Sambong | Blumea balsamifera Herbal Medicine

Sambong uses, health benefits, side effects, warnings..

Sambong | Blumea balsamifera DC, a medicinal herb, is widely distributed in Eastern and Southeastern Asia. It has been used in folk medicine for its many health benefits that include the treatment of septic wounds, respiratory infections, stomach pains and kidney stones.


Scientific Name: Blumea balsamifera L. DC

Also knows as:
Alibum,Lakad-bulan, Alimon, Lalakdan. Sambong (Tag.), Dalapot, Sob-sob, Gabuen. Subusub, Blumea camphor (Engl.), Kambibon, Ngai camphor (Engl.).

Sambong is used as herbal medicine and is a shrub that grows wild in the tropical climate countries such as Philippines, India, Africa and found even in eastern Himalayas. Sambong is widely used in the Philippines as herbal medicine. Sambong leaves are known for its ngai or Blumea camphor that is used as herbal medicine to treat kidney stones, wounds and cuts, rheumatism, anti-diarrhea, anti spasms, colds and coughs and hypertension. The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) has develop the technology for a sambong herbal medicine tablet.

Sambong is an aromatic shrub, that grows from 1 to 4 meters in height. It is considered as a weed in some countries and is difficult to eradicate. Sambong has yellow flowering heads that is 6 mm long. Sambong leaves are green obloid that spreads in a pyramidial pattern. Sambong bears fruits that are ribbed and hairy on top. Sambong fruit has 1 seed.

Sambong | Bulme balsamifera Medicinal Uses

Sambong in Traditional and Folkloric Medicine

  • leavesSambong roots and leaves are used as herbal treatment for fevers, sambong leaves and roots are pounded then dissolved in cold water. Applied with a soft cloth over the nape, forehead, underarms and other body parts to bring down the body temperature.
  • Sambong roots and leaves are also used as herbal medicine treatment for rheumatism. Sambong roots and leaves are pounded and applied as poultice on the affected body part. Sambong roots and leaves may also be boiled and are applied as warm compress onto affected area
  • Sambong is also used to treat headache, sambong leaves are pounded and applied as a poultice over the forehead.
  • poulticeSambong tea are also used as herbal medicine for colds and coughs.
  • Sambong tea are also used for herbal treatment of diarrhea and stomach spasms.
  • Sambong juice are also used for treatment of cuts and wounds.


Science Based Health Benefits from Sambong | Blumea balsamifera Herbal Medicine

Sambong Mechanism of action in disease prevention

Sambong as diuretic for hypertension and fluid retention. Sambong herbal tea is used as a diuretic for fluid retention and hypertension conditions. Sambong herbal tea incites the body to urinate thereby removing excess body fluids and sodium. Clinical studies have shown that high levels of sodium in the blood is a major cause of hypertension.

Sambong delay or averts renal failure . The Philippine National Kidney and Transplant Institute recommends taking sambong herbal medicine for patients with renal problems. Favorable results were noted that sambong may help to delay or avert dialysis or even kidney transplant.

Sambong for the Dissolution of Kidney Stones. The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) has been promoting Sambong herbal tea and tablets as a diuretic and for the dissolution of kidney stones. Sambong has been recently registered in the Bureau of Foods and Drugs as medicine.

Sambong as Anticancer: Sambong contains methanolic extract that has been found to have therapeutic activity against hepatocellular carcinoma cells. A study of sambong (balsamifera) extract inhibits the activity in rat and human hepatocellular carcinoma cells without cytotoxicity. This study suggest a possible therapeutic effect of sambong extracts (balsamifera) in the treatment of hepatoma cancer patients.

Sambong as Antibacterial and Antifungi: A Phytochemical study indicates that sambong leaves contains the chemicals icthyothereol acetate, cyptomeridiol, lutein and ß-carotene that has been found to have positive activity against microbes such as A niger, T mentagrophytes and C albicans. Results also showed activity against P aeruginosa, S aureus, B subtilis and E coli.

Sambong Preparations, Usage and Side Effects

Sambong Preparation and Usage

sambong dry leaves

Sambong tea preparation:

  • gather fresh sambong leaves, cut in small pieces
  • wash with fresh water
  • boil 50 grams of sambong leaves to a liter of water
  • let it seep for 10 minutes
  • remove from heat
  • drink while warm 4 glasses a day for best results.

sambong teaSambong poultice

  • gather fresh leaves and roots
  • wash with fresh clean water
  • pound in a mortar
  • grounded leaves may be applied or a juice extract may be used

Sambong Capsules and tablets

Powdered Sambong leaves are available in 250 mg tablets at the DOH's Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC) Tel # (632)727-6199.

Sambong is also available online in Amozon as listed : Sambong Leaf Urisam 100tabs Just check the label for recommended dose and usage.

Sambong Warnings and Side Effects

  • Use of topical Sambong is not associated with significant side effects.
  • Sambong even when taken internally is generally considered safe.
  • Special Precautions & Warnings: Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of sambong during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
  • Sambong can cause allergic reaction for people sensitive to ragweed plants and its relatives. Side effects may include itching and skin irritation.

Sambong Herbal Medicine: Useful References

The Chinese Materia Medica. 1st ed. Shanghai Science and Technology Press; Shanghai, China: 1999. The State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine Editorial Board of Chinese Herb Medicine; pp. 466–467.

Sakee U., Maneerat S., Cushnie T.P., De-Eknamkul W. Antimicrobial activity of Blumea balsamifera (Lin.) DC. extracts and essential oil. Nat. Prod. Res. 2011;25:1849–1856. [PubMed]

Lin H., Zhao J.W., Chen Q.S., Zhou F., Sun L. Discrimination of Radix Pseudostellariae according to geographical origins using NIR spectroscopy and support vector data description. Spectrochim. Acta A. 2011;79:1381–1385. [PubMed]

Hahn D.W., Omenetto N. Laser-Induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), Part I: Review of basic diagnostics and plasma-particle interactions: Still-Challenging issues within the analytical plasma community. Appl. Spectrosc. 2010;64:335–366. [PubMed]

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Article last reviewed: 10.05.2016