Name derives from Platycadus meaning "broad or flattened shoots" and orientalis referring to its native habitat, China. Arbor vitae is Latin for "tree of life."
Oriental arbor-vitae is a small, slow growing tree, growing to a height of 15 to 20 meters, the trunk about 0.5 meters in diameter, up to 2 meters in very old trees. Stems are multiple. Bark is thin, reddish brown and peeling in longitudinal strips. Branches are ascending, ramified in a vertical plane. Leaves are decussately opposite, scale-like, 2 millimeters long, tightly appressed. Male cones are terminal, 2 to 3 millimeters long; female cones are axillary, oblong, 20 to 25 millimeters by 10 to 18 millimeters, with fleshy scales. Seeds are ovoid, flattened, 5 to 7 by 3 to 4 millimeters, and wingless. (9)
It is similar to Thuja occidentalis in general appearance, but has upright cones and thickened scales.
- Planted in gardens in the Philippines.
- Native to China.
- Widely naturalized from east Asia to Korea and Japan, south to northern India and west to northern Iran.
- Often planted as ornamental or as hedge plant.
Essential oil of leaves and fruits yielded a-pinene, sabinene, 3-carene, limonene, and cedrol as major components.
- Defatted ethanol extract of leaves and fruits were rich in flavonoids and tannins.
- Hydrodistilled essential oils of fresh fruits and leaves yielded 24 and 21 compounds respectively. Major components were a-pinene, a-phellandrene, a-terpinene, and camphene in fruit oil, and a-pinene, benzyl benzoate, caryophyllene and a-cedrol in leaf oil.
- Leaf extract yield pinusolide, a labdane-type diterpene, and pinusolidic acid.
- Flavonoid constituents are rutin, quercitrin, quercitrin, amentoflavone.
- Study on chemical composition of leaves and fruit oils yielded 23 constituents (97.8 %) with major constituents viz. α-pinene (35.2%, 50.7%), α-cedrol (14.6%, 6.9%) and Δ-3-carene (6.3%, 13.8%), respectively. (see study below) (10)
- Study of hydrodistilled essential oil of fresh leaves yielded 32 compounds representing 96.62% of total oil identified. The main constituents were IR-α-pinene (15.92%), α-caryophyllene (10.42%), trans-ß-ocimene (8.71%), limonene (8.25%), and patchoulane (7.46%). Oil was rich in monoterpene hydrocarbons (55.04%), followed by sesquiterpene hydrocarbons (28.96%), among others. (23)
- Phytochemical screening of dried leaves yielded alkaloids, tannins, flavonoid, terpenoid, cardiac glycosides, sterols, and anthraquinones. (23)
- Hydrodistillation and GC/MS study of fresh leaves for essential oil yielded 22 compounds representing 94.0% of total oil. Major constituents were α-pinene (29.2%),
Δ-3-carene (20.1%), α-cedrol (9.8%), caryophyllene (7.5%), α-humulene (5.6%), limonene (5.4%), α-terpinolene (3.8%) and α-terpinyl acetate (3.5%). (see study below) (29)
- GC-MS study for volatile oils of leaves and fruits yielded 26 compounds (92.9%) and 23 constituents (97.8%) in the leaf and fruit oils, respectively. Major compounds of both leaves and fruit oils were α-pinene (35.2%, 50.7%), α-cedrol (14.6, 6.9%), and Δ-3-carene (6.3%, 13.8%), respectively. (see study below) (33)
- Traditionally considered diuretic, anticancer, anticonvulsant, stomachic, stomachic, antipyretic, analgesic, anthelmintic.
- In Chinese medicine, considered blood-cooling and hemostatic.
Leaves, fruits, essential oils.
- No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- In Reunion, used mainly as antirheumatic: cones crushed and soaked in alcohol for 2 to 3 days, and the extract rubbed on painful joints. Decoction of small branches used for varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and menopausal problems. Also used for fever and to treat gastric ulcers. (32)
- Used to treat scurvy, bronchial catarrh, cystitis, enuresis, psoriasis, amenorrhea, rheumatism, uterine carcinomas.
- In Mauritius, decoction of branches and leaves used for throat inflammation, fever, influenza.
