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Family Commelinaceae
Commelina diffusa Burm. f.

Jie jie cao

Scientific names Common names 
Commelina agrania Kunth Alikbañgon (Tag.)
Commelina aquatica J.K.Morton Alibangon (Tag.)
Commelina caespitosa Roxb. Bañgar-an-lalaki (If.)
Commelina canariensis C.Sm. Gatilang (Bon.)
Commelina cayennensis Rich. Katkatauang (Bon.)
Commelina diffusa Burm.f. Kitkitauang (Bon.)
Commelina formosa Graham Kohasi (Iv.)
Commelina glabra G.Mey. Kolasi (Ilk.)
Commelina gracilis Ruz & Pav. Kulkul-lasi (Ilk.)
Commelina longicaulis Jacq. Sabilao (Bik.)
Commelina obtusifolia Vahl. Climbing dayflower (Engl.)
Commelina ochreata Schauer Spreading dayflower (Engl.)
Commelina pacifica Vahl. Scurvy weed (Engl.)
Commelina pilosa Pers. Wandering Jew (Engl.)
Commelina pilosula Rich.  
Commelina prostata Poepp. ex Kunth  
Commelina prostata Kunth  
Commelina sellowiana Kunth  
Commelina werneana Hassk.  
Alikbangon is a shared common name of: (1) Kolasi (Commelina diffusa Burm) and (2) Sabilau (Commelina axillaris Linn). It is also phonetically confused with (1) Alibangon (Commelina benghalensis) and (2) Aligbañgon (Tradescantia rufa).
Commelina diffusa Burm.f. is an accepted name .The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHAMORRO: Semprebiban-damalong.
CHINESE: Zhu jie cai, Zhu jie huo, Jie hie cao, Di fang.
CUBA: Canutillo.
FIJIAN: Ai rongorongo, Ai rorongi.
HAWAIIAN: Honohono grass, Honohono wai, Makolokolo.
INDONESIAN: Brangbangan.
JAPANESE: Shima-tsuyu-kusa.
KENYAN: Gitula.
SAMOAN: Mau'u toga, Mau'u Tonga.
SPANISH: Canutillo, Chiriyuyo, Cohitre, Empanadilla.
THAI: Phak-prap.
VIETNAMESE: Rau trai, Thai lai xanh lam.

Alikbangon is a mucilaginous, slender, creeping or ascending branched perennial herb, usually pubescent. Stems root at the nodes, the ultimate branches ascending. Leaves are green, oblong-lanceolate, 3 to 7 centimeters long, 1 to 2 centimeters wide, pointed at both ends. Inflorescence is axillary and peduncled. Flowers are cymose, enclosed in a complicate leaf-like spathe, with free margins. Cymes are usually 2 in each spathe, and are few-flowered. Inner petals are larger, blue, 6 to 7 millimeters long, and the outer ones much smaller, pale or nearly white.

- Common throughout the Philippines in open grasslands and waste places in settled areas at low and medium altitudes.
- Pantropic.

- Study for ascorbic acid and ß-carotene content of leaves on fresh weight basis yielded 7.60 ± 0.48 mg/100g and 3370 ± 0.10 µg/g, respectively. Tannin content was 995.65 ± 25.90 mg/100g.(16)
- In a GC-MS analysis of dried powdered shoots, a methanolic extract showed higher amount of steroids, alkaloids, phenolic compounds tannins, saponins, amino acid and phytosterols, with absence of proteins and anthraquinones. GC-MS yielded 21 phytoconstituents. The prevailing major components were phenol, 4-ethenyl, acetate (17.90%), n-hexadecanoic acid (1.93%), 9,12-octadecadienoic acid, methyl ester (10.67%), phytol (0.91%), methyl stearate (1.00%), 9,12,15-octadecatrienoic acid,(Z,Z,Z)- (9.59%), octadecanoic acid (41.49%). (19)

- Tasteless, cooling natured.
- Febrifuge, rubefacient, diuretic.
- Good blood coagulant, antifebrile and antidote, tonic for the heart.
- Studies suggest antifungal, antibacterial, antioxidant, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, wound healing properties.

Parts utilized
Whole plant, latex, leaves, shoots.

