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Belamcanda chinensis


Ixia chinensis, Belamcanda punctata, Belamcanda schularmani, Gemmingia chinensis, Pardanthus chinensis, Moraea chinensis [3][4][5]

Vernacular Names:


Pokok Kipas

English Blackberry-lily, Leopard-flower

Brojolintang, Suliga, Jamaka (Sunda); Semprit, Wordi (Java); Karimenga, Kiris, Katna (Sulawesi)


She Gan


Balamtandam, Valamcandam (Malayalam); Surajkaanti (Assam); Dasbaha, Dasbichandi (Bengal)




Fleur-leopard, Iris tigre


Leopardenblume, Pantherblume [1][6]

General Information


Belamcanda chinensis, is a member of the Liliaceae family. It is erect, leafy, branched stems that grows up to 1.5m tall when flowering. It grows from fleshy, knobby and usually orange or pale brown rhizome that creeps just below ground level. The erect, sword-like leaves are green in colour and glaucous. They measure 25cm in length and are arranged in flattened fan with up to 14 per stem. The flowers are borne in flattened, fan-shaped cymes subtended by green spathes and terminating in forked, wiry stems of a pinacle-like inflorescence. The flowers are orange or yellow with red spots, 5cm wide and with six sepals. The fruits are dry, ovoid, measuring 2.5cm long. The capsules split to reveal black, shiny round fleshy seeds that are 5 mm wide. [2]

Plant Part Used

Rhizome [1][3][5][6]

Chemical Constituents

2,3-dihydroirigenin; 3',5'-dimethoxy irisolone-4'-O-beta-D-glucoside; 3-O-tetradecanoyl-16-O-acetylisoiridogermanal; 3-O-decanoyl-16-O-acetylisoiridogermanal; 5,4'-dihydroxy-6,7-methylenedioxy-3'-methoxyflavone; 5,6,7,3'-tetrahydroxy-4'-methoxyisoflavone; 6''-O-p-hydroxybenzoyliridin; 6''-O-vanilloyliridin; 7-O-methylmangiferin; 16-O-acetylisoiridogermanal; androsin; anhydrobelachinal; belacamdin; belachinal; belalloside A & B; belamphenone; daucosterol; epianhydrobelachinal; hispiduloside; iridin; iridobelamal; iridotectorals A and B; iriflophenone; irigenin; irilin D; irisflorentin; irisflorentine; iristectorigenin A; iristectorin A & B; isoanhydrobelachinal; isoiridogermanal; isorhapontigenin; jaceoside; mangiferin; p-hydroxybenzoic acid; resveratrol; shegansu B; spiroiridal; tectoroidin; tectorigenin; tectrorigenin. [1][7][8][9][10][11]

Traditional Used:

Properties: bitter, cold, slightly toxic, enhance circulation, antipyretic, antitoxic, antibiotic and digestive.[1] tuberculous lymphadenitis, hypertension

Anticancer Therapy

B. chinensis has been recommended in the treatment of a number of cancer including those of thyroid, pancreas, cervix uteri, breast, lungs and leukemia. [1]

Respiratory diseases

The rhizome is supposed to stimulate the pharynx to expell phlegm thus it is used in treating productive cough, wheezing, chronic accumulation of phlegm and asthma. It is also used in the treatment of tuberculous lymphadenitis. [1][3][5][6]

Obtstetric and Gynaecology

The rhizome is used to treat irregular menstrual cycle and can induce termination of pregancy in the first trimester. [3][5]

Other uses

It can be used to treat inflammatory conditions like taumatic injuries, dermatitis, contusion, tonsillitis and rheumatism. [3][5][6]

