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Family Magnoliaceae
Tsampakang puti
Michelia alba DC.

Bai lan hua

Scientific names  Common names 
Michelia alba DC. Champaka-puti (Tag.) 
Michelia longifolia var. racemosa Blume Tsampakang puti (Tag.) 
  White champaka (Engl.)
  White jade orchid tree (Engl.)
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 Quisumbing's Medicinal Plants of the Philippines.
Michelia alba DC. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Bai lan hua.
MALAYSIA: Cempaka putih.


Michelia alba is a small to medium-sized tree, growing to a height of 4 to 6 meters or more. Leaves are oblong, acuminate, up to 20 centimeters long, glossy green above, pale below. Flowers are white, elongated, bell-shaped, with thin, leathery, and narrow petals, emitting a strong sweet fragrance.

- Found in towns and cities in the Philippines.
- Ornamental cultivated for its flowers.

- Extraction of oil from M. alba by enfleurage method yielded a light yellow oil an aromatic oil with an odor similar to fresh flowers, with indole (1H) (35.5%) as its main composition. Steam distillation yielded a colorless oil with an odor similar to boiled M. alba flowers; its main component was linalool (66.92%). Hexane extraction yielded a transparent oil with a similar but more pungent odor similar to fresh flowers; its major compounds were 2-methyl butanoic acid and linalool (33.01% and 28.92%, respectively). (see study below) (2)
- GC/MS/DS analysis of essential oil obtained by steam-distillation of flowers yielded 24 constituents: methyl 2-methylbutyrate, camphene, β-pinene, α-phellandrene, β-myrcene, limonene, 1,8-cineole, ocimene, △3-carene, o-cymene, α-cubebene, cis-linalool oxide, α-ylangene, trans-linalool oxide, β-cubebene, linalool, cis-caryophyllene, β-selinerie, δ-cadinene, trans-carveol, methyl, eugenol, β-bisabolene, methyl isoeugenol, isoaristolene. (4)
- Study of flower essential oil for volatile compounds yielded 78 compounds representing 93-98% of overall volatiles identified. Thirty-three of the compounds were isoprenoids comprising 30-50% to total volatile compounds, the rest were fatty acid derivatives, benzenoid, phenylpropanoid and other hydrocarbon compounds. Major compounds were dihydrocarveol, linalool, butanoic acid-2-methyl, methyl ester and cyclohexane, 1-ethenyl-1-methyl-2,4-bis (1-methylethenyl). (5)
- Study of leaves yielded 21 pure substances, including aporphines, -anonaine, -norushinsunine, -ushinsunine, -N-acetylanonaine, oxoaporphines, liriodenine, oxoxylopine, sesquiterpene lactones, michelenolide, and costunolide. (8)
- Study of leaves yielded ten compounds: (-)-N-Formylanonaine (1), (-)-oliveroline (2), (+)-nornuciferine (3), lysicamine (4), (+)-cyperone (5), (+)-epi-yangambin (6), ficaprenol-10 (7), pheophytin a (8), aristophyll C (9) and michephyll A (10). (11)

- Bitter, pungent, warm.
- Studies have shown antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, tyrosinase inhibiting, anti-asthmatic, cytotoxic properties.

Parts used

Flowers, leaves.

- Infusion of flowers used as vaginal wash.
- In Chinese medicine, promotes the flow of qi; relieves cough.
- Used for cough, leucorrhea, abdominal distention, prostatitis, sunstroke.
Rituals / Ornamentals: Flowers are used as religious offerings or used in making garlands. Used for making floral necklaces.
Aromatherapy: An ideal ingredient for aromatherapy products.

Perfume: Essential oil used in making highly prized perfume; also used in tea-perfuming. Used to scent hair oils. Also used for perfuming of clothes in storage.

