Wild tea or Scorpion bush proven benefits uses

The scientific name of the Scorpion bush or wild tea is Carmona retusa (Vahl.) Masam.

Scientific names Common names
Carmona heterophylla Cav.  Alangit (Bis.)  
Carmona microphylla (Lam.) G.Don  Alangitngit (Tag., Bis.) 
Carmona retusa (Vahl.) Masam.  Balingsaa (C. Bis.) 
Cordia coromandeliana Retz. ex A.DC. Buntatai (P. Bis.) 
Cordia retusa Vahl  Buyo-buyo (Sul.) 
Ehretia buxifolia Roxb.  Buyok-buyok (Sul.) 
Ehretia coromandeliana Retz. ex A.DC. Cha (Tag.) 
Ehretia heterophylla Spreng.  Chaang-bundok (Tag.) 
Ehretia microphylla Lam.   Chaang-gubat (Tag.) 
Ehretia monopyrena Gottschling & Hilger   Gari (Bag.) 
Icha-nga-atap (Ilk.)
Icha-ti-bakir (Ilk.) 
Itsa (Ilk.)
Kalamoga (Tag.) 
Kalimomog (Tag.) 
Kalimumog (Tag.) 
Mangit (Tag., Bis.) 
Mara-mara (Bis., S.L. Bis.) 
Maratia (Ibn.) 
Mura-mara (P. Bis.) 
Palupo (Iv.) 
Putputai (Bik.)
Santing (Sul.) 
Tsa (Tag.) 
Fukien tea tree (Engl.) 
Philippine tea tree (Engl.) 
Scorpion bush (Engl.) 
Wild tea (Engl.) 
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, Boraginacea.
In Quisumbing’s compilation, buyok-buyok is a local name shared by (1) Heterostemma cuspidatum, buyok-buyok (Tag.) (2) Ehretia microphylla, chaang-gubat, buyok-buyok (Sul.), and (3) Momordica cochinchinensis, buyok-buyok, patolang-uak (Tag.).
Ehretia microphylla Lam. is an accepted name


Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Ji ji shu.
HINDI: Pala.
INDONESIA: Kinangan, Serut lanang, Pinaan.
TAMIL: Kattu-vellilai, Kodikarai, Kuruvinchi, Kurangu vetthilal.
TELUGU: Bavanaburei, Bure.
THAILAND: Khoi cheen, Chaa yeepun, Chaa.
VIETNAM: Kim li[ee]n, C[uf]m r[uj]n, B[uf]m r[uj]n, Cay trui.

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 are 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 α-amyrin (43.7%), ß-amyrin (24.9%), and baurenol (31.4%). (see study below) ( 2)

– Qualitative phytochemical analysis of petroleum ether (PE), methanol (M), and chloroform (C) extract of leaves yielded alkaloids (M), flavonoids (PE, M), saponins (M,C), phenols (PE,M), tannins (M), cardiac glycosides (PE,M,C), terpenoids (PE,M,C) and cardenolides (M,C). (see study below) (23)


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

Parts Utilized

Leaves, roots.

Uses Culinary

Tea made from the leaves.

Folkloric traditional medicinal benefits and uses of wild tea

– 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.

– In Vietnam, dry roots and stems used for treatment of back pain and numbness of hands and feet.

– In Tamil, India, juice of leaves taken internally for three to four months to induce fertility. (25)

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

Proven Scientific studies on wild tea or Scorpion bush benefits and uses

• 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. (1)

• Triterpene Bioactivities / Antinociceptive / Anti-inflammatory:

Study of Carmon retusa leaves yielded an intractable mixture of triterpenes, namely α-amyrin, ß-amyrin and baurenol. At a dose of 100 mg/kg mouse, the triterpene mixture exhibited 51% analgesic activity, but showed only 20% anti-inflammatory activity. (2)

• Antidiarrheal / Antibacterial:

On charcoal tracing test, the triterpene mixture (α-amyrin, ß-amyrin and baurenol) showed a 29% anti-diarrheal activity, which increased to 55% at dosage of 250 mg/kg mouse. The triterpene mixture showed moderate antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans, and Trichophyton mentagrophytes. (2)

• Antimutagen / Leaves:

An antimutagenic principle was extracted from the leaves of C retusa with ethyl alcohol. (3)

• Anti-Tumor:

Carmona retusa leaf extracts were tested for anticancer property and results showed it can be used as an anticancer agent. (5)

• Antiallergic Dimeric Prenylbenzoquinones:

A methanol extract showed inhibitory activity on exocytosis in antigen-stimulated rat basophils. (10)

• 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. (11)

• 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. (12)

• 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. (13)

• Antibacterial:

In a study of crude ethanol extracts of 12 Philippine medicinal plants for antibacterial activity against multidrug resistant bacteria, favorable antagonistic activities were exhibited by Ehretia microphylla, together with P. guajava and P. niruri. Best activity was shown by P betle. (17) Petroleum ether, methanol and chloroform extracts showed moderate to appreciable antibacterial activities against B. subtilis, K. pneumonia, S. flexneri, and P. aeruginosa. (see constituents above) (23)

• Antimicrobial / Roots:

Study of chloroform and alcohol root extracts showed promising activity against Bacillus subtilis (26 mm), Bacillus cereus and Candida albicans ( 24 mm), Pseudomonas putida and Staphylococcus aureus (20 mm) and Escherichia coli (18 mm). The alcohol extract showed comparatively higher antimicrobial activity than the chloroform extract. (18)

• Effect on Folliculogenesis / Roots:

Study evaluated the effect of E. microphylla on folliculogenesis, relative ovarian and uterine weight, and the number of ovarian surface follicles in female Wistar albino rats. Results showed a significant stimulatory effect on female reproductive activity which can enhance fertility in female adult rats. (20)

• Wound Healing:

Study evaluated the wound healing activity of various extracts of roots, stems and leaves of Carmona retusa with petroleum jelly as base in concentrations of 5% and 10%. Nitrofurazone (0.2%) ointment was used as standard drug. Results showed remarkable stimulation of wound closure at both 5% and 10% concentration, as evidenced by acceleration of the wound healing process and increased epithelization in the treatment groups. (21)

• Anticancer / Quercetin / Human Hepatoma Cell Line (HepG2):

Study isolated quercetin from an ethanol extract of Carmona retusa and was analyzed for anticancer activity on HepG2 cells lines by MTT assay. Results showed significant and concentration-dependent anticancer activity. Significant apoptosis was shown at 53 µg/ml concentration of extract yield of flavonoid quercetin. Results suggest promise for the flavonoid quercetin as an anticancer agent. (22)

• Antimitotic / Antiproliferative:

Study evaluated the in vitro cytotoxicity, antiproliferative, anti-mitotic and DNA fragmentation assays of fresh stems of Carmona retusa. The alcoholic extract showed significant antimitotic and antiproliferative activity. The antimitotic index was 12.5 and 12.7 mg/mL respectively, near the standard 12.2 for lapachol. (24)


– Wild crafted.

– Tablets and tea bags in the cybermarket.

List of Scientific Research Studies links used in this articles

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