- In India young stems are steamed and eaten as vegetables.
- Young leaves used in fresh salads or boiled with butter.
- Small blue flowers and tender flowering tops can be steamed or used as salad green.
· For all kinds of fever symptoms due to infection: get drug (dried preparation 9 to 15 gms, 30 to 60 gms fresh material) boil to a concentrated decoction and drink.
· Bruised plant applied to burns, itches and boils.
· Mumps: get fresh plant, crush and squeeze out the juice, then drink.
· For poisonous snake bites: get fresh plant, crush, squeeze out the juice, then drink. This drug must be accompanied by an antidote preparation applied on the bite.
· Used for difficult urination, acute gastroenteritis, erysipelas, laryngopharyngitis, tonsillitis, colds.
· Used for external wound bleeding.
· Used as diuretic.
· Entire plant in decoction is used as an emollient, eye-wash and is also employed to combat painful discharge of urine.
· Dosage: for 4 to 8, use 30 to 60 gms dried material or 90 to 120 gms fresh material in decoction; pounded fresh material may be applied externally as a poultice.
· In Africa and Asia, used to treat hypertension, pain and renal diseases.
· In the Gold Coast, the leaves are pounded with the seeds of Leea guineensis and Piper nigrum, made into a poultice and wrapped in a heated plantain leaf and applied to relieve swellings of the groin.
· In Nigeria, taken as aperient. Decoction used for fevers. Leaf-infusion used as eyewash. Eye lotion made from plant used for eye complaints. Root decoction used for gonorrhea and dysmenorrhea.
· In Sierra Leone, plant used as wound dressing after circumcision.
· In China, decoction of whole plants used for defervescence and detoxification, for leucorrhea and health protection.
· In Congo leaf-sap used for abscesses, buboes and headache. Leaves believed to be aphrodisiac.
· Caribbean Indians have used the plant in medicinal baths and as tea to ward off influenza.
· In Mexico used for treatment of conjunctivitis, dermatitis, and dysmenorrhea.
· In Paraguay used for enteritis, gonorrhea and infertility treatments.
· In Hawaii, plant used as blood purifier.
· In India latex, leaf, and shoot used to stop bleeding of wounds and cuts.
· In Ecuador and Peru decoction of tiny blue flowers used as tea for relief of headaches.
· In the Guianas juice from the whole plant used in a decoction against warts. Infusion used against hair loss, fever and biliousness. Juice drunk for high blood pressure. In NW Guyana, used for biliousness, hair loss, kidney disease and for cleansing of the wombs and tubes.
· In Ashanti traditional medicine in Ghana, used as wound healing agent. (2)
· In Santa Lucia, suppository of stem lubricated with castor oil (Ricinus communis) used to help infants move their bowels. (12)
- In Rodrigues Island, Indian Ocean, infusion of leaves of C. diffusa drunk for inflammation; a mixture of leaves of C. diffusa, roots of Coix lacryma and bark of Sida stipulata used for the same. (
- The Yao people in Jinping, Yunnan Province of China, drink the decoction of whole plant for defervescence, detoxification, leukorrhea, and health protection. (
- In Ghana, used for wound healing in Ashanti traditional medicine. (
Dye: Petal juice used as dye for painting.
Fodder: In some parts of Africa, India and Asia, used as fodder for small livestock. In Mauritius, contributes to the diet of dairy cows.

