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Family Leguminosae / Fabaceae
Butterfly pea
Pukingan
Centrosema pubescens Benth.
SOFT BUTTERFLY PEA

Ju ban dou

Scientific names Common names
Bradburya pubescens (Benth.) Kuntze. Pukingan (Tag.)
Bradburya schiedeana (Schltdl.) Rose Butterfly pea (Eng.)
Centrosema ferrugineum A.Rich. Centro (Engl.)
Centrosema intermedium A.Rich. Soft butterfly pea (Engl.)
Centrosema pubescens Benth. Spurred butterfly pea (Engl.)
Centrosema salzmannii Benth.  
Centrosema schiedeanum (Schltdl.) R.J.Williams & R.J. Clem  
Centrosema virginianum (L.) "Benth., p.p."  
Clitorea schiedeana Schltdl.  
Ternatea schiedeana (Schltdl.) Kuntze  
Pukinggan is a common name shared by (1) Centrosema pubescens, butterfly pea; and (2) Clitorea ternatea, blue pea vine.
Butterfly pea is a English common name shared by both species.
Centrosema pubescens Benth. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
AFRIKAAN: Akidi (Igbo).
CHINESE: Ju ban dou.
SPANISH: Frijol cuchillo, Flor de conchitas.

Botanical factoid
If you stare long enough and let your mind stray, you might appreciate how the common name Pukingan derived from the flower's similarity to the female external genitalia, particularly the clitoris. Another species, Clitorea ternatea, share the same common name, pukingan, from puki, which is tagalog for vagina.

Taxonomic note
The tropical forage species, known since the last century as Centrosema pubescens, was renamed Centrosema molle Mart. ex Benth.

Botany
Butterfly pea is a twining herbacious vine with trifoliate leaves. Leaflets are dark green, elliptic or ovate-elliptic, up to 9 centimeters long and 6 centimeters wide, pubescent on both surfaces and with an obtuse tip. Flowers are showy, bright or pale lilac, with dark violet stripes or blotches. Petal is broadly orbicular and pale lilac with dark blotches. Pods are linear with prominent margins, up to 9 centimeters long and containing up to 20 seeds.

Distribution
- Widespread and naturalized in the Philippines.
- A common weed in cultivated fields.
- Occasionally planted as an ornamental.

Constituents
-Phytochemical screening yielded saponins, tannins, terpenes.
- Analysis for mineral composition yielded calcium 0.91 - 0.98%, phosphorus 0.34-0.37%, potassium 0.87 - 0.92%. sodium 0.01 - 0.03%. Crude protein was 16.0%. Biomass yield per g/plant was 56.20. Proximate composition (% in DM) of crude protein was 14.77-18.97. (10)

Properties
- Studies have shown antibacterial, antifungal, immunopotentiating, larvicidal properties.

Parts used
Seeds

Uses

Folkloric
- No recorded folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- In Laos, seed is crushed on applied to skin for scorpion and snake bites.

- In Nigeria, pods prepared as peppered soup taken by women postpartum for womb cleansing after delivery. (13)
Others
- Fodder: Fodder for livestock.

Studies
Immunologically Active Polysaccharides / RES-Potentiating:
Study isolated two polysaccharides from the powdered seeds of Centrosema pubescens. The polysaccharides showed reticuloendothelial system-potentiating activity. (7)
Pubescidin: Study isolated a new isoflavone glycoside, irisolidone 7-O-B-D-apiofuranosyl-(1-2)B-D-glucopyranoside from the seeds of CP along with sitosterol, stigmasterol and a sitosterol-glucopyranoside. (5)
Antimicrobial / Wound Healing: An ethanolic extract of this plant showed significant antibacterial and antimicrobial effect against most pathogenic organisms tested. A crude ointment of the plant showed a certain degree of wound healing evident from wound contraction and increased tensile strength. (6)
Anti-Proliferative / Apoptosis: Study assessed the anti-proliferative activity of C. pubescens. A dichlormethane extract inhibited the proliferation of HL-60 (promyelocytic acute leukemia) cells. Results showed effective arrest of the cell cycle and apoptosis. The extract exhibited negligible toxicity even at the highest dose tested. (7)
Larvicidal-Proliferative / Apoptosis: Study evaluated extracts of air-dried stems and leaves of C. pubescens for activity against mosquito larvae. Results showed potential larvicidal activity of leaf and stem extracts. All plant extracts showed moderate toxic effect on mosquito larvae, with the leaf extract showing highest mortality. (9)
Immunologically Active Polysaccharides / Seeds: Fractionation of powdered seeds yielded two polysacchardes that showed reticuloendothelial system-potentiating activity in a carbon clearance test. (11)
Antibacterial / Antifungal / Leaves: Rhizomes of Zingeber officinale and leaves of C. pubescens were tested for antimicrobial activity. The ethanolic extract of both plants were active against S. aureus, P. aeruginosa, S. typhi, and E. coli. C. pubescens showed significant activity against Candida albicans. (1
2)
Phytoremediation / Antifungal / Leaves: Rhizo

