Ixora coccinea L.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Last updated: 1 March 2017

Scientific Name

Ixora coccinea L.


Ixora arborea Lodd. [Invalid], Ixora bandhuca Roxb., Ixora eekhautii Gentil, Ixora fraseri Gentil, Ixora grandiflora Ker Gawl., Ixora incarnata (Blume) DC. [Illegitimate], Ixora lutea Hutch., Ixora montana Lour., Ixora morsei Gentil, Ixora obovata B.Heyne ex Roth, Ixora propinqua R.Br. ex G.Don, Ixora purpurea Fisch. ex Loudon, Ixora shawii J.Neumann [Invalid], Ixora thomeana (K.Schum.) G.Taylor, Pavetta bandhuca Miq., Pavetta coccinea (L.) Blume, Pavetta incarnata Blume, Pavetta rubra Noronha. [1]

Vernacular Name

English Burning love, flame flower, flame of the woods, Indian ixora, jungle geranium, red ixora, scarlet ixora [2]
India Bandhu-jivaka, bandhuka, cetti, cheththi, paranti, rajana, saoltua, schetti, sveta paranti, tecci, tetti, thetti chelthi, velutta cetti [2]
Indonesia Kembang asoka, kembang santen merah, soka beureum, soka meah [2]
Thailand Khem baan, khem nuu, khem farang [2]
Philippines Dwarf santan, santan, santan-pula, tangpupo [2]
Cambodia Kam ron tea [2]
Vietnam B[oo]ng trang d[or], d[ow]n d[or] [2]
Peru Buquet de novia [2].

Geographical Distributions

Ixora coccinea is native in India, widely cultivated in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. [3]

Botanical Description

I. coccinea is a member of the family Rubiaceae. It is a shrub with many stems, measures up to 3 m tall and smooth. [3]

The leaves are ovate to oblong or obovate, measuring 3.5-10 cm x 2-5 cm, with leathery texture, with subcordate or rounded base, obtuse or slightly acuminate at apex, mucronate, with 8-15 secondary veins, with absent or short petiole and long-awned stipules. [3]

The inflorescence is sessile and densely corymb-shaped. [3]

The flowers are with triangular sepal lobes, measure about 3 mm long, acute and red, while the petal tube is 3-4.5 cm long, with lance­-shaped or ovate-lance-shaped lobes, measures 1-1.5 cm long, acute, or­ange to scarlet or white, yellow or pink (mostly in cultivated plants), not fragrant and with exserted red style 3-4 mm long. [3]

The fruit is spherical or so, about the size of a pea, reddish and fleshy. [3]


I. coccinea is cultivated in lowland areas but also at higher elevations. [3]

Chemical Constituent

Methanol extract from the leaves of I. coccinea has been reported to contain A-type trimeric proanthocyanidin epicatechin-(2β→O→7, 4β→8)-epicatechin-(5→O→2β, 6→4β)-epicatechin named ixoratannin A-2 along with seven known compounds, epicatechin, procyanidin A2, cinnamtannin B-1, and four flavon-3-ol rhamnosides viz: kaempferol-7-O-α-L-rhamnnoside, kaempferol-3-O-α-L-rhamnoside, quercetin-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranoside, and kaempferol-3,7-O-α-L-dirhamnoside. [4]

Isolation of compound from an air-dried flower of I. coccinea were found to contain lupeol fatty ester, lupeol, ursolic acid, oleanolic acid, sitosterol and cycloartenol esters. [5]

Phytochemical studies indicate that the plant contains rutin, lecocyanadin, anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, glycosides of kaempferol and quercetin. [6]

Plant Part Used

Roots, leaves, flowers, stems and whole plants. [6][7][8]

Traditional Use

I. coccinea plant as a whole is considered an astringent, antiseptic, blood-purifier, sedative, antidiarrhoeal, anti-catarrhal and antileucorrhoeic. The roots are astringent and antiseptic while the flowers have antidiarrhoeal and antispasmodic properties. [7][8]

I. coccinea generally is used as a remedy for diarrhoea and dysentery. The roots and the flowers are commonly used in the form of a decoction. The decoction of the roots helps improve appetite. [7][8][9][10]

The leaves and roots are used as antiseptic for skin conditions like scabies, abscess and ulcers. The flowers are effective against leucorrhoea, gonorrhoea, catarrhal bronchitis and sore-throats. [7][8][9][10]

The sedative property of the roots of I. coccinea is taken advantage of and used in the treatment of nausea, hiccups and dysmenorrhoea. The flowers form a component of hair oil. [7][8][9][10]

Preclinical Data


Antitumour activity

In a preliminary study, the oil made from the flowers of I. coccinea and Crocus sativum proved to retard the development of tumour and arrest further development of already formed tumour. Further investigation showed that the active fraction of the extract of flower increased the life span of mice transplanted with Dalton’s lymphoma ascetic tumour by 112%, Dalton’s lymphoma solid tumour by 59% and Ehrlich ascites carcinoma by 68%. It was found to be active against Sarcoma-180 (S-180) cell lines, transformed lymphocytes from leukaemia patients, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and chronic myelogenous leukaemia and K-562 cell suspension. The active fraction could also inhibit growth of papilloma induced by 1,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene and croton oil, and soft tissue fibrosarcoma induced by 3-methylcholanthrene. [11][12][13]

