

Inhibitory activity

In a study to identify the correlation between antimalarial and antibabesial activity of medicinal plants which are traditionally used for the treatment of malaria in Indonesia, 24 water extracts from 22 medicinal plants were screened against Plasmodium falciparum and Babesia gibsoni. The findings showed that almost all of the tested extracts inhibited the growth of B. gibsoni while they demonstrated different levels of growth inhibition on P. falciparum. The extract of Baeckea frutescens displayed strong activity (above 80% inhibition) against malarial and babesial parasites. The study concluded that strong antimalarial activities paralleled strong antibabesial activities. However the converse was not true. This gives the suggestion that the plants used to treat malarial infection could be used to treat dogs infected with B. gibsoni.[9]


No documentation

Teratogenic effects

No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Use in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

No documentation

Age Limitations

Neonates / Adolescents

No documentation


No documentation

Chronic Disease Conditions

No documentatione


Interactions with drugs

No documentation

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation



No documentation

Case Reports

No documentation

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  1) Botanical Info


  1. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research, Kuala Lumpur. Compendium of Medicinal Plants Used in Malaysia. 2002. 1:98-99.
  2. Indian Herb Exporters, accessed on 28 June 2007
  3. Samy, J., Sugumaran, M. and Lee, K.L.W. Herbs of Malaysia. Federal Publications Sdn Bhd, Malaysia. 2005. pp 58-9.
  4. Tsui, W-Y. & Brown, G.D. Chromones and Chromanones from Baeckea frutescens. Phytochemistry. 1996. 43: 871-6.
  5. Satake, T et al. Chromone C-glycosides from Baeckea frutescens. Phytochemistry. 1999. 50: 303-6.
  6. Fujimoto, Y et al. Phloroglucinols from Baeckea frutescens. Phytochemistry. 1999. 41:923-5.
  7. Makino, M & Fujimoto, Y. Flavanones from Baeckea frutescens. Phytochemistry. 1998. 50: 273-7.
  8. Hwang, J-K., Shim, J-S. & Chung, J-Y. Anticariogenic activity of some tropical medicinal plants against Streptococcus mutans. Fitoterapia. 2004. 75: 596-8.
  9. Murningsih, T et al. Evaluation of the Inhibitory Activities of the Extracts of Indonesian Traditional Medicinal Plants against Plasmodium falciparum and Babesia gibsoni. J. Vet. Med. Sc. 2005. 67: 829-31.

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