Family • Saxifragaceae - Hydrangea macrophylla (Thunb.) Ser. - MOPHEADS

Scientific names

Hydrangea macrophylla (Thunb.) Ser.
Hydrangea maritima Haw-Booth.

Common names

Big leaf hydrangea (Engl.)
Hydrangea (Engl.)
Lacecap hydrangea (Engl.)
Mopheads (Engl.)
Penny mac(Engl.)

Other vernacular names

JAPAN: Amacha.
KOREA: Su-guk.
MALAYSIA: Bunga tiga bulan.
SPANISH: Mil-flores.

Hydrangea is a deciduous shrub growing to a height of 1.5 to 2 meters. Leaves are opposite, petioled, oblong-ovate, acuminate, light green with serrate margins. Flowers are in large, terminal cymes; clusters up to 12 centimeters across, blue, pink, or white, with broadly oval sepals.


– Garden cultivation.
– Thrives well in Baguio and other high altitude areas.
– A popular hedge plant.
– Native to Japan and China.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Hydrangea macrophylla – (Thunb.)Ser. / Plants For A Future

(2) Comparison of antimalarial activity of the alkaloidal fraction of Hydrangea macrophylla var. Otaksa leaves with the hot-water extract in ICR mice infected with Plasmodium yoelii 17 XL / Akira Ishih et al / Phytotherapy Research, Volume 17 Issue 6, Pages 633 – 639 / /Published Online: 16 Jun 2003

(3) Secoiridoid glycosides from the leaves of Hydrangea macrophylla subsp. serrata / Hitomi Sakai et al / Journal of Natural Medicines, Volume 61, Number 2 / April, 2007 / DOI 10.1007/s11418-006-0123-6

(4) Drug derived from the hydrangea root shows promise for autoimmune disorders / Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Immune Disease Institute / Children’s Hospital Boston (PCMM/IDI), along with the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.

(5) Two New Cyanogenic Glucosides from the Leaves of Hydrangea macrophylla / Chun-Juan Yang, Zhi-Bin Wang, Da-Ling Zhu, Ying Yu, Yin-Ting Lei and Yan Liu * / Molecules 2012, 17, 5396-5403; doi:10.3390/molecules17055396

(6) STUDIES OF HYDRANGENOL IN HYDRANGEA MACROPHYLLA SER.: I. ISOLATION, IDENTIFICATION, AND BIOSYNTHESIS FROM C14-LABELLED COMPOUNDS / Ragai K. Ibrahim, G. H. N. Towers / Canadian Journal of Biochemistry and Physiology, 1960, 38(7): 627-634 / 10.1139/o60-077

(7) Chemical Constituents from the Leaves of Hydrangea macrophylla var. thunbergii (III)1): Absolute Stereostructures of Hydramacrosides A and B, Secoiridoid Glucoside Complexes with Inhibitory Activity on Histamine Release / Hisashi MATSUDA, Hiroshi SHIMODA, Toshiaki UEMURA, Tomohiko UEDA, Johji YAMAHARA, and Masayuki YOSHIKAWA* / Chem. Pharm. Bull. 47(12) 1753—1758 (1999) 1753

(8) Study on antifungal activity of Hydrangea macrophylla (Thunb.) Ser and Allium cepa Linn. against some pathogenic fungi.Anand Sagar; Madhavi Joshi; Bhawana Srivastava / Journal Plant Archives 2011 Vol. 11 No. 1 pp. 37-41

(9) A Potential Suppressor of TGF- Delays Catagen Progression in Hair Follicle / Yumiko Tsuji*, Sumiko Denda*, Tsutomu Soma*, Laurel Raftery, Takashi Momoi and Toshihiko Hibino* / Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings (2003) 8, 65–68; doi:10.1046/j.

(10) Hydrangea macrophylla / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED

• Leaves contain phyllodulcin, a sweet substance that can be used as a sugar substitute.
• Ethanolic extract of aerial parts isolated two new cyanogenic glycosides viz. [(2R)-2- (ß-D-glucopyranosyloxy)-2-(3,4-dimethoxy-phenyl)] acetonitrile and {(2R)-2-[ß-D- glucopyranosyl(1—6)ß-D-glucopyranosyloxy]-2-(3-hydroxy-4-methoxy-phenyl)}acetonitrile.
• Flowers yielded hydragenol glucoside. Acid hydrolysates of flower, leaf and root yielded a free isocoumarin, hydrangenol.
• From characterization of dihydroisocoumarin constituents, leaves yielded two secoiridoid glucoside complexes: hydramacrosides A and B.


• Considered antiperiodic, antitussive, diuretic.
• Leaves, roots and flowers considered antimalarial, antitussive and diuretic.

• Young leaves, dried and rubbed becomes sweet
• Used to make sweet tea, or “tea in heaven,” used in Buddhist ceremonies.
• Leaves are dried, powdered and used as food flavoring.
• Young leaves and shoots can be eaten cooked.
• No known folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
• Elsewhere, used for malaria, as diuretic, antitussive.


Study Findings
• Antimalarial Activity: Study evaluated the antimalarial activity of fractions isolated from the leaves of Hydrangea macrophylla against Plasmodium yoelii.
• Antimalarial Activity: In a study of the leaves of 13 common Japanese plants, the leaf extract of Hydrangea macrophylla inhibited the parasitic growth of Plasmodium falcifarum.
• Phyllodulcin / Water Extraction: A subcritical water extraction, an alternative environmentally friendly extraction method, was developed for the extraction of phyllodulcin, the well known sweetener in Hydrangea macrophylla var. thunbergii.
• Secoiridoid Glycosides: Study isolated seven secoiridoid glycosides from the leaves of H macrophylla subsp. serrata.
• Halofuginone / Root / Immunomodulatory: Halofuginone, a drug derived from the hydrangea root, shows promise in the treatment of autoimmune disorders, inhibiting the development of Th17 cells in both mice and humans, interrupting processes in autoimmune pathology.
• Hydramacrosides / Inhibition of Histamine Release: Hydramacrosides A and B, isolated from leaves of hydrangea macrophylla var. thunbergii exhibited an inhibitory effect on histamine release from rat mast cells induced by antigen-antibody reaction.
• Antifungal: Study evaluated the antifungal effect of leaves against Alternaria alternata, Aspergillus flavus, and Fusarium solani following poisoned food technique. Results showed significant reduction in the growth of tested fungi. The fungitoxic effect of the leaf increased when combined with Allium cepa bulb extract.
• Prevention of Male Pattern Baldness: Study showed TGF-ß—which plays an important role in catagen induction during the hair cycle—activation of caspase in human hair follicles. The induction of catagen by TGF-ß is mediated via activation of caspases and that a suppressor of TGF-ß could help prevent male pattern baldness.