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Family Liliaceae / Colchicaceae
Climbing lily
Gloriosa superba Linn.

Jia lan

Scientific names Common names
Gloriosa superba Linn. Climbing lily (Engl.)
  Flame lily (Engl.)
  Flame of the woods (Engl.)
  Turk's cap (Engl.)
  Jia lan (Chin.)

Other vernacular names
ARABIC: Al Bâhir Al Hindîyah.
BENGALI: Bishalanguli, Ulatchandal.
DUTCH: Prachtelie, Prachtlelie.
FRENCH: Lis De Malabar, Lis Glorieux, Méthonique Du Malabar, Superbe De Malabar.
GERMAN: Malabarische Methonika, Prachtlilie, Ruhmeskrone, Ruhmeslilie.
GUJARATI: Dudhio, Dudhiyo Bachnag, Vacchonag.
HINDI: Bachnag, Kadyanag, Kalihari, Kari Hari, Kathari, Kulhari, Languli, Ulatchandal.
ITALIAN: Gloriosa Superba, Narciso Superbo, Superba Del Malabar.
JAPANESE: Gurorioosa - Superuba, Kitsune Yuri, Yuri Kuruma.
KANNADA: Agnisikhe, Karadikanninagadde, Siva Raktaballi, Siva Saktiballi.
MALAYALAM: Kithonni, Mendoni, Mettoni, Manthori khizangu.
MARATHI: Indai, Kallavi, Karianag, Khadyanag, Vaghachabaka.
NORWEGIAN: Flammelilje
ORIYA: Garbhhoghhatono, Meheriaphulo, Ognisikha, Panjangulia
PORTUGUESE: Gloriosa, Lírio-Trepador, Raiz-De-Empose.
PUNJABI: Kariari, Mulim.
SANSKRIT: Agnimukhi, Agnisikha, Ailni, Garbhaghatini, Kalihari, Kalikari, Langalika.
SPANISH: Gloriosa, Lirio Trepador, Pipa De Turco.
TAMIL: Anaravan, Iradi, Kaandhal, Kalappai Kizhangu, Kallappai Kilangu, Kannoru, Kannovu, Tonri.
TELUGU: Adavi Nabhi, Agni Sikha, Ganjeri, Kalappagadda, Nirupippali, Potti Dumpa, Potti Nabhi.

Climbing lily is a striking tuberous climbing plant. Rootstock is a chain of fleshy arched tubers, budding from the convexity above, cylindrical, flattened, often 15 to 20 centimeters long. Stem grows to 3 meters or more. Leaves are 15 to 20 centimeters long, variable in width, 3 to 5 centimeters across. Flowers are solitary or subcorymbose, towards the ends of the branches, 8 to 10 centimeters across. Petals are linear-lanceolate, spirally twisted, greenish when young, yellowish-orange as they mature, and reddish when fully mature. Filaments are stout and golden yellow, the connective being green. Capsules are about 5 centimeters long.

- A recent introduction in the Philippines.
- Cultivated as ornamental.
- Native of Africa.

