Gynura divaricata (L.) DC.

Last updated: 20 May 2016

Scientific Name

Gynura divaricata (L.) DC.


Cacalia albicans Sessé & Moc. [Illegitimate], Cacalia hieracioides Willd., Cacalia incana L., Cacalia ovalis Ker Gawl., Gynura auriculata Cass., Gynura glabrata Hook.f., Gynura hemsleyana H.Lév., Gynura incana (L.) Druce, Senecio divaricatus L., Gynura ovalis var. ovalis, Gynura ovalis var. pinnatifida Hemsl. [1]

Vernacular Name

China Bai zi cai. [2]

Geographical Distributions

No documentation.

Botanical Description

Gynura  divaricata belongs to the family of Asteraceae. It is a perennial herbaceous plant with erect or ascending stems arising from the base. [2]

The stem is woody, simple or with synflorescence branched in upper parts. It is glabrous or shortly pubescent, purplish in colour and can reach up to 60cm high. [2]

The leaves are thick, usually crowded in lower part, ovate, elliptic or oblanceolate, measuring 2-15cm x 1.5-5cm. The petiole is measure about 0.5-4cm, shortly pubescent with ovate, dentate auricle at base. The blade is purple below and green above, shortly pubescent; lateral veins are 6-10 pairs. The base is cuneate-attenuate or decurrent into the petiole, subtruncate or slightly cordate. The margins are coarsely dentate, sometime lyrately lobed with the apex obtuse or acute. The upper leaves are usually smaller, bractlike, narrowly lanceolate or linear, pinnatifid, sessile. The capitula is measuring 1.5-2cm in diameter, usually 3-5 in terminal laxly corymbose-paniculate and often divaricately branched. The peduncle is between 1-15cm, densely pubescent; with linear bracts. Involucres are campanulate, measuring 8-10 x 68mm. [2]

The florets are orange-yellow in colour, fragrant, slightly exceeding involucres. The achenes are brown, cylindric, 5mm, puberulent, 10-ribbed. The pappus white, silky and measuring about 10-12mm. [2]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

G. divaricata has been reported to contain 1-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-(2S,3S,4R,10E)-2-[(2'R)-2'-hydroxyltricosanoyl-amino]-10-octadecene-1,3,4-triol, 1-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-(2S,3S,4R,10Z)-2-[(2'R)-2'-hydroxylignocenoyl-amino]-10-octadecene-1,3,4-triol, kaempferol, kaempferol 3-O-glucoside, kaempferol 3-O-rhamnosyl(1 --> 6)glucoside, β-sitosteryl glucoside-6'-O-heptadecoicate, 2-(1',2',3',4'-tetrahydroxybutyl)-6-(2'',3'',4''-trihydroxybutyl)-pyrazine, 2-(1',2',3',4'-tetrahydroxybutyl)-6-(2",3",4"-trihydroxybutyl)-pyrazine, 2-(1',2',3',4'-tetrahydroxybutyl)-5-(2",3",4"-trihydroxybutyl)–pyrazine, nicotinic acid, 5-hydroxy-picolinic acid, methyl-5-hydroxy-2- pyridinecarboxylate, adenosine, uridine, stigmasterol-5-O-β-D-glucoside, dibutylterephthalate, methyl chlorogenate, quercetin, kaempferol, kaempferol-3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, quercetin-3-O-rutinoside, kaempferol-3,7-di-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, kaempferol-3-O-rutinoside-7-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, and 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid. [3][4][5][6]

Plant Part Used

Leaves, aerial parts. [4][5]

Traditional Use

G. divaricata had been used in traditional Chinese medicine as a treatment of bronchitis, pulmonary tuberculosis, pertussis, sore eye, toothache, rheumatic arthralgia and diabetes. Its Chinese medicinal herb sourcing from G. divaricate is known as “Bai Bei San Qi”. [7]

Preclinical Data


Antidiabetic activity

Preliminary studies on the aerial parts of G. divaricata showed that it has antidiabetic activity. Water, 95% ethanol, ethylacetate and n-butanol extracts showed significant hypoglycaemic activity. In vitro studies on the activities of these extracts on α-amylase and α-glucosidease indicated that the extracts had inhibitory activities against these enzymes. The ethyl acetate and n-butanol fractions seem have higher α-amylase inhibitory activity. The n-butanol further showed inhibitory activity against α-glucosidase. It is believed that the flavonoid and alkaloid content could be responsible for this activity. Polysaccharide from G. divaricata was found to inhibit activities of sucrose and maltase too. These polysaccharides had been identified as fructooligosaccharides including β-D-fructofuranose, sucrose, 1-kestone, nystose and 1(f)-β-fructofuranosylnystose. Of these nystose was found to be the most potent. [8][9][10][11][12]

Antihypertensive activity

The aqueous extract of G. divaricata showed inhibitory activity against ACE. This activity was not affected by fractionation of the extract, which probably indicate that this activity is the result of the synergistic effects of all compounds in the extract. [10]

Antioxidant activity

G. divaricata extract was found to have antioxidant and free radical-scavenging activities. It was found that extraction temperature does influence this activity and the total phenolic and flavonoid content. At higher temperature the TPC and TFC were high and so does the antioxidant activities. [13]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation


No documentation

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation

Interaction with drug

Patients on drug therapy for hypertension and diabetes should be cautious when taking this plant or products derived from this plant. Significant reduction of blood sugar level may occur when both drugs and plant product is taken together and the fear of hypoglycaemia exists. The same could be anticipated with hypertensive on antihypertensive drugs. They may suffer from attacks