Pre-Clinical Data


Anti-inflammatory activity

Tectorigenin and tectoridin ilolated from the rhizomes of B. chinensis were found to suppress prostaglandin E2 production in rat peritoneal macrophage stimulated by protein kinase C activator, 12-O-tetradecaonylphorbol 13-acetate (TPA) and at the same time they inhibited the activities of cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2. Thus, proving the anti-inflammatory activities of these two compound substantiate the traditional used of the plant.[11] The same investigators further determined the structure-activity relationship of various isoflavones in the inhibition of PGE2 production and found that 6-methoxylation and 5-hydroxylation increase the potency to inhibitioan of PGE2 production and 7-O-glycosylation decreases the inhibitory activity. Other flavonoids isolated from the plant showed similar anti-inflammatory activity and this includes irigenin, irisolidone, genistein, tectorigenin-7-glucoside, glyciotein and daidzein. It was then determined that the presence of 6-methoxylation and 5-hydroxylation increase the potency of inhibition of PGE2 production and 7-O-glycosylation decreases the inhibitory activity.[12][13][14][15]

Oestrogenic modulatory activity

The isoflavone tectorigenin isolated from the rhizome of B. chinensis was found to have a strong hypothalamotropic activity in the form of inhibition of pulsatile pituitary LH secreation; and osteotropic activity mimicing oestrogenic effects in bone i.e. on bone mineral density of the metaphysis of tibia. It does not have any effects on the uterus nor the mammary gland. Another compound forming the major component of isoflavone from the rhizome of B. chinensis , tectoridin, exhibit potent oestrogenic effects despite being poorly bounded to ER alpha. It was shown to have to ability to recover the population of cells in the S-phase after serum starvation, transactivate oestrogen response element and induce MCF-7 cell proliferation. It promoted phosphorylation of ERK 1/2  without affecting phosphorylation of ER alpha at Ser(11); it increase cellular accumulation of cAMP; thus implying that the oestrogenic effects was mainly via GPR30 and ERK-mediated rapid nongenomic oestrogen signaling pathway. [16][17]

Cytotoxic activity

Jung et al. found that tectorigenin and tectoridin isolated from the rhizomes of B. chinensis decreased angiogenesis of both chick embryosd in the chorioallantoic membrane assay and basic fibroblast growth factor-induced vessel formation in the mouse Matrigel plug assay. They also reduced proliferation of calf pulmonary arterial endothelial cells and found to possess relatively weak gelatinase/collagenase inhibitory activity in vitro. Tectorigenin is the more potent compound and is comparable to genistein. They were also found to inhibit murine Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) and sarcoma 180.

Phytoestrogen (tectorigenin and irigenin) isolated from rhizomes of B. chinensis was found to have inhibited the proliferation of RWPE-1, LNCaP and PC-3 cells, causing G1 arrest and induction of p21WAF1 or p27 protein expression. Another study showed that Tectorigenin was able to downregulated PDEF, PSA and IGF-1 receptor mRNA expression in vitro. The PSA secretion and IGF-1 receptor protein expression were diminished and hTERT mRNA expression and telomerase activity decreased after treatment with tectorigenin. The downregulation of PDEF, PSA, hTERT and IGF-1 receptor demonstrates the antiproliferative potential of tectorigenin while the upregulated TIMP-3 gene expression found indicates its pro-apoptotic function. [18][19][20][21][22]

Aldose reductase inhibition activity

Tectorigenin, irigenin and their glucosides were found to show stron aldose reductase inhibition. When given to streptozocin-induced diabetic rats in the oral dose of 100mg/kg for 10 days, they cause a significant inhibition of sorbitol accumulation in the tissues such as lens, sciatic nerves and red blood cells. Tectorigenins seem to have the strongest inhibitory activity amongst the four compounds. [23]

Antidiabetic activity

Wu et al. [24] found that extracts of the leaves of B. chinensis could significantly lowered fasting blood glucose levels in both healthy and STZ-induced diabetic rats. There was an increase in serum insulin level and suppression of glucose level following administration of various carbohydrates in normal rats, while the oral glucose tolerance of STZ-induced diabetic rats was improved.  It was found that the isoflavone glycosides were responsible for this effect.

