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Family Nyctaginaceae
Pisonia aculeata Linn.

Xian guo teng

Scientific names Common names
Pallavia aculeata (L.) Vell. Digkit (Tag.)
Pisonia aculeata Linn. Kabai (Mbo.)
Pisonia grandifolia Standl.                            [Illegitimate] Kolifafo (Ibn.)
Pisonia loranthoides Kunth Mankit (Tag.)
Pisonia monotaxadenia C. Wright Marinoai (Mbo.)
Pisonia sieberi Schltr. Paangtikling (Tag.)
Pisonia villosa Poir. Pakat-aso (Tag.)
Pisonia yagua-pinda D. Parodi Panakla (Tag.)
Tragularia horrida K.D.Koenig ex Roxb.       Unresolved Puriket (Ilk.)
  Puriket-ti-bakir (Ilk.)
  Cockspur (Engl.)
  Devil's claw (Engl.)
  Pullback (Engl.)
  Pull-back-and-hold (Engl.)
  Thorny pisonia (Engl.)
Pisonia aculeata L. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Zhu gou du, Ci teng, Bi shuang huo, Qi tou guo, Xian guo teng.
FRENCH: Garabato prieto.
INDONESIA: Alar, Cuhun-lamarang, Ram pari.
THAI: Khat, khao, Ma kang phee, Huu cha luang.
VIETNAM: B[if] s[ow]n nh[oj]n, Tuy[ees]n qu[ar] d[awf]ng.

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.
- Pantropical.
- 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.

Parts used
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 )


Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Update February 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: Public Domain / File:Pisonia aculeata Blanco2.394.png / Flora de Filipinas / 1880 - 1883 / Francisco Manuel Blanco (O.S.A) / Wikimedia Commons / Modifications made by CarolSpears
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Non-commercial use / Photo / Fruit / Pisonia aculeata immature-fruit / Steven Paton / PATONS@si.edu / Copyright /© © Copyright Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, 2003-2006/ Click on image to go to source page / Discover Life

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Hepatoprotective and Antioxidant Effect of Pisonia aculeata L. against CCl4- Induced Hepatic Damage in Rats / Muthu Gounder Palanievel et al / Sci Pharm. 2008; 76: 203–215 doi:10.3797/scipharm.0803-16
Effects of ethanol extract of Pisonia aculeata Linn. on ehrlich ascites carcinoma tumor bearing mice / Raju Senthilkumar et al / Intern Journ of Green Pharmacy / 2008, Volume 2 / Issue : 1 / Page : 50-53
Protective effect of Pisonia aculeata on Rifampicin and Isoniazid induced hepatotoxicity in rats / C. Anbarasu, B. Rajkapoor, J. Kalpana / Intl Journ of Phytomedicine, Vol 3, No1, 2011
Protective effect of Pisonia aculeata on paracetamol induced hepatotoxicity in rats / Chinnasamy Anbarasu, Balasubramanium Rajkapoor et al / J Exp Integr Med / doi: 10.5455/jeim.040511.or.008
Antitubercular Chromones and Flavonoids from Pisonia aculeata / Ming-Chun Wu, Chien-Fang Peng et al / J. Nat. Prod., 2011, 74 (5), pp 976–982 / DOI: 10.1021/np100857
Pisonia aculeata L. (accepted name) / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Pisonia aculeata / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED
Antitumor Activity of Methanolic Extract of Pisonia Aculeata Leaf / Ghode, Shweta P.; Rajkapoor, B.; Subbraju, T. / International Journal of Phytomedicine, May2011, Vol. 3 Issue 2, p172
Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antioxidant activities of Pisonia aculeata: Folk medicinal use to scientific approach / Saikat Sen, Raja Chakraborty, B. Rekha, D. Revathi, S. Chinna Ayyanna, G. Hemalatha, G. Ashok Kumar Reddy, S. Hyndavi, P. Jeevan Ikhyatha Babu, P. Ravi Prakash, C. Sridhar / Pharmaceutical Biology, April 2013, Vol. 51, No. 4 , pp 426-432 / doi:10.3109/13880209.2012.738331
Anti-ulcer activity of Pisonia aculeata on Pylorus ligation induced gastric ulcer in rats / Ch. Madhulatha*, P. Sharaish, G. Kalyani, G.S.Sushma, N.Siva Subramanian and B. Archana Devi / Int. J. of Pharm. & Life Sci. (IJPLS), Vol. 4, Issue 3: March: 2013, 2440-2443 2440
ANTI-DIABETIC ACTIVITY OF PISONIA ACULEATA LEAF IN ALLOXAN INDUCED DIABETIC RATS/ Syed Mamoon Hussain*, Ayesha Yasmeen, M. Rama Devi, N. Siva Subramanian, Mohammad Suleman Hussain / IJPBS |Volume 3| Issue 2 |APR-JUN |2013|379-383
Protective effect of Pisonia aculeata on thioacetamide induced hepatotoxicity in rats / C Anbarasu,* B Rajkapoor, KS Bhat, John Giridharan, A Arul Amuthan, and K Satish / Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2012 July; 2(7): 511–515. / doi: 10.1016/S2221-1691(12)60087-2
Acute and Subacute Toxicity Studies of the Methanol Extract from Leaves of Pisonia Aculeata LINN. /
Shweta P. Ghode*, B. Rajkapoor / Int. J. Pharm. Sci. Rev. Res., 20(1), May – Jun 2013; no 29, 171-175
Pisonia aculeata / Synonyms / The Plant List
Evaluation of Antihyperlipidemic and Antidiabetic Activity of Pisonia aculeata in Experimental Rats / Tirlangi Teja, Damasani Rasna, Racharla Venkatesh, Y Malyadri / Int. Res. J. Pharm, 2013, 4(7)
Acute toxicity and antiedematogenic activity from stems of Pisonia aculeata L. (Nyctaginaceae) / Fábio Vandresen, Laura L. M. de Arruda, Bruno A. Rocha, Ciomar A. Bersani-Amado, Cleuza C. da Silva* / Rev. latinoam. quím vol.41 no.2 Naucalpan de Juárez ago. 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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