Ramie is an erect, branched,
monoecious perennial shrub, 1 to 2 meters high, with a single cylindrical
stem, and hairy branches and petioles. Leaves are long-petioled, alternate, broadly ovate, 10
to 18.5 centimeters long, 6 to 14 centimeters wide, with tapering pointed tip,
coarsely toothed margin, the upper surface green, roughened
with few scattered hairs, the lower surface white, except the
nerves, and densely covered with appressed, matted, white hairs. Flowers are small and clustered; the clusters arranged in
axillary panicles shorter than the petioles; unisexual, apetalous.
Staminate (male) flowers have 4 calyx lobes which are green in
color. Stamens are 4.
- Naturalized in Batan and Babuyan Islands.
in Mindanao and other parts of the Philippines for its fiber.
- A native of southern China.
cultivated in many tropical and subtropical countries.
- Bast contains lignin, 1.46%, and cellulose, 65.9%.
- Ash of leaves contains SiO2, 42.5%; CaO, 34.2%; K2O, 4.1%; NaO, 0.9%; MgOm 6.5%; P2O5, 4.8%; SO3, 1.84%; Cl2, 1%.
- Leaves contain chlorogen acid.
- Study on chemical constituents of leaves yielded: kiwiionoside, eugenyl beta-rutinoside, uracil, beta-sitosterol glucoside, 3-hydroxy-4-methoxy-benzoic acid, cholesterol, alpha-amyrin, and nonacosanol. (8)
- Study of roots yielded three compounds, viz. beta-sitosterol, daucosterol and 19-alpha-hydroxyursolic acid, obtained from the plant for the first time. (17)
- Leaves yielded flavonoids epicatechin, epicatechin gallate, and rutin. (see study below) (18)
- Mildly bitter and sweet tasting.
- Considered antipyretic, cooling, demulcent, diuretic, and resolvent.
- Like the common nettle of Europe, possesses styptic properties.
Roots, stems and leaves
Propagation through cuttings from the rhizomes and by seeds.
· No known folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
· In China roots are reputed to be quieting to the uterus and recommended in threatened abortion.
· Pounded fresh leaves may be used as poultice for swelling pains
caused by sprains.
· Regulates placental movement,
hemostatic; for cold fever, urinary tract infection, nephritic edema,
edema among pregnant women, abnormal placental movements, and excessive
menstrual flow: 15.6 to 31 gms dried material in decoction.
· Used for wounds from poisoned arrows, for snake and insect bites.
· In decoction, used as local application in rectal disease.
· Leaves used in wounds and fluxes as astringent.
· Decoction of roots and leaves used as tonic in cases of dysentery.
· In Taiwan, used
in folk medicine for hepatoprotection and hepatitis treatment.
· Malays use the leaves for poulticing boils.
· Used for treatment of fluxes and wounds, prevent miscarriages
and promote drainage of pus.
· Fiber: A source of fiber or a constituent
of fabric with cotton, wool or silk. In the Philippines, the fiber is used for making strings, blankets, and cloth. It is one of the oldest textile
fibers, used in mummy cloths in Egypt around 5000-3300 BC.
• Papermaking: Also used for production of papers, bank notes and cigarette
B: The study on the BN extract exhibited potential anti-HBV
activity in the animal model of HBV viremia. (1)
B: BN extract significantly inhibited HBeAg and particle-associated HBV DNA secretion in an anti-HBV machinery different from the nucleoside analogues.
•Antioxidant / Hepatoprotective:
In a study of carbon tetrachloride-induced liver injury, results suggest the hepatoprotective and antioxidative effects of BN
probably involving mechanisms related to free radical scavenging. (2)
Bronchial Asthma: B nivea has been established to be a cause of asthma. The study showed no cross-reactivity with Parietaria and suggests that ramie may be a new independent allergen. (5)
• Toxicity Study / Embryonic Development: Commonly used to treat miscarriages, the test examined its safety for embryonic development in pregnant mice. Results showed B. nivea extract did not cause significant embyotoxicity or maternal toxicity in mice, although it caused cytotoxicity in cultured ECS (embryonic stem cells) at a high dose. (6)
• Free Radical Scavenging Activity: Study of ethyl acetate and n-butanol fractions of the root showed profound free radical scavenging activities.
• Antiglycosidase / Anticholinesterase / : Ethyl acetate extract showed maximum B-glucosidase inhibition. Leaf extract demonstrated the highest B-galactosidase inhibitory activity. The plant also exhibited notable BChE and moderate AChE inhibitory activity. Results suggest the whole plant provides strong biochemical rationale for the treatment of T2 diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. (7)
• Antidiabetic Potential / Glucose Uptake Stimulation: Study showed a reduction in high-fat diet increase in body weight, total cholesterol, and fatty liver, with improved fasting glucose level, blood insulin content, and glucose intolerance. (10)
• Phytoremediation / Cadmium: Ramie has great ability to tolerate and accumulate heavy metals. Study showed the feasibility of phytoremediation of Cd-contaminated farmland by ramie cultivars that have obtained cadmium accumulating capacity through screening and training. (11)
• GRP78 in inhibition of HBV secretion: Study of a root extract of B. nivea showed an inhibitory effect on blocking assembled virion secretion of HBV possibly through reduction of GRP78 (78-kDa glucose-regulated protein). (12)
• Antidiabetic / Antihyperlipidemic / Antioxidant / Roots: Study of evaluated an 80% methanolic extract of B. nivea root for antidiabetic, antihyperlipidemic and antioxidant effects in STZ-induced diabetes in male Wistar rats. Results showed significant reduction in fasting blood glucose and total cholesterol together with increased HDL, liver glycogen content, superoxide dismutase, with reduced glutathione and catalase levels. (14)
• Anti-Hepatitis B Virus Activity / Leaves / Human HepG2 Cells: Study evaluated the anti-HBV effects of BNL extract in HepG2.2.15 cells transfected with human HBV DNA. Results showed reduction in the secretion of HBsAg and HBeAg in HepG2.2.15 cells. There was also a significant decrease in the content of HBV DNA in the medium secreted by the HepG2 cells. Among the fractions the CF and EAF exhibited the most potent anti-HBV activity. (15)
• Ramie Pollen Induced Asthma: Ramie has been established to be a cause of asthma. The rate of positive reactions to ramie in intradermal tests was 11.7% among adult asthmatic patients in the Nagasaki area. Ramie pollen-specific IgE antibodies were measured by ELISA, with the positive provocation test group showing higher O.D. values than the positive intradermal test group (p < 0.05). In cross-reactivity study, results ramie may be a new independent allergen. (16)
• Flavonoids / Leaves: Study evaluated the flavonoid content of leaves of Boehmeria nivea. The content of epicatechin, epicatechin gallate, and rutin was highest in the leaves. In commercial products, epicatechin and epicatechin gallate was highest in ramie tea. (18)