Premna tomentosa Willd.

Last updated: 20 Jun 2016

Scientific Name

Premna tomentosa Willd.


Premna cordata Blanco, Premna flavescens Juss., Premna latifolia Thwaites [Illegitimate] [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Bebuas, piat, sarang burung, tembaroh, kayu sarang burung [2]
English Bastard teak [3]
India Naguru [4][5], bije, chambara, cummotakam, eeje mara, eesha, hije, ichu, ije, iji, ishe, kampugumudu, madike, malaithaekku, narava, suundi [3]

Geographical Distributions

Premna tomentosa is found in regions extending from India to the Philippines Islands and east Timor. In Peninsular Malaysia, it occurs in the forest and are more freely distributed in the north than in the south. [2]

Botanical Description

P. tomentosa is a member of the Lamiaceae family. It is a small to medium-sized tree that can reach up to 20m tall and a bole diameter of up to 30cm. [6]

The barks are fissured or striate and shaggy, grey or yellowish to pale brown or rusty coloured. [6]

The leaves are ovate or ovate-orbicular to ovate-oblong, measuring 10-35cm x 6-22cm, with entire edges and densely tomentose beneath. The leaves are petiolated. Flowers are with pedicel measuring 0.5-1mm long. The corolla is white, greenish-white or yellowish in colour. [6]

The fruits are obovoid-globose and about 3-6mm long and are green initially but turning black when ripens. [6]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

P. tomentosa  has been reported to contain 2-(4-methoxyphenyl)-2-butanone, 4-(4-methoxy phenyl)-2-butanone, 8, 11, 13-icetexatriene-10-hydroxy, 11, 12,16-tri acetoxyl, 8, 11, 13-icetexatriene-7, 10, 11-dihydroxy-12, 13-dihydrofuran, acetoxy syranzaldehyde, apigenin derivatives, β caryophyllene, botulin, coniferaldehyde, d-limonene, dl-limonene, lupeol, premnones A-C, syringaldehyde, syranzaldehyde. [7][8][9][10]

Plant Part Used

Roots, barks and leaves [4]

Traditional Use

The plant is useful in the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. In postnatal care, the plant makes up part of the ‘rempah ratus’ used in the potherb given to women in the postpartum period of confinement (from the fourth day onwards). [6][7][11]

The leaves are diuretic and used in the treatment of dropsy. Decoction of the leaves is given after childbirth. The infusion of the roots or a decoction of the leaves are used in medicinal bath following delivery. The shoots and young leaves are eaten as vegetable. Poultice of the leaves is a remedy for infected wounds with maggots in animals. The Indians expressed the juice of the leaves and used it as a remedy for stomachache. [6][7][11][12]

The roots are given for stomachache among the Malay community of Southeast Asia. [4][5][6][7][11]

Preclinical Data

Anti-inflammatory activity

The alcoholic extract of the leaves of P. tomentosa has anti-inflammatory activity in albino rats. It also caused a reduction in the weight of the spleen, thymus and adrenals together with a reduction in some of serum biochemical parameters including acid phosphatase and transaminases. The anti-inflammatory activity was comparable to phenylbutazone. [13]

Immuno-modulatory activity

Chromium (IV) induced immunosuppression in splenic lymphocytes can cause increase cytoxicity, apoptosis and reactive oxygen species (ROS) and decrease lymphocyte proliferation and antioxidant levels. When the cells were pretreated with extracts of P. tomentosa (at 500 µg concentration), it was observed that cytotoxicity and ROS levels were reduced, antioxidant levels maintained and the lymphocyte proliferation was restored. This was also observed in J799 macrophage cell line. [14][15]

Anti-nociceptive and hypnotic activity

The methanol extract of the leaves of P. tomentosa was able to reduce pain induced by various methods in animal models (acetic acid-induced writhing, tail flick and tail clip tests). The extract also decrease the locomotor activity and potentiated the pentabarbitone-induced sleep time. [16]

Hepatoprotective activity

The leaves of P. tomentosa is known to protect the liver as recorded by the Ayurvedic physicians. A number of experiments done showed that pretreatment with extracts of leave of P. tomentosa showed significant protection against hepatic damage by acetaminophen. The extract prevented the decrease in the levels of membrane-bound enzymes (total ATPase, Mg2+ ATPase, Ca2+ATPase and Na+/K+ATPase); inhibited induced alterations in the levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, free fatty acids, phospholipids, serum lipoproteins and lipid-metabolizing enzymes. At the mitochondrial level the extract was seen to reverse the effects of acetaminophen through the effects of one antioxidant compound (D-limonene). This compound is known to enhance conjugation of toxic metabolites by maintaining liver glutathione concentrations. [8][17][18]

