Hemigraphis colorata W.Bull

Last updated: 19 May 2016

Scientific Name

Hemigraphis colorata W.Bull


No documentation.

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Bĕnalu api, kĕji bĕeling, benalu merah, daun sarab [1], kechil beling [2]
Indonesia Kej beling, sambaing getih, sarap (Java); lire (Ternate); remek daging, reundeu beureum (Sunda) [3]
Philippines Dahong-pula [2]
Papua New Guinea Kwaiwa (Milne bay) [4]
Vanuatu Noyon gengen [4].

Geographical Distributions

No documentation.

Botanical Description

Hemigraphis colorata is a member of the Acanthaceae family. It is an ascending or creeping herb that reaches up to 35 cm high. [5]

The stems are subquadrangular, pilosulous, rooting at the lower nodes. [5]

The leaves are measured at 5-6 cm x 2-5 cm. They are broadly ovate to ovate-oblong, with apex acute or obtuse and cordate base. They are sparingly pubescent or sometime glabrous. The margins are crenate and sparingly ciliate. [5]

The inflorescence is terminal and axillary spikes up to 3 cm long, dense or lax. The bracts are ovate-lanceolate, obtuse and measures up to 1.5 cm long, ciliate. The bracteoles are minute or absent. The calys are measure 7-10 mm long. The segments are subulate, ciliate. The corolla is white, measures 15 mm long and minutely pubescent. [5]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

H. colorata is reported to contain alkaloids, natrium, calcium, carboxylic acid, carbohydrates, coumarins, flavonoid, glycoside, phenol, polyphenol, proteins, saponins, steroids, tannins, xanthoproteins. [3][6]

Plant Part Used

Leaves and whole plant. [3]

Traditional Use

In Indonesia the plant is believed to have astringent, antidiarrhoeal, and diuretic properties. It is used in the treatment of diarrheal and dysentery, kidney stones, skin disease and wounds. [3]

In Papua New Guinea an extract of the crushed leaves is taken as a contraceptive, the wet leaves are squeezed to obtain the juice. In Vanuatu leaf buds are said to act as contraceptive. [4]

In Kerala, the juice expressed from the leaves is applied on wounds. [7]

Preclinical Data


Antibacterial activity

The benzene extract of H. colorata was found to be active against microbial strain Acinetobacter sp. and S. aureus. [6]

Wound healing activity

The leaf paste and suspension was used to study the wound healing activity of H. colorata in mouse. The leaf paste exhibited good wound healing activity whence wound contraction and epithelialization was hastened by it. Oral administration of the suspension did not show similar effect. [8]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing

No documentation.


  1. Burkill IH. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Volume 1. London: Published on behalf of the governments of the Straits settlements and Federated Malay states by the Crown agents for the colonies, 1935; p. 1138.
  2. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 2. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p.10.
  3. Hariana HA. Tumbuhan obat dan khasiatnya 3. Jakarta: Niaga Swadaya, 2008; p. 10-11.
  4. Cambie RC, Brewis A. Anti-fertility plants of the Pacific. Australia: CSIRO, 1997; p. 48.
  5. Liogier AH. Descriptive flora of Puerto Rico and adjacent islands: Spermatophyte–dicotyledoneae. Acanthacea to compositae. Volume 5. Puerto Rico: La Editorial, 1985; p. 28.
  6. Anitha VT, Marimuthu J, Jeeva S. Anti–bacterial studies on Hemigraphis colorata (Blume) HG Hallier and Elephantopus scaber L. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2012;5(1):52-57.
  7. Thomas B, Rajendran A. Less known ethnomedicinal plants used by Kurichar tribe of Wayanad district, Southern Western Ghats Kerala, India. Botany Research International. 2013;6(2):32-35.
  8. Subramoniam A, Evans DA, Rajasekharan S, et al. Effect of Hemigraphis colorata (Blume) HG Hallier leaf on wound healing and inflammation in mice. Indian J Pharmacol. 2001;33(4):283-285.