Cissampelos pareira L.

Last updated: 30 August 2016

Scientific Name

Cissampelos pareira L.


Cissampelos argentea Kunth, Cissampelos auriculata Miers, Cissampelos australis A.St.-Hil., Cissampelos benthamiana Miers, Cissampelos boivinii Baill., Cissampelos bojeriana Miers, Cissampelos caapeba L., Cissampelos canescens Miq., Cissampelos cocculus Poir., Cissampelos consociata Miers, Cissampelos convolvulacea Willd., Cissampelos cordifolia Bojer, Cissampelos cumingiana Turcz., Cissampelos delicatula Miers, Cissampelos diffusa Miers, Cissampelos discolor DC., Cissampelos discolor A.Gray [Illegitimate], Cissampelos diversa Miers, Cissampelos elata Miers, Cissampelos ellenbeckii Diels, Cissampelos eriantha Miers, Cissampelos eriocarpa Triana & Planch., Cissampelos glaucescens Triana & Planch., Cissampelos gracilis A.St.Hil., Cissampelos grallatoria Miers, Cissampelos guayaquilensis Kunth, Cissampelos haenkeana C.Presl, Cissampelos hederacea Miers, Cissampelos heterophylla DC., Cissampelos hirsuta Buch.-Ham. ex DC., Cissampelos hirsutissima C.Presl, Cissampelos kohautiana C.Presl, Cissampelos limbata Miers, Cissampelos littoralis A.St.-Hil., Cissampelos longipes Miers, Cissampelos madagascariensis Miers, Cissampelos madagascariensis (Baill.) Diels [Illegitimate], Cissampelos mauritiana Thouars, Cissampelos microcarpa DC., Cissampelos monoica A.St.-Hil., Cissampelos myriocarpa Triana & Planch., Cissampelos nephrophylla Bojer, Cissampelos obtecta Wall. ex Miers, Cissampelos obtecta Wall.Cissampelos orbiculata (L.) DC., Cissampelos orinocensis Kunth, Cissampelos pannosa Turcz., Cissampelos pareiroides DC.Cissampelos pata Roxb. ex Wight &Arn., Cissampelos perrieri Diels, Cissampelos pilgeri Diels, Cissampelos poilanei Gagnep., Cissampelos reticulata Borhidi, Cissampelos salzmannii Turcz., Cissampelos subpeltata Thwaites, Cissampelos subpeltata Thwaites ex Miers, Cissampelos subreniformis Triana & Planch., Cissampelos tamoides Willd. Ex DC.Cissampelos testudinum Miers, Cissampelos tetrandra Roxb., Cissampelos tomentocarpa Rusby, Cissampelos tomentosa DC., Cissampelos violifolia Rusby, Cocculus membranaceus Wall. [Invalid], Cyclea madagascariensis Baill [1]

Vernacular Name

Indonesia Mangaloke (Moluccas). [2]
Thailand Khong khamao (Northern); khruea ma noi (Eastern); krung khamao (Peninsular) [2]
Philippines Sansau (Tagalog); sampare (Bisaya); kalaad (Iloko). [2]
Vietnam d[aa]y m[oos]i, m[oos]i tr[of]n, ti[ees]t d[ee] [2]

Geographical Distributions

Cissampelos pareira consists of 20-25 species and has a pantropical distribution. Only the pantropical Cissampelos pareira var. hirsuta (Buch.-Ham. ex DC.) Forman occurs in Malaysia. In Asia it is found from Nepal and India, through Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China, southern China, Thailand and Malesia (but is not known from Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Java), to Australia (Queensland). [2]

Botanical Description

C. pareira belongs to the family Menispermacaea. A dioecious scandent shrub with woody older stems and slender leafy stems, glabrous to densely pubescent. [2]

The leaves arranged spirally, simple and entire, broadly ovate, 4.5-11 cm x 4.5-12 cm, with rounded, truncate or cordate base and acuminate to obtuse apex, mucronate at the tip, hairy below, sparsely pubescent above, palmately 5-7-veined; petiole 2-9 cm long, pubescent; stipules absent. [2]

The male inflorescence an axillary subcorymbose peduncled cyme, 2-4 cm long, solitary or a few together; female inflorescence axillary, thyrsoid, narrow, up to 18 cm long, composed of a pseudoraceme of fascicles with accrescent suborbicular bracts. [2]

