Skip to Content

Kacip Fatimah

Scientific Name(s): L. pumila var. pumila., L. pumila var.alata (Scheff.) Mez., L. pumila var. lanceolata (Scheff.) Mez., Labisia pumila Benth. & Hook. f.
Common Name(s): Kacip fatimah, Selusuh fatimah

Clinical Overview

Use

Kacip fatimah is primarily marketed as a health tonic for pre- and postmenopausal women.

Dosing

The herb, or formulation with other herbs, is available in many commercial products as a capsule, tea, or coffee, and as a canned beverage for human consumption. A pilot study documents dosages of up to 560 mg/day in postmenopausal women. Most commercial formulations are 154 mg capsules taken twice daily.

Contraindications

Avoid use if there is a known allergy or hypersensitivity to any of the components of kacip fatimah.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Avoid use during pregnancy and lactation due to lack of clinical data.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

No clinical data were found.

Toxicology

None well documented.

Botany

L. pumila, or kacip fatimah, is part of a genus of approximately 7 species and is found in Southeast Asia in the lowlands and hill forests of Malaysia at an altitude of 300 to 700 m. It is a small subherbaceous perennial with creeping stems growing from 30 to 40 cm in height. The leaves are elliptical-lanceolate in shape. The upper side of the leaf is dark green and the underside is light green to reddish-purple. The whole leaf can be more than 30 cm long and 13 cm wide. The clustered white to pink flowers are 6 to 30 cm long with sepals, petals, and stamens. The flowers produce a round, bright red to purple fruit 0.5 cm in diameter when ripe.Foster 2009, Mannerås 2010

History

Kacip fatimah has been used for centuries and is still commonly consumed by Malay women in Malaysia.Foster 2009 The whole plant has been administered before and after childbirth to expedite delivery. Other reported uses include treatment of dysentery, dysmenorrhea, flatulence, gonorrhea, and hemorrhoidsJamal 2006 as well as for a condition described as "sickness in the bones."Zaizuhana 2006 Men from several ethnic groups in the Malaysian state of Sarawak have reported increased stamina after consuming the herb.Asiah 2007 The herb may also relieve throat ache when combined with the roots of Piper caninum.Hanum 1999

A decoction of the herb is administered 1 to 2 months before childbirth to help strengthen and tone abdominal muscles and the vaginal wall and tissue. The herb also promotes emotional well-being, reduces fatigue, and increases libido and energy. A decoction of the leaves and roots is consumed to promote strength after childbirth, as well as to delay further conception.Foster 2009

The Malaysian government is providing support for research on the safety and efficacy of kacip fatimah because of the appearance of numerous commercial products over the last 10 years in the Malaysian market claiming increased vitality and libido. Ongoing clinical trials continue, and various patents have been filed for kacip fatimah.Foster 2009

Chemistry

There are limited chemical studies on kacip fatimah. The major components of the plant are benzoquinoid compounds contained in the root and leaves, alkenyl resorcinols, and triterpenoid compounds.Ezumi 2007, Foster 2009 Antioxidant components include ascorbic acid or vitamin C, beta carotene, anthocyanins (also responsible for color of flowers, fruits, and berries), and flavonoids.Norhaiza 2009 The root also has high iron content (107.3 to 111.6 ppm).Foster 2009

Uses and Pharmacology

Review of the medical literature primarily documents animal research on the potential clinical use of kacip fatimah in women's health.Al-Wahaibi 2007, Al-Wahaibi 2008, Fazliana 2009, Mannerås 2010 Numerous toxicity studies have also been published.Effendy 2004, Ezumi 2007, Fuad 2005, Singh 2009, Wan 2008, Zaizuhana 2006

Antioxidant

The antioxidant activities of the leaf extracts are well documented.Norhaiza 2009

Women's health

In vitro and animal data

Kacip fatimah maintained the integrity and morphology of the aortic wall of ovariectomized rats. The cardioprotective effects were similar to estrogen.Al-Wahaibi 2008 The same study found estrogen activity similar to estrone and estradiol by a water extract of kacip fatimah in an immunoassay for estradiol binding to antibodies raised against estradiol. The effect was dose dependent on estradiol and free testosterone levels in female rats. Estrogen receptor modulation may be a potential mechanism of the herb.Al-Wahaibi 2007

