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Family Acanthaceae
Ruellia
Ruellia tuberosa Linn.
POPPING POD

Lu li cao

Scientific names Other common names
Cryphiacenthus barbadensis Nees Ruellia (Tag., Engl.)
Dipteracanthus clandestinus C.Presl Bluebell (Engl.)
Ruellia tuberosa Linn. Cracker plant (Engl.)
  Fever root (Engl.)
  Meadow weed (Engl.)
  Minnie root (Engl.)
  Pink-striped trumpet lily (Engl.)
  Popping pod (Engl.)
  Snapdragon root (Engl.)
Ruellia tuberosa L. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Lu li cao.
FRENCH: Patate-chandelier, Patate-macaque.
SPANISH: Espanta suegras, Salta perico, Totes, Yuquilla.

Botany
Ruellia tuberosa is a low-growing perennial herb with tuberous roots, growing to a height of a foot or more. Leaves are opposite, elliptic, short petioled, abruptly narrowed at the base, with undulate margins and up to 12 centimeters long. Flowers are showy, with funnel-shaped, 5-lobed corolla, up to 5 centimeters across, and mauve or light bluish purple. Fruit is a pod with 7 to 8 seeds, bursting open and hurtling the seeds when it gets wet.

Distribution
In open waste places in the Philippines.

Constituents
- Leaves contain apigenin and luteolin.
- The seed oil yields myristic, capril and lauric acids.
- Study yielded flavonoids, glycosides, phenols, saponins and essential minerals with good nutritive value and secondary metabolites.

- Study for bioactive components of ethanol extract of tubers yielded 25 compounds viz. lupeol (68.14%), stigmasterol (8.89%), α-sitosterol (3.99%), sucrose (2.24%), cholest-5-ene, 3-bromo-, (3α- (2.24%), octadecane, 2-methyl- (2.10%), nonadecane, 2-methyl- (1.93%), eicosane, 2-methyl- (1.79%) heptacosane (1.43%) and heptacosane (1.29%). (13)
- Phytochemical screening of various extracts of whole plant yielded steroids, triterpenoids, phenols, flavonoid, tannin, sugars. Physiochemical analysis yielded (%w/w) ash 13.53, acid insoluble ash 2.36, water insoluble ash 24.78, alcohol soluble extractive 7.67. (16)
- Methanolic extract of leaves yielded carbohydrates, glycosides, phytosteroids, flavonoids, tannins, fixed oils and fats. (see study below) (19)

Properties
- In folk medicine, considered diuretic, antidiabetic, antipyretic, analgesic, antidotal.
- Studies have suggested
anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antinociceptive, gastroprotective properties.

Parts used
Roots and leaves.

Uses
Folkloric
• No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
• In Trinidad and Tobago, used as a "cooling" agent, for urinary problems and high cholesterol.
• In Suriname's traditional medicine, used as anthelmintic; for joint pains and muscle strain. Also used as abortifacient. Root is used against kidney diseases and whooping cough. Infusion used for cleansing the blood.
• Root and leaf used for alleviating urinary retention.
• Used for gonorrhea, syphilis, bladder stones, bronchitis and cancer.
• In the Cayman Islands, used for heart ailments.
• In Grenada, used for common colds, fevers and hypertension.
• In the Dominican Republic, an ingredient in a concoction for a male potency drink.
• In Sri Lankan traditional medicine, used for stomach problems.
• In India leaf juice applied to scorpion bite sites.
• In India, used for kidney stone disorders. (28)

