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Family Euphorbiaceae

Chinese croton
Excoecaria cochinchinensis Lour.

Ji wei su

Scientific names Common names
Excoecaria bicolor Lour. Blindness tree (Engl.)
Excoecaria bicolor var, purpurascens Pax & K. Hoffm. Chinese croton (Engl.)
Excoecaria bicolor (Hassk.) Zoll. ex Hassk. Firestorm (Engl.)
Excoecaria cochinchinensis Lour. Jungle fire plant (Engl.)
Excoecaria quadrangularis Mull.Arg.  
Excoecaria cochinchinensis Lour. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Ji wei su.
INDIA: Tsillay cheddie, Tilay cheddey.
INDONESIA: Ki sambang, Daun remek daging, Sambang daging.
MALAYSIA: Buta-buta, Bebuta, Daun sambang, Sambang merah, Sambang darah.
SWEDISH: Burgunderbuske.
THAILAND: Ka buea, Kamlang krabue, Kra bue chet tua, Lin krabue, Bai thong dae.
VIETNAM: Cay leiodo.

Gen info
"- The common name "blindness tree" derives from Lain "excoecaria" meaning "to make blind+ as the sap on the eye is reported to cause blindness.
= The species name cochinchinensis derives from Cochinchina, an old
name for Vietnam. (11)

Excoecaria cochinchinensis is a shrub that grows to a height of 2 meters. Leaves are alternate, oblong, acuminate, up to 15 centimeters long and 5 centimeters wide, bright green above and crimson red below. Flowers are small and greenish.

- Recently introduced to the Philippines.
- Garden cultivation; easy indoor growth.
- Native to China and Japan.

Study of stems and roots of Excoecaria cochinchinensis var. viridis yielded 8 compounds: shikimic acid, 1-cyclohexane-1-carboxylic acid-5-hydroxy-3,4-isopropylidene-dioxy, oxy-bis(5-methylene-2-furaldehyde), beta-sitosterol, tetracosanoic acid, stearic acid and hentriacontane. (2)
Study of extract of leaves and twigs isolated three new highly oxygenated diterpenoids. (1)
Study of leaves yielded two compounds: gallic acid and ellagic acid. An ethyl acetate extract of leaves yielded two flavonols: kaempferol 7-0-glycoside and kaempferol. (9)
• Study of leaves isolated two new megastigmane glucosides, excoecariosides A and B,, from Excoecaria cochinchinensis Lour. var. cochinchinensis, together with seven known compounds. (4)

• Toxicity: Like many Euphorbiaceae species, the sap is toxic and can cause eczema in some, While toxic when eaten, it has been reportedly used in small amounts for the treatment of gastric ulcers; also used as haemostatic, antipruritic, and antiparasitic. (11)
• Considered anti-parasitic, antipruritic, haemostatic, antimicrobial, uteretonic.

• Studies have suggested anticancer, antimicrobial, anti-acne, uterotonic, aldose reductase inhibitory, anti-inflammatory, haemostatic properties.

• No known folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
• In Indonesia, decoction of leaves used for dysentery. Juice squeezed out of boiled leaves used for hematemesis. Roots used for post-partum hemorrhage. Decoction of roots considered abortifacient, and use not recommended during pregnancy. In India, decoction of leaves used for epilepsy. (6)
• Used in folk medicine for itching, furuncles, and allergies.

