Cham-poi is an evergreen tree growing up to 20 meters high. Bark is brownish-gray, rough with deep vertical wrinkles. Leaves are crowded towards the ends of branchlets, obovate to elliptic, 5 to 10 centimeters long, entire or toothed, with a pale or rust-colored lower surface, minutely gland-dotted and aromatic. Flowers are minute and without perianth. Male flowers, in catkins, are 7 to 25 millimeters long, with 3 to 4 orbicular bracts. Stamens are 6 to 8. Female flowers are in axillary, erect spikes, 12 to 25 millimeters long, with 2 filiform stigmas. Fruit is a drupe, sessile, scaly, spherical, 12 to 18 millimeters in diameter, with a knobby and brilliant red surface, with a red flesh, the stone wrinkled and pitted.
- Found in the Zambales Province of Luzon, in Palawan and other higher mountain areas.
- Occasional cultivation in Manila.
- Occurs in Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan.
- Bark analysis yielded: tannic matter, 27.3; soluble non-tanning substances, 7.9%; fiber and insoluble matter, 52.3%; moisture, 12.5%.
- Bark also shown to
contain tannin, saccharin matter and salts. Study isolated myricitrin.
- Major anthocyanin isolated from a study was cyanidin 3-glucoside (95%). Other pigments are pelargonidin 3-glucoside and delphinidin 3-glucoside. Anthocyanins are responsible for most red, blue and purple colors of flowers, fruits and other plant tissues.
- Fruit is a rich source of cyanidin-3-glucoside, accounting for 85% of the anthocyanins in the fruit.
- Essential oil of leaves yielded sesquiterpenes β-caryophyllene, β-caryophyllene oxide (CAO), α-humulene (HUM), trans-nerolidol (NER), and valencene (VAL). (see study below) (21)
- Study of root essential oil yielded principle components of 5-hydroxycalamenene (74.66 %) and phytol (7.74%).
(see study below) (23)
Bark is considered aromatic and astringent.
Fruit is considered carminative.
Bark. roots, fruit.
- Fruits are eaten raw or cooked; also, preserved.
- Fruits may be dried, canned, juiced, soaked in baijiu (Chinese liquor) or fermented into alcoholic beverages.
- Decoction of the bark is used for asthma, diarrhea associated with phthisis, fevers, lung afflictions, typhoid, dysentery and for diuresis.
- Oil from the bark used as ear drops for earache.
- Bark used for scrofulous and aphthous affections, chronic bronchitis, gonorrhea and atony of the digestive tract.
- Powdered bark used as snuff in catarrh with headache; combined with ginger as a stimulant in cholera.
- With cinnamon, used for chronic cough, fever and piles.
- Mixed with vinegar, used to strengthen the gums.
- Bark is chewed for toothaches.
- Powder or lotion from bark is applied to putrid sores.
- Pessaries are made from the bark to promote menstruation.
- Myrtle wax, made from boiling the fruit, is used as a healing application for ulcers.
- In China, salted form or any preserved form of the plant used as pectoral and calming the stomach.
- Fruit is carminative, and used for digestive disturbances, including diarrhea and dysentery.
- Kernel of seeds used for sweating of the feet.
- Bark and roots used as decoction for treatment of wounds, ulcers, scaly skin afflictions and arsenic poisoning.
In Taiwan, used for stomach disorders and diarrhea.
- Dye: Dye prepared from the bark.
• Prodelphinidin / Anti-Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2:
Study isolated prodelphinidin B-2 3,3'-di-O-gallate (PB233'OG) which was shown to exhibit anti-HSV-2 effects in various models of action. (1)
• Cytotoxicity / Anti-Tumor Compounds: Study isolated epigallocatechin 3-O-gallate and prodelphinidin a-2,3'-O-gallate as anti-tumor principle components. Both compounds inhibited the growth of HeLa cells. Results suggest the compounds can induce apoptosis in HeLa cells, and their cytotoxic effect may be through activation of caspase-3. (2)
• Myricetin / Analgesic / Cox Inhibitor / Antiplatelet Activity: Study isolated myricetin from the leaves of M rubra. Test results showed it possessed potent analgesic activity with peripheral rather than opioid system analgesia. It also showed to be a potent COX-1 inhibitor with antiplatelet activity. (3)
• Hepatoprotedtive / Carbon Tetrachloride Induced Liver Damage: Study of fruit extract was shown to have hepatoprotective activity in carbon-tetrachloride induced liver damage in mice, possibly through regulation of mitochondrial VDAC (voltage-dependent anion channels), one of the most important proteins in the mitochondrion outer membrane. (4)
• Hepatoprotective: Study of methanol extract of bark of MR show hepatoprotective effects on CCL4 induced liver injuries in rats and significant protective effects against cholestasis induced by ANIT.
