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Labisia pumila



Labisia pothoina Lindl; Labisia pumila Benth; Ardisia pumila Bl. Bijdr. [1]

Vernacular Names


Akar Fatimah, Belangkas Hutan, Bunga Belangkas Hutan, Hati Fatimah, Kacip Fatimah, Kunci Fatimah, Mata Pelanduk Rimba, Pokok Pinggang, Rumput Siti Fatimah, Rumput Tadah Matahari, Rumput Palis, Sanggul Selusoh, Selusoh Fatimah, Remoyan Batu (Jah-Hut); Sangkoh (Iban) [2] 


 Kelimparan Tuli

General Information


Labisia pumila is a herbaceous undershrub of the Myrsinaceae family. The stems produces roots. There are usually 4 leaves that are erect, elliptically lanceolate and acuminate with narrow base and dark green in colour with edges entire. When young the leaves are blackish green with pink edges that are crenate. The matured leaves measures 12.5-20cm long and 2.5-6cm wide with numerous horizontal nerves. The petioles are 2.5-7.5cm long. The flowers are pink or white in a spike-like panicle of small clusters. The fruits are globose, bright red in colour and measures 0.4cm through. Three forms of the plant had been recognized: [3] 

  1. var. pothoina where the leaves are lanceolate narrowed to a narrow-winged petiole
  2. var. alata where the leaves are larger; petioles broadly winged, often deep blackish green
  3. var. lanceolata where the leaves are smaller, lanceolate, shortly cuneate and petioles are slender and not winged. 

Plant Part Used

Leaves and Roots [4][5]

Chemical Constituents

No documentation

Traditional Used:

In Malaysia it has been used to treat cases of gonorrhoea [4] 

In its native habitat amongst most of the ethnic population L. pumila has been universally used to treat women’s conditions. It has been advocated in the relief of dysmenorrhoea and also labour pangs. In a decoction form of the roots it is given as a delivery aid to ease the process of delivery and in the postnatal period given to help in the healing process of delivery related internal injuries. [4] 

It has been used to treat abdominal distension in infants. This is done by crushing the leaves in coconut oil and subsequently applying this oil over the abdomen. [5] It is also used in the treatment of dysentery. [6] 

Other uses include the use in treatment of sickness in the bones, rheumatism and the likes. [4][6] 

Pre-Clinical Data


Antiphoto-aging activity 

It is known that UVB irradiation is the primary cause of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in skin. Thus, L. pumila extracts were assess for their antioxidant activities as a function for prevention of photoaging. The 50% free radical scavenging activity (FSC50) of L. pumila extract was determined to be 0.006%, which was equal to that produced by 156 μM ascorbic acid. L. pumila extracts proved to have great potential to be developed into an anti-photoaging ingredient in the cosmetic industry because it markedly inhibited the TNF-α production and the expression of COX-2, restored collagen synthesis of human fibroblasts back to normal level, and down regulated MMP-1 expression. [7] 

In a study of the antioxidant activities of two of the three varieties of L. pumila i.e. var alata and var. pumila, it was found that L. pumila var. alata had a higher antioxidant activity than the var. pumila. [8] 

Oestrogenic activity 

Investigation on the effects of L. pumila var. alata extract (LPvA) on body weight gain, uterus weight, adipose tissue mRNA and protein levels of adipokines in ovariectomized (OVX) rats was done and result were compared with those on Oestrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT). Both ERT and LPvA showed significantly less weight gain, increase in plasma leptin level and significantly reduce plasma resistin levels in blood. There was also a significant increase in the weight of the uterus in a dose dependant manner. [9] 

Another study of the oestrogenic activity of L. pumila was done using the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome model in rats. It was noted that the uterine size increased by 27% and plasma resistin levels were increased. In adipose tissue, LPva decreased leptin mRNA expression but did not affect expression of resistin and adiponectin. No effects on body composition, adipocyte size, or plasma leptin levels were observed. [10] 

Anti-obesity activity 

The results of a study showed that extracts of L. pumila var. alata (LPvA) is able to regulate body weight and adipokines in ovariectomized rats. The study showed that treatment with LPvA showed a reduction in weight gain in ovariectomized rats. It also increased the plasma leptin levels and the mRNA expression of leptin. The plasma resistin level was in reduced. These effects is secondary to its oestrogenic activities. [9] 

Antidiabetic activity 

There was observed increase in insulin sensitivity in rats with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome that was fed with extracts of L. pumila var. alata dissolved in deionized water. At the same time the lipid profile was also improved. The mechanism of this is yet to be determined. [10] 

Anticancer activity 

It is believed that amongst the activities that could inhibit growth of cancer is by inhibiting the process of angiogenesis. This form the basis of a study done to determine the antiproliferative properties in L. pumila methanol extract. The 5-day ex-vivo assay using rat aortic arch ring derived from 20 weeks old male Sprague Dawley rat species showed that the extract markedly restrained the rat aorta endothelial vasculature. his suggests L. pumila has the potential to thwart tumor development through endothelial vasculature development cascade making it a promising candidate as an anticancer agent. [11] 


A 28 – day subacute toxicity study was done to determine the safety of use of L. pumila. The results showed that at a dose of 50mg/kg there were no adverse effects detected. However, at higher doses there were some associated toxicity concern. [12] 

Genotoxicity study of L. pumila was done using micronuclei formation as the toxicological endpoints. No significant increase in the micronucleated polychromatic erythrocyte were observed at all tested dose levels (100, 700 and 2000mg/kg body weight). However, it was noted that there was a significant decrease in the polychromatic erythrocytes/normochromatic erythrocytes (PCE:NCE) ratio from the highest dose level (2000mg/kg of body weight) at 48h harvest time point. [13] 