In rats, kacip fatimah may modulate postmenopausal adiposity similar to estrogen by initiating lipolysis in adipose tissue.Fazliana 2009 The herb's mechanism of action is associated with a uterotrophic effect and regulating body weight gain by changing the expression and secretion of adipokines, leptin, and resistin in adipose tissue. In a rat model of polycystic ovary syndrome, oral treatment with kacip fatimah increased insulin sensitivity, reduced triglyceride and total cholesterol levels, increased circulating resistin levels, and decreased leptin mRNA expression. Body weight development was not affected, but uterine weight was increased, indicating potential estrogenic effects.Mannerås 2010

Clinical data

Administration of L. pumila var alata dried extract (400 mg/day) for 16 weeks in 202 pre- and postmenopausal healthy women was shown to be safe but provided no significant benefit in quality of life, hormonal parameters, cardiovascular risk profiles, or bone mineral density compared to placebo in a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial.Norhayati 2014

Skin protection

A kacip fatimah extract protected against the effects of ultraviolet radiation by: (1) protecting dermal fibroblasts from cell death; (2) reducing expression of inflammatory mediators tumor necrosis factor-alpha and cyclo-oxygenase-2; (3) increasing expression of type 1 procollagen; and (4) reducing expression of inflammatory cytokines.16

Stress

Pretreatment with an aqueous extract of kacip fatimah in experimental animals reversed behavioral, biochemical, and immunological changes produced by stressful stimuli and restored homeostasis.Kour 2010

Dosing

Kacip fatimah is primarily marketed as a health tonic for women by the herbal and pharmaceutical industries. The herb, or formulations with other herbs, is available in many commercial products as a capsule, tea, or coffee, and as a canned beverage for human consumption.Foster 2009, Singh 2009 Dosages of up to 560 mg/day in postmenopausal women appeared safe.Foster 2009 Most commercial formulations are 154 mg capsules taken twice daily.

Pregnancy / Lactation

Avoid use during pregnancy and lactation due to lack of sufficient clinical data. In an animal model, a 1,000 mg/kg/day aqueous extract of kacip fatimah did not cause any teratogenic effects. Although considered statistically insignificant, an increase in body weight of pregnant animals was observed.Fuad 2005

Interactions

The plant contains iron and may provide additive adverse effects in patients being treated with iron supplements. The herb may have estrogen-like effects; avoid use in patients with estrogen-sensitive cancers or patients being treated with hormonal supplements. The herb also may have additive adverse effects if patients are being treated with cholesterol medications.

Contraindications

Avoid use if known allergy or hypersensitivity to any of the components of kacip fatimah exists.

Adverse Reactions

No clinical data were found.

Toxicology

In an animal reproductive toxicity study, no observable adverse effects on pregnancy, delivery, and early pup growth in female rats were documented with 800 mg/kg/day of aqueous kacip fatimah extract.Ezumi 2007 Another animal study using 1,000 mg/kg/day of aqueous kacip fatimah extract observed changes in maternal body weight, but no teratogenic effects were seen in rats.Fuad 2005 A similar study noted no toxicity risks in the reproductive organs of female rats.Wan 2008

No toxicity was documented with a low dose of 50 mg/kg of an aqueous kacip fatimah extract in rats. However, the 200 to 1,000 mg/kg dose in rats was associated with elevated liver enzymes and abnormal histological profiles of the liver, kidney, and lungs.Singh 2009 The same study found a petroleum ether extract of this plant to cause sinusoidal degeneration of the liver with renal tubule inflammation at days 1 to 7 postpartum in female Wistar rats.Singh 2009 Histological changes were noted in the thickness of the endometrial wall in nonpregnant rats treated with a kacip fatimah extract.Effendy 2004

No observed mutagenic or genotoxic effects were documented from micronucleus assays using different dosages of kacip fatimah aqueous extracts on mammalian bone marrow cells.Zaizuhana 2006

