Impatiens balsamina

Last updated

Impatiens balsamina
Impatiens balsamina 28 08 2009.JPG
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Balsaminaceae
Genus: Impatiens
I. balsamina
Binomial name
Impatiens balsamina
Fruits Seed pod fung sin.jpg

Impatiens balsamina, commonly known as balsam, garden balsam, rose balsam, touch-me-not [1] or spotted snapweed, [2] is a species of plant native to India and Myanmar. [1]


It is an annual plant growing to 20–75 cm tall, with a thick, but soft stem. The leaves are spirally-arranged, 2.5–9 cm long and 1–2.5 cm broad, with a deeply toothed margin. The flowers are pink, red, mauve, lilac, or white, and 2.5–5 cm diameter; they are pollinated by bees and other insects, and also by nectar-feeding birds. [3] The ripe seed capsules undergo explosive dehiscence. [4]

Human use

Different parts of the plant are used as traditional remedies for disease and skin afflictions. Juice from the leaves is used to treat warts and snakebite, and the flower is applied to burns. [5] This species has been used as indigenous traditional medicine in Asia for rheumatism, fractures, and other ailments. [6] In Korean folk medicine, this impatiens species is used as a medicine called bongseonhwa dae (봉선화대) for the treatment of constipation and gastritis. [7] Chinese people used the plant to treat those bitten by snakes or who ingested poisonous fish. [8] Juice from the stalk, pulverised dried stalks, and pastes from the flowers were also used to treat a variety of ailments. [8] Vietnamese wash their hair with an extract of the plant to stimulate hair growth. [8] One in vitro study found extracts of this impatiens species, especially of the seed pod, to be active against antibiotic-resistant strains of Helicobacter pylori . [6] It is also an inhibitor of 5α-reductases, enzymes that reduce testosterone levels. [9]

In Korea, the flowers are crushed and mixed with alum to produce an orange dye that can be used to dye fingernails. Unlike common nail varnish, the dye is semi-permanent, requiring dyed nails to grow off over time in order to remove any traces of color. [10] [11]


The naphthoquinones lawsone, or hennotannic acid, and lawsone methyl ether and methylene-3,3'-bilawsone are some of the active compounds in I. balsamina leaves. [12] It also contains kaempferol and several derivatives. [13] Baccharane glycosides have been found in Chinese herbal remedies made from the seeds. [14]


It is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant, and has become naturalised and invasive on several Pacific Ocean islands. [4]

Related Research Articles

<i>Piper</i> (plant) Genus of plants

Piper, the pepper plants or pepper vines, is an economically and ecologically important genus in the family Piperaceae.

<i>Sambucus</i> Genus of flowering plants in the moschatel (Adoxaceae) family

Sambucus is a genus of flowering plants in the family Adoxaceae. The various species are commonly called elder or elderberry. The genus was formerly placed in the honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae, but was reclassified as Adoxaceae due to genetic and morphological comparisons to plants in the genus Adoxa.

<i>Helicobacter pylori</i> Species of bacteria

Helicobacter pylori, previously known as Campylobacter pylori, is a gram-negative, helically-shaped, microaerophilic bacterium usually found in the stomach. Its helical shape is thought to have evolved in order to penetrate the mucoid lining of the stomach and thereby establish infection. The bacterium was first identified in 1982 by Australian doctors Barry Marshall and Robin Warren. H. pylori has been associated with the mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue in the stomach, esophagus, colon, rectum, or tissues around the eye, and of lymphoid tissue in the stomach.

The quinones are a class of organic compounds that are formally "derived from aromatic compounds [such as benzene or naphthalene] by conversion of an even number of –CH= groups into –C(=O)– groups with any necessary rearrangement of double bonds", resulting in "a fully conjugated cyclic dione structure". The class includes some heterocyclic compounds.

<i>Impatiens</i> genus of plants

Impatiens is a genus of more than 1,000 species of flowering plants, widely distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere and the tropics. Together with the genus Hydrocera, Impatiens make up the family Balsaminaceae.

<i>Lonicera japonica</i> Flowering shrub known as Japanese honeysuckle

Lonicera japonica, known as Japanese honeysuckle and golden-and-silver honeysuckle, is a species of honeysuckle native to eastern Asia. It is often grown as an ornamental plant, but has become an invasive species in a number of countries. Japanese honeysuckle is used in traditional Chinese medicine.

<i>Nyctanthes arbor-tristis</i> species of plant

Nyctanthes arbor-tristis, the night-flowering jasmine or Parijat or hengra bubar or Shiuli is a species of Nyctanthes native to South Asia and Southeast Asia.

<i>Impatiens glandulifera</i> Species of plant

Impatiens glandulifera is a large annual plant native to the Himalayas. Via human introduction it is now present across much of the Northern Hemisphere and is considered an invasive species in many areas. Uprooting or cutting the plants is an effective means of control.

Atrophic gastritis Human disease

Atrophic gastritis is a process of chronic inflammation of the gastric mucosa of the stomach, leading to a loss of gastric glandular cells and their eventual replacement by intestinal and fibrous tissues. As a result, the stomach's secretion of essential substances such as hydrochloric acid, pepsin, and intrinsic factor is impaired, leading to digestive problems. The most common are vitamin B12 deficiency which results in a megaloblastic anemia and malabsorption of iron, leading to iron deficiency anaemia. It can be caused by persistent infection with Helicobacter pylori, or can be autoimmune in origin. Those with the autoimmune version of atrophic gastritis are statistically more likely to develop gastric carcinoma, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and achlorhydria.