The flowers unisexual, pedicel up to 2 mm long; male flower greenish or yellowish, with 4 sepals pilose outside, a cupuliform corolla and stamens completely fused, having 4 anther-cells; female flower with one sepal, one petal and one pilose carpel having a thick style with divaricately 3-lobed stigma. [2]

The fruit a pubescent, orange to red drupe, about 5 mm long, curved with style-scar near base; endocarp with 2 dorsal rows of very prominent transverse ridges. The seed horseshoe-shaped; embryo elongate, narrow, embedded in endosperm, cotyledons flattened. [2]


C. pareira occurs in primary and secondary forest, in Thailand also in bamboo forest, and in thickets, up to 1300 m altitude. It climbs over trees and river banks. [2]

Chemical Constituent

C. pareira has been found to contain a number of alkaloids, especially bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids: hayatine (= d,l-bebeerine = d,l-curine), hayatidine (= d,l-4'-O-methylbebeerine = d,l-4'-O-methylcurine), hayatinine (= l-4'-O-methylbebeerine = l-4'-O-methylcurine), d-4'-O-methylbebeerine (= d-4'-O-methylcurine), l-bebeerine (= l-curine), d-isochondodendrine, d-dicentrine, d,l-dehydrodicentrine, d-insularine (all from roots), l-cycleanine (from roots and leaves) and cissampareine (from plants). Hayatinine (in the form of its methochloride) has been evaluated for its muscle-relaxant properties. [2]

The molecule is structurally very similar to that of d-tubocurarine from Chondrodendron tomentosum Ruiz & Pavón (Menispermaceae, South America) and also shows comparable neuro-muscular blocking activities. Both have a non-depolarizing mode of action, and the blocking site is at the cholinergic (nicotinic) receptor in the postsynaptic membrane. Additionally, l-cycleanine has shown significant inhibition of nitric oxide production in vitro, and reduced the level of tumour necrosis factor in vivo, using a mouse model for fulminant hepatitis. [2]

The roots have also been found to be a rich source of tropoloisoquinoline alkaloids. Using bioassay-directed purifications, guided by cytotoxicity against P388 cells, pareirubrine A, pareirubrine B, grandirubrine, isomerubrine and pareitropone have been isolated, all of which showed potent antileukemic activity. Furthermore, two cytotoxic azafluoranthene alkaloids, structurally strongly related to tropoloisoquinoline alkaloids, have been isolated from the same root extract. One of the tetrahydroprotoberberine group of alkaloids, cissamine chloride (= cyclanoline chloride) has been isolated from the roots. C. pareira exhibits curare-like activity, depressing the central nervous systems, relaxing smooth muscles and with hypotensive and hypoglycaemic action. In tests in Africa, extracts of Cissampelos roots and leaves controlled storage pest species, such as the small beetles Acanthoscelides obtectus on cowpeas, Prostephanus truncatus on maize grains and Sitophilus oryzae on wheat grains. [2]

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

Preparations of C. pareira have a large array of in tropical countries and are applied against a variety of complaints. For instance, the root decoction is used to treating urinary tract conditions such as acute and chronic cystitis (India), calcifications and as a diuretic (Philippines, Thailand, India, Africa, Central and South America). [2]

It is used to treat colic or diarrhea due to its anti spasmodic action in South America, and may act as purgative or emetic which is widely practised in Madagascar. [2]

In some parts of Thailand and South America, the decoction is also claimed to help in relieving menstrual and postnatal pains. It is also said to prevent threatened miscarriage and arrest uterine haemorrhages. The plant is locally used by tribes in India in prevention of pregnancy. [2]

The (pounded) leaves can be used for snake bites and in the treatment of abscesses in the Philippines, and for wounds and ulcers in Thailand, India, Africa, Central and South America. The leaves, crushed in water, give a jelly which is used as refreshment. [2]

In Philippines, the fibres of the bark are made into ropes, which are used as a fish poison. [2]

Preclinical Data


Antiparasitic activity

A compound, cissampeloflavone, isolated from the acetone extract of C. pareira exhibited good activity in the antiprotozoal assay against Trypanosoma cruzi and T. brucei rhodesiense, but poor activity against Plasmodium falciparum and Leishmania donovani. [3]

