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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the medical herb sambong.
Blumea balsamifera
Sambong (Blumea balsamifera)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Inuleae
Genus: Blumea
Species: B. balsamifera
Binomial name
Blumea balsamifera

Blumea balsamifera is a flowering plant belonging to the Asteraceae family and Blumea genus that is used as an herbal treatment for the common cold and as a diuretic in Philippines medicine, where is it most commonly known as sambong.[1][2][3] It is also used in Thai and Chinese folk medicines.

The genus Blumea is found in the tropical and sub-tropical zones of Asia, especially the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Blumea balsamifera is one of its species that is used in Southeast Asia. A weed, this plant is a ruderal species that often grows on disturbed land,[1] and in grasslands.[3] It has been described physically as:

Softly hairy, half woody, strongly aromatic shrub, 1-4 meters (m) high. Simple, alternate, broadly elongated leaves, 7-20 cm long, with toothed margin and appendaged or divided base. Loose yellow flower head scattered along much-branched leafy panicles. Two types of discoid flowers: peripheral ones tiny, more numerous, with tubular corolla; central flowers few, large with campanulate corolla. Anther cells tailed at base. Fruit (achene) dry, 1-seeded, 10-ribbed, hairy at top.
Sambong listing at Stuart X Change list of Medicinal plants [1]


Use in the Philippines

In most of the Philippines, B. balsamifera is called sambong (pronounced with pure vowels as sahm-BOHNG) in the Tagalog language, but in Visayas it is known as bukadkad, and in Ilocos it is sometimes called subsob, subsub, or sobsob.[1][4][3] Its primary uses are as a diuretic (or "water pill") and to treat symptoms of the common cold.[4][3][2] As a diuretic, sambong is an herb used to treat urolithiasis (urinary tract or kidney stones) and urinary tract infections,[2] and thus reduces high blood pressure.[4] Sambong works as an expectorant, an anti-diarrheal and an anti-spasmotic, all of which treat some symptoms of the common cold.[1][4][3][2] It is also sometimes used as an astringent for wounds.[1][4] It is approved by the Philippine Department of Health, Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care,[4] and by the Bureau of Plant Industries of the Department of Agriculture.[2]

Note that no claim has been made by any responsible practictioner that it would cure the common cold or kidney disease, and has "No Approved Therapeutic Claims"; rather the only legitimate claim is that it relieves symptoms.[2][3]

The active ingredients exist in the volatile oil, made from the leaves of the sambong, which have mostly camphor and limonene, but also has traces of borneol, saponin, sesquiterpene, and tannin.[1][3]

Sambong is available as a tea, and may be purchased commercially.[3][2] The tea has a woody taste, with hint of menthol, described on an official Government of Philippines website as "a strong camphoraceous odor and a pungent taste."[3]

Uses elsewhere in Asia

In Thai folklore, it is called Naat (หนาด) and is reputed to ward off spirits.

It is also used in traditional Chinese medicine and in folk medicine in Malay and India.[3]

Besides its medicinal uses, it may also be used as a decorative dry plant.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Sambong listing at Stuart X Change list of Medicinal plants. Accessed December 25, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Bernardo M. Villegas, "Business and Society: High-value crops," Manila Bulletin, November 29, 2009, found at Manila Bulletin. Accessed December 25, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bureau of Plant Industries of the Department of Agriculture of the Republic of Philippines Official government website. Accessed December 25, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Philippine Herbal Medicine website. Accessed December 25, 2009.


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Blumea balsamifera


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Euasterids II
Ordo: Asterales
Familia: Asteraceae
Subfamilia: Asteroideae
Tribus: Inuleae
Genus: Blumea
Species: Blumea balsamifera


Blumea balsamifera (L.) DC.


  • Prodr. 5:447. 1836 (type species)
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Data from 07-Oct-06]. [1]
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Blumea balsamifera on Wikimedia Commons.


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