Acanthus montanus (Nees) T.Anderson

Last updated: 21 November 2014

Scientific Name

Acanthus montanus (Nees) T.Anderson


Cheilopsis montana Nees, Acanthus barteri T.Anderson [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Jeruju [2]
English Mountain acanthus, bear’s breech, mountain thistle [3]
Nigeria Ahon ekun dudu, ekun arugbo, opipi, opipi oko (Yoruba) [3]; ege-igba, gboliminosasa, ugbensugben, uglibhibosa [4]
Congo Bari tsari, bali tsari [3][4]
Sierra Leone Kpete pela [4]
Africa Lidjéke, métchiéké (Vili); digandou, mpépélo (Loumbou); mpinpélo (Pygmees Ibongo); acanthi épineuse (Autres denominations) [5]
Germany Gebirgs-Akanthus [6]

Geographical Distributions

Acanthus montanus is a forest species native to West Africa and has been introduced to the rest of the world as ornamentals and medicinal plants. It also grows freely in cultivation in Malaya. [7][8]

Botanical Description

A. montanus is a member of the Acanthaceae family. It is a perennial herb growing up to a height of 1.5 m. [9]

The leaves are toothed with short spines and shallow to deeply lobed. The leaves colour is dark glossy green on adaxial and pale green on abaxial part. [9]

The inflorescence is in the form of long erect spikes. [9]

The flowers are showy, pinkish-white in colour, large bracts with spiny teeth. The upper bract is larger than the lower bracts. Calyx is bilabiate and the upper lip being larger. The corolla is unilabiate, the upper lip being rudimentary. The stamen is didynamous, anthers are unilocular with bearded margins; the base of the style is a hairy sheath. [10]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

Methanol extract of A. moncatus aerial parts has been reported to contain flavonoides (e.g. β-sitosterol glucoside), fatty acids (e.g. palmitic acid), sterol glucoside (e.g. linaroside, homoplantagenin and 5, 7, 3′- trihydroxy-6,4′-dimethoxy flavone-7-O-glucoside), phenolic acids (e.g. shikimic acid and protochatecuic acid), benzoxazinoide (e.g. blepharin), phenyl ethanoid (e.g. acetoside) [11], phenylethanoid glycoside (acanmontanoside, decaffeoylverbascoside, verbascoside, isoverbascoside and leucosceptoside A), benzoxazinoid glucosides (e.g. (2R)-2-O-ß-D-glucopyranosyl-2H-1,4-benzoxazin-3(4H)-one (HBOA-Glc) and (2R)-2-O-ß-D-glucopyranosyl-4-hydroxy-2H-1,4-benzoxazin-3(4H)-one (DIBOA-Glc)) and aliphatic alcohol glycosides (e.g. (3R)-1-octen-3-ol-3-O-ß-D-xylopyranosyl-(1→6)-O-ß-D-glucopyranoside and ebracteatoside B) [12].

Plant Part Used

Leaves, shoots, stems, barks, thorns, roots.

Traditional Use

A. montanus leaves have been used in the treatment of high blood pressure and cardiac dysfunctions in various countries of West Africa where this plant is endemic [13]. High blood pressure may be treated by giving the patient a decoction of the leaves [14]. Abdominal pains, boils and abscess are relieved by drinking the decoction of the leaves [15]. The leaves are also used in the treatment of Hepatitis and Hepatosplenomegaly in certain areas of Africa [16]. The squeezed juices of the leaves are applied on the affected parts of the body with skin infections by the southeastern Nigerian [14]. The people of Aguambu-Bamumbu of the Cameroon scratched the leaves locally to treat inflammation and took the maceration of leaves orally for irregular menstruation [17]. The macerated leaves of A. montanus are also used to induce vomiting in children amongst the Geviya tribe of Gabon people in Central Africa while the leaves in form of tea are used to treat cough [18].

Young shoots eaten with salt are used by Geviya people to treat their heart diseases. Women with stomach ache and nausea is given young shoots cooked with peanut butter which is called mo-dika to provide them relief of the complaint. They also used A. montanus thorns in similar manner of scarification in the treatment of inflammatory conditions. [18]

Macerated roots are used by the southeastern Nigerian to apply over the boils. [14]

Leaves and stem bark are believed to act as an antacid and cough suppressant by African [19]. Those of the Upper Nyong Valley forest in the Cameroon advocated the use of some parts of the plant which are stems, leaves and tops to treat pain with menstruation, gonorrhoea, chronic ulcer, intestinal helminthiatis, pharyngitis, gastritis, epilepsy and dog bite [20].  The traditional women of southeastern Nigeria made used of the leaves and roots to treat pain with menstruation [21].

