Monday, January 18, 2016

Tsaang Gubat (Wild Tea) - Herbal Medicine and Beverage for the Home

Tsaang Gubat is promoted by the Department of Health (DOH) as an antispasmodic; for stomach/abdominal pains.  It is one of a few herbs recently registered with the Bureau of Foods and Drugs as medicines

Dr Abe V Rotor
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Tsaang Gubat (Carmona retusa) is a typical shrub but it can reach the size of a small tree after several years.  Although found growing in forests and open fields, it has found its way to many homes, thanks to its discovered use a health beverage, and its curious growing habit that can be sculptured into shapes of animals, like eagle and dinosaur, or into various geometric designs - or simply trimmed as hedge. 

The plant comes in other scientific names though unclerar of taxonomic differences:
Carmona  heterophylla, Ehretia buxifolia, E heterophylla, E microphylla. Locally it is known as Alangit (Bis.) Kalamoga (Tag.) Icha-ti-bakir (Ilk.) Icha-nga-atap (Ilk.)Chaang-bundok (Tag.). among other local and dialect names in the many tropical places it is found growing wild.   For convenience of identification and nomenclature, the plant is called wild tea  or mountain tea (Tsaang Gubat).

According to Philippine Medicinal Plants, Tsaang Gubat has anti-allergic, antibacterial, antinocicpetive (pain reliever) and anti-inflammatory properties.  It contains substances to counter the histamine release from mast cells that cause type-1 reactions. It also contains rosmarinic acid and microphyllone which is attributed for its efficacy to control allergy.  Further studies are recommended. The leaves contain a mixture of triterpenes– a-amyrin, ß-amyrin and baurenol and a wide range of bioactivity . 

As herbal medicine Tsaang Gubat is used in treating eczema, scabies, itchiness, wounds in child birth. Pound tsaang leaves, boil in water and let it seep. when still warm to touch wash to the affected area. If symptoms persist or worsen stop use and consult your doctor.

Tsaang Gubat is also effective as herbal medicine for stomach problems (stomach pains, gastroenteritis, intestinal motility, dysentery, diarrhea or Loose Bowel Movement (LBM). Pound or cut a cup of tsaang gubat leaves into manageable sizes then let it seep in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes to create a tsaang gubat herbal tea. Let it cool and drink a cup three times a day. The potency of tsaang gubat herbal tea is good to last for one day. Make new tsaang gubat herbal tea as needed. When symptoms persist or irritation occurs stop the use and consult your doctor.

Tsaang gubat is used as herbal medicine for the following mouth problems: mouthwash in stomatitis, andteeth strengthener. Gargle the tsaang gubat herbal tea three times a day until symptoms improve. If symptoms persist and irritation occurs, stop the use and consult your doctor. Tsaang gubat also contains fluoride and can help strengthen the teeth.
Reference: Medical Health Guide (Internet),


Tsa is a common name shared by two species: (1) Tsaang-gubat, tsa, Carmona retusa, Philippine wild tea, Theaceae, and (2) Tsa, Thea sinensis, tea tree, Boraginaceae. Both have common characteristics and uses, but it is Thea sinensis that is widely cultivated and used as commecial beverage tea worldwide.


Tsaang gubat or Wild Tea Carmona retusa (Vahl.) Masam.
Tsaang gubat is an erect, very branched shrub growing up to 1 to 4 meters high. Leaves are in clusters on short branches, obovate to oblong-obovate, 3 to 6 centimeters long, entire or somewhat toothed or lobed near the apex and pointed at the base, short stalked and rough on the upper surface. Flowers are white, small, axillary, solitary, 2 or 4 on a common stalk, borne in inflorescences shorter than the leaves. Calyx -lobes re green, somewhat hairy, and linear, about 5 to 6 millimeters long. Corolla is white, 5 millimeters long, and divided into oblong lobes. Fruit is a drupe, rounded, yellow when ripe, 4 to 5 millimeters in diameter, fleshy, with a 4-seeded stone, fleshy on the outer part, and stony inside.

