Gardenia / Rosal – proven benefits, uses


The scientific name of the gardenia is Gardenia jasminoides Ellis.

Other names include

BENGALI: Gandhraj.
CHINESE: Chih-tzu.
HINDI: Gandhraj.
KANNADA: Suvasane malle.
MANIPURI: Kaboklei.
MARATHI: Gandroya.

Rosal is a smooth, unarmed shrub 1 to 2 meters high. Leaves are opposite, elliptic-ovate, 2 to 6 centimeters long, narrowed and pointed at both ends, shining and short petioled, and stipulate. Flowers are large and very fragrant, occurring singly in the upper axil of the leaves. Calyx is green, with funnel-shaped tube and about 1.5 centimeters long, 5-angled, or winged and divided into linear lobes about as long as the tube. Corolla is usually double, white but soon turning yellowish, and 5 to 8 centimeters wide. Stamens are as many as the corolla lobes. Anthers are linear, sessile. Ovary is 1-celled, style stout, clavate, fusiform, or 2-cleft, ovules numerous on parietal placentae. Fruits are ovoid or ellipsoid, 2.5 to 4.5 centimeters long, 1.5 to 2 centimeters in diameter, yellow, with 5 to 9 longitudinal ridges.


– Cultivated for ornamental purposes.

– A common garden plant.

– Nowhere spontaneous.

– Native of southern China.

– Now pantropic in cultivation.

Medicinal Properties of gardenia

• Antiophthalmic, emollient, emetic, stimulant, diuretic, antiperiodic, cathartic, anthelmintic, alterative, antispasmodic, antiseptic, sedative, analgesic, hypotensive, febrifuge.



• Study of chemical constituents in fruits isolated nine compounds: imperatorin, isoimperatorin, crocetin, 5-hydroxy-7,3′,4′,5′-tetrainethoxyflavone, 2-methyl-3,5-dihydroxychromone, sudan III, geniposide, crocin and crocin-3.

• Fruit contains a coloring matter, gardenin, identical to crocin.

• Resinous exudation of the fruit yield two resins: gardenin, a crystalline resin of golden-yellow color, and another resin that is soft and of greenish color that acts as antiperiodic, cathartic, anthelmintic, alterative, and antispasmodic.

• Flower yields styrolyl-acetate and linalol, and other substances. The scent is attributed more to styrolyl-acetate than to the other fragrant components.

Parts utilized

· Roots, leaves, fruits.

· Collect fruits during August to October.

· Roots: rinse, section into pieces, sun-dry.

· Fruits: sun-dry after stemming.



· In China, flowers are used to perfume tea.

Folkloric traditional medicine uses, benefits and remedies with Gardenia

· Roots used for fever with delirium.

· Decoction of roots used for flatulence, dyspepsia, and nervous disorders due to dentition.

· Decoction of leaves and flowers used for dyspepsia, flatulences, nervous disorders and abdominal pains.

· Decoction of bark used for menorrhagia and uterine problems.

· Decoction of flowers used as wash for inflamed eyes.

· Poultice of leaves for swollen breasts; may be mixed with violeta and other herbs.

· Decoction of bark of stems and branches used for intermittent fevers, dysentery, and abdominal pains. Also used as tonic.

· Jaundice, hepatitis

· Fruit is antiseptic; used for toothaches, foul sores.

· Used for cough, fever. bacillary dysentery, nephritic edema, epistaxis, painful outgrowth at the tongue, mastitis, furuncle, and lymph node tuberculosis

· Fruits are pulverized and applied to regions with furuncle, sprains, lymph node tuberculosis with water or alcohol.

· Resin or paste made from the resin exudate of the fruit is applied to aching teeth, foul sores, and callous ulcers; also, to keep flies from the sores. Internally, used to expel worms. Resin also given for corpulence and to reduce the spleen.

· Powdered fruit used as febrifuge.

· In China, extract used traditionally to treat diabetes. Also used for inflamed eyes, tumors, painful urination and hematuria. Infusion of lowers used as emollient and as an antiophthalmic. Fruit reportedly used as emetic, stimulant, and diuretic. Smaller fruit used for fever, fluxes, dropsies, lung disease, and jaundice; externally, for vulneraries. Pulp of larger fruit used as poultice applied to swellings and injuries, and to various ailments like wine-nose, dog-bite, slight burns and scalds.

· Malays consider it cooling. Poultice of leaves used for swollen breasts and headaches.

· In Oriental medicine, fruit has been used for inflammation, jaundice, headache, fever, liver disorders and hypertension.

Other uses


In the Philippines, used in making wreaths, bouquets, etc. In the U.S., used for making corsages, only second to Cattleya.