Antioxidant / Antifungal: Commelina diffusa is used as a wound -healing agent in traditional Ghana medicine. A study on the methanol extract of Commelina diffusa showed antioxidant and antifungal (against Trichophyton species) activity confirming its wound healing benefits.
Antioxidant / Antimicrobial / Wound Healing: Study of methanol extracts showed antimicrobial activity and selective antifungal activity against Trichophyton species. The use of plants for wound healing may be based on antioxidant and antiseptic effects of its constituents. (
Weed as Fodder Crop for Ruminants: Study evaluated the potential of Commelina diffusa as a ruminant food, evaluated in terms of chemical composition and rumen degradation characteristics. Results showed that from a nutritional point of view, C diffusa compares well with many commonly used fodder crops and can be used as a protein source for ruminants on small holder farms. (
Diuretic Activity / Toxicity Study / Aerial Parts: Study evaluated the diuretic potential and toxicological profile of aqueous extract from aerial parts of Commelina diffusa. At all doses the aqueous extract produced significant increments in urinary excretion of water and sodium in rats. It also showed a potassium sparing effect. It was devoid of acute toxicity effects. However, in subchronic toxicity study there was a significant increase in water consumption, ALT and total proteins in serum
. (11)
Antimicrobial: Study showed different fractions of C. diffusa produced significant inhibitory against test bacteria and fungi, with a methanolic extract showing the highest inhibition against test bacteria. A diethyl fractions showed highest inhibition against fungi. (13)
Anti-Inflammatory / Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated an ethanolic extract of leaves for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Results showed significant dose dependent reduction of total foot edema in the Carrageenan induced assay and potent scavenging effect in the DPPH assay. (14)
• Lactogenic / Reproductive Potential / Leaves and Stems: Study evaluated the lactogenic and reproductive potentialities of Commelina diffusa (leaves and stems) and Ficus ingens (leaves) using 24 nulliparous New Zealand white does. Results showed appreciable impact on milk yield and reproductive performance component (litter weight gain). (17)
• Effect of Drying Methods on Antimicrobial Activity / Leaves: Study investigated the effect of different drying methods (sun dry, shade dry, 40˚C oven dry and 60˚ oven dry) on the antimicrobial activities of leaves extract of B. verticillata, C. alata, and Commelina diffusa. Results showed aqueous methanolic crude leaves extract dried via shade-dry and 40˚C oven dry were the most effect methods with retention of most of the bioactive constituents and inhibition of growth of test microbes. (18)
• Cytotoxic / Antimicrobial / Antioxidant: Study evaluated the cytotoxic, antimicrobial, and antioxidant activities of crude extracts of C. diffusa. An isolated compound, identified as steroid (stigmasterol) showed significant cytotoxic effect on vero cell line. The crude extract and fractions exhibited strong cytotoxicity in brine shrimp lethality bioassay. The crude extract showed strong antibacterial activity against E. coli and strong antioxidant activity using DPPH free radical scavenging assay. (
• CNS Depressant Activity: Study evaluated the central nervous system depressant activity of methanolic extract of C. diffusa in mice models using classical models of depression as open field, hole cross forced swimming, tail suspension, and thiopental sodium induced sleeping time in mice. The plant significantly depressed locomotor activity of mice in open field and hole cross tests, and significantly increased immobility time in forced swimming and tail suspension tests, and produced prolongation of sleeping time with thiopental sodium. (
• Inhibition of Aluminum Corrosion / Leaves: Study evaluated the effect of C. diffusa leaf extract on corrosion of aluminum in 2M HCl solution using weight loss, thermometric and hydrogen evolution methods. The leaf extract appreciably inhibited the corrosion of aluminum in HCl solution. The inhibition efficiency increased with increase in extract concentration and temperature. (


Updated January 2020 / August 2017 / May 2016

Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Close up of flowers of Commelina diffusa / Vietnam Plants & America plants / Phuong Tran / Creative Commons Attribution / flickr / Click on graphic to see original image
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: /Common name: spreading dayflower - Scientific name: Commelina diffusa / USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA NRCS. Wetland flora: Field office illustrated guide to plant species. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. - Not copyrighted image / USDA

