Bidens pilosa L.

Last updated: 17 June 2016

Scientific Name

Bidens pilosa L.


Bidens abadiae DC., Bidens adhaerescens Vell., Bidens africana Klatt, Bidens alausensis Kunth, Bidens alba (L.) DC., Bidens arenaria Gand., Bidens arenicola Gand. [Invalid], Bidens aurantiaca Colenso, Bidens barrancae M.E.Jones, Bidens bimucronata Turcz., Bidens bonplandii Sch.Bip., Bidens brachycarpa DC., Bidens calcicola Greenm., Bidens californica DC., Bidens cannabina Lam., Bidens caracasana DC., Bidens caucalidea DC., Bidens chilensis DC., Bidens daucifolia DC., Bidens deamii Sherff, Bidens decussata Pav. ex DC., Bidens decussata Pav. ex Steud., Bidens dichotoma Desf. ex DC., Bidens effusa Thuill. ex Sherff [Invalid],   Bidens exaristata DC., Bidens hirsuta Nutt. [Illegitimate], Bidens hirta Jord., Bidens hispida Kunth, Bidens hybrida Thuill., Bidens inermis S.Watson, Bidens leucantha (L.) Willd., Bidens leucantha Poepp. ex DC. [Illegitimate], Bidens leucanthemus (L.) E.H.L.Krause, Bidens minor (Wimm. & Grab.) Vorosch., Bidens minuscula H.Lév. & Vaniot, Bidens montaubani Phil., Bidens odorata Cav., Bidens orendainae M.E.Jones, Bidens orientalis Velen. ex Bornm., Bidens paleacea Vis., Bidens pinnata Noronha, Bidens pumila (Retz.) Steud., Bidens ramosissima Sherff, Bidens reflexa Link, Bidens rosea Sch.Bip., Bidens scandicina Kunth, Bidens striata Schott ex Sweet, Bidens sundaica Blume,   Bidens taquetii H.Lév. & Vaniot, Bidens trifoliata Norona, Bidens tripartita Bojer [Invalid], Bidens valparadisiaca Colla, Bidens viciosoi Pau, Ceratocephalus pilosus Rich. ex Cass., Coreopsis alba L., Coreopsis corymbifolia Buch.-Ham. ex DC., Coreopsis leucantha L., Coreopsis leucorrhiza Lour., Coreopsis multifida DC., Coreopsis odorata Poir., Coreopsis odorata Lam., Glossogyne chinensis Less., Kerneria dubia Cass., Kerneria pilosa (L.) Lowe, Kerneria tetragona Moench [Illegitimate]. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Kancing baju, pall-pall pasir, keroten [2]
English Black jack [2], beggar’s ticks, black fellows, blanket-stabbers, bur marigold, burr marigold, cobbler’s pegs, common black jack, gurgur tea, hairy beggartick, Spanish needle, sweethearts, three-leaf bidens, widowers [3]
China Jin zhan yin pan, sanye guizhencao [3]
India Afkar, cheelagutti, chhikika, chhikkani, chhikni, chorkanta, ghanadukhada, gurgur chai, hachuti, hansia bon, kruranasa, kshavaka, kurei, nakashikani, tikshna, tummarpuntu, ugra, vante soppu, vaw pui thal, vawkpui-thal, vawpuithal, et al. [3]
Indonesia Ajeran, hareuga (Sundanese); jaringan, ketul (Javanese) [2]
Thailand Puen noksai (Northern); kee nok sai, yaa koncham khaao (Central) [2]
Philippines Dadayem (lbanag), burburtak (Ilocano), pisau-pisau (Bisaya) [2]
Vietnam D[ow]n bu[oos]t, t[uwr] t[oo] hoang, q[ur]y tr[aa]m th[ar]o [2]
Nepal Katare, nir [3]
Papua New Guinea Ivu na mag (Gunantuna, New Britain); rakot (Kurtatchi, Bougainville) [2]
Japan Ko-sendan-gusa [3]
Kenya Mucege, muhehenje, mung’ei, munganga, munzee, muse, oloreperep [3]
West Africa Abere oloko, agamayan, agaran moyan, agbede dudu oko, ajisomobiala, akesin maso, elesin maso, malanganran, oya (Yoruba) [3]
Congo Bulangu, potambili [3]
France Sornet [2]
Hawaii Ki, ki nehe, ki pipili, nehe [3]
Tonga Fisi’uli [3].

