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Blumea balsamifera Linn DC.


Conyza balsamifera Linn. Baccharis salvia Lour, Conyzam odorata Rumph, Conyza appendiculata Blume, Pluchea balsamifera (L.)[1]

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia: Sembong, Capa, Telinga Kerbau[2]
 Indonesia:  Sembong, Capa, Sembung Gantung, Sembong Utan, Sembung Gula, Sembung Kuwuk, Sembung Legi, Sembung mingsa, Sembung Langu, Sembung lelet (Java), Kamandhin (Madura), Apompase, Mandikapu (Ternate)[2]
 Philippines:  Sambong (Tagalog), Lakadbulan (Bikol), Subsub (Ilokano)
 Burma:  Poung Ma Theing
 Cambodia:  Bai Mat
 Laos:  Nat
 Thailand:  Kamphong (Northern), Nat-yai (Central), Naat (South-eastern), Dai bi, Dai Ngai
 India:  Kukundara; Kukkura-dru (Sanskrit), Kakaronda; Kakoranda; Kukronda (Hindi), Bhamaruda(Bombay), Kukur-soka; Kuk-sungh (Bengali)
 Vietnam:  Cay dai be


 Pen Ts’ao, ai na xiang
 Arabian: Kama; phitus
 England:  Ngai Camphor
 France:  Camphrier

General Information


Blumea balsamifera is a perennial evergreen shrub native of Southeast Asia but is distributed throughout tropical Asia. It is tolerant of a widely diversified habitat and found from level ground to montane slope and from sea level to 1500m altitude. 

It is a small tree that can grow up to 4 m in height and imparts a strong camphorous odour around it. The bark is greyish brown, smooth while the wood is soft and white. The stem is an erect with a diameter range from 2-8cm; simple at the base then repeatedly trifid. The branches are terete, densely wooly and villous with yellowish-white hairs. 

The leaves are simple, alternate, petiolate or with tapering base. The petiole is 0-3.5cm long mostly with 1-3 pairs of basal and patent appendages. The blade is variable ranging from ovate-oblong to oblong-lanceolate, with entire measuring 6-30 cm x 1.5-12cm but sometime pinnately lobed and with serrated or serrulated at the margins. The lower surface is densely hairy while the upper surface is rugose and pilose. 

The inflorescence is in a form of a head that measuring 6-10mm in diameter. They are arranged in a terminal or axillary panicle is 10-50cm long and measuring 6-30cm in diameter. The peduncle is 3-10mm long; involucres campanulate; bracts in many rows, imbricate and linear-subulate, with the inner ones measure 1-9mm long being the longest and gradually getting short outwardly becoming densely wooly outside; receptacle measuring 2-4mm in diameter, slightly convex, alveolate, glabrous or with fimbriate margins of the pits and glabrescent. The florets are heterogamous, numerous, tubular, hardly exserting from the involucres, yellow, marginal florets are female, disk florets ranging from 8 to 28 and are bisexual. The corolla of the female florets is filiform measures up to 6 mm long with 2-4 lobed and glabrous. The corolla of the bisexual florets is tubular measures 5-7mm long with 5-lobed, lobes triangular-ovate, acute, papillate and pubescent with colleters. There are 5 stamens, with anthers basally tailed and connective prolonged. The style exsert with 2-branched at the apex. The fruits are minute, measure 1mm long, brown, with sparse short and white hairs. The pappus is uniseriate measures 4-7mm long, soft, white or more often reddish yellow.[3][4] 

Plant Part Used

Leaves and young roots from plants before flowering.

Chemical Constituents


5',7-dimethylether-2',3,5-trihydroxy-5',7-dimethoxyflavonone; 4'-methylether-3,3',5,7-tetrahydroxy-4'-methoxyflavonone; 3',7-dimethylether-3,4',5-trihydroxy-3',7-dimethoxydihydroflavonol; 4',7-dimethylether-3,4',5-trihydroxy-3',7-dimethoxyflavonone; 4',5-dihydroxy-3',7-dimethoxydihydroflavonol; 3,4',5-trihydroxy-3',7-dimethoxyflavanone; 3',4',5-trihydroxy-7-methoxyflavanone; 3-O-7''-biluteolin (1).[5][6]


Borneol, cineol, limonene, camphor, a-pinene, camphene, b-pinene, 3-carene, sesquiterpenes, monoterpenes, triterpenes and cryptomeridiol. [2][5][7] 


Blumealactone A, B, C

Traditional Use:

B. balsamifera has been used in the treatment of various afflictions of the body by Asian people. It is considered as a carminative, stomachic and antispasmodic agent and has been used to treat conditions like flatulence, dyspepsia, diarrhea, intestinal colic and dysentery. The Indian people used decoction of leaves for the treatment of gas distention and abdominal colic. Meanwhile, a poultice of fresh pounded leaves is applied locally to treat haemorrhoids. The roots also have appetite stimulating properties.[7]

