Sabuñgai is a twining vine, smooth except for the peduncles. Leaves are stalked (the uppermost ones stalkless), ovate-elliptic or lanceolate, 3.5 to 8 centimeters long, and 0.8 to 3.5 centimeters wide, with somewhat entire or toothed margins. Flowering heads are panicled, narrow, yellow, and 1 to 1.5 centimeters long. Involucral bracts are smooth and up to 6 millimeters long. Achenes are very small and smooth, with very close and slender ribs.
- In thickets along streams, in old clearings, etc., at low and medium altitudes, ascending to 1,500 meters, from northern Luzon to Mindanao, in most islands and provinces.
- Also occurs in Thailand and Indo-China to Malaya.
- Study identified abundant proteins from the leaves. Peroxidase was the abundant protein in the leaves. Other valuable proteins in the leaves were osmotin like protein I and thaumatin like protein I (TL) (see studies below) (4)
- An ethanolic extract yielded alkaloids and volatile oils.
- Nutritional analysis of fresh leaves before drying yielded moisture 7.08 g/100 dw, carbohydrate 0.0537 to 0.1968 µg glucose equivalent/100 g dry weight, protein 4.51 g/100 g dry weight, and lipid 0.023 g/100 g dry weight.
(see study below) (29)
- Phytochemical screening of ethanol extract of leaves yielded alkaloids and volatile oils, with absence of saponins and anthraquinone glycosides. Leaves were also a good source of chlorophylls and carotenoids. Content of chlorophyll-a, -b, and carotenoids were 365.20 0.049, 132.40 ± 0.029, and 53.20 ± 0.034 µg/g dry weight, respectively. (14)
- Leaves considered anti-hyperglycemic, anti-hyperlipidemic and anti-inflammatory.
- Studies have shown anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, glucose-lowering, antioxidant, antiulcerogenic, wound healing, antiproliferative, chemopreventive, antimelanogenesis, antiherpetic, antitumor properties.
Whole plant, leaves, shoots.
- In many Asian countries, leaves eaten fresh or cooked; added to salads or stand-alone salad; used for sauces, as flavoring.
- In Java, used for kidney troubles.
- In Malacca, decoction used for dysentery.
- In Thailand, used as topical inflammation, rheumatism, and viral ailments.
- Poultice used for rheumatic and general body pains.
- In some parts of Asia, used as abortifacient.
- Use to treat hypertension.
- In Malaysia, a folk remedy for diabetes and hyperlipidemia.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study of ethanol extract showed anti-inflammatory activity. (1)
• Antihypertensive: Study showed the oral administration of aqueous extract significantly lowered blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Results suggest GPE may be useful for prevention and treatment of hypertension through increasing NO (nitric oxide) production in blood vessels. (2)
• Glucose Lowering: Ethanolic extract of leaves significantly suppressed elevated serum glucose levels in diabetic rats. The extract did not significantly suppress glucose levels in normal rats. Results conclude the leaves of GP may be biguanide-like activity. (3)
• Abundant Leaf Proteins / Peroxidase: Study found few abundant proteins from the leaves of GP; among these, peroxidase was found the most abundant of the extracted proteins. Results suggest a natural source for peroxidase for use in the cosmetic and skin care industry. The presence of TL protein in leaves indicate it may not be suitable as food in the raw state. However, raw eating of leaves is common in the Asian region. (see constituents above) (4)
• Nutritive / Antioxidative Properties: Ethanolic Gynura extract exhibited the highest antioxidative properties in every assay. Nutritive evaluation suggests the extract is a good protein source and may have positive effects on free radical scavenging and iron chelating. (5)
• Gynura procumbens Medical Toothpaste: A Gynura procumbens toothpaste invention consists of" gynura procumbens (Lour.) extract of 1-20%, glycerol of 20-55%, diglycol of 10-15%, abradant of 20-45%, carboxymethyl cellulose of 0.5-1.5%, sodium dodecyl sulfate of 0.5-2%, additive of 1-4%, essence of 1-2% and saccharin of 0.1-1%. (6)
• Anti-Ulcerogenic: Study results suggest the ethanolic leaf extract of Gynura procumbens promotes ulcer protection as shown by significant reduction of ulcer area, histologic decreases in ulcer areas, with absence or reduction of edema and leukocyte infiltration of submucosal layer. (7)
• Anti-Diabetic: / Increase Glucose Uptake: Study evaluating the water extract of G. procumbens in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats showed a hypoglycemic effect by promoting glucose uptake by muscles. (8)
• Anti-Diabetic / Increase Glucose Uptake and Insulin Potentiation:Study results suggest the antidiabetic effect may be mediated through the stimulation of glucose uptake and the potentiation of insulin action. (10)
• Toxicological Evaluation: Administration of a methanol extract of G. procumbens did not produce mortality or significant changes in various parameters in both acute and sub-chronic toxicity studies.(9)
• Wound Healing / Acute Toxicity Study: Acute toxicity study of leaf extract showed no mortality with 5g/kg dose. In a wound healing model in rats, wounds dressed with leaf extract showed significant enhancement and acceleration of wound healing. (12)
• Antioxidant Effects: Study showed ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) may be scavenged effectively by the antioxidant system of G. procumbens leaves. The ratio between chlorophyll and carotenoid was higher than in other green plants.