Availability
- Wild-crafted.
- Seeds in the cybermarket.

Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Update April 2016

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Immunologically active polysaccharides from Centrosema pubescens / B P da Silva, J B Tostes, J P Parente /
Fitoterapia. 2000 Sep;71(5):516-21.
(2)
Centrosema pubescens is now Centrosema molle / Rainer-Schultze Kraft / CIAT/ Partners in Reserach Cultivating the Future
(3)
The role of medicinal plants in the provision of health care in Lao PDR / Claudio O Delang / Journal of Medicinal Plants Research Vol. 1(3), pp. 050-059, October 2007
(4)
CENTROSEMA AND CLITORIA (LEGUMINOSAE: PAPILIONIDAE: PHASEOLEAE: CLITORIINAE)
IN THE MEXICAN YUCATÁN PENINSULA, INCLUDING THREE LECTOTYPIFICATIONS
/ Rodrigo Duno de Stefano, Paul R Frantz et al / Vulpia, Vol. 7, 2008, pp. 1–15.
(5)
Pubescidin, an isoflavone glycoside from Centrosema pubescens / Joao B F Tostes, Antonio Da Silva and Jose Parente / Phytochemistry, Volume 45, Issue 5, July 1997, Pages 1069-1072 / doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(97)00097-6
(6)
ANTIMICROBIAL AND WOUND HEALING ACTIVITIES OF CENTROSEMA PUBESCENS ( LEGUMINOSAE) / Memfin Ekpo, Herbert Mbagwu, Clement Jackson & Mary Eno / JPCS Vol(1) ‚óŹ April-June 2011
(7)
G1 arrest and caspase-mediated apoptosis in HL-60 cells by dichloromethane extract of Centrosema pubescens. / Ramadevi Mani S, Lakshmi BS. / Am J Chin Med. 2010;38(6):1143-59.
(8)
Centrosema pubescens / Synonyms / The Plant List
(9)
LARVICIDAL POTENTIAL OF THE CRUDE ETHANOLIC EXTRACTS OF CENTROSEMA PUBESCENS BENTH / Erwin Cayabyab Mina / BMJ Open, Vol 5, Issue Suppl 1
(10)
Biomass, dry matter yield, proximate and mineral composition of forage legumes grown as early dry season feeds / F C Nworgu and F T Ajayi* / Livestock Research for Rural Development 17 (11) 2005
(11)
Immunologically active polysaccharides from Centrosema pubescens. / da Silva BP , Tostes JB , Parente JP / Fitoterapia [2000, 71(5):516-521] DOI: 10.1016/S0367-326X(00)00207-0
(12)
Heavy metal analysis and phytochemical screening of two indigenous species (Zingiber officinale and Centrosema pubescens) from Nigeria / Ladipo, M.K., Doherty, V.F and Kanife, U.C / International Journal of Current Research
(13)
A Survey of Plants Used in the Treatment of Ante- Natal and Post-Natal Disorders in Nneochi Local Government Area of Abia State, Nigeria / *Chima U.D., Ofodile E.A.U. and Okorie M.C.F. / Greener Journal of Biological Sciences, Vol. 3 (6), pp. 229-237, August 2013.

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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