Studies
Antinociceptive / Anti-Inflammatory:
Ethanol extract of Ruellia tuberosa showed antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activities with maximum time response against thermal stimuli similar to that of diclofenac and significant inhibition in serotonin and egg albumin-induced hind paw edema in rats. The anti-inflammatory activity was comparable to that of indomethacin. (1)
Antioxidant: Study showed that Rubellia tuberosa possesses potent antioxidant activity. The results provide information on its antioxidant related activity in its use in traditional folk medicine. (4) Study of 50% hydroethanolic leaf extracts of Ruellia tuberosa and D. patulus showed they are not only useful in controlling peroxide level but also helpful in further strengthening the antioxidant potential. (24)
Bioactive Flavonoids / Cytotoxicity: Ethanol extract study showed yielded five flavonoids –cirsimarin, cirsiliol 4'-glucoside, sorbifolin, pedalitin, along with betulin, vanillic acid, and indole-3-carboxaldehyde. Some compounds showed cytotoxicity against KB and HepG2 cell line. (
5)
Gastroprotective / Analgesic: Study of crude aqueous extracts of Ruellia tuberosa roots in a rat alcohol-induced gastric lesion model showed a strong and dose-dependent gastroprotective activity. The extract also showed mild erythropoetic and moderate analgesic activities. (
7)
Hypolipidemic / Antioxidant: Study evaluated a powdered form of an ethanolic extract of Ruellia tuberosa for antilipidemic and antioxidant effects in hypercholesterolemic rats. Results showed addition of the powdered extract as a feed supplement reduces plasma lipid levels (cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL-C, and VLDL) with increased HDL-C and decreased lipid peroxidation. (10)
Antiproliferative / Antioxidant: Study evaluated the antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of Ruellia tuberosa. An ethyl acetate leaf extract showed the highest radical scavenging activity. A methanol stem extract showed the highest anti-proliferative activity against MCF-7 cancer cells with IC50 of 22µg/ml. (1
1)
Mosquito Larvicidal / Cx quinquefasciatus: Study evaluated the mosquito larvicidal activities of crude extracts of four plants viz. Alternanthera sessilis, Tremna orientalis, Gardenia carinata, and Ruellia tuberosa against Culex quinquefasciatus. A. sessilis showed the highest mortality followed by Ruellia tuberosa. (1
2)
Anti-Carcinogenic / Leaves: Study evaluated the anti-carcinogenic activity and antioxidant property of R. tuberosa methanol leaf extract on HepG2 cell line and RAW 264.7 murine macrophage cell lysate. Results showed potent apoptogenic activity on HepG2 cell line and notable antioxidant activity on RAW 264.7 cell lysate. (
14)
• α-Amylase Inhibitor / Betulin: Study evaluated R. tuberosa for compounds inhibiting α-amylase in rat and human by molecular docking. Analysis showed betulin could be a potential inhibitor with non-competitive pattern like betulinic acid. Betulin could have greater potential for α-amylase inhibition than acarbose—an assumption that needs to be verified in vitro. (
17)
• Anti-Diabetic: Study evaluated the hypoglycemic activity of methanol extract and solvent fractions of R. tuberosa in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. An EaF at 100 mg/kg showed the highest anti-diabetic activity with a 28.64±0.28% decrease in blood glucose. Antioxidant activity by DPPH assay was the order of ethanol fraction>methanol extract >water fraction>n-hexane fraction. (18)
• Anti-Diabetic / Antihyperlipidemic / Hepatoprotective / Leaves: Study evaluated the anti-diabetic potential of methanolic extract of leaves in alloxan induced diabetic rats. The ME of leaves elicited significant reductions of blood glucose (p<0.05), lipid parameters except HDL-C, serum enzymes and significantly increased HDL-C at dose of 200mg/kg. (19)
• Anti-Cancer / EAC Induced Mammary Tumor: Study evaluated the antitumor effect of Ruellia tuberosa leaf extracts against Ehrlich ascites carcinoma (EAC) tumor in mice. Results showed decrease in tumor site and increase in life span of EAC tumor bearing mice. (20)
• Anti-Fertility / Roots: Study evaluated root powder of R. tuberosa for its effect on male reproduction in Swiss albino mice. Results showed a significant decrease in sperm count, motility, and viability (p<0.001). Results suggest Ruellia tuberosa has potential as reversible oral male contraceptive. (21) An aqueous extract of tuberous roots produced antispermatogenic effect in male albino rats. (26)
• Insecticidal / Antibacterial / Antifungal / Roots: Study evaluated a root extract for antibacterial, antifungal, and insecticidal activity. The methanol extract was active against all test bacteria and fungi. Insecticidal assay by film activity test showed strong insecticidal activity with 80% mortality of Tribolium castaneum. (22)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Tuber: Study evaluated ethanol extracts of tuber of R. tuberosa for anti-inflammatory activity in rats using carrageenan induced paw edema method. Results showed potent anti-inflammatory activity at 400 mg/kg. Indomethacin was standard reference drug. (23)
• Phytoremediation / Lead: Study showed Ruellia was a good accumulator of lead. The species can be recommended for the remediation of lead contaminated soils. Total accumulation was highest in the stem followed by roots and leaves. (25)
• α-Amylase Inhibitor / Anti-Diabetic: Study evaluated the antidiabetic mechanism of the n-hexane fraction of methanolic extract (HFME) of the plant in an in silico, in vivo and in vitro study in STZ induced diabetic rats.
A single dose administration of HFME inhibited α-amylase activity in vivo. The extract also strongly inhibited the α-amylase activity in vitro (IC50 0.14 ± 0.005 mg/ml). (27)
• Antiurolithiatic / Antioxidant / Roots: Study evaluated an ethanolic extract of R. tuberosa roots for antiurolithiatic activity against 0.75% v/v ethylene glycol and 2% w/v ammonium induced calcium oxalate urolithiasis and for antioxidant activity against hyperoxaluria induced oxidative stress in male albino rats. Results showed significant reduction in deposition of calcium oxalate and increased urinary excretion of calcium, together with decreased lipid peroxidation and enhanced levels of antioxidant enzymes in the kidneys of urolithic rats. (28)
• Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated the antioxidant property of aqueous leaf extract of Ruellia tuberosa. The extract concentration that protected DNA against oxidative damage also showed higher DPPH free radical scavenging activity. The extract also exhibited significant metal chelating activity. (29)

