Piper sarmentosum Roxb

Last updated: 31 October 2016

Scientific Name

Piper sarmentosum Roxb


Piper albispicum C. DC., Piper baronii C. DC. Piper brevicaule C. DC. Piper lolot C. DC. Piper pierrei C. DC. Piper saigonense C. DC. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Chabai, kadok batu [2]
English Wild betel leaf [2]
China Jia ju., xi ye qing wei teng, qing ju [2]
Indonesia Bakik, kado-kado, sirih duduk, akar bugu, mengkadak, Karuk (Sundanese); cabean (Javanese); sirih tanah (Moluccas) [2]
Thailand Cha phlu (Central); nom wa (Peninsular); phlu ling (Northern) [2]
Laos Phak i leut [2]
Rusia Perets díkii [2]
Philippines Patai-butu (Sulu) [2]
Cambodia Môrech ansai [2]
Vietnam Ti[ee]u l[oos]t, tat ph[aws]t. [2]

Geographical Distributions

Piper sarmentosum is distributed from India to southern China and from the Philippines southward to the Moluccas. [2]

Botanical Description

P. sarmentosum is a member of Piperaceae family. P. sarmentosum is an erect or ascending, stoloniferous herb or shrublet, up to 1 m tall. The leaves are with 2-8 cm long petiole. The lower leaves are ovate-cordate, 7-15 cm x 5-10 cm and 5-7-veined while the highest leaves are obliquely oblong, 7-11 cm x 3-5 cm and 3-veined. [2]

The inflorescence is an erect spike and about 1-2 cm long. The bracts are circular, white and about 1 cm in diameter. Short stamens while stigmas are 3-4. [2]

The fruit is a berry, connate to each other and adnate to bract but with free apex. [2]


P. sarmentosum grows in thickets up to 600 m altitude, preferably in shady circumstances. In the past P. sarmentosum has been confused with P. longum L., which does not occur in Malaysia. [2]

Chemical Constituent

P. sarmentosum has been reported to contain the eight amides namely pellitorine, guineensine, brachystamide B, sarmentine, brachyamide B, 1-piperettyl pyrrolidine, 3’,4’,5’-trimethoxycinnamoyl pyrrolidine and sarmentosine. [3][4]

The fruits of P. sarmentosum has been reported contain two lignans, (+)-asarinin and sesamin and four other compounds namely 1-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl)-1E-tetradecene, methyl piperate, aromatic alkene, 1-allyl-2-methoxy-4,5-methylenedioxybenzene, pyrrole amide, sarmentosine, 7-(3’,4’-methylenedioxyphenyl)-2E,6E-heptadienoic acid pyrrolidylamide and a mixture of β-sitosterol and stigmasterol. [3][4][5]

The leaves of P. sarmentosum has been reported contain the aromatic alkene, 1-allyl-2-methoxy-4,5-methylenedioxybenzene, b-sitosterol, pyrrole amide, sarmentine, sarmentosine, pellitorine, g-asarone (l-allyl-2,4,5-trimethoxybenzene), a-asarone (l-(1-E-propenyl)-2,4,5-trimethoxybenzene), asaricin (l-allyl-2-methoxy-4,5-methylenedioxybenzene and l-allyl-2,6-dimethoxy-3,4-methylenedioxybenzene. [5][6]

The roots of P. sarmentosum has been reported to contain the aromatic alkene, 1-allyl-2-methoxy-4,5-methylenedioxybenzene, β-sitosterol, pyrrole amide, sarmentine, sarmentosine and pellitorine, (+)-sesamin, horsfieldin, two pyrrolidine amides, guineensine, brachystamide B and sarmentamide A, B, and C. [5]

N-hexane extract of the aerial parts of P. sarmentosum has been reported to contained a homologous series of six 2 E, 4 E-diene-isobutylamides and N-2'-methylbutyl-2 E,4 E-decadieneamide and beta carotene (3.1 mg/100 g) and vitamin C (17 mg/100 g). [7]