- In traditional Chinese medicine, leaves used as stomachic, refrigerant, diuretic, tonic and antipyretic. Leaves used to treat coughs, excessive mucus secretion, chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis and asthma. (32)
- In Indo-China, ground leaves used as emmenagogue and antitussive; seeds as tonic, sedative, tranquilizer, and aphrodisiac. Decoction of twigs used for dysentery, skin infections, and cough. (9)
- In East Asia, Thuja orientalis has been traditionally used for baldness and hair loss.
- In Iran, used for pain and inflammation.
- In Chinese traditional medicine, leaf extract used for antibacterial properties and for hair restoration. (28)
- Fragrance: Used as fragrance in the manufacture of cosmetics and soaps.
- Timber: Used for gateposts and furniture.
- Ritual: Tree held in high mystical esteem in Chinese folklore; planted within tombs of ancient emperors; seeds placed in caskets. (14)
• Essential Oil / Antimicrobial: Study screened the essential oils of fresh fruits and branchlets with leaves of P. orientalis for bacteriostatic and fungistatic activities. Essential oil of leaves had no antimicrobial activity, while the essential oil from fruit showed modest and slightly antimicrobial activity against B. subtilis, C. albicans, E. coli, and S, aureus. Major constituents were a-pinene, sabinene, 3-carene, limonene, and cedrol. (3)
• Essential Oil / Insecticidal: Study evaluated the essential oil of leaves and fruits from oriental arborvitae against adults of cowpea weevil (C. maculatus), rice weevil (S. oryzae) and red flour beetle (T. castaneum). Major component of both leaves and oils were α-pinene, α-cedrol, and Δ-3-carene. Results showed leaf oils were more toxic than fruit oils against the three species of insects. (4) Study was done on the fumigant toxicity of essential oils of leaves and fruits of P. orientalis against the adults of cigarette beetle, Lasioderma serricorne. Results showed fumigant toxicity with the leaf oil showing more toxicity than fruit oils. (see constituents above) (10)
• Essential Oil / Diuretic / Antioxidant: Essential oil of fruits and leaves were tested for diuretic activity. Results showed an increase in urinary excretion, rise in sodium excretion, with hypokalemia. Oils of both leaves and fruit restored reduced levels of glutathione in alloxan-diabetic rats, showing antioxidant activity comparable to that of vitamin E.
• Anthelmintic / Leaves: Ethanol extract of leaves of P. orientalis was investigated for anthelmintic activity against Pheretima posthuma. The extract exhibited significant dose-dependent anthelmintic activity comparable to piperazine citrate. (6)
• Antipyretic: (1) Ethanol extract of leaf showed antipyretic effect in induced fever in albino rabbits. Effect comparable with standard aspirin. (2) Alcoholic extract of leaf showed dose-dependent antipyretic activity by Brewer's yeast-induced pyrexia in rats.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Total flavonoids isolated from P. orientalis showed significant anti-inflammatory effect in inflammatory rat models induced by dimethylbenze and carrageenan. Activity was attributed to decreasing the content of PGE2 and NO.
• Antiproliferative: Study of leaf essential oil showed cytotoxic activity on renal adenocarcinoma cell line and against amelanotic melanoma.
