Kupit-kupit is a perennial, slender, prostate, creeping, smooth or somewhat hairy herb. Stems roots at the nodes, and are 10 to 80 centimeters in length. Leaves are small, kidney-shaped to somewhat heart-shaped, 6 to 15 millimeters long, often wider than long, and irregularly toothed. Flowers, one to three, occur in short stalks in the axils of leaves. Sepals are rounded, about 4 millimeters long, with few to many white, weak hairs. Corolla is yellow, nearly twice as long as the calyx. Capsule is rounded and about 5 millimeters in diameter.
- In dry, open grasslands and waste places at low altitudes in Rizal and Bataan Provinces in Luzon.
- Also occurs in tropical Africa, Asia, and Malaya.
- Phytochemical screening yielded tannins, flavonoids, amino acids, starch, glycosides, and carbohydrates.
- Seeds yield p-coumaric acid, ferulic, caffeic, sinapic acid esters, and tropane alkaloids.
- Considered deobstruent, diuretic, alterative.
- Studies suggest antioxidant, antipyretic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antidiabetic properties.
- In India, leaves eaten as greens. Young leaves are fried with groundnut oil and other spices and used with bread, called "Roti" made from Sorghum flour. Leaves are also used in soups.
- In the Philippines, decoction of leaves and tops used as diuretic.
- Leaves used as alterative; used in rheumatism and neuralgia.
- Also used for coughs and headache.
- Used for inflammation, epilepsy.
- Juice used as purgative.
- In India, leaf juice given for migraine; also used as ear drops to relieve abscesses and ulcers. Root is used to treat diseases of the eyes and gums.
- In Indo-China, leaves used as purgative.
- In Indonesia, infusion of leaves mixed with lumps of sugar used as remedy for cough.
• Market substitution for Centella asiatica: In the Salem district of Tamil Nadu, the plant is sold under the name Vallarai, with consumers expecting the benefits of Centella asiatica. (16)
• Antioxidant / a-Amylase Inhibition / Cytotoxicity: In a study of several extracts, the methanol showed better antioxidant activity in the DPPH radical scavenging method. The methanol and hexane extracts exhibited a-amylase inhibitory activity. An ethyl acetate extract showed cytotoxicity in brine shrimp lethality.
• Antipyretic: Study of an ethanolic extract of the plant showed significant antipyretic activity comparable to the standard drug paracetamol. (3)
• Antibacterial: Study investigating the antibacterial activity of various leaf extracts showed the methanol extract to be more effective against Bacillus cereus and E. coli and the aqueous extract was more effective against S. aureus and P. aeruginosa. (4)
• Anti-Arthritis: Study investigating the anti-arthritic activity of M. emarginata extract using Freund's complete adjuvant in rats showed significant inhibitory effect on FCA induced paw edema. (5)
• Anticancer: Study investigated the invitro anticancer activity of Merremia emarginata. An ethylacetate fraction was found to be cytotoxic against human cervical carcinoma Hela cells lines and human breast carcinoma MCF cell lines. Results justify use in the traditional system of medicine. (7)
• Antioxidant / Antimicrobial / QD: Study evaluated an antioxidant potential of leaves using a DPPH, ABTS, superoxide anion scavenging assay and lipid peroxidation activity using thio glycolic acid-capped cadmium telluride quantum dots. Results showed the QDs act as potential probes for the in vitro antioxidant and antimicrobial activities, and as well, could be used as nanocarriers to enhance the antimicrobial capability. (8)
• Anti-Diabetic: Study evaluated the antidiabetic property of M. emarginata plant in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. Results showed significant reduction of HbA1C and an increase in total hemoglobin, with increased activity of carbohydrate metabolizing enzymes. Histology showed pancreatic ß-cell regeneration. (9)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Anti-Arthritis / Analgesic: Study of an ethanolic extract of whole plant showed anti-inflammatory (carrageenan induced paw edema), anti-arthritis (Freund's adjuvant model) and analgesic (Hot plate analgesia) activities in mice. (10)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Rheumatoid Arthritis: Study evaluated alcoholic and ethylacetate extracts of whole plant of M. emarginata on freund's adjuvant induced arthritis. Results showed the alcoholic extract to have a more pronounced effect compared to the ethylacetate extract. Results support the folklore use of the plant in inflammatory conditions like arthritis. (11)
• Nephroprotective / Cisplatin Induced Nephrotoxicity: Study evaluated the nephroprotective and antioxidant activity of M. emarginata against cisplatin induced nephrotoxicity. Results showed nephroprotective activity as well as significant protection against oxidative stress caused by cisplatin. (12)
• Anthelmintic: Study evaluated ethanol and aqueous extracts of whole plant of Merremia emarginata for anthelmintic activity against Ecinia foetida and Pheretima posthuma. Results showed dose dependent increase in anthelmintic activity. The ethanolic extract showed a significant anthelmintic activity at highest concentration of 250 mg/ml. (15)
• Erroneous Substitution of M. emarginata for Centella asiatica (Takip kohol / Gotu kola): Medicinal plants collected from the wild are vulnerable to adulteration and substitution. Mandukaparni (Centella asiatica) is valued in Indian systems of medicine for improving memory and treatment of nervine disorders. This study reports on a plant material sold in the name of Vallarai that was not C. asiatica and identified as Merremia emarginata, a trailing plant that resembles C. asiatica. The study stresses the importance of standardization of herbal drugs at raw drug levels by use of taxonomic and other validation methods. (16)