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Family Oxalidaceae
Biophytum sensitivum (Linn.) DC
Gan ying cao

Scientific names Common names
Biophytum bequaertii De Wild. Damong-bingkalat (Tag.)
Biophytum bogoroense De Wild. Damong-huya (Bis.)
Biophytum candolleanum Wight Guyanka (Sub.)
Biophytum cumingianum (Turcz.) Edgew. & Hook.f. Hoya-hoya (P. Bis.)
Biophytum homblei De Wild. Makahiyang-lalaki (Tag.)
Biophytum nervifolium Thwaites Lubi-lubi (P. Bis.)
Biophytum poterioides Edgew. & Hook.f. Mahinhin (Ilk.)
Biophytum sensitivum (Linn.) DC Makahia (Tag.)
Biophytum somnulentum Goebel Ning-ning (Sul.)
Oxalis candolleana Steud. Life plant (Engl.)
  Little tree plant (Engl.) 
Makahia is a common name shared by Mimosa pudica (bashful mimosa) and Biophytum sensitivum (little tree plant).
Biophytum sensitivum (L.) DC. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: He cao, Xiu li cao, Gan yin cao.
INDONESIA: Daun kucingan, Krambilan, Kurang-kurang.
LAOS: Dok han.
NEPAL: Nagbeli
THAILAND: Chi yop tontaan, Krathuep yop, Khan rom.
VIETNAM: L[as] chue me, Chua me l[as] me, Ta lang.

Damong-bingkalat is an unbranched herb with stems up to 30 centimeters in height but usually shorter. Leaves are pinnately compound, numerous, crowded at the apex of the stem, and 5 to 12 centimeters long, with 8 to 14 pairs of leaflets. Leaflets gradually increase in size upward, about 1.5 centimeters long or less, oblong to oblong-obovate, often somewhat curved. Flowers are many, crowded at the apices of the numerous peduncles. Sepals are subulate-lanceolate, striate, about 7 millimeters long. Petals are yellow. Fruit is a capsule, shorter than the persistent calyx.

- In grasslands and open thickets at low and medium altitudes, from northern Luzon to Mindanao and Sulu.
- Pantropic.

- Studies on aerial parts have yielded two biflavones (cupressuflavone and amentoflavone), three flavonoids (luteoline 7-methly ether, isoorientin and 3'-methoxyluteoline 7-O-glucoside), two acids (4-caffeoylquinic acid and 5-caffeoylquinic acid),3'8"-biapigenin, proanthocyanidines and some phenolic compounds. (22)
- Preliminary phytochemical analysis of various extracts of B. sensitivum yielded steroids, phenolics, cardiac glycosides, flavonoids, saponins, tannins, terpenoids, and sterols. Maximum bioactive substances occurred in the acetone extract. Ten elements, viz. carbon, oxygen, magnesium, aluminum, silicon, phosphorus, sulphur, chlorine, potassium and ferrous were observed in a powdered sample. (27)

- Considered tonic, stimulant, stomachic, vulnerary.
- Seeds considered vulnerary.

- Studies have shown antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumor, chemoprotective, radioprotective, wound healing, antiangiogenesis, immunomodulator, antidiabetic, and cardioprotective properties.

Parts used
Seeds, roots, leaves.

• In the Philippines, powdered seeds applied as vulnerary.
• Decoction of roots used for gonorrhea and bladder stones.
• Bruised leaves applied to contusions.
• Plant decoction used for diabetes.
• Infusion of leaves used as expectorant.
• Powdered seeds applied to wounds and abscesses to facilitate suppuration.
• Root decoction used for gonorrhea and lithiasis.
• Plant used for snake bites.
• In Brazil, used as antiasthmatic; also used for scorpion bites.
• Used for tuberculosis.
• In India and Java, used for asthma and phthisis.
• In Nepalese folk medicine, used for diabetes.

