Barleria prionitis L.

Last updated: 01 Oct 2015

Scientific Name

Barleria prionitis L. 


Barleria appressa (Forssk.) Deflers, Barleria coriacea Oberm, Barleria echinata St.-Lag, Barleria hystrix L., Barleria quadrispinosa Stokes, Barleria spicata Roxb., Prionitis hystrix (L.) Miq. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia bunga landak [2]
English Barleria, lobed needle grass, porcupine flower [3]
India Ananta, artagala, bana, bhindi, bijdanti, cemmuli, das karanta, gorate, koti, koreta, kuravaka, muli, mulla gorinta, mullu goranti, kutanacam, piya bansa, semmuli, vira, vetilakutti [3]
Indonesia jarong kembang landep (Sundanese); landep (Javanese, Madurese) [2]
Thailand khieo kaeo, angkaap nuu (Central); mankai (Northern) [2]
Laos dok man khay [2]
Myanmar Lei’hsu: lei’ sajwei, leik-sa-ywe, leik-su-ywe, lep-hsu: hgwe, lep-shu: shwe, leip-ra: rwe [3]
Philippines kolinta, kulanta, kokong-manok (Tagalog) [2]
Vietnam ch[oo]ng, gai kim hoang [2]

Geographical Distributions

Barleria prionitis Linn. is a well-known perennial, Ayurvedic herb is native in the tropical Asia, Africa and Yemen. [4]

On the Australian mainland it grows well in tropical savanna country and along riverbanks. It is particularly hardy, and in the Katherine region flourishes on rugged limestone outcrops with little soil cover by clinging to the rocks and crevices with a network of roots. The small infestation on Boigu Island is growing on sandy soil. [6]

Botanical Description

B. prionitis is from the family of Acanthaceae. It is a shrub that can grow to almost 2 m high. It branches freely with branchlet terete and tumid above nodes. They possesses 2-3 divaricated spines measuring 11 mm long. [5]

The leaves are ovate-elliptic to obovate, measuring 4-10 cm x 2-6 cm tapering to base, mucronate, galbrous above with many cytolith. The petioles are 2.5 cm long. [5]

The flowers are large, solitary, becoming spicate in the upper axils. Bracts are linear-oblong 1.2-2.2 cm x 0.2-0.8 cm, abruptly acuminate and ciliated. Bracteoles are linear-lanceolate measuring 1.4 cm x 0.15cm, spinous-tipped. Outer calyx-lobe ovate-oblong and measuring 1.5 x 0.4 cm and is mucronate. The inner lobes are linear-lanceolate, 13 x 2 mm. also mucronate. The corolla is bright orange-yellow with the tube pilulose outside and 2.5 cm long. Limb is 3 cm across the lateral lobes; the lobes are oval-oblong to rounded and recurved. The anterior stamens are exerted while the posterior stamens rudimentary and single short staminoid. [5]

The capsule is ovoid-oblong, 1.2-1.6 x 0.9-1.1 cm; seeds 2, oval-oblong, 8 x 5 mm with adpressed, silky hairs. [5]


B. prionitis grows on a wide variety of soil types and seems to prefer well-drained soils. They also grow well in disturbed areas such as roadsides or overgrazed pastures. [6]

Chemical Constituent

Alcohol extract of B. prionitis leaves and stems has been reported to contain iridoid (e.g. acetyl barlerin and barlerin) [7]

B. prionitis arial parts has been reported to contain phenylethanoid glycoside (e.g. barlerinoside), iridoid glycosides (e.g. shanzhiside methyl ester, 6-O-trans-p-coumaroyl- 8-O-acetylshanzhiside methyl ester, barlerin, acetylbarlerin, 7-methoxydiderroside, and lupulinoside) [8]

B. prionitis has also been reported to contain anthraquinones (e.g. 1,8, dihydroxy -2,7-dimethyl3,6-dimethoxy anthraquinone dan 1,3,6,8-tetra methoxy-2,7-dimethyl anthraquinone) [9], iridoid glycosides (e.g. 6-O-tans-p-coumaroyl-8-O-acetylshanzhiside methyl ester, 6-O-cis-p-coumaroyl-8-O-acetylshanzhiside methyl ester, barlerin, and verbascoside). [10]

Plant Part Used

Bark, leaves, flowers and roots. [11]

Traditional Use

B. prionitis has been traditionally used in the treatment of respiratory disease, skin disease, genito-urinary disease and neurological disease. The ash of the whole plant mixed with honey is a remedy for bronchial asthma. [11][12][13]

A decoction of the dried bark is used for the barking cough of Pertussis and also as a diaphoretic and expectorant. [11][13]

