Colubrina asiatica (L.) Brongn.

Last updated: 8 August 2016

Scientific Name

Colubrina asiatica (L.) Brongn.


Ceanothus asiaticus L., Ceanothus capsularis G.Forst., Colubrina capsularis G. Forst., Pomaderris capsularis (G. Forst.) G. Don, Rhamnus acuminata Colebr. ex Roxb., Rhamnus asiatica (L.) Lam. ex Poir., Rhamnus splendens Blume, Sageretia splendens (Blume) G. Don, Tubanthera katapa Raf., Trymalium capsulare G.Don [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Peria pantai, peria laut [2][3]
English Asian nakedwood, Carolina buckthorn, Indian cherry, yellow buckthorn [2], letherleaf, Asiatic or common colubrina, Asian snakeroot [3]
China She teng [2]
India In moi, katapa, kompaikoli, maanikya, manikya, mayirmanikkam, vira [2]
Japan Yaeyama-hama-natsu-me [2]
Hawaii ‘Anapanapa, kauila ‘anapanapa, kauila kukuku, kolokolo, kukuku [2]
Papua New Guinea Orogogo [2]

Geographical Distributions

Colubrina asiatica can be found at Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Africa, Australia, Pacific islands, West Indies. [4] It occurs coastal hardwood forest, dunes, roadsides and elevated ridges in mangrove forest. [5]

Botanical Description

C. asiatica is a member of the Rhamnaceae family. [1]

The leaves are blade ovate, broadly ovate, or cordate with submembranous or thinly papery, prominent on both surfaces, base rounded or subcordate, margin coarsely crenate, apex acuminate, emarginated, occurs alternately. Both surfaces are glabrous or subglabrous, venation pinnate, secondary veins 2 or 3 pairs. They measures 4-8 cm long and 2-5cm wide. The petiole is about 1 - 1.6 cm. [4]

The flowers are yellow with 5 merous. The pedical is about 2 – 3 cm. It has 5 sepals, triangular, adaxially distinctly keeled. The petals are obovate or cucullate. [4]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

C. asiatica leaves has been reported to contained 3'-O-acetylcolubrin; 3' ',2' "-O-diacetylcolubrin;  3' '-O-acetyl-6' '-O-trans-crotonylcolubrin; colubrine; colubrinoside;  kaempferol 3-O-rutinoside and rutin. [6][7]

Plant Part Used

Leaves [8]

Traditional Use

In Car Nicobar Island, Nicobarase people used the boiled mixture of mashed leaves of C. asiatica and Morinda citrifolia in the coconut oil with pig fat attached to the fractured part by the bandage. [8]

Women in Car Nicobar Island also use the mixture of the equal quantities of the leaf extract of C. asiatica and Ochrosia oppositifolia K. Schum to treat gynaecological disorders. [8]

The leaves of Colubrina asiatica is used in the treatment of headache and bodyaches, fever and pain reliever. [9]

Preclinical Data


Sedative activity

The saponins colubrine and colubrinoside were found to decrease spontaneous motility in mice and prolonged barbiturate narcosis while at the same time showed antagonistic effects on amphetamine and exerted a synergistic activity on chlordiazepoxide. These findings indicate that these two saponins have sedative actions. [6]

Antibacterial activity

Essential oil extracted from C. asiatica leaves in combinations with oil from Litsea chinensis and Piper cubeba showed maximum antibacterial activity against 15 pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria. [10] 

Extracts (petroleum ether, chloroform and methanol) of the leaves of C. asiatica was found to have inhibitory activities against Helicobacter pylori. [11]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation


No documentation

Side effects

No documentation

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

No documentation

Age limitation

No documentation

Adverse reaction

C. asiatica is a frequent vegetable consumed especially by people of the northern states of Peninsular Malaysia. Due to the presence of sedating saponins colubrin and colubrinoside it is advisable not to over consume this vegetable. Handling of heavy vehicles after consumption of this vegetable should be avoided. [6]

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation

Interaction with drug

No documentation

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation


No documentation

Case Report

No documentation


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Colubrina asiatica (L.) Brongn. Ver 1.1. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated on 2012 April 18; cited on 2016 Apr 5]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology. Volume II C-D. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press LLC; 1999 p. 364.
  3. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute Medical Research. Compendium of Medicinal Plants Used in Malaysia. Volume 1. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR; 2002. p. 210.
  4. Floras of China. Colubrina asiatica. [homepage on the internet]. C2013 No date [cited on 2016 April 13]. Available from:
  5. Kaufman SR, Kaufman W. Invasive plants: a guide to identification, impacts, and control of common North American species. 2nd ed. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole Books, 2013: p. 71-71.
  6. Wagner H, Ott S, Jurcic K et al. A chemistry, 13C-NMR study and pharmacology of two saponins from Colubrina asiatica.Planta Med. 1983 Jul;48(7):136-41.
  7. Lee SS, Chen WC, Chen CH. New jujubogenin glycosides from Colubrina asiatica. J Nat Prod. 2000 Nov;63(11):1580-3.
  8. Verma C, Bhatia S, Srivastava S. Traditional medicine of the Nicobarese. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge. 2010:9(4), 779-785.
  9. Nandwani D, Calvo J, tenorio J et al. Medicinal plants and traditional knowledge in the Northern Mariana Islands. Journal of Applied Biosciences. 2008;8(2):323-330.
  10. Kar A, Jain SR. Antibacterial evaluation of some indigenous medicinal volatile oils Plant Foods for Human Nutrition (Formerly Qualitas Plantarum). 1971;20(3):231-237
  11. Uyub AM, Nwachukwu IK, Azlan AA et al. In-vitro antibacterial activity and cytotoxicity of selected medicinal plant extracts from Penang Island Malaysia on metronidazole-resistant-Helicobacter pylori and some pathogenic bacteria. Ethnobotany Research & Applications. 2010;8:095-106.