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Family Rubiaceae
Ophiorrhiza mungos


She gen cao shu

Scientific names Common names
Ophiorrhiza mungos Linn. Kayotimokan (Bag.)
Ophiorrhiza ostindica Christm.           [Invalid] Lumai (Bik.)
  Payang-payang-gubat (Tag.)
  Mongoose plant (Engl.)
  Snakeroot (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.
Ophiorrhiza mungos L. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
BANGLADESH: Ganjankuli, Kalashona, Kelarazi, Maitu.
HINDI: Sarhati
KANNADA: Bili garuda paathaala.
MALAYALAM: Avlipori, Chembajarinjil, Pera-aratha.
SANSKRIT: Sarpakhsi, sarpari
SRI LANKAN: Heen aratta.
TAMIL: Kirippuntu, kirippurantan, Keeripoondu.

Payang-payang-gubat is a half-woody, erect, smooth plant growing to a height of 30 centimeters. Leaves are very thin, elliptic to elliptic-lanceolate, 4 to 12 centimeters long, 2 to 6 centimeters wide, pointed at both ends. Cymes are flat-topped, smooth or hairy, 2 to 7 centimeters in diameter, with subumbellate spreading branches. Calyx-teeth are very short. Corolla is white and smooth, with very short, obtuse lobes that are keeled at the back. Capsules are pedicelled, 2 to 5 millimeters in diameter. Seeds are many, minute and angled.

- In thickets and forests at low altitudes, from the Batan and Babuyan Islands and northern Luzon to Palawan and Mindanao.
- Also occurs in India to Malaya.

- Contains starch, chlorophyll, and a light-brown resin soluble in chloroform.
- Comparative studies on camptothecin content showed low levels of alkaloids.

- Main chemical constituent is a monoterpenoid quinoline alkaloid called camptothecin.
- Alcohol extract of leaves yielded alkaloids, carbohydrates and glycosides, phenolic compounds, tannins, flavonoids, gums and mucilage. Petroleum ether extract yielded phytosterols, fixed oils, and fats. (13)
- Phytochemical screening of flower extract yielded carbohydrates, tannin, terpenoids, saponins, flavonoids, alkaloids, and glycosides. (17)

- Considered antibacterial, laxative, tonic, sedative.
- Bark of root considered laxative and sedative.
- Studies have shown antioxidant, antivenom, antiproliferative, cancer chemopreventive, membrane stabilizing, thrombolytic activities.

Parts utilized
Roots, bark and leaves.

· An agreeable bitter tonic.
· Decoction of leaves, roots and bark (one part in 10) in half-ounce doses are stomachic.
· Bark of root is sedative and laxative.
· Decoction of leaves used for cleaning ulcers.
· In Malaysia, used for wound healing, enlarged spleens and to alleviate cough.
· In India, the bitter root of O mungos used as an antidote for snake bites. Also, the root extract, mixed with powder of white gulaganji to make a paste, applied locally or given orally. For wound healing, whole plant is ground into a paste with coconut oil, applied topically on affected areas to heal wounds. In Tamil Nadu, leaves and roots used for poisonous bites and external tumors. Roots extensively used by local medicine men. Decoction of root, bark, and leaves used as stomachic.
· In Ayurveda plant pacifies vitiated kapha, wounds, ulcers, worm infestation, snake poison, skin diseases, and cancer.
· In Bangladesh, powdered leaf applied to treat burns. Mixture of paste of leaves of O. mungos, I. nigricans, and P. acerifolim applied for treatment of paralysis. (16)

