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Family Ericacea
Gaultheria leucocarpa var cumingiana (S.Vidal) T.Z.Hsu

Pai-chu Shu

Scientific names Common names
Gaultheria cumingiana S.Vidal Idsa (Ig.)
Gaultheria leucocarpa var cumingiana (Vidal) TZ Hsu Kaluminga (Ig.)
Gaultheria leucocarpa f. cumingiana (S.Vidal) Sleumer Logauai (Bag.)
  Taliktuk (Ig.)
  Uakuakei (Bon.)
  Cuming's wintergreen (Engl.)
  Common gaultheria (Engl.)
  Whole mountain fragrant (Engl.)
Gaultheria leucocarpa Blume is considered by some authors to be a synonym of Gaultheria yunnanensis (Franch.) Rehder.
Gaultheria cumingiana S.Vidal is a synonym of Gaultheria leucocarpa var. cumingiana (S.Vidal) T.Z.Hsu The Plant List
Gaultheria leucocarpa var. cumingiana (S.Vidal) T.Z.Hsu is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Bai zhu shu.
FRENCH: Petit the des pois.
INDONESIAN: Gondopuro, Kering, Cantigi bodas.
THAILAND: Chamayomdoi.
VIETNAMESE: Ch[aa]u th[uj].

General info
- The genus Gaultheria is comprised of approximately 134 species, mostly used as ethnic drugs for the treatment of rheumatism and pain.

Idsa is a small shrub growing to a height of 30 cm to 2 meters, prostrate, erect or climbing in habit. Leaves are ovate or lanceolate, 2 to 7 centimeters long, 1 to 2 centimeters wide, pointed at the tip, rounded or somewhat heart-shaped at the base, with toothed margins. Flowers are small, 3 to 5 millimeters across, borne on racemes at the axils of the leaves. Calyx is cup-shaped, the lobes ovate, triangular and ciliate, Corolla is bell-shaped, 3 to 6 millimeters long, with 5 blunt and recurved lobes about 1.5 millimeters long. Fruit is a capsule, rounded, 4 to 7 millimeters in diameter. Edible portion is the dark-blue, fleshy and enlarged calyx. Seeds are numerous.

- In thickets, ravines, and sometimes on open slopes at altitudes from 1,300 to 2,400 meters in Bontoc, Lepanto, Benguet, Quezon, Laguna; in Mindoro, Negros and Mindanao.
- Also occurs in Taiwan.

- Leaf contains gaultherin, an essential oil, resembling the odor of wintergreen from the North American species, Gaultheria procumbens.
- Study of G. yunnanensis yielded two methyl salicylter glycosides, viz., methyl benzoate-2-O-β-D-xylopyranosyl(1-6)-O-β-D- gluco-pyranoside (J12122) and methyl benzoate-2-O-β-D-xylopyranosyl(1-2)[O-β-D- xylopyranosyl(1-6)]-O-β-D-glucopyranoside (J12123),
- Stem and roots of Gaultheria leucocarpa var. yunnanensis yielded of seven active ingredients in the stems and roots, including (+)-catechin, rutin, gentisic acid, vallinic acid, salicylic acid, quercetin, and protocatechuic acid. (10)
- Roots, stem, and leaf yielded (+)-lyoniresinol-2a-O-ß-L-arabinopyranoside, (+)-lyoniresinol-2a-O-ß-D-glycopyranoside, (-)-isolariciresinol-2a-O-ß-D-xylopyranoside. (12)


Parts used and preparation

- Edible portion is the enlarged calyx.
- In the Mountain Province, a decoction of leaves taken as tea, is stomachic.
- In traditional Chinese medicine, used for liver cirrhosis and ascites, traumatic injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, back and joint pains.
- In China, G. leucocarpa var. yunnanensis is used to treat rheumatic arthritis, menstrual problems, cold, cough, asthma, eczema, ascites, wounds, amebic dysentery, prostatitis. (9)