In China, used to perfume tea and cosmetic preparations


Dye obtained from the yellow fruit. Dye is identical to the dye of madder (Rubia) and chay root (Oldenlandia), and in part, with the crocin characteristic of the Saffron Crocus. Dye used in Thailand for coloring cloth. In China, the dye is used as food coloring.

Scientific proven health benefits and uses of gardenia or rosal

Antioxidant / Crocin:

Crocin is a water soluble carotenoid found in the fruits of gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides) and seems to possess moderately strong antioxidant activity.

Diabetes / Genipin:

Study discovered “genipin” from the Gardenia extract. Genipin blocks the the UCP2 enzyme (uncoupling protein 2) that inhibits pancreatic insulin secretion. It suggests a potential for genipin-related compounds.

Antiangiogenic Activity/ substance used to stop the growth of tumors and progression of cancers by limiting the pathologic formation of new blood vessels :

The n-butanol fraction of the ethanol extract of gardenia fruit was found to be most effective in the antiangiogenic assay.

Anti-Cerulein Pancreatitis Protective Activity:

Study showed Gardenia jasminoides pretreatment ameliorated the severity of cerulein-induced acute pancreatitis in rats.

Alzheimer’s Disease / Amyloid Beta Peptide:

The brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients have large deposits of amyloid beta peptide known to increase free radical production in nerve cells leading to cell death. The study of extract of G jasminoides suggest it can reduce the cytotoxicity of amyloid beta peptide in PC 12 cells, possibly by reducing oxidative stress.

Immunosuppressive Iridoids:

Study yielded a new iridoid, gardaloside and a new safranal-type monoterpene, jasminoside G, with 10 other known compounds from the fruits of G jasminoides. Four of the compounds showed significant inhibition of IL-2 secretion and anti-CD28 monoclonal antibody co-stimulated activation of human peripheral blood T cells.


Study showed geniposide, an extract from Gardenia jasminoides, to be the its main choleretic principle. It also markedly decreased the content of cholesterol and elevate HCO3 concentration in bile without affecting the bilirubin and bile acid levels.

Crocetin / Sleep Benefits:

Crocetin is a pharmacologically active carotenoid compound of Gardenia jasminoides. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of 21 healthy adult men with mild sleep complaints, study results showed that crocetin may contribute to improving the quality of sleep.

Treatment Benefits / Acute Pancreatitis:

Empirical studies on the use of extract of G jasminoides in treating acute pancreatitis showed that GJ remarkably reduces the serum amylase and myeloperoxidase levels of both serum and pancreatic tissue as well as TNF-alpha and interleukin-6 while also reducing injury by oxygen-free radicals, NO and endoxins. GJ extract has been found to lower vasopermeability and inflammation, improve pancreatic hemodynamics and inhibit the release of pancreatic enzymes and other biotic active factors.

Antifungal / Genipin and Geniposide:

Study showed the methanol extracts to show the highest level of antifungal activity against Pleurotus ostreatus, a wood-rotting fungus, compared to five other methanol extracts (T orientalis, D innoxia, L japonicum, J chinensis, M Japonica). The antifungal components against Pleurotus ostreatus were identified as genipin and geniposide.

Anti-Inflammatory / Vascular-Inflammatory Inhibition:

Study of extract of GJ showed inhibition of TNF-alpha-induced NF-kappaB activation, adhesion molecule expression and monocyte-endothelial interaction, suggesting an anti-inflammatory role of EGJ, which may be useful in preventing vascular disease, such as atherosclerosis.

Gastroprotective / Antioxidant / Anti-H pylori / Cytotoxicity:

Study investigated the effects of GJ extract and its constituents, ursolic acid and genipin on gastritis in rats and the growth of human gastric cancer cells. Results showed acid-neutralizing capacities, antioxidant activities, and inhibitory effects on H. pyloric growth. Also, there was cytotoxic activity against gastric cancer cells.

Fruit / Chemical Constituents:

From the fruits, study yielded a new lignan glucoside, (+)-(7S,8R,8’R)-lyoniresinol 9-O-β-D-(6″-O-trans-sinapoyl)glucopyranoside, and a new iridoid glucoside, 10-O-trans-sinapoylgeniposide, together with eight known compounds, Some of the compounds were studied for short-term memory enhancement.

Geniposide / Protective Against LPS-Induced Acute Lung Injury:

Pretreatment of mice with genoside resulted in marked reduction in inflammatory cells and total protein in the BAL fluid of mice. There was significant alteration of inflammatory mediators, Results showed geniposide may provide protective effects against LPS-induced acute lung injury through mitigation of inflammatory responses.

