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Family Magnoliceae
Michelia alba DC.

Bai yu lan

Scientific names Common names
Michelia alba DC. Tsampakang-puti (Tag.)
Michelia longifolia Banana shrub (Engl.)
  White champaca (Engl.)
  Bai yu lan (Chin.)
Some compilations list two species of champaka, both of Genus Michelia: (1) Tsampakang puti (Michelia longiflora, M. alba, M. longifolia), and (2) Tsampakang pula (Michelia champaca). The latter is included in Dr. Quisumbing's Medicinal Plants of the Philippines.

Tsampakang-puti is a small tree, up to 10 meters high. Leaves are oblong, acuminate, up to 20 cm long, glossy, dark green above, pale below. Flowers are white and fragrant; the petals, thin, leathery and narrow.

Ornamental cultivation.
Found in towns and cities in the Philippines.

- Volatile oil, 0.0125% - linalool, methyl eugenol, methy ethyl-- acetic ester, acetic acid.
- Study isolated ten compounds from the leaves: (-)-N-formylanonaine, (-)-oliveroline, (+)-nornuciferine, lysicamine, (+)-cyperone, (+)-epi-yangambin, ficaprenol-10, pheophytin a, aristophyll C and michephyll A.

Parts used


- Infusion of flowers used as vaginal wash.
- Perfume: Essential oil from flowers used in perfumery; also for tea-perfuming.

Antioxidant / Human Tyrosinase Inhibitor:
Tyrosinase is the first and rate limiting enzyme in the synthesis of melanin pigments for coloring of the hair, skin and eyes. Study yielded a natural product, (-)-N-formylanonaine, from the leaves of Michelia alba. The compound exhibited antioxidant activities and showed tyrosinase and melanin reducing activities in human epidermal melanocytes without apparent toxicity to human cells.
Phytochemicals / Antioxidant / Michephyll A: Study yielded 10 compounds from the leaves, including michephyll A, a new compound with antioxidant activity.
Antibacterial: Study of 22 essential oils fro Thai medicinal plants against 5 strains of Propionibacterium acnes showed 19 with inhibitory activity on P acnes growth, and four, including michelia oil, with the strongest antibacterial activity. The essential oils suggest a possible alternative treatment for acne.
Essential Oil Constituents: Essential oil yielded 24 constituents: campbene, β-pinene, α-phellandrene, β-myrcene, limonene, 1,8-cineole, ocimene, 3-carene, o-cymene, α-cubebene, trans-linalool oxide, β-cubebene, linalool, cis-caryophyllene, β-selin- erie, trans-carveol, methyl, eugenol, β-bisabolene, methyl isoeugenol, isoaristolene, among others.
Photoaging Prevention: UV radiation from the sun can cause skin photoaging by inducing matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Study investigated M. alba's polyphenols for protective activity. Results showed MA treatment may prevent UVB-induced extracellular matrix damage by inhibiting the expression of MMP-1 and MMP-3.
Antiasthmatic: Study on guinea-pig showed that MA flowers can antagonize tracheal spasm induced by histamine or acetylcholine, increase perfusion flow and prolong the incubation period of induced asthma and relax asthma symptoms.
Cytotoxic Constituents: Study of methanol extract of leaves of M. alba yielded one new chlorophyll, michephyll A (a novel furanone) and 28 known compounds. (-)-anonaine was the major constituent and showed cytotoxicity against HeLa cells.

Leaf essential oil and flower oil in the cybermarket.

Last Update July 2011

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
IMAGE SOURCE: Public Domain / File:Michelia longifolia from Blume Flora Javae.jpg / Lithographed, hand-coloured image of Michelia longifolia Blume. Plate II in C.L. Blume, Flora Javae, pars 19-20 Magnoliaceae (1829). / Carl Ludwig Blume, drawing by Latour et Sixtus / Courtesy of Groningen University Library staff / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(−)-N-Formylanonaine from Michelia alba as a human tyrosinase inhibitor and antioxidant / Hui-Min Wang, Chung-Yi Chen et al /
Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, Vol 18, Issue 14, 15 July 2010, Pages 5241-5247 / doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2010.05.045 |
Chemical constituents from the leaves of Michelia alba / Hui-Min Wang, Wen-Li Lo et al / Natural Product Research, Volume 24, Issue 5 March 2010 , pages 398 - 406 / DOI: 10.1080/14786410802394132
Antimicrobial Activity of Essential Oils Against Five Strains of Propionibacterium acnes / S Luangnarumitchai et al / Mahidol University Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 2007; 34(1-4): 60-64.
A Preliminary Study on the Chemical Constituents of the Essential Oil of Michelia alba Dc.
/ Zhu Liang-feng, Lu Bi-yao and Xu Dan / Acta Botanica Sinica Volume 24 Issue 4 / Journ of Integrative Plant Biology
Inhibitory effects of Michelia alba on matrix metalloproteinases expression: Application in preventing photoaging / Kuo-Ching Wen et al / AGFD 150
Experimental Study on Antiasthmatic Action of Kechuanbiwenan(Flower of Michelia Alba DC ,Herba Ephedrac) / Luo Qifu / DOI: CNKI:SUN:ZCYA.0.1995-03-016
Chemical and Cytotoxic Constituents from Michelia alba / Lee Yu Huang / Thesis

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