Kaempferol chemical compound

Kaempferol (3,4′,5,7-tetrahydroxyflavone) is a natural flavonol, a type of flavonoid, found in a variety of plants and plant-derived foods including kale, beans, tea, spinach and broccoli. Kaempferol is a yellow crystalline solid with a melting point of 276–278 °C (529–532 °F). It is slightly soluble in water and highly soluble in hot ethanol, ethers, and DMSO. Kaempferol is named for 17th-century German naturalist Engelbert Kaempfer.

<i>Lamium album</i> species of plant

Lamium album, commonly called white nettle or white dead-nettle, is a flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae. It is native throughout Europe and Asia, growing in a variety of habitats from open grassland to woodland, generally on moist, fertile soils.

<i>Impatiens capensis</i> jewelweed

Impatiens capensis, the orange jewelweed, common jewelweed, spotted jewelweed, or orange balsam, is an annual plant which is native to eastern North America. It is common in bottomland soils, ditches, and along creeks, often growing side-by-side with its less common relative, yellow jewelweed.

Lawsone chemical compound

Lawsone (2-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone), also known as hennotannic acid, is a red-orange dye present in the leaves of the henna plant as well as in the flower of water hyacinth. Humans have used henna extracts containing lawsone as hair and skin dyes for more than 5000 years. Lawsone reacts chemically with the protein keratin in skin and hair, in a process known as Michael addition, resulting in a strong permanent stain that lasts until the skin or hair is shed. The darker colored ink is due to more lawsone-keratin interactions occurring, which evidently break down as the concentration of lawsone decreases and the tattoo fades. Lawsone strongly absorbs UV light, and aqueous extracts can be effective sunless tanning and sunscreens. Chemically, lawsone is similar to juglone, which is found in walnuts.

<i>Barringtonia acutangula</i> Species of plant

Barringtonia acutangula is a species of Barringtonia native to coastal wetlands in southern Asia and northern Australasia, from Afghanistan east to the Philippines and Queensland. Common names include freshwater mangrove, itchytree and mango-pine.

<i>Styphnolobium japonicum</i> species of plant

Styphnolobium japonicum (L.) Schott, the Japanese pagoda tree is a species of tree in the subfamily Faboideae of the pea family Fabaceae.

<i>Acalypha indica</i> species of plant

Acalypha indica is an herbaceous annual that has catkin-like inflorescences with cup-shaped involucres surrounding the minute flowers. It is mainly known for its root being attractive to domestic cats, and for its various medicinal uses. It occurs throughout the Tropics.

<i>Terminalia macroptera</i> species of plant

Terminalia macroptera is a species of flowering plant in the Combretaceae known by the Hausa common name kwandari. It is native to Africa, where it can be found in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Senegal, Sudan, Uganda, and Nigeria.

Alpinia nigra is a medium-sized herb belonging to the ginger family. The rhizome is well known in many Asian cultures as a medicinal and culinary item. In many Asian tribal communities it is a part of the diet along with rice.

<i>Echinops echinatus</i> species of plant

Echinops echinatus, the Indian globe thistle, is a species of globe thistle, found in India Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Indian Globe Thistle is an erect branched herb about 100 cm high. It has short, stout stems, branching from the base, covered with white cottony hair. Alternately arranged oblong, deeply pinnatifid leaves are 7–12 cm long. Flower heads occur in solitary white spherical balls, 3–5 cm across. Petals of the tiny white disc florets are 5 mm long. Flowers are surrounded by straight, strong, white bristles.


  1. 1 2 "Impatiens balsamina". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  2. "Impatiens balsamina". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA . Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  3. Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN   0-333-47494-5.
  4. 1 2 Impatiens balsamina. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER).
  5. Plants for a Future: Impatiens balsamina
  6. 1 2 Wang YC, Wu DC, Liao JJ, Wu CH, Li WY, Weng BC (2009). "In vitro activity of Impatiens balsamina L. against multiple antibiotic-resistant Helicobacter pylori". Am. J. Chin. Med. 37 (4): 713–22. doi:10.1142/S0192415X09007181. PMID   19655409.
  7. Park JH, Kim JM, Do WI (2003). "Pharmacognostical studies on the folk medicine bong seon wha dae". Korean Journal of Pharmacognosy. 34 (3): 193–96.
  8. 1 2 3 Christopher Cumo. "Impatiens". Encyclopedia of Cultivated Plants: From Acacia to Zinnia. Christopher Cumo, ed. ABC-CLIO, 2013. p. 523. ISBN   9781598847758
  9. Ishiguro K, Oku H, Kato T (February 2000). "Testosterone 5α‐reductase inhibitor bisnaphthoquinone derivative from Impatiens balsamina". Phytother Res. 14 (1): 54–6. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1573(200002)14:1<54::AID-PTR540>3.0.CO;2-Q. PMID   10641051.
  10. "Naturally dyed red nails". JoongAng Daily . 12 September 2004. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  11. "Summer, the Way It Used to Be..." The Korea Times . 16 June 2008. Archived from the original on 16 June 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  12. Sakunphueak A, Panichayupakaranant P (2010). "Simultaneous determination of three naphthoquinones in the leaves of Impatiens balsamina L. by reversed‐phase high‐performance liquid chromatography". Phytochem Anal. 21 (5): 444–50. doi:10.1002/pca.1216. PMID   20931623.
  13. Hua L, Peng Z, Chia LS, Goh NK, Tan SN (February 2001). "Separation of kaempferols in Impatiens balsamina flowers by capillary electrophoresis with electrochemical detection". J Chromatogr A. 909 (2): 297–303. doi:10.1016/S0021-9673(00)01102-X. PMID   11269529.
  14. Li HJ, Yu JJ, Li P (March 2011). "Simultaneous qualification and quantification of baccharane glycosides in Impatientis Semen by HPLC–ESI-MSD and HPLC–ELSD". J Pharm Biomed Anal. 54 (4): 674–80. doi:10.1016/j.jpba.2010.10.014. PMID   21075577.