It is a vermifuge and is used to expel worms from the intestine.[7]

It has anti-inflammatory, anticatarrh and expectorant properties which renders it useful in the treatment of both upper and lower respiratory tracts like sinusitis, influenza, asthmatic bronchitis. In Vietnam a decoction of the fresh leaves is used to treat influenza and cough either by drinking the decoction or by inhalation of the vapour from the boiling of the leaves. In the case of sinusitis the Thais made cigarettes of the chopped dried leaves and smoking it. Its diaphoretic and sudorific properties have rendered it advantageous in the treatment of influenza and a type of fever known as 'Ahwah' in Bengal. In fever a handful of the leaves is boiled and when lukewarm it used as a sponge bath. A decoction of the roots is sometimes given to treat fever.[4][8]

Relieve of headache is obtained by applying the pounded fresh leaves on the forehead and temple region and tying a clean cloth around the crown to retain the poultice.

In Southeast Asia it has been widely used in treatment of various women problems. During the immediate post-partum period the leaves of Blumea balsamifera is used in hot fomentation (tungku) over the uterus to induce rapid involution. It is also used to treat menorrhagia, dysmennorhoea, functional uterine bleeding and leucorrhoea. The roots are used to treat menorrhagia.[4][7]

It has been used to treat kidney stones and cystitis. In cystitis a decoction of the leaves and roots is given while to induce diuresis as a measure to treat kidney stones a decoction of the leaves is being given three times day after every meal.[9]

It anti-inflammatory properties is taken advantage of in the treatment of rheumatism and arthritis. It is also being made used of in the treatment of post-partum joint pains. Both leaves and roots are used either in combination or separately in decoction form to treat arthritis. Sometimes a poultice of fresh leaves is applied to the affected joint. In the treatment of lumbago and sciatica the patient is made to sit in a Sitz-bath of boiled leaves.[4][7]

To treat purulent eye discharge the juice of fresh leaves is squeezed into the eyes. It has been advocated in the treatment of aphthous ulcers, angina pectoris, diabetes, hypercholesterolaemia and wounds, cut and infected ulcers.[11]

Pre-Clinical Data


Hypoglycaemic activity

Ten percent infusion of B. balsamifera leaves given to diabetic rats showed a reduction in blood glucose level within 1 hour.[10]

Cytotoxic activity

It has never been known to be used traditionally to treat malignancies, however, studies done has shown that methanol extracts of the plant has cell-growth inhibitory activities in rats and in human hepatocellular carcinoma without affecting normal rat hepatocytes. It has been demonstrated that this activity is mediated through the extracts ability to arrest cell cycle at the G1 phase by decreasing the expression of cyclin-E and phosphorylation of retinoblastoma protein. It is also noted to have further reduced the level of the proliferation-inducing ligand which is responsible for the stimulation of tumour cell growth. 

Some leukaemic cells have shown resistance to treatment with TRAIL (Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF)-Related Apoptosis Induced Ligands). In an attempt to identify a material that could synergize and improve the effects of TRAIL amongst some 150 materials, it was found that a hydroflavonol (BB-1) extracted from B. balsamifera proved to posses the most striking synergy. This augmented synergy appears to be due to its ability to increase the level of TRAIL-R2 promoter activity and the surface protein expansion in a p53-independent manner. Individually they do not seem to show the same effects. 

A sesquiterpenoid ester isolated from B. balsamifera showed mild cytotoxic activity.[11][12][13]

Plasmin inhibitory activity

Two flavonoids from amongst 9 isolated from B. balsamifera showed plasmin inhibitory activity.[14]

Antiplasmodial activity

The root and stem of B. balsamifera showed a significant antiplasmodial activities.[15]

Antifungal activity:

Two metabolites isolated from the leaves of B. balsamifera i.e. icthyothereol acetate and cryptomeridiol showed moderate antifungal activities. Icthyothereol has moderate activity against the fungi Aspergillus niger, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, and Candida albicans, while cryptomeridiol has low activity against A. niger, T. mentagrophytes, and C. albicans.[16]


Xanthine oxidase inhibitory activity: 

Amongst 288 extracts prepared from 96 medicinal plants in Vietnam, the methanol extracts of B. balsamifera showed strong xanthine oxidase inhibitory activity with IC50 values less than 20µg/mL. This indicated that the extract could possibly be used to treat gout.[17] 

Hepatoprotective activity: 

Blumeatin (Blu, 5,3',5'-trihydroxy-7-methoxy-dihydro-flavone) isolated from B. balsamifera has shown ability to protect liver from being damaged by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) and thioacetamide. This is supported by the fact that it inhibited the increase of serum alanine aminotransferase (AAT) and liver triglyceride and increased serum triglyceride, beta-lipoprotein, and liver glycogen content in CCl4-intoxicated rats. Histological lesions of liver were less severe than those of hepatic injury control. Blumeatin in a dose of 0.65 and 3.25 inhibited the increase of serum AAT and hepatic TG in thioacetamide (TAA)-intoxicated mice. Blumeatin also shortened the pentobarbital sleeping time in CCl4-intoxicated mice.[18] 