• Antioxidant / Antibacterial / Leaves: Study showed of a methanol:distilled water extract of leaves showed highest antioxidant effect in a DPPH assay while crude extracts showed significant inhibitory activity against both gram positive and gram negative bacteria. (8)
• Hair Growth-Promoting Activity: Study evaluated the hair growth-promoting activity of Thuja orientalis hot water extract and its underlying mechanism of action. Extract was applied topically to shaved dorsal skin of telogenic C57BL/6N mice to study the induction of the hair follicle cycle. Results showed promotion of hair growth by induction of anagen phase. Immunochemical analysis reveals earlier induction of -catenin and Shh proteins in hair follicles of the extract-treated group. Results suggest a potential as hair growth-promoting agent. (12)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Blocking of NF-ikB and p38 MAPK: Study showed the methylene chloride fraction of Thuja orientalis potentially inhibits biomarkers (LPS-induced iNOS, COX-2 protein, TNF--α and IL-6) related to inflammation in vivo and in vitro, and may be a potential candidate for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. (13)
• Pinusolide / Anti-Platelet: Pinusolide, a labdane-tye diterpene, and pinusolidic acid have been isolated from leaf extracts. Pinusolide is a potent platelet-activating factor (PAF) antagonist. In mice, study suggested value in the treatment of hypotension and pinusolide analogues with a potential as PAF specific antagonist. (9)
• Anti-Inflammatory: Chloroform fractions and pure compounds were evaluated for their ability to inhabit pro-inflammatory enzymes in vitro, and production of TNF-α and nitric oxide lipopolysaccharide stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages. Results showed anti-inflammatory activity probably through the inhibitory effects of the CHL and its components (hinokiol and acacetin) on 5-lipoxygenase. (14)
• Diuretic / Leaves: Study evaluated aqueous and alcoholic extracts of Platycadus orientalis leaves for diuretic activity in rats. Results showed increase in urine volume, cation and anion excretion. Furosemide was used as reference drug, (17)
• Antipyretic / Leaves: Study evaluated an alcoholic extract of leaf of Platycladus orientalis for antipyretic activity on Brewer's yeast-induced pyrexia in rats. Results showed significant dose dependent antipyretic activity (p<0.05) (18)
• Antihyperlipidemic / Antioxidant in Diabetic Rats: Study evaluated the antihyperlipidemic, antioxidant activity of aqueous extracts of P. orientalis in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Results showed potent antihyperlipidemic activity in hyperglycemic rats along with good antioxidant activity and suggests a potential for use in treating diabetic complications of hyperlipidimia. (19)
• Antidiarrheal Activity: Study evaluated iridoid glycosides isolated from a bioactive fraction for antidiarrheal activity against various experimental models. Extract inhibited castor oil-induced diarrhea and PGE-2 induced enteropooling in rats and also reduced gastrointestinal motility after charcoal meal administration. (20)
• Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated T. orientalis water and alcohol extracts for reducing power, total phenolic content, DPPH scavenging activity, inhibitory effect on Fe induced DNA damage and inhibitory effect on RBC hemolysis. Results showed the extracts are rich source of natural antioxidants and can protect DNA and human red blood cells against free radical induced oxidative damage. (21) Stems: In a study of extracts of stem powder, a methanol extract exhibited good scavenging response of 74.3%, 59.51%, and 0.997% in DPPH, chelating power, and reducing power assay, respectively. (27)
• Antibacterial: Chloroform:methanol (1:1 v/v) extract of strobilus of Thuja orientalis has potential to act as a novel source of antibacterial agent. The strobilus extract showed remarkable antimicrobial activity against test fish pathogenic bacteria. (22) Study evaluated the antibacterial activity of Thuja leaf extracts against gram positive (S. aureus and Streptococcus spp.) and gram negative ( E. coli and P. aeruginosa) bacteria. The leaf extract yielded oleoresin which showed distinct antibacterial activity against all four isolates (37)
• Cytotoxicity / Leaves: Study of leaves yielded to new stereoisomers (1,2) and seven known compounds. Compounds 1,2 and 4-9 were evaluated for cytotoxicity against A549 (non-small cell lung adenocarcinoma), SK-OV-3 (ovarian cancer cells), A498 (renal cell carcinoma) and HCT-15 (colon cancer cells) human tumor cell lines. (24)
• Inhibition of TNF-α-Induced Vascular Inflammation: An aqueous extract of T. orientalis was found to exhibit anti-inflammatory activity in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). Study showed the extract can suppress TNF-α-induced inflammatory process possibly through inhibition of ROS and NF-kB activation, in HUVEC. (25)
