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Rafflesia hasseltii


No documentation

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia: Bunga Pakma, Pama

Ambai-ambai; Tindawan biring; Cendawan Muka Rimau (Solok), Cendawan Matahari (Sunda)

General Information


Rafflesia hasseltii is a parasite plant of the family Rafflesiaceae. It is a true parasite not having stems, leaves or roots. It grows on a grape-like vine called Tetrastigma. The plant consists only stands of tissue growing in the stems or larger roots of this plant. The flower buds form on the stem. The life cycle of this plant consist of 8 stages. Stage I-the host organ formation takes 61 days; Stage II-emergence from host takes 160 days; Stage III-bract abscission 8 days; Stage IV-flower beginning 24 – 48 days; Stage V-flowers fully open 4 – 8 days; Stage VI-mature fruit 6 – 8 days; Stage VII-seed dispersal 1 – 2 days; Stage VIII-Seed germination and inoculation of host 48 months. When the flowers open, they emit a foul smell like decaying meat which attracts flies that helped in the pollination. Male and female flowers are separate where for pollination to occur both must be in close proximity and open simultaneously. Flowers will remain open for a week and hence will whither and decay. The fruits are small and maybe dispersed by wild boars, rats and shrews. The flower has five perigone lobes with a diameter of about 40 cm. The perigone lobes have large white blotches on deep red background. It has a rounded aperture of measurement approximated 5-7 cm wide with a pentagonal diaphragm measuring 4-7 cm wide. 

This plant is considered endangered for the following reasons:

  1. Parasitic way of life
  2. Dioeciously flower; male and female flower occurs in different individual
  3. High mortality rate
  4. Percentage of female flower less than male and many female flowers fail to set fruit

Development from seed to seed is about 3-4.5 years.

Plant Part Used

Dried blossom [3]

Chemical Constituents

Nicotine, caffeine, catechin, proanthocyanin, phenolic acid [1]

Traditional Used:

In Sumatra it is used in parturition. [1] The Sakai tribe roaming the rainforest of Perak and Northen Pahang use the flower buds to expedite delivery. [2] 

A little of the dried blossom of the plant (mong dar which Burkill believed to be Rafflesia) when steeped in hot water and taken by men would provide sexual stimulation to them but does not affect women taking them. [3] However, the same tea acts as an aphrodisiac in women. Furthermore, this tea would also help to revitalize the women when taken after delivery or after menstruation. It helps cleanse the uterus while at the same time helps maintain a beautiful waistline. [4] This discrepancy may be due to the dioecious (having both male and female organs) nature of the flowers. 

Pre-Clinical Data


Cicatrization activity 

A study to assess the rate of wound healing by extracts of R. hasseltii against intrasite gel (a synthetic wound healing enhancer) was done. This study reported that the extact impregnated wound of SD rats at 5% and 10% concentration showed rapid healing process. Histological examination showed markedly reduced scar width with granulation tissue containing increase number of collagen fibers and proliferating fibroblasts. The absence of inflammatory cells was also noted. [5] 

Antimicrobial activity 

In a study of 50 medicinal plants found in the state of Perak, Malaysia for their antimicrobial activities, the investigators reported that extract of R. hasseltii displayed the broadest spectrum of activity. [6] 

Gastroprotective activity 

Aqueous and ethanol extracts of R. hasseltii were test for their gastroprotective property. Four groups of rats were used in this study. Two groups were pretreated with aqueous and ethanol extracts of R. hasseltii prior to induction of gastric ulcer using absolute alcohol, one group was pretreated with Cimetidine while the last group did not receive any pretreatment. The results showed that both the R. hasseltii extracts inhibited alcohol induced gastric ulcer up to 99.2 % (aqueous extract) and 98.9% (ethanol extract) while cimetidine protection was only 59.4%. This showed that extracts of R. hasseltii was much superior in their gastroprotective properties as compared to cimetidine. [7]


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

Read More

  1)  Malaysian Herbal Plants


  1. J. Timothy. CRC ethnobotany desk reference. Boca Raton: CRC Press; 1999.696.
  2. I.H. Burkill. A Dictionary of Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula. Kuala Lumpur: Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative; 1966.1895.
  3. W.S. Walter, O. Charles. Blagden Pagan Races Vol 2. London: MacMillan & Co;1906.
  4. H.C. Ong. Tumbuhan Liar: Khasiat ubatan dan Kegunaan lain. Kuala Lumpur: Utusan Publications; 2004.147.
  5. M.A. Abdulla, K.A. Ahmed, H.M. Ali, S.M. Noor, S. Ismail. Wound healing activities of Rafflesia hasseltii extract in rats. J Clin Biochem Nutr. Nov2009;45(3):304-308.
  6. C. Wiart, S. Mogana, S. Khalifah, M. Mahan, S. Ismail, M. Buckle, A.K. Narayana, M. Sulaiman. Antimicrobial screening of plants used for traditional medicine in the state of Perak, Peninsular Malaysia. Fitoterapia. Jan2004;75(1):68-73.
  7. S.M. Noor, A.A. Mahmood, I. Salmah, K. Philip. Prevention of Acute Gastric Mucosal Lesions by R. Hasseltii in Rats. Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances 2006. 5(2): 161–164.

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