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Family Apocynaceae
Plumeria obtusa L.
Da ji hua

Scientific names Common names
Plumeria apiculata Urb. Kalatsutsing-puti (Tag.)
Plumeria bahamensis Urb. Singapore graveyard flower (Engl.)
Plumeria barahonensis Urb. White calachuche (Engl.) 
Plumeria beatensis Urb. White frangipiani (Engl.) 
Plumeria bicolor Seem.  
Plumeria cayensis Urb.  
Plumeria clusioides Griseb.  
Plumeria bahaconfusa Britton  
Plumeria cubensis Urb.  
Plumeria cuneifolia Helwig  
Plumeria dictyophylla Urb.  
Plumeria ekmanii Urb.  
Plumeria emarginata Griseb.  
Plumeria estrellensis Urb.  
Plumeria inaguensis Britton  
Plumeria krugii Urb.  
Plumeria marchii Urb.  
Plumeria montana Britton & P.Wilson  
Plumeria nipensis Britton  
Plumeria nivea Mill.  
Plumeria obtusa L.  
Plumeria ostenfeldii Urb.  
Plumeria parvifolia Donn  
Plumeria portoricensis Urb.  
Plumeria tenorei Gazparr.  
Plumeria venosa Britton  
Plumeria versicolor Denhnh.  
Plumeria obtusa L. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
AFRIKAAN: Mohlare wa maswi wa sukiri.
BENGALI: Kathgolop.
CHINESE: Dun ye ji dan hua.
HINDI: Gulchin, champa.
MANIPURI: Khagi-leihao.
MEXICAN: Zopilote.
SWEDISH: Glansfrangipani.
THAI: Lanthom.

Gen info
Genus name Plumiera derives from Charles Plumier, a distinguished French botanist.

Plumeria obtusa is a shrub or small tree growing up to 5 meters tall. Branches are thick, succulent, widely spaced, and covered with knobby protuberances. Stems and leaves yield a milky sap. Leaves are dark green, leathery, obovate to oblong-obovate, up to 30 centimeters long, with conspicuous parallel secondary veins running from the mid-vein, and clustered near the tips of the branches. Flowers are white, five-lobed, with a yellow center, borne in clusters at the end of the branches.

- Widely cultivated in the Philippines.
- Native to tropical America.

- Neutral N2 fraction of methanolic extract of fresh, undried and uncrushed leaves of Plumeria obtusa isolated a new lupane triterpenoids (1) along with five known compounds viz., obtusaline, betulinic acid, oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, kaneroside and oleandrin. (3)
- N3 neutral fraction yielded 10 new compounds (11-13, 15-19, 22, 23) together with 8 known compounds (7-10, 14, 20, 21, 24) isolated for the first time from this species, viz., a-amyrin (7) neriucoumaric acid (8), isonericoumaric acid (9), alphitolic acid (10), obtuscin (11), oytusinin (12), obtusilin (13), 3b.23-dihydroxyurs 12-en.28 oic acid (14), obtusidin (15-19), 27.p-Z.coumaroytoxyursolic acid (20), 27.p--E.coumaroytoxyursolic acid (21), coumarobtusanoic acid (22) coumarobtusane (23) and oleanonic acid (24). (3)
- Study of flowers for essential oil yielded 21 compounds viz.,
linalool, (Z)-geraniol, (Z)-citral, (E)-geraniol, (E)-citral, (Z)-beta-farnesene, (E)-beta-farnesene, 1-hexadecene, 2-methylpentadecane, alpha-farnesene, (Z)-farnesol, (E)-farnesol, (E)-farnesal , benzyl benzoate, 1-octadecanol, benzyl salicylate, eicosane, unknown1, unknown2, (E)-farnesyl acetate, and heneicosane. (see study below) (4)
- Phytochemical screening of various extracts of leaves yielded sterols, alkaloids, favonoids, terpenoids, glycosides. (see study below) (7)
- Study of fresh leaves yielded two new iridoids viz., 6″-O-acetylplumieride p-E-coumarate and 6″-O-acetylplumieride p-Z-coumarate, and three known iridoids viz., plumieride, plumieride p-Z-coumarate and plumieride p-E-coumarate.
- Oil of Plumeria obtusa was found rich in benzyl salicylate (45.4%) and benzyl benzoate (17.2%), with only minute concentrations of alkanoic acids. (12)
- Phytochemical screening of stem bark extract yielded triterpenoids, flavonoids, carbohydrate, essential oil, glycosides and alkaloids. (see study below) (13)

- Considered purgative, vulnerary, pectoral, hemostatic.
- Studies have shown antimicrobial, antiproliferative, antioxidant, insecticidal properties.

Parts utilized
Flowers, bark, leaves.

· No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
· Used for blenorrhagia, boils, herpetic lesions, sores, syphilis, and wounds. Used as cicatrizant, pectoral, purgative and hemostatic.
· In Cambodia, bark decoction used as purgative; also used as remedy for edema.
· In the Sekhukhune District of
South Africa, decoction of leaves taken three times daily for diabetes. (9)
· In
Asia, decoction of leaves used for treating wounds and skin diseases. Bark and latex used as diuretic and purgative. (10)
· Ornamental / Ritual: In Cambodia, flowers are used to make necklaces
; used in ritual offerings.
· Oils / Perfumery: Essential oil used as ingredient in cosmetics, candles, potpourri, massage oils, and aromatherapy.