- Phytochemical analysis yielded flavonoids, tannins, alkaloids and glycosides in an aqueous extract.
- Study of ethanol and aqueous extracts yielded carbohydrates, alkaloids, phytosterols, fixed oil, fats, saponins, gum, mucilage, phenolic compounds, and tannin-like phytoconstituents.
- Root yields a neutral bitter principle, superbine, which is toxic.
- Root yields three resins, a fluorescent principle, and salicylic acid.
- Seeds and tubers contain alkaloids viz., colchicine and colchicoside as major constituents.
- A 1991 Sri Lankan analytical study on different plant parts showed the seeds with the highest content of total alkaloids and colchicene. The yams, leaves, and pericarp also yielded alkaloids.
- Alcoholic extract of the dried tuber yielded organic acid, choline, dextrose, a hydrocarbon, a fatty alcohol, a mixture of phytosterolins, a mixture of alkaloids, chiefly colchicine (0.3% of the tubers), and small amounts of two other crystalline bases.
- Tubers and dried roots yield colchicines, benzoic and salicylic acid, sterols and resinous
substances-colchicines, 3-demethyl colchicine, 1,2-didemethyl colchicine, 2,3- didemethyl colchicine, N-formyl, N-deacetyl colchicines, colchicocide, gloriosine, tannins and superbine.
- Study describes two important alkaloids--colchicene and gloriosine--in the seeds and tubers.
- Colchicene: It is the conventional drugs for the treatment of gout obtained from the corms of Gloriosa superba and Colchicum autumnale. Colchicene derives from the area Colchis near the black sea.
- In a study of quantitative sterol content in various plant parts, the maximum amount of total sterols (ß-sitosterol and stigmasterol) was observed in flowers (22.12 mg/gdw) and minimum in rhizome (15.82 mg/gdw). (

- Pharmacologic action of the main alkaloid, colchicine, is identical with that of colchicene from Colchicum autumnale.
- Root is tonic, antiperiodic, alterative, purgative, and anthelmintic.
- Tubers are covered with a brown epidermis, except at the point which is tapering and nearly white, like the growing part of a young kidney potato. Internally, they are juicy, white, farinaceous, with a faint acrid odor; the taste mucilaginous, feebly bitter and a little acrid.

Parts used
Tuber roots, seeds.


- In Ceylon root is used to treat bruises and sprains.
- In India used in blood diseases, swellings, wounds, abscesses, pains and for treatment of gonorrhea. Also used as a tonic.
- Tuberous root stocks boiled with Sesamum oil is applied twice daily to painful arthritic joints. Also used to treat intestinal worms, bruises, infertility, skin problems and impotence.
- Sap from leaf tip used as smoothening agent for pimples and skin eruptions.
- Tuberous roots used for scrofula, baldness, intermittent fever and debility.
- Used in promoting labor and expulsion of the placenta.
- Seeds used to relieve rheumatic pain and as muscle relaxant.
- Tubers used in the treatment of cancer, malaria, stomachaches, piles and leprosy.
- Tubers used as abortifacient; also, as antidote for snakebites and scorpion-stings.
- Leaves used for asthma.
- In Persia used in the treatment of nose bleeds and impotence.
- Root is used in leprosy, piles and colic.
- Root also used in form of paste as an application for parasitic skin diseases.
- White powder obtained by repeated washing and grinding is given in gonorrhea, up to 12 grains, mixed with honey.
- In Burma, reported use of roots by lovelorn girls to commit suicide.

Plant is a violent emetic, and the tubers, when eaten, can cause death within a few hours.
• Roots, stalks, and leaves act as an acrid narcotic poison, and reportedly frequently used in India for suicidal purposes.
Case Report / Death Related to Gloriosa Superba Poisoning: A case report is made of an elderly woman who consumed tubers of G. superba for treatment of joint pains and who died of its toxicity. Colchicine, the major active alkaloid, is assumed to be the cause of toxicity. The usual presenting toxicity complaints are perioral numbness and tingling and throat burning, 2 to 6 hours after ingestion. Acute poisoning usually present as acute and severe gastroenteritis, with nausea, vomiting and bloody diarrhea, dehydration, shock and acute renal failure. (5)
Colchicene Cardiotoxicity Report:
Report of colchicene toxicity following ingestion of tubers described gastroenteritis, acute renal failure, cardiotoxicity, and hematological abnormalities as main manifestations. (9)