Aromatic Oil Extraction:
Study reports on the chemical constituents in M. alba flower oil extracted by steam distillation, hexane extraction, and enfleurage method. Study suggests flower oil extracted by enfleurage method, using developed buffalo fats, has a desirable quality of aromatic oil, which should meet the high demands of the aromatherapy market. (see constituents above) (2)
Extraction of Scents and Essential Oil:
Study reports on the extraction of scents and essential oils from M. alba with water, steam, water-steam distillation and cold enfleurage using palm stearin and hot enfleurage using palm oil, hexane and petroleum ether extractions. Yields of essential oil extractions ranged from 0.199 to 0.225%. By GC-MS analysis, linalool was the major component of oils, and indole, linalool, and phenylethyl alcohol were the major component of the absolutes. (3)
(-)-N-Formylanonaine / Human Tyrosinase Inhibitory / Antioxidant / Leaves:
Tyrosinase is the first and rate limiting enzyme in the synthesis of melanin pigments for coloring hair, skin, and eyes. Study isolated a natural product, (-)-N-formylanonaine from the leaves of M. alba. It was shown to inhibit mushroom tyrosinase with IC50 of 74.3 µM, with tyrosinase and melanin reducing activities in human epidermal melanocytes without apparent cytotoxicity to human cells. The compound also showed antioxidant activities on DPPH assay, reducing power and chelation of metal ions. (6)
Antimicrobial / Essential Oil / Flowers and Leaves: Study evaluated the chemical and biological properties of essential oils in fresh M. alba flowers and leaves. Linalool was the dominant leaf essential oil at 76.6%; other major leaf constituents were farnesol (5.5%), ß-elemene (3.7%) and nerodiol (2.2%). Flower and leaf extracts showed growth inhibition of tested bacteria; the least inhibited was Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Candida albicans was more susceptible to the leaf extract while Fusarium oxysporim was more susceptible to the dichlormethane flower extract. (7)
Inhibitory Effect on Matrix Metalloproteinases Expression / Application in Preventing Photoaging:
UV radiation from the sun can cause skin photoaging by inducing matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Study showed Michelia alba inhibited collagenase activity and UVB-induced MMPs. Results showed MA treatment may prevent UVB-induced extracellular matrix damage by inhibiting the expression of MMP-1 and MMP-3. Results suggest potential application in preventing photoaging. (9)
Antibacterial / Propionibacterium acnes / Essential Oil: Study evaluated the in vitro antibacterial activity of 22 essential oils from Thai medicinal plants against 5 strains of Propionibacterium acnes. Nineteen showed inhibitory activity on P. acnes growth. Michelia alba was one of four that showed strongest antibacterial activity and suggest potential as alternative treatment for acne. (12)
Cytotoxic Constituents / HeLa Cells / Leaves: 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. (14)
P-Glycoprotein Inhibition / Flowers:
Study evaluated flower extracts of four plants, J. sambac, M. siamensis, M. ferre. Michelia alba, and M. elengi for potential influence on metabolism and substance flow in the body. The extracts showed cytotoxicity towards CCRF-CEM leukemia cells in different degrees. Results showed the plants analyzed may be valuable in developing novel treatment strategies to overcome the blood-grain barrier and mutidrug resistance in tumor cells mediated by P-glycoprotein. (15) Flower Oil by Enfleurage Method: White champaka oil is a fragrant flower with gentle scent. The enfleurage method is believed to yield an aromatic oil closely similar to fresh flowers. GC-MS comparison of oil from various extractions showed the enfleurage method yielded a light yellow oil with similar odor to fresh M. alba flowers and main component of indole III (35.5%). Oil from steam distillation yielded a colorless oil with oder similar to boiled flowers rather than fresh ones, with major component of linalool (66.92%). In perfumery, indole is the natural compound that increases perceived odor strength and improves stability of other aromatic compounds in volatile oils. The M. alba flower oil extracted by enfleurage method, using buffalo fats, has a desirable quality of aromatic oil, which should meet high demands of the aromatherapy market. (16)
Antiasthmatic: Study on guinea-pig showed that M. alba 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. (17)
• Antifungal / Essential Oil in Vapor Phase: Study evaluated the effect of essential oil vapor on spore germination and mycelium growth of Aspergillus flavus on brown rice and possible extension of shelf life in storage. Results demonstrated good potential of M. alba vapor to control mold growth on the surface of brown rice. (18)
• Trypanocidal Constituents / Bark : An AcOEt extract of bark of M alba exhibited killing activity against Trypanosoma cruzi. Column chromatography yielded eight trypanocidal constituents: caryophyllene oxide (1), costunolide (2), dihydrocostunolide (3), parthenolide (4), dihydroparthenolide (5), 11,13-dehydrolanuginolide (6), santamarine (7), and a new monoterpene (8). The minimum lethal concentrations of the compounds against epimastigotes of T. cruzi were 61 μM, 7 μM, 27 μM, 0.04 μM, 0.78 μM, 0.16 μM, 25 μM, and 5 μM, respectively. (19)
• Cytotoxicity / Anti-Diabetic / Leaves: Study of an ethyl acetate extract and methanol extract of leaves showed toxicity against Artemia salina larvae. Both extracts showed an LD50 at concentration of 100 µg/L. The aqueous extract of leaves showed significant antidiabetic activity using Chinese hamster model. (20)
• Cytotoxicity and Genotoxicity Study / Leaves: Study evaluated the genotoxicity and toxicity of ethnomedicinal Philippine plants i.e., Michelia alba, M. alba, P. cablin, R. communis, C. fistula, R. elliptica, F. elliptica, and G. sepium using Vitotox assay. Dried leaves were used. Results showed the tested medicinal plants were not genotoxic nor cytotoxicm, except for P. cablin and R communis. (21)
• Protective Against UVB-Induced Photodamage: Study investigated the effects of M. alba extract on expression and activity of MMPs in human skin fibroblast cultures after UVB exposure. Results showed MAE treatment may prevent UVB-induced extracellular matrix damage by inhibiting the expression of MMP-1, MMP-3 and MMP-9 through the MAP kinase pathway. Findings suggest potential for an effective agent against UVB-induced photodamage. (22)

- Cultivated
- Wild-crafted.