Essential Oil / Flowers:
In various scented compound extraction methods using P. obtusa flowers, the major chemical component in the essential oils from all distillation methods and solvents was benzyl salicylate. Extracts from cold and hot enfleurage were linalool and n-undecanoic acid, respectively. Isolation of frangipiani absolute by hexane extraction was considered the most appropriate method at pilot scale for extract use in perfume and cosmetic materials. (see constituents above) (4)
Antimicrobial / Flowers: Study evaluated various solvent extracts from flowers of P. obtusa for antimicrobial activity against a broad spectrum of human pathogenic organisms. The extracts showed variable degrees of inhibition of all microorganisms. Among gram positive bacteria, the most susceptible was B. subtilis, the most resistant S. aureus. Among gram negative bacteria, the most susceptible was Eriwina carotovora, the most resistant P. aeruginosa. (5)
Antimicrobial / Leaves:
Study evaluated various solvent extracts of leaves of P. obtusa for antimicrobial activity. Results showed PE, iso-butanol and EA fractions showed inhibitory activities against all nine microbial species except K. pneumonia and P. aeruginosa. (6)
Antioxidant / Leaves:
Study evaluated the phytochemical constituents and antioxidant potential of a methanol extract and fractions of P. obtusa leaf extract and fractions. Results showed moderate dose-dependent antioxidant activity based on DPPH and lipid peroxidation inhibition assays. (see constituents above) (7)
Antiproliferative / Leaves:
Study evaluated leaf extracts of 10 Apocynaceae species against three human cancer cell lines (MCF-7, MDA-MB-231, and HeLa). Plumeria obtusa was one of six plants that showed positive growth inhibitory activity, with ≤50% cell growth. The n-hexane extract of P. obtusa inhibited MCF-7 and HeLa cells. (10)
Insecticidal / Leaves:
Study evaluated the insecticidal efficacy of two Plumeria species (P. rubra and P. obtusa) foliar extracts on mosquito and beans weevil populations. P. obtusa yielded mosquito mortality rate of 86.2% and weevil mortality of 90%. while P. rubra was 88.75% and 95%, respectively. Results suggest potential applications in public health pest and disease management, food preservation and crop protection. (11)
Antiulcer / Stem Bark:
Study showed gastroprotective effects of P. obtusa stem bark extracts in peptic ulcer induced by pylorus ligation and indomethacin. The ulcer healing effects could be due to reduction in gastric acid secretion, gastric cytoprotection and proton pump inhibition. (See constituents above) (1

- Ornamental cultivation. 

Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

October 2016

Photos ©Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Flower Close up / File:Plumeria Acuminata.jpg / Venkatx5 / September 2012 / Creative Commons Attribution / Wikpedia / Click on image to see source image

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Plumeria obtusa / Synonyms / The Plant List
White Frangipiani / Common names / Flowers of India
STUDIES IN THE CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS OF PLUMERIA OBTUSA AND STRUCTURE AND ACTIVITY RELATIONSHIP STUDIES IN THE HARMINE SERIES OF ALKALOIDS / Akhtar Naeed / Thesis / Pakistan Research Repository (Work embodied in this thesis has resulted in ten research papers)
Comparative Study of Scented Compound Extraction from Plumeria obtusa L.
/ Potechaman Pitpiangchan, Uraiwan Dilokkunanant, Udomlak Sukkatta, Srunya Vajrodaya, Vichai Haruethaitanasan, Putthita Punjee and Prapasson Rukthaworn* / Kasetsart J. (Nat. Sci.) 43 : 189 - 196 (2009)
Antibacterial and antifungal activity of solvent extracts from Plumeria obtusa Linn. / Ali N, Junaid M, Ahmad D, urRahman M, Ali N, Katzenmeier G / Trop Biomed. 2014 Dec;31(4):607-15.
Antimicrobial activity of leaves extracted samples from medicinally important Plumeria obtusa / Nasir Ali, Dawood Ahmad, Jehan Bakht*, Shahen Shah, Farman Ullah and Mueed-U-Rehman / Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, Vol. 7(17), pp. 1121-1128, 3 May, 2013 / DOI 10.5897/JMPR12.223
Phytochemical analysis and In vitro antioxidant studies of Plumeria obtusa L. Leaves / Nittya k. Dogra* / Indian J Pharm Sci, 2016;78(1):169‑171 / DOI: 10.4103/0250-474X.180256
Minor iridoids from the leaves of Plumeria obtusa / Bina Shaheen Siddiqui, Akhtar Naeed, Sabira Begum, Salimuzzaman Siddiqui / Phytochemistry, Volume 37, Issue 3, 14 November 1994, Pages 769-771 / doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)90355-8
Medicinal utilization of exotic plants by Bapedi traditional healers to treat human ailments in Limpopo province, South Africa / Sebua Semenya, Martin Potgieter, Milingoni Tshisikhawe, Soul Shava, Alfred Maroyi / Journal of Ethnopharmcology 144 (2012) 646-655
Antiproliferative and phytochemical analyses of leaf extracts of ten Apocynaceae species
/ Siu Kuin Wong, Yau Yan Lim, Noor Rain Abdullah, and Fariza Juliana Nordin / Pharmacognosy Res. 2011 Apr-Jun; 3(2): 100–106. / doi: 10.4103/0974-8490.81957
Insecticidal Efficacy of Plumeria Species Leaf Extract on Two Economically Important Insects Populations: Mosquito (Anopheles) and Bean Weevils (Callosobruchus Maculatus) / Aguoru, C. U.*, O a, K.L. and Olasan, J. O. / Journal of Herbal Medicine Research (JHMR), (2016), Vol. 1, Issue 02
Effects of Plumeria obtusa Linn. in Peptic Ulcer Induced by Pylorus Ligation and Indomethacin / Amit Pratap Singh, Vaibhav Shukla, Piuesh Khare / Journal of Pharmaceutical and Scientific Innovation, 1(2), March-April 2012, pp 26-32

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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