Anti-diabetic / Insulinotropic activity:
A leaf extract study of BS showed a hypoglycemic effect with serum insulin levels showing a significant rise in treated animals. Results suggest a pancreatic mechanism for the hypoglycemic response, mediated through stimulation of synthesis and/or release of insulin from the beta cells of Langerhans. (1)
Anti-Oxidant / Insulinotropic Activity: BS was found to scavenge superoxide radicals and nitric oxide. Glutathione-S transferase and glutathione reductase increase while glutathione peroxidase decreased after administering the BS extract. Results indicate significant antioxidant activity in vitro and in vivo. (2)
Anti-Tumor / immunomodulatory activity: Extract of BS showed immunomodulatory and antitumor activity. (3)
Hypocholesterolemic: Study on the water extract of leaves of BS showed significant hypocholesterolemic effect. (4) Study evaluated various extracts for hypocholesteroleic activity on normal and hypercholesterolemic rats. Only chloroform and methanol extracts produced a rise in HDL (p<0.001 at mg/kg) and a significant fall in cholestero, triglycerides, VLDL and LDL. (3
Apoptotic / Anti-tumor Effect: Study results suggest that regulation of proinflammatory cytokine production by tumor cells, tumor-associated macrophages, altered inducible NO synthase and RNA expressions by BS methanol extract induces apoptosis in B16F-10 melanoma cells. (5)
Antiinflammatory: Study showed all the extracts except the methanol extract of aerial parts, exhibited antiinflammatory activity; maximum inhibition was noted with the aqueous extracts. (6)
Immunomodulatory: Study of the effect of BS on cell-mediated immune response in normal and Erlich ascites tumor bearing mice showed immunomodulatory property of Biophytum sensitivum.
Anti-Metastatic / Cytokine and Immunomodulatory Activity: Study showed B. sensitivum treatment could alter proinflammatory cytokine production and inhibit the activation and nuclear translocation of transcription factors in B16F-10 melanoma cells. (9)
Antibacterial: In a study of leaf extracts against human pathogenic bacterial strains (B subtilis, Staph aureus, Strep pneumonia, K pneumonia, S typhi, P vulgaris and E coli), all the extracts showed various levels of activity comparable with standard antibiotics. (10)
Antidiabetic / Leaves: Study of aqueous solutions of BS leaf extract suggests a promising effect on STZ-nicotinamide-induced diabetes. (11) Study investigated an aqueous solution of B. sensitivum leaf extract on normal and streptozotocin (STZ)-nicotinamide-induced diabetic rats. Results showed significant reduction of blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin levels, increase in hexokinase activity, decreased glucose-6-phosphatase, fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase activities in diabetic rats. (17)
Anti-Tumor: Study of aqueous extract of B. sensitivum against Dalton's Ascitic Lymphoma-bearing Swiss albino mice exhibited significant antitumor activity. (12)
Hypotensive / Calcium Antagonistic Activity: Study showed the hypotensive effect of Biophytum petersianum which may result from inhibition of calcium influx via both voltage and receptor operated channels. (13)
Antimetastatic Effects: Study showed B. sensitivum exhibits antimetastatic effects through inhibition of invasion and motility. Results suggest that matrix metalloproteases (MMPs), prolyl hydroxylase, lysyl oxidase, nm23, ERKs, VEGF, STAT, and proinflammatory cytokines are critical regulators of the B sensitivum-mediated antimetastatic effect. (15)
Hypoglycemic / Leaf Extract: Study of leaf extract showed significant hypoglycemic effect, possibly due to pancreatic beta-cell stimulating action. (18)
Flavonoids / Antioxidant: Study of methanolic extract yielded flavonoids. Antioxidant activity was measured by DPPH scavenging activity and reducing power ability. Results showed dose dependent reducing capabilities. (19)
Chromosonal Aberrations in Diabetic Rats / Antioxidant: Chromosomal analysis showed that diabetic rats had significantly increased chromosomal aberrations compared to normal healthy controls. Animals treated with methanolic extracts showed significant improvements in the frequency of chromosomal aberrations, attributed to the induction of flavonoids by the methanol extracts. (20)
