All aerial parts of the plant are credited with antibacterial, antifebrile and haemostatic properties. It is indicated in the therapy of coryza, influenza, headache, measles, colic and jaundice, in the form of a fumigation of the dried plant or the inhalation of vapour from a boiling decoction of the fresh plant. It is also prescribed against epistaxis, impetigo, dyspepsia, dysentery and menstrual disorders. In Hong Kong the aerial parts are used to treat snakebite.
Baeckea frutescens has a long history of use in traditional medicine in southeast Asia. There have been number of studies that have demonstrated the presence of medically active compounds in the plant.
In a simple in vitro enzyme assay, the essential oil of Baeckea frutescens showed strong inhibitory activity of more than 80% at 0.1 mg/ml against lipoxygenase. The essential oil at a dose of 435 mg/kg exhibited antihepatotoxic activity.
The leaves and aboveground parts contain series of chromones, chromanones, as well as chromone-C-glycosides. These are structurally strongly related to the flavones. Some of these chromones have show strong cytotoxic activity against leukaemia cells.
The plant is externally applied as an antiseptic in treating furunculosis and impetigo.
The essential oil is used for massage in cases of rheumatism.
The essential oil shows considerable variation in composition and relevant percentage of its constituents depending on where it has grown.
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