Plant Part Used

Barks, leaves and seeds. [8]

Traditional Use

The people consume P. sarmentosum by drinking the juice to relieve the symptoms of malaria. The drink has also been known to be effective in treating fever, coughs, asthma, flu, rheumatism, pleurosy and lumbago. The whole plant can be used to treat fever, to aids digestion and to relieve muscle pain. P. sarmentosum roots are an effective remedy for cough, asthma, pleurisy and fungoid dermatitis on the feet. It is chewed to stop toothaches. [3][9] The Karen people in Thailand consume P. sarmentosum which is the best local source for its beta carotene and vitamin C content. The leaves are used as a digestive tonic, carminative, expectorant, antihyperglycemic agent and antimalaria agent. The water decoction of the whole plant has also been traditionally used to treat diabetic patients. [8]

Preclinical Data


Antidiabetic activity

P. sarmentosum has been reported to have antidiabetic activity. The water extract of P. sarmentosum was examined for its hypoglycemic effect in normal and streptozotocin-diabetic rats. The diabetes was induced in rats by the intraperitoneal administration of 75 mg/kg streptozotocin (STZ) after overnight fasting. An oral glucose tolerance test was done after the oral administration of a reference drug, glibenclamide (5 mg/kg), or the water extract of the whole plant of P. sarmentosum to diabetic or normal rats. In the oral glucose tolerance test, a single oral administration of the water extract at doses of 0.125 and 0.25 g/kg significantly lowered the plasma glucose level in normal rats at 90 and 120 min after the glucose administration. In contrast, a single oral administration of the water extract at these doses and glibenclamide did not significantly lower the plasma glucose level in diabetic rats. The repeated administrations of the extract or glibenclamide for 7 days decreased the plasma glucose levels in diabetic rats, the percentage increase of plasma glucose was less in the extract-treated group which showed accumulative effect. With repeated administrations, the hypoglycemic activity of the extract was not dose-dependent. The hypoglycemic effect of the methanol soluble (MS) fraction of the water extract of P. sarmentosum was found to be more potent than that of the water extract. A substance precipitated from the MS fraction (0.16 g/kg) also exhibited a significant hypoglycemic effect, causing reduction in plasma glucose level of up to 87.1% of the control level, whereas the MS fraction (0.075 g/kg) decreased it to 82.5% of the control level. These results suggest that the substance precipitated from the MS fraction could be one of the active principles in the hypoglycemic effect of this fraction. The results of this study demonstrated that the water extract of P. sarmentosum had a hypoglycemic effect in rats, which corresponded to the previous findings of the crude extract reducing blood glucose levels in alloxan diabetic rabbits. [10]

Antiprotozoal activity

P. sarmentosum has been reported to show antiprotozoal activity. The effects of hexane and methanol extracts of P. sarmentosum dried fruits against the Plasmodium falciparum (K1, multidrug resistant strain) were assessed. Based on the findings, only two amides showed antiplasmodial activity namely sarmentine (IC50 = 18.9 µg/mL) and 1-piperettyl pyrrolidine (IC50 = 6.5 µg/mL) compared to artemisinin which acted as the standard compound (IC50 = 1 ng/mL). The rest of the fractions are inactive against P. falciparum. The antituberculosis activity was assessed against Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Ra strain. The minimum inhibition concentration (MIC) values of the standard drugs, isoniazid and kanamycin sulfate were 0.050 and 2.5 µg/ml, respectively. All compounds except 3’,4’,5’-trimethoxycinnamoyl pyrrolidine and methyl piperate showed antituberculosis activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Ra strain. The lowest MIC value of 25 µg/mL was observed following treatment with pellitorine and 1-(3, 4-methylenedioxyphenyl)-1E-tetradecene against Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Ra strain. [3]