- Flowers and seeds in the cybermarket

Updated August 2019 / July 2016

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Illustration / 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) / Magnolia × alba was first classified as Michelia Longifolia [sic] (BLUME, 1829) / Public Domain / Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Michelia alba / Synonyms / The Plant List
Comparison of the Chemical Constituents in Michelia alba Flower Oil Extracted by Steam Distillation, Hexane Extraction and Enfleurage Method / Worraruethai Pensuk, Tanit Padumanonda, Chayan Pichaensoonthon / Journal of Thai Traditional & Alternative Medicine, Vol 5, No 1, Jan-Apr 2007
Scented Extracts and Essential Oil Extraction from Michelia alba D.C. / Putthita Punjee, Uraiwan Dilokkunanant, Udomlak Sukkatta*, Srunya Vajrodaya, Vichai Haruethaitanasan, Potechaman Pitpiangchan and Prapassorn Rakthaworn / Kasetsart J. (Nat. Sci.) 43: pp 197-203 (2009)
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 4tyrosin(5)
Volatile compounds of essential oil from different stages of Michelia alba (cempaka putih) flower development / S. Sanimah, R. Suri, R. Nor Azizun, A. Hazniza, M. Radzali, I. Rusli and M.D. Hassan / Journal Trop. Agric. and Fd. Sc. 36(1) 2008: 109-119
(-)-N-Formylanonaine from Michelia alba as a human tyrosinase inhibitor and antioxidant.
/ Wang HM, Chen CY, Chen CY, Ho ML, Chou YT, Chang HC, Lee CH, Wang CZ, Chu IM. / Bioorg Med Chem. 2010 Jul 15;18(14):pp 5241-7 / doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2010.05.045.
Chemical constituents and biological activities of essential oil from chempaka (Michelia alba de candolle). / Abu Shah, Nor'aishah (2013) / PhD thesis, Universiti Putra Malaysia.
Chemical constituents from the leaves of Michelia alba
/ Chen, C. Y.; Huang, L. Y.; Chen, L. J.; Lo, W. L.; Kuo, S. Y.; Wang, Y. D.; Hsieh, T. / Chemistry of Natural Compounds; Jan2008, Vol. 44 Issue 1, p137
Inhibitory effects of Michelia alba on matrix metalloproteinases expression: Application in preventing photoaging / Kuo-Ching Wen / Division of Agricultural & Food Chemistry / The 238th ACS National Meeting, Washington, DC, August 16-20, 2009
Magnolia x alba / Wikipedia
CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS FROM THE LEAVES OF MICHELIA ALBA. / Hui-Min Wang, Wen-Li Lo, Lee-Yu Huang, Yau-Der Wang, Chung-Yi Chen / Nat Prod Res., 2010 Mar; 24(5): pp 398-406 / DOI: 10.1080/14786410802394132
Antimicrobial Activity of Essential Oils Against Five Strains of Propionibacterium acnes / S. Luangnarumitchai, S. Lamlertthon,* and W. Tiyaboonchai / Mahidol University—Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2007; 34(1-4): pp 60-64.
Michelia alba flower / TCM: Traditional Chinese Medicine
Chemical and Cytotoxic Constituents from Michelia alba
/ Lee Yu Huang / Thesis
Cytotoxicity and inhibition of P-glycoprotein by selected medicina lplants from Thailand / Chanai Noysang, Anne Mahringer, Maen Zeino, Mohamed Saeed,Omboon Luanratana, Gert Fricker, Rudolf Bauer, Thomas Efferth / Journal of Ethnopharmacology , August 2014; 155(1): pp 633-641 / https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2014.06.001

Comparison of the Chemical Constituents in Michelia alba Flower Oil Extracted by Steam Distillation, Hexane Extraction and Enfleurage Method / Worraruethai Pensuk, Tanit Padumanonda, Chayan Pichaensoonthon / Journal of Thai Traditional & Alternative Medicine, Jan-Apr 2007; 5(1)
Experimental Study on Antiasthmatic Action of Kechuanbiwenan(Flower of Michelia Alba DC ,Herba Ephedrac) / Luo Qifu / DOI: CNKI:SUN:ZCYA.0.1995-03-016
Antifungal activity of Michelia alba oil in the vapor phase and the synergistic effect of major essential oil components against Aspergillus flavus on brown rice / Sumethee Songsamoe, Narumol Matan, Nirundorn Matan / Food Control, July 201; 77: pp 150-157 / https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2017.02.010
Trypanocidal constituents from Michella alba / Mohd Razip Asaruddin, G Honda, A Tsubouchi, Fumiyuki Kiuchi et al /
Screeing for cytotoxicity and anti-diabetic studies on michelia alba / UNIMAS Institutional Repository
Evaluation of cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of some Philippine medicinal plants / Christine Chichico-Hernandez. Jakub Wudarski et al / Pharmacogn Mag., 2011 Apr-Jun; 7(26): pp 171-175 / doi: 10.4103/0973-1296.80683 / PMID: 21716927
Michelia alba extract attenuates UVB-induced expression of matrix metalloproteinases cia MAP kinase pathway in human dermal fibroblasts / Chiang HM, Chen HC, Lin TJ, Shih IC, Wen KC / Food Chem Toxicol., 2012; 50(12): pp 4200-4209 /

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)

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