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Bryophyllum pinnatum (Lam.) Oken


Bryophyllum calycinum Salisb., Bryophyllum germinans Blanco, Cotyledon calycina Roth, Cotyledon calyculata Sol. ex Sims, Cotyledon calyculata Solander, Cotyledon pinnata Lam., Cotyledon rhizophylla Roxb., Crassula pinnata (Lam.) L.f., Crassuvia floripendia Comm. ex Lam., Kalanchoe brevicalyx (Raym.,-Hamet & H. Perrier) Boiteau, Kalanchoe calcicola (H. Perrier) Boiteau, Kalanchoe pinnata (Lam.) Pers., Sedum madagascariense Clus., Vereia pinnata (Lam.) Spreng. [29]

Vernacular Names


Setawar kampong, Sedingin, Kerenchong, Terek, Buntiris

English Life plant, Flopper, Mother of millions, Air plant, Miracle leaf, Cathedral Bells, Live-leaf-of-resurrection plant
China Wan fei, luo di shen gen
India Jakh me hayat (Hindi); Malaikkalli, Runakkalli, Koppata, Ghayamari, Zakhmhaiyat (Tamil)

Didingan banen (Aceh); Daun Sejuk sephori (Palembang); Ceker Bebek, Cocor Bebek (Melayu); Buntiris, Jampe, Jukut Kawasa, Tere, Ceker itik (Sunda); Suru bebek, Sosor Bebek, Teres, Tuju dengen (Jawa); Saun Ancar Bebek, Dingin Ghamet, Jampe, Cocor BhiBhik, Corbebe, Cocor etek, Tombu daun (Madura); Kayu Temor (Kangean); Mamala (Halmahera); Rau Kufiri (Ternate); Kabi-kabi (Tidore)


Katakataka (Tagalog); Karitana (Bisaya); Abisrana (Iloko); Aritana (Bik.); Balangbang, Inginga, Kapal-Kapal, Kokoeng, Lapak-lapak, Putputok

Japan Seiron-benkei, Sohichi-gusa
Germany Brutblatt
Spain Flor de arête, Hoja fresco, Hoja vidriosa
Russia Kalanchoe peristoe
Nigeria Odundun, Abamoda
Fiji Bulatawamudu, Chakaman, Zakhmhaiyat (Hindi) [3] [4] [5] [13] [14] [15]

General Information


Bryophyllum pinnatum is a member of the Crassulaceae family. It is a fleshy, glabrous herb that can reach up to 1.5 m high. The younger part of the stem has swollen nodes. It is green with dark purple blotches. The leaves vary in size and form; the lower ones being simple, oval to elliptic, crenate and measure 7-20 cm long. The uppermost are pinnately compound with leaflets oblong to oval or elliptic, rounded at the apex, the lateral ones often oblique at the base, crenate or double crenate. The terminal leaflet is larger than the lateral ones, 5-17 cm long and 2-6 cm wide. The petiole can reach up to 10 cm long. The young plants often develop at the margins of the leaves. The inflorescence consists of paniculate cymes. The panicles are strongly varying in size up to 1 m long and rather lax. The cymes have many flowers which are pendulous. The calyx is is 4-lobed tubular measuring 2-4 cm long; the corolla is 4-lobed tubes, reddish to purple at the top and measures 5 cm, base sparsely ciliated, lobes ovate-lanceolate. The stamens are inserted basally on the corolla. The follicles are included in the calyx and corolla tube. The seeds are striate.  [6] [7]

Plant Part Used

Leaves and roots.

Chemical Constituents

Ascorbic acid; α-amyrin; bryophyllin; bryophyllin A; bryophyllol;, bryophyllone; bryophyllenone; bryophynol; β-amyrin acetate; caffeic acid; citric acid; ferulic acid; fructose; fumaric acid; isocitric acid; kaempferol; malic acid; n-hentriacontane; n-tri-triacontane; ρ-cuomaric acid; ρ-hydroxybenzoic acid; potassium malate; quercetin; rutin; saccharose; sedoheptulose; sitosterol; sterols; syringic acid. [4] [8] [10] [13]

