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Family Ericaceae
Vaccinium myrtoides (Blume) Miq.

Scientific names Common names
Agapetes myrstoides (Blume) G.Don Agohip, Aguhip, Ayusip (Igorot)
Epigynium myrtoides (Blume) Klotzsch Agumba (Kankanay)
Thibaudia myrtoides Blume Alimani (Ilk.)
Vaccinium myrtoides (Blume) Miq. Ayyumani (Kankanay, Bontoc)
Vaccinium villarii S.Vidal Ayusip, Ayosep (Igorot)
  Dungal (Bagobo)
  Gatmo (Ifugao, Igorot)
  Gutmo (Igorot)
  Karotep (Ilk.)
  Panlima, Panlina (Bontoc)
  Sarngen (Kankanay)
  Tenge (Bontoc)
  Philippine blueberry (Engl.)
  Wild blueberry (Engl.)
Vaccinium myrtoides (Blume) Miq. is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
INDONESIA: Kalupapa, Kulapapa, Tente in talum, Tentein talon.

Gen info
- Vaccinium is a common and widespread genus of shrubs or dwarf shrubs in the heath family Ericaceae.
- The genus was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.

- Vaccinium may be derived from Latin bacca, but the ultimate derivation is obscure.     (2)
- Taxonomy is complex and still under investigation. A number of Asian species are more closely related to Agapetes than to other Vaccinium species. (2)

Vaccinium myrtoides is a shrub or small tree with a height range of 0.3-2 m. Branchlets are slender, erect, shortly patently pubescent. Leaves are more or less densely to subimbricately arranged, ovate to oblong-ovate or broad elliptic, apex gradually attenuate or sub-acuminate, obtuse, base rounded or slightly cordate, with 1-2 minute, impressed, marginal glands in the lower third on each side, (sub)coriaceous, fugaciously puberulous when very young, glabrous at maturity, though remaining are more or less puberulous and ciliate at the very base, the petiole and the very apex, sparsely glandular-punctate beneath, 1.3-2 by 0.7-1.3 cm, entire, edge marginate, midrib slightly sunken at least in the lower part above, prominent beneath, nerves 4-5 pairs, spreading, anastomosing, raised beneath only, reticulation subdense and mostly well recognizable beneath. Petiole is 1-1.5 by c. 0.8 mm. Racemes from the upper axils, laxly 6-8 flowered. Rachis is angular, finely puberulous or mostly glabrous 1.5=4 cm/ Pedicels nodding at anthesis, puberulous or mostly glabrous, 0.5-1 cm. Bract foliacious, small but partly persistent, up to 0.8 cm. Calyx is a cup-shaped tube, base more or less truncate, glabrous, c 1.5 mm long and wide, lobes triangular, more or less acute. Corolla shortly cyliindric-urceolate, red, pink or white to cream, glabrous at both sides, 4 by c. 2.5 mm, lobes obtuse, recurved, c 0.8 mm. Filaments linear, dilated below, curved, villous especially below, 1.5mm; anther cells broad-oblong, echinulate-papillose, 1-1.3 mm including the tubules, the latter as wide and almost half as long as the cells, obliquely cut at apex. Disk densely hairy. Style glabrous, c. 3 mm. Fruit globose, glabrous, finally bluish blackish, 4-5 mm. (3)

- Native to the Philippines. (1)
- Found in mountainous areas in the Philippines: Ilocos Sur, Mountain Province (Sagada, Mt. Data, Bauko), Ifugao,, Benguet, Laguna-Quezon (Mt. Cristobal, Mt. Banahaw) , Mindoro, Mindanao.
- Commonly found on steep, rocky, open and bare slopes, open grasslands, sandy or volcanic soil.
- Locally abundant in Benguet, at elevations from 1000-3000 m. (3)
- Also native to Maluku and Sumatera.

- In a comparative study of total phenolic and flavonoid contents, Ayosep showed the highest polyphenol (59.12 mg gallic acid equivalent per 100g fresh weight) and flavonoid (1186.44 mg quercetin equivalent per 100 g fresh weight). Results suggest the fruits can be recommended as sources of natural antioxidant. (see study below)  (4)

- Studies have suggested antibacterial, antioxidant, radical scavenging, immunomodulatory, hepatoprotective properties.

Parts used
Fruit, stems, leaves.


- Fruit is edible, eaten raw.
- Fruit used for making jelly, juice and wine.
- Leaves used for making tea.
- In the Philippines, the Kalanguya tribe of Tinoc, Ifugao use the plant stem decoction as a traditional wash for fever (Galvez 2015). (3)
- In Benguet, fruit is considered beneficial for poor eyesight, diabetes, flu, and as antioxidant and anticancer medication (Barcelo 2014) (3).
- Ritual:
The highest rank among ten fruits used as offering to the deity. (3)
- Ink: Fruit source of ink or dye.
- Tecap Liquid: A patent application was filed for use of the fruit as a component of Tecap Liquid, a natural drink formula for balancing of vaginal pH, reducing vaginal odor, and/or reducing body odor (Allen 2018). (3)