Constituents isolated from the roots of P. sarmentosum were examined for their antimycobacterial activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Ra [5]. Standard drugs used in the study were isoniazid (MIC of 0.04-0.09 µg/mL) and kanamycin sulfate (MIC of 2.0-5.0 µg/mL). The results showed that the aromatic alkene and N-[9-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl)-2E,4E,8E-nonatrienoyl]-pyrrolidine possessed antimycobacterial activity with a MIC value of 25 µg/mL. Sarmentine, brachyamide B, sarmentosine, pellitorine and brachystamide B, showed a MIC value of 50 µg/mL, while other compounds were inactive (MIC>200 µg/mL). [5]

The antiplasmodial activity of P. sarmentosum root constituents was examined against Plasmodium falciparum (K1, multidrug resistant strain). Sarmentine and sarmentosine, in vitro antiplasmodial activity with EC50 values of 4.5 and 3.9 µg/mL, respectively, compared to the standard drug, chloroquine diphosphate (EC50 value of 0.16 µg/mL). However, the other constituents were inactive (EC50>20 µg/mL). [5]

Antimalarial activity

P. sarmentosum has been reported to have antimalarial activity. Chloroform and methanol extracts of the P. sarmentosum were examined for their antimalaria properties in vitro against cultures of FCR-3 strain of Plasmodium falciparum. The effects of both extracts against adult female ddy mice (~20 gm body weight) infected intraperitoneally on day 1 with 1x107 parasitized red blood cells containing Plasmodium berghei strain ANKA. Complete inhibition of P. sarmentosum methanolic extract (0.8 mg/mL) against P. falciparum development was seen after a 48-h incubation period. Significant antimalarial effect of P. sarmentosum chloroform extract was observed as early as 24 h at a concentration of 0.1 mg/mL (with 86.3% inhibition). However, complete inhibition of parasite growth was observed at concentrations of 0.4 mg/mL after 24 and 48 h of incubation. The chloroform extract seemed to have better effect against P. falciparum development compared to the methanol extract with 100% inhibition of parasite growth at all concentration levels tested (from 0.025 mg/mL to 0.4 mg/mL dilutions). P. sarmentosum demonstrated weaker in vivo antimalarial effects on Plasmodium berghei growth as compared to Andrographis paniculata and Tinospora crispa plant species. At the end of the experiment (day 5), all infected mice in the control group died. Only one mouse died in each tested extract of P. sarmentosum species. However, the number of deaths was increased as the number of days of infection increased. Based on these findings, P. sarmentosum extract showed considerable antimalarial activity against Plasmodium falciparum (in vitro) and Plasmodium berghei (in vivo) parasites. [11]

Antifungal activity

P. sarmentosum has been reported to for their antifungal activity against a clinical isolate of Candida albicans. Amphotericin B was the standard control while 10% DMSO was the negative control. The IC50 value of amphotericin B was 0.01 µg/mL. Only two compounds namely, brachyamide B and sarmentosine, possessed antifungal activity with IC50 values of 41.82 and 32.82 µg/mL, respectively, whereas other compounds were inactive (IC50>50 µg/mL). [5]

Antimicrobial activity

P. sarmentosum has been reported for its antimicrobial activities against Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis. Phenylpropanoids, isolated from the leaves of P. sarmentosum contained g-asarone (l-allyl-2,4,5-trimethoxybenzene), a-asarone (l-(1-E-propenyl)-2,4,5-trimethoxybenzene), asaricin (l-allyl-2-methoxy-4,5-methylenedioxybenzene and l-allyl-2,6-dimethoxy-3,4-methylenedioxybenzene. The agar dilution method was used to effects of these fractions against E. coli and B. subtilis. All isolated compounds showed inhibitory activities against E. coli and B. subtilis at 25 ppm at 30°. However, minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of g-asarone(l-allyl-2,4,5-trimethoxybenzene), a-asarone (l-(1-E-propenyl)-2,4,5-trimethoxybenzene) and asaricin (l-allyl-2-methoxy-4,5-methylenedioxybenzene) were not obtained under 100 ppm at 37°. Under the same conditions, l-allyl-2, 6-dimethoxy-3,4-methylenedioxybenzene showed complete inhibition of E. coli and B. subtilis at 100 ppm (MIC = 100 ppm). [6]