Cytotoxic and anti-cancer activity

Cytotoxic azafluoranthene alkaloids, norimelutein and norruffscine showed antileukemic activity during a survey of South American medicinal plants and after purification of the crude extract from Cissampelos pareira was carried out. [4] A novel tropoloisoquinoline alkaloid, pareirubrine, with antileukemic activity was isolated too. [5]

Antidiarrhoeal activity

The antidiarrhoeal activity of the ethanolic extract of the roots was assessed on experimental animals. 25-100 mg dry extract per kg body mass administered orally exhibited a dose dependent decrease in the total number of faecal droppings, and 29.2-60.0 % inhibition in castor oil-induced diarrhoea. [6]

Antinociceptive and antiarthritic activity

In a study, 50% ethanolic extract of C. pareira roots in acute, subacute and chronic models of inflammation was assessed in rats. [7]

Anti-inflammatory and analgesic

Anti-inflammatory activity of 50% ethanoic extract C. pareira root (CPE) was evaluated in acute, subacute and chronic models of inflammation in rats. Oral treatment of CPE (200 mg/kg, 400 mg/kg b.w) demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity and even at very high dose of 1000 mg/kg did not produce any signs of toxicity and mortality in these rats. [8] This study concludes that CPE possesses significant anti-inflammatory activity suggesting its potential for use in the treatment of various inflammatory diseases. [7]


In a study, 50% aqueous ethanolic extract of the plant was evaluated for the acute and subacute toxicity. In the acute toxicity test, oral administration of 2 g per kg body weight of the extract produced neither mortality nor changes in behaviour in mice. Whereas in subacute toxicity studies, no mortality was observed when two doses of 1 and 2 g per kg body weight per day of the same extract were administered p.o. for a period of 28 days in rats. Thus in conclusion, C. pareira is safe in acute and subacute toxicities while chronic toxicity studies need further trials. [9]

Clinical Data

No documentation

Interaction & Depletion

Interaction with drug

The alkaloid tetrandrine has been documented to have various actions on heart function in animals and humans. Hence, those with a heart condition or taking heart medications should consult their doctor before using this herb. [10]

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation


The herb has been tested to lower blood pressure in two animal studies and it should not be used by people with low blood pressure. Pregnant women should avoid using it except under close supervision. [10]


No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of C. pareira [11]


  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1. Cissampelos pareira L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Aug 11]. Available from:
  2. Horsten SFAJ, Lemmens RHMJ. Cissampelos pareira L. 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 Publisher, 1999; p. 205-207.
  3. Ramirez I, Carabot A, Melendoz P, et al. Cissampeloflavone, a chalcone-flavone dimer from Cissampelos pareira. Phytochem. 2003; 64:645-647.
  4. Morita H, Matsumoto K, Takeya K, Itokawa H. Azafluoranthene Alkaloids from Cissampelos pareira. Chem Pharm Bull. 1993; 41(7):1307-1308.
  5. Morita H, Matsumoto K, Takeya K, Itokawa H, Iitaka Y. A Novel antileukemic tropoloisoquinoline alkaloid, pareirubrine, from Cissampelos pareira. Chem Letts. 1993;22 (2):339.
  6. Amresh G, Reddy GD, Rao CV, Shirwaikar A. Ethnomedical value of Cissampelos pareira extract in experimentally induced diarrhoea. Acta Pharm. 2004; 54(1):27-35.
  7. Amresh G, Reddy GD, Rao ChV, Singh PN. Evaluation of anti-inflammatory activity of Cissampelos pareira roots in rats. J Ethnopharmacol2007;110(3):526-531.
  8. Amresh G, Zeashan H, Rao ChV. Prostaglandin mediated anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity of Cissampelos pareira. Acta Pharmaceutica Sci. 2007; 49:153-160
  9. Amresh G, Singh PN, Rao CV. Toxicological screening of traditional medicine Laghuapatha (Cissampelos pareira) in experimental animals. J Etnopharmacol. 2008;116(3):454-460.
  10. Taylor L. The healing power of rainforest herbs. New York, USA: Square One Publishers, 2005; p. 152-155.
  11. Ludivina S, Nanthawan B. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 1999; p. 206-207.