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Family Fabaceae / Leguminosae
Phyllodium pulchellum (L.) Desv.

Pai qian cao

Scientific names Common names
Desmodium pulchellum (L.) Benth. Gaan-gaan (Sul.) 
Dicerma pulchellum (L.) DC. Kalaikai (C. Bis.)
Hedysarum pulchellum Linn  Kalaykay (C. Bis.) 
Meibomia pulchella (L.) Kuntze Kupit (Pamp.)
Phyllodium pulchellum (L.) Desv. Payang-payang (Tag.)
Zornia pulchella (L.) Pers. Angel's locks (Engl.)
Payang-payang is a common names of three different plants, of different Genus. (1) Desmodium pulchellum Benth. - Gaan-gaan, kalaikai, payang-payang (2) Flemingia strobilifera Linn. - Gangan, kaliakai, kopa-kopa, paking, payang-payang, and (3) Ophiorrhiza camiguinensis Elm. - Payang-payang-gubat, kayotimokan, mongoose plant.
Desmodium pulchellum (L.) Benth. is a synonym of Phyllodium pulchellum (L.) Desv. The Plant List
Phyllodium pulchellum (L.) Desv. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
BENGALI: Jutasalpani.
CAMBODIAN: Ang-prom, Prae kraoy.
CHINESE: Pai qian shu, Huan ye xiao huai hua, Long lin cao, Pai qian cao, Jian ye a po qian, Wu shi ye, Lin wan zii shu, Ya po qian.
FRENCH: Phyllodion gracieux.
HINDI: Jatsalpan.
INDONESIAN: Apa-apa, Apa-apa sapi, Ketipes.
KANNADA: Jenukaddi, Kadumuduru.
LAOTIAN: Ked linz no:yz.
MALAYSIAN: Serengan kechil.
SANSKRIT: Lodhrah, Lodram.
TELUGU: Karrantinta, Kondontinta, Sarivi.
THAI: Klet plaa chon, Yaa song plong, Yaa klet lin.
VIETNAMESE: Chu[oox]i ti[eef]n, d[oof]ng ti[eef]n.
OTHERS: Salperni (India).

Payang-payang is an erect undershrub, 0.5 to 1.5 meters in height. Leaves are 3-foliate. Leaflets are finely hairy beneath, the terminal one being oblong, 8 to 13 centimeters long, and more than twice as large as the two lateral ones. Inflorescence is terminal and axillary, and 8 to 25 centimeters long. Flowers are white and about 6 millimeters long, umbellate or fascicled, hidden by the distichous, orbicular bracts, which are 1 to 1.5 centimeters in diameter. Stamens are 10, upper one free, other 9 united. Ovary is few- to many-ovuled, superior. Fruits are pods, oblong, hairy and usually of 2, rarely 1- or 3 joints.

- Common in open thickets, waste places, etc., in settled areas at low and medium altitudes from northern Luzon to Palawan and Mindanao.
- Also occurs in India to China and Taiwan and southward to tropical Australia.

Parts utilized
- Roots, bark, flowers and leaves.
- Collect leaves from May to October, roots the whole year round.
- Rinse, cut into sections or pieces, sun-dry.

- Tart and cooling.
- Considered anthelmintic, antipyretic and anti-contusion.

- Studies suggest anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant, anti-diarrheal properties.

- Study yielded a new glycoside, the 1-glucosylrhamnoside of physcion from the seeds of D pulchellum.

- Contains tryptamines.
- Roots yield betulin, a-amyrin, and ß-sitosterol.
- Study yielded fifteen simple indolic bases (I-XV) with three broad structural types, viz., indole-3-alkylamine, ß-carboline, and tetrahydro-ß-carboline. Fruits showed the major accumulation of Nb-oxides while the roots localized the quarternary bases. (13)
- Aerial parts yielded four new cinnamylphenols, pulchelstyrenes A (1), B (2), C (3), and D (4), together with citrusinol, yukovanol, methyl piperitol, and 4-hydroxy-2,3-dimethoxybenzaldehyde. (see study below) (17)
- GC-MS analysis of leaf extract for bioactive components yielded 10 compounds. Major phytocompounds were 9-Octadecenamide, (Z) (18.89), 9-Cyclohexylnonadecane (15.93), 2,2,2-trifluoroethyl 2- methyltetrahydro-5-oxo-3-furancarboxylate (10.47). Minor compounds were 2,3,5,6-tetramethyl- benzenesulfonamide , 6-methyl tridecane, tetradecane, hexadecane, octadecane, phthalic acid butyl hept-2-yl ester, and phytol. (22)
- Phytochemical screening of leaf extract yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, steroids, terpenoids, tannins, saponins, and phenol. (see study below) (26)
- GC-MS analysis of leaf extract yielded 10 compounds with different therapeutic activities. The major phytocompounds were 9 - Octadecenamide, (Z) (18.89), 9 - Cyclohexylnonadecane (15.93), 2,2,2 - trifluoroethyl 2-methyltetrahydro-5-oxo-3-furancarboxylate (10.47). (27)

