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Family Commelinaceae
Tradescantia zebrina var. zebrina

Shui gui cao

Scientific names  Common names 
Commelina zebrina C.B.Clarke [Invalid] Sebrina (Tag.)
Cyanotis vittata Lindl. Wandering jew (Engl.)
Tradescantia pendula (Schnitzl.) D.R.Hunt Inch plant (Engl.)
Tradescantia tricolor C.B.Clarke Creeping Jennie (Engl.)
Tradescantia zebrina var. zebrina Purple zeb grass (Engl.)
Zebrina pendula Schnitzl. Red wetter grass (Engl.)
Zebrina purpusii G.Brückn. Silver inch plant (Engl.)
  Wandering zebrina (Engl.)
Wandering jew is a shared names between Zebrina pendula, Tradescantia albiflora and Setcreasea pallida
Zebrina pendula Schnizl. is a synonym of Tradescantia zebrina var. zebrinandering. The Plant List
Tradescantia zebrina var. zebrina is an accepted name. The Plant List
The common name "Wandering Jew" is shared by closely related species T. fluminensis and T. pallida.

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Diao zhu mei, Shui gui cao.
GUYANA: Purple zeb grass.
MAORI: Mauku papa'a.
SPANISH: Barbija, Cohitre morado, Judio errante, Sin verguenza.

Gen info
- Tradescantia, commonly known as spiderwort, are herbaceous perennial plants. The genus contains about 75 species, which are either climber or trailer.

Zebrina pendula is a vigorous branching creeper with succulent leaves and stems, rooting freely at the nodes. Leaves are sessile and alternate, ovate and short acuminate, the upper surface dark green to purple, with 2 longitudinal silver stripes adaxially. The under-surface is dark purple. Flowers are purple-pink, or white, small and in terminal clusters, supported by two large foliage-like, narrow, ciliate bracts. Sap is mucilaginous and clear.

- Popular as a ground cover, tending to become invasive, aggressively colonizing new areas when left undisturbed,
-Native to Mexico.

- Study isolated three components from Zp: ß-sitosterol, 3β, 5α, 6β-trihydroxy stigmast and succinic acid.
(see study below) (7)
- Study isolated three components viz. ß-sitosterol, 3ß, 5a, 6ß-trihydroxystigmast and succinic acid. (see study below) (3)
- Preliminary phytochemical screening of leaves yielded sterols, saponins, flavonoids, tannins, carbohydrates, proteins and aminoacids

- Studies have shown anti-proliferative properties.
- Skin irritation may result from repeated contact or prolonged handling of the plant, especially from the clear, watery sap, unique to T. zebrina. (17)
- Studies have suggest antineoplastic, antiarrhythmic, antibacterial, antioxidant, acetylcholinesterase inhibitory properties.

Parts used
Leaves and stems.

- In Mexico, Matali, a beverage made of lemon and sweetened decoction of leaves, is used as a cold tonic drink.

- No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- Elsewhere, used for treatment of common cold, hypertension, tuberculosis, uterine disorders.
- In Jamaica, used for treatment of high blood pressure, coughs, tuberculosis, and as cold cure.
- In combination with other herbs, used to purify the blood and for amenorrhea.
- In China, leaves applied to reduce swellings. Also used for hemorrhoids, blood in the stools, tuberculous cough, conjunctivitis, kidney infections.
- Leaves mixed with other types of herbs as a blood tonic and to treat amenorrhea.
- In Mexico, used
for treating diarrhea.
- Leaf decoction us
ed for diabetes.
- Decoction of leaves used for urinary tra
ct infections and for flushing the kidney.
- In Afro-Cuban Santeria, decoction of leaves drunk to flush gravel out of the kidneys and bladder, break the crisis of colitis, and provoke menstruation. (Cabrera, 1971) (5
- In Guyana, leaves used as tea for cleansing blood and treating influenza. (10)

