Ipomoea pes-caprae (L.) R. Br.

Last updated: 20 Dec 2016

Scientific Name

Ipomoea pes-caprae (L.) R. Br.


Convolvulus bilobatus Roxb., Convolvulus brasiliensis L., Convolvulus pes-caprae L., Ipomoea biloba Forssk., Ipomea bilobata var. emarginata (Hallier f.) R.O.Williams, Ipomoea brasiliensis (L.) Sweet, Ipomoea maritima R. Br., Ipomea pes-caprae var. brasiliensis (L.) A. St.-Hil., Ipomea pes-caprea var. emarginata Hallier f., Latrienda brasiliensis (L.) Raf. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Tapak kuda, [2] batata pantai [3]
English Sea morning glory, [2] bay hops, Brazilian bay hops, goat’s foot creeper, goat’s-hoof vine, horse’s footprint, railroad vine [3]
China Hou teng [3]
India Aadambu, aadu balli, aaduballi, adambu, adappangodi, adapukodi, adumbaballi [3]
Indonesia Daun katang, tapak kuda (general), katang-katang (Bali) [4]
Thailand Pak bung tale, [2] la-buu-lao, phak bung thale, phakbung thalae [3]
Philippines Arodaidai, badino, bagasua, balim-balim, balimbahin, daripai, kabaikabai, kamkamote, katang-katang, lagairai, lagilai, langbayong, palang-palang [3]
Cambodia Pak bung tale, trakuon kentek [3]
Myanmar Pin­laikazum [4]
Vietnam B[if]m cha[aa]n d[ee], rau mu[oos]ng bi[eer]n [3].

Geographical Distributions

Ipomoea pes-caprae is one of the most common beach plants throughout the trop­ics, including Southeast Asia. [4]

Botanical Description

I. pes-caprae is a member of Convolvulaceae family. [1] It is a perennial and hairless vine with thick taproot. [4]

The stem is prostrate but sometimes twin­ing, measures about 5-30 m long and often roots at the nodes. [4]

The leaves are often pointing only to one side. The petiole is up to 17 cm long. The blade is variable, ovate, elliptical, circular, kidney-shaped, nearly square or oblong, measuring 3.5-10 cm x 3-10 cm, rather thick and with 2 abaxi­al glands at the base of midrib. The base is broadly wedge-shaped, truncate, or shallowly cordate, with entire margin, emarginate at apex or deeply 2-lobed and mucronulate. [4]

The inflorescence is 1-several-flowered. The peduncle is 3-16 cm long and stout. The bracts are early ca­ducous, broadly triangular and measure 3-3.5 mm long. The pedi­cel is 1-7 cm long. The sepals are unequal, somewhat leathery, hairless, obtuse at apex, and mucronulate, where the 2 outer ones are ovate-elliptical, measure 5-9 mm long, while the 3 inner ones are nearly circular and concave and measure 7-13 mm long. The petal is funnel-shaped, measures 3-6.5 cm long, purple to reddish-purple and with inside darker at the centre. The fila­ments are 7-12 mm long and hairy at the base. The capsule is globular, measures 1-1.7 cm in diameter, smooth and leath­ery. [4]

The 4 seeds are trigonous-spherical, measure 6-10 mm long, black and densely brownish hairy. [4]


I. pes-caprae occurs inland, along roadsides and ditches, up to 800 m altitude. Although this species grows on the beach, it depends on ground water with a lower salt content than sea water. It is tolerant of high temperature, periodic drought, sea water spray, high soil pH and low soil nitrogen content. [4]

Chemical Constituent

The crude extract of I. pes-caprae was found to contain 2-hydroxy-4,4,7-trimethyl-1(4H)-naphthalenone, (-)-mellein, eugenol, and 4-vinyl-guaiacol. [5]

I. pes-caprae was found to contain glochidone, betulinic acid, α and β-amyrin acetate and isoquercitrin. [6]

The crude extract of I. pes-caprae was found to contain β-damascenone and E-phytol. [7]

Plant Part Used

Whole plant, leaves, seeds, and tubers. [8]

Traditional Use

I. pes-caprae is used for cooling, astringent and laxative. It is also used in a medicinal bath to treat fatigue, strains, arthritis and rheumatism. The infusion of the plant with rusted iron can be used as a cure for menorrhagia. [8]

The tuberous roots have diuretic properties and is used to treat bladder problems, strangury, dysuria and oedema. [8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]

Preclinical Data


Antivenom activity

I. pes-caprae is often used by fishermen to treat jellyfish sting. An extract of I. pes-caprae was found to inhibit actions of all jelly fish venom. [5] 

Antiprostaglandin activity

In the crude extract of I.pes-caprae there were four compounds identified as having inhibitory effects on prostaglandin synthesis in vitro. These four compounds are 2-hydroxy-4,4,7-trimethyl-1(4H)-naphthalenone (1), (-)-mellein (2), eugenol (3), and 4-vinyl-guaiacol (4) and of these compound 3 and 4 seems to be the most active. This substantiate the anti-inflammatory activity of the plant. [5]

Antinociceptive activity

It was found that the hydroalcoholic extract of I.pes-caprae has pronounced antinociceptive properties and the compounds responsible includes glochidone, betulinic acid, alpha- and beta-amyrin acetate, isoquercitrin. [6][17] 