• Hypoglycemic Effects / GSK3ß Phosphorylation: Study evaluated the hypoglycemic effects of G. procumbens and the involvement in the glycogen synthase kinase (GSK3), a key component of insulin biosignaling. Results showed the plant did not exhibit GSK3 inhibitory activity, and suggests the hypoglycemic actions of the fractions could be from direct or indirect effects on upstream insulin biosignaling pathway. (13)
• Blood Sugar Reduction: Major flavonoid constituents were identified in the n-butanol fraction. A methanolic extract of leaves showed reduction of blood glucose in STZ-induced diabetic rats. Results were compared to glibenclamide as standard drug.
• Antiproliferative Effects / DBMA-Induced Rat Liver: Study evaluated the antiproliferative effect of an ethanolic leaf extract on 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)antracene-induced male rat liver. Results showed significant antiproliferative activity, with histopathology showing no primary liver tumor on the DMBA group. (20)
• Cardiovascular Effects / Leaves: A water extract of G. procumbens showed promising cardiovascular effects. Significant vasodilation and negative chronotropic and ionotropic effects were observed with the water extract compared to the ethanolic extracts. Chemical analysis of the water extract yielded significant amounts of polyphenolic and flavonoid constituents. (16)
• Antihyperglycemic / Leaf Extracts: Study evaluated leaf extracts for antidiabetic activity. Results showed significant lowering of fasting blood glucose in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Study suggests extracts contain active principles that possess anti-hyperglycemic but no hypoglycemic effect. The antidiabetic action may be via a mechanism similar to metformin. (18)
• Anticancer Proteins: An earlier study yielded plant defense proteins, peroxidase, thaumatin-like proteins and miraculin the the leaf of G. procumbens. Study investigated the bioactivity of the leaf extract proteins. An active protein fraction, SN-F11/12 inhibited the growth of a breast cancer cell line, MDA-MB-231. The proteins in the fraction can be a potential chemotherapeutic agent for breast cancer treatment. (19)
• Antiherpetic / Aerial Parts: An ethanol extract of aerial parts of G. procumbens showed virucidal and antireplicative actions against herpes simplex HSV-1 and HSV-2. Several antiherpetic compounds were isolated from fractions: caffeoylquinic acid derivatives, phytosteryl glucosides, and glycoglycerolipids. Flavonoids probably imparted an anti-inflammatory effect. Lab evidence and reduction of infection supported the antiherpetic effect of G. procumbens. (21)
• Suppression of Osteosarcoma Cell Proliferation and Metastasis In Vitro: Study showed an ethanolic extract is able to induce apoptosis and suppresses proliferation and metastasis in U2-OS cells via inhibition of the nuclear translocation of NF-kB. (22)
• Vasorelaxant / Potassium Channel Openers and Prostacyclin: Study confirms the vasodilatory effects of G. procumbens through blocking of calcium channels. The vasodilatory effect may also be due to opening of potassium channels and stimulation of prostacyclin production. Putative compounds are probably flavonoids in nature. (23)
• Chemopreventive / Colon and Breast Cancer: Study of an ethyl acetate fraction investigated for cytotoxic properties and selectivity against colon cancer and breast cancer cells showed selective effect against cancer cells and reveals potential as cancer chemopreventive agent. (24)
• Antiherpetic: An ethanol extract of Gynura procumbens showed virucidal and antireplicative activities against herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 and HSV-2). Antiherpetic activity was attributed to caffeoylquinic acid derivatives, phytosteryl glucosides, and glycoglycerolipids. A double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial of the products was performed in patients with recurrent herpes labialis. The insignificant result was attributed to a low number of patients and insufficient concentration of plant extract. (25)
