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Family Convolvulaceae
Merrremia emarginata (Burm. f) Hallier f.

Shen ye shan zhu cai

Scientific names Common names
Convolvulus reniformis Roxb.  
Evolvulus emarginatus Burm f.  
Evolvulus glechoma Welw. Kupit-kupit (Ilk.)
Ipomoea reniformis (Roxb.) Choisy. Kidney-leaf morning glory (Engl.)
Merrremia emarginata (Burm. f) Hallier f.  
Merremia emarginata (Burm. f.) Hallier f. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
BENGALI: Indurkani.
CHINESE: Shen ye shan zhu cai.
SANSKRIT: Akhuparni, Mooshakarnee.
TAMIL: Paerttaekirae, Elikkathilai.
TELUGU: Tolnnuatali.

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.

Parts used
Leaves, tops.


- 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)


Updated May 2019 / January 2015

IMAGE SOURCE: Merremia emarginata (Burm. F.) Hallier F. (Convulvulaceae) / Vd. Pankaj V. Wanjarkhedkar / Ayusoft
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph: Merremia emarginata (Burm. F.) Hallier F. (Convulvulaceae) / click on image to go to souce page / Ancient Science of Life

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Biological Activity of Merremia emarginata Crude Extracts in Different Solvents / A V Babu, R S C Rao et al / Research Journal of Medicinal Plant, 2009, Vol 3, Issue 4, Pp 134-140 / DOI: 10.3923/rjmp.2009.134.140
Documentaion of folk knowledge on edible wild plants of North Karnataka / A H Rajasab and Mahamad Isaq / Indian Journ of Traditional Knowledge, Vol 3(4), Oct 2004, pp 419-429.
ANTI-PYRETIC ACTIVITY OF ETHANOLIC EXTRACT OF MERREMIA EMARGINATA (BURM. F) HALLIER F. IN RAT / Indumathy.S, Gausunnisha. T, Rajalakshmi .R, Roselin .A, Thamizharasy .P and Arul Anand Raj.C.A. / International Journal of Pharmaceutical Applications ISSN 0976-2639. Vol 2, Issue 4, 2011, pp 258-261
Antibacterial activity of various leaf extracts of Merremia emarginata / EK Elumalai, M Ramachandran,T Thirumalai, P Vinothkumar / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2011)406-408 / doi:10.1016/S2221-1691(11)60089-0
Antiarthritis acitivity of Merremia emarginata extract in experimental animals / Purushoth Prabhu.T, Panneerselvam P, Selvakumari S, Shantha A /
CONVOLVULACEAE / Merremia Dennst. ex Endl.
/ Gen. Pl., Suppl. 1: 1403 (1841).
ANTICANCER ACTIVITY OF MERREMIA EMARGINATA (Burm.F) AGAINST HUMAN CERVICAL AND BREAST CARCINOMA / Purushoth Prabhu.T*, Panneerselvam.P, Selvakumari.S, Udhumansha Ubaidulla, Shantha.A / International Journal of Research and Development in Pharmacy and Life Sciences, October - November, 2012, Vol. 1, No.4, pp 189-192
In vitro antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of Merremia emarginata using thio glycolic acid-capped cadmium telluride quantum dots. / Rameshkumar A, Sivasudha T, Jeyadevi R, Sangeetha B, Ananth DA, Aseervatham GS, Nagarajan N, Renganathan R, Kathiravan A. / Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2013 Jan 1;101:74-82. doi: 10.1016/j.colsurfb.2012.05.034.

Antidiabetic effect of Merremia emarginata Burm. F. in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats
/ G Rajiv Gandhi,* and P Sasikumar / Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2012 April; 2(4): 281–286. / doi: 10.1016/S2221-1691(12)60023-9
Anti-inflammatory, anti arthritis and analgesic effect of ethanolic extract of whole plant of Merremia Emarginata Burm.F / Purushoth Prabhu.T, Panneerselvam.P, Vijaykumar.R, Clement Atlee.W,
Balasubramanian. S / Central European Journal of Experimental Biology, 2012, 1 (3):94-99
Effect of Ethanolic and Ethylacetate Extract of Merremia emarginata (Burm.F) in Rheumatoid Arthritis / Purushoth Prabhu T, Pannerselvam P, Selvakumari S, Vijauykumar R, Sivaramn D / IEJP 2012, 3(9)
Nephroprotective activity of Merremia emarginata burm against cisplatin induced nephrotoxic rats /
Sudhavani V*, Chinnikrishnaiah V, Raghu Moorthy V, Raghavendra H.G, Ranganayakulu D / Journal of Advances in Drug Research,Vol 1,Issue 1, Dec 2010
Merremia emarginata / Chinese name / Tropicos
Merremia emarginata (Burm. f.) Hallier f. / Synonyms / The Plant List
Phytochemical and Anthelmintic studies on the whole plant of Merremia emarginata Burm. F
/ P.L.Rajagopal, Robin Jose, K.R.Sreejith, S.S. Kiron, K.Premaletha S. Aneeshia / American Journal of Pharmacy and Health Research
Merremia emarginata (Burm. F.) Hall. F.: A substituted market source for Centella asiatica (L.) Urban: An observation from Salem district, Tamil Nadu / Saravanan Subramanian and M. Padmasorna Subramanian / Ancient Science of Life: Readers Viewpoint Letters, 2013; 33(2): pp 139-140 / DOI: 10.4103/0257-7941.139062

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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