3-Ecdysone / Anti-Arrhythmic Effect:
Study isolated ß-ecdysone from Z. pendula, and in animals has shown elimination of arrhythmia induced by aconitine. (2)
Antineoplastic Components: Study isolated three components identified as β-sitosterol, 3β, 5α, 6β-trihydroxy stigmast and succinic acid. Anti-tumor activity was seen in ascites-type-180 sarcoma of mice: 43% (160mg/kg) for succinic acid, 91% (100mg/kg) for β-sitosterol and 98%(100mg/kg) for 3β, 5α, 6β-trihydroxystigmast. (3)
• Anti-Cancer / Anti-Proliferative: Study evaluated the anticancerous properties of Tz
extracts against two cancer cell lines, A-549 lung carcinoma and SCC-13y malignant keratinocyte cells. Tz treatment resulted in decreased cellular growth. Tz treatment was also tested on non-cancerous cell line of HFF-human foreskin fibroblasts cells to determine relative toxicity of the extract. Results showed inhibitive effects of Tz extracts on cancerous and non-cancerous cells. (6)
• Antineoplastic Components: Study isolated three components from Zp: ß-sitosterol, 3β, 5α, 6β-trihydroxy stigmast and succinic acid. Anti-tumor rate
s were 43% (160mg/kg) for succinic acid, 91% (100 mg/kg) for ß-sitosterol, and 98% (100 mg/kg) for 3β, 5α, 6β-trihydroxystigmast in anti-cancer test of ascites type-180 sarcoma of mice. (7)
• Effect on Human Cancer Cells: Study e
valuated the anticancer characteristics of Tradescantia zebrina and Tradescantia fluminensis. Study confirmed the general inhibitory effects of T. zebrina and T. fluminensis extracts on cancerous and non-cancerous cells. (8)
• Antioxidant / Antibacterial / Leaves:
Study evaluated the antioxidant and antibacterial activity of five Commelinaceae methanolic leaf extracts. Antioxidant activity was evaluated by TPC, TTC, TFC assays, while antioxidant activities were measured by DPPH, FRP, and FIC. Of the five plants, the methanolic leaf extract of T. zebrina showed the highest antioxidant content and activity, and exhibited antibacterial activity against six Gm-positve and two Gm-negative bacterial species. (12)
• Antioxidant / Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitory Activity / Leaves: Study evaluated the in vitro antioxidant and acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity of methanol extract
of leaves of T. zebrina. The ME of TZ at 100.00 µg/ml and 10.00 µg/ml showed significant inhibition of acetylcholinesterase activity (p<0.05) of 14.0% and 15.3%, respectively. The extract also exhibited 18.1% reduction and capability to scavenge free radical against DPPH. (13)
• Silver Nanoparticles / Antibacterial / Leaves: Study reports on the biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles using aqueous leaf extract of T. zebrina and its antibacterial activity against common human pathogenic bacteria viz. S. epidermis, S. aureus, S. enterica, E. coli and B. cereus. Results showed good zones of inhibition comparable to amikacin. (14)
• !5-Lipoxygenase Inhibition / Leaves
: Study evaluated the 15-lipoxygenase inhibitory activity of methanolic leaf extracts of Commelina benghalensis, Tradescantia fluminensis, and Tradescantia zebrina. All the extracts inhibited the action of 15-lipoxygenase at concentration of 0.2 µg/mL. T. fluminensis and Tradescantia zebrina exhibited higher than 50% inhibition. (16)
Bioactive Compounds for Blood Coagulation / Antimicrobial / Leaves: Extracts of Tradescantia zebrina, Tagetes minuta, ands Codieum var
iegatum have been reported to be used for blood clotting. Study evaluated the crude extract of these plant species used to accelerate blood clotting. All the extracts were found to be abundant in iron, copper, and phytochemicals. All extracts showed moderate inhibition of E coli and C. albicans, and mild inhibition of S. aureus. The extracts showed trace amounts of vitamin K and moderate amounts of calcium. (18)