- Easily found from the Batan Islands and northern Luzon to Palawan and Mindanao, in most or all islands and provinces, in thickets and secondary forests at low and medium altitudes.
- Also occurs in India to southern China, Taiwan, and Malaya.

- Phytochemical screening yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, tannins, terpenoids, and saponins.
- Major constituents of leaves yielded an intractable mixture of triterpenes, namely a-amyrin, b-amyrin, and baurenol.

- Considered analgesic, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antispasmodic and anti-mutagenic.

Parts utilized
Leaves, roots.

Tea made from the leaves.
- Leaf decoction or infusion for abdominal colic, cough, diarrhea and dysentery.
- Root decoction used as an antidote for vegetable poisoning.
- For diarrhea: Boil 8 tbsp of chopped leaves in 2 glasses of water for 15 minutes; strain and cool. Use 1/4 of the decoction every 2 or 3 hours. Decoction has also been used as a dental mouthwash.
- Decoction of leaves used as disinfectant wash after childbirth.
- In Sri Lanka, used for diabetes: 50 gm of fresh leaves or roots are chopped; 100 cc of water is added, and 120 cc of juice is extracted by squeezing, and given once or twice daily.

New Application
• Being promoted by the Department of Health (DOH) as an antispasmodic; for stomach/abdominal pains.
• One of a few herbs recently registered with the Bureau of Foods and Drugs as medicines

Antiallergic Activity: Tsaang gubat, together with Lagundi and Sambong, were studied for possible anti-allergic substances to counter the histamine release from mast cells that cause type-1 reactions. From tsaang-gubat, rosmarinic acid and microphyllone were isolated.
 Antibacterial / Antinocicpetive / Anti-inflammatory: Study of CR leaves yielded an intractable mixture of triterpenes– a-amyrin, ß-amyrin and baurenol and a wide range of bioactivity. The mixture showed analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrheal and antibacterial activities. Antimutagen: An antimutagenic principle was extracted from the leaves of C retusa with ethyl alcohol. 
  Triterpene Bioactivities/ Analgesic / Anti-inflammatory / Anti-diarrheal / Antimicrobial: Study OF Carmona retusa leaves yielded an intractable mixture of triterpenes, a-amyrin (43.7%), ß-amyrin (24.9%) and baurenol (31.4%). The mixture exhibited analgesic activity (51%), some anti-inflammatory activity (20%), anti-diarrheal activity (29%), and moderate antimicrobial activity against S aureus, C albicans and T mentagrophytes. Anti-Tumor: Carmona retusa leaf extracts were tested for anticancer property and results showed it can be used as an anticancer agent.  Antiallergic Dimeric Prenylbenzoquinones: A methanol extract showed inhibitory activity on exocytosis in antigen-stimulated rat basophils.
  Antibacterial / Constituents: Methanol, chloroform, and petroleum ether extracts yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, phenols, tannins, cardiac glycosides, terpenoids, cardenolides and phlobatannins. All the extracts exhibited moderate to appreciable antibacterial activities against Bacillus subtilis, K. pneumonia, Shigella flexneri and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Anti-Inflammatory: Study of an alcoholic extract of Carmona retusa by in vitro assays (human RBC membrane stabilization method, heat induced hemolysis, and proteinase inhibitory activity) showed anti-inflammatory activity comparable to standard diclofenac.  Triterpene Mixture from Leaves / Analgesic, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Diarrhea, Antimicrobial:The major constituent of Carmona retusa leaves is an intractable mixture of triterpenes viz. alpha-amyrin (43.7%), beta-amyrin (24.9%), and baurenol (31.4%). The mixture showed analgesic activity (51%) and anti-inflammatory activity (20%), antidiarrheal activity (29%) with the charcoal tracing test, and moderate activity against S. aureus, Candida albicans, and T. mentagrophytes.
Wild crafted.
Commercial: Tablets and tea bags

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