· In the Philippines, leaves are applied to ulcers.
· In Java, the leaves are applied to pocks.
· Decoction of dried leaves used for colds and fever.
· Decoction of dried roots used for malaria, swelling and enlargement of liver and spleen, rheumatism,bone pains, and swelling due to contusion or sprain.
· Decoction of charred roots used for excessive menstrual flow.
· Malays use a decoction of roots after childbirth.
· Decoction of bark for diarrhea, eye afflictions.
· Decoction of bark used for hemorrhages, diarrhea, poisoning, and eye diseases.
· Decoction of flowers for bile and liver afflictions.

· In India, paste of root mixed with sugar candy used for abdominal and chest burning discomforts.
· In Bangladesh, bark decoction used in hemorrhage diarrhea, poisoning and eye diseases. Flowers used in biliousness. (12)
· In Andhra Pradesh, India, leaves used for wounds. (14)
· The Oraon tribe of Jashpur, India apply a root paste of salperni mixed with rice water on the umbilicus, genitalia and stomach to facilitate delivery. Plant decoction is drunk to reduce labor pain. Decoction of equal parts of salperni and chirayita is used for curing fever. (24)

· Brewing: In India, the leaves of D pulchellum is one of 20 plant species used by the Deori tribe for the preparation of Mod pitha, a natural starter for the brewing of Sujen, a local rice beer.
· Repellent: The Ayta people of Porac, Pampanga burn the whole plant, stem or leaves as repellent against hematophagus insects.

Pharmacologic effects:
Effects of the extract from Desmodium pulchellum in rats – Study of extracts on mice showed major effects on motor, respiratory and cardiovascular systems. The bark extract showed to be most potent.
Alkaloid Effects on Collagen:
Study showed the total alkaloid of Desmodium pulchellum could restrain collagen protein I, III, IV and synthesis of TGF ß1 for hepatic fibrosis in mouse liver. (2)
Many of the psychedelic plants contain dimethyltrptamine. Desmodium pulchellum contains 0.2%
5-MeO-DMT, small quantities of DMT. DMT dominates in seedlings and young plants, while 5-MeO-DMT dominates in mature plant (whole plant, roots, stems, leaves, flowers). (5)
Study on effects of D. pulchellum's root extract showed the herb may have an anthelmintic effect on the fluke Opisthorchis viverrini in hamsters. (6)
Behavioral Effects:
Study of extract of D. pulchellum in mice showed an activity mediated via the serotonergic system and suggested a potential for the extract as a useful antidepressant. (7)
Study showed Desmodium pulchellum extract has anti-hepatic fibrotic effects on rats with hepatic fibrosis induced by CCl4. The mechanism may be through increasing the liver cell immunity against injury and indirectly reducing the formation of liver collagen protein.
Anti-Diarrheal / Leaf Extract:
Study evaluated a methanol and petroleum ether extract for activity against castor oil-induced diarrhea and enteropooling and intestinal motility in rats. Results showed significant reduction of diarrheal severity and significant reduction of intestinal volume. Both fractions showed active ingredients, but the ethanol fraction showed better potential.
Cinnamylphenols / Cytotoxicity / Aerial Parts:
Study of aerial parts yielded four new cinnamylphenols, pulchelstyrenes A (1), B (2), C (3), and D (4), together with citrusinol, yukovanol, methyl piperitol, and 4-hydroxy-2,3-dimethoxybenzaldehyde. Compounds 2, 3, and citrusinol exhibited marginal toxicity against KB cells, and citrusinol showed mild cytotoxicity against the HepG2 cell line.   (17)
Phenolic Contents / Antiproliferative / Roots:
Study of 95% ethanol extract of roots yielded three new phenolic constituents (1-3). Compound 3 exhibited potent inhibitory activity against proliferation of acetaldehyde-stimulated HSC-T6 cells with an IC50 value of 7.6 µM. (19)
Anti-Diabetic / Toxicity Study / Anti-Inflammatory / Bark:
Study evaluated the effects of ethanolic extract of bark on alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Results showed reduction of blood glucose. Acute oral toxicity showed the extract to be safe until 4000 mg/kbw with no macroscopic organ abnormalities. On anti-inflammatory study using carrageenan induced paw edema, findings showed significant dose-dependent effect. (
Effect on Liver Collagen Protein Content in Hepatic Fibrosis:
Study investigated the effect of DP on the content of liver collagen protein of hepatic fibrosis rats induced by CCl4. Results showed an antihepatic fibrosis effect, with reduced liver collagen protein content probably through an immune response against injury. (
• Effect of Alkaloids on Monoamine Levels and MAO Activity: Study investigated the effects of alkaloid fractions isolated from roots of P. pulchellum on neurotransmitters monoamine levels and monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity in rat brain. Treatment resulted in reduction of DA (54.44%) and 5-HT (35.01%) levels in rat brain. The effect on monoamine metabolism was mainly related to MAO inhibition. Acute toxicity study showed P. pulchellum to be non-toxic. (23)