Gaultherin, from which methyl salicylate (oil of wintergreen) is released by mild hydrolysis has been reported from this species.
Chemical Constituents: Study isolated four compounds: n-dotriacontaine and its homologous compound, ursolic acid, vanillic acid, and quercitrin. (2)
Anti-Inflammatory / Methyl Salicylate Glycosides: Study Gaultheria yunnanensis isolated two methyl salicylate glycosides. Both dose-dependently inhibited the production of tumor necrosis factor-a, interleukin-1ß, and IL-6. Results show anti-inflammatory properties through inhibition of production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, NO, and ROS. (3)
Gaultherin / Anti-Inflammatory: Gaultheria yunnanensis has yielded gaultherin, 2-[(6-O-β-d-Xylopyranosyl-β-d-glucopyranosyl)oxy] benzoic acid methyl ester, a natural salicylate derivative , has been shown to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Study suggested gaultherin did not cause gastric ulcer, releasing salicylate in the intestine slowly, not in the stomach, leaving COX-1 unaffected, the source of cytoprotective prostaglandins in gastric epithelium. (4)
Antibacterial: Extracts of water, acetic ester and n-butanol showed anti-Staphylococcus aureus action, and the extracts from root and stem showed the same result. Two extracts showed activity against Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.(6)
Antibacterial / Antiinflammatory / Analgesic: The volatile oil of roots of G. yunnanensis showed bacteriostatic activity. Acetate and butyl alcohol extracts exhibited strong anti-inflammatory activities in mice. (7)


Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Updated March 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: Photo / Gaultheria cumingiana /http://www.0371598.com/plant/1938.html (Copyright Status uncertain) / Non-commercial use / Click on photo to go to source image
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Gaultheria cumingiana / Flora Javae by Carl (Karel) Blume / FIne Rare Prints Botanical

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Ericaceae / BoDD
Studies on chemical constituents of Gaultheria leucocarpa var Yunnanensis / X J Ma, C F Du et al / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2001 Dec ;26 (12):844-5 12776334
Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Methyl Salicylate Glycosides Isolated from Gaultheria yunnanensis (Franch.) Rehder / Dan-Zhang, Rui Liu, Lan Sun, Chan Huang et al / Molecules 2011, 16, 3875-3884; doi:10.3390/molecules16053875
Gaultherin, a natural salicylate derivative from Gaultheria yunnanensis: Towards a better non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug / Bin Zhang, Xiao-Li He et al / European Journal of Pharmacology, Volume 530, Issues 1–2, 13 January 2006, Pages 166–171 / http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejphar.2005.11.030,
Sorting Gaultheria names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE
Screening of anti-bacterial activity of extracts of Gaultheria leucocarpa var. yunnanensis / X J Ma, L Zhao, C F Du, Y J Gong, J H Zheng, X Z Chen / China journal of Chinese materia medica (2001), Volume: 26, Issue: 4, Pages: 223-226
Study on antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities of Gaultheria yunnanensis / Zhang Zhizhen; Guo Dean; Li Changling / NORTHWEST PHARMACEUTICAL JOURNAL, 1999-02/ DOI:cnki:ISSN:1004-2407.0.1999-02-010
Gaultheria leucocarpa Blume / Vernacular names/ GLOBinMED
Studies on resources of ethnomedicine Gaultheria leucocarpa var. yunnanensis / Ma XJ, Zheng JH, Chen XZ. / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2001 Feb;26(2):85-9.
Simultaneous determination of active ingredients in ethnomedicine Gaultheria leucocarpa var. yunnanensis and its medicinal preparation by capillary electrophoresis with electrochemical detection. / Zeng Y, Tang Z, Wang Q, He P, Fang Y. / J Chromatogr Sci. 2007 Oct;45(9):610-5.
Gaultheria leucocarpa var. cumingiana (S.Vidal) T.Z.Hsu / Synonyms / The Plant List
Gaultheria: Phytochemical and Pharmacological Characteristics /
Wei-Rui Liu, Wen-Lin Qiao, Zi-Zhen Liu, Xiao-Hong Wang, Rui Jiang, Shu-Yi Li / Molecules 2013, 18, 12071-12108 / doi:10.3390/molecules181012071
Studies on resources of ethnomedicine Gaultheria leucocarpa var. yunnanensis. / Ma XJ, Zheng JH, Chen XZ. / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2001 Feb;26(2):85-9.

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