Labisia pumila

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Labisia pumila
Labisia pumila grown in a nursery.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Primulaceae
Genus: Labisia
L. pumila
Binomial name
Labisia pumila

Angiopetalum punctatum Reinw.
Ardisia malouiana (L.Linden & Rodigas) Markgr.
Ardisia pumila Blume
Ardisia spicata Wall. ex A.DC.
Labisia pothoina Lindl.
Labisia punctata (Reinw.) Airy Shaw Marantodes pumilum (Blume) Kuntze

Labisia pumila (kacip Fatimah, /ˈkɑːɪpfɑːtɪmɑː/) is a flowering plant in the family Primulaceae native to Malaysia.[2] It is a small, woody and leafy plant with leaves of 20 cm (7.9 in) in length, and grows widely in the shade of the tropical forest floor. The plant is popular in the traditional medicine of the Malaysian and Indonesian community, in which it is believed to be the female version of the equally well-known tongkat Ali, i.e. Ali's walking stick.[3]


Labisia is a herbaceous plant that grows in low clusters, with solitary or rarely branching stems and fine, hairy roots. The leaves are oblong-shaped, hairy on its underside and can grow to 20–40 cm (7.9–15.7 in) in length. The inflorescence are brown and 5–6 cm (2.0–2.4 in) long.[4] The plant thrives under the shade, away from direct sunlight, and grows well in moist or loamy soil.[2] It propagates by its rhizomes, leaves and/or seeds, and when cultivated is harvested about a year after planting.[2] The plant is indigenous to Malaysia, but also found in Sumatra, Java and Borneo.[4] Three varieties of Labisia pumila have been described: var. alata, var. lanceolata and var. pumila.[3]

The popular name for the plant is kacip Fatimah ("Fatimah's betel cutter"; compare to tongkat ali, i.e. Ali's walking stick). Other common names of the plant include selusoh Fatimah, pokok pinggang, rumput palis, tadah matahari, mata pelanduk rimba, bunga belungkas hutan, remoyan batu and angkoh.[3]


In folk medicine L. pumila was thought to be useful for a number of applications, including labor induction and treating venereal disease and flatulence.[5] The plant has been researched for use in making cosmeceutical products.[5]

The plant's extract has been commercially formulated for consumption in capsule and tablet form,[3] as well as an ingredient in energy drinks.[6] In Malaysia Labisia pumila was highlighted in 2010 as one of five local herbs to developed commercially on a large scale via the Economic Transformation Programme.[7][8]

Chemical constituents[edit]

Despite its long history of traditional use, the active components and mode of action have not been well studied, though some preliminary research has been published.[9][10][11] It has been reported that Labisia contains two novel benzoquinoid compounds,[12] as well as gallic acid, caffeic acid, rutin, and myricetin.[10] One study claims that the leaves contain significantly higher level of saponins compared to its stems and roots.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Labisia pumila (Blume) Fern.-Vill". Plants of the World Online. The Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. n.d. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Wan Hassan, W.E. (2006). Healing herbs of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA). p. 112.
  3. ^ a b c d Noor'ain bt. Shamsuddin (2014-01-20). "Kacip Fatimah". MyHealth portal by the Malaysian Ministry of Health. Archived from the original on 2014-09-26. Retrieved 2014-09-26.
  4. ^ a b Joseph Samy; M. Sugumaran; K.L.W. Lee (2005). K.M. Wong (ed.). Labisia pumila, in Herbs of Malaysia. Times Edition. p. 135.
  5. ^ a b Chua LS, Lee SY, Abdullah N, Sarmidi MR (2012). "Review on Labisia pumila (Kacip Fatimah): bioactive phytochemicals and skin collagen synthesis promoting herb". Fitoterapia. 83 (8): 1322–35. doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2012.04.002. PMID 22521793.
  6. ^ Azman, Sulhi (2017-08-02). "Power Root boosts stake in UAE unit". Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  7. ^ "EPP 1 High-Value Herbal Products". Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU). Archived from the original on 2016-08-06. Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  8. ^ Prime Minister's Department, Malaysia (2017). Malaysia Productivity Blueprint: Driving Productivity of the Nation. Economic Planning Unit. pp. 4–32. ISBN 978-967-5842-10-8.
  9. ^ Singh GD, Ganjoo M, Youssouf MS, Koul A, Sharma R, Singh S, Sangwan PL, Koul S, Ahamad DB, Johri RK (2009). "Sub-acute toxicity evaluation of an aqueous extract of Labisia pumila, a Malaysian herb". Food and Chemical Toxicology. 47 (10): 2661–2665. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2009.07.031. PMID 19654032.
  10. ^ a b c Karimi E, Jaafar HZ, Ahmad S (2011). "Phytochemical analysis and antimicrobial activities of methanolic extracts of leaf, stem and root from different varieties of Labisa pumila Benth". Molecules. 16 (6): 4438–4450. doi:10.3390/molecules16064438. PMC 6264691. PMID 21623314.
  11. ^ Ali Z, Khan IA (2011). "Alkyl phenols and saponins from the roots of Labisia pumila (Kacip Fatimah)". Phytochemistry. 72 (16): 2075–2080. doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2011.06.014. PMID 21784496.
  12. ^ Houghton, P.J.; J.A. Jamal; Milligan S. (1999). "Studies on Labisia pumila herb and its commercial products". J Pharm Pharmacol (51): 236.