Assessment of the effects aqueous extract of L. pumila on female reproductive toxicity showed a non-observable adverse effect level at 800mg/kg/day. At this level there were not alterations in the general health and the oestrus cycle of the rats, they mated and became pregnant normally, gestation period was reduced to 21 days however there were no evidence of prematurity nor abortion occurred, and no foetal resorption occurred at any time during the test period. This indicate that at 800mg/kg/day the aqueous extra of L. pumila is considered safe for pregnant rats to consume. [14] 

Teratogenicity studies on the aqueous extracts of L. pumila was done and it was found that at all levels of doses no teratogenic effects were detected. Gravid uterine weight, number of corpora lutea, number of implantation sites, percentage of foetal resorptions, number of life foetuses, foetal weight and foetal sex ratio showed no significant differences among all group animals. [15] 

It was demonstrated that liver and kidneys of rats given petroleum-ether extracts of L. pumila showed significant damage in a progressive manner. Subcutaneous injection of the extract were given to three groups of rats in doses of 0.1mg/ml, 0.05mg/ml and 0.025mg/ml respectively and histological examinations of the liver was done in these rats that were sacrificed on day 1, day 3 and day 7 post injection. It was found that histological evidence of liver damage was seen from day 1 with worsening of condition subsequently. Glomerulonephritis and nephrosis was demonstrated in the kidneys. This indicates that L. pumila does contain hepatotoxic and nephrotoxic elements in them. [16] 

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

While animal studies did not show any teratogenicity or any abortifaceint activities in various extracts of L. pumila at this juncture it is not advisable to us this drug in human until further studies are carried out to confirm this. [15]

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

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1) Cultivation

2) Botanical info


  1. Dr. J.G. Boerlage Systematische Lijst Der verzamelde planten, door verschillende personen bewerkt, en tot een geheel bijeengebracht. Midden – Sumatra:Brill Archive; 1877-1879.23.
  2. C.O. Hean. Tumbuhan liar: khasiat ubatan & kegunaan lain. Kuala Lumpur: Utusan Publications; 2004.21.
  3. H.N. Ridley. The Flora of the Malay Peninsula L. London: Reeve & Co. Ltd; 1923.237.
  4. J. Timothy. CRC ethnobotany desk reference. Boca Raton: CRC Press; 1999.452.
  5. M.S Kamarudin, A. Latif. Tumbuhan Ubatan Malaysia. Bangi: Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia; 2002.273.
  6. I.H. Burkill. A Dictionary of Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula. Kuala Lumpur: Ministry of Agriculture & Cooperatives; 1966.1311.
  7. C. Hyun-kyung, K. Dong-hyun, W.K. Jin, N. Sulaiman, R.S. Mohamad and S.P. Chang. Labisia pumila extract protects skin cells from photoaging caused by UVB irradiation. Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering. Available from: doi:10.1016/j.jbiosc.2009.08.478.
  8. N. Mohamad, M. Mahmood and H. Mansor. Antioxidative properties of leaf extracts of a popular Malaysian herb, Labisia pumila. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research. April 2009.3(4). 217–223.
  9. M. Fazliana, W. Wan Nazaimoon, H. Gu, C. Östenson. Labisia pumila extract regulates body weight and adipokines in ovariectomized rats. Maturitas. 62(1): 91-97.
  10. L .Mannerås, M. Fazliana, W.M. Nazaimoon, M. Lönn, H.F. Gu, C.G. Ostenson, E. Stener-Victorin. Beneficial Metabolic Effects of the Malaysian Herb Labisia pumila var. alata in a Rat Model of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. J Ethnopharmacol. 30Oct2009 .
  11. N.A. Samad, H.B. Sahib, K.W. Ng, Z. Ismail, G. Kaur, A.M.S.A. Majid. Kacip Fatimah (Labisia pumila) and Its Role in Tumor Development Inhibition. 22nd MSPP Scientific Meeting 2008, Poster 49. Available from [Accessed on 27th November 2009].
  12. G.D. Singh, M. Ganjoo, M.S. Youssouf, A. Koul, R. Sharma, S. Singh, P.L. Sangwan, S. Koul, D.B. Ahamad, R.K. Johri. Sub-acute toxicity evaluation of an aqueous extract of Labisia pumila, a Malaysian herb. Food Chem Toxicol. Oct2009;47(10):2661-2665.
  13. S. Zaizuhana, J.N.M.B. Puteri, Y. Noral'ashikin, H. Muhammad, A.B. Rohana, I. Zakiah. The in vivo rodent micronucleus assay of Kacip Fatimah (Labisia pumila) extract. Trop Biomed. Dec2006;23(2):214-219.
  14. M.F. Wan Ezumi, S. Siti Amrah, A.W.M. Suhaimi, S.S.J. Mohsin Evaluation of the female reproductive toxicity of aqueous extract of Labisia pumila var. alata in rats. Indian J. Pharmacol. February2007;39(1):30–32.
  15. E. M. F. Wan, A.S. Siti, N.I. Mohamad, S.A.W. Mohd, M.S. Syed Jamalullail. Evaluation of teratogenicity of aqueous extract Labisia pumila var. alata in rats. Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences. July2005; 12(2):13-21.
  16. A. W. M. Effendy, J. Siti-Nurtahirah, Z.M. Hussin. The Side Effects of Kacip Fatimah Extract on liver and kidney of white rats. Journal of Sustainability Science and Management 2006; 1(1):40-46.

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