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Family Proteaceae
Helicia robusta (Roxb.) R.Br. ex Wallich

Scientific names Common names

Helicia robusta (Roxb.) R.Br. ex Blume

Gulattan (Ifugao)
Roupala robusta Roxb. Lakot (Tag.)
Accepted infraspecifics Malaantigar (S.L.Bis.)
Helicia robusta var. integrifolia (Elmer) Sleumer Matabato (Bis.)
Helicia robusta var. robusta Salimai (Manobo)
  Saliomai-lakihan (Tag.)
  Salinsi (Tag.)
  Robust helicia (Engl.)
Helicia robusta (Roxb.) R.Br. ex Blume is accepted. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
INDONESIA: Kayu maributan, Kendung, Tidu, Watutu, Tulo-tulo.
KANNADA: Tegalamugu, Tegelamugu.
MALAYSIA: Jaring jaringan jawa, Medang keladi, Medang layang.
MIZO: Sialhma, Pasal-taka-za.
MYANMAR: Tauk yat.
THAILAND: Duei, Hang krakok, Niang-Krup, Meat khon.
VIETNAM: Cheo thui lon.

Gen info
- Helicia is a genus of 110 species of trees and shrubs, constituting part of the plant family Proteaceae.
- Many Helicia species have been threatened by extinction.
Sixteen species have been IUCB listed as "critically endangered", "endangered", "vulnerable", or "near threatened".

Robust helicia is a small tree, 6-11 m tall, bark pale brown; branches hairless. Flowers are borne in short racemes laterally or in leaf-axils. Rachis is 6-8 cm long. Bracts are minute, linear, fringed with hairs on margins. Flowers are dense, usually 2 or more for each bract; flower-stalks of pairs fused, 0.4-0.5 cm long. Flower tube is slender, 1-1.3 cm long, splitting into 4-lobes in full length and curled back. Stamens are 4, attached with a short filament to the blade of the lobe; anthers about 0.2 cm long, linear; connective produced to a short appendage. Ovary is 1-celled, ovules 2; style as long as perianth tube; stigma linear, thick. Leaves are 4-6 x 2-3.5 cm, elliptic-inverted-lanceshaped, slightly tapering at tip, narrowed at base, toothed on margins, sparsely hairy above, hairless below; veins ending in thickened glands at dentations; leaf-stalks 0.8-1 cm long, thickened at base. Drupe is spherical, 1-1.5 cm diam., green, 1-2 seeded. (2)

- Native to the Philippines.
- Also native to Assam, Bangladesh, Borneo, Cambodia, India, Jawa, Lesser Sunda Is., Malaya, Myanmar, Sumatera, Thailand, Vietnam.
- Grows primarily in wet tropical biome. (3)

- Study of leaves yielded total phenolic content (TPC) of 576.04 ±9.15 mg GAE/g DW. and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) of 363.28±1.88 mg AAE/g DW. (see study below) (5)
- Phytochemical screening of methanol extract yielded steroids, tannins, alkaloids, amino acids, flavonoids, glyycosides, and carbohydrates.
- Screening of petroleum ether extract of bark yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, amino acids, and steroids, with absence of tannins, carbohydrates, and glycosides, while methanol extract yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, amino acids, steroids, tannins, and carbohydrates, with absence of glycosides. (7)
- Quantitative study for phenolic compounds in methanolic extracts of bark yielded (100 mg/ml) ferulic acid   4.9, gallic acid 9.2, and lutein 20.1 (7)

- Studies have suggested antioxidant, antiulcerogenic properties.

Parts used
Bark, leaves.


- Young shoots cooked and eaten as vegetable.
- In Indonesia, young violet shoots are eaten raw as vegetable.
- No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- In Mizoram, India, decoction of bark and leaves used for treating stomachache and kidney problems.
- Bark used for treatment of colic/stomach ulcers, strengthening of uterine function.
(4) Bark use for colic and stomach ulcers, strengthening uterine function.
- The Mizo tribes in Champhai district of Mizoram, India, use leaf decoction to facilitate placental discharge, for stomach pains and kidney disorders.
- In the eastern Himalayas, bark used for treatment of gastric problems.
- Wood:
Heavy and hard, used for house construction and for shafts of axes.

Phenolic Content / Antioxidant / Leaves:
In a study of fresh leaves of eight plants, Helicia robusta showed highest TAC (total antioxidant capacity) with 363.28 mg/AAE/g DW. In DPPH and ABTS assays, H. robusta gave highest antioxidant levels with IC50s of 6.86 and 35.93 µg/mL, respectively. (see constituents above) (5)
Nanoparticles / Antiulcerogenic / Bark: Study reports on the use of H. robusta bark extracts as potent reducing agent for the synthesis of AgNPs and AuNPs. The NPs were tested against ethanol induced gastric ulcers in Wistar albino rats. Results showed gastroprotective effect in measures of ulcer index, % inhibition, and total acidity. On acute toxicity study, extract, Ag- and AuNPs did not produce mortality throughout the study period of 14 days even with limit dose maintained at 400 mg/kbw. (7)

Herbal teas and supplements in the cybermarket.

December 2022

                                                 PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
IMAGE SOURCE: Photo: Proteaceae- Helicia robusta / Inflorescences / Copyright © 2013 by P.B. Pelser & J.F.Barcelona (contact: pieter.pelser@canterbury.ac.nz) [ref. DOL76341] / Non-Commercial Use  / click on image to go to source page / Phytoimages.siu.edu
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photo: Proteaceae- Helicia robusta / Shoot with younger leaves / Copyright © 2013 by D.L. Nickrent (contact: nickrent@plant.siu.edu) [ref. DOL76341] / Non-Commercial Use  / click on image to go to source page / Phytoimages.siu.edu
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Illustration / Helicica robust [502922 ] / Flora Melesiana : Vol 5 (1955-1958) / contributed by New York Botanical Garden , USA / PlantIllustrations.org

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Helicia robusta / PROSEA: Plant Resoources of South-East Asia
Robust Helicia / Flowers of India
Helicia robusta / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Commonlyy used medicinal plants in N. Mualcheng, Mizoram, India
/ Lalbiakngheti Tlau, Lucy Lalawmpuii / Sciience Vision, 2020; 20(4): pp 156-161 / DOI: 10.33493/scivis.20.04.03

Phenolic Content and Biological Activities of Ethanol Extracts from Medicinal Plants in East Kalimantan, Indonesia / Franxisca Mariani, Rachaneekorn Tammachote, Sehanat Prasongsuk et al / Sains Malaysiana 2021; 50(8): pp 2193-2205 / DOI: 10.17576/jsm-2021-5008-05
Ethnomedicinal study of medicinal plants used by Mizo tribes in Champhai district of Mizoram, India / T B C Laldingliani, Nurpen Meitei Thangjam, R Zomuanawma, Awadesh Kumar et al /  J Ethnobiol Ethnomed., 2022; 18:22 / DOI: 10.1186/s13002-022-00520-0 / PMID: 35331291
Antioxidant potential of few selected medicinal plants of Mizoram and their anti-ulcer activity in induced albino rats / H. Lallawmawma / Thesis, 2013
Helicia / Wikipedia

DOI: 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. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants

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