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.
In open waste places
in the Philippines.
- Leaves contain apigenin
- 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)
- In folk medicine, considered diuretic, antidiabetic, antipyretic, analgesic, antidotal.
Studies have suggested anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antinociceptive, gastroprotective properties.
Roots and leaves.
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
• 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)
• 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)
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)
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. (11)
• 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. (12)
• 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)
/ 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)
- Seeds and herbs in the cybermarkets.