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Vernonia cinerea


Coryza cinerea, Choryza chinensis, Pteronia tomentosa, Calea cordata, Coryza candida, Coryza odorata, Eupatorium sinuatum, Eupatorium hispidum, Gnaphalium indicum, Vernonia abbreviata, Vernonia laxiflora, Vernonia linfolia [1] [2]

Vernacular Names:


Rumput tahi babi, Tambak-tambak, Tambak Bukit

English Little ironweed (USA); Blue Fleabane, Inflammation Bush; Strongman-Bush, Tropical Fleabane

Buyung-buyung, Sawi Langit, Lidah Anjing, Rumput ekor kuda


Waras-waras (Bisaya); Agas-moro (Ilocano); Kolong-kugon (Ilongo; Magmasi (Pampango); Tagulinau (Tagalog); Sagit


Suea Saam Khaa, Ya La Ong


Nya Phaen Din Yen




Bach Dau Ong



India Sahdei, Sahaderi, Sandri; Kukseem, Kukur-songa (Bengal); Moti-sodori (Bombay); Sadori (Gujerat); Naichette, Mukuthipundu (Tamil), Gherittekarnina (Telagu); Pirina, Puvankurutala (Malayalam)
Nigeria Bojure

Kleines Eisenholz, Kleines Scheinaster

Puerto Rico

Yerba Socialista [1] [3] [6] [7]

General Information


Vernonia cinerea is a member of the Asteraceae family. It is an erect, slender, rarely branching annual herb that grows up to 3 cm tall. The stems are ribbed, finely pilose and glandular. The leaves are alternate, lower ones being perioled while the upper ones are reduced and sessile, oval or broadest about or above the middle and tapering to each end, shallowly toothed. They measure between 2-6 cm long; more or less densely and finely hairy. The heads are small, pedunculed, in open, loose corymbs, about 7 mm long, and 2.5 mm in diameter. The flowers are all tubular, rahter brigh purple, pink, or white, about 20 in each head, twice as long as the involucral bracts. The pappus bristles while, dentate, measuring 3-5 mm long. The achenes are rounded, nearly ribless and measure about 1.5 mm long. [1]

Plant Part Used

Whole plant [1] [3] [4] [8]

Chemical Constituents

24-hydroxyfarax-14-ene; 26-methyl-hepatocosanoic acid; 3-b-acetoxyurs-13(18)-ene; 3-β-acetoxyurs-19-ene; 4-sulfo-benzocyclobutene; a-amyrin; a-amyrin acetate; a-spinasterol; apigenin; apigenin-4'-O-beta-D-glucoside; beta-amyrin aceate; b-amyrin; b-amyrin acetate; beta-sitosterol; campesterol; caryolane-1,9-b-diol; chrysoeriol; (-)-clovane-2,9-diol; hyperin; (+)-lirioresinol B; lupeol; lupeol acetate; luteolin; luteolin-7-O-galactoglucoside; luteolin-7-O-glucoside; luteolin-7-O-b-D-glucoside; luteolin-7-O-glycoglucoside; luteolin-7-mono-b-D-glucopyranoside; quercetin; quercetin-7-o-glucoside-3-O-rhamnoside; quercetin-3-o-rhamnoglucoside; stigmasterol; stigmasterol-3-O-beta-D-glucoside; stigmast-5,17(20)-dien-3-b-ol; sitosterol; thermopsoside; vernocinolide A; vernolide-A, B, C and D. [4] [7] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29]

Traditional Used:

V. cinerea is considered a febrifuge, diaphoretic, alterative, diuretic, antispasmodic, alexipharmic and anthihelmintic.

Gastrointestinal Diseases

V. cinerea is used in the treatment of stomachache and diarrhoea. The Indians prepare a decoction of the roots for it while in Indonesia decoction of the whole plant is prescribed. The Indonesians also used the decoction to treat hepatitis. The seeds are considered antiflatulent, anthelminthic and antispasmodic. [1] [3]