Anti-Inflammatory / Colchicene:
Study in carrageenan-induced animal models showed the methanol and aqueous extracts of tubers of Gloriosa superb possessed good anti-inflammatory activity in a dose-dependent manner. Further screening of the extracts confirmed the presence of colchicines. (1)
Oxytoxic / Abortifacient: Study of aqueous extract showed oxytoxic activity and early abortifacient activity which may be due to the presence of alkaloids such as colchicine. (2)
Antimicrobial: Study has showed excellent antifungal activity against C. albicans and C. glabrata.
Antithrombotic / Anticoagulant: Methanol and aqueous extracts have exhibited anticoagulant property which may be due to inhibition of thrombin-induced clotting.
Antivenom: Various fractions have shown potent neutralizing activity on rattlesnake venom in mice.
Anthelmintic: Ethanol and aqueous extracts of the whole plant of GS were evaluated for activity against Indian earthworms Pheretima posthuma. Both extracts exhibited significant anthelmintic activity when compared with piperazine citrate. (6)
Antimicrobial / Mutagenic: Study showed the petroleum ether extracts to be highly active against Gram-negative bacteria (E Coli, Proteus vulgaris and Salmonella typhi) and against Gram-positive bacteria. All extracts showed strong inhibition of Aspergillus niger and Mucor. Tubers exhibited mutagenic properties by Ames Salmonella mutagenicity test due to the presence of colchicines. (7)
Hepatoprotective: Study showed Gloriosa superba tuber extracts to possess hepatoprotective activity against paracetamol-induced hepatotoxicity. (12)
Antibacteria / Seeds and Tubers: Study evaluated various extracts of seeds and tubers for antibacterial activity against five gram positive and five gram negative bacteria. Of the three tested extracts, the methanol extract had the highest antibacterial potential showing maximum inhibition in Bacillus cereus, followed by E. coli, Streptococcus faecalis, K. pneumonia, S. aureus, P. aeruginosa, P. vulgaris. (13)
Larvicidal Against Chickungunya Mosquito, Aedes aegypti: Study evaluated the larvicidal effect of Gloriosa superba seed extract against Ae aegypti. Results showed higher mortality in lower doses against different developmental stages of Aedes aegypti. 3rd instar larvae were more susceptible than 4th instar larvae. (14)
Colchicene Like Activity: Study evaluated four fractions of G. superba for colchicene like activity using a mosquito cytogenetic assay. Three fractions (dichlormethane1 and 2, methane) exhibited high colchicene-like activity. (15)
Antibacteria / Leaves: Study confirmed the antibacterial potential of G. superba leaves using various solvents/extracts, with the acetone extract showing the most effective antibacterial potential. (16)
CuO Nanoparticles / Antibacterial: Study investigated the synthesis of copper oxide nanoparticles (CuO Nps) using G. superba plant extract as fuel by solution combustion synthesis. The formed CuO Nps exhibited significant antibacterial activity against various pathogenic strains viz. Gram negative K aerogenes, Pseudomonas desmolyticum, and E coli, Gram positive Staph aureus. (17)
Corrosion Inhibition of Aluminum / Gum Exudate: Study showed Gloriosa superba gum exudate is an inhibitor for the corrosion of aluminum in solution of HCl, probably through physiosorption followed by chemisorption. Gum adsorption on the Al surface was facilitated by amide and hydroxyl functional groups in stigmasta-5,22-dien-3-ol and 1-piperoylp. (18)
Antifertility / Anti-Implantation / Tuber Extract: Study evaluated the effect of hydroalcoholic extract of tubers for anti-fertility activity using an anti-implantation model in female albino rats. Results showed dose-dependent anti-implantation activity with reduction in the number of litters born. The antifertility activity was reversible on withdrawal of extract treatment. Activity was attributed to combined effects of alkaloids, tannins and phytosterols in the extract. (19)
Anti-Anxiety: Study evaluated petroleum ether and ethanol extracts of powdered aerial parts of G. superba for anti-anxiety activity of G. superba using Elevated Plus Maze model in albino mice. Results showed significant anti-anxiety activity compared to standard drug diazepam (2 mg/kg). (20)
Bioactive Compounds / Tubers and Seeds: Phytochemical analysis of methanol extract of plant showed 5 bioactive compounds in tuber and 4 bioactive compounds in seed. The alkaloid content of colchicene was highly present in the seed. (21)
Anti-Ulcerogenic / Anthelmintic: Study investigated the anti-ulcerogenic activity of an ethanolic extract of G. superba rhizomes on experimental ulcers induced by aspirin coupled with stress and pylorus-ligated ulcers in wistar rats. Results showed good antiulcerogenic effect comparable to ranitidine. The gastroprotective action was better than other test extracts viz Zingiber officinale rhizomes and Glycyrrhiza glabra roots extracts. The extracts also showed anthelmintic activity in vitro against two types of intestinal worms—earthworms and Ascardia galli, a parasitic roundworm. (22)
Anti-Inflammatory / Colchicinoids / Seeds: Study isolated alkaloids from the seeds: Colchicine, 2- demethylcolchicine, 3-demethylcolchicine, and N-formyl-N-deacetylcolchicine. On anti-inflammatory study using the formaldehyde inflammagen-induced inflammation model, results clearly showed colchicene to be a more effective anti-inflammatory agent compared to phenylbutazone. The other compounds showed very poor activity. (23)
Antioxidant / CCl4-Hepatotoxicity: Study investigated the antioxidant activity of Gloriosa superba leaves against CCl4-induced hepatotoxic model. The alcoholic extract showed significant dose dependent antioxidant activity. The effect was similar to standard Silymarin. (25)