Camptothecin / Anti-Cancer:
Camptothecin is an anticancer quinoline alkaloid effective against colon cancer, acting through inhibition of the enzyme DNA topoisomerase. Comparative study showed the highest yields in N foetida, with low levels of the alkaloid with O mungos and O rugosa. (1) A search for new plant-based sources of CPT (camptothecin) evaluated CPT contents in 38 Ophiorrhiza accessions belong to 11 species and 3 varieties collected from the southern Western Ghats region in India. Ophiorrhiza mungos yielded the best CPT source (396.54 µg/g, dr. wt.) followed by O. mungos var. angustifolia (373.19 µg/g, dr. wt.). (17)
Antivenom Activity / Root:
Study showed inhibition of the effects of Naja nigricollis venom by aqueous extract of O mungos root. The extract also showed dose-related inhibition of blood clotting induced by Echis carinatus venom.
Cancer Chemopreventive / Luteolin-7-O-glucoside:
Study isolated phytocompound Luteolin-7-O-glucoside (LUT7G) from the leaves. LUT7G induced apoptosis by scavenging ROS and suppressing the expression of ß-catenin. Results suggest a potent anticancer drug for colon carcinogenesis. (7)
Antioxidant Activity / Preliminary Cytotoxicity: Study of a methanolic extract of the whole plant showed the dichlormethane soluble fraction with the highest amount of phenolic compounds and also revealed significant antioxidant activity. Brine shrimp lethality bioassay showed a crude extract to possess cytotoxic principles. (8)
Antioxidant / Antiproliferative:
Study evaluated the antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of 10 traditional medicinal plants, including O. mungos. All tested extracts showed significant concentration- and time-dependent antioxidant and antiproliferative activities, with O. mungos sixth in descending order. (9)
Neutralizing Effect / Roots / Daboia russelii Venom:
Study in a chick embryo model showed a root extract of O. mungos to possess potent anti-snake venom neutralizing compounds which inhibit the viper venom activity. (12)
Membrane Stabilizing / Thrombolytic Effects:
Study evaluated methanol extracts and partitionates of O. mungos, M. macrophylla, G. philippensis and S. nodiflora for membrane stabilizing and thrombolytic activities. The petroleum ether soluble fraction of O. mungos showed 61.16% and 24.75% inhibition of RBC hemolysis caused by hypotonic solution and heat. The carbon tetrachloride soluble fraction of O. mungos showed the highest thrombolytic activity with clot lysis value of 50.09%. (14)
Anticancer / Dalton's Ascitic Lymphoma / Leaves: Study evaluated the anticancer potential of alcohol and aqueous extracts of leaf of O. mungos on DAL in mice. Results showed significant normalization of profound proliferation of tumor cells in the peritoneal cavity of animals. Significant changes (p<0.001) were observed in tumor and hematological parameters. (15)
• Antimicrobial / Flower: Ethanolic extract of O. mungos was among the wild flowers that showed activity against six microbial viz., B. subtilis, K. pneumoniae, P. aeruginosa, S. aureus, S. mutans, and C. albicans. Zones of inhibition ranged from 11 ± 0.05 to 20 ± 0.10 mm. Zone of inhibition increased with concentration of the extract. (18)
• Photoprotective / Potential for Topical Sunscreen: Study evaluated the photoprotective activity of aqueous extracts of eleven medicinal plants in Sri Lanka that have been used in traditional medicine for various skin diseases and to improve complexion. Study evaluated SPF (sun protective factor) by Mansur equation and antioxidant activity by DPPH and ABTS assays. Ophiorrhiza mungos was one of six extracts that displayed SPF values ≥ 25, which are even higher than two commercial photoprotective creams used as reference compounds. O. mungos was also found photostable, without significant reduction in SPF after direct solar radiation for 21 days. Results suggest O. mungos has great promise for development of a potent topical sunscreen. (