Preclinical Data


Immunological activity

Haematological studies on the aqueous extracts of A. montanus roots showed an increase in total leukocyte and neutrophil counts and a significant dose-related increase in the macrophage population. There was also a significant increase in the phagocytic activity as evidenced by increase in the number of macrophages with ingested Candida albicans. It was thus concluded that, the effectiveness of the root extracts as the mechanism of healing of furuncles is due to the mobilization of leukocytes to the site of infection and the activation of phagocytic activity together with the suppression of exacerbated immune response by the constituents. [22]

Anti-inflammatory activity

Aqueous extracts of A. montanus roots also observed could significantly suppress the development of acute oedema of the rat paws and inhibit vascular permeability and haemolysis of red blood cells [22]. The aqueous extract of A. montanus leaves indeed has significant anti-inflammatory activity. This is evidenced by the significant reduction in oedema induced by carrageenan within 30 minutes of application of the extract in the effective dose of 200 mg/kg. [23]

Antimicrobial activity

Aqueous extracts of A. montanus roots (obtained by hot water maceration of the root powder) could inhibit the growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Streptococcus aureus and significantly inhibited topical acute edema in the mouse ear [22]. Another study used the methanol extract of A. montanus leaves showed significant inhibitory effects on the growth of Helicobacter pylori [25].

Analgesic activity

Methanol extract of A. montanus leaves has reported to have analgesic effects which could possibly be due to both centrally and peripherally mediated [25]. However the aqueous extracts on another study reported had only peripheral analgesic properties [23].

Antipyretic activity

Aqueous extract of A. montanus leaves was showed effective to antipyretic activity since the extract able to reduce fever at doses greater than 100 mg/kg within 6 hours. [23]

Embryotoxicity activity

Methanol/methylene chloride of A. montanus leaves was evaluated for the maternal and developmental of organ toxicity. They observed that there was embryotoxicity during organogenesis as manifested by reduction in foetal body weight, crown-rump and tail lengths and reduced ossification of extremities bones. However, these signs of growth retardation observed before day 5 were reversible and the pups returned to normality after that. There was no maternal or organ toxicity observed. They also found that β-sitosterol was a major component in the extract and believed that this compound could be instrumental to the effects observed. [26]

Antifertility activity

Aqueous extract of A. montanus leaves was studied for the effect on the estrous cycle pre- and post-implantation in rats and its mechanism of action. They found that irrespective of the dose this extract reversibly prolonged the metestrous and occasionally the diestrous stages of the estrous cycle. It did not alter the uterine wet weight or deciduoma count, suggesting a lack of estrogenic and progestational effects. At a dose of 1000 mg/kg/day it was observed that there were an appreciable pre-implantation losses of 36.8 +/- 6.5%, however, there were no post-implantation losses. They also noted a delay in foetal growth. [27]

Anticonvulsant activity

In the process of screening 6 medicinal plants for their anticonvulsant and sedative activities in mice, the aqueous extract of A. montanus leaves was observed protected 66.6% of mice against maximal electroshock (MES), picrotoxin (PIC), and strychnine (STR)-induced convulsions and 83.3% of mice from pentylenetetrazol (PTZ)-induced convulsions. [28]

Antispasmodic activity

Methanol extract of A. montanus leaves was observed able to relax and inhibit the contraction of smooth muscles of the gut of rabbits and guinea pigs. This effect of the extract was not blocked by propranolol (3 x 10-7 M) but partially antagonised by phentolamine (10-6-3 x 10-6 M), procaine (10-3 M) and methylene blue (10-5 M). [29]

Hepatoprotective activity

Aqueous and alcoholic extract of A. montanus stem and leaf, pre-treatment against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced liver damage had been investigated for the hepatoprotective effects. In the pre-treated group of rats it was observed that the aqueous extract of A. montanus stem showed a marked decrease in the levels of Serum L-alanine aminotransferase (L-ALT), L-aspartate amino transferase (L-AST) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) when compared with the alcoholic extract of A. montanus stem and aqueous and alcoholic extract of A. montanus leaves. However, alcoholic extract of A. montanus leaves showed the lowest level of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) as compared to the other extracts. Total serum bilirubin and lipid peroxidation expressed by malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration of all aqueous and alcoholic extracts of the A. montanus stem and leaf also showed a remarkable decrease when compared with those administered CCl4-alone. The histopathological examinations have showed significant improvements in the architecture of rat liver, while rats administered CCl4-alone showed severe hepatic damage to the liver. All these results suggested that the aqueous and alcoholic extracts of A. montanus stem and leaf may prevent liver damage induced by CCl4 in rats. [30]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing

No documentation.


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