Seeds in the cybermarket.

Last Update November 2014

IMAGE SOURCE: Glory Lily / Gloriosa superba in Hyderabad , India / File:Gloriosa superba (Glory Lily) in Hyderabad, AP W IMG 0224.jpg / J M Garg / 21.09.08 / GNU Free Documentation License/ click on image to go to source page / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Methonica (Gloriosa) superba/ John Linden / 1895 / Classic Nature Prints

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
INVESTIGATION OF ANTI-INFLAMMATORY PROPERTIES OF SWERTIA CHIRAYTA AND GLORIOSA SUPERBA / Abhishek Mathur, Satish K. Verma et al / Recent Research in Science and Technology 2011, 3(3): 40-43
Effect of the Aqueous Extract of Gloriosa superba Linn (Langli) Roots on Reproductive System and
Cardiovascular Parameters in Female Rats
/ Arati A Malpani, Urmila M Aswar, Shiv Kushwaha et al / Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research April 2011; 10 (2): 169-176
Gloriosa superba L., an important medicinal plant / A.S. WABALE AND M.N. KHARDE / International Journal of Plant Sciences, (July to December, 2009) Vol. 4 Issue 2 : 438-439
GLORIOSA SUPERBA LINN. – A PHARMACOLOGICAL REVIEW / Dr. Alok P Jain, Satish Suryavanshi / International Journal of Pharma Research and Development-OnLine
Death related to Herbal Therapy for Joint Pains – A rare case of Gloriossa Superba Poisoning / Peter George MD / Dept of Medicine, Fr Muller Medical College, Mangalore, India / Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research [serial online] 2011 April
Anthelmintic Activity of Gloriosa superba Linn (Liliaceae) / Bhushan M Pawar, Vishal P Wavhal, Nayana D Pawar et al / Int.J. PharmTech Res.2010,2(2)
ANTIMICROBIAL AND MUTAGENIC PROPERTIES OF THE ROOT TUBERS OF GLORIOSA SUPERBA LINN. (KALIHARI) / Shanmugam Hemaiswarya, Rathinam Raja et al / Pak. J. Bot., 41(1): 293-299, 2009.
Gloriosa superba (Climbing Lily) / Common names / ZipcodeZoo
Colchicine cardiotoxicity following ingestion of Gloriosa superba tubers. / S. Mendis / Postgrad Med J. 1989 October; 65(768): 752–755.
Review: Current Advances in Gloriosa superba L. / RAVINDRA ADE, MAHENDRA K. RAI / B I O D I V E R S I T A S, Volume 10, Number 4, October 2009, Pages: 210-214
Studies on Gloriosa superba grown in Sri Lanka / Lakshimi S R Arambewela, M A N Kumudini and J. RTanatunga / J. Natn. Sci. Coun. Sri Lanka, 19(2):177-180.
Hepatoprotective efficacy of Gloriosa superba against paracetamol treated experimental rats-An in vivo study
/ Indhumathi.T,
DR.S.Mohandass / Vol - I , ISSUE - IX October 2011 : Biochemistry
Phytochemical Screening and Antibacterial Activity of Gloriosa superba Linn. / *Senthilkumar M / International Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemical Research 2013; 5(1); 31-36