Cytotoxicity / Anti-Cancer: In a study of 120 plant extracts from 29 Indonesian plants tested in vitro cytotoxicity in cultured human lung, colon and stomach cancer cells, five extracts derived from E alba and Excoecaria cochinchinensis displayed potent cell-line selective cytotoxicity. (5)
Chemical Constituents: Study of stems and roots yielded 8 compounds: shikimic acid, 1-cyclohexane-1-carboxylic acid-5-hydroxy-3,4-isopropylidene-dioxy, oxy-bis(5-methylene-2-furaldehyde), beta-sitosterol, tetracosanoic acid, stearic acid and hentriacontane. (2)
Antimicrobial / Anti-Acne: Study showed the ethanolic and water extracts of E cochinchinensis to be effective against S aureus and Propionibacterium acnes. The water extract also showed outstanding activity against clindamycin resistant S aureus. Phytochemical analysis showed tannin and phenolic compounds. The study was looking for data for the development of anti-acne products from natural plant extracts. (3)
Megastigmane Glucosides / Excoecariosides: Study isolated two new megastigmane glucosides – excoecariosides A and B – from the leaves together with seven known compounds. (4)
Aldose Reductase Inhibitory Activity: Aldose reductase (AR) is a key enzyme in the polyol pathway, playing an important role in the pathogenesis of diabetic complications such as cataract formation. In a study of 49 Vietnam herbal medicines, Excoecaria cochinchinensis (aerial parts) is one of seven plants that exhibited significant inhibitory activity against aldose reductase. (7)
Uterotonic Activity / Daphnane and Tigliane Factors / Leaves: Latex of Excoecaria bicolor yielded four fractions highly enriched in diterpene esters., acetone extract and EA fraction yielded daphnane and tigliane (diterpene esters). Daphnane type esters are currently in routine use in China for fertility regulation. Daphnane and tigiiane type Excoecaria factors present in the latex of E. bicolor may be responsible for the uterotonic activity of leaves used in Thai herbal medicine. (8)
Aldose Reductase Inhibition / Aerial Parts: Aldose reductase is a key enzyme in the polyol pathway involved in the pathologic pathway of cataract formation. In a study of 49 Vietnam herbal medicines for in vitro aldose reductase inhibitory activities, 7 herbal medicines, including E. cochinchinensis aerial parts exhibited significant inhibitory activity against aldose reductase.
Anti-Inflammatory: Study in mice evaluated the anti-inflammatory effects of water and exthanol extracts from Exoecaria cochinchinensis using acute and chronic inflammation models of mouse paw edema induced by cotton ball granuloma and carrageenan, respectively. Both extracts exhibited significant anti-inflammatory effects. (12)
Haemostasis Effect on Skin Wound / Leaves: Study evaluated the effect of haemostasis after applied Sambang Darah leaves in white rat skins (Rattus norvegicus). Results suggest sambang darah leaves can be applied as medicine for external wounds but cannot be applied in koagulasi test. (13)


Updated Sept 2021 / March 2015

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Three New Highly Oxygenated Diterpenoids from Excoecaria cochinchinensis Lour. / Jin-Hua Yang et al / Helvetica Chimica Acta, Vol 88 Issue 5, Pages 968 - 973 / DOI 10.1002/hlca.200590090
Studies on the chemical constituents of Excoecaria cochinchinensis Lour. var. viridis Merr. / Xie J M et al / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 1989 May;14(5):292-4, 319.
New Megastigmane Glucosides from Excoecaria cochinchinensis LOUR. var. cochinchinensis / Giang Phan Minh et al / Chem Pharm Bull, 2005; 53(12): pp 1600-1603 / DOI: 10.1248/cpb.53.1600
Evaluation of Cytotoxic Potential of Indoesian Medicinal Plants in Cultured Human Cancer Cells / Park, Go-Woo Ni et al / Natural Product Sciences, 2002; 8(4): pp165-169
Exoecaria cochinchinensis / Vernacular names and traditional uses / GLOBinMED
Screening of Inhibitory Effect on Aldose Reductase of Vietnam Herbal Medicines (Ⅱ) [dec2008 / Lee YM, Kim JM, Kim YS, Jang DS, Kim JH, Bae KH, Kim JS / Korea Agricultural Science Digital Library
Medicinal plants of euphorbiaceae occurring and utilized in thailand. V. Skin irritants of the daphnane and tigliane type in latex of Excoecaria bicolor and the uterotonic activity of the leaves of the tree / C. Karalai, P. Wiriyachitra, B. Sorg andE. Hecker* / Phytotherapy Research, Volume 9, Issue 7, pages 482–488, November 1995 / DOI: 10.1002/ptr.2650090704
Isolation of Flavonoids from Excoecaria cochinchinensis Lour. var. cochinchinensis / Nguyen Thi An / Journal of Medicinal Materials - Hanoi 2003; 8(4): pp 103-107
Screening of Inhibitory Effect on Aldose Reductase of Vietnam Herbal Medicines (Ⅱ) [dec2008] / Lee YM, Kim JM, Kim YS,Jang DS,Kim JH, Bae KH, and Kim JS / AGRIS: International Information System for the Agricultural Science and Technology
Excoecaria cochinchinensis / Wikipedia
Preliminary experimental study on anti-inflammatory effect of extract from Excoecaria cochinchinensis Lour. as a national medicine / Qwi Jiang Cun, He Si Lu, Zeng Hai Sheng, Huang Dong Mei, Liu Cheng Tong, Zhou Qi Ji, Qin Hong Han / The Journal Board of Medicinal Plant, 2020 / ISSN: 2152-3924 /
DOI: 10.19600/j.cnki.issn2152-3924.2020.01.007
The Determination of Haemostasis Value in Relation to Potential Blood Leaf Leaves Filtrate )Exocaeria cochinchinensis L) as the External Medicine for Skin Wound of White Rat (Rattus norvegicus) / Siti Zaetun, Lalu Srigede / Indonesian Journal of Medicine, 2020; 5(1): pp 10-16 /
DOI: https://doi.org/10.26911/theijmed.2020.05.01.02

DOI: 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. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

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