Respiratory Diseases

In Southeast Asia the infusion or decoction of the plant is used for cough and asthma. [1] [3] [4] [8]

Urinary Tract Diseases

Being considered as a diuretic and antispasmodic, the plant is used in the treatment of urinary disorders including dysuria, spasms of the bladder and strangury. It is also used to treat dropsy regardless of its origin. [1] [4] [7]

Dermatological Diseases

Decoction of the plant is used to treat various skin diseases and to dress wounds. Amongst the diseases where this plant had been used include leucoderma, psoriasis, pityriasis versicolor, blisters and boils. [1] [3] [4] [6]

Gynaecological Diseases

The plant is used as a specific herb for leucorrhoea. It is also used to treat menstrual pains. It is believed to aid in the expulsion of the placenta and is often used as an abortifacient. A more potent abortifacient would be the plant in combination with Justicia secunda and this is also a remedy for dysmenorrhoea. It is a remedy for vaginal discharge too. [4] [7]


Many societies make use of the plant to treat fevers. In indonesia the dried or fresh whole plant in a decoction is a good antipyretic. The whole plant including the small flowers in a decoction helps promote perspiration in febrile conditions. In combination with quinine it benefits well malarial fevers. Ayurvedic practioners use it to treat haematological disorders and they consider it a blood purifier and a styptic. [3] [6] [9]

Other uses

Apart from the above uses V. cinerea is used in the treatment of venomous bites including snake bites and scorpion stings. In cases of snake bite the root is pounded and infusion is given to the victim. A poultice of the leaves applied to the forehead relieves headache and ally insomnia. Flowers are used to treat conjunctivitis. [1] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

Pre-Clinical Data


Antimicrobial activity

Gupta, [11] found that the benzene extract of V. cinerea had a broad spectrum antibacterial activity. A study on the effect of V. cinerea extract’s antibacterial activity revealed that its action was through the destruction to the bacterial cell walls by formation of holes, invaginations and morphological disorganization. [12]

Three sesquiterpene lactones isolated from V. cinerea was found to be active against chloroquine resistant Plasmodium falciparum strain (W2). [25]

Antioxidant activity

Kumar, [13] studied the antioxidant activities of the methanolic extract of V. cinerea. They found that it could scavange the hydroxyl radical generated by Fenton reaction, superoxide generated by photo reduction of riboflavin and inhibited lipid peroxidation significantly. It alos scavanged nitric oxide and inhibit the PMA induced Superoxide formation in mice peritoneal macrophages. The extract increased significantly the levels of catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S transferase in blood and liver whilst it decrease significantly lipid peroxidation activity.

In evaluating the effects of V. cinerea supplements and exercise on the oxidative stress biomarkers, beta-endophin release and the rate of cigarette smoking, it was found that this provided benefit related to reducing smoking rate. This is attributed to changes to oxidative stress biomarkers and beta-endophine levels. [14]

Immunomodulatory activity

The methanolic extract of V. cinerea was found to modify the immune system of mice. This is evidenced by the fact that intraperitoneal administration of the extract was able to enhance the total white blood cell count, bone marrow cellularity and the number of alpha-esterase positive cells. When treatment was given along side the antigen, sheep red blood cells, it enhances the circultating antibody titre and the number of plaque forming cells in the spleen. In addition to this, it also enhances the proliferation of splenocytes, thymocytes and bone marrow cells both in the presence and absence of specific mitogen in vitro and in vivo. Aministration of the extract significantly reduced the lipopolysaccharide induced elevation of nitric oxide and proinflammatory cytokines, downregulate the inducible NO synthase and cyclo-oxygenase-2 mRNA expression in LPS-stimulated macrophages. [15]