• Decrease Blood Pressure / Inhibition of Calcium Channels: G. procumbens has been shown to decrease blood pressure via inhibition of angiotensin converting enzyme. An intravenous butanolic fraction elicited significant and dose dependent decreases in mean arterial pressure. Results suggest the presence of putative hypotensive compounds that appear to inhibit calcium influx via receptor-operated and/or voltage-dependent calcium channels to cause vasodilation and a consequent decrease in blood pressure. (26)
• Antioxidant / Inhibition of Drug Metabolizing Enzymes: Study investigated various extracts of G. procumbens for antioxidant capacity and CYP34A and CYP1A2 enzyme activities. Results showed the inhibition of CYP3A4 and CYP1A2 followed the rank order of total flavonoid content, where the higher the total flavonoid content the higher the inhibition of drug metabolizing enzymes. (27)
• Antioxidant / Antitumor: Study evaluated the antioxidant activities of plant extracts of G. procumbens, A. aspera and P. tomentosum using the DPPH assay. G. procumbens showed the more potent antioxidant activity. Gynura procumbens also showed antitumor activity at a dose of 1000 ppm. (28)
• Antioxidant / Nutritional Value: Nutrition analysis showed it to be a good protein source with positive effects on free radical scavenging and iron chelating. An ethanolic extract exhibited the highest in antioxidative properties in every assay, i.e., EC50 of 1.63 in hydroxyl scavenging assay, EC50 2.17 in iron chelating activity, and EC50 2.75 in lipid peroxidation inhibition. (see constituents above) (29)
• Abundant Leaf Proteins / Peroxidase: Study identified few abundant proteins from the leaves of Gynura procumbens. Among the proteins, peroxidase was found to be the most abundant. As a natural source of peroxidase, G. procumbens has value in the cosmetic and skin care industry. (30)
• Effect on Rat Atrial Contraction / Leaves: Study investigated the effects of various extracts and fractions of leaves of G. procumbens on rat atrial contraction in vitro. Results showed positive inotropic activities and suggests a potential as alternative use against increased blood pressure in humans. (31)
• Antihyperglycemic / α-Glucosidase Inhibition: Study investigated the antidiabetic effect of G. procumbens water extract by regulation of activities of hepatic glucose-regulating enzymes. Compared to the antidiabetic drub acarbose,GWE exhibited high a-glucosidase inhibition activity (32.2% in 3mg/ml).The antihyperglycemic potency is thought to be mediated through activation of GK, PDH, and induction of protein expression of pACL, pGSK-3ß related indirectly or indirectly to glucose metabolism. (34)
• Effect on Sperm Quality and Testosterone Level: Study evaluated the effects of aqueous and ethanolic extracts of G. procumbens on sperm quality and testosterone level of male STZ-induced T1 diabetic rats. Results showed a dramatic increase in sperm count (206.89%) and motility as well as testosterone level (16.71%), along with decrease in fasting blood glucose (38.71%) and sperm mortality (5.62%). (35)
• Antioxidant / Cytotoxicity / Acute Oral Toxicity: A methanol extract showed better overall antioxidant activities using DPPH radical scavenging, metal chelating, and ß-carotene bleaching assays. An EA extract showed selective cytotoxicity against HT-29 and HCT 116 cells with IC values of 35.7 and 42.6 µg/mL. The methanol extract showed negligible level of toxicity when administered orally. Results suggest potential benefit in the prevention and treatment of cancer. (36)
• Antihyperglycemic / Toxicological Evaluation: Study evaluated acute and sub-chronic antihyperglycemic activity, safety margin evaluations and constituents of ethanol extract and fractions of G. procumbens in STZ-induced diabetic rats. Toxicity testing showed the extract is safe at the limit test dose of 2000 mg/kg, thus the oral lethal dose (LD50) exceeds 2000 mg/kg. Acceptable daily intake was determined at 700 mg/kg/day. An n-butanol fraction consistently lowered glucose levels with an effect that was dose dependent and closest to that of metformin. The antihyperglycemic effect corresponded to the high content of phenols and flavonoids. (37)
