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Hemigraphis colorata


Hemigraphis alternata (Burm. f.) T. Anderson, Ruellia alternata Burm, f., Ruellia colorata Blume [1]

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia Benalu Api
Indonesia Keji Beling, Sambang Getis, Sarap (Java); Lire (Ternate); Remek Daging, Reundeu Beureum
Papua New Guinea Kwaiwa
Vanuatu Noyon Gengen [2] [3]

General Information


Hemigraphis colorata is a member of the Acanthaceae family. It is an ascending or creeping herb that reaches up to 35cm high. The stems are subquadrangular, pilosulous, rooting at the lower nodes. The leaves are measured at 5-6cm x 2-5cm. They are broadly ovate to ovate-oblong, with apex acute or obtuse and cordate base. They are sparingly pubescent or sometime glabrous. The margins are crenate and sparingly ciliate. The inflorescence is terminal and axillary spikes up to 3cm long, dense or lax. The bracts are ovate-lanceolate, obtuse and measures up to 1.5cm long, ciliate. The bracteoles are minute or absent. The calys measure 7-10mm long. The segments are subulate, ciliate. The corolla is white, measures 15mm long and minutely pubescent. [1]

Plant Part Used

Leaves and whole plant [2]

Chemical Constituents

Natrium; calcium; carboxylic acid; cinnamate; chlorogenate; coumarate; coumarins; flavonoid; polyphenol; saponin; tannin; ferulate; gallate; ascorbic acid; beta-carotene; vitamin E; phenol, carbohydrates, steroids, saponins, tannins, proteins, flavonoids [2] [6] [7]

Traditional Used:

In Indonesia the plant is believed to have astringent, antidiarrhoeal, and diuretic properties. It is used in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery, kidney stones, dermatoses and wounds. [2]

In Papua New Guinea an extract of the crushed leaves is taken as a contraceptive, the wet leaves are squeezed to obtain the juice. In Vanuatu leaf buds are said to act as contraceptive. [3]

The leaves are used in the treatment of oliguria, dysentery, haemorrhoids and post-partum bleeding. [4]

In Kerala the juice expressed from the leaves is applied on wounds. [5]

Pre-Clinical Data


Antibacterial activity

The benzene extract of H. colorata was found to be active against microbial strain Acinetobacter sp. and S. aureus. [6]

Wound healing activity

The leaf paste and suspension was used to study the wound healing activity of H. colorata in mouse. The leaf paste exhibited good wound healing activity whence wound contraction and epithelialization was hasten by it. Oral administration of the suspension did not show similar effect. [7]

Antioxidant activity

The fresh leaves of H. colorata were found to contain significant amount of phenolic compounds in the form of cinnamate (459.4mg/g); coumarate (173mg/g); chlorogenate (498.99mg/g); ferulate (69.24mg/g) and gallate (521.9mg/g). These compounds play a significant role in anti-oxidant activities. The FRAP antioxidant assay recorded value of 1900mmol/L for H. colorata. [8]


No documentation

Teratogenic effects

No documentation

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


No documentation

Chronic Disease Conditions

No documentation


Interactions with drugs

No documentation

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation



No documentation

Case Reports

No documentation


  1. Liogier AH. Descriptive Flora of Puerto Rico and Adjacent Islands; Spermatophyta Volume V Acanthaceae to Compositae Universitdad de Puerto Rico San Juan. 1997; pg. 28
  2. Hariana HA., Tumbuhan Obat & Khasiatnya, Niaga Swadaya, Jakarta. pg. 10 – 11
  3. Cambie RC, Brewis AA. Anti-fertility Plants of the Pacific CSIRO Publishing Collingwood. 1997; pg. 48
  4. Dalimartha S. Atlas Tumbuhan Obat Indonesia Volume 3, Niaga Swadaya, Jakarta. 2007; pg. 123
  5. Thomas B, Rajendran A. Less Known Ethnomedicinal Plants Used by Kurichar tribe of Wayanad District, Southern Western Ghats Kerala, India Botany Research International. 2013; 6(2): 32 – 35.
  6. Anitha VT, Antonisamy JM, Jeeva S. Anti-bacterial studies on Hemigraphis colorata (Blume) H.G. Hallier and Elephantopus scaber L. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2012; Jan;5(1):52-7. doi: 10.1016/S1995-7645(11)60245-9.
  7. Subramoniam A, Evans DA, Rajasekharan S, Sreekandan Nair G. Effect of Hemigraphis (Blume) H.G. Haillier leaf on wound healing and inflammation in mice Indian Journal of Pharmacology. 2001;  33: 283 – 285
  8. Deepak RP, Renjima V and Murugan K. Antioxidant potential of Hemigraphis colorata (Blume) HG Haillier and Rhinacanthus nasutus (Linn.)Department of Botany University College.

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