Chemoprotective activity

The active fraction of the flowers of I. coccinea exhibited chemoprotective activity on cyclophosphamide (CYP)-induced toxicity in mice. This fraction made up of ursolic acid was shown to increase the life span by 57% of the CYP treated mice and tend to prevent weight loss and maintain near normal leucocyte and haemoglobin levels. It also has hepatoprotective activity as proved by the decrease in serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase (SGPT) and serum alkaline phosphatase (SAKP) levels. Similar effects were also seen in cisplatin treated mice. [14][15]

Antimicrobial activity

Various extracts of I. coccinea from the whole plant, leaves and roots exhibit significant antibacterial. The ethanol extract of the roots seems to have effective antibacterial and wound healing activities. The external application of the extract was shown to provide protection against microbe invasion to the wound by evidence from the wound contraction, increased tensile strength and increased biochemical parameters. The ethyl acetate fraction of the methanol extract of the leaves contains compounds that were active against Bacillus subtilis while epicatechin and quercetin-3-O-a-L-rhamnopyroside inhibited the growth of E. coli. [16][17][18][19]

Antioxidant activity

In a screening done to investigate the antioxidant activity of methanol extracts of a flower, leaf and stem of I. coccinea, it was found that the flower possess the most potent anti-oxidant activity. It also contains the highest phenolic content (210.55±6.31µg GAE/mg extract). The leaf contains two compounds with high anti-oxidant activity i.e. ixoratannin A-2 and cinnamtannin B-1. [16][20]

Xanthine oxidase inhibitory activity

The methanol extract of leaves, flowers and stems of I. coccinea was found to have significant inhibitory activity against xanthine oxidase. The leaves part was found to give highest inhibition after the standard allopurinol followed by flowers and stems with 39.7% to 77.3% inhibition percentage. The IC50 values of the leaves, flowers and stems extracts were 26.5, 31.3, and 36.7 μg/mL, respectively. [20]

Hepatoprotective activity

The ethanol extract of root of I. coccinea showed significant protections against toxin-induced liver damage. It was determined after 72 hours challenged of Wistar rats with aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) (1.5 mg/kg, intraperitoneally). The result showed a significant anti-lipid peroxidase activity along with significant lowering of serum hepatic enzymes and enhanced hepatic reduced glutathione status. The hepatoprotective activity is probably related to the potent antioxidative properties of the extract. [21]

Cardioprotective activity

The methanol extract of leaves of I. coccinea exhibited dose dependent cardioprotection. Pretreatment with the extract was able to protect the heart against the assault of doxorubicin. The extract was found to have the ability to reduce elevated ST segment and maintain the blood pressure close to normal. It also reduced the elevated biomarkers like creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), serum glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase (SGOT), serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase (SGPT) and increase tissue antioxidant markers – catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and reduce levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) in cardiac tissues. This was confirmed by histopathological studies. The cardioprotection is probably due to the strong antioxidant activity. [22]

Antidiarrhoeal activity

The aqueous extract of flowers of I. coccinea showed significant inhibitory activity against diarrhoea and enteropooling induced by castor oil in rats. The defecation inhibition occurred about 52.99% over 4 hours of test period in the dose of 400 mg/kg. It also significantly reduced gastrointestinal motility in the charcoal meal test. [23]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of I. coccinea [3]


  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1. Ixora coccinea L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013. [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2017 Mar 1]. Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-103356
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume III E-L. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 613-614.
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  12. Latha PG, Panikkar KR. Cytotoxic and antitumour principles from Ixora coccinea flowers. Cancer Lett. 1998;130(1-2):197-202.
  13. Latha PG, Panikkar KR. Inhibition of chemical carcinogenesis in mice by Ixora coccinea flowers. Pharm Biol. 2000;38(2):152-156.
  14. Latha PG, Panikkar KR. Modulatory effects of Ixora coccinea flower on cyclophosphamide-induced toxicity in mice. Phytother Res. 1999;13(6):517-520.
  15. Latha PG, Panikkar KR. Chemoprotective effect of Ixora coccinea L. flowers on cisplatin induced toxicity in mice. Phytother Res. 2001;15(4):364-366.
  16. Idowu TO, Ogundaini AO, Salau AO, Obuotor EM, Bezabih M, Abegaz BM. Doubly linked, A-type proanthocyanidin trimer and other constituents of Ixora coccinea leaves and their antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Phytochemistry. 2010;71(17-18):2092-8.
  17. Latha PG, Abraham TK, Panikkar KR. Antimicrobial properties of Ixora coccinea L. (Rubiaceae). Anc Sci Life. 1995;14(4):286-291.
  18. Annapurna J, Amarnath PV, Amar Kumar D, Ramakrishna SV, Raghavan KV. Antimicrobial activity of Ixora coccinea leaves. Fitoterapia. 2003;74(3):291-293.
  19. Selvaraj N, Lakshmanan B, Mazumder PM, Karuppasamy M, Jena SS, Pattnaik AK. Evaluation of wound healing and antimicrobial potentials of Ixora coccinea root extract. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2011;4(12):959-963.
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  21. Shyamal S, Latha PG, Suja SR, et al. Hepatoprotective effect of three herbal extracts on aflatoxin B1-intoxicatedliver. Singapore Med J. 2010; 51(4):326-331.
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