• Antimelanogenesis / Moisturizing Effect: Study of a G. procumbens extract suggested a whitening effect. When applied with high concentration on human epidermal keratinocyte (HaCaT), hyaluronic acid significantly increase. Results suggest GP contains many kinds of whitening ingredients and moisturizing compounds. (38)
/ Leaves: Study evaluated the effect and dose variations of GP extract on biological aspect of CD4+CD62L-, CD4+CD62L+, CD8+CD62L- and CD8+CD62L+ T cells. Results suggest the EA of GP has potential benefit on the immune system as an immunomodulator. (39)
• Anticarcinogenesis Effect: Study investigated the anticarcinogenesis effect of ethanol extract of leaves on 4 nitroquinoline 1-oxide (4NQO)-induced rat tongue carcinogenesis. Results showed the EE of GP could inhibit the progression of 4NQO-induced rat tongue carcinogenesis in the initiation phase. (40)
• Sensitization of Colon Cancer Cell Line / Synergism with 5-FU: Study evaluated of an ethyl acetate fraction showed sensitizing properties and cause cell cycle arrest and apoptosis on WiDr cells. Because of synergism properties, the FEG exhibited potential in combination with 5-FU but not with Cisplatin. (41)
• Reversal of Acute
and Chronic Ethanol-Induced Liver Steatosis: Study evaluated the hepatoprotective potential of G. procumbens on acute and chronic ethanol-induced liver injuries. Results showed attenuation of acute ethanol induced serum ALT and hepatic lipid accumulation. Both n-butyl alcohol extract and 60% ethanol-eluted fraction inhibited chronic ethanol-iinduced hepatic lipid accumulation by modulating lipid metabolism-related regulators through MAPK/SREBP-1c-dependent and independent signaling pathway and ameliorated liver steatosis. (42)
• Profertility / Antidiabetic: Study evaluated the anti-diabetic and pro-fertility effect of G. procumbens on STZ-induced diabetic male rats. Results showed significant decrease in fasting blood glucose. There was significant increase in sperm quality parameters in the GP treated group with significant histological effects as evidenced by arrangement of cells in the germal cell layers. (43)
• Anti-Carcinogenic / Decrement of Cytochrome P450 and Increase of GSTµ Activity / Leaves: Gynura procumbens extract significantly decreased the cytochrome P450 activity (p<0.05) but significantly increase the GSTµ activity (p<0.05) Results showed ethanol extract of G.. procumbens leaf acts as blocking agent in carcinogenesis initiation phase which further inhibits progression towards malignancy. (44)
• Alleviation of Postprandial Hyperglycemia / Digestive Enzymes Inhibition: Study evaluated the inhibitory effect of G. procumbens extract against carbohydrate digesting enzymes and its ability to ameliorate postprandial hyperglycemia in STZ-induced diabetic mice. Results showed prominent α-glucosidase and α-amylase inhibitory effects. IC50s were 0.092±0.018 and 0.084±0.027 mg/mL, respectively. α-amylase inhibitory activity was more effective than positive control acarbose. (45)
• Improved Insulin Sensitivity / Hepatic Gluconeogenesis Suppression: GP extract significantly lowered glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin compared to diabetic control mice. Results showed increased insulin sensitivity, with significantly lower homeostatic index of insulin resistance. There was inhibition of gluconeogenesis with decreased expression of glucose-6-phosphatase and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase in the liver. (46)
• Effect of Copper and Cadmium Exposure
/ Bioaccumulation of Metals: Study showed combined Cd and Cu treatment had greatest influence on growth, heavy metal accumulation and biochemical changes in G. procumbens. Medicinal properties are reduced by Cd and Cu contamination, with reduction of total phenolics, total flavonoids, saponins, antibacterial, DPPH and FRAP activity. G. procumbens planted in contaminated soil is not safe for consumption. (47)
