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Family Rubiaceae
Ixora chinensis Lam.
Long chuan hua

Scientific names Common names
Bemsetia paniculata Raf. Santan (Bik., Tag.)
Gaertnera hongkongensis Seem. Santan-pula (Tag.)
Ixora blanda Ker Gawl. Santan-tsina (Tag.)
Ixora chinensis Lam. Needle flower (Engl.)
Ixora coccinea Curtis Chinese ixora (Engl.)
Ixora colei W.Bull Jungle flame (Engl.)
Ixora crocata Lindl.  
Ixora dixiana W.Bull  
Ixora dubia Schult. & Schult.f.  
Ixora flammea Salisb.  
Ixora incarnata Roxb. ex Sm.  
Ixora kroneana (Miq.) Bremek.  
Ixora pallida Reinw. ex Miq.  
Ixora rosea Sims  
Ixora speciosa Willd.  
Ixora stricta Roxb.  
Ixora stricta var. mekongensis Pierre ex Pit.  
Pavetta arborea Blanco  
Pavetta kroneana Miq.  
Pavetta stricta (Roxb.) Blume  
Sykesia hongkongensis (Seem.) Kuntze  
Tsiangia hongkongensis (Seem.) But, H.H.Hsue & P.T.Li  
In Quisumbing's compilation, both species of Ixora chinensis and Ixora coccinea share the local commons names (1) santan, and (2) santan-pula.
Quisumbing's compilation lists I. chinensis and I. coccinea as separate species while some compilations list them as synonyms.
Ixora chinensis Lam. is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
CAMBODIA: Kam rontea
CHINESE: Mai zi mu, Long chuan hua.
MALAY: Pechah priok.
THAILAND: Dauk chem.
VIETNAMESE: Dun trung quoc, B[ooj] trang d[or].

Gen info
- There are about 500 species in the genus Ixora. A few are in cultivation. There are numerous cultivars differing in flower color (yellow, pink, orange) and plant size. Several cultivars are dwarfs, under 3 feet. Other noteworthy ornamental santans: santan puti (Ixora finlaysoniana Wall), a shrub 2-4 m high, with white fragrant flowers; and Philippine santan (Ixora philippinensis Merr), a shrub or small tree, with white to pink flowers.
- Etymology: The genus name Ixora derives from a Sanskrit word "Ishvara" referring to "Shiva god". The specific epithet chinensis refers to China as country of origin.

• Santan-tsina is an erect, smooth shrub 1.5 to3 meters in height. Leaves are opposite, sessile, oblong-obovate to elliptic-oblong, 7 to 13 centimeters in length, pointed at both ends, and borne on short petioles. Flowers are many, crowded in dense, corymbose clusters, 6 to 12 centimeters in diameter, light orange- red, red, yellow or white. Calyx-teeth are short and obtuse. Corolla is pink or reddish, 2 to 2.5 centimeters long, with rounded lobes 5 to 7 millimeters in length.

• Shrubs, 0.8-2 m tall; branches glabrous. Leaves opposite, sometimes apparently in whorls of 4 due to reduced stem internodes, sessile or petiolate; petiole to 5 mm, glabrous; blade drying leathery, oblanceolate, oblong-oblanceolate, obovate, elliptic-oblong, or lanceolate, 6-18 × 3-6 cm, glabrous on both surfaces, base cuneate to shortly truncate or rounded, apex obtuse or rounded to acute; secondary veins 7-9 pairs; stipules persistent, united around stem to almost interpetiolar, triangular to broadly triangular, 3-7 mm, glabrous to glabrescent, costate, acute and with arista 2-10 mm. Inflorescence terminal, congested-cymose to congested-corymbiform, many flowered, puberulent to hirtellous, subsessile to pedunculate; peduncle to 1.5 cm, often subtended by 2 reduced leaves or leaflike bracts; branched portion 1-4 × 1-5 cm (not including corollas); bracts triangular, 0.2-1 mm; pedicels to 2 mm. Flowers subsessile to pedicellate. Calyx glabrous; hypanthium obconic to ovoid, 1-1.5 mm; limb deeply lobed; lobes triangular to ligulate, 0.5-1 mm, acute or obtuse. Corolla red or reddish yellow, outside glabrous; tube 20-30 mm, glabrous in throat; lobes ovate, elliptic, or broadly elliptic, 5-7 × 4-5 mm, broadly obtuse to rounded. Drupe reddish black, subglobose and shallowly didymous, 6-7 × 6-7 mm, glabrous. (Flora of China)

- Cultivated for ornamental purposes; nowhere established.
- Introduced to the Philippines at an early date.
- Occurs in India to southern China and is widely distributed in Malaya and other tropical countries.

