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Hedyotis capitellata


Hedyotis finlaysonia Wall, Oldenlandia recurva Miq. [10] [11]

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Akar Lidah Jin, Meroyan Putih, Meroyan Kucing, Seketan, Sekembang, Ubat Sampu Kelada, Akar Lada, Daun Sulaiman, Akar Patah Bubul, Akar Patah Gogoh, Akar Sembelit, Akar Semelih, Keresek Pisang, Akar Sebueh, Pokok Inga Beser, Akar Renut, Akar Sutnibut, Akar Kemenyan Hantu, Memecah Mangkok, Temekak Mangkok.
China Xiao Tou Liang Hou Cha
Indonesia Daun Bludu, Simastolor
Thailand Tawng Heng
India Bakrelara, Kalhenyok [1][2][10][11]

General Information


Hedyotis capitellata is a member of the Rubiaceae family. It is a clambering, climbing herbaceaous plant that can reach up to 1m high. The stems are terete to weakly 4-angled, often longitudinally ridged, glabrous to pilosulous. The leaves are subsessile to petiolate with petiole measuring 4mm when present. The stipules are fused to the petiole. The leaf blade is membranous, ovate to elliptic-lanceolate measuring 2-12 x 1-4cm, glabrous to sparsely puberulent. The base is acute then often decurrent, apex is acute or shortly acuminate. Inflorescences are terminal and in axils of uppermost leaves measuring 4-25cm, with 3-15 globose, capitates heads in groups of 3. The peduncles measure 1-5cm long. The flowers are sessile and distylous. The calyx is glabrous to densely puberulent. The corolla white to pale blue, funnel form with tube measuring 1-2mm. The anthers are included or exserted and stigma linear. The fruit is capsular, ellipsoid to globose, measuring 2-3mm in diameter. [3]

Plant Part Used

Whole plant [1]

Chemical Constituents

(+)-cyclocapitelline; (-)-isocyclocapitelline; 2,8-dihydroxy-1-methoxyanthraquinone; alizarin 1-methyl ether; anthragallol 2-methyl ether; capitellataquinone A-G; digiferruginol; epi-capitellataquinone E; hedyocapitelline; hedyocapitine; isochrysotricine; lucidin-3-O-beta-glucoside; rubiadin; scopoletin [4][5][6][9]

Traditional Uses

Gastrointestinal diseases

H. capitellata leaves are used by the Malays to treat various gastrointestinal diseases including constipation, indigestion, heartburn, gastric vertigo, dysentery and as a tonic in mixtures. Some communities eat the leaves as salad (ulam) with rice in order to obtain its medicinal values. [10]

Inflammatory diseases

It is prescribed in cases of common cold, dry cough and malaria. In Malaysia its recorded use is in the treatment of wounds. The Malays also make poultice of H. capitellata to be used in treating snakebites, rheumatism, lumbago, ague and bruises. [1][7][10]

Gynaecological conditions

The Chinese used H. capitellata in the treatment of menstrual disorders and postpartum galactostasis. Amongst the Malays, decoction of the root is being prescribed to women in the first 3 days of confinement. [1][10]


H. capitellata had been advocated for use in a poultice applied over the fractured bone to help enhance ossification processes. The use in mentioned by the Malays and Chinese. [1][10]

Pre-Clinical Data


Antimicrobial activity

Several antimicrobial activity studies showed antibacterial activity of H. capitellata against Bacillus cereus, Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus[7][8]

Antioxidant activity

Ten compounds (capitellataquinones A, B, E, F, epi-capitellataquinone E, rubiadin, alizarin 1-methyl ether, anthragallol 2-methyl ether, digiferruginol and scopoletin) isolated from various parts of H. capitellata were tested for their antioxidant activity. It was found that capitellataquinone A and scopoletin exhibited strong antioxidant activity with percentage inhibition of 94-96% compared to standard (quercetin 98%). [9]

Cytotoxic activity

The compounds isolated from H. capitellata (capitellataquinones A, B, E, F, epi-capitellataquinone E, rubiadin, alizarin 1-methyl ether, anthragallol 2-methyl ether, digiferruginol and scopoletin) were tested for their cytotoxic activity. Most of them exhibited mild cytotoxic activity to most cell-lines with IC50 of 24-40µg/ml. Alizarin 1-methyl ester was found to selectively act against MDA-MB-231 (human adenocarcinoma of the breast) with an IC50 of 8µg/ml. [9]


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. Zhou J, Xie G, Yan X.  Encyclopedia of Traditional Chinese Medicines: Molecular Structures, Pharmacological Activities, Natural Sources and Applications Volume 5 Springer-Verlag, Berlin. 2011: 461
  2. Zakaria M, Mohd MA. Traditional Malay Medicinal Plants, Institute Terjemahan Negara Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 2010; 77-78
  3. Flora of China. Available from [Accessed on 21th May 2014]
  4. Phuong NM, Sung TV, Porzel A, Schmidt J, Merzweiler K, Adam G. Beta-Carboline alkaloids from Hedyotis capitellata. Phytochemistry. 1999; 52(8):1725-1729
  5. Phuong NM, Van Sung T, Porzel A, Schmidt J, Adam G. Two new beta-carboline alkaloids from Hedyotis capitellata var. mollis. Planta Med. 1999 Dec;65(8):761-2.
  6. Ahmad R, Shaari K, Lajis NH, Hamzah AS, Ismail NH, Kitajima M. Anthraquinones from Hedyotis capitellata. Phytochemistry. 2005; 66(10):1141-7.
  7. Wiart C, Mogana S, Khalifah S, Mahan M, Ismail S, Buckle M, Narayana AK, Sulaiman M. Antimicrobial screening of plants used for traditional medicine in the State of Perak, Peninsular Malaysia. Fitoterapia. 2004; 75(1):68 – 73
  8. Keller PA. Revealing indigenous Indonesian traditional medicine: Anti-Infective agents, University of Wollongong Research Online
  9. Ahmad R. Biological activity of Hedyotis spp. and chemical constitutents of Hedyotis capitellata. UPM Thesis. Available from: Accessed on 12th May 2013]
  10. Burkill IH. A Dictionary of Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula Volume 1, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 1966; 1148
  11. Watt G. A dictionary of the Economic Products of India Volume IV, Dept. of Rebenire and Agriculture, Government of India, Calcutta. 1890 pg. 208

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