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Paederia foetida L.


Paederia chinensis Hance, Paederia scandans (Lour.) Merr, Paederia tomentosa Blume.

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia: Akar sekentut, daun kentut, kesimbukan, dandangking, pokok balek adap
English: Lesser Malayan stinkwort, Chinese fever vine, skunk vine, stinkvine [1]
Javanese: Kasembukan
Sundanese: Kahitutan

General Information


Paederia foetida is a small woody climber. It is found in the region from India, China and the Philippine Islands. In Peninsular Malaysia, it grows wild in open places, scrambling over trees and bushes. The plant prefers moisture and sunlight and is adaptable to a variety of soils. [2]

Plant Part Used

Leaf, root, bark, fruit. [2]

Chemical Constituents

The aerial parts of the plant contain iridoid glucoside: asperuloside, scandoside and paederoside. An enzyme that splits paederoside to give a bad odour of sulphur containing methyl-mercaptan is released when the plant tissue is bruised. The plant also contains alkaloids, a- and b-paederine and an essential oil. [3] The intense colour of the essential oil is due to methyl mercaptan. Linalool is the major component of the oil obtained from the stem, leaf and flower, together with terpineol and geraniol. The leaf and stem also contain hentriacontane, hentriacontanol and ceryl alcohol, 2,3-dihydrobenzofuran, benzofuran and sulphur containing compounds dimethyl sulphide and dimethyl trisulphide. The leaf and stem contain ursolic acid, epifriedelinol, friedelin, sitosterol, stigmasterol and campesterol. Embelin has been isolated from the aerial parts. The leaf contains a mixture of fatty acids including non-ionic, capric, lauric, myristic, arachnidic and palmitic acids. The leaves are rich in vitamin C. [4]

Traditional Used:

The main uses of the leaves are to relieve intestinal complaints, that is, in dyspepsia, flatulence, gastritis and enteritis. The leaves mixed with omelettes are said to be an effective remedy for intestinal catarrh. In Chinese medicine, the leaves are eaten to aid digestion and to expel gas. The extract of the leaves has been claimed to be an astringent and is given to children suffering from diarrhoea. The boiled and mashed leaves are also applied to the abdomen to treat stomachache, abdominal distension and urinary retention. Meanwhile, the leaves decoction is used to relieve urinary calculi and dysuria. An infusion, from the paste of pounded leaves mixed with water, or the emulsion has been used to treat flatulence and rheumatism. In the Philippine Islands, the leaves are used as an antirheumatic bath. To treat fever, pieces of cloth are soaked in the decoction and are applied to the head; at the same time the decoction is drunk. Malays and Javanese use it to reduce swellings and as a poultice to treat nose ulcer. The Chinese also use it as a remedy for poisonous insect bites. [2]

The root has been claimed to be an emollient and a carminative. It is useful for the treatment of colic, spasms, rheumatism and gout. Indians believe that the root works as an emetic while the Filipinos use the bark. In the Philippine Islands, the fruit is reported to have been used as a remedy for toothache. [2]

Pre-Clinical Data


Anti-inflammatory activity:

A butanolic fraction of a methanolic extract of the defatted leaves of P. foetida inhibits significantly the formation of the granulation tissue formation in cotton-pellet implanted rats. This fraction inhibits the enzymatic activity of liver aspartate transaminase (AST) without affecting serum AST, but did not affect the adrenal weight and the vitamin C content significantly. This fraction also reduces the serum orosomucoid levels suggesting the possibility of the presence of disease-modifying antirheumatic activity. It also antagonised hyposaline-induced haemolysis of human red blood cells and elevate the enzyme activity of serum acid phosphatase, indicating the presence of a membrane stabilising activity. [5]

Antidiarrhoeal activity:

The antidiarrhoeal activity of P. foetida was investigated recently although it has been used as a remedy for diarrhoea and dysentery. The ethanolic extract of the whole plant was administered to groups of mice 60 min before the administration of castor oil or magnesium sulphate to induce diarrhoea. In the castor oil study, P. foetida showed potent antidiarrhoeal activity at 500 mg/kg dose, while the same extract exhibited significant antidiarrhoeal activity against magnesium sulphate-induced diarrhoea in a dose-dependent manner. In both groups of animal models, P. foetida ethanol extract showed antidiarrhoeal activity by inhibiting gastrointestinal motility. Further study is required to identify the active component and the exact mechanism of action. [6]


Antitussive activity:

The antitussive activity of ethanolic extract of P. foetida was evaluated in conscious cats using the method of mechanically induced cough. The results showed that the ethanolic extract of P. foetida at the oral dose of 200 mg/kg body wt had a cough- suppressive effect. These effects were observed both in decreasing number of efforts and intensity of attack. Comparison study of the ethanolic extract to suppress the cough to commonly used drugs in clinical practice was examined. The findings indicate that the antitussive activity of the ethanolic extract of P. foetida is lower than that of the narcotic antitussive drug – codeine but is similar to that of commonly used non-narcotic antitussive agent, dropropizine. [7]


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

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  1)  Botanical Info


    1. Global Invasive Species Database. [Accessed on 10 July 2007]
    2. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research, Kuala Lumpur.  Compendium of Medicinal Plants Used in Malaysia. 2002. 2:191-192.
    3. Samy, J., Sugumaran, M. and Lee, K.L.W. Herbs of Malaysia. Federal Publications Sdn Bhd, Malaysia. 2005. pp178-9.
    4. Williamson, E.M. Major Herbs of Ayurveda. Churchill Livingstone. 2002. pp206-8
    5. De, S., Ravishankar, B. and Bhavsar, G.C. Investigation of the anti-inflammatory effects of Paederia foetida. J Ethnopharmacol.  1994. 43: 31-8
    6. Afroz, S, et al. Antidiarrhoeal activity of the ethanol extract of Paederia foetida Linn. (Rubiaceae). J. Ethnopharmacol. 2006. 105: 123-30.
    7. Nosálová G., J. Mokry, A. Ather, M.T.H. Khan. Antitussive Activity of the Ethanolic Extract of Paederia foetida (Rubiaceae family) in Non-Anaesthetized Cats. Acta Vet. Brno. 2007. 76: 27-33.

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