Labisia pumila (kacip Fatimah, //) is a flowering plant in the Primulaceae family native to Malaysia. 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 used in traditional medicine of the Malay community, in which it's believed to contain benefits relating to women's health.
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. The plant thrives under the shade, away from direct sunlight, and grows well in moist or loamy soil. It propagates by its rhizomes, leaves and/or seeds, and when cultivated is harvested about a year after planting. The plant is indigenous to Malaysia, but also found in Sumatera, Java and Borneo. Three varieties of Labisia have been described: var. Alata, var. Lanceolata dan var Pumila.
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 Sangkoh.
In folk medicine L. pumila was thought to be useful for a number of applications, including labor induction and treating venereal disease and flatulence. The plant has been researched for use in making cosmeceutical products.
The plant's extract has been commercially formulated for consumption in capsule and tablet form, as well as an ingredient in energy drinks. In Malaysia, Labisia was highlighted in 2010 as one of five local herbs to developed commercially on a large scale via the Economic Transformation Programme.
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. It has been reported that Labisia contains two novel benzoquinoid compounds, as well as gallic acid, caffeic acid, rutin, and myricetin. One study claims that the leaves contain significantly higher level of saponins compared to its stems and roots.
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