Antioxidative activity

Isorhapontigenin, a derivitive of stilbene with a chemical structure similar to resveratrol was isolated from B. chinensis. Wang et al. [25] found that is could sifnificantly inhibit MDA (malondialdehyde) formation in liver microsomes, bran mitochondria and synaptosomes induced by Fe2+-Cys and markedly prevented the decrease of GSH in mitochondria and synaptosomes induced by H2O2 while at the same time increase the ultra-weak chemiluminescence during lipid peroxidation induced by Vit C-ADP-Fe2+ as well as oxidative DNA damaged induced by CuSO4-Phen-VitC-H2O2. These results indicated the isorhapontigenin possessed potent antioxidant activity exceeding that of vitamin E. Fang et al. [26] further showed that isorhapontigenins inhibits respiratory burst of PMA-activated rat neutrophils by scavenging oxygen free radicals. Jung et al. [27] working on isoflavones of B. chinensis found that tectorigenin and tectoridin both possess antioxidative and hepatoprotective activities in CCl4-intoxicated rats.

Antimicrobial activity

Tectorigenin was found to have stron antifungal activity against dermatophytes of the genera Trichophyton with MIC ranging from 3.12-6.25mg/ml. [28]


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


  1. Hembing Wijayakasuma Atasi Kanker dengan Tanaman Obat Puspa Swara Jakarta 2008 pg. 25
  2. Tomasz Anisko When Perennials Bloom: An Almanac for Planning and Planting Timber Press Inc. 2008 pg. 120
  3. Steven Foster, Chongxi Yue Herbal emissaries: Bringing Chinese Herbs to the West Inner Traditionas 1992 pg. 163
  4. William J. Hooker The Botany of Captain Beechy’s Voyage Henry G. Bohn London 1841 pg. 217
  5. N.P. Manandhar, Sanjay Manandhar Plants and People of Nepal Timber Press Inc., Portland 2002 pg. 107 – 108
  6. C.P. Khare Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary Springer-Verlag Berlin 2007 pg. 87
  7. Wu YX, Xu LX. [Analysis of isoflavones in Belamcanda chinensis (L.)DC. and Iris tectorum Maxim by square wave voltammetry] Yao Xue Xue Bao. 1992;27(1):64-8.
  8. Ma L, Song ZW, Wu F. [Determination of five isoflavones in Belamcanda Chinensis by RP-HPLC] Yao Xue Xue Bao. 1996;31(12):945-9.
  9. Liu H, Hu X, Ge J. [Separation and identification of chemical compositions from cultivated Belamcanda chinensis] Zhong Yao Cai. 1997 Jun;20(6):299-301.
  10. Ito H, Onoue S, Miyake Y, Yoshida T. Iridal-type triterpenoids with ichthyotoxic activity from belamcanda chinensis J Nat Prod. 1999 Jan;62(1):89-93.
  11. Kim YP, Yamada M, Lim SS, Lee SH, Ryu N, Shin KH, Ohuchi K. Inhibition by tectorigenin and tectoridin of prostaglandin E2 production and cyclooxygenase-2 induction in rat peritoneal macrophages. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1999 Jun 10;1438(3):399-407.
  12. Yamaki K, Kim DH, Ryu N, Kim YP, Shin KH, Ohuchi K. Effects of naturally occurring isoflavones on prostaglandin E2 production. Planta Med. 2002 Feb;68(2):97-100.
  13. Ahn KS, Noh EJ, Cha KH, Kim YS, Lim SS, Shin KH, Jung SH. Inhibitory effects of Irigenin from the rhizomes of Belamcanda chinensis on nitric oxide and prostaglandin E(2) production in murine macrophage RAW 264.7 cells. Life Sci. 2006 Apr 11;78(20):2336-42. Epub 2005 Nov 22.
  14. Hong J, Shin KH, Lim SS, Kwak JH, Zee O, Ishihara K, Hirasawa N, Seyama T, Ohuchi K. Lead compounds for anti-inflammatory drugs isolated from the plants of the traditional oriental medicine in Korea. Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2008 Sep;7(3):195-202.