Availability
- Wild-crafted.
- Seeds and herbs in the cybermarkets.

© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Updated May 2017 / November 2015

Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory properties of Ruellia tuberosa / Alam, M. Ashraful et al / Pharmaceutical Biology • Volume 47, Number 3, March 2009 , pp. 209-214 / DOI: 10.1080/13880200802434575
(2)
Ethnomedicines used in Trinidad and Tobago for urinary problems and diabetes mellitus / Cheryl A Lans / Journal of Ethnobiology and
Ethnomedicine
(3)
RUELLIA TUBEROSA L. - MINNIEROOT / Tropilab Inc.
(4)
Evaluation of the antioxidant activity of Ruellia tuberosa / Fu-An Chen et al / Food Chemistry Volume 94, Issue 1, January 2006, Pages 14-18 / doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2004.09.046
(5)
BIOACTIVE FLAVONOIDS FROM RUELLIA TUBEROSA / Chwan-Fwu Lin et al / J Chin Med 17(3): 103-109, 2006
(6)
Fever Root - Ruellia tuberosa, Linn. / Yang Mekar ditamanku

(7)
Gastroprotective activity of Ruellia tuberosa root extract in rats
/ L S R Arambewela, R thambugtala and W D Ratnasooriya / Tropmedplants
(8)
Evaluation of biochemical contents, nutritional value, trace elements, SDS-PAGE and HPTLC profiling in the leaves of Ruellia tuberosa L. and Dipteracanthus patulus (Jacq.) / A Manikandan and D Victor Arokia Doss / J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2010, 2(3):295-303
(9)
Ruellia tuberosa / Synonyms / The Plant List
(10)
HYPOLIPIDEMIC AND ANTI OXIDANT ACTIVITY OF RUELLIA TUBEROSA Linn. / KRISHNA CHAITANYA. B*, RAVINDRA BABU. S, RAMESH. C, ALEKHYA RAVELLA , JAYASREE VARDHAN, DIANA VIVIAN ATIGARI / IJPBS, Volume 2, Issue 3, JULY-SEPT 2012, pp 63-72
(11)
Antioxidant and anti-proliferative activities of Sabah Ruellia tuberosa / Bo Eng Cheong,*, Mohd. Zulkarnain Waslim, Fui Fui Lem, Peik Lin Teoh / Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science Vol. 3 (12), pp. 020-024, December, 2013 / DOI: 10.7324/JAPS.2013.31204
(12)
Mosquito larvicidal potential of four common medicinal plants of India / Anjali Rawani, Anupam Ghosh* & Goutam Chandra / Indian J Med Res 140, July 2014, pp 102-108
(13)
GC-MS Analysis of Bioactive Components of Tubers of Ruellia tuberosa L. (Acanthaceae)
/ Rajendra kumar N, Vasantha K and V.R. Mohan* / American Journal of Phytomedicine and Clinical Therapeutics
(14)
ANTI-CARCINOGENIC ACTIVITY OF RUELLIA TUBEROSA L. (ACANTHACEAE) LEAF EXTRACT ON HEPATOMA CELL LINE & INCREASED SUPEROXIDE DISMUTASE ACTIVITY ON MACROPHAGE CELL LYSATE / SAYANTAN DEY, SUBHADEEP ROY, NILANJANA DEB, KALYAN KUMAR SEN, SHILA ELIZABETH BESRA* / International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vol 5, Suppl 3, 2013
(15)
ETHNOMEDICINAL PLANTS USED FOR WOUNDS AND SNAKE-BITES BY TRIBALS OF KINNERASANI REGION, A.P., INDIA / USHAKUMARI J., RAMANA V.V. AND REDDY K.J.* / Journal of Pharmacognosy. Volume 3, Issue 2, 2012, pp.-79-81.
(16)
Pharmacognostic and Preliminary Phytochemical Studies on Ruellia tuberosa L. (Whole plant)
/ B Arirudran*, A Saraswathy, Vijayalakshmi Krishnamurthy / Pharmacognosy Journal, June 2011, Vol 3, Issue 22 / https://doi.org/10.5530/pj.2011.22.6
(17)