Comparative Polyphenol and Flavonoid Content:
In a comparative study of total phenolic and flavonoid contents of fruits of Vaccinium myrtoides (Ayosep), Annona muricata (Guyabano), Garcinia mangostana (Mangosteen) and Fragaria x ananassa (Strawberry), Ayosep showed the highest polyphenol (59.12 mg gallic acid equivalent per 100g fresh weight) and flavonoid (1186.44 mg quercetin equivalent per 100 g fresh weight). Results suggest the fruits can be recommended as sources of natural antioxiidants. (4)
Immunomodulatory / Antioxidant / Fruit: Study evaluated the phenolic flavonoid content, antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties of V. myrtoides. In vitro immune-based assays showed significant activity of BBE on murine lymphocyte proliferation at 5µg/ml BBE (p<0.05) and ROS scavenging at 50 µg/ml BBE (p<0.05)./ Results suggest V. myrtoides can possibly effect immunomodulation through lymphocyte proliferation and ROS scavenging. (5)
DPPH Radical Scavenging Activity: In a study of ethanolic leaf extracts of 10 medicinal plants for antioxidant and DPPH radical scavenging activity, Vaccinium myrtoides showed the strongest antioxidant activity. V. myrtoides showed the highest DPPH radical scavenging activity with IC50 20.85 µg/ml, which was higher than ascorbic acid 21.56 µg/ml. Phytochemical screening yielded phytosterols, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, and tannins, with absence of alkaloids, glycosides, saponins, and terpenoids. (6)
Antibacterial / Leaves: In a study of ethanolic leaf extracts of ten folkloric medicinal plants for antibacterial activity, Vaccinium myrtoides exhibited partial activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa with a mean zone of inhibition of 12 mm. (7)
Hepatoprotective / Fruit: Study evaluated the hepatoprotective effect of Philippine native blueberry (Vaccinium myrtoides) crude ethanolic fruit extract against cyclophosphamide-induced liver toxicity in mice. Histopathological scoring showed  visible reduction of necrosis and steatosis with fruit extract administration. Results suggest potential for ameliorating the hepatotoxic effects of cyclophosphamide. (8)


Updated November 2023
September 2021

IMAGE SOURCE: Ericaceae : Vaccinium myrtoides - "Karotep" / Fruiting branches / Copyright © 2013 by J F Barcelona (contact: barceljf@hotmail.com)) [ref. DOL75647] / Non-Commercial Use /  click on image or link to go to source page / Phytoimages.siu.edu
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Ericaceae : Vaccinium myrtoides / Fruiting twig / Copyright © 2013 by P B Pelser & J F Barcelona (contact: pieter.pelser@canterbury.ac.nz)) [ref. DOL67327] / Non-Commercial Use/ click on image or link to go to source page / Phytoimages.siu.edu

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Vacciinium myrtoides / Syonyyms / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Vaccubuyn / Wikipedia
Vaccinium myrtoides: / Melanie S Subilla and Zenaida G Baoanan / Ethnobotany of the Mountain Regions of Southeast Asia, 2021 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-38389-3_202
Antioxidant Property and Total Polyphenol and Flavonoid Content of Selected Fruits and Fruit Wines / Racquel Barcelo, Alessandro Basilio, Iris Dell Calsiyao, Corine Bernadette Mabesa, Rean Mari Palconete, Jenine Audrey Tobias / Philippine e-Journal for Applied Research and Development, 2016; 6: pp 10-17 / eISSN: 2449-3694

Immunomodulatory activities of Vaccinium myrtoides (Blume) Miq. fruit: Lymphocytic proliferation and reactive oxygen species scavenging activity / Eleanor Cuevas Villaverde / 2018 / Science and Technology Information Network
Evaluation of DPPH Free Radical Scavenging Activity and Phytochemical Screening of Selected Folkloric Medicinal Plants in Tinoc, Ifugao, Cordillera Administrative Region, Philippines / M A C Galvez / International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, Dec 2015; 5(12) / ISSN: 2250-3153
Antibacterial Activity and Phytochemical Screening of Selected Folkloric Medicinal Plants of Maggok, H Hungduan, Ifugao, Cordillera Administrative Region, Philippines / MAC Galvez / International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, Jan 2016; 6(1) / ISSN: 2250-3153
EVALUATION OF THE AMELIORATIVE EFFECT OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIVE BLUEBERRY Vaccinium myrtoides (Blume) Miq. FRUIT EXTRACT AGAINST CYCLOPHOSPHAMIDE-INDUCED HEPATOTOXICITY IN MICE / Eleanor C Villaverde, Marivic S Lacsamana, Rohani C Navarro, Lourdes B Cardenas, Maria Amelita C Estacio / Journal of Nature Studies, 2021; 20(2): pp 61-74 / eISSN: 2244-5226

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants
                                          New plant names needed
The compilation now numbers over 1,300 medicinal plants. While I believe there are hundreds more that can be added to the collection, they are becoming more difficult to find. If you know of a medicinal plant to suggest for inclusion, native or introduced, please email the info: local plant name (if known), any known folkloric medicinal use, scientific name (most helpful), and, if possible, a photo. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

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