Geographical Distributions

Bidens pilosa is originates from tropical America but is now distributed and naturalised as a weed in most tropical and subtropical regions of the world, even sometimes extending into some temperate areas. In South-East Asia it is common in many places, except in Kalimantan and the Moluccas. [2]

Botanical Description

B. pilosa  is a member of the Compositae family. It is an annual and erect herb that is up to 1(-2) m tall. [2]

The stem is 4-angled, hairless or sparsely hairy. [2]

The leaves are arranged opposite, pinnately 3-5-lobed and the lower and/or upper leaves are occasionally simple, up to 15(-20) cm long. They are hairless or sparsely hairy on both surfaces. The margin is usually serrate or crenate-serrate while the segments are egg-shaped to lance-shaped. The first apex terminal with a stalk is the largest. [2]

The flower head is 5-12 mm, solitary or in lax paniculate cymes. The cyme usually radiates. The outer ring of flower stalk consists of 7-10 petals size 3-4 mm x 0.5-0.8 mm and they are spoon-shaped, abruptly bent during pollination. The inner petals are egg-shaped-lance-shaped with ray flowers absent or 4-8 but sterile. The petal is 7-15 mm long, white to yellow or pinkish while the disk flowers are 3.5-5 mm long. [2]

The fruit is linear with 4-6 ribbed. The fruit size is between 4-13 mm long with 2-3(-5) 2-4 mm long retrorsely barbed bristles. [2]


B. pilosa is a very common weed of sunny, often disturbed places like roadsides, fields, thickets and along water-courses, up to 2500 m altitude. [2]

Chemical Constituent

Petrol ether extract of B. pilosa  dried aerial parts has been reported to contain Phenylheptatriyne, Linolic acid, α-Linolenic acid, squalene, friedelin, friedelan-3β-ol, stigmasterol, β-sitosterol, and campestrol. In addition, methanol extract has ben reported to contain luteolin 7-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, quercetin 3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, and quercetin 3-O-β-D-galactopyranoside while the methanol/water extract contain Quercetin 3-O-β-D- glucuronopyranoside. [4]

Plant Part Used

Whole plant, leaves [5][6]

Traditional Use

B. pilosa whole herb is used by Asian for headache, caries and hiccough. [5]

In India, B. pilosa leaves has been used to treat ulcers and swollen glands. [6]

Preclinical Data


Anti-inflammatory activity 

B. pilosa extract was demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory actions [7][8]. Studies using normal human dermal fibroblast showed that B. pilosa extract inhibits cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 expression and its major product, prostaglandin [7]. Both are chemical processes in the body which are linked to inflammatory diseases.

Antiulcer activity

Extracts of the leaf (as well as the entire plant) have been shown to protect rats against chemical- and bacteria-induced gastric lesions and ulcers and, also, to reduce gastric acid secretion. [9][10]

Antidiabetic activity

In vivo studies with rats and mice have demonstrated that the plant has hypoglycemic activity and is able to improve insulin sensitivity [11][12]. The hypoglycemic properties are attributed to a group of glucoside chemicals found in the aerial parts of the plant including 2-beta-D-glucopyranosyloxy-1-hydroxy-5(E)-tridecene-7,9,11-triyne and 3-beta-D-glucopyranosyloxy-1-hydroxy-6(E)-tetradecene-8,10,11,12-triyne [13]. Some polyacetylenes from the plant for example cytopiloyne have also been shown to prevent diabetes mellitus type 1 in non-obese mice [14].

Antihypertensive activity

B. pilosa was documented to prevent hypertension in rats fed with a high-fructose diet, and to lower the resulting (elevated) blood pressure and triglyceride levels. [15][16]

Antimicrobial and antimalarial activity

The petrol ether and methanol/water extracts of B. pilosa have been shown to have some antimicrobial activity. These antimicrobial actions have been attributed to polyacetylenes such as phenylheptatriyne as well as linolic and linoleic acids [4]. The ethanol extract has also been shown to have antimalarial activities [17].

Anticancer activity

B.pilosa was reported to have antileukemic actions. Research has shown that its hot-water extract inhibited the growth of five strains of human and mouse leukemia at less than 200µg per mL in vitro [18]. Using the in vivo comet assay, research has also shown that the methanol extract of the whole plant has anticancer activity [19].

Antioxidant activity

Extracts of B. pilosa showed antioxidant properties in in vitro studies. [20][21][22]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation.


No documentation.

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation.


Due of its hypoglycaemic [14] and antihypertensive [15][16] activities, people with these conditions should use this plant with caution and under the supervision of a qualified medical personnel. B. pilosa contains a small amount of naturally-occurring caffeine and therefore should not be used by those who are allergic or sensitive to caffeine.

