Premna serratifolia L.

Last updated: 20 Jun 2016

Scientific Name

Premna serratifolia L.


Citharexylum paniculatum Poir. [Illegitimate], Cornutia corymbosa Burm.f., Gumira abbreviata (Miq.) Kuntze, Gumira attenuata (R.Br.) Kuntze, Gumira integrifolia Hassk. [Illegitimate], Gumira laevigata (Miq.) Kuntze, Gumira opulifolia (Miq.) Kuntze, Gumira truncata (Turcz.) Kuntze, Premna abbreviata Miq., Premna angustior (C.B.Clarke) Ridl., Premna arborea Farw. [Illegitimate], Premna attenuata R.Br., Premna benthamiana Domin, Premna corymbosa (Burm.f.) Schauer [Illegitimate], Premna gaudichaudii Schauer, Premna glabra A.Gray ex Maxim., Premna glycycocca F.Muell., Premna hircina Wall., Premna integrifolia Willd. [Illegitimate], Premna integrifolia L. [Illegitimate], Premna laevigata Miq., Premna littoralis King & Gamble, Premna media R.Br., Premna obtusifolia R.Br., Premna opulifolia Miq., Premna ovata R.Br., Premna sambucina Wall. ex Schauer, Premna spinosa Roxb., Premna subcordata Turcz., Premna truncata Turcz., Scrophularioides arborea G.Forst. [Invalid] [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Bebuas, bebuat [2]
English Headache tree [3]
China San xu xiu huang jing [3]
India Bhutbhairavi, Ganiari (Bengali); Arni, Narvel (Bombay); Agetha, Arni, Ustabunda (Hindi); Munna (Malayalam); Agnibijaka, Agnimantha, Ananta, Araniketu, Havirmantha, Jayanti, Jyotishka, Mathana, Nedyi, Pittamatam Tanutvaka, Tejomantha, Vaijayantika, Vanhimantha, Vanhimula (Sanskrit); Munnai, Pasumunnai (Tamil); Gabbunelli, Karnika, Nagura, Tukkadu (Telagu); Arani (Urdu). [4][5]
Thailand Chah leud [2]
Vietnam Cach nui, vong cach [3]
Japan Taiwan-no-kusagi [3]
Papua New Guinea Alowalo, kalokalo, karuwana, kiyar, niggrp, ninggrp, ningriek, tisibo [3]
France Arbre de la migraine [3]

Geographical Distributions

Premna serratifolia is found from Mauritius to Polynesia. In peninsular Malaysia, it occurs along the coasts. [2]

Botanical Description

P. serratifolia is a member of the Lamiaceae family. The plant is a shrub or small tree that reaches up to 3m high. The leaves are simple, oppositely placed with leaf blade that is ovate to oblong and measures up to 20cm long. The flowers are small, numerous in a widely branching panicles. They have white, sympetalous corolla that is four-lobed and 2-3mm long. The fruits are globose drupe 3-9mm in diametre. They are green turning black when ripen. [6]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

P. serratifolia has been reported to contain remnine; ganiarin; ganikarine; [4] beta-sitosterol; polyisopremoid; spermine alkaloids; aphelandrine; luteolin; botulin, premnazole [7]

Plant Part Used

Roof, leaf, bark, shoot [2]

Traditional Use

The entire plant is prescribed for constipation, internal obstruction and misperistalsis and piles. The plant can also be used to treat neuralgia, urinary diseases including renal calculi. A decoction of the whole plant is used to treat rheumatism, and abscess. “Dashamula” is also prescribed in cases of obstinate fever. [4][7][8][9]

A decoction of the leaves helps relieve flatulence and colic. For glandular enlargement and erysipelas, the Indians applied a paste made of bamboo leaves and leaves of P. serratifolia. In Tonga, the infusion of the leaves is rubbed onto the skin to treat skin inflammation. [4][6][7][8][9]

Traditionally the roots are laxative and a stomachic. They can also stimulate appetite in cases of indigestion and dyspepsia. Roots given internally can help to treat virulent skin diseases, consumption and swellings. The root bark mixed with clarified butter is taken orally for urticaria and other allergic conditions of the skin. The alkaline ashes is used to treat cutaneous diseases by topical application. [4][6][7][8][9]

Preclinical Data


Longevity promoting activity

Two major component of P. serratifolia are iridoids, 4-hydroxy-E-globularinin (4-HEG) and 10-O-trans-p-coumaroylcatalpol (OCC). These compounds showed longevity-promoting activity whereby it was found to enhance mean life-span of worm (Caenorhabditis elegans) by over 18.8% under normal culture conditions and also under oxidative stress situations. 4-HEG has the ability to upregulate stress-inducible gener hsp-16.2 and sod-3 while OCC was found to also ameliorate a-syn aggregation, reduce oxidative stress and promote longevity via activation of longevity promoting transcription factor DAF-16. [10][11]

Anti-inflammatory activity

The methanolic extract of the roots of P. serratifolia was tested for its anti-inflammatory activity against animal models, and it exhibited significant anti-inflammatory activity. This activity is probably mediated through its proven antihistaminic, antikinin, COX-inhibitory and antioxidant activities. [12]

Antidiabetic activity

In a screening for hypoglycaemic activity, P. serratifolia was amongst those that exhibit significant hypoglycaemic activity. [13]


No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Premna serratifolia  L.[homepage on the Internet] .c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Jun 20] Available from:
  2. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 2. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p. 258.
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012. p. 717.
  4. Chopra RN, Chopra IC. Indigenous drugs of India. Kolkata: Academic Publishers, 2006; p. 389-390.
  5. Priyadi H, Takao G, Rahmawati I, Supriyanto B, Nursal WI, Rahman I. Five hundred plant species in Gunung Halimun Salak National Park, West Java. Bogor Barat, Indonesia: Center for International Forestry Research, 2010; p. 104.
  6. Whistler WA. Tongan herbal medicine. Honolulu, Hawaii: Isle Botanica, 1992; p. 107.
  7. Khare CP. Indian medicinal plants: An illustrated dictionary. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2007; p. 516.
  8. Ainslie W. Materia Indica Volume 2. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green, 1826; p. 210-211.
  9. Khare CP. Indian herbal remedies: Rational Western therapy, Ayurvedic, and other. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2004; p. 380-381
  10. Shukla V, Yadav D, Phulara SC. Longevity-promoting effects of 4-hydroxy-E-globularinin in Caenorhabditis elegans. Free Radic Biol Med. 2012;53(10):1848-1856.
  11. Shukla V, Phulara SC, Yadav D. Iridoid compound 10-O-trans-p-Coumaroylcatalpol extends longevity and reduces alpha synuclein aggregation in Caenorhabditis elegans. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets.2012;11(8):984-992.
  12. Gokani RH, Lahiri SK, Santani DD. Evaluation of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of Premna integrifolia root. J Complement Integr Med. 2011;8.
  13. Kar A, Choudhary BK, Bandyopadhyay NG. Comparative evaluation of hypoglycaemic activity of some Indian medicinalin alloxan diabetic rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003;84(1):105-108.