Asystasia gangetica

Synonyms

Asystasia coromandeliana Wight ex Nees, Justicia gangetica L., Ruellia secunda Vahl, Symb., Ruellia zeylanica Koen. ex Roxb. [4]

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia Rumput Israel, Ara Songsang, Seri Pagi, Rumput Bunga Putih, Rumput Hantu, Rumput Nyonya
English Tropical Primrose; Chinese Violet; Senegal Tea Tree, Orange Hawkweed
Thailand Baya, Yaya
Philippines Asistasiya,  Zamboangenita (Tagalog); Bulak-bulak (Subanun),
India Upputhali
China Kuan Ye Shi Wan Cuo
French Herba le Rail; Mange-tout; Herba Pistache; Pistache Marron
Portuguese Asistasia Branca
Nigeria Lobiri, Inana
Swahili Fuchwe, Mtikini, Kichwamangwo
Uganda Lenzokobi; Limu; Odipaikong [1-3]

General Information

Description

Asystasia gangetica is a member of the Acanthaceae family. It is a perennial herbaceous, ascending and branching plant with quadrangular stem which can reach up to 2m long. There rooting at the lower nodes. The leaves are opposite, simple; with petiole 0.5-6cm long. The leaf blade is ovate to lanceolate, 3-8cm x 1.5-4.5cm, base cuneate to cordate, apex acuminate or acute, margins entire, glabrous to sparse pubescent. The inflorescence are terminal raceme up to 25cm long, with flowers directed to one side. The flowers are bisexual, slightly zygomorphic, 5 in number; pedicel up to 3mm long, calyx, with lanceolate lobes 4-10mm long; corolla funnel shaped, up to about 2.5cm long, usually white with purplish spots inside lower lobe, with rounded lobes 1cm wide, lower lobe slightly longer; stamens 4, 2 shorter and 2 longer; ovary superior, dense pubescent, 2-celled, style up to 1.5cm long; stigma with 2 short lobes. The fruit a club-shaped capsule 2-3cm long, pubescent and glandular, usually 4-seeded. The seeds ovoid, flattened, 4-5mm long, grey to brown, with crenate margins, tuberculate, supported by retinacula. [1]

Plant Part Used

Roots, Leaves and Flowers.[3][5]

Chemical Constituents

Phytochemical screening of the leaf extracts (ethylacetate, hexane and methanol) showed the presence of carbohydrates, proteins, alkaloids, steroidal alglycones, saponins, flavonoids, reducing sugars and triterpenoids. The methanol extract has the highest number of constituents.[5]

Traditional Used:

A. gangetica is used as food and also as medicine in many communities of the tropical. In Malaysia, the young leaves and shoots are cooked as vegetable. In Kenya and Uganda it is a popular vegetable and is cooked with beans and ground nuts or sesame paste.[3]

The leaves are included as an ingredient in a number of pot herbs in the African communities. The extract of whole plant is given to women in labour as an aid to ease the pain during childbirth.[3] Others, it is given to  pregnant women with constipation in late pregnancy by mixed with pepper in the form of an enema.[10]

A. gangetica is much revered for analgesic properties as evidenced in the use of the following conditions: women in labour, as ointment to treat stiff neck, stomachache and snakebites. The root powder is used to treat snakebites and stomachaches. [3]

For respiratory complaints, A. gangetica has found its use in treating asthma, dry cough with throat irritation and chest discomfort. In Maluku, the juice of A. gangetica is mixed with lime and onion juice is given to treat dry cough, while the Nigerians used the leaves to treat asthma. [3][10]

The sap of A. gangetica has anti-inflammatory activities and is used to treat sores, wounds, haemorrhoids and rheumatism. This is applied over the lesion. The plant is also conferred with antibacterial properties and it is used in the treatment of infected wounds and most importantly in cases of urethral discharges as in gonorrhoea.[3]

Pre-Clinical Data

Pharmacology

Antiasthmatic activity
The Native Nigerians were used the leaf extracts of A. gangetica to treat asthma. Akah et al. studied the effects of various (hexane, ehtylacetate and methanol) leaf extracts to determine this activity. It is reported that the leaf extracts did not exhibit contractile or relaxant activity on isolated tissue preparation. However, the extracts inhibited contractions induced by spasmogen.[5]

Anti-inflammatory activity
The leaf extracts (hexane, ethyacetate and methanol) of A. gangetica showed anti-inflammatory activity.[5]

Antimicrobial activity
The ethanol extract of flowers of A. gangetica exhibited a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity, particularly against Escherichia coli, Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonas aeruginosa  and Staphylococcus aureus.[6]

Angiotensin I – converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitory activity
Ramesar et al studied the ACE inhibition activity of 16 nutritive plants in South Africa. Amongst the 8 which proved to have this activity was Asystasia gangetica. This activity was not dependent on the presence of tannins.[7]

Antidiabetic activity
Fresh juice of the leaves of A. gangetica in concentrations of 25%, 50% and 75% showed significant ability to reduce elevated plasma glucose levels in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. However, it was observed that the juice also caused a significant rise in the level of bicarbonate. This fact renders it unsuitable for use in managing diabetes mellitus.[8]

Toxicities

Acute toxicity test showed an LD50 of methanol extract was found to be 2150mg/kg in mice.[5]

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

No documentation

Age Limitations

Neonates / Adolescents

No documentation

Geriatrics

No documentation

Chronic Disease Conditions

No documentation

Interactions

Interactions with drugs

Its use may modify antidiabetic and antihypertensive therapy due to the presence of compounds that could induce hypoglycaemia and hypotension.

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation

Contraindications

Contraindications

No documentation

Case Reports

No documentation

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  1) Botanical Info

References

  1. Grubben GJH. PROTA Volume 2 – Vegetables. PROTA; 2004. p. 100.
  2. Goode PM. Edible Plants of Uganda. Food and Agriculture Organisation; 1989. p. 49-52.
  3. Tolu Odugbemi. Outlines and Pictures of Medicinal Plants from Nigeria. Tolu Odugbemi University of Lagos Press, Lagos; 2008.
  4. Peter Hanelt. Mansfeld’s Encyclopedia of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops. 1st ed. Springer-Verlag Berlin; 2001. p. 1914.
  5. Akah PA, Ezike AC, Nwafor SV, Okoli CO, Enwerem NM. Evaluation of the anti-asthmatic property of Asystasia gangetica leaf extracts. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 Nov; 89(1):25-36.
  6. Sudhakar M, Rao ChV, Rao PM, Raju DB, Venkateswarlu Y. Antimicrobial activity of Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Euphorbia hirta and Asystasia gangeticum. Fitoterapia. 2006 Jul; 77(5): 378-80.
  7. Ramesar S, Baijnath H, Govender T, Mackraj I. Angiotensin I-converting enzyme inhibitor activity of nutritive plants in KwaZulu-Natal. J Med Food. 2008 Jun; 11(2): 331-6.
  8. Rotimi SO, Omotosho OE, Rotimi OA. Persistence of acidosis in alloxan-induced diabetic rats treated with the juice of Asystasia gangetica leaves. Pharmacogn Mag. 2011 Jan; 7(25):25-30.
  9. Metafro Infosys. Prelude Medicinal Plants  Database: Asystasia gangetica (L.) T. Anders. [cited 2012 March 28]. Available from: http://www.metafro.be/prelude/view_plant?pi=01530&set_language=en&cl=en
  10. Philippine Plants Database. Asystasia gangetica Linn. [cited 2012 March 28]. Available from: http://www.stuartxchange.org/Asistasia.html