• Antinociceptive / Leaves: Study evaluated polyphenolic and total extract of leaves of P. orientalis for antinociceptive effect in mice using acetic acid-induced writhing, formalin and light tail flick tests. Results suggest the extracts have moderate analgesic effects. (26)
• Suppression of Sebum / Stimulation of Hair Growth: Study investigated the mechanism of hair restoration by BO leaf extract via sebum suppresant effect and hair loss prevention. BOLE showed a sebum depletion effect in cultured sebocytes. A hair growth plant ethanol extract showed a growth promotion/hair restoration effect and a sebum suppression effect. (28)
• Fungitoxic / Natural Biocide / Essential Oil: Hydrodistillation and GC/MS study of fresh leaves for essential oil yielded 22 compounds representing 94.0% of total oil. The essential oil showed antifungal activity against Alternaria alternata. Results indicated need for application of natural biocides in the field and during post-harvest storage. (29)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Analgesic / Fruit: Study of Thuja orientalis aqueous methanolic fruit extract in albino rats using carrageenan-induced paw edema, acetic acid induced writhing test and hot plate methods showed significant anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. (30)
• Toxicity Against Stored-Product Beetles / Toxicity / Essential Oil / Leaves and Fruits: Study investigated the fumigant toxicity of essential oils of leaves and fruits from P. orientalis against adults of cowpea weevil (Callosobruchus maculatus), rice weevil (Sitophilus oryzae), and red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum). On testing for fumigant toxicity, leaf oils showed more toxicity than fruit oils against the three species of insects. Results suggest potential for P. orientalis oils as control agent against C. maculatus, S. oryzae, and T. castaneum. (see constituents above) (33)
• Comparative Antioxidant and Anticancer Actiity / Essential Oi of Aerial Parts: Comparative study evaluated the essential oil of flowering aerial parts growing in Saudi Arabia and Egypt for anitoxidant activity by DPPH radical scvenging method and cytotoxic activity against different tumor cell lines ( MCF-7, breast cancer; PC3, human prostate cancer; HCT116, human colon carcinoma; A549, lung carcinoma, HepG2, liver carcinoma) by MTT method. The essential oils were very rich in phellandrene, terpenyl acetate and ß-caryohyllene. EO extracted from Saudi plant exhibited higher antioxidant activity and also highest cytotoxic activities against MCF-7, followed by PC3 and HepG2. (34)
• Hepatoprotective / Aerial Parts: Study evaluated the hepatoprotective ability of Thuja orientalis petroleum ether and aqueous extracts against thioacetamide induced liver injury in rats. Results showed significant inhibition of elevated AST, ALPP, and ALT activities along with decrease inTP, albumin and globulin levels. (35)
• Antimicrobial / Anti-Biofilm / Preventive Potentia in Denta Diseases: Study evaluated the antimicrobial and anti-biofilm activities of methanol extracts of 37 Korean medicinal plants against dental pathogens S. mutans and C. albicans, which synergize their virulence to induced formation of plaque biofilm in the oral cavity. Among the 37, eight growth and inhibitory activities against the test bacteria. The methanol extracts of Camelia japonica and Thuja orientalis significantly inhibited the growth of both bacteria by over 76% and 83% in liquid media, respectively. Results suggest the two are potentially useful as antimicrobial and anti-biofilm agents in preventing dental disease. (36)
• Labdanes and Isopimaranes / Antiplasmodial: Study isolated six labdanes (1-6) and four isopimaranes (7-10), Compounds 7, 9, and 10 were new products. Compounds 1-9 and fframodial (11) were tested for in vitro antiplasmodial activity. All compounds exhibited weak (IC50 >25µM) in vitro antiplasmodial effect against Plasmodium falcifarum strain 3D7. At the same time, the compounds caused echinocytic or stomatocytic changes of the erythrocyte membrane structure, suggesting incorporation into the lipid bilayer. The antiplasmodial effect may be an indirect effect on the erythrocyte host cell. (38)
• Silver Nanoparticles: Study ireports on the green synthesis of silver nanoparticles using leaf extract of Thuja orientalis. Silver nitrate was used precursor. (39)
• Effect on Airway Inflammation and Allergic Asthma: Study evaluated the effects of TO on airway inflammation in ovalbumin (OVA)-induced allergic asthma and RAW264.7 murine macropahge cells. Results showed reduction of nitric oxide production and reduction of relative mRNA expression levels of iNOS, interleukin (IL)-6, cycloxygenase-2, MMP-9 and TNF-a in RAW264.7 cells stimulated with LPS. The TO also reduced inflammatory cell counts in BAL fluid and reduced airway hyperresponsiveness. The TO exerted anti-inflammatory effects in OVA-induced allergic asthma model, and in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 cells.
- Essential oils from leaves, seeds, cones and wood in the cybermarket.
- Dried herbal materials, dried leaves, extract granules traded from Asia.