Magnolia champaca (L.) Baill. ex Pierre

Last updated: 28 Sept 2016

Scientific Name

Magnolia champaca (L.) Baill. ex Pierre


Champaca michelia Noronha, Magnolia membranacea P.Parm. Michelia aurantiaca Wall. Michelia blumei Steud. Michelia champaca L. Michelia euonymoides Burm.f. Michelia rheedei Wight, Michelia rufinervis DC. Michelia sericea Pers. Michelia suaveolens Pers. Sampacca euonymoides (Burm.f.) Kuntze, Sampacca suaveolens (Pers.) Kuntze. [1]                      

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Chempaka, chempaka merah (Peninsular), champaka (Sabah) [2][3]; chempaka puteh, chempaka gading [4]
English Orange chempaka, golden champa, yellow champa, fragrant champaca [2][3]
India Chempaka [3]
Indonesia Cempaka kuning (general); cempak, campaka (Sumatra) [2]; Cempaka putih, kantil [4]
Thailand Cham pa (general), champa-khao, champa [2]; champi [4]
Laos Cham pa [2]; champi [4]
Myanmar Laran, mawk-sam-lung, sagah [2]
Philippines Champaka, sampaka (Tagalog); champaka-laag (Sulu) [2]
Spain Champaca [2]
Vietnam Ng[oj]c lan, hoa sunam [2][4]
France Champac [2]; ilang-ilang [3].

Geographical Distributions

Magnolia champaca probably originated in India, where it is still planted in the grounds of Hindu and Jain temples, and is distributed from India to south-western China, Indo-China, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java and the Lesser Sunda Islands. [2]

Botanical Description

M. champaca is a member of the Magnoliaceae family. This is a huge forest tree, up to 50 m tall and 1.8 m in trunk diameter, with hairless twigs. [2]

The leaves are spirally-arranged with stipules up to 3(-6.5) cm long, united to the hairy stalk for at least one third of their length. The stalk is 1-4 cm long, hairy, bearing a long scale-like scar. The blade is ovate-lance-shaped to oblong-lance-shaped size 10-30 cm x 4-10 cm. The base is rounded to triangular-at­tenuate while apex is with acumen, 1-2.5 cm long. It is hairy on its underside, especially on the midrib and veins. Brachyblast is 0.5-2.5 cm long, with 2(-3) nodes and densely hairy. The hairy stalk is 0-2 cm long. The bracts are enclosing the flower cluster, hairy, covering the spindle-like, 3-4 cm long flower buds. [2]

The flowers are fragrant, light yellow when young, turning dark orange in maturity. The segment of floral leaves are (12-)15(-20), in several inconspicuous whorls, reverse egg-shaped size 2-4.5 cm long, thin and semi-transparent. The stamens are 6-8 mm long and its connective appendage is 1 mm long. Their fruits are about 30 in a cluster, each with a 3 mm long and densely hairy stalk. [2]

The fruit (follicles) is free, basally united to the axis or shortly stalked, 3-20 laxly that are arranged in a 6-9 cm long cluster. Fruit is flat­tened ovoid to slightly spherical size 1.5-3.5 cm x 1-2.5 cm, partially woody, pale brown with white warts con­taining 2-6 seeds. [2]

The seed is ovoid and red-brown and in open fruit it is hanging on little thin cord that is attached to the placenta. [2]


M. champaca occurs in humid tropical evergreen forest or at the edge of forest on deep fertile soils at 250-1500 m altitude. Mean maximum temperature of the hottest month ranges from 35-40°C, the mean minimum temperature of the coldest month from 3-10°C. [2]

Chemical Constituent

M. champaca has been reported to contain five sesquiterpene lactones: parthenolide, costunolide, 8α-acetoxyparthenolide ( 11,13-dehydrolanuginolide), magnograndiolide, and michampanolide (2,7-dihydroxy-3,7-dimethyl-11-methylene-13-oxatricyclo[8,3,0,0,3,b]tridecan-12-one). [5]

The flower of M. champaca has been reported to contain quercetin, an unidentified flavonoid glycoside, β-sitosterol, unsaturated aliphatic ketones, and hydrocarbons. [6]

M. champaca has been reported to contain liriodenine, fatty acid 24.2% palmitic, 5.8% stearic, 66.2% oleic, and 3.9% linoleic acids [4] and essential oil, aldehydes, phenolics, saponins, sterols, tannins, triterpenoids. [7]

Plant Part Used

Flower, flower bud, oil, bark, seed, leaf [8].