References

Al-Wahaibi A, Wan Nazaimoon WM, Farihah HS, Azian AL. Effect of ovariectomy, Labisia pumila var alata treatment and estrogen replacement therapy on the morphology of adipose tissue in ovariectomized Sprague Dawley rats. J Med. 2007;1(1).
Al-Wahaibi A, Wan Nazaimoon WM, Norsyam WN, Farihah HS, Azian AL. Effect of water extract of Labisia pumila var alata on aorta of ovariectomized Sprague Dawley rats. Pakistan J Nutr. 2008;7(2):208-213.
Asiah O, Nurhanan MY, Mohd Ilham A. Determination of bioactive peptide (4.3 kda) as an aphrodisiac marker in six Malaysian plants. J Trop Forest Sci. 2007;19(1):61-63.
Choi HK, Kim DH, Kim JW, Ngadiran S, Sarmidi MR, Park CS. Labisia pumila extract protects skin cells from photoaging caused by UVB irradiation. J Biosci Bioeng. 2010;109(3):291-296.20159580
Effendy A, Siti-Nurtahirah J, Hussin Z, Lola M, Zamri-Saad M. The effects of Kacip fatimah (Labisia pumila) extract on kidney, liver and uterus of white rat (Rattus norvegicus). Presented at: The 11th International Conference of the Association of Institutions for Tropical Veterinary Medicine and 16th Veterinary Association Malaysia Congress; August 23-27 2004; Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
Ezumi M, Amrah S, Suhaimi A, Mohsin S. Evaluation of the female reproductive toxicity of aqueous extract of Labisia pumila var. alata in rats. Indian J Pharmacol. 2007;39(1):30-32.
Fazliana M, Wan Nazaimoon WM, Gu HF, Ostenson CG. Labisia pumila extract regulates body weight and adipokines in ovariectomized rats. Maturitas. 2009;62(1):91-97.19054635
Foster S. Balancing nature and wellness: Malaysian traditions of "Ramuan" the history, culture, biodiversity and scientific assimilation of medicinal plants in Malaysia. HerbalGram. 2009;84:30-43.
Fuad W, Sulaiman S, Islam M, Wahab M, Jamalullail S. Evaluation of the teratogenicity of aqueous extract of Labisia pumila var. alata in rats. Malays J Med Sci. 2005;12(2):13-21.
Hanum IF, Hamzah N. The use of medicinal plant species by the Temuan tribe of Ayer Hitam Forest, Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia. Pertanika J Trop Agric Sci. 1999;22(2):85-94.
Jamal JA. Malay traditional medicine. Tech Monitor. 2006(Nov-Dec);37-49.
Kour K, Sharma N, Chandan BK, Koul S, Sangwan PL, Bani S. Protective effect of Labisia pumila on stress-induced behavioral, biochemical, and immunological alterations. Planta Med. 2010;76(14):1497-1505.20217640
Mannerås L, Fazliana M, Wan Nazaimoon WM, et al. Beneficial metabolic effects of the Malaysian herb Labisia pumila var. alata in a rat model of polycystic ovary syndrome. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010;127(2):346-351.19883744
Norhaiza M, Maziah M, Hakiman M. Antioxidative properties of leaf extracts of a popular Malaysian herb, Labisia pumila. J Med Plants Res. 2009;3(4):217-223.
Norhayati MN, George A, Hazlina NH, et al. Efficacy and safety of Labisia pumila var alata water extract among pre- and post-menopausal women. J Med Food. 2014;17(8):929-938.25000151
Singh GD, Ganjoo M, Youssouf MS, et al. Sub-acute toxicity evaluation of an aqueous extract of Labisia pumila, a Malaysian herb. Food Chem Toxicol. 2009;47(10):2661-2665.19654032
Wan M, Amrah S, Hasnan J, Syed S. The effects of aqueous extract of Labisia pumila var. alata (Biolabisia) on reproductive organs in female rats. Malays J Med Sci. 2008;15(1):111.
Zaizuhana S, Puteri J Noor MB, Noral'ashikin Y, Muhammad H, Rohana AB, Zakiah I. The in vivo rodent micronucleus assay of Kacip Fatimah (Labisia pumila) extract. Trop Biomed. 2006;23(2):214-219.17322824

Disclaimer

This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

More about kacip fatimah

Related treatment guides

Hide