• Antioxidant / Leaves:
Study evaluated the in-vitro antioxidant capacity of various leaf extracts of Phyllodium pulchellum by DPPH, ABTS radical scavenging assay, total antioxidant activity of phosphomolybdenum assay and hydroxyl radical scavenging activity. All four methods showed good antioxidant capacity. An ethanol leaf extract showed remarkable antioxidant activity on hydrogen peroxide scavenging with lowest inhibitory concentration of 50 values (155.40 µg/ml). Ascorbic acid was used as standard. (25)
• Antibacterial / Leaves:
Study evaluated various solvent extracts of P. pulchellum leaves for antibacterial activity against six strains of test organisms viz. B. subtilis, S. aureus. S. pyogenes, P. aeruginosa, K. pneumonia, and E. coli. Crude plants extracts showed broad spectrum against all the bacteria, with highest inhibition shown by the ethanolic leaf extract. (see constituents above) (26)


© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Updated January 2018 / April 2017 / September 2015

Photo/ Content © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Hedysarum Pulchellum / Vishnu Prasad / Watercolour on paper / c1823-1824 / Government Art Collection

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Effects of the extract from Desmodium pulchellum in rats / Srinagarind Medical Journal

Effects of Desmodium pulchellum(L.) Benth Total Alkaloids on Type ?,?,? Collagens and TGF-β1 in Hepatic Fibrosis / Tsing Hua / Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine on Liver Diseases
Physcion 1-glycosyl rhamnoside from seeds of Desmodium pulchellum / R D Tiwari and R K Bansai / Phytochemistry • Volume 10, Issue 8, August 1971, Pp1921-1922
/ doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)86458-4
Ethonobotany of Sujen–A local rice beer of Deori tribe of Assam / Chaya Deori et al / Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge. Vol 6(1), January 2007, pp 121-125
List of psychoactive plants / Wikipedia
Preliminary study : Effects of Desmodium pulchellum’s root on Opisthorchis viverrini in hamsters / Muckda Chitcharoenthum, Smarn Tesana, Sasithorn Kaewkes / Srinagarind Medical Journal, Vo. 4 No. 3 July - September 1989
Behavioral effects of dried methanolic extract from Desmodium pulchellum in rats / Muckda Chitcharoenthum, Parinya Theramongkol / Srinagarind Medical Journal, Vo. 5 No. 3 July - September 1990
The Effect of Desmodium Pulchellum on the Content of Liver Collagen Protein of Testing Hepatic Fibrosis Rats / Yu Shengmin, Zhong Ming, Huang Linyun et al / HUNAN GUIDING JOURNAL OF TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE AND PHARMACOLOGY / cnki:ISSN:1007-547X.0.1999-08-032
Phyllodium pulchellum (L.) Desv. (accepted name) / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Phyllodium pulchellum (L.) Desv. / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED
Studies on the anti-diarrheal properties of leaf extract of Desmodium puchellum / Md. Khalilur Rahman, Soumitra Barua, Md. Fokhrul Islam, Md. Rafikul Islam, Mohammed Abu Sayeed, Mst. Shahnaj Parvin, Md. Ekramul Islam* / Asian Pac J Trop Biomed 2013; 3(8): 639-643 / doi: 10.1016/S2221-1691(13)60129-X
DESMODIUM PULCHELLUM Benth. / Medicinal Plants of Bangladesh