The antibacterial activity of the crude extract of the P. sarmentosum leaves was determined. The methanolic crude extracts were subjected to screening against five strains of bacteria species namely Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli, using disc diffusion method. The antibacterial activities were assessed by the presence or absence of inhibition zones and MIC values. The results showed that P. sarmentosum methanolic extract has potential antibacterial activities against S. aureus ATCC 25923, MRSA and P. aeruginosa ATCC 27853. No antibacterial activities observed against gram negative E. coli ATCC 25922 and K. pneumoniae (IMR K25/96). Since P. sarmentosum showed activities against these bacteria, further evaluation on this plant is needed. [8]

Cell aggregation activity

P. sarmentosum has been reported on cell aggregation which affected the cell surface hydrophobicity of Escherichia coli strains using the salt aggregation test. Aqueous and ethanolic extracts of Thai medicinal plants were tested against E. coli O157: H7 and other E. coli strain isolates of human and porcine origin, and from foods. Correlation between the MIC and cell aggregation was performed. The aqueous extract of P. sarmentosum at a high concentration (25 mg/mL) enhanced almost all cell aggregation of E. coli strains. Equal activity was seen with the aqueous extract of Punica granatum. However the aqueous and ethanolic extracts of Quercus infectoria enhanced some of the cell aggregation E. coli strains. Correlation between minimal inhibitory concentration and cell aggregation was not found in this study. [12]

Inhibition of cyclooxygenae activity

P. sarmentosum has been reported to possess cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) inhibitory activity (COX-1, IC50 = 19 µg/mL; 5-LO, IC50 = 10 µg/mL). The isolated compounds namely the homologous series of six 2 E,4 E-diene-isobutylamides and N-2'-methylbutyl-2 E,4 E-decadieneamide showed weak effects in both test systems compared to the crude extract. [7]

Mosquitocidal activity

P. sarmentosum has been reported of adulticidal potential against Stegomyia aegypti, a main vector of dengue and dengue haemorrhagic fever. After maceration with 95% ethanol, P. sarmentosum yielded about 5.3% of the ethanolic extract. All Piper extracts where tested against female mosquitoes by topical application of the insecticide to the adult female mosquitoes. Treatment for Stegomyia aegypti was carried out with increasing doses of P. sarmentosum from 0.05 to 0.30 μg/mg female. The mortality values increased from 3.0 to 89.5%. The susceptibility of St. aegypti females to ethanol-extracted Piper was dose-dependent and varied among P. sarmentosum species. The highest adulticidal effect was seen with P. sarmentosum, followed by P. ribesoides and P. longum, with LD50 values of 0.14, 0.15 and 0.26 μg/mg female, respectively. These results demonstrated the potential of these Piper species as possible mosquitocides against St. aegypti. [9]

Larvicidal activity

P. sarmentosum has been reported to have larvicidal activity. P. sarmentosum were evaluated for their efficacy against early 4th instar larvae of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes using larvicidal bioassays. The highest larvicidal efficacy towards early 4th instar larvae of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes was established from P. longum, followed by P. sarmentosum and P. ribesoides, with LC50 values of 2.23, 4.06, and 8.13 ppm, respectively. Observations of morphological alterations on treated 4th instar larvae using those extracts revealed that most organs, except anal papillae, had a normal structural appearance that was similar to controls. However under light microscopy, the internal structures of the anal papillae in treated larvae showed shrinkage, but the external features were normal in appearance. Ultrastructural studies, clearly demonstrated external destruction, with extensive damage and shrunken cuticle of the anal papillae. The deformation of the anal papillae structure probably led to their dysfunction, which may be intrinsically associated with the death of the larvae. This study afforded some evidence regarding the site of action of the pepper extracts. Based on these findings P. sarmentosum has the potential to be developed as a new type of larvicide for use in mosquito control. [13]