  15. Pan CH, Kim ES, Jung SH, Nho CW, Lee JK. Tectorigenin inhibits IFN-gamma/LPS-induced inflammatory responses in murine macrophage RAW 264.7 cells. Arch Pharm Res. 2008 Nov;31(11):1447-56. Epub 2008 Nov 21.
  16. Seidlová-Wuttke D, Hesse O, Jarry H, Rimoldi G, Thelen P, Christoffel V, Wuttke W. Belamcanda chinensis and the thereof purified tectorigenin have selective estrogen receptor modulator activities. Phytomedicine. 2004 Jul;11(5):392-403.
  17. Kang K, Lee SB, Jung SH, Cha KH, Park WD, Sohn YC, Nho CW. Tectoridin, a poor ligand of estrogen receptor alpha, exerts its estrogenic effects via an ERK-dependent pathway. Mol Cells. 2009 Mar 31;27(3):351-7. Epub 2009 Mar 19.
  18. Jung SH, Lee YS, Lee S, Lim SS, Kim YS, Ohuchi K, Shin KH. Anti-angiogenic and anti-tumor activities of isoflavonoids from the rhizomes of Belamcanda chinensis. Planta Med. 2003 Jul;69(7):617-22.
  19. Morrissey C, Bektic J, Spengler B, Galvin D, Christoffel V, Klocker H, Fitzpatrick JM, Watson RW. Phytoestrogens derived from Belamcanda chinensis have an antiproliferative effect on prostate cancer cells in vitro. J Urol. 2004 Dec;172(6 Pt 1):2426-33
  20. Thelen P, Scharf JG, Burfeind P, Hemmerlein B, Wuttke W, Spengler B, Christoffel V, Ringert RH, Seidlová-Wuttke D. Tectorigenin and other phytochemicals extracted from leopard lily Belamcanda chinensis affect new and established targets for therapies in prostate cancer. Carcinogenesis. 2005 Aug;26(8):1360-7. Epub 2005 Apr 21.
  21. Thelen P, Seseke F, Ringert RH, Wuttke W, Seidlová-Wuttke D. [Pharmacological potential of phytoestrogens in the treatment of prostate cancer] Urologe A. 2006 Feb;45(2):195-6, 197-201.
  22. Thelen P, Peter T, Hünermund A, Kaulfuss S, Seidlová-Wuttke D, Wuttke W, Ringert RH, Seseke F. Phytoestrogens from Belamcanda chinensis regulate the expression of steroid receptors and related cofactors in LNCaP prostate cancer cells. BJU Int. 2007 Jul;100(1):199-203. Epub 2007 May 4.
  23. Jung SH, Lee YS, Lee S, Lim SS, Kim YS, Shin KH. Isoflavonoids from the rhizomes of Belamcanda chinensis and their effects on aldose reductase and sorbitol accumulation in streptozotocin induced diabetic rat tissues. Arch Pharm Res. 2002 Jun;25(3):306-12.
  24. Wu C, Li Y, Chen Y, Lao X, Sheng L, Dai R, Meng W, Deng Y. Hypoglycemic effect of Belamcanda chinensis leaf extract in normal and STZ-induced diabetic rats and its potential active faction. Phytomedicine. 2010 Aug 23. [Epub ahead of print]
  25. Wang QL, Lin M, Liu GT. Antioxidative activity of natural isorhapontigenin. Jpn J Pharmacol. 2001 Sep;87(1):61-6.
  26. Fang YN, Liu GT. Effect of isorhapontigenin on respiratory burst of rat neutrophils. Phytomedicine. 2002 Dec;9(8):734-8.
  27. Jung SH, Lee YS, Lim SS, Lee S, Shin KH, Kim YS. Antioxidant activities of isoflavones from the rhizomes of Belamcanda chinensis on carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatic injury in rats. Arch Pharm Res. 2004 Feb;27(2):184-8.
  28. Oh KB, Kang H, Matsuoka H. Detection of antifungal activity in Belamcanda chinensis by a single-cell bioassay method and isolation of its active compound, tectorigenin. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2001 Apr;65(4):939-42.

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