Blumea balsamifera L DC

[From Latin, balsamum = balsam and ferre = bear]

Synonymy: Blumea grandis DC., Baccharis salvia Lour.

Common names: ngai camphor; ponmathei (Burmese); baimat (Cambodian); ai na hsiang (Chinese); capa, sembong, sapu (Malay); camphrée (French); dai bi, tu bi (Vietnamese).

Blumea Balsamifera

Fig. 367. Blumea balsamifera (L.) DC.

Physical description: It is a shrub which grows to a height of 3 m. The plant is found in a geographical zone, ranging from India to Southern China. Leaves: simple, without stipules and alternate. The petiole is 2.5 cm long. The blade is 7cm-13cm x 2.5cm-5cm, extremely thin, elliptic-lanceolate, serrate-dentate and hairy beneath. The inflorescences consist of 5 mm long capitula in large terminal panicles. The ray-florets are female, filiform and 2-3-lobed. The discflorets are few and bisexual. The involucres are ovoid. The bracts are linear acuminate and hairy. The fruits consist of 10-ribbed achenes with red pappus (Fig. 367).

Fig. 367. Blumea balsamifera (L.) DC.

Borneol Camphor

Pharmaceutical interest: Ngai camphor consists of a mixture of borneol, camphor and cineole which are antibacterial, carminative, anti-spasmodic and vulnerary. 5, 3', 5 -Trihydroxy-7-methoxy-dihydro-flavone from Blumea balsamifera (L.) DC. protects rats against carbon tetrachloride intoxication (Xu SB et al., 1993). Note that the flavonoids from the plant scavenge the free radicals (Nessa F et al., 2004).

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