Sandostatin and Gardenia Combo / Pancreatitis:

Study showed a combination of sandostatin and Gardenia jasminoides can protect pancreatic mitochondria injury in severe acute pancreatitis.

Genipin / Antiproliferative / Breast Cancer:

Study showed that genipin induces apoptosis and inhibits invasive/migratory abilities of highly invasive MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells. Results suggest a potential application of genipin as a chemopreventive agent to prevent or alleviate metastatic breast cancer.

Glycoprotein / Natural Antioxidant / Apoptotic:

Study evaluated the antioxidative and anti-apoptotic effects of a glycoprotein isolated from the fruit. The glycoprotein showed dose-dependent scavenging activity and dose-dependent blocking activities against induced cytotoxicity and apoptosis. Results suggest the GJE glycoprotein is a natural antioxidant and a modulator of apoptotic signal pathways in NIH/3T3 cells.

Anti-Hepatofibrotic Effects on Liver Fibrosis:

Study evaluated the anti-hepatofibrotic effects of Gardenia jasminoides in liver fibrosis using male Sprague-Dawley rats that underwent common bile duct ligation. Treatment decreased serum ALT, significantly reduced liver mRNA and/or protein expression of transforming growth factor ß1(TGF-ß1), collagen type 1 and a-SMA. Results showed antifibrotic effect and may represent a novel antifibrotic agent.

Attenuation of UVB-Induced Injury and Skin Inflammatory Responses:

Study evaluated the UVB-protecting effects of yellow-colored plant extracts in cell-based assays. Gardenia jasminoides showed lowest toxicity and dose-dependently enhanced the viabilities of UVB-exposed cells. Gardenia jasminoides extract also exhibited antioxidative and antiapoptotic effects in HaCaT cells exposed to UVB.

Anti-Thrombotic Effects:

Study evaluated the anti-thrombotic effects of the aqueous extract of G. jasminoides in mouse and rat models of carrageenan-induced tail thrombosis and arteriovenous shunt thrombosis. Results showed GJ extract and geniposide demonstrated remarkable antithrombotic activities and supports its therapeutic use for thrombotic diseases.

Geniposide Bioavailability / Herb-Herb Interaction:

Study reveals herbal ingredient-ingredient or herb-herb interaction may affect oral absorption of geniposide-related herbal formulation. Results of bioavailability of geniposide suggest that Gardenia fruit extracts, single herb, is the more efficient way for geniposide absorption.

GP / Antioxidant:

Study isolated GP, a water-soluble polysaccharide. In vitro free radical scavenging tests showed significant scavenging abilities for ABTS, DPPH, and hydroxyl radicals, which showed GP t be a novel antioxidant.

Anti-Depressive / Geniposide:

Study evaluated the anti-depressive activity of ethanolic extracts of G. jasminoides, G. jasminoides var. grandiflora, and geniposide. Results showed GJ and GHG significantly reduced immobility time without effect on locomotor activity in mice. Geniposide augmented the anti-depressive effect of desipramine and fluoxetine. The anti-depressive mechanism of GPO may be related to the increasing serotonin level in striatum and hippocampus in mice.

Genipin and Geniposide in Liver Diseases:

Study reviews the current findings on the application of geniposide and genipin in the treatment of liver diseases. Both compounds exert extensive beneficial effects to patients with liver disease. Geniposide is an iriodglyco compound isolated from the fruits; genipin is a metabolite of geniposide.

Anti-Diabetic / Starting Point Therapy Aimed at ß-cell Dysfunction:

Study discovered genipin rapidly inhibits UCP2-mediated proton leak. In pancreatic islet cells, genipin increases mitochondrial membrane potential, increases ATP levels, closes K(ATP) channels, and stimulates insulin secretion.

Antihyperglycemic / Enhanced Glucose Uptake / Improved Insulin Resistance:

Study evaluated the anti-hyperglycemic actions of Gradenia Fructus in streptozotocin-diabetic mice. Results showed improvement on insulin resistance associated with repair of insulin signaling via P-Akt, GLUT4 and glucose uptake pathway in soleus muscle of STZ-diabetic mice.

Crocin / Crocetin / Antihyperlipidemic:

Study isolated pancreatic lipase inhibitors from the fructus of Gardenia jasminoides: crocetin and crocin. The compounds showed hypolipidemic activity in hyperlipidemic mice induced by high cholesterol, high fat and high carbohydrate diet. The hypolipidemic effect may be due to the action of crocin and crocetin and the inhibition of pancreatic lipase.



Common garden plant.

Cultivated for ornamental use.

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