Further to this it was found that V. cinerea extract was able to ameliorate the immunospression and oxidative stress induced by cyclophosphamide in mice. It is evidenced by the fact that the extract showed similar effects as stated above in animals treated with cyclophosphomide. This renders the drug as a possible adjuvant to cyclophosphamide treatmen of cancer patients to help enhance their immune system and reduces some of the toxic effects of the cytotoxic drug. [16]

Anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic activity

The alcojholic extract of the flowers of V. cinerea was found to have the ability to reverse the inflammatory processes in adjuvant arthritic rats i.e. changes in paw volume, body and tissue weights and serum and tissue enzyme activities of ALT, AST, ACP and cathepsin-D. The methanol extract of the whole plant also showed anti-inflammatory activity both in acute and chronic conditions comparable to those of phenylbutazone. The chloroform, methanolic and ether extracts of the leaves showed significant analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic activities. The changes in writhings and behavioral activities in mice, the pyrexia and paw volumes in rates were significantly reduced while the pain threshold on oedematous limb of rats were increased. [17] [18] [19] [20]

Cytotoxic activity

A number of compounds isolated from V. cinerea showed cytotoxic activities. Vernolide-A is potent against human KB, DLD-1, NCI-661 and Hela tumour cell lines and Vernolide-B had marginal cytotoxicity for KB, NCI-661 and Hela. [21]


The median lethal dose (LD50) of the methanol extract of V. cinerea was greater than 2000mg/kg with no significant pathological changes macroscopically in mice. The Brine shrimp test did not show any significant toxicity. [10]

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

The plant has been used as an abortifacient and its use during pregnancy is prohibited. [4] [7]