Antispasmodic activity

Extract of I.pes-caprae has antispasmodic activity as evidenced by its ability to inhibit contractions induced by spasmogen – histamine, acetylcholine, bradykinin and barium chloride. It was postulated that this action is a direct one on the smooth mucles of the ileum. A subsequent study lead to the isolation of two compounds which showed antispasmodic activity i.e. beta-damascenone and E-phytol. [7][18]

Antiplatelet aggregation activity

A screening of 18 plants for their antiplatelet aggregation and [14C]5-hydroxytryptamine activity showed that extract of I.pes-caprae showed significant anti-platelet aggregation activity. [19]

Anticancer activity

The hexane-soluble extract of aerial parts of I.pes-caprae yielded six lipophilic glycosides jalapinolic acid, pescaproside A (1) and pescapreins I-IV (2-5), as well as the known stoloniferin III (6). All six showed weak cytotoxic activity to a series of cancer cell lines. [20]

Immunostimulatory activity

Three Brazilian medicinal plants methanol extracts were evaluated for in vitro proliferation of human mononuclear cells. It was found that the extract of I.pes-caprae showed immunostimulatory activity. [21]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation.


Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

Pregnant women are advised against the use of this plant. [10]

Interaction & Depletion

Interaction with drug

The antiplatelet aggregation activity would contraindicate its use together with anti-coagulant therapy. [19]


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing


Figure 1: Line drawing of Ipomoea pes-caprae (L.) R. Br. [4]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Ipomea pes-caprae (L.) R. Br.[homepage on the Internet] .c2013 [updated 2012 Apr 18; cited 2016 Dec 20] Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/tro-8500011.
  2. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of Medicinal Plants Used in Malaysia. Volume 2. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p. 52.
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms and etymology. Volume III E-L. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012. p. 554.
  4. Dibiyantoro ALH, Schmelzer GH. Ipomoea pes-caprae (L.) R.Br. In: van Valkenburg JLCH, Bunyapraphatsara N, editors. Plant resources of South-East Asia No. 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 2001; p. 318-319.
  5. Pongprayoon U, Baeckström P, Jacobsson U. Compounds inhibiting prostaglandin synthesis isolated from Ipomoea pes-caprae. Planta Med. 1991;57(6):515-518.
  6. Krogh R, Kroth R, Berti C. Isolation and identification of compounds with antinociceptive action from Ipomoea pes-caprae (L.) R. Br. Pharmazie. 1999;54(6):464-466.
  7. Pongprayoon U, Baeckström P, Jacobsson U, Lindstroem M, Bohlin L. Antispasmodic activity of beta-damascenone and E-phytol isolated from Ipomoea pes-caprae. Planta Med. 1992;58(1):19-21.
  8. Hwee LK, Chua TK, Chay HT. A guide to medicinal plants: An illustrated, scientific and medicinal approach. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., 2009; p. 77-78.
  9. Wijayakusuma HMH. Atasi asam urat & rematik ala Hembing. Indonesia: Puspa Swara, 2007; p. 46-47.
  10. Arief HH. Tumbuhan obat & khasiatnya 3. Indonesia: Penebar Swadaya, 2008; p. 112-114.
  11. Bep OB. Medicinal plants in tropical West Africa. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986; p. 209-210.
  12. Khare CP. Indian medicinal plants: An illustrated dictionary. New York: Springer, 2007; p. 333.
  13. Kamarudin MS, Latiff A. Tumbuhan ubatan Malaysia. Pusat Pengurusan Penyelidikan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 2002; p. 582-583.
  14. Warrier PK, Nambiar VPK, Ramankutty C. Indian medicinal plants: A compendium of 500 species, Volume 3. Orient Longman Private Limited, 2004; p. 233.
  15. Eckart E. Solanaceae and Convolvulaceae - Secondary metabolites: Biosynthesis, chemotaxonomy, biological and economic significance: A handbook. Heidelberg, Berlin: Springer-Verlag Berlin, 2008; p. 566.
  16. Putz FE, Mooney HA. The biology of vines. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991; p. 442.
  17. de Souza MM, Madeira A, Berti C, Krogh R, Yunes RA, Valdir CF. Antinociceptive properties of the methanolic extract obtained from Ipomoea pes-caprae (L.) R. Br. J Ethnopharmacol, 2000;69(1):85-90.
  18. Pongprayoon U, Bohlin L, Sandberg F, Wasuwat S. Inhibitory effect of extract of Ipomoea pes-caprae on guinea-pig ileal smooth muscle. Acta Pharm Nord, 1989;1(1):41-44.
  19. Rogers KL, Grice ID, Griffiths LR. Inhibition of platelet aggregation and 5-HT release by extracts of Australian plants used traditionally as headache treatments. Eur J Pharm Sci. 2000;9(4):355-363.
  20. Pereda-Miranda R, Escalante-Sánchez E, Escobedo-Martínez C. Characterization of lipophilic pentasaccharides from beach morning glory (Ipomoea pes-caprae). J Nat Prod. 2005;68(2):226-230.
  21. Philippi ME, Duarte BM, Da Silva CV, et al. Immunostimulatory acivity of Calophyllum brasiliense, Ipomoea pes-caprae and Matayba elaeagnoides demonstrated by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells proliferation. Acta Pol Pharm, 2010;67(1):69-73.