Traditional Uses

B.pinnatum is traditionally used as remedy for treatment of headache, high blood pressure, kidney and prostate problems, and gastrointestinal disease such as diarrhoea and dysentery. Most communities considered B. pinnatum as disinfectant and antibacterial. This is evidenced by its wide use in the treatment of inflammatory conditions such as eye infection, sore throat, abscesses, insect bites and infected wounds. [3][4][8][9][11][12][14]

The heated leaves are placed over boils to hasten the process of suppuration and natural drainage. The juice expressed from fresh leaves mixed with shea butter is applied over abscesses, swellings, ulcers and burns. The expressed juice can be dropped into the ear or eye to treat inflammatory conditions of these organs. [3] [4] [8] [9] [11] [12] [14] The leaves of B. pinnatum are also used to treat cough and common cold. In Guyana (area in northern South America) the juice from leaves is mixed with a pinch of salt and given orally for these two conditions. In Jamaica, a cough mixture is prepared from the juice of warmed leaves mixed with honey and lime which is thickened by heating and given to soothe throat and boost the immune system. [3] [11]  

Besides, B. pinnatum leaves have been advocated for use in the control of diabetes, remedy for tuberculosis, haemorrhoids, irregular menstruation, haemoptysis, haematemesis, and bleeding wounds. [4] [12] [14] Malays used the leaves to treat haematemesis. [14] In India the leaves are mixed with Aegle marmelos to treat bloody and amoebic dysentery. [4] Guyana people relieved the pain from hernia by strapping the whole leaves of B. pinnatum together with leaves of wild tobacco (Lisianthius grandiflorus) at the bulge area. [9] 

In Nigeria, the leaves, roots and leaf sap have been used as a sedative, anticancer, and remedy to epilepsy and dysentery. [3]

Preclinical Data


Neurosedative activity

Two studies on rats and mice showed that the extracts of B. pinnatum leaves have depressive effects on the central nervous system. Both the methanolic fraction and saline leaves extract produced an alteration of behaviour pattern, potentiate pentobarbitone sleeping time and significant analgesic activity. There was also reduction in exploratory behaviour and loss of residual curiosity. Additionally, in the saline leaf extract it was observed that there was muscle incoordination and delayed onset of convulsion in both strychnine and picrotoxin-induced seizures. [17] [18]

Antimicrobial acitivity

Methanol extract of B. pinnatum leaves (512 mg/mL) showed greater antibacterial activity towards Gram-positive organisms when tested among different extracts including traditional methods.  The comparison with control ciprofloxacin (cip) for agar plate antimicrobial inhibition zones showed marked antibacterial activities of Staphylococcus aureus control stain (21 mm; cip 20 mm), Enterococcus faecalis (18 mm; cip 14 mm), Bacillus subtilis (23 mm; cip 24 mm) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (17 mm; cip 27 mm). The extract exhibited Minimum Bactericidal Concentration (MBC) of 128 mg/mL, 256 mg/mL, 128 mg/mL, and 512 mg/ml, respectively while the Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) for P. aeruginosa is 64 mg/mL and 32 mg/mL for all other mentioned strains including S. aureus. [21]

Methanol extract (60 %) of B. pinnatum leaves (25 mg/mL) showed bacterial inhibition against B. subtilis (NCIB 3610) (Zone of inhibition: 14.5 mm, Streptomycin: 23.5 mm; MIC: 4.38 mg/mL), Escherichia coli (NCIB 86) (Inhibition: 15.0 mm, Streptomycin: 0 mm; MIC: 2.19 mg/mL), Proteus vulgaris (NCIB 67) (Inhibition: 13.4 mm, Streptomycin: 30.0 mm; MIC: 2.19 mg/mL),   Shigella dysenteriae (LIO) (Inhibition: 16.8 mm, Streptomycin: 22.8 mm; MIC: 2.19 mg/mL), and Staphylococcus aureus ( NCIB 8588) (Inhibition: 13.5 mm, Streptomycin: 21.4 mm; MIC: 4.38 mg/mL). [20]

Another study showed that the 5% v/v extract from the leaves of B. pinnatum exhibited bactericidal activity against the following Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria: B.subtilis, S. aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptococcus faecalis, E.coli, Proteus spp., Klebsiella spp., Shigella spp., Salmonella spp., Serratia marcescens and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. [19]