Radioprotective / Immunomodulatory: Study in Swiss albino mice showed radioprotective activity probably through generation of free radical scavenging during whole-body radiation exposure and may protect mice from radiation induced hemopoietic damage through immunomodulation as well as sequential induction of IL-1ß, granulocyte colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and IFN-y. (22)
Wound Healing: Study a methanolic extract for wound healing efficacy in excision wound models in Wistar albino rats. Results showed wound healing activity with higher rate of wound contraction, increased level of hydroxyproline, hexosamine content, super dismutase, ascorbic acid and decreased lipid peroxidation. Biochemical parameters and histopathological studies showed re-epithelialization potential, improved antioxidant enzyme activity, and higher collagen cross-linker properties of the test drug. (23)
Antihyperglycemic: Study evaluated the antihyperglycemic activity of various extracts of B. sensitivum in albino Wistar rats with alloxan-induced diabetes. The maximum hypoglycemic effect was only only with a dose of 200 mg/kbw of a methanol extract. Glibenclamide was used as standard drug. (24)
Antidiabetic Tablet Formulation / Flavonoid Content: Study in STZ induced diabetic rats evaluated an optimized tablet formulation for dried whole plant methanolic extract for antidiabetic activity on the basis of total flavonoid content. Results suggest the potential of economical and relatively non-toxic, non-hazardous natural remedies of plant origin as adjunct to antidiabetic therapy.(25)
Anti-Ulcer / Leaves: Study evaluated leaves of Biophytum sensitivum for anti-ulcer activity on experimental aspirin induced ulcers in Wistar albino rats. Results showed significant (p<0.01) anti-ulcer activity. Omeprazole was used as standard. LD50 cut off valuate was 5000 mg/kbw. The anti-ulcer activity was attributed to the tannin content. (26)
Anticonvulsant / Leaves: Study evaluated the anticonvulsant activity of an ethanolic extract of Biophytum sensitivum leaves in albino mice using MES and PTZ models. Results showed significant and dose-dependent reduction of duration of tonic hind limb extension in both experimental models and also delayed the onset of tonic-conic convulsions induced by PTZ in mice. Results suggest BS leaf extract may be beneficial in both tonic clonic ad absence seizures. (28)
Modulating Effect on Ulcerative Colitis / Aerial Parts: Study evaluated the effect of a methanol extract of aerial parts on a murine model of ulcerative colitis. Results showed inhibition of colitis as evidenced by lowering of macroscopic score and significant reduction in LDH and MPO, together with significant reduction in mucosal content of lipid peroxidation (LPO), glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and nitric oxide (NO). Treatment was able to inhibit the activation and translocation of transcription factors, nuclear factor (NF)-kB subunits (p65/p50). (29)
Antioxidant / Cytotoxicity / Larvicidal: Study evaluated the antioxidant, cytotoxicity, and larvicidal potentials of B. sensitivum. A methanolic extract showed maximum extractable total phenolics (1299.84 ± 215.79 mg GAE/g), with the acetone extract showing the best free radical scavenging activity (IC50 of 30.12 µg/ml). The methanol extract showed highest larval mortality against Culex quinquefasciatus and the most effective brine shrimp mortality (90%).x
Anti-Angiogenic: Study evaluated the anti-angiogenic effect of B. sensitivum in in-vivo and in-vitro models. Results showed anti-angiogenic activity probably exerted through its cytokine modulation activity and inhibitory activity against VEGF mRNA expression. (31)
Anthelmintic / Leaves and Stems: Study evaluated various extracts of B. sensitivum leaves and stems for anthelmintic activity against Indian earthworm Pheretima posthuma. Ethyl acetate extract of leaves showed significant activity attributed to biflavonoids and tannins. (33)
Cytotoxicity: Study of methanolic callus extracts of B. sensitivum showed significant and remarkable cytotoxic activity suggesting a potential for selection for further cell line assay or in vivo anticancer activity. (34)
Amentoflavone / Apoptosis of B16F-10 Melanoma Cells: Study of evaluated the effect of amentoflavone, a biflavanoid isolated from B. sensitivum, on cell cycling distribution and apoptosis in B16F-10 melanoma cells. Results showed amentoflavone can induce apoptosis via inhibition of progression of cells from G0/G12 to S phase and regulating genes involved in cell cycle regulation and apoptotic intrinsic pathways. (35)


