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Phyllagathis rotundifolia


Phyllagathis decipiens, Phyllagathis praetermissa, Melastoma rotundifolium

Vernacular Names:


Tapak Sulaiman; Akar Serau Malam; Bawal Hutan; Seri Bulan, Akar Tapak Gajah, Kacip Fatimah, Pokok Fatimah


Tapak Gajah, Tapak Liman, Tapak Sulaiman, Tapak Tangan [5]

General Information


Phyllagathis rotundifolia is a member of the Melastomaceae family. It is essentially a creeping plat with short stem. The leaves are rroundish heart shaped measuring 5-20 cm long and 4-12 cm wide. The leaf is covered with fine hairs, the tip is blunt and the upper surface is dark green in colour with a metallic tinge. The inflorescence is head-like, compact and shortly stalked, surrounded by 4 large cordate or reniform involucral bracts. [1]

Plant Part Used

Leaves and Roots [1] [2]

Chemical Constituents

prunasin 2',6'-di-O-gallate (3), prunasin 3',6'-di-O-gallate (4), prunasin 4',6'-di-O-gallate (5), prunasin 2',3',6'-tri-O-gallate (6), prunasin 3',4',6'-tri-O-gallate (7), and prunasin 2',3',4',6'-tetra-O-gallate (8) oct-1-en-3-yl alpha-arabinofuranosyl-(1-->6)-beta-glucopyranoside (9). prunasin (1), gallic acidbeta-glucogallin, 3,6-di-O-galloyl-D-glucose, 1,2,3,6-tetra-O-galloyl-beta-D-glucose, strictinin, 6-O-galloyl-2,3-O-(S)-hexahydroxydiphenoyl-D-glucose, praecoxin B, and pterocarinin C. [3]

Traditional Used:

Gasrointestinal Diseases

The plant is used in the treatment of stomachache. To treat heartburn, the leaves are pounded and the paste is applied over the affected area.


P. rotundifolia is a remedy for fever in children and also for malaria. [1] It is mentioned that for fever in children either a decoction of the leaves is given or the child is laid over a bed of leaves of the plant.

Obstetrics and Gynaecology

The Malays believed that the plant has similar properties of the village “tutup bumi” (Elephantopus scaber) and used them interchangeably in postpartum therapy. A decoction of the whole plant is given to women immediately after birth to hasten the process of delivery of the placenta. It is also believed that it is able to cleanse the uterus of residual blood. Roots pounded with belts are given after child-birth as tonic.[2]

Other uses

For the newborn, the paste of the leaves and roots are applied over the abdomen to provide strength to the child.

Pre-Clinical Data


Contraceptive activity

P. rotundifolia formed part of a contraceptive herbal formulation used by the Temuan tribe of Peninsula Malaysia. It was found that this combination caused anovulatory estrous cycle with altered circulating hormone levels and foetal resorption in rats. Mohd. Nazrul demonstrated that this could be due in part to suppression of the production of gonadotrophins along with suppression of FSH cell activity. They found that P. rotundifolia by itself could significantly lower the FSH concentration. [4]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

Caution should be exercised when taking preparations containing this plant during pregnancy. Its use as part of the ingredients in potherb given during the immediate post-partum period may be due to its oxytocic effects. [2]

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. Muhamad Zakaria & Mustafa Ali Mohamed Traditional Malay Medicinal Plants Penerbit Fajar Bakti Sdn. Bhd. Kuala Lumpur 1994
  2. Rashtra Vardhana Floristic Plants of the World Sarup & Sons New Delhi 2006 pg. 657
  3. Ling SK, Tanaka T, Kouno I New cyanogenic and alkyl constituents from Phyllagathis rotundifolia J. Nat. Prod. 2002 65(2):131-5
  4. Mohd. Nazrul Islam, Siti Amrah Sulaiman, Marina Y. Kapitonova, Syed Mohsin Sahil Jamallullail Effects of an Indigenous Contraceptive Herbal Formulation on Gonadotrophs of the Pituitary Gland of the Rat Malaysian ournal of Medical Sciences, 2007,  Vol14(1):23 – 27
  5. Pusat Rujukan Persuratan Melayu ( [Accessed on 13th October 2010]
  6. Kamarudin Mat-Salleh, A. Latiff Tumbuhan Ubatab Malaysia  Pusat Pengurusan Penyelidikan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Bangi 2002 pg. 423 – 424

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