- Rivina humulis is a species of flowering plant in the family Peltiveriacea (formerly in the pokeweed family Phytolaccacea).
- The specific epithet humulis means "dwarfish" or "lowly" in Latin, referring to its short stature. (2)
Rivina humulis is an herbaceous to wood perennial plant growing up to 1 m high. Stems are erect dichotomously branched, angular, glabrous or slightly pubescent at the nodes. Leaves are simple, alternate, entire, elliptic to ovate, up to 12 cm long, long petioled, the based rounded or attenuate, apex acuminate, glabrous to pubescent above and below, especially along the veins. Leaves are unpleasant-smelling when crushed. Inflorescences are terminal or axillary, up to 15 cm long, erect or curved, slender. Flowers are small, bisexual on pedicels up to 5 mm long, subtended by very small bracts and bracteoles, tepals 4, 2-3 mm long, green, white or pink, persistent; stamens 4. Ovary is superior, ovoid, 1-carpelled, 1-loculed. Style is shorter than the ovary, slightly curved, stigma capitate. Berry is round, glossy and bright red or orange, 3-4 mm in diameter; with a single hairy seed, 3 mm in diameter. (1)
- Native distribution restricted to the Americas, from Argentina to southern USA. (1)
- Widely introduced to other countries and naturalized in much of the Pacific and some countries in Africa and Asia. (1)
- In Melanesia, given highest ranking as a serious weed. (1)
- Considered invasive in many places.
- Some ornamental cultivation.
- Also a shade-tolerant groundcover.
- Preliminary phytochemical screening of various solvent extracts (petroleum ether, chloroform, ethyl acetate, methanol, water) of whole plant powder showed alkaloids (C, EA, M, W), flavonoids (PE, C), phenols (PE, C), saponins (PE, W), steroids (PE, C), and tannins (PE, C). (3)
- GC-MS analysis of ethanolic stem extract yielded 14 compounds viz., cinnamyl 3,4-dihydroxy-α-cyannocinnamate, L-proline, N-methoxycarbonyle, isohexylester, L-tetradecene, 1-nonadecene, caffeine, b-hexadecanoic acid, oleic acid, octadecanoic acid. among others. (6)
- Studies have suggest antioxidant, antimicrobial, pesticidal, colorant properties.
- Caution: While berries are reportedly edible, as many report toxicity to humans.
- No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- Leaves used for treatment of catarrh.
- In Mexico,
leaves are used for treating wounds.
- In Jamaica, herb decoction is drunk as tea three times daily for treating blocked tubes (fallopian), infertility, or any womb related problem. Also used for menstrual flow problems.
- Dye: Red fruits yield a dye. Used as colorant for beverage and fruit spread. (see study below) (9)
• Betalains / Acute, Subacute and Subchronic Safety Studies: Rivinia humulis accumulates vacuolar pigments betalains. Red beet is the only industrial source of these hydrophilic and low acidic pigments. Betalains rich R. humulis berry juice could be an alternative source of the pigments. In single-dose (1, 2,5 g RBJ/kbw), repeated-dose (2.5 and 5 g/kbw for 35 days) and dietary feeding (0.5%, 1%, and 2% RBJ in diet, w/w for 90 days) in male rats showed the RBJ did not affect growth and normal biochemical homeostasis, and is safe to consume without adverse effects. (4)
• Juvenile Hormone Activity against Cx quinquefasciatus: Study evaluated 18 plants belonging to various plant families for juvenile hormone analogue activity against filarial mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus. Acetone extracts of eight plants, including Rivina humulis, showed significant juvenile hormone activity. (5)
• Silver Nanoparticles / Antibacterial / Leaves: Study reports on synthesis of AgNPs using leaf extract of R. humulis. The silver nanoparticles exhibited potential antibrucellosis activity against B. abortus, B. melitensis and B. suis with effect inhibition at 800 µg/mL. Biocompatibility of Rh-AgNPs was established by rate of hemolysis, hemagglutination and fibrinolytic activity. (7)
• Antimicrobial / Antioxidant: Study evaluated the antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of various plant parts (root, stem, leaf, fruit,inflorescence) of R. humulis showed tremendous antibacterial potential against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, with most significant activity obtained from the chloroform extract of fruit i.e., 46 ± 2.7 mm. Antifungal activity ranged from good to satisfactory with maximum potential shown by petroleum ether extract against Aspergillus oryzae. Various extracts showed significant DPPH antioxidant activity with the petroleum ether leaf extract at 89.1 ± 1.7% and fruit extract at 83.8 ± 0.8%. (8)
• Natural Colorant / Betalain : Study reports on the use of berries as a natural colorant in fruit spread and beverage and its physiochemical properties and acceptability of the product. Results showed the 68% color retained in Rivina banana spread after 6 months of storage at 5°C. although there was reduction in L, a, and chroma values. Rivina banana beverage lost redness completely during processing. Microbial analysis showed products were safe for consumption. The spread had overall good sensorial quality and did not alter product quality. (9)
• Agricultural Pesticide / m Spodoptera litura: Study evaluated the pesticidal activity of antifeedant, oviposition deterrent, ovicidal and larvicidal activities of benzene, dichloromethane, diethylether, ethyl acetate and methanol extracts of R. humulis against agricultural polyphagous pest Spodoptera litura. Results showed all the extracts exhibited moderate antifeedant activity, with the methanol extract showing significant antifeedant, ovicidal, oviposition deterrent and larvicidal activities. (11)
• Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Study evaluated dried, crushed, and defatted alcoholic extracts of R. humulis for analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity. Results showed anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities by carrageenan induced paw edema and cotton pellet granuloma testing in Wistar albino rats. (12)
• Phytofungicide: Study evaluated 24 plant extracts for antifungal activity on the development of Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lycopersici as a green alternative to synthetic fungicides. Of the 24 plant extracts, five, including Rivina humulis, showed good antifungal activity. The plant extracts with good antifungal activity generally had high level of total polyphenolic content and titrable acidity and low pH values. The efficacy of R. humulis may be due to the presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, and resin, known bioactive compounds against bacteria and fungi. (13)
• Betalains and Antioxidant Enzymes During Development and Abiotic Stress in Berries: Study investigated the betalains profiles and molecular changes during development and post-induction stress induced by elicitors such as salicylic acid and chitosan. Treatment with SA enhanced betalains accumulation/ Treatment with CH produced morphological changes in berries and expression of SOD was significantly suppressed. (15)