Updated June 2018 / June 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: / PHOTO / File:Ophiorrhiza mungos 01.JPG / Vinayaraj / 4 September 2013 / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license / click on image to go to source page / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Public Domain / File:Ophiorrhiza mungos Ypey77-original.jpg / 1813 / Adolphus Ypey / published by Kurt Stüber / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Comparative studies on the camptothecin content from Nothapodytes foetida and Ophiorrhiza species
/ G. Roja / Natural Product Research, Volume 20, Number 1, Number 1/January 2006 , pp. 85-88(4)
Ophiorrhiza singaporensis / GLOBinMED
Traditional Phytotherapy for Snake bites by Tribes of Chitradurga District, Karnataka, India / V T Hiremath and T C Taranath / Ethnobotanical Leaflets 14: 120-25, 2010.
Herbal medicines for wound healing among tribal people in Southern India: Ethnobotanical and Scientific evidences / Ayyanar M, Ignacimuthu, S / International Journal of Applied Research in Natural Products
Vol. 2(3), pp. 29-42, Sep-Oct 2009
Ophiorrihiza mungos / • Pandanus Database of Plants
Cancer chemopreventive potential of luteolin-7-O-glucoside isolated from Ophiorrhiza mungos Linn. / Baskar AA, Ignacimuthu S, Michael GP, Al Numair KS. / Nutr Cancer. 2011;63(1):130-8.
Avilpori - Ophiorrhiza Mungos / Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants
Antioxidant, Total Phenolics, Free Radical Scavenging and Preliminary Cytotoxicity Studies of Ophiorrhiza mungos / Farhana Islam, Sharmin Reza Chowdhury, Tasdique Mohammad Quadery, Mohammad Abul Kaisar, Md. Gias Uddin and Mohammad A. Rashid / Bangladesh Pharma Journal, Vol 14 No 2, July 2011
In vitro antioxidant and antiproliferative potential of medicinal plants used in traditional Indian medicine to treat cancer / Baskar, Arul-Albert; Al. Numair, Khalid-S.; Alsaif, Mohammed-A; Ignacimuthu, Savarimuthu / DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/1351000212Y.0000000017
Comparative studies on the camptothecin content from Nothapodytes foetida and Ophiorrhiza species / Roja G. / Nat Prod Res. 2006 Jan;20(1):85-8.
Lesser Known Ethnomedicinal Plants of Alagar Hills, Madurai District of Tamil Nadu, India / S. Karuppusamy*, G. Muthuraja and K.M. Rajasekaran / Ethnobotanical Leaflets 13: 1426-33, 2009.
Studies on neutralizing effect of Ophiorrhiza mungos root extract against Daboia russelii venom / S. Anaswara Krishnan, R. Dileepkumar, Achuthsankar S. Nair, Oommen V. Oommen / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 151, Issue 1, 10 January 2014, Pages 543–547
Pharmacognostical studies on the leaves of Ophiorrhiza mungos Linn. (Rubiaceae) / Varadharajan Madhavan, Sunkam Yoganarasimhan, Magadi Gurudeva, Christin Rachel John, Rajamanickam Deveswaran. / Spatula DD. 2013; 3(3): 89-98doi: 10.5455/spatula.20130810095505
In Vitro Membrane Stabilizing and Thrombolytic Activities of Ophirrhiza mungos, Mussaenda macrophylla, Gmelina philippensis and Synedrella nodiflora Growing in Bangladesh / Farhana Islam, Sharmin Reza Choudhury, Tasnuva Sharmin, Mohammad A. Rashid / rnal of Pharmacy and Nutrition Sciences, 2013, 3, 71-75 / DOI: 10.6000/1927-5951.2013.03.01.8
Anticancer Activity of Extracts of Leaf of Ophiorrhiza mungos L. on Dalton’s Ascitic Lymphoma in Mice / Varadharajan Madhavan, *Anita Murali, Christin Rachel John / MSRUAS-SASTech Journal 29 , Vol. 14, Issue 1
Ophiorrhiza mungos / Bangladesh Ethnobotany Online Database
HPTLC-based quantification of camptothecin in Ophiorrhiza species of the southern Western Ghats in India / Renjith Rajan, Sibi Chirakkadamoolayil Varghese, Rajani Kurup, Roja Gopalakrishnan, Ramaswamy Venkataraman, Krishnan Satheeshkumar and Sabulal Baby / Cogent Chemistry (2016), 2: 1275408
Antimicrobial Activity of Some Flowers of Eastern Ghats, Tamil Nadu, India / Sevugaperumal Ganesan*, Kumarasan Manimegalai and Ramaiah Latha / Global Journal of Botanical Science, 2014, 2: pp 26-31
Antiviral components of Ophiorrhiza mungos. Isolation of camptothecin and 10-methoxycamptothecin. / Tafur S, Nelson JD, De Long DC, Svoboda GH / Lloydia, 39(4): pp 261-261
Photoprotective potential in some medicinal plants used to treat skin diseases in Sri Lanka / Mayuri Tharanga Napagoda, Benthota Malavi Arachchige Shamila Malkanthi, Subasinghe  Appuhamillage Kaumudi AbayawardanaMohomed Mallique Qader and Lalith Jayasinghe / BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2016; 16:479 / https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-016-1455-8

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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