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. Marita Ignacio Galinato, Keith Moody, Colin M. Piggin Upland Rice Weeds of South and Southeast Asia International Rice Research Institute, Manila 1999 pg. 26 – 27
  2. Merrill: Loureiro’s “Flora Cochinchinensis” Transactions, American Philosophical Society Philadelphia (Volume 24 part 2. 1935) pg. 382
  3. H. Arief Hariana Tumbuhan Obat & Khasiatnya 3 Penebar Swadaya Jakarta 2008 pg. 45
  4. Cp.P. Khare Indian Medicincal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary Springer Verlag Berlin 2007 pg. 699 – 700
  5. Brian Morris Chewa Medical Botany: a study of herbalism in southern Malawi LIT Verlag Hamburg 1996 pg. 272
  6. Dr. K.M. Nadkarni Dr. K.M. Nadkarni’s Indian Materia Medica; Volume 1 Popular Prakashan Private Ltd. Mumbai 2005 pg. 1270
  7. Deborah A. Lachman-White, Charles Dennis Adams, Ulric O’D Trotz A Guide to Medicinal Plants of coastal Guyana Commonwealth Secretariat Publications London 1992 pg. 294
  8. Saligrama Krishna Ramachandra Rao Encyclopedia of Indian Medicine: Materia Medica – Herbal Drugs Dr. Parameshvara Charitable Trust Bangalore 2005 pg. 61
  9. Shahina A. Ghazanfar, Martin Fisher Vegetation of the Arabian Peninsula Kluwer Academic Publishers Dordrecht 1998 pg. 248 & 251
  10. Latha LY, Darah I, Jain K, Sasidharan S.Toxicity study of Vernonia cinerea. Pharm Biol. 2010 Jan;48(1):101-4.
  11. Gupta M, Mazumder UK, Manikandan L, Haldar PK, Bhattacharya S, Kandar CC. Antibacterial activity of Vernonia cinerea. Fitoterapia. 2003 Feb;74(1-2):148-50.
  12. Latha LY, Darah I, Kassim MJ, Sasidharan S. Antibacterial activity and morphological changes of Pseudomonas aeruginosa cells after exposure to Vernonia cinerea extract. Ultrastruct Pathol. 2010 Aug;34(4):219-25.
  13. Kumar PP, Kuttan G. Vernonia cinerea L. scavenges free radicals and regulates nitric oxide and proinflammatory cytokines profile in carrageenan induced paw edema model. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2009;31(1):94-102.
  14. Leelarungrayub D, Pratanaphon S, Pothongsunun P, Sriboonreung T, Yankai A, Bloomer RJ. Vernonia cinerea Less. supplementation and strenuous exercise reduce smoking rate: relation to oxidative stress status and beta-endorphin release in active smokers. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010 May 26;7:21.
  15. Pratheeshkumar P, Kuttan G. Modulation of immune response by Vernonia cinerea L. inhibits the proinflammatory cytokine profile, iNOS, and COX-2 expression in LPS-stimulated macrophages. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2010 Apr 6. [Epub ahead of print]
  16. Pratheeshkumar P, Kuttan G. Ameliorative action of Vernonia cinerea L. on cyclophosphamide-induced immunosuppression and oxidative stress in mice. Inflammopharmacology. 2010 Aug;18(4):197-207. Epub 2010 May 15
  17. Latha RM, Geetha T, Varalakshmi P. Effect of Vernonia cinerea Less flower extract in adjuvant-induced arthritis. Gen Pharmacol. 1998 Oct;31(4):601-6.
  18. Mazumder UK, Gupta M, Manikandan L, Bhattacharya S, Haldar PK, Roy S. Evaluation of anti-inflammatory activity of Vernonia cinerea Less. extract in rats. Phytomedicine. 2003 Mar;10(2-3):185-8.
  19. Iwalewa EO, Iwalewa OJ, Adeboye JO. Analgesic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory effects of methanol, chloroform and ether extracts of Vernonia cinerea less leaf. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 Jun;86(2-3):229-34.
  20. Gupta M, Mazumder UK, Manikandan L, Bhattacharya S, Haldar PK, Roy S. Evaluation of antipyretic potential of Vernonia cinerea extract in rats. Phytother Res. 2003 Aug;17(7):804-6.
  21. Kuo YH, Kuo YJ, Yu AS, Wu MD, Ong CW, Yang Kuo LM, Huang JT, Chen CF, Li SY. Two novel sesquiterpene lactones, cytotoxic vernolide-A and -B, from Vernonia cinerea. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2003 Apr;51(4):425-6.
  22. Misra TN, Singh RS, Srivastava R, Pandey HS, Prasad C, Singh S. A New Triterpenoidal from Vernonia cinerea. Planta Med. 1993 Oct;59(5):458-60.
  23. Chen X, Zhan ZJ, Yue JM. Sesquiterpenoids from Vernonia cinerea. Nat Prod Res. 2006 Feb;20(2):125-9.
  24. Chen X, Zhan ZJ, Yue JM. Sesquiterpenoids from Vernonia cinerea. Nat Prod Res. 2006 Jan;20(1):31-5.
  25. Chea A, Hout S, Long C, Marcourt L, Faure R, Azas N, Elias R. Antimalarial activity of sesquiterpene lactones from Vernonia cinerea. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2006 Oct;54(10):1437-9.
  26. Zhu HX, Tang YP, Pan LM, Min ZD. [Studies on bioactive constituents of whole herbs of Vernonia cinerea] Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2008 Aug;33(16):1986-8.
  27. Zhu H, Tang Y, Min Z, Gong Z. [Bioactive constituents from whole herbs of Vernonia cinerea (II)] Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2009 Nov;34(21):2765-7.
  28. Triguna N. Misraa, Ram S. Singha, Janardan Upadhyaya and Ragini Srivastavaa Isolation of a natural sterol and an aliphatic acid from Vernonia cinerea Phytochemistry 1984,Volume 23(2):415-417
  29. Triguna N. Misra, Ram S. Singh, Ragini Srivastava, Hari S. Pandey, Chandan Prasad, Satyendra Singh A New Triterpenoidal from Vernonia cinerea Planta Med 1993; 59(5): 458-460

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