Gynura procumbens (Lour.) Merr.

Last updated: 30 Jul 2015

Scientific Name

Gynura procumbens (Lour.) Merr.


Cacalia cylindriflora Wall. [Invalid], Cacalia finlaysoniana Wall. [Invalid], Cacalia procumbens Lour., Cacalia reclinata Roxb., Cacalia sarmentosa Lesch. ex Blume, Crassocephalum baoulense (Hutch. & Dalziel) Milne-Redh., Crassocephalum latifolium S.Moore, Gynura affinis Turcz., Gynura agusanensis Elmer, Gynura baoulensis Hutch. & Dalziel, Gynura buntingii S.Moore, Gynura cavaleriei H.Lév., Gynura cavaleriei Levl., Gynura clementis Merr., Gynura finlaysoniana DC., Gynura latifolia (S.Moore) Elmer, Gynura lobbiana Turcz., Gynura piperi Merr., Gynura pubigera Bold., Gynura sarmentosa (Blume) DC., Gynura scabra Turcz., Senecio baoulensis A.Chev., Senecio mindoroensis Elmer [1].

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Sambung nyawa, akar sebiak, kacham akar, daun dewa, kelemai merah, kelemai merah, dewa raja [2][3][4][5]
English Mollucan spinach, longevity spinach, cholesterol spinach, leaves of Gods [4]
China Bai bing ca, ping wo ju san qi, man san qi cao, lam fei yip [4][5][6], she juan jao, fujung jao [7]
Indonesia Daun dewa, sambung nyawa, kalingsir, ngokilo [2][5]; beluntas cina (Sumatran) [8]
Philippines Gues (Negrito); kamañgi (Tagalog); purpuriket (Iloko); sabuñgai (Igorot) [4]
Thailand Pra-kham dee khwaai, ma kham dee khawaai, mu maeng sang, paetumpung [4][5]
Cambodia Chi angkam [4]
Vietnam Kim that thai, chay tie duong, tiem vinh [4]
Sweden blekt sammetsblad [9].

Geographical Distributions

Gynura procumbens can be found in Southern China throughout continental Southeast Asia and Malesia eastward to Papua New Guinea. [10]

Botanical Description

G. procumbens is a member of the Asteraceae family. It is a scrambling or weakly climbing and it is a perennial herb [10]. It is a scandent herbaceous plant that can reach up to 1.5 m high [11].

The stem is up to 6 m long, leafy, smooth or sparsely pubescent [10]. The stem lying on the ground but not rooting at the nodes. It has brownish or purple striate, hairless or slightly pubescent when young. The stem is branched [11].

The leaves got a slightly different shape between each of the leaves with a size measures 3-10 cm x 0.5-3 cm. The leaf blade is purplish below of the leaves and green on the surface of the leaves. The size is either ovate, ovate-oblong or elliptic. Both of the leaf surfaces are smooth and hairless or sparsely pubescent. The shape of the base on the leaves is rounded-obtuse or cuneately attenuate, whereas the apex is acute or acuminate. The leaves arised at the base stalk on the stem. The leaf petiole measures 5-15 mm. [10][11]

The flower is in the form of capitulum. There are 3-5 capitula in each corymb, in terminal or axillary corymbs. The peduncles long and slender, often with 1-3 linear bracts, shortly pubescent or hairless, involucres is campanulate or funnelform shaped measures 15-17 mm x 5-10 mm. The bracteoles exists at the base with 5 or 6 linear bracts. Phyllaries 11-13, become purplish, oblong-lanceolate in shape with a dimension of 15-17 mm x ca. 1.5 mm, smooth and hairless, 1-3 veined, the margin is narrowly scarious, acuminate at the apex. The florets are 20-30 piece, the corolla orange in colour, 12-15 mm long with a 8-10 mm slender tube and dilated limb, acute apex. The anthers are obtuse at the base, triangular appandages present. The style bract tips is conical, papillose. [11]