- Roots yield an iridoid derivative called ixoside (1,8-dehydroxyforsythide).
- HPLC study of flower extract yielded high contents of rutin, caffeoylquinnic acid, chlorogenic acid, quercetin, iso-quercetin, and catechin. (5)
- Preliminary phytochemical screening of leaves yielded glycosides, steroids, flavonoids, triterpenoids, and alkaloids. Further investigated yielded ixorene (1) and oleanolic acid (2) from a petroleum ether extract; cathechin (3), quercetin 3-O-rhamnoside (4) and kaempferitrin (5) from an ethyl acetate extract; and rubiothiagepine (6) from an n-butanol extract. (6)
- Seed oil yields fatty acids: ixoric acid and crepenynic acid. (6)
- Study of Ixora chinensis for chemical constituents yielded seven compounds viz., D-mannitol (1), stearic acid (2), 1,5-cyclooctadiene (3), ß-sitosterol (4) (10E)-9-oxooctadec-10-en-12-ynoic acid (5), azelaic acid (6), and dihydromasticadienolic acid (7). (7)
- Study for chemical constituents by column chromatography yielded ten compounds, identified as β-sitosterol (1), 2α,3α-dihydroxyurs-12-en-28-oic acid(2) ,3-O-Acetyl-pomolic acid (3), 4-hydroxy cinnamic acid (4), chlorogenic acid (5), catechin (6),(-)-epicatechin (7), isorhamnetin(8), geniposide (9), andaucosterol (10). (10)

Parts used
Flowers, roots, leaves.


- A health drink formulated from a flower extract was found safe on acute toxicity testing in albino rats. It was found to contain high antioxidant ingredients. (see study below) (5)

- In the Philippines, infusion of fresh flowers, drunk ad libitum, is said to be good for incipient tuberculosis and for hemorrhage. (•) Decoction of roots used drunk for treatment of ulcers. (9)
- Malays use decoction of root after childbirth.
- Used for treatment of hypertension, bruises, wounds, abscesses, and rheumatism. Considered beneficial to the bone marrow and pregnant uterus. (6)
- In Indonesia, decoction of roots used for bronchial disorders; flower decoction used for amenorrhea and hypertension.
- Decoction used for urinary problems.

- In Vietnam, roots, stems, leaves, and flowers are used for irregular menses, high blood pressure, tuberculosis, hemoptysis, rheumatism, and acne.

Quisumbing's compilation and some others lists Ixora chinensis and I. coccinea as separate species while some compilations list them as synonyms. Click Santan for I. coccinea studies.
Anti-tumor: In a modified tumor promotion test, complete inhibition of all kinds of tumors was exhibited by decoctions of flowers of I. coccinea and I. chinensis.
Antioxidant Ingredients / Toxicity Study / Flower Extract Drink: Study showed all active ingredients from the flower extract sowed no statistical difference between macerating with water, 40% ethanol, 50% ethanol. Ultrasonication method was more convenient and decreased production time. The extract showed high antioxidant active ingredients. The flower extract drink was found safe by acute toxicity testing on albino vista rats at 2000 mg/kbw. Results suggest suitability for development of an anti-aging health drink. (5)
• Antioxidant:
Study evaluated the antioxidant activity of Ixora chinensis using three in vivo systems, including DPPH, ABTS radical scavenging assay and reducing power assay. All extracts exhibited outstanding scavenging effect on DPPH and ABTS radicals and possessed strong reducing power. Antioxidant activity was in the order of acetone > ethanol > ethyl acetate extract. (8)

- Wildcrafted.
- Tea drinks in the cybermarket.

Updated December 2023 / June 2018 / April 2014

Photos ©Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Ixora chinensis - flower / Fan Wen /CC BY-SA 4.0 International / Click on image or link to go to source page / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Flowers of Ixora chinensis / Billjones94 /CC BY-SA 4.0 International / Click on image or link to go to source page / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Ixora chinensis / Leon Levy Native Plant Reserve / Non-commercial use / Image modified / Click on image or link to go to source page / LEON LEVEY Native Plant Reserve
Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Ixora chinensis / No.73898
Ixora chinensis Lam. / Catalogue of Life, China 2011
Ixora chinensis / AgroForestryTree Database
Ixora chinensis / Synonyms / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Ixora chinensis Lamk. Flower Extract Health Drink
/ Buavaroon Srichaikul / Journal of Advanced Research in Health and Nursing, 2016; Vol 1, Issue 5
Extraction and Isolation of active constituents from Ixora chinensis Lam. leaves / Dontha Sunitha, Kamurthy Hemalatha, Bhagavan R Manthripragada and Nandakishora Chary / Der Pharma Chemica, 2015; 7(10): pp 434-441 / ISSN: 0975-413X
Study on chemical constituents from Ixora chinensis / REN Sai-sai, LUO Peng, PAN Wei-gao, LIANG Chen-yan, LI Yao-hua, ZHOU / Chinese Traditional and Herbal Drugs. 2012-11
Antioxidant Activity of Ixora chinensis / Rui Chen, Wei Su, Peiyuan Li, Lini Huo, Rumei Lu, Chengsheng Lu / Asian Journal of Chemistry; 2013; 25(4): pp 2323-2324 / DOI: 10.14233/ajchem.2013.13203
Ixora chinensis / Philippine Traditional Knowledge Digital Library of Health
Research on the Chemical Constituents of Ixora chinensis / Wang Xi, Fan Wen Chang / Asia-Pacific Traditional Medicine, 2018; Issue 7: pp 55-57

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
                                          New plant names needed
The compilation now numbers over 1,300 medicinal plants. While I believe there are hundreds more that can be added to the collection, they are becoming more difficult to find. If you have a plant to suggest for inclusion, native or introduced, please email the info: scientific name (most helpful), local plant name (if known), any known folkloric medicinal use, and, if possible, a photo. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

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