Antiulcer activity

Methanol extract of B. pinnatum leaves has significant antiulcer activity in in nine different experimental animal models (rats and guinea pigs). The significant protection was seen in aspirin-induced ulcer in pylorus-ligated rats and for histamine-induced duodenal ulcers in guinea pigs. The enhancement of healing process was also found in acetic acid-induced gastric lesions in rats. [22]

Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatorry activity

Aqueous extract of B. pinnatum leaves were subjected to antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory studies. The sudy showed that the extract (25-800 mg/kg) produced significant (p<0.05-0.001) antinociceptive effects against thermally- and chemically-induced nociceptive pain stimuli in mice. Besides, it was found that this extract also showed anti-inflammatory properties comparable to diclofenac. This is attributed to the presence of different flavonoids, polyphenols and triterpenoids isolated from the leaves. [23]

Antiurolithic activity

Ethanol extract of B. pinnatum (1, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 80, and 100 mg/mL) was found to have the ability to increase the crystallization process and reduce the size of calcium oxalate monohydrate crystals in sodium oxalate solution-induced crystallization in urine sample in a dose dependent manner. The complete dissolution of the crystals was significantly (p<0.05) attained at a dose of 100 mg/mL. It also promote the formation of calcium oxalate dehydrate which is less damaging. [24]

Tocolytic activity

The juice  of B. pinnatum leaves was found to be able to inhibit human myometral cell contraction induced by oxytocin. The juice was able to prevent oxytocin-induced increase in Ca2+ and delay the depolarization-induced increase in Ca2+ in SH-SY5Y cells. It is evident that the juice has specific and concentration-dependent effect on the oxytocin signalling pathway. Further investigation proved that this action is probably due to the presence of bufadienolids, flavonoids and cinnamic acids. [25] [26]


While there has not been any reported case of poisoning due to B. pinnatum in humans, there are two published papers on poisoning in cattle in Australia during the flowering season of the plant (May to October). Results from natural cases and experiments with cattle showed that flowering plants from Bryophyllum (Kalanchoe) spp including B. pinnatum contributed to poisoning in Australia. Queensland recorded 41 poisoning cases affecting 379 cattle in 1960 to 1984. Another case revealed two adult cattle died within 48 h of being fed a large amount of B. pinnatum plants collected from a house garden. Signs such as hypersalivation, ataxia, severe cardiac arrhythmia and laboured respiration became clinically apparent the day after feeding. [1] [2]

These toxic effects also showed in rabbits when a study on the antihypertensive activity of the leaf extract was conducted. The result showed that at the highest dose of 300 mg/kg/day, all the animals in this group were found dead on the 4th day of initiating treatment. This is might be due to the alteration in the structure of liver and kidney of the animal caused by many ordinary foods that contain poisonous constituents. There was evidence of hepatotoxicity, nephrotoxicity and cardiotoxicity in the animals receiving 150 mg/kg body weight and 300 mg/kg body weight. [16]

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

Tocolytic Activity

A clinical trial was done to characterize the phytotherapeutic tocolytic of B. pinnatum among 14 women. It was found that the extract was able to inhibit spontaneous contraction in a dose dependent manner i.e. 16% at maximum concentration of 10 mg/L; increased contraction frequency by 91% at constant amplitude and inhibited oxytocin-stimulated contractions by 20% at constant amplitude with slightly decrease frequency. [27]

Another study to assess the tolerability and tocolytic outcome between the extract of B. pinnatum and beta-agonists given intravenously was found that the extract was better tolerated than the beta-agonist but no significant differences in their efficacy. [28]

