A study showed that Orthosiphon stamineus lowered levels of uric acid in rodents and acted as a diuretic.
A recent study indicates another interesting property of Orthosiphon stamineus. Researchers experimentally elevated body temperature in rodents then gave them Orthosiphon stamineus. The botanical significantly reduced the increased body temperature. The effect persisted up to four hours following the administration of the extract. Orthosiphon stamineus’ anti-pyretic (fever-reducing) effect was comparable with that of acetaminophen.5
Anti-inflammatory and Analgesic Effects
Researchers also have studied Orthosiphon stamineus for its effects on inflammation and pain. Scientists induced edema in the hind paws of rodents. They then gave the animals Orthosiphon stamineus. The botanical significantly reduced the edema 3 and 5 hours after the swelling was induced. Furthermore, Orthosiphon stamineus also produced significant analgesic (pain-reducing) activity.6
According to the researchers, “The results of the present study support the proposal that O. stamineus has anti-inflammatory and non-narcotic analgesic activities. These findings justify the traditional use of the plant for treating pain and inflammation.”
A 2007 study suggests that Orthosiphon stamineus may be as protective to the liver as it is to the kidney. Researchers treated rats with Orthosiphon stamineus then induced liver toxicity in the rodents. The botanical dose-dependently reduced the necrotic changes in the liver and inhibited the increase of serum ALT and AST activities. Orthosiphon stamineus also acted as a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger.7
Maintaining Blood Sugar
Unlike some pharmaceutical diuretics, which are thought to increase the risk of diabetes by promoting glucose intolerance,Orthosiphon stamineus can actually maintain blood sugar levels. When the extract was given to normal and diabetic rats, it significantly decreased plasma glucose concentration in a dose-dependent manner. After repeated daily oral administrations of the extract for 14 days, the extract significantly reduced plasma glucose concentration in diabetic rats at days 7 and 14. By the end of the study, plasma triglyceride concentration was lower in the extract-treated diabetic rats than untreated ones. Furthermore, plasma HDL-cholesterol concentration was significantly increased in diabetic rats treated with the extract.8
“Our findings suggested that Orthosiphon stamineus aqueous extract is effective for alleviating hyperglycemia and improving lipid profile in diabetic rats,” the researchers wrote.
Balancing Nitric Oxide Levels
Nitric oxide (NO) is an important molecule that signals the blood vessels to relax and acts in many tissues to regulate a diverse range of physiological processes. When certain cells are activated by specific proinflammatory agents such as endotoxins, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), interferon-gamma (IFN-g), and interleukin-1 (IL-1), NO is produced and protects the host by damaging pathogenic DNA. Balanced amounts of nitric oxide are essential to optimal health because just as normal amounts of NO promote health, the excessive production of NO that can occur during the inflammatory process can have detrimental effects on many organ systems of the body, which can lead to tissue damage. Therefore, inhibiting NO accumulation by inflammatory stimuli can result in overall benefits.
Orthosiphon stamineus has been shown to inhibit levels of nitric oxide in macrophages that were stimulated with inflammatory endotoxins, indicating that the botanical can help support healthy levels of nitric oxide and reduce one of the harmful effects of inflammation.1
Safety of Orthosiphon
The diuretic botanical Orthosiphon stamineus has been extensively studied in rodents with no signs of toxicity. In a 2008 study, researchers administered the botanical orally to rats for 14 days and compared it to a control group receiving distilled water. The four test groups were treated with 0.5 g/kg, 1 g/kg, 3 g/kg and 5 g/kg body weight of O. stamineus respectively. No lethality or adverse toxic signs were seen during the experimental period.
According to the researchers, “In conclusion, methanol extract of O. stamineus within these range and treatment duration would not cause any severe toxic effects and organ damage in rats.”
Individuals in Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan have consumed Orthosiphon stamineus for centuries, further supporting its safety.