Cytotoxic activity

A number of compounds isolated from P. tomentosa showed significant cytotoxic activity. The clerodane diterpenoids, premnones A – C, from the chloroform-soluble fraction of the leaves, showed cytotoxic activity against LNCaP, Lu1 and MCF-7 cell lines. Three icetaxanes diterpenes isolated from the stem bark and compounds 1 and 3 were active against MCF-7 and HT-29 cell lines. [9]

α-glucosidase inhibitory activity

Three compounds isolated from the roots of P. tomentosa exhibited α-glucosidase inhibitory activity, two of which are identified icetexane diterpenes (8, 11, 13-icetexatriene-10-hydroxy, 11, 12,16-tri acetoxyl (1) and 8, 11, 13-icetexatriene-7, 10, 11-dihydroxy-12, 13-dihydrofuran (2)) and the third one is acetoxysyranzaldehyde. These compounds also exhibited free radical scavenging (DPPH) activities. [10]

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Premna tomentosa Willd.[homepage on the Internet] .c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Jun 24] 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. ;. 717.
  4. Priyadi H, Takao G, Rahmawati I, Supriyanto B, Ikbal Nusal W, Rahman I. Five Hundred Plant Species in Gunung Halimun Salak National Park, West Java. Bogor Barat, Indonesia: CIFOR, 2010; p. 17.
  5. Sharma AN, Gautam RK. Indigenous Health Care and Ethno-medicine. New Delhi, India: Sarup & Sons, 2006; p. 39.
  6. ASEAN Tropical plant Database [homepage on the Internet]. Republic of Korea: National Institute of Environment; c2005 [cited 2013 September 09] Available from:
  7. Khare CP. Indian medicinal plants: An illustrated dictionary. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2007; p. 517.
  8. Chin YW, Jones WP, Mi Q. Cytotoxic clerodane diterpenoids from the leaves of Premna tomentosa. Phytochemistry. 2006;67(12):1243-1248.
  9. Hymavathi A, Suresh Babu K, Naidu VG. Bioactivity-guided isolation of cytotoxic constituents from stem-bark of Premna tomentosa. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2009;19(19):5727-5731. Ayinampudi SR, Domala R, Merugu R. New icetexane diterpenes with intestinal α-glucosidase inhibitory and free-radical scavenging activity isolated from Premna tomentosa roots. Fitoterapia. 2012;83(1):88-92.
  10. Burkill IH. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Kuala Lumpur: Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative, 1966; p. 1839.
  11. Ong HC. Tumbuhan liar: Khasiat ubatan dan kegunaan lain. Kuala Lumpur: Utusan Publications & Distributors Sdn. Bhd, 2008; p. 53.
  12. Alam M, Joy S, Susan T. Anti-inflammatory activiy of Premna tomentosa Willd. In albino rats. Anc Sci Life. 1993;13(1-2):185-188.
  13. Pandima Devi K, Sai Ram M, Sreepriya M. Immunomodulatory effects of Premna tomentosa extract against Cr (VI) induced toxicity in splenic lymphocytes--an in vitro study. Biomed Pharmacother. 2003;57(2):105-108.
  14. Devi KP, Sairam M, Sreepriya M. Immunomodulatory effects of Premna tomentosa (L. Verbenaceae) extract in J 779 macrophage cell cultures under chromate (VI)-induced immunosuppression. J Altern Complement Med. 2004;10(3):535-539.
  15. Devi KP, Sreepriya M, Devaki T. Antinociceptive and hypnotic effects of Premna tomentosa L. (Verbenaceae) in experimental animals. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003;75(2):261-264.
  16. Devi KP, Sreepriya M, Balakrishna K. Protective effect of Premna tomentosa (L. Verbenaceae) extract on membrane-phosphatases and inorganic cations transport in acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;93(2-3):371-375.
  17. Devi KP, Sreepriya M, Balakrishna K. Assessment of the protective potential of Premna tomentosa (L. Verbenaceae) extract on lipid profile and lipid-metabolizing enzymes in acetaminophen-intoxicated rats. J Altern Complement Med. 2004;10(3):540-546.
  18. Devi KP, Sreepriya M, Balakrishna K. Protective effect of Premna tomentosa extract (L. Verbanacae) on acetaminophen-induced mitochondrial dysfunction in rats. Mol Cell Biochem. 2005;272(1-2):171-177.