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Family Rubiacea
Ixora chinensis Lam.
Shan dan

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 colei Gentil Chinese ixora (Engl.)
Ixora crocata Lindl. Jungle flame (Engl.)
Ixora dixiana Gentil  
Ixora dubia Schult.  
Ixora flammea Salisb.  
Ixora incarnata Roxb. ex Sm.  
Ixora kroneana (Miq.) Bremek.  
Ixora pallida Reinw.ex Miq.  
Ixora speciosa Willd.  
Ixora stricta Roxb.  
Pavetta arborea Blanco  
Pavetta chinensis (Lam.) Roem. & Schult.  
Pavetta koreana 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 name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CAMBODIA: Kam rontea
CHINESE: Mai zi mu.
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.

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.

- 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)
- 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)

Parts used
Flowers, roots, leaves.


- In the Philippines, infusion of fresh flowers, drunk ad libitum, is said to be good for incipient tuberculosis and for hemorrhage.
- Malays use decoction of root after childbirth.
- 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. (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.

© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Updated June 2018 / April 2014

Photos ©Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Ixora chinensis / No.73898
Ixora chinensis Lam. / Catalogue of Life, China 2011
Ixora chinensis / AgroForestryTree Database
Ixora chinensis / Synonyms / The Plant List
Ixora chinensis Lamk. Flower Extract Health Drink
/ Buavaroon Srichaikul / Journal of Advanced Research in Health and Nursing, Vol 1, Issue 5; May 2016
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
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, and CHENGSHENG LU / Asian Journal of Chemistry; Vol. 25, No. 4 (2013)
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.

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