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Michelia champaca L.



Michelia pilifera Bak. F.,  Michelia velutina auct. non DC.,  Magnolia champaca

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia: Chempaka, cempaka merah, chempa, cempaka kuning, jampaka
Semang: Jampa

Chempaka, chepaka, pechari, lochari, kantil, semendara

Thailand: Champah, champi
Sundanese: Champaka
Sumatran: Champaga

General Information


Michelia champaca occurs in the moister parts of forests in India. Elsewhere, it is commonly cultivated for its fragrant flower. [1]

Plant Part Used

Flower, flower bud, oil, bark, seed, leaf [1]

Chemical Constituents

Five sesquiterpene lactones: parthenolide, costunolide, 8α-acetoxyparthenolide ( 11,13-dehydrolanuginolide), magnograndiolide, and michampanolide (2,7-dihydroxy-3,7-dimethyl-11-methylene-13-oxatricyclo[8,3,0,0,3,b]tridecan-12-one), were isolated from the root bark of Michelia champaca. [3]

The flowers of M. champaca have been shown to contain quercetin, an unidentified flavonoid glycoside, β-sitosterol, unsaturated aliphatic ketones, and hydrocarbons. [4]

The previous isolated classes of constituents were essential oil, aldehydes, phenolics, saponins, sterols, tannins and triterpenoids while the active alkaloid from the root bark of M. champaca was elucidated as liriodenine. [5]

In a study, the fatty acid composition of the refined seed oil of M. Champaca was found to be 24.2% palmitic, 5.8% stearic, 66.2% oleic, and 3.9% linoleic acids. [6]

Traditional Used:

The flower is often marketed for its scent, particularly in Java. In Thailand, the flower infusion is used as cosmetics after bathing. The flowers also have been used as a plaster on stomachs to relieve colic. The flower and the leaves are ingested to treat rheumatism, angina and halitosis. The flower, bruised in oil may be applied to relieve ozoena of the nose. An infusion of unopened buds may be ingested to treat gonorrhea. [1]

The bark is used as an antipyretic. A decoction of the bark is given during confinement as a protective medicine against meroyan. [1]

Alternatively, a decoction of the leaves may be ingested, or the leaves may be eaten in the form of a paste. The decoction of the bark is believed used to treat fever; but not the fever due to malaria. [1]

The seed is used to treat rheumatism. The pounded leaves may be applied to a woman’s body during confinement. [1]

Pre-Clinical Data


Antimicrobial activity

The methanolic extracts of leaves, seeds, stem and root barks, stem and root heart-woods of M. champaca and other obtained organic fractions showed a range of activity against all the tested bacteria and protozoan. Some fractions of the leaves, stem and root barks exhibited antifungal activity against some of the tested moulds. [5]

Recently, a study was carried out to determine possible inhibitory effects of some medicinal plants of Mauritius used against common infectious diseases which were caused by bacteria and fungi. The powdered plant materials were extracted with different solvents and screened for antimicrobial activity using the disc diffusion and the micro-dilution techniques. The activity of the different crude extracts was also investigated against several phytopathogenic fungi. The results revealed that the dichloromethane (DCM) extracts of M. champaca and Antidesma madagascariense yielded the maximum number of growth-inhibiting compounds against Cladosporium cucumerinum. A manifest activity against Colletotrichum glocosporoides was also observed for the DCM extracts of A. madagascariense and M. Champaca. [7]

Anti-inflammatory and antipyretic activity

Methanolic extracts of the flowers of M. champaca, I. brachiata and R. cana exhibited significant antiinflammatory activity against cotton pellet granuloma in rats at a dose level of 100 mg/kg body weight. The latter two showed higher activity than the former. [8]

Leishmanicidal activity

The seventy-five timbers belonging to 27 families from Myanmar were screened for their leishmanicidal activity. It was found that some timber extracts showed some potent activity including M. Champaca with MLC and MIC values of 100 and 50mg/ml, respectively. The presence of sesquiterpene lactones in the heartwood of the plant could reasonably render its potential leishmanicidal activity. [9]

Cytotoxity activity

In a study, the ethanol extract of M. champaca and the petroleum ether extract of Talauma ovata showed activity towards the human epidermoid carcinoma of the nasopharynx test system. The isolated active constituents were identified as parthenolide and costunolide. [11]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

The Oil of M. champaca and the chemical constituent, parthenolide contained in this plant were found to give positive patch test reactions on individuals who were contact-sensitive to sesquiterpene lactones. The finding suggests that such lactones may be the allergens of Michelia species. [10]

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

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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; 2:140.
  2. AgroForestry Tree Database/ Species Information, Prosea, accessed on 28 June 2007.
  3. Jacobsson, U., Kumar, V. & Saminathan, S. Sesquiterpene Lactones from Michelia champaca. Phytochemistry 1995; 39(4): 839-843, and the references cited therein.
  4. 2004; 66 (4): 403-406, Abstract. Accessed on 15 January 2008.
  5. Khan, M.R., Kihara, M. & Omoloso, A.D. Antimicrobial activity of Michelia champaca. Fitoterapia 2002; 73:744-748.
  6. Mandal, B.& Maity, C.R. Physicochemical and nutritional characteristics of Michelia champaca seed oil. Acta alimentaria (Acta ailment.) 1992; 21 (2): 131-135. Abstract.
  7. Rangasamy, O. et al. Screening for anti-infective properties of several medicinal plants of the Mauritians flora. J. Ethnopharmacol. 2007; 109:331-337.
  8. Vimala, R. et al.  Antiinflammatory and antipyretic activity of Michelia champaca Linn.,(white variety), Ixora brachiata Roxb. and Rhynchosia cana (Willd.) D.C. flower extract.    Ind. J.    Exp. Biol. 1997; 35 (12) :1310-4. Absract.
  9. Takahashi, M. et al. In Vitro Screening of Leishmanicidal Activity in Myanmar Timber  Extracts. Biol. Pharm. Bull. 2004; 27(6): 921-925.
  10. Magnoliaceae, Michelia champaca,, accessed on 15 January 2008.
  11. Hoffmann, J.J. et al. Cytotoxic agents from Michelia champaca and Talauma ovata: parthenolide and costunolide. J. Pharm. Sc. 1977; 66(6): 883-884. Abstract.

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