In Indian society, the juice of the leaves mixed with honey seems to be the remedy for the treatment of catarrhal conditions in children. The juice of the leaves also applied to heals to prevent cracking and laceration, infected wounds, erysipelas and pimples. For the latter the juice of the leaves is mixed with coconut oil and applied locally. The leaves and the flowering tops are considered as diuretic and are used to treat various urinary affections. In paste from it is applied as a poultice for enlargement of the scrotum (epididymitis). The paste of the leaves form part of the ingredients of hot poultice and steam bath was used for the treatment of paraplegia. The leaves of the yellow variety is pounded and inserted into hollow of teeth to relieve toothache. [11][14]

The flowers are prescribed for urethral discharge and seminal disorders. The flower is given internally for the treatment of haemoptysis, migraine. [11]

The oil extract of the plant is used to arrest greying of hair. The herb extracted in oil is also used to treat these neurological conditions. The same oil is also used to treat gout and arthritis by massaging the affected joints with it. Medicated oil is applied to unhealthy wounds. [14]

The paste of roots is applied to boils and glandular swelling. [11]

Preclinical Data



Methanol-water extract of B. prionitis was administered intraperitoneally and showed significant anti-inflammatory activity against different inflammagens like carrageenan, histamine and dextran in rats with LD50 value of 2530mg/kg. The anti-inflammatory action in adrenalectomised rats was maintained since the effect of fraction 'TAF' is not activated by the pituitary-adrenal axis. [15]

In vivo

Methanol-water extract of B. prionitis with LD50 was more than 3000 mg/kg was administered orally to rats for duration of 15 days. The extract indicated that TAF showed inhibition of vascular permeability and leucocytes migration in vivo into the site of inflammatory insult while Ibuprofen was used a standard reference drug. [15]

Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory

Crude extracts of B. prionitis demonstrated the therapeutic potential as anti-inflammatory agents. The results showed broad-spectrum antibacterial action with minimum inhibitory concentrations ranging from 0.059 to 6.25 mg/ml. The extracts showed good activity in both COX-1 and COX-2 assay and its efficacy was facilitated by the inhibition of cyclooxygenase enzymes. The results also showed the extracts (except B. prionitis stem) exhibited good inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis in COX-1. [16]

Compounds isolated from ethanolic extract of B. prionitis namely balarenone, pipataline, lupeol and 13,14-seco-stigmasta-5,14-diene-3-α-ol showed moderate inhibitory activity against glutathione S-transferase (GST) and acetylcholinesterase (AChE). All of these compounds (except for lupeol) also exhibited antibacterial activity against Bacillus cereus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (25 µg/disk). [17]


Compound named 6-O-trans-p-coumaroyl-8-O-acetylshanzhiside methyl ester and its cis isomer isolated from B. prionitis was shown to have potent in vitro activity against respiratory syncytial virus with EC50 value was 2.46µg/mL and IC50 value was 42.2 µg /mL. [10]


Compound (iridoid enriched fraction IF) isolated from the ethanol-water extract of B. prionitis aerial parts was administered orally in mice for duration of 15 days. The extract significantly showed that the LD50 value was found to be more than 3000 mg/kg whereas LD50 value indicated 2530 mg/kg+/-87 mg/kg intraperitoneally when silymarin was used as reference hepatoprotective. Thus, it afforded significant hepatoprotection against carbon tetrachloride, galactosamine and paracetamol induced hepatotoxicity. [18]


Methanol extract of B. prionitis root fraction 1 (Fr. I) and fraction II (Fr. II) (100 mg/rat per day) administered orally to male rats for duration of 60 days showed decreased fertility by 33.4 % and 100 % for both extracts, respectively. The result also showed that the extracts did not influenced general body metabolism but it significantly reduced the spermatogenesis including sperm motility, density in cauda epididymides, seminal vesicular fructose, as well as the total protein, glycogen and sialic acid contents of testes whilst no significant change was found in the number of Sertoli cells and spermatogonia in both treated group. Fr II significantly declined various spermatogenic cells population (e.g. primary spermatocytes, secondary spermatocytes and round spermatids) while Fr. I decreased the preleptotene spermatocyte and spermatid. [19]

B. prionitis root extract (100 mg/day) administered orally to male rats for duration of 60 days reduced the fertility of male rats by 100% and interference with spermatogenesis but did not cause body weight loss. The round spermatids were significantly (p<or=0.001) decreased by 73.6%. No significant change was found in the population of secondary spermatocytes but the population of preleptotene spermatocytes were decreased by 41.9%. The total protein, sialic acid contents of the testes, epididymides, seminal vesicle and prostate were reduced with significant reduction of the cross sectional surface area of Sertoli cells and mature Leydig cell numbers (36.9%) and low testicular glycogen contents. [20]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Line drawing

No documentation.


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