Impatiens balsamina

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Impatiens balsamina
Impatiens balsamina 28 08 2009.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Balsaminaceae
Genus: Impatiens
Species: I. balsamina
Binomial name
Impatiens balsamina

Impatiens balsamina (garden balsam, garden jewelweed, rose balsam, touch-me-not) is a species of Impatiens native to southern Asia in India and Burma. Other common names include elepe in Hawaiian, mírame lindo in Spanish, bongseonhwa in Korean, and kamantigi in Chamorro.[1]

It is an annual plant growing to 20–75 cm tall, with a thick, but soft stem. The leaves are spirally-arranged, 2.5–9 cm long and 1–2.5 cm broad, with a deeply toothed margin. The flowers are red, pink, purple, or white, and 2.5–5 cm diameter; they are pollinated by bees and other insects, and also by nectar-feeding birds.[2] The ripe seed capsules undergo explosive dehiscence.[1]

Medicinal use[edit]

Different parts of the plant are used as traditional remedies for disease and skin afflctions. Juice from the leaves is used to treat warts and snakebite, and the flower is applied to burns.[3] This species has been used as indigenous traditional medicine in Asia for rheumatism, fractures, and other ailments.[4] In Korean folk medicine this impatiens species is used as a medicine called bong seon wha dae for the treatment of constipation and gastritis.[5] One in vitro study found extracts of this impatiens species, especially of the seed pod, to be active against antibiotic-resistant strains of Helicobacter pylori.[4] It is also an inhibitor of 5α-reductases, enzymes that reduce testosterone levels.[6]


The naphthoquinones lawsone, or hennotannic acid, and lawsone methyl ether and methylene-3,3'-bilawsone are some of the active compounds in I. balsamina leaves.[7] It also contains kaempferol and several derivatives.[8] Baccharane glycosides have been found in Chinese herbal remedies made from the seeds.[9]


It is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant, and has become naturalised and invasive on several Pacific Ocean islands.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Impatiens balsamina. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER).
  2. ^ Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
  3. ^ Plants for a Future: Impatiens balsamina
  4. ^ a b Wang YC, Wu DC, Liao JJ, Wu CH, Li WY, Weng BC (2009). "In vitro activity of Impatiens balsamina L. against multiple antibiotic-resistant Helicobacter pylori". Am. J. Chin. Med. 37 (4): 713–22. doi:10.1142/S0192415X09007181. PMID 19655409. 
  5. ^ Park JH, Kim JM, Do WI (2003). "Pharmacognostical studies on the folk medicine bong seon wha dae". Korean Journal of Pharmacognosy 34 (3): 193–96. 
  6. ^ Ishiguro K, Oku H, Kato T (February 2000). "Testosterone 5α‐reductase inhibitor bisnaphthoquinone derivative from Impatiens balsamina". Phytother Res 14 (1): 54–6. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1573(200002)14:1<54::AID-PTR540>3.0.CO;2-Q. PMID 10641051. 
  7. ^ Sakunphueak A, Panichayupakaranant P (2010). "Simultaneous determination of three naphthoquinones in the leaves of Impatiens balsamina L. by reversed‐phase high‐performance liquid chromatography". Phytochem Anal 21 (5): 444–50. doi:10.1002/pca.1216. PMID 20931623. 
  8. ^ Hua L, Peng Z, Chia LS, Goh NK, Tan SN (February 2001). "Separation of kaempferols in Impatiens balsamina flowers by capillary electrophoresis with electrochemical detection". J Chromatogr A 909 (2): 297–303. doi:10.1016/S0021-9673(00)01102-X. PMID 11269529. 
  9. ^ Li HJ, Yu JJ, Li P (March 2011). "Simultaneous qualification and quantification of baccharane glycosides in Impatientis Semen by HPLC–ESI-MSD and HPLC–ELSD". J Pharm Biomed Anal 54 (4): 674–80. doi:10.1016/j.jpba.2010.10.014. PMID 21075577. 

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