Traditional Use

The flower is often marketed for its scent, particularly in Java. In Thailand, the flower infusion is used as cosmetics after bathing. The flowers also have been used as a plaster on stomachs to relieve colic. The flower and the leaves are ingested to treat rheumatism, angina and halitosis. The flower, bruised in oil may be applied to relieve ozoena of the nose. An infusion of unopened buds may be ingested to treat gonorrhea. [8] The bark is used as an antipyretic. A decoction of the bark is given during confinement as a protective medicine against meroyan. Alternatively, a decoction of the leaves may be ingested, or the leaves may be eaten in the form of a paste. The decoction of the bark is believed used to treat fever; but not the fever due to malaria. The seed is used to treat rheumatism. The pounded leaves may be applied to a woman’s body during confinement. [8]

Preclinical Data


Antimicrobial activity

The methanolic extracts of leaves, seeds, stems, barks and root heart-woods of M. champaca showed a range of activity against all the tested bacteria and protozoan. Some fraction of the leaves, stem and root barks exhibited antifungal activity against some of the tested moulds. [7]

Recently, a study was carried out to determine possible inhibitory effects of some medicinal plants of Mauritius used against common infectious diseases which were caused by bacteria and fungi. The powdered plant materials were extracted with different solvents and screened for antimicrobial activity using the disc diffusion and the micro-dilution techniques. The activity of the different crude extracts was also investigated against several phytopathogenic fungi. The results revealed that the dichloromethane (DCM) extracts of M. champaca and Antidesma madagascariense yielded the maximum number of growth-inhibiting compounds against Cladosporium cucumerinum. A manifest activity against Colletotrichum glocosporoides was also observed for the DCM extracts of A. madagascariense and M. Champaca. [9]

Anti-inflammatory and antipyretic activity

Methanolic extracts of the flowers of M. champaca, I. brachiata and R. cana exhibited significant antiinflammatory activity against cotton pellet granuloma in rats at a dose level of 100 mg/kg body weight. The latter two showed higher activity than the former. [10]

Leishmanicidal activity

The seventy-five timbers belonging to 27 families from Myanmar were screened for their leishmanicidal activity. It was found that some timber extracts showed some potent activity including M. Champaca with MLC and MIC values of 100 and 50 mg/ml, respectively. The presence of sesquiterpene lactones in the heartwood of the plant could reasonably render its potential leishmanicidal activity. [11]

Cytotoxity activity

In a study, the ethanol extract of M. champaca and the petroleum ether extract of Talauma ovata showed activity towards the human epidermoid carcinoma of the nasopharynx test system. The isolated active constituents were identified as parthenolide and costunolide. [12]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation

Side effects

No documentation

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

No documentation

Adverse reaction

No documentation

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation


No documentation

Line drawing



Figure 1: The line drawing of M. champaca [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Magnolia champaca. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Sept 27]. Available from:
  2. Dasuki UA, Kuswanto MS, Michelia L. In: Oyen LPA, Nguyen XD (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 19: Essential-oil plants. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 1999; p. 135-140.
  3. Orwa C, Mutua A, Kindt R, Jamnadass R, Simons A. Agroforestree database: A tree reference and selection guide version 4.0. Magnolia champaca. World Agroforestry Centre, Kenya. 2009.
  4. Mandal B, Maity CR. Physicochemical and nutritional characteristics of Michelia champaca seed oil. Acta alimentaria. 1992; 21 (2): 131-135.
  5. Jacobsson U, Kumar V, Saminathan S. Sesquiterpene Lactones from Michelia champaca. Phytochemistry. 1995; 39(4): 839-843.
  6. Shalini K, Jaggi RK. Chemical studies on flowers of Michelia champaca. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2004; 66(4): 403-406
  7. Khan MR, Kihara M, Omoloso AD. Antimicrobial activity of Michelia champaca. Fitoterapia. 2002; 73:744-748.
  8. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 2. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p. 140
  9. Rangasamy O, Raoelison G, Rakotoniriana FE, et al. Screening for anti-infective properties of several medicinal plants of the Mauritians flora. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007;109:331-337.
  10. Vimala R, Nagarajan S, Alam M, Susan T, Joy S.  Antiinflammatory and antipyretic activity of Michelia champaca Linn. (white variety), Ixora brachiata Roxb. And Rhynchosia cana (Willd.) D.C. flower extract. Indian J Exp Biol. 1997;35(12):1310-1314.
  11. Takahashi M, Fuchino H, Sekita S, Satake M, Kiuchi F. In vitro screening of leishmanicidalactivity in Myanmar timber extracts. Biol Pharm Bull. 2004;27(6):921-925.
  12. Hoffmann JJ, Torrance SJ, Widehopf RM, Cole JR. Cytotoxic agents from Michelia champaca and Talauma ovata: Parthenolide and costunolide. J Pharm Sci. 1977;66(6):883-884.