Alternanthera sessilis (L.) R.Br. ex DC.

Last updated: 26 May 2016

Scientific Name

Alternanthera sessilis (L.) R.Br. ex DC.


Achyranthes linearifolia Sw. ex Wikstr., Achyranthes sessilis (L.) Besser, Achyranthes triandra Roxb., Achyranthes villosa Blanco, Allaganthera forsskaolei Mart., Alternanthera achyranthes Forssk., Alternanthera achyranthoides Hiern, Alternanthera achyranthoides Forssk., Alternanthera angustifolia R.Br., Alternanthera denticulata R.Br., Alternanthera dubia Moq. [Illegitimate], Alternanthera ficoides P.Beauv., Alternanthera glabra Moq., Alternanthera major (Benth.) Domin, Alternanthera micrantha (Benth.) Domin [Illegitimate], Alternanthera nana R.Br., Alternanthera nodiflora R.Br., Alternanthera polygonoides (L.) R.Br. ex Sweet, Alternanthera prostrata D.Don, Alternanthera repens J.F.Gmel., Alternanthera sennii Mattei, Alternanthera sibirica (De Vest ex Roem. & Schult.) Steud., Alternanthera tenella Moq. [Illegitimate], Alternanthera tenuissima Suess., Alternanthera triandra Lam. [Illegitimate], Alternanthera uliginosa (Domin) Dinter, Gomphrena brasiliensis Moq. [Invalid], Gomphrena polygonoides L., Gomphrena sessilis L., Illecebrum sessile (L.) L., Paronychia sessilis (L.) Desf. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Keremak, pudoh, kermak bukit [2]
English Dwarf copperleaf, sessile-flowered globe amaranth, sessile joyweed, water amaranth [3]
China Lian zi cao, jie jie hua [3]
India Matyakshika, alaku, aluza, antarnilai, bhaji, cakaccai, comakanni, gaitewar, honagone soppu, intiranikani, kalavativalaki, karpuram, laanchari, maccikkanni, menatu, nirovati, pakalnatcattiramtonri, ponnam kani, sanchi, tacamaikkanni, ulavanikacceti, varikkani, et al. [3]
Indonesia Kremek (Sundanese); bayem kremah (Javanese); daun tolod (Moluccas) [2]
Thailand Phakpet khaao, phakpet thai [2]
Laos Khaix ped, phak ph’ê:w, nê: ti:d kho:x [3]
Myanmar Khaix ped, phak ph'ê:w (Louang Prabang), nê: ti:d kho:x (Vientiane) [2]
Philippines Bunga-bunga (Tagalog), bilanamanut (Magindanao), gogoat (Bontok) [2]
Cambodia Chë:ng bângko:ng (Kompong Thom) [2]
Vietnam Rau d[eej]u (General) [2]
Taiwan Phak pet Thai [3]
Tibet Dza la pi pi la, tsha la pi pa la [3]
Arab Luqmet el-hamal [3]
West Africa Ndatawuli [3]
Ghana Abanase-abanase [3]
Nigeria Awo erede, dagunro, ewaowo, moni roderode, sajeje [3].

Geographical Distributions

Alternanthera sessilis is distributed throughout the tropics and subtropics of America, Africa and Asia; and also throughout Malaysia. [2]

A. sessilis is a very common plant of constant or periodically humid, open localities in roadsides, gardens, ditches, swamps, rice fields and tea plantations, and can be found up to 1250 m altitude. [2]

Botanical Description

A. sessilis is a member of the Amaranthaceae family. It is a perennial but sometimes annual herb that can grow up to 1 m tall. It is erect, ascending or creeping, often widely branched, with robust taproot, solid stems, sometimes floating in water and then fistulose in lower part and with smooth hairs. [2]

The leaves are linear-lance-shaped, oblong to ovate or obovate, measuring 1-15 cm x 0.5-3 cm, and hairless or sparsely hairy. The petiole is 1-5 mm long. [2]

Its flowering heads are sessile with 1-veined tepals or only 3-veined at the very base, shiny white or purplish. The filaments are united at base into a very short cup. [2]

The fruit is obreniform, corky and measures about 2 mm long. [2]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

A. sessilis has been reported to contain β-carotene [4], ricinoleic acid, myristic, palmitic, stearic, oleic, and linoleic acids [5], α-spirasterol, uronic acid and β-sitosterol [6].