• Immunomodulatory / In Vivo Phagocytosis: Study evaluated the immunomodulatory properties of ethanol extracts of Gynura procumbens on effects on phagocytic activity of macrophages on healthy female Wistar albino rats. Carbon clearance test showed significant increase of phagocytic index (p<0.05) on extract treated group on all doses. There were no significant changes in general condition, hematological and biochemical markers. Results suggest a potential of G. procumbens as an immunomodulatory agent. (48)
• Antimicrobial / Cytotoxicity / Antioxidant: Of various extracts evaluated for antimicrobial activities, only the dichlormethane and ethyl acetate extracts showed mild sensitivity against all test bacteria and fungi (except S. aureus and E. coli). Crude extracts (HX, DCM, ME, and EA) showed toxicity towards brine shrimp, with lethality that increased with concentration. On free radical scavenging activity assays, the ME showed highest antioxidant activity with IC50 of 20.35 µg/ml, comparable to standard TBHT (27.5 µg/ml). (49)
• Improvement in Blood Glucose / Restoration of Fertility and Libido: Study evaluated the effects of G. procumbens on blood glucose level, fertility and libido of STZ-induced diabetic male rats. Results showed significant lowering of fasting blood glucose, increased plasma testosterone, significant increase in sperm quality as well as fertility of treated groups. There was also improved in sexual behavior as evidenced by increased mounting frequency and reduced mounting latency. (50)
/ Human Glioblastoma Multiforme Cell Line: Study evaluated the effects of various extracts of G. procumbens on U-87, human Glioblastome multiforme cell line. The ethanol and methanol extracts of G. procumbens showed high antiproliferative potential on U-87 cell line. Results suggest a potential source of safer cytotoxic compounds. (51)
Antihypertensive / Angiotensin II and Vasopeptidase Inhibitory Activities: Previous studies have shown the leaves may decrease BP by inhibition of ACE activity and blocking calcium channels. This study further evaluates the BP-lowering properties by exploring Angiotensin II and ACE/NEP inhibitory activities of a partially purified fraction (FA-I). Results showed FA-I inhibited Angiotensin II-induced contractions, probably via endothelium-dependent pathways by activating NO and PGI2 release, and also by inhibition of ACE/NEP activities. (52)
• Hypotensive Effect / Leaves: Previous studies have shown a purer aqueous fraction (FA-I) of leaves of G. procumbens contains angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors that may contribute to its hypotensive effect. Study evaluated the acute effect of oral administration of FA-I in rats. The fraction significantly (p<0.001) decreased the SBP in spontaneously hypertensive rats in a dose-dependent manner after a single oral treatment. Highest effect was evident 6 hours after treatment. (53)
• Co-Administration of G. procumbens and Honey / Enhancement of Sperm Quality and Spermatogenesis: Study evaluated the effect of co-administration of GP and kelulut honey on the sperm quality and spermatogenesis in diabetic induced male rats. Results showed significant increment as well as motility in a dose dependent manner. Testis histology showed regeneration of Leydig and Sertoli cells in the testes. Result suggest a pro-fertility potential in the co-administration of honey and GP. (54)
• Antimalarial / Anti-Inflammatory / GSK3â and Kaempferol: A yeast-based assay detected GSK3â-inhibitory activity in an aqueous extract of G. procumbens. It plays a central role in modulation of inflammatory response during bacterial infection. Study evaluated the antimalarial and anti-inflammatory effect of GSK3â on the growth of P. falcifarum 3D7. Study showed antimalarial and anti-inflammatory effects which may be attributed to the pharmacologic effects of GSK3â and kaempferol. (55)
• Ashitaba has been getting a lot of press, being touted as the new "miracle" herb. However, a lot of potted "ashitaba" being sold locally from roadside herbal gardens and mall stalls, intentionally or unintentionally, is actually Sabungai rather than ashitaba (Angelica keiskei). (See Ashitaba)