Studies on larvicidal activity of gloriosa superba on the developmental stages of the chickungunya mosquito, Aedes aegypti / Hima, C. R. and Manimegalai, M. / International Journal of Current Research
Evaluation of the Colchicine-like Activity of Gloriosa superba–Extracted Fractions for Mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae) Cytogenetic Study / W. Choochote, K. Rongsriyam, B. Pitasawat, A. Jitpakdi, E. Rattanachanpichai, A. Junkum, B. Tuetun, and P. Chaiwong / Journal of Medical Entomology 41(4):672-676. 2004 / doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/0022-2585-41.4.672
Antibacterial Potential of Glory Lily, Gloriosa superba Linn / Haroon Rehana Banu and N. Nagarajan /IRJP 2(3) 2011, 139-142
Green synthesis of CuO nanoparticles using Gloriosa superba L. extract and their antibacterial activity
H. Raja Naika, K. Lingaraju, K. Manjunath, Danith Kumar, G. Nagaraju, D. Suresh, H. Nagabhushana / Journal of Taibah University for Science / DOI: 10.1016/j.jtusci.2014.04.006
ADSORPTION AND QUANTUM CHEMICAL STUDIES ON THE INHIBITION OF THE CORROSION OF ALUMINUM IN HCL BY GLORIOSA SUPERBA (GS) GUM / Nnabuk Okon Eddy*, Udo J. Ibok, Paul O. Ameh, Nsor O. Alobi & Musa M. Sambo / Chemical Engineering Communications, Volume 201, Issue 10, 2014 / DOI:10.1080/00986445.2013.809000
Anti- Implantation Activity of the Hydroalcoholic Tuber Extract of Gloriosa superba Linn in Female
Albino Rats
/ KP. Latha, H. Kirana and HN. Girish* / IJAPBC – Vol. 2(3), Jul-Sep, 2013
Anti-anxiety activity of Gloriosa superba Linn. / R Sundaraganapathy*, V Niraimathi, Ananda Thangadurai, D Kamalakannan, B Narasimhan and Aakash Deep / Hygeia.J.D.Med.5 (1) April 2013; 148-151
Megala, S* and Elango, R / International Journal of Recent Scientific Research Vol. 3, Issue, 10, pp.871 -873, October, 2012
Anti-ulcerogenic Evaluation of Gloriosa Superba Tuber Extracts In-vivo and Anthelmintic Activity In-vitro: A Comparison. / Riaz MNA, Srinivas R Chennamaneni, Srinivas Reddy C / Journal of Medical and Health Sciences, Vol 2, No 4, 2013.
Isolation and anti-inflammatory activity of colchicinoids from Gloriosa superba seeds / C.S. Joshi, E. Sanmuga Priya, and C.S. Mathela / Pharmaceutical Biology, February 2010, Vol. 48, No. 2 , Pages 206-209 / doi:10.3109/13880200903081770
Quantitative estimation of β-sitosterol and stigmasterol in Gloriosa superba L. and Urginea indica (Roxb.) /
Kunth Anirudha Rishi* and Sonam Sneha / Glob. J. Med. Plants Res., Vol 1, No 1, pp 101-104, Dec 2013
Antioxidant activity of Gloriosa superba in albino rats / Samal Pradeep Kumar* / Research Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, 2013, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp 288-292

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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