The achenes are brown, cylindric measuring about 4-6 mm long, smooth and hairless, 10 ribbed. The pappus is white and silky. [11]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

G. procumbens has been reported to contain sterols (e.g. β-sitosterol and stigmasterol), sterol glycosides (e.g. 3-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl β-sitosterol, 3-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl stigmasterol), nonadecane, phytyl valerate, adenosine, kaempferol-3-O-neohesperidoside, methyl hexadecanoate, methyl 9-octadecenoate, 4-hydroxy-4-methyl-2-pentanone, stigmasterol acetate, quercetin, kaempferol-3-glucoside, quercetin-3-O-rhamnosyl(1-6)galactoside, quercetin-3-O-rhamnosyl(1–6)glucoside, 3,5-di-O-caffeoyl quinic acid, 4,5-di-O-caffeoylquinic acid, 1,2-bis-dodecanoyl-3-alpha-O-D-glucopyranosyl-Sn-glycerol, and miraculin. [12][13][14][15][16][17][18]

Plant Part Used

Leaves, aerial parts [7][16][18]

Traditional Use

G. procumbens is believed to be cooling, neutral and has antineoplastic, antipyretic, hypotensive, hypoglycaemic and diuretic. Over the past decade, this plant has been promoted as an antidiabetic and antihypertensive remedy by many in Malaysia [7]. Traditionally, it has been used to treat sorethroat, sinusitis, gastritis, migraines, constipation, kidney diseases and snakebites [19][20]. The Indonesian also promoted this plant as a remedy for diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia [6].

The aerial and some other parts are used to treat fevers, skin rashes and as a remedy for ringworm infection. The leaves of this plant are routinely used for the treatment of kidney diseases, eruptive fevers, rash, diabetes mellitus and hyperlipidemia [19]. They used 2-3 pieces of plant leaves a day as ‘ulam’ (salad) and excessive consumption may harmful to the patient [21]. In Thailand, the aerial part of G. procumbens is used as a topical therapy for the treatment of inflammation, rheumatism and viral diseases of the skin [22][23].

Preclinical Data


Antidiabetic activity

Ethanol extract of G. procumbens leaves (50, 150 and 300 mg/kg) administered orally at single dose to streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats showed significant hypoglycemic effect by attenuated the elevated serum glucose comparable to metformin by improving glucose tolerance. Administration of 150 mg/kg extract for a duration of 7 days also significantly reduced serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the rats. The extract may have activity similar to biguanide agents. [19]

Aqueous extracts G. procumbens leaves administered to streptozotocin-induced diabetic male Sprague-Dawley rats (200-250 g) for duration of 14 days exhibited significant hypoglycaemic activity in by promoting glucose uptake by muscles. [24]

G. procumbens following serial extraction and fractionation was also reported to show hypoglycaemic activity [14][25][26]. Methanol extract and n-butanol fraction [25][27] exerted a significant hypoglycaemic effect when administered orally to streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Methanol extracts also inhibited the rise in glucose level of intraperitoneally induced hyperglycemic rats. In addition, fractionation of the methanol extract into chloroform, ethyl acetate, n-butanol, and aqueous fractions showed that only ethyl acetate caused a significant anti-hyperglycaemic effect in rats loaded with glucose and a reduction in the blood glucose levels of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats [28].

Anti-inflammatory activity

Hexane and toluene fractions of the ethanol extract of G. procumbens showed significant anti-inflammatory activity in croton oil-induced mouse ear inflammation which is comparable to hydrocortisone. Further analysis of these fractions pointed to the possibility of phytosteroids being responsible for the anti-inflammatory activity. The ethanol extract was able to inhibit the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6 and IL-8) in human HaCat keratinocyte. [22][29]