Last Update February 2016

Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE / File:Biophytum sensitivum0.jpg / Kurt Stuber / 2004 / GNU Free Documentation License / Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
The insulinotropic activity of a Nepalese medicinal plant Biophytum sensitivum: preliminary experimental study /. Dinesh Puri / Journal of Ethnopharmacology Volume 78, Issue 1, November 2001, Pages 89-93 / doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(01)00306-3
Antioxidant potential of Biophytum sensitivum extract in vitro and in vivo / Guruvayoorappan C, Afira AH, Kuttan G. / J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2006;17(4):255-67.
Immunomodulatory and Antitumor Activity of Biophytum sensitivum Extract
/ C Guruvayoorappan, Girija Kuttan / Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, Vol 8, 2007
Hypocholesterolemic Effect of Biophytum sensitivum Leaf Water Extract / Dinesh Puri / Summary Pharmaceutical Biology 2003, Vol. 41, No. 4, Pages 253-258
Apoptotic Effect of Biophytum sensitivum on B16F-10 Cells and Its Regulatory Effects on Nitric Oxide and Cytokine Production on Tumor-Associated Macrophages / Girija Kuttan, PhD / Integrative Cancer Therapies, Vol. 6, No. 4, 373-380 (2007) / DOI: 10.1177/1534735407309484
Antiinflammatory activity of extracts of Biophytum sensitivum in carrageenin-induced rat paw oedema / S. M. Jachak et al / Phytotherapy Research Volume 13 Issue 1, Pages 73 - 74
Leaf Extract From Life Plant Stimulates Insulin Secretion.(Biophytum sensitivum) / Diabetes Week / December 10, 2001
Effect of Biophytum sensitivum on Cell-Mediated Immune Response in Mice / C. Guruvayoorappan and G. Kuttan / Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2007, Vol. 29, No. 3-4, Pages 337-350