Molecular modeling of Ruellia tuberosa L compounds as a-amylase inhibitor: an in silico comparation between human and rat enzyme model / Dyah Ratna Wulan, Edi Priyo Utomo, * and Chanif Mahdi / Bioinformation. 2014; 10(4): 209–215. / doi: 10.6026/97320630010209
(18)
Hypoglycemic Activity of Ruellia tuberosa Linn (Acanthaceae) in Normal and Alloxan-Induced Diabetic Rabbits / Durre Shahwar; Saif Ullah; Mobasher Ahmad; Sami Ullah; Naeem Ahmad; Muhammad Akmal Khan / Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Article 8, Volume 7, Issue 2, Spring 2011, Pp 107-115
(19)
Antidiabetic, antihyperlipidaemic and hepatoprotective activity of methanolic extract of Ruellia tuberosa Linn leaves in normal and alloxan induced diabetic rats / M. Rajan*, V. Kishor Kumar, P. Satheesh Kumar, Kotam Reddy Swathi, Sangam Haritha / Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research, 2012, 4(6):2860-2868
(20)
Evaluation of anti-cancer activity of Ruellia tuberosa on EAC induced mammary tumor / Nagarjuna Reddy Vennapusa, Nagarathna Pkm, Divya Madanu / International Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Vol 1, No 2 (2013)
(21)
RUELLIA TUBEROSA LINN. ACTS AS ANTI-FERTILITY AGENT THAT REDUCES SPERM COUNT, MOTILITY AND VIABILITY IN MALE SWISS ALBINO MICE (MUS-MUSCULUS) / PARDESHI M. H., DESHMUKH A. A., GAJARE K. A.* / Int J Curr Pharm Res, Vol 9, Issue 1, Pp 105-109
(22)
Antibacterial, antifungal and insecticidal activities of Ruellia tuberosa (L.) root extract / Kader Md. Abdul, Shumala Parvin, Aktar Uzzaman Chouduri, Md. Ekramul Haque / Journal of Bio-Science, January 2012 /
DOI: 10.3329/jbs.v20i0.17720
(23)
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY ACTIVITY OF TUBER OF RUELLIA TUBEROSA L. (ACANTHACEAE) / Natesan Rajendrakumar, Karuppanan Vasantha, Antony Nishanthini and Veerabahu Ramasamy Mohan* / WORLD JOURNAL OF PHARMACY AND PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES, Vol 3, Issue 6 (2014)
(24)
Effect of 50% Hydroethanolic Leaf Extracts of Ruellia tuberosa L. and Dipteracanthus patulus (Jacq.) on Non-enzymic Antioxidants and other Biochemical Parameters in Liver, Kidney, Serum of Alloxan Induced Diabetic Swiss Albino Rats / Manikandan A, Victor Arokia Doss D / J Biomed Sci and Res., Vol 2 (3), 2010,190-201
(25)
PHYTOREMEDIATION OF LEAD CONTAMINATED SOILS BY RUELLIA TUBEROSA, L. / A.V.V.S. SWAMY, V. SUBHASHINI / INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MULTIDISCIPLINARY ADVANCED RESEARCH TRENDS, VOLUME II, ISSUE I, FEBRUARY 2015
(26)
ANTISPERMATOGENIC EFFECT OF THE AQUEOUS ROOT EXTRACT OF RUELLIA TUBEROSA L. ON ALBINO RATS / Bhogaonkar P. Y., Kanerkar U. R., Indurwade N. H. and Chondekar R. P. / Trends in Life Sciences, Vol 1, Issue 4 (2012)
(27)
Antidiabetic Activity of Ruellia tuberosa L., Role of α-Amylase Inhibitor: In Silico, In Vitro, and In Vivo / Dyah Ratna Wulan, Edi Priyo Utomo, and Chanif Mahdi / Biochemistry Research International, Volume 2015 (2015) / http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/349261
(28)
Evaluation of Ruellia tuberosa L. for Antiurolithiatic and Antioxidant Activities in Rats
/ B. Sailaja *, K. Bharathi , K. V. S. R. G. Prasad / Jour of Pharma Research / DOI: 10.18579/jpcrkc/2010/9/2/79490

 


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