• Flavonoids / Free Radical Scavenging: Studies of extracts from four Chinese bayberry varieties isolated one dominant anthocyanin, three major flavonols, myricetin and quercetin-3-O-rutinoside. The black varieties showed higher radical scavenging than the pink and yellow varieties attributed to the levels of anthocyanins, flavonoids and total phenolics. (5)
• Tyrosinase Inhibiting Activity / Skin Whitening Potential: Ethanolic extract of dried leaves and bark of M rubra showed tyrosinase inhibiting activity, inhibition of the production of melanin from dopachrome by autoxidation, and SOD-like activity. Results suggest the leaves or bark of M rubra might be used as a whitening agent for the skin. (7)
• Anti-Androgenic Activity: Aqueous ethanol extract of the bark of M rubra showed in vitro testosterone 5a-reductase inhibitory activity and in vivo anti-androgenic activity. Three main active principles were identified: myricanone, myricanol, and myricetin. (8)
• Myricetin / Anti-Inflammatory / Anti-Allergic: Study on different in vivo models showed myricetin from MR leaves possesses potent anti-inflammatory function on acute and chronic inflammation via a mechanism that involves antioxidant activity. In a mouse allergy model, serum, there was down regulation of serum IgE levels. (10)
• Prodelphinidin / Anti-Cancer: Prodelphinidin B-2 3, 3'-di-O-gallate (PB233'OG) isolated from the bark of Myrica rubra showed antiproliferative activity with inhibition of proliferation of A549 carcinoma cells by blocking cell cycle progression and induction of apoptosis. (11)
• Antioxidant: Study showed MR leaves, branches and bark extracts showed stronger ability to scavenge free radicals compared to control. The branches showed the strongest ability to scavenge DPPH, followed by leaves and barks. (13)
• Flavonoids / Anti-Inflammatory: Study investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of myricitrin, a flavonoid rich in the leaf of MR. M. rubra leaf extracts inhibited pro-inflammatory TBF-a production in a macrophage cell line. (14)
• Hepatoprotective / Hypocholesterolemic / Anti-Anemic: Study evaluated Myrica rubra fruit juice in CCl4-inducted hepatotoxicity in rats. Results showed a stimulant effect on RCS and hemoglobin, possibly from stimulation of erythropoietin. There was also decrease in total and LDL cholesterol. The hepatoprotective effect may be from constituents acting as free radical scavengers. Study suggests the Myrica fruit drink to be anti-anemic, hypocholesterolmemic, and hepatoprotective. (17)
• Cardiac Effects / Suppression of Platelet Aggregation: Study evaluated the effects of a 50% Myrica rubra drink (MRD) on the cardiovascular system and on platelet aggregation of rats and guinea pigs. Pretreatment of rats with MRD significantly suppressed vagal electrical stimulation to the heart and nicotine-induced bradycardia, via decreasing phenylephrine-inducecd rise in arterial BP and reflexly induced bradycardia. Treatment also suppressed ADP-induced platelet aggregation in rats and arachidonic acid-induced aggregation in guinea pigs. The activities were probably mediated by constituents such as proanthocyanidins, polyphenols, and flavonoids. (20)
• Antiproliferative Synergism of Sesquiterpenes with Doxorubicin / Leaf Oil: Study evaluated the effect of sesquiterpenes from the essential oil of MR leaves on the efficacy and toxicity of anticancer drug doxorubicin in CaCo-2 cancer cells and in primary culture of rat hepatocytes. The sesquiterpenes showed an ability to selectively increase DOX accumulation in cancer cells without affecting DOX concentration in non-cancerous cells. (see constituents above) (21)
• Antitumor / Apoptosis of Cancer Cells / Leaf Essential Oil: Study evaluated the essential oil from leaves of MR and its compounds a-humulene and trans-nerolidol on colorectal cancer cell line HT29. Results showed MEO was able to decrease adhesion of colon cancer HT29 cells to collagen. MEO, α-humulene and trans-nerolidol significantly suppressed adhesion of TNFα-induced cells probably due to down-regulation of ICAM-1. There was diminished tumor invasion and metastasis via up-regulation of E-cadherin. Results also indicate synergism and/or contribution of other components. (22)
• Antimicrobial / Essential Oil / Root: Study investigated the essential oil from M. rubra root for antimicrobial activity against foodborne pathogens. The essential oil was particularly effective against B. cereus and L. monocytogenes. The antimicrobial activity of the root oil mainly correlated with the 5-hydroxycalamenene content. Results on antimicrobial activity suggest food preservative potentials. (23)