Anti-oxidative activity: 

B. balsamifera show free radical scavenging activities. This has lead to the isolation of 11 flavonoids which proved to be responsible for this antioxidative activity. [19] 

Antispasmodic activity: 

Cryptomeridiol was isolated from the dried leaves of B. balsamifera . This has antispasmodic activity and had been isolated from various other plants.[12] 


Toxicity studies did not show any significant effects except for the incidence of hyperaemia in renal parenchyma. LD50% is 62g/kg or 40kg of leaf powder in a single dose. ED50% is 500mg/dose.[12]

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 documentation


Interactions with drugs

No documentation

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation



No documentation

Case Reports

No documentation

Read More

  1) Botanical Info

  2) Malaysian Herbal Plants


  1. Transactions, American Philosophical Society. Jun1935:24(2).p.386
  2. Umberto Quattrocchi. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: A-C. 1st ed.CRC:1999. p. 316.
  3. R. A. Donkin Dragon's brain perfume: an historical geography of camphor. Brills Indological Library: 1999. p.74–78.
  4. Ahmad Rodoni, L.P.A Oyen and Nguyen Xuan Dung. (eds.) Abdul Hamid PROSEA – Plant Resources Of South-East Asia 19. Essential-oil Plants. pp.68-70.
  5. Shmuel Yannai. Dictionary of food compounds: additives, flavors, and ingredients [CD-ROM]  pp.126,440,1055.
  6. Ali DM, Wong KC, Lim PK. Flavonoids from Blumea balsamifera. Fitoterapia. Jan2005;76(1): pp.128-130.
  7. K. M. Nadkarni, A. K. Nadkarni Dr. K.M. Nadkarni's Indian Materia Medica.2: Mumbai Popular Prakashan Pvt. Ltd; 1976.p. 201.
  8. Setiawan Dalimartha. Atlas tumbuhan obat Indonesia. 5; Niaga Swadaya: 1999. pp.126–129.
  9. Sambong/ Blumea balsamifera (Linn.) DC/ Blumea Camphor. Philippines Alternative Medicine (Medicinal Herbs). Available from: [Accessed on 20th Sept 09].
  10. Cyberhealth, Portal CBN, Natural Healing, Sembung (Blumea balsamifera L. DC) Accessed on 22nd June 2010
  11. Norikura T, Kojima-Yuasa A, Shimizu M, Huang X, Xu S, Kametani S, Rho SN, Kennedy DO, Matsui-Yuasa I. Mechanism of growth inhibitory effect of Blumea balsamifera extract in hepatocellular carcinoma. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. May2008; 72(5): pp.1183-1189.
  12. Norikura T, Kojima-Yuasa A, Shimizu M, Huang X, Xu S, Kametani S, Rho SN, Kennedy DO, Matsui-Yuasa I. Anticancer activities and mechanisms of Blumea balsamifera extract on hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Am. J. Chin Med. 2008; 36(2): pp.411-424.
  13. Hasegawa H, Yamada Y, Komiyama K, Hayashi M, Ishibashi M, Yoshida T, Sakai T, Koyano T, Kam TS, Murata K, Sugahara K, Tsuruda K, Akamatsu N, Tsukasaki K, Masuda M, Takasu N, Kamihira S. Dihydroflavonol BB-1, an extract of natural plant Blumea balsamifera, abrogates TRAIL resistance in leukemia cells. Blood. 15Jan2006;107(2): pp.679-688.
  14. Osaki N, Koyano T, Kowithayakorn T, Hayashi M, Komiyama K, Ishibashi M. Sesquiterpenoids and plasmin-inhibitory flavonoids from Blumea balsamifera. J Nat Prod. Mar2005;68(3): pp.447-449.
  15. C. P. Khare Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary. Berlin: Springer; 2007. p.94.
  16. Ragasa CY, Co AL, Rideout JA. Antifungal Metabolites from Blumea balsamifera. Nat. Prod. Res. Apr 2005; 19(3): pp.231-237.
  17. Nguyen MT, Awale S, Tezuka Y, Tran QL, Watanabe H, Kadota S. Xanthine oxidase inhibitory activity of Vietnamese medicinal plants. Biol Pharm Bull. Sep2004;27(9): pp.1414-1421.
  18. Xu SB, Chen WF, Liang HQ, Lin YC, Deng YJ, Long KH. Protective action of blumeatin against experimental liver Bao. Jul1993;14(4): pp.376-378.
  19. N. Fazilatun ; I. Zhari ; M. Nornisah ; M.R.H.M. Haris. Free radical-scavenging activity of organic extracts and of pure flavonoids of Blumea balsamifera DC leaves. Food chemistry; 2004: 88(2). pp. 243-252.

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