Anti-metastatic effect of Biophytum sensitivum is exerted through its cytokine and immunomodulatory activity and its regulatory effect on the activation and nuclear translocation of transcription factors in B16F-10 melanoma cells / Guruvayoorappan C, Kuttan G / J Exp Ther Oncol. 2008;7(1):49-63.
Antibacterial activity of leaf extracts of Biophytum sensitivum (L.) DC. / D.Natarajan et al /J. Pharm. Sci. & Res. Vol.2 (11), 2010,717-720
Effect of Biophytum sensitivum on streptozotocin and nicotinamideinduced diabetic rats / Ananda Prabu K, Kumarappan CT et al / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 31-35
Anti-tumor activity of aqueous extract of Biophytum sensitivum Linn / V H Bhaskar and V Rajalakshmi / Annals of Biological Research, 2010, 1 (3) : 76-80
Calcium Antagonistic Activity of Biophytum petersianum on Vascular Smooth Muscles of Wistar Rat / SIMÉNOU TITRIKOU, KWASHIE EKLU-GADEGBEKU et al / IJPT, July 2007, vol. 6, no. 2
Biophytum sensitivum (L.) DC. (accepted name) / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Biophytum sensitivum (L.) DC inhibits tumor cell invasion and metastasis through a mechanism involving regulation of MMPs, prolyl hydroxylase, lysyl oxidase, nm23, ERK-1, ERK-2, STAT-1, and proinflammatory cytokine gene expression in metastatic lung tissue. / Guruvayoorappan C, Kuttan G. / Integr Cancer Ther. 2008 Mar;7(1):42-50 / doi: 10.1177/1534735407313744.
Biophytum sensitivum / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED
Effect of Biophytum sensitivum on streptozotocin and nicotinamide- induced diabetic rats / Ananda Prabu K, Kumarappan CT, Sunil Christudas*, Kalaichelvan VK / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2012) 31-35 / doi:10.1016/S2221-1691(11)60185-8
ESTIMATION OF TOTAL FLAVONOIDS CONTENT (TFC) AND ANTI OXIDANT ACTIVITIES OF METHANOLIC WHOLE PLANT EXTRACT OF BIOPHYTUM SENSITIVUM LINN / Pallab Kalita, Barman K Tapan, Tapas K Pal, Ramen Kalita / Journal of Drug Delivery and Therapeutics, Vol 3, No 4, July-August 2013
The antioxidative effects of some medicinal plants as hypoglycemic agents on chromosomal aberration and abnormal nucleic acids metabolism produced by diabetes stress in male adult albino rats / Sherifa H. Salah, Halima S. Abdou, Amal S. Abd El Azeem, E.A. Abdel-Rahim /Journal of Diabetes Mellitus, 1, 6-14/ . doi: 10.4236/jdm.2011.11002.
Biophytum sensitivum (L.) DC / Synonyms / The Plant List
Biophytum sensitivum: Ancient medicine, modern targets / K. M. Sakthivel and C. Guruvayoorappan / J Adv Pharm Technol Res. 2012 Apr-Jun; 3(2): 83–91. / doi: 10.4103/2231-4040.97279
Wound healing potential of Biophytum sensitivum (L.) DC.: An ayurvedic drug / B. Saritha* and P. Brindha / Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research, 2015, 7(3):87-94
Antihyperglycemic activity of Biophytum sensitivum (L.) DC in alloxan diabetic rats
/ Moumita Mishra, Durba Bandyopadhyay, Kartick Chandra Pramanik and Tapan Kumar Chatterjee* / Oriental Pharmacy and Experimental Medicine 2007 7(4), 418-425 DOI 10.3742/OPEM.2007.7.4.418
Screening of Ethanolic Extract of Biophytum sensitivum DC Leaves on Peptic Ulcer Induced by Aspirin in Wistar Albino Rats / Anindya Banerjee*, Md. Harun Al Rashid, Abdur Rahman, Tapas Kumar Pal / Int. J. Pharm. Phytopharmacol. Res. 2014; 3 (6):418-422
Antiepileptic activity of ethanolic extract of Biophytum sensitivum (L.) DC. in Animal models / K. Sandeep Kumar*, Karunakar Kota, Jarinabanu Tahashildar, JameelaTahashildar and P. Ragavendhra / International Journal of Current Research and Academic Review, Volume 3 Number 7 (July-2015) pp. 23-30
Modulating effect of Biophytum sensitivum extract on rats with acetic acid-induced ulcerative colitis / K. M. Sakthivel & C. Guruvayoorappan* / Pharmaceutical Biology, Volume 52, Issue 12, 2014 / DOI:10.3109/13880209.2014.908396
Biopotency of Biophytum sensitivum DC / Johnson M*, Shibila T, Revathy I, Utchimahali M, Ramesh M / Research in Pharmacy, 5: 42-48, 2015
Anti-angiogenic effect of Biophytum sensitivum is exerted through its cytokine modulation activity and inhibitory activity against VEGF mRNA expression, endothelial cell migration and capillary tube formation
. /
Guruvayoorappan C , Kuttan G / Journal of Experimental Therapeutics & Oncology [2007, 6(3):241-250]
Hypocholesterolaemic Activity of Extracts of Biophytum Sensitivum / Chitra Krishnan and Mathuram Venkatanarashiman / 2nd International Conference on Bioscience, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (ICBBPS'2013) March 17-18, 2013 Dubai (UAE)
In vitro anthelmintic activity of leaves and stems extract of Biophytum Sensitivum linn.
/ Rajanikant T. Kakade*, Nagesh Sandu and K. L. Senthilkumar / Asian Journal of Plant Science and Research, 2013, 3(6):64-68
In Vitro Analysis of Cytotoxicity and 5-Lipoxygenase Inhibition Activity by Using Callus Extract of Biophytum sensitivum (L) DC. / Sirigiri Chandra Kala*, Kokkanti Mallikarjuna / Int. J. Pharm. Sci. Rev. Res., 24(2), Jan – Feb 2014; no 34, 215-218
Effect of Amentoflavone, a Phenolic Component From Biophytum sensitivum, on Cell Cycling and Apoptosis of B16F-10 Melanoma Cells / K.S. Siveen and Girija Kuttan / DOI: 10.1615 / Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology, and Oncology, v30.i4.30, pages 301-309

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.
Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

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