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Justicia betonica Linn.


Adhatoda betonica (L.) Nees, Justicia pseudobetonica Roth., Justicia ochroleuca Blume, Betonica frutescens Bont., Bem Curini Rheed.

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia Ekor Tupai
English White Shrimp Plant
Indonesia  Ekor Tupai, Om Rompien (Java); Jukut Buntut Seroh (Sundanese)
India Had-paata (Bihar); Prameha-harati, Mokandar (Madhya Pradesh)
Sri Lanka  Sudupuruk (Singhalese)
Tanzania  Akech (Luo)
Ethiopia Goppe Dhaliyaa
Kenya Kipkesio [1]

General Information


Justicia betonica Linn. is a glabrous shrub that can grow up to 2m high. The stem is terete, tumid and purple above nodes. Leaves are oval-oblang-lanceolate, 6-17.5 x 2.2-4cm, from an acute base tapering into petiole, subacuminate. Spikes are terminal, 6.5-23.5cm long, simple, ocassionally branched; peduncles 3-8.5cm; bracts 4-ranked, imbricate, broadly ovate, 1.4-2 x 0.7-1.2cm, acute at apex, usually scarious at margins, prominently 3-nerved. Bracteoles elliptic, 1.2-1.6 x 0.4-0.6cm; Calyx-lobes linear-lanceolate, 3-5 x 1-1.5mm, densely bristly without. Corolla infundibular; tube 5-8mm long, greenish white; limb pinkish mauve; upper lip broadly ovate, 6-7mm long, faintly hooded; lower one ovate oblong, 4-5.5 x 7-9mm long, lobes oval-oblong; spur of lower anther-thecae 1 – 1.25 mm long. Capsule ovoidly clavate, 10-16 x 5-6mm, bristly, with a short, solid base; seeds orbicular, 4-8mm broad, subcompressed, rugulose-tuberculate. [1]

Plant Part Used

Roots, leaves and flowers. [2][3]

Chemical Constituents

olean-12-ene-1beta,3beta,11alpha,28-tetraol 28-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-(1-->2)-beta-D-glucopyranoside, olean-12-ene-1beta,3beta,11alpha,28-tetraol 28-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-(1-->2)-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-(1-->2)-beta-D-glucopyranoside, 11alpha-methoxy-olean-12-ene-1beta,3beta,28-triol 28-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-(1-->2)-beta-D-glucopyranoside, 11alpha-methoxy-olean-12-ene-1beta,3beta,28-triol 28-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-(1-->2)-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-(1-->2)-beta-D-glucopyranoside, jusbetonin, 10H-quindoline, 6H-quinindoline, and 5H,6H-quinindolin-11-one

Traditional Used:

J. betonica is used in the treatment of various gastrointestinal complaints. The Indians make use of the plant in the treatment of diarrhoea while in Kenya they use the leaves and flower ash for it. [1][2] To treat vomiting and constipation the Indian used the inflorescence given orally. [3] A decoction of the whole plant is used by the Lou tribe of Tanzania to provide relieve of stomachache. [4]

The Indian and Sri Lankan community apply poultice made from crushed leaves of the plant over abscesses to provide relieve of pain and swelling. [1][5] In Ethopia, to treat snakebites in their cattle, they collect fresh roots of Justicia betonica, crushed them and homogenised in water and give it to the animal orally. [6] The leaves and flower ash are also used in the treatment of orchitis in Kenya. [2]

Another application of the flower ash and leaves combination is as a cough remedy by the Kenyan community. [2] The Indians use the inflorescence as a hair wash. [3]

Pre-Clinical Data


No pharmacological investigations had been found for J. betonica thus far; only phytochemical screening had been done. The data is listed in the section of 'Chemical constituents'. [7][8][9]


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


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. C. P. Khare Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary Springer – Verlag Berlin 2007 pg. 250.
  2. J. Pascaline, L. Catherine, O. George, O. Dennis, M. Charles. Herbal Treatments In Aldai and Kaptumo Divisions In Nandi District, Rift Valley Province, Kenya. African Journal of Traditional, Complimentary and Alternative Medicines, Vol.5, No. 1, 2008, pg. 103-105.
  3. Dowlathabad Muralidhara Rao; U.V.U. Bhaskara Raoy; G. Sudharshanamz. Ethno-Medico-Botanical Studies From Rayalaseema Region of Southern Eastern Ghats, Andhra Pradesh, India Ethnobotanical Leaflets 2006 Volume 2006 (1) Article 21.
  4. J. O. Kokwaro, Timothy Johns Luo biological dictionary East African Educational Publishers Nairobi 1998 pg. 13.
  5. H. F. MacMillan Handbook of Tropical Plants Anmol Publications Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi 1993 pg. 365
  6. Tesfaye Hailemariam Bekalo*1, Sebsebe Demissew Woodmatas2 and Zemede Asfaw Woldemariam2 An ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used by local people in the lowlands of Konta Special Woreda, southern nations, nationalities and peoples regional state, Ethiopia Journal of Ethnobiology and ethnomedicine 2009, 5:26.
  7. Zhang Z, Wang S, Wan S, Ren S, Li W, Jiang T. Efficient synthesis of jusbetonin, an indolo[3,2-b]quinoline glycoside, and its derivatives. Carbohydr Res. 2009 Feb 17;344(3):291-7.
  8. Kanchanapoom T, Noiarsa P, Ruchirawat S, Kasai R, Otsuka H. Triterpenoidal glycosides from Justicia betonica Linn. Phytochemistry. 2004 Sep;65(18):2613-8.
  9. Subbaraju GV, Kavitha J, Rajasekhar D, Jimenez JI. Jusbetonin, the first indolo[3,2-b]quinoline alkaloid glycoside, from Justicia betonica Linn. J Nat Prod. 2004 Mar;67(3):461-2. 

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