CHEMICAL AND PHARMACOLOGICAL EVALUATION OF DESMODIUM PULCHELLUM / S. Ghosal, S. K. Banerjee, S. K. Bhattacharya, A. K. Sanyal / Planta Med 1972; 21(4): 398-409 / DOI: 10.1055/s-0028-1099570
Traditional Uses Of Plants By The Tribal Communities Of Salugu Panchayati Of Paderu Mandalam, Visakhapatnam, District, Andhra Pradesh, India. / S.B.Padal, P. Chandrasekhar & Y. Vijakumar / International Journal of Computational Engineering, Research, Vol, 03, Issue 5
Phyllodium pulchellum / Synonyms / The Plant List
PHYLLODIUM PULCHELLUM: A POTENTIAL MEDICINAL PLANT- A REVIEW / G .Velmurugan, S.P .Anand and A. Doss / Pharmacy Review & Research, Vol 4, Issue 4, 2014, pp 203-206.
Cinnamylphenols from Phyllodium pulchellum / Chien-Chang Shen, Shr-Ting Wang, Show-Yinn Tsai, Hui-Chuan Yang, Bor-Jinn Shieh, and Chien-Chih Chen * / J. Nat. Prod., 2005, 68 (5), pp 791–793 / DOI: 10.1021/np049599x
A survey of plants used as repellents against hematophagous insects by the Ayta people of Porac, Pampanga province, Philippines / Jasper John A. Obico* and Elena M. Ragragio / Philippine Science Letters Vol. 7, No. 1, 2014
Phenolic constituents from the roots of Phyllodium pulchellum / Yang Zong, Ming Zhong, Dong-Mei Li, Bao-Jing Zhang, Zhen-Peng Mai, Xiao-Kui Huo, Shan-Shan Huang, Hou-Li Zhang, Chao Wang, Xiao-Chi Ma, Sheng-Min Yu, Dong-Ai Yang / Journal of Asian Natural Products Research 2014, 16 (7): 741-6
Evaluation of anti-inflammatory and antidiabetic activity of ethanolic extracts of Desmodium pulchellum Benth. (Fabaceae) barks on albino wistar rats / Noor, Sadia; Abdur Rahman, S. M.; Ahmed, Zebunnesa; Das, Atanu; Monir Hossain, Md. / Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science; Jul2013, Vol. 3 Issue 7, p48
The Effect of Desmodium Pulchellum on the Content of Liver Collagen Protein of Testing Hepatic Fibrosis Rats / Yu Shengmin, Zhong Ming, Huang Linyun et al / HUNAN GUIDING JOURNAL OF TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE AND PHARMACOLOGY, 1999-08
GC-MS Analysis of Bioactive Compounds on Ethanolic Leaf Extract of Phyllodium pulchellum L. Desv. / Velmurugan G*, Anand S P / International Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemical Research 2017; 9(1); 114-118
Effect of Alkaloids Isolated from Phyllodium pulchellum on Monoamine Levels and Monoamine Oxidase Activity in Rat Brain / Lu Cai, Chao Wang, Xiaokui Huo, and Xiao-Chi Ma / Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2016(2):1-6 · January 2016
Traditional use of Medicinal plants Practiced by the Oraon Tribe of Jashpur District, CG, India / Ekka Mary Kusum, Tiwari Priti and Prasad Harishankar* / Research Journal of Recent Sciences, Vol. 5(ISC-2015), 36-38 (2016) Res. J. Recent. Sci.
/ GOPAL VELMURUGAN*, SUBRAMANIAM PARVATHI ANAND / Asian J Pharm Clin Res, Vol 10, Issue 10, 2017, 282-285 / DOI: 10.22159/ajpcr.2017.v10i10.19919
GC-MS Analysis of Bioactive Compounds on Ethanolic Leaf Extract of Phyllodium pulchellum L. Desv
. / Velmurugan G *, Anand S P / International Journay of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemical Research 2017; 9(1): 114-118 / DOI: 10.25258/ijpapr.v9i1.8051

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