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. McKenzie RA, Dunster PJ. Hearts and flowers: Bryophyllum poisoning of cattle. Australian Veterinary Journal. 1986 Jul;63(7):222-7.
  2. Reppas GP. Bryophyllum pinnatum poisoning of cattle. Australian Veterinary Journal.1995 Nov;72(11):425-7.
  3. Odugbemi T. A Textbook of Medicinal Plants from Nigeria. University of Lagos Press, Lagos; 2008. p. 303
  4. Khare CP, Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary Springer, Berlin; 2007. p. 103–104.
  5. Buttner R, Kilikan R. Mansfeld’s Encyclopedia of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops Volume 1. pg. 414 – 415
  6. Boer JGW. Flora of Suriname, Part 1 van Eeden fonds, Netherlands; 1984. p. 574.
  7. Flora of China. [Cited on 2012 April 9]. Available from:
  8. Oliver-Bever B. Medicinal Plants in Tropical West Africa. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge; 1986. p. 129–130.
  9. Lachman-White DAZ, Adams CD, Trotz UO. A Guide to the Medicinal Plants of Coastal Guyana. Commonwealth Secretariat Publications London; 1992. p. 34.
  10. Sahoo S. Proceedings of the National Seminar on Plant Resources Utilization. Allied Publishers Mumbai; 2002. p. 100.
  11. Harris I. Healing Herbs of Jamaica AhHA Press Inc. Royal Palm Beach; 2010. p. 153 – 155.
  12. Batugal PA, Kanniah J, Lee SY, Oliver JT. Medicinal Plants Research in Asia Volume 1: The Framewok and Project Workplans IPGRI-APO Serdang; 2004. p. 160.
  13. Cambie RC, Ash J. Fijian Medicinal Plants CSIRO Australia; 1994. p. 95.
  14. Dalimartha S. Atlas Tumbuhan Obat Indonesia. Jilid Satu. Niaga Swadaya Jakarta; 2008. p. 139–142.
  15. Philippine Medicinal Plants. [Cited on 2012 April 9]. Available from:
  16. Ghazi S, Egwuibe C, Achukwu PU, Onyeanusi JC. Assessment of the medical benefit in the folkloric use of Bryophyllum pinnatum leaf among the Igbos of Nigeria for the treatment of hypertension. African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 2011
  17. Pal S, Sen T, Chaudhuri AK. Neuropsychopharmacological profile of the methanolic fraction of Bryophyllum pinnatum leaf extract. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 1999 Mar;51(3):313-8.
  18. Yemitan OK, Salahdeen HM. Neurosedative and muscle relaxant activities of aqueous extract of Bryophyllum pinnatum. Fitoterapia. 2005 Mar;76(2):187-93.
  19. Obaseiki-Ebor EE. Preliminary report on the in vitro antibacterial activity of Bryophyllum pinnatum leaf juice. African Journal of Medicine & Medical Sciences. 1985 Sep-Dec;14(3-4):199-202.
  20. Akinpelu DA. Antimicrobial activity of Bryophyllum pinnatum leaves. Fitoterapia. 2000 Apr;71(2):193-4.
  21. Akinsulire OR, Aibinu IE, Adenipekun T, Adelowotan T, Odugbemi T. In vitro antimicrobial activity of crude extracts from plants Bryophyllum pinnatum and Kalanchoe crenata. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative. 2007 Feb 16;4(3):338-44.
  22. Pal S, Nag Chaudhuri AK. Studies on the anti-ulcer activity of a Bryophyllum pinnatum leaf extract in experimental animals. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 1991 May-Jun;33(1-2):97-102.
  23. Ojewole JA. Antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory and antidiabetic effects of Bryophyllum pinnatum (Crassulaceae) leaf aqueous extract. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2005 May 13;99(1):13-9.
  24. Yasir F, Waqar MA. Effect of indigenous plant extracts on calcium oxalate crystallization having a role in urolithiasis. Urological Research. 2011 Oct;39(5):345-50.
  25. Simões-Wüst AP, Grãos M, Duarte CB, Brenneisen R, Hamburger M, Mennet M, Ramos MH, Schnelle M, Wächter R, Worel AM, von Mandach U. Juice of Bryophyllum pinnatum (Lam.) inhibits oxytocin-induced increase of the intracellular calcium concentration in human myometrial cells. Phytomedicine. 2010 Oct;17(12):980-6.
  26. Wächter R, Brenneisen R, Hamburger M, Mennet M, Schnelle M, Worel AM, Simões-Wüst AP, von Mandach U. Leaf press juice from Bryophyllum pinnatum (Lamarck) Oken induces myometrial relaxation. Phytomedicine. 2011 Dec 15;19(1):74-82.
  27. Gwehenberger B, Rist L, Huch R, von Mandach U. Effect of Bryophyllum pinnatum versus fenoterol on uterine contractility. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. 2004 Apr 15;113(2):164-71.
  28. Plangger N, Rist L, Zimmermann R, von Mandach U. Intravenous tocolysis with Bryophyllum pinnatum is better tolerated than beta-agonist application. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. 2006 Feb 1;124(2):168-72.
  29. The Plant List. Accessed on 23rd July 2014. Available from

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