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Ophiorrhiza singaporensis Ridl. (Rubiaceae)


Ophiorrhiza communis Ridl., Ophiorrhiza mungos L.

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia Pokok peparu, pokok sumbu badak, rumput lumur, seketan (1).
English Snakeroot, mongoose plant (1).
Indonesia Pokok peparu
Philippines Payang payang gubat

General Information


The plant is a small herb which grows in the rainforest of Malaysia (1).

Plant Part Used:

Whole plant

Chemical Constituents:

Its main chemical constituent is a monoterpenoid quinoline alkaloid called camptothecin (1), (2).

Traditional Use:

In Malaysia, a paste made from the herb is used for wound-healing, and to treat enlarged spleen as well as to alleviate cough (1).

Pre-Clinical Data


Anticancer activity:

Camptothecin, an anticancer quinoline alkaloid, inhibits the growth of a broad-spectrum of cancer cells by inhibiting the enzyme DNA topoisomerase (1), (2).

Antivenom activity:

In vitro tests have been described to investigate the effect of some plants to treat snakebites.  The chick biventer cervicis preparation has been used to monitor the reputed activtity of the plant species under investigation. The results showed clear indication of inhibition of the effects of Naja nigricollis venom by aqueous extract of Ophiorrhiza mungos root. The extract of Ophiorrhiza mungos root was also found to show dose-related inhibition of blood clotting induced by Echis carinatus venom. There is indication that increase in blood clotting time may be due to complexation between the venom peptides and the possible polyphenolic substances present in the plant extract. These results are of a preliminary nature and more investigation is needed to reveal the nature of the compounds responsible and their mechanism of action (3).


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Use in Certain Conditions:

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

No documentation

Age Limitations

Neonates / Adolescents


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. View Abstract: Medicinal Plants of the Asia-Pacific: Drugs for the Future? . 2006, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., Singapore .
  2. View Abstract: Roja, G. . Comparative studies on the camptothecine content from Nothapodytes foetida and Ophiorrhiza species. . Nat. Prod. Res. . 2006; 20: 85-88
  3. View Abstract: Houghton, P. J.. In vitro testing of some West African and Indian plants used to treat snakebites.. Actes du 2e Colloque Européen d'Ethnopharmacologie et de la Conférence internationale d'Ethnomédecine, Heidelberg. 1993; 24-27 mars : 263-741. 

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