A. sessilis has been reported to contain 33.26% of lutein out of the total carotenoids. [7]

Plant Part Used

Whole plant, leaves, shoots, root [2][6]

Traditional Use

A. sessilis is known to alleviate dementia [8]. It is also used  in the treatment of women’s genitourinary infections, vaginal discharge, and post-partum haemorrhage [9].

In Indonesia, A. sessilis entire plant is used as an infusion to treat intestinal cramps, diarrhoea and dysentery, and externally as a cooling agent to treat fever. In Malaysia it is used internally against intestinal inflammation and fever, and externally to treat wounds. A. sessilis is often mixed with other medicinal plants by Taiwanese to treat hepatitis, tight chest, bronchitis, asthma, and lung troubles, to stop bleeding and as a hair tonic. Indian used it as a remedy for dysentery, as a cholagogue, abortifacient, febrifuge, to treat snake bites, and inflamed wounds and boils. While in Thailand and Sri Lanka it is known as a galactagogue. Many places such as Vietnam and Sri Lanka eat the plant as a vegetable. [2]

A. sessilis  roots are used for stomachache in Nepal. [6]

Preclinical Data


Antioxidant activity

The antioxidant activity of A. sessilis was measured by α,α-diphenyl-β-picryl-hydrazyl (DPPH) free radical scavenging activity. The ethanol extract of A. sessilis showed 70% free radical scavenging activity. In the hydroxyl radical scavenging activity assay, A. sessilis showed 50% hydroxyl radical scavenging activity which in the anti-FeCl2-H2O2-stimulated linoleic acid peroxidation system, A. sessilis (2-8 mg) inhibited malondialdehyde (MDA) formation by 11.6 to 30.6%. A. sessilis reduced the peroxide value of heated groundnut and sunflower oil up to 4 weeks of storage. The polyphenol content of the leaves was 25 mg/g. [6]


Oral administration of the water extract of A. sessilis (aerial parts; leaves, stems, flowers) in Swiss mice in daily doses of 16.9mg, 33.8mg and 67.7mg for 14 consecutive days did not result in severe symptoms of toxicity except for diarrhoea in one animal that received the highest dose. In the high dose groups, the water extract of A. sessilis causes histopathological changes in the liver and kidney tissues. There was moderate to severe hepatocyte degeneration in the centrilobular area associated with sinusoidal congestion and focal hepatocellular necrosis, and moderate degeneration of renal tubular cells and necrosis. In a previous study, the alkaloidal extract of A. sessilis injected intraperitoneally into Swiss mice lead to alterations of liver and kidney functions. A. sessilis showed a significant level of cytotoxicity in brine shrimp lethality bioassay. [10]

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation.


No documentation.

Interaction & Depletion

Interaction with drug

No documentation.

Interaction with other Herbs

Addition of fat (coconut) while cooking A. sessilis leaves increased the content of all-trans- β-carotene. [4]


No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing



Figure 1: The line drawing of A. sessilis. [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Alternanthera sessilis (L.) R.Br. ex DC. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 May 26]. Available from:
  2. Lemmens RHMJ, Horsten SFAJ. Alternanthera sessilis (L.) DC. In: de Padua LS, Bunyapraphatsara N, Lemmens RHMJ, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publishers, 1999; p. 109.
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume I A-B. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 219-219.
  4. Chandrika UG, Svanberg U, Jansz ER. In vitro accessibility of ß-carotene from cooked Sri Lankan green leafy vegetables and their estimated contribution to vitamin A requirement. J Sci Food Agric. 2006;86(1):54-61.
  5. Mehrotra NN, Ojha VSK. Ayurvedic Rasayana therapy and rejuvenation (Kaya Kalp). Ind Crops Prod. 2006;19:133-136
  6. Acharya E, Pokhrel B. Ethno-medicinal plants used by Bantar of Bhaudaha, Morang, Nepal. Our Nature. 2006;4(1):96-103.
  7. Raju M, Varakumar S, Lakshminarayana R, Krishnakantha TP, Baskaran V. Carotenoid composition and vitamin A activity of medicinally important green leafy vegetables. Food Chem. 2007;4(101):1598-1605.
  8. Manyam BV. Dementia in ayurveda. J Altern Complement Med. 1999;5(1):81-88.
  9. Coelho-Ferreira M. Medicinal knowledge and plant utilization in an Amazonian coastal community of Marudá, Pará State (Brazil). J Ethnopharmacol. 2009;126(1):159-175.
  10. Igoli JO, Ogaji OG, Tor-Anyiin TA, Igoli NP. Traditional medicine practice amongst The Igede People of Nigeria. Our Nature. 2005;2(2):134-152.