Ethyl acetate fraction of the ethanolic extract of G. procumbens significantly inhibited the increased of ear thickness in response to the croton oil. The activity of 0.75 mg/ear of the ethyl acetate fraction showed similar anti-inflammatory activity (inhibition 62.5%) to that of 6 mg/ear hydrocortisone 21-hemisuccinate sodium salt (inhibition 64.8%). On further fractionation, hexane and toluene sub-fractions showed significant inhibitions of 44.6% and 34.8%, respectively. These two fractions had similar activities to 4 mg/ear of hydrocortisone (inhibition 35.0%). The petroleum ether extract of G. procumbens also reported analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities by inhibiting oedema and hyperalgesia in the treated animals with carrageenan. [30]

Antiphotoaging activity

Ethanol extract of G. procumbens showed antiphotoaging activity towards matrix-metalloproteinase (MMP)-1 and MMP-9 expression in ultraviolet-B irradiation-induced human primary dermal fibroblast. It is deduced that this action is due to the ability of the extract to inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokine mediator release and reactive oxygen species production. [30]

Antiviral activity

Ethanol extract of G. procumbens aerial parts has been reported to show antiherpes simplex viral activity in an in vitro study model. The powdered whole plant was successively extracted with petroleum ether, chloroform, and ethanol. Bioassay-guided fractionation of the ethanolic extract resulted in the isolation of a mixture of 3,5-di-O-caffeoylquinic acid and 4,5-di-O-caffeoylquinic acid as the active components. The extract showed virucidal and antireplicative activity with IC50 of 96.0 and 61.0 mg/mL against HSV-2, respectively. Other compounds found to possess anti-HSV activity included mixtures of phytosterols and their glycosides as well as a glycoglycerolipid, namely 1,2-bis-dodecanoyl-3-α-D-glucopyranosyl-Sn-glycerol, with an IC50 of 40.0 mg/mL against HSV-2. [15]

Liver drug metabolism activity

Petroleum ether extracts of G. procumbens increased the metabolism of aminopyrine at a concentration of 100 mg/mL in a preliminary metabolism study on adult male rats. However the chloroform fraction of the methanol extract reduced the metabolism of aminopyrine on young female rats at a concentration of 10 mg/mL, 1mg/mL, and 100 ng/mL, respectively. [31]

Antihypertensive activity

Aqueous extract of G. procumbens leaves showed antihypertensive activity at 500 mg/kg in hypertensive-induced male rats with significant decreased in systolic blood pressure, lactate dehydrogenase and creatine phosphate kinase and nitric oxide comparable to distilled water treated group. [23]


Methanol extract of G. procumbens leaves did not produced neither any mortality nor significant changes in the general behavior, body weight, or gross appearance of organs in rats at 1000-5000 mg/kg in an acute toxicity studies. Neither were there any significant changes in haematological, clinical chemistry, or gross and microscopic appearance of the organs. In subchronic toxicity studies for 13 weeks, the NOAEL (no observed adverse effect levels) of the methanol extract was reported to be at 500 mg/kg/day. [32]

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

A controlled clinical trial in patients with recurrent herpes labialis of the standardized plant extracts was performed to evaluate the antiherpetic effectiveness of G. procumbens. The result showed tendency of the decreasing number of patients who suffered from itches in the treated group, the greater number of patients healing within 7 days, and the lesser number of patients infected with HSV-1. From the clinical pieces of evidence, G. procumbens was postulated to reduce the suffering from HSV-1 infection and might have some antiherpetic action [15].


No documentation.

Side effects

There was one patient in the placebo group suffering from allergic contact dermatitis in a study conducted to investigate the antiherpetic effectiveness of G. procumbens. It is also reported that 10 patients in the treated group and 5 patients in the placebo group who had mild itching and irritation [15].

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

No documentation.

Age limitation

No documentation.

Adverse reaction

No documentation.

Interaction & Depletion

Interaction with drug

G. procumbens then was unlikely to produce a pharmacokinetic interaction with other drugs taken together. The extract was also nontoxic to the laboratory mice. [19][24]

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation.


No documentation.

Case Report

No documentation.


No documentation.


No documentation.

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of G procumbens. [7]


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