Antioxidant activity

P. sarmentosum has been reported to have antioxidant acivity. The methanolic extract of the leaves of Gymnema inodorum exhibited the highest level of antioxidant activity with an index of 14.8, followed by P. sarmentosum (13.0) and Mentha arvensis (10.9). Correlations between the chemical content of each plant and the antioxidant index were observed. The contents of vitamin C, vitamin E, total carotenes, total xanthophylls, tannins and total phenolics in the test plants correlated with the antioxidant index. The results suggest that the antioxidant activities of these plants may be attributed to the presence of chemical components such as vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, and phenolic compounds. [14]


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Clinical Data

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Side effects

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Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

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Interaction & Depletion

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Poisonous Management

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Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of P. sarmentosum. [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Piper sarmentosum Roxb. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Apr 18; cited 2016 Oct 31]. Available from:
  2. Jansen PCM, Piper sarmentosum Roxb. ex Hunter. In: de Guzman CC, Siemonsma JS, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 13: Spices. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 1999; p. 261.
  3. Rukachaisirikul T, Siriwattanakit P, Sukcharoenphol K, et al. Chemical constituents and bioactivity of Piper sarmentosum. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;93:173-176.
  4. Peungvicha P, Thirawarapan SS, Temsiririrkkul R, Watanabe H, Prasain JK, Kadota S. Hypoglycemic effect of the water extract of Piper sarmentosum in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 1998;60:27–32.
  5. Strunz GM, Finlay H. Synthesis of Sarmentosine, an amide alkaloids from Piper sarmentosum. Phytochemistry. 1995;39(3):731-733.
  6. Tuntiwachwuttikul P, Phansa P, Pootaeng-on Y, Taylor WC. Chemical constituents of the roots of Piper Sarmentosum. Chem Pharm Bull. 2006;54(2):149-151.
  7. Masuda T, Inazumi A, Yamada Y, Padolina GW, Kikuzaki H, Nakatani N. Antimicrobial phenylpropanoids from Piper sarmentosum. Phytochmistry. 1991; 30: 3227-3228
  8. Stöhr JR, Xiao PG, Bauer R. Isobutylamides and a new methylbutylamide from Piper sarmentosum. Planta Med. 1999;65:175-177.
  9. Zaidan MRS, Noor RA, Badrul AR, Adlin A, Norazah A, Zakiah I. In vitro screening of five local medicinal plants for antibacterial activity using disc diffusion method. Tropical Biomedicine. 2005;22(2):165–170.     
  10. Choochote W, Chaithong U, Kamsuk K, Rattanachanpichai E, Jitpakdi A, Tippawangkosol P. Adulticidal activity against Stegomyia aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) of three Piper spp. Rev Ins Med Trop Sao Paulo. 2006;48(1):33-37.
  11. Rahman NA, Furuta T, Kojima S, Takane K, Mustafa AM. Antimalarial activity of extracts of Malaysian medicinal plants. J Ethnopharmacol. 1999;64:249–254.
  12. Limsuwan S, Vanmanee S, Voravuthikunchai S. Effect of Thai medicinal plant extracts on cell aggregation of Escherichia coli O157: H7. Songklanakarin J Sci Tech. 2005;27:545-554.
  13. Chaithong U, Choochote W, Kamsuk K, et al. Larvicidal effect of pepper plants on Aedes aegypti (L.) (Diptera: Culicidae). J Vector Ecol. 2006;31(1):138-144.
  14. Chanwitheesuk A, Teerawutgulrag A, Rakariyatham N.  Screening of antioxidant activity and antioxidant compounds of some edible plants of Thailand. Food Chem. 2005;92:491–497.