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Commelina diffusa / Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa / Aluka
In vitro evaluation of effects of two Ghanaian plants relevant to wound healing / Mensah AY, Houghton PJ, Dickson RA et al / PTR. Phytotherapy Research, Nov 2006; Vol 20, No 11: pp 941-944 / https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.1978
Commelina Species – A Review of its Weed Status and Possibilities for Alternative Weed Management in the Tropics / Wendy Ann P Isaac and Richard A I Brathwaite / AgroThesis (2007); Vol5, No. 1: 3-18
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas (Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana)
Plantas Medicinales
Commelina diffusa Burm. / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Commelina diffusa / Common names / PIER
Ethno-medicinal studies on indigenous wetland plants in the tea garden tribes of Darrang and Udalguri district, Assam, India / S Saharia and CM Sarma / NeBIO (2011) Vol. 2(1)
The potential of the weed, Commelina diffusa L., as a fodder crop for ruminants / T.P. Lanyasunya, Wang, H. Rong, S.A. Abdulrazak, E.A. Mukisira and Zhang jie / South African Journal of Animal Science 2006, 36 (1)
Hawaiian Medicinal Plants / KENNETH M . NAGATA /
Ethnobotanical studies on medicinal plants used by the Red-headed Yao People in Jinping, Yunnan Province, China / Chun-lin Long∗, Rong Li / Journal of Ethnopharmacology 90 (2004) 389–395
Diuretic Activity and Toxicological Assessment of the Aqueous Extract from the Aerial Part of Commelina diffusa (Commelinaceae) in Rats / Sylvie Lea Wansi, Serges Kamdem Djoko, Albert Donatien Atsamo, Rodrigue Akoue Ngape, Elvine Pami Nguelefack-Mbuyo, Christian Fofie, Hubert Donfack, Telesphore Benoit Nguelefack and Albert Kamanyi / Pharmacologia, 2014; Volume 5, Issue 5: pp 184-190 / DOI: 10.5567/pharmacologia.2014.184.190
Commelina diffusa / Herbal Medicinal Plants / Plants of Santa Lucia
Evaluation of phytochemical and antimicrobial properties of Commelina diffusa Burm. f. / Md. Ahad Ali Khan, Md. Torequl Islam, Samir Kumar Sadhu / Oriental Pharmacy and Experimental Medicine, December 2011; Volume 11, Issue 4: pp 235-241
Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities of Commelina diffusa (Commelinaceae) / Abraham Yeboah Mensah, Evelyn Afua Mireku, Aboagyewaa Oppong-Damoah and Isaac Kingsley Amponsah / World Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2014; 2(10): pp 1159-1165
Commelina diffusa / Synonyms / The Plant List
NUTRIENT AND ANTI-NUTRIENT CONTENTS OF SELECTED WILD FOOD PLANTS FROM KENYA ITHANGA DIVISION / D. K. Mugera, J. N. Kinyuru, M. W. Mwaniki, G. N. Njoroge and C. Onyango / The 2015 JKUAT Scientific Conference—Agricultural Sciences, Technologies and Global Networking
Lactogenic and Reproductive Potentials of Spreading Day Flower (Commelina Diffusa Burm. F) and Rock Fig (Ficus Ingens Miq.) In Rabbit Does / Jonas Ezea, Tobechukwu Chijioke Iwuji / Global Journal of Animal Scientific Research, Vol 3, No 2 (2015)
Effect of Drying Methods on the Antimicrobial properties of Cassia alata, Commelina diffusa and Borreria verticillata extracts / Samuel T Oulowagbenga / Egypt. J. Exp. Biol. (Bot.). 2017; 13(2): 181-186 / doi10.5455/egyjebb.20170509072122
Phytochemical analysis of Commelina diffusa Burm. F. through GC-MS method / Malarvizhi D, Karthikeyan AVP, Sudan I and Satheeshkumar R / Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, 2019; 8(11): pp 176-179
Cytotoxic, Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Properties of Commelina diffusa Burm. F. / Mahmuda Naerin, Farhana Afroz, Suriya Sharmin et al / Scientific Research, Feb 2019; 2(2)
Evaluation of central nervous system (CNS) depressant activity of methanolic extract of Commelina diffusa Burm. in mice / Tania Sultana, Md. Abdul Mannan, and Tajnin Ahmed / Clinical Phytoscience, 2018; 4(5)
Inhibition of aluminium corrosion by Commelina diffusa leaf extract in 2 M HCl solution / Okon U Abakedi and Victor F Ekpo / International Journal of Chemical Studies 2017; 5(4): pp 2008-2013
Ethnopharmacological analysis of medicinal plants used against non-communicable diseases in Rodrigues Island, Indian Ocean / Anne Kathie Samoisy, M. Fawzi Mahomoodally / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2015; 173: pp 20-38
Ethnobotanical studies on medicinal plants used by the Red-headed Yao People in Jinping, Yunnan Province, China / Chun-lin Long∗, Rong Li / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2004; 90: pp 389–395 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2003.10.021

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