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Home » Plant infomation

Litsea cubeba  (Lour.) Pers.


Botanical Name


Litsea cubeba (Lour.) Pers.

English Name


Pheasant pepper tree, May chang, Mountain spicy tree



Laurus cubeba Lour., Litsea citrata Blume, Tetranthera polyantha Wallich ex Nees var. citrata Meissner





General Info


A small, dioecious, deciduous tree or shrub, 5—10(—15) m tall. Trunk terete, up to 6(—20) cm in diameter. Bark 1 mm thick, very tough, green outside, yellow inside, smooth, with large lenticels, lemon-like scent and pungent taste; branchlets slender, glabrous but apical parts ferrugineous-villose. Leaves alternate, simple, aromatic; petiole 8—18 mm long; blade lanceolate to oblong, 7—15 cm x 1.5—3 cm, base acute, apex long-acuminate, membranaceous or chartaceous, finely pellucid-dotted, brownish-green when young, shiny dark-green above, glaucous below, lateral veins slender, in 8—12 pairs. Inflorescence an axillary, 4—5-flowered, umbelliform raceme, about 1 cm long; primary peduncle accrescent, up to 1 cm long; secondary peduncle thin, 5—8 mm long, with basal, lanceolate bract and apically a globose involucre of 4 decussate bracts surrounding the umbel like a flower bud; pedicel minutely puberulous, 3—4 mm long; flower 3—4 mm in diameter, yellowish-white; tepals 5—6, broadly ovate, 1.5—2.5 mm long, outside glabrous; male flowers with 9 stamens in 3 whorls, filaments sparsely hairy, those of 3rd whorl with 2 basal subsessile glands, anthers quadrangular; female flowers with 9 staminodes, a large, glabrous ovary with very short style and a large, multi-lobed stigma. Fruit a globose berry, 5—6 mm across, apiculate when young, blackish when mature, seated on a pedicel 3—5 mm long which is slightly thickened at the apex into a cup-shaped receptacle. Seed spherical, white.

Herb Effects

Antiparalytic, anticephalalgic, antihysteric, carminative, spasmolytic and diuretic (whole plant); tonic (fruits and bark); antifungal (plant essential oil).


PROSEA (Plant Resources of South-East Asia) Foundation



Medicinal Use

Used for the treatment of vertigo, paralysis and in post-partum preparations (decoction of fruit); for treating skin diseases (leaves); applied for fever, stomach-ache, chest pain and as an antidote to treat drunkenness (fruits and bark); against acne and dermatitis, and to relieve anxiety and stress, and to treat cardiac arrhythmia (plant essential oil); for vomiting, hiccups, abdominal pain, diarrhea, periumbilical colic and turbid urine (dried ripe fruit)


Jing-Nuan Wu. An Illustrated Chinese Materia Medica. P: 392, Oxford University Press, Inc.2005.



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