Case Report

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing



Figure 1: The line drawing of B. pilosa [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Bidens pilosa L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Jun 17]. Available from:
  2. Alonzo DS, Hildebrand JW. Bidens pilosa 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 Publishers, 1999; p. 154-155.
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume I A-B. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 587-589.
  4. Geissberger P, Séquin U. Constituents of Bidens pilosa L.: do the components found so far explain the use of this plant in traditional medicine? Acta Trop. 1991 Feb;48(4):251-261.
  5. Handa SS, Rakesh DD, Vasisht K. Compendium of medicinal and aromatic plants Asia. Trieste, Italy: International Centre for Science and High Technology-United Nations Industrial Development Organization (ICS-UNIDO), 2006; p. 73.
  6. Khare CP. Indian medicinal plants: An illustrated dictionary. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2007; p. 92.
  7. Yoshida N, Kanekura T, Higashi Y, Kanzaki, T.  Bidens pilosa suppresses interleukin-1 beta-induced cyclooxygenase-2 expression through the inhibition of mitogen activated protein kinases phosphorylation in normal human dermal fibroblasts.  J Dermatol. 2006;33(10):676-683.
  8. Chiang YM, Lo CP, Chen YP, et al. Ethyl caffeate suppresses NF-kappaB activation and its downstream inflammatory mediators, iNOS, COX-2, and PGE2 in vitro or in mouse skin. Br J Pharmacol. 2005;146(3):352-63.
  9. Tan PV, Dimo T, Etienne Dongo E.  Effects of methanol, cyclohexane and methylene chloride extracts of Bidens pilosa on various gastric ulcer models in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2000;73(3):415-421.
  10. Alvarez A, Pomar F, Sevilla MA, Montero MJ. Gastric antisecretory and antiulcer activities of an ethanolic extract of Bidens pilosa L. var. radiata Schult. Bip.  J Ethnopharmacol. 1999;67(3):333-340.
  11. Alarcon-Aguilar FJ, Roman-Ramos R, Flores-Saenz JL, Aguirre-Garcia F. Investigation on the hypoglycaemic effects of extracts of four Mexican medicinal plants in normal and alloxan-diabetic mice.  Phytother Res. 2002;16(4):383-386.
  12. Alarcon-Aguilara FJ, Roman-Ramos R, Perez-Gutierrez S, Aguilar-Contreras A, Contreras-Weber CC, Flores-Saenz JL. Study of the anti-hyperglycemic effect of plant used as antidiabetics.  J Ethnopharmacol. 1998;61(2):101-110.
  13. Chang SL, Chang CL, Chiang YM, et al. Polyacetylenic compounds and butanol fraction from Bidens pilosa can modulate the differentiation of helper T cells and prevent autoimmune diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice.  Planta Med. 2004;70(11): 1045-1051,.
  14. Chang CL, Chang SL, Lee YM, et al. Cytopiloyne, a polyacetylenic glucoside, prevents type 1 diabetes in nonobese diabetic mice.  J Immunol. 2007;178(11):6984-6993.
  15. Dimo T, Rakotonirina SV, Tan PV, Azay J, Dongo E, Cros G.  Leaf methanol extract of Bidens pilosa prevents and attenuate the hypertension induced by high-fructose diet in Wister rats.  J Ethnopharmacol. 2002;83(3):183-191.
  16. Dimo T, Azay J, Tan PV, et al.  Effects of the aqueous and methylene chloride extracts of Bidens pilosa leaf on fructose-hypertensive rats.  J Ethnopharmacol. 2001;76(3):215-221.
  17. Andrade-Neto VF Andrade-Neto VF, Brandão MG, Oliveira FQ, Casali VW, Njaine B, Zalis MG, Oliveira LA, Krettli AU., et al.  Antimalarial activity of Bidens pilosa L (Asterareacea) ethanol extracts from wild plants collected in various localities or plants cultivated in humus soil.  Phytother Res. 2004;18(8):634-639.
  18. Chang JS, Chiang LC, Chen CC, Liu LT, Wang KC, Lin CC.  Antileukaemic activity of Bidens pilosa L var. minor (Blume) Sherff and Houttuynia cordota Thunb. Am J Chin Med. 2001;29(2):303-312.
  19. Sundararajan P, Dey A, Smith A, Doss AG, Rajappan M, Natarajan S.  Studies of anticancer and antipyretic activity of Bidens pilosawhole plant.  Afr Health Sci. 2006;6(1):27-30.
  20. Chiang YM,  Chuang DY, Wang SY, Kuo YH, Tsai PW, Shyur LF.  Metabolite profiling and chemopreventive bioactivity of plant extracts from Bidens pilosa.  J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;95(2-3):409-419.
  21. Abajo C, Boffill MA, del Campo J, et al. In vitro study of the antioxidant and immunomodulatory activity of aqueous infusion of Bidens pilosa.  J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;93(2-3):319-323.
  22. Yang HL, Chen SC, Chang NW, et al.  Protection from oxidative damage using Bidens pilosa extracts in normal human erythrocytes.  Food Chem Toxicol. 2006;44(9):1513-1521.