Digkit is a large, climbing shrub, smooth or slightly hairy, with pendulous branches, armed with solitary, axillary, recurved spines, which are about 1 centimeter long or less. Leaves are shining, ovate-oblong to elliptic, 6 to 10 centimeters long, with both ends pointed. Flowers are borne in axillary and terminal, peduncled, corymbose cymes. Male flowers are yellowish-white, bell-shaped, 4 to 5 millimeters in diameter. Female flowers are ovoid and obscurely toothed. Fruit is narrowly oblong or clavate, 5-ribbed, 7 to 14 millimeters long, viscid, with muricate ribs, with several rows of glands.
- From northern Luzon to Mindanao, in thickets and open forests at low and medium altitudes.
- Found from subtropical America to Africa, to Burma, Indo-China, throughout Southeast Asia to New Guinea and northern Australia.
- Studies have yielded alkaloids, glycosides, triterpenes, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds.
- Methanol extract of combined stem and root yielded three new chromones, pisonins A, B, and D, two new flavonoids, pisonivanone [(2S)-5,7,2′-trihydroxy-8-methylflavanone] and pisonivanol [(2R,3R)-3,7-dihydroxy-5,6-dimethoxyflavanone], one new isoflavonoid, pisonianone (5,7,2′-trihydroxy-6-methoxy-8-methylisoflavone) and five compounds first isolated from nature, namely, pisonins C, E, and F, pisoniamide, and pisonolic acid, together with 18 known compounds. (See study below) (5)
- Studies have shown anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-ulcer, antihyperlipidemic, hepatoprotective, antioxidant, analgesic properties.
Bark and leaves.
- In the Philippines, decoction of fresh leaves used to wash scabies.
- Bark and leaves used as counterirritant for swellings and rheumatic pains.
- Juice mixed with pepper and other ingredients given to children suffering from pulmonary complaints.
- A popular medicinal plant in indigenous medicinal systems in India, Tibet, China and Korea.
- Used for treatment of scabies and as counterirritant for swellings and rheumatic pains.
• Hepatoprotective / Antioxidant: Study results showed a remarkable hepatoprotective and antioxidant properties of P. aculeata against CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity in rats. (1)
• Anti-Tumor: Study on the ethanol extract of P. aculeata leaves on Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma in mice was shown to possess significant dose-dependent anti-tumor activity. (2)
• Hepatoprotective / Rifampicin and INH-Induced Hepatotoxicity: Methanolic extract of leaves showed a remarkable hepatoprotective and antioxidant activity against rifampicin- and isoniazid-induced hepatotoxicity in rats. (3)
• Hepatoprotective / Paracetamol-Induced Toxicity: Plant extract showed a remarkable hepatoprotective and antioxidant activity against paracetamol-induced hepatotoxicity. The activity was comparable to standard drug silymarin. (4)
• Antitubercular Chromones and Flavonoids: Study yielded three new chromones, pisonins A, B, and D; two new flavonoids, pisonivanone and pisonivanol; one new isoflavonoid, pisonianone; and five other compounds, pisonins C, E, and F, pisoniamid and pisonolic acid, together with 18 known compounds. Isolates 2, 6, 14, 16, and 19 exhibited antitubercular activities against Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv in vitro. (5)
• Antitumor / Leaves: Study evaluated the antitumor activity of a methanolic extract of leaves on Erlich Ascites Carcinoma (EAC) in mice with tumor induced by intraperitoneal injection. Results showed dose-dependent increase in survival time and inhibition in weight gain of the tumor bearing mice. (8)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Antioxidant / Analgesic: Study showed analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities of P. aculeata leaves. Observed biological activities could be correlated with the flavonoid and phenolic compounds in the extract. (9)
• Antiulcer / Leaves: Various leaf extracts showed significant anti-ulcer activity in pylorus ligation-induced gastric ulcer model in albino rats. (10)
• Antidiabetic / Leaves: Study evaluated ethyl acetate and ethanolic extract of leaves on alloxan-induced diabetes in rats. Both extracts exhibited significant hypoglycemic effect, together with reduction in BUN, serum creatinine, and serum cholesterol. (11)
• Hepatoprotective / Antioxidant / Thioacetamide-Induced Hepatotoxicity: Study showed a P. aculeata extract possesses remarkable hepatoprotective and antioxidant activities against TAA-induced hepatotoxicity. (12)
• Acute and Subacute Toxicity Testing: Study of methanolic extract of leaves was shown to be fairly nontoxic on oral acute and subacute toxicity testing in rats. (13)
• Antihyperlipidemic / Antidiabetic: Study investigated the antihyperlipidemic and antidiabetic activity of alcoholic extract of PA in albino wistar rats with hyperlipidemia induced by Triton X and diabetes by streptozotocin. Results showed good antidiabetic activity and antihyperlipidemic activity. (15)
• Antiedematogenic / Toxicity Study / Stems: Study investigated the antiedematogenic activity of crude extract and derived fractions from stems of P. aculeata. Crude methanolic extract and all fractions, especially hexane and chloroform, showed inhibitory activity of mice ear edema induced by croton oil. On acute toxicity testing, there was no death or change in behavioral parameters, suggesting non-toxicity of the extract. (16 )