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Rhodomyrtus tomentosa


Myrtus tomentosa, Myrtus canescens, Rhodomyrtus parviflora [6] [7]

Vernacular Names:


Kemunting; Karmunting  ; Karamunting; Lidah katak (Melayu Sarawak), Keremunting

English Hill gooseberry, Downy myrtle; Hill guava, Downy rose myrtle



Phruat, Phruat-kinluk


Puech, Sragan


Tao-jin-niang;  Toe-gum-leung


Harendong sabrang [1] [2] [4] [5] [7]

General Information


Rhodomyrtus tomentosa is a member of the Mytaceae family. It is a small shrub or tree growing up to 4 m tall. The leaves are opposite, light green in colour, elliptic or obovate in shape, measuring 1.4-4 cm wide and 2.5-8.0 cm long, smooth on the adaxial surface and tomentose on the abaxial surface. The flowers may be solitary or up to five and occur in leaf axils, with a long peduncle measuring 1-2.5 cm. They have a calyx that is campanulate and hairy, five petals and numerous stamens. The flowers are red to pink in colour. The fruit is an ellipsoid berry that measures 1-1.5 cm in diameter and purplish black or greenish purple in colour with a persistent calyx. The pulp is purplish in colour, soft and sweet and there are many seeds that measure 1.5 mm in diameter.[2]

Plant Part Used

Root, Leaf, Fruit [1] [11]

Chemical Constituents

2,4,7,8,9,10-hexahydroxy-3-methoxyanthracene-6-O-alpha-L-rhamnopyranoside; 4,8,9,10-tetrahydroxy-2,3,7-trimethoxyanthracene-6-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside; α-amyrin; β-amyrenonol; β-amyrin; betulin; lupcol; nicotinic acid; rhodomyrtone; riboflavin; taraxerol; thiamine; vitamin A [1] [13] [14]

Traditional Used:

The roots and leaves of R. tomentosa are used for the treatment of acute and chronic gastroenteritis, stomachache, dyspepsia and hepatitis in China. The roots is also used to treat proctopsis by Chinese traditional doctors. In Malaysia decoction of the roots and sometimes the leaves is given to patients with diarrhea or heartburns.[1] [3] [4] [5] [6] [8]

In China and Hong Kong the roots of R. tomentosa is used to treat uterine bleeding while the fruits are given to pregnant ladies to treat anaemia of pregnancy. Decoction of the root is given to women after birth in the village medicine of the Malays.[1] [4] [5]

The decoction of the roots of R. tomentosa is used by Chinese and Malay traditional practitioners to treat low back ache, rheumatic arthritis, lumbago. To treat skin infection like impetigo, furunculosis and abscesses a paste of the leaves is applied over the lesion. Decoction of the leaves is considered antiseptic and is used to clean wounds.[1] [3] [5] [8] [10] [11]

It’s used had been advocated for corneal injury, debility after illnesses, neurasthenia, tinnitus, headaches, bleeding wounds, spermatorrhoea, and even snake bites.[1] [3] [5] [10] [11]

Pre-Clinical Data


Antibacterial activity

Earlier reports indicated that extracts of R. tomentosa is effective against Streptococcus pyogenes. Studies reported that extracts of R. tomentosa was able to prevent the formation of biofilm and strong inhibition of quorum sensing.[12] In a more recent study they were successful in isolating rhodomyrtone which showed antibacterial activity against Bacillus cereus, Bacillus subtilis, Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), Staphylococcus epidermidis, Streptococcus gordonii, Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Streptococcus salivarius.[13]

Stimulation of osteoblasts activity

Two new anthracene glycosides isolated from the aerial parts of R. tomentosa reported increased alkaline phosphatase activity, collagen synthesis and mineralization of the nodules of MC3T3-E1 osteoblastic cells.[14]


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. Unesco, Takeatsu Kimura, Northeast Asia, Part 3, International Collation Of Traditional And Folk Medicine Northeast Asia, World Scientific, Singapore, 2001. pg89-90
    2. Jules Janick, Robert E. Paull, The encyclopedia of fruit & nuts, CABI, Oxfordshire, 2008. pg550
    3. Xinrong Yang, Encyclopedic reference of traditional Chinese medicine, Springer, New York, 2003. pg169
    4. Ong Hean Choi, Buah: khasiat makanan dan ubatan, Utusan Publications, Kuala Lumpur, 2004. Pg68-69
    5. Kamarudin Mat-Salleh, A. Latiff, Tumbuhan Ubatan Malaysia, Pusat Pengurusan Penyelidikan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, 2002. Pg429-430
    6. Sigmund Rehm, Multilingual dictionary of agronomic plants, Kluwer Academic Publishers, AA Dordrecht,  1994. pg161
    7. Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. [Accessed on 6/11/2010]
    8. Green Culture Singapore. [Accessed on 6/11/2010]
    9. Borneo Focus. [Accessed on 6/11/2010]
    10. Hwee Ling Koh, Chua Tung Kian, Chay Hoon Tan, A guide to medicinal plants: an illustrated, scientific and medicinal approach, World Scientific, Singapore, 2009. pg129-130
    11. World Health organization, Regional Office for the Western Pacific, Medicinal plants in Viet Nam, World Health Organization, Regional Office for the Western Pacific, Manila, 1990. Pg164
    12. Limsuwan S, Voravuthikunchai SP. Boesenbergia pandurata (Roxb.) Schltr., Eleutherine americana Merr. And Rhodomyrtus tomentosa (Aiton) Hassk. as antibiofilm producing and antiquorum sensing in Streptococcus pyogenes. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2008 Aug;53(3):429-36.
    13. Limsuwan S, Trip EN, Kouwen TR, Piersma S, Hiranrat A, Mahabusarakam W, Voravuthikunchai SP, van Dijl JM, Kayser O. Rhodomyrtone: a new candidate as natural antibacterial drug from Rhodomyrtus tomentosa. Phytomedicine. 2009 Jun;16(6-7):645-51.
    14. Tung NH, Ding Y, Choi EM, Van Kiem P, Van Minh C, Kim YH. New anthracene glycosides from Rhodomyrtus tomentosa stimulate osteoblastic differentiation of MC3T3-E1 cells. Arch Pharm Res. 2009 Apr;32(4):515-20.

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