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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.

- Cultivated for its flowers and used for making floral necklaces or the perfuming of clothes in storage. Also used to scent hair oils.

- 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, campbene, 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 (-)-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.
Aromatherapy: An ideal ingredient for aromatherapy products.

Perfume: Essential oil used in making highly prized perfume; also used in tea-perfuming.

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-elemen (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:
Study showed Michelia alba inhibited collagenase activity and UVB-induced MMPs. Michelia alba treatment may prevent UVB-induced extracellular matrix damage by inhibiting expression of MMP-1 and MMP-3. Study suggests an 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. Michelia alba was one of four that showed strongest antibacterial activity. (12)

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. (14)

- Cultivated
- Wild-crafted.

- Flowers and seeds in the cybermarket.

Last Updated 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 : 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 4
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):5241-7 / doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2010.05.045. Epub 2010 May 24.
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):398-406
Antimicrobial Activity of Essential Oils Against Five Strains of Propionibacterium acnes / S. Luangnarumitchai, S. Lamlertthon,* and W. Tiyaboonchai / Mahidol University—Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Michelia alba flower / TCM: Traditional Chinese Medicine
Chemical and Cytotoxic Constituents from Michelia alba
/ Lee Yu Huang / Thesis

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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