Updated March 2921 / December 2018 / June 2017 / January 2017

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
G. F. Asprey, M.Sc., Ph.D.. and Phyllis Thornton, B.Sc. (Liverpool), Botanist

Study on Antineoplastic Components of Zebrina Pendula Schnizl / Fan Xiaoqi, Liu Xingjie / Chinese Traditional Patent Medicine 1992-02 / DOI: CNKI:SUN:ZCYA.0.1992-02-023
Tradescantia zebrina var. zebrina / Synonyms / The Plant List
THE USES OF PLANTS IN HEALING INANAFRO-CUBAN RELIGION, SANTERIA / GEORGE BRANDON / CityUniversitoyfNewYorkMedicalSchool / Sage Publications in collaboration with JSTOR

The Anti-Proliferative Properties of Tradescantia zebrina / Danielle Marie Moehring / The FASEB Journal, Apr 2013; Vol 27, No 1, Supplement / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1096/fasebj.27.1._supplement.793.2
Study on Antineoplastic Components of Zebrina Pendula Schnizl / Fan Xiaoqi, Liu Xingjie / Chinese Traditional Patent Medicine, 1992-02
Effect of aqueous and methanol extracts of tradescantia zebrina and fluminensis on human cells
Brauner, Ashley; Leist, Benjamin; Langsford, Samantha; Walsh, Calli; Moehring, Danielle; Blise, Lexi / UW-Stout Research Day: RESEARCH DAY POSTER.
Plants and chemical constituents with giardicidal activity / Flavia M.M. Amaral,* Maria Nilce S. Ribeiro; José M. Barbosa-Filho; Aramys S. Reis; Flávia R.F. Nascimento; Rui O. Macedo / Rev. bras. farmacogn. vol.16 suppl.0 João Pessoa Dec. 2006 / http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-695X2006000500017
Tradescantia zebrina / Medicinal Plants of the Guianas (Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana)
Tradescantia zebrina / Common names / PIER
Antioxidant Content, Antioxidant Activity, and Antibacterial Activity of Five Plants from the Commelinaceae Family / Joash Ban Lee Tan, Wei Jin Yap, Shen Yeng Tan, Yau Yan Lim, and Sui Mae Lee / Antioxidant (Basel), Dec 2014; 3(4): pp 758-769 /  doi: 10.3390/antiox3040758
Antioxidant and Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitory Activities of Tradescantia zebrina / Cheah Sy, Magdalene Cy, Eldwin Lim Cz, Wong MH, Amir S, Daniel S, Liow YC, Ketnipha S, Karenjit K, Gabriel GA, and Chin JH / Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences, Feb 2017; 8(1): pp 82-87
Biosynthesis of Silver Nanoparticles Using Tradescantia zebrina aqueous Leaf Extract and Their Antibacterial Activity/ Gouri Kumar Dash, Shahnaz Majeed and Aisyah Shafiqah Binti Roslan / Annual Research & Review in Biology, Vol 26, Issue 2 / DOI : 10.9734/ARRB/2018/41341
Pharmacognostic Studies on Tradescantia Zebrina / Gouri Kumar Dash, Mohamad Nur Aiman Fadrul, Allan Mathews / Journal of Global Pharma Technology, Sept 2018, 10(9)
15-Lipoxygenase inhibition of Commelina benghalensisTradescantia fluminensisTradescantia zebrina / Cean Socorro M Alaba and Christine L Chichioco-Hernandez / Asian Pac J Trop Biomed., Mar 2014; 4(3): pp 184-188 / doi: 10.1016/S2221-1691(14)60229-X|
Tradescantia zebrina / Wikipedia
Characterization of Bioactive Compounds Essential for Blood Coagulation in the Crude Extracts of Tradescantia zebrina, Tagetes minima, and Codiaeum variegatum Leaves / Gakuo Grace, Osano Aloys, Bakari Chaka / Asian Journal of Applied Chemistry Research, 2020; 6(3): pp 41-52 /
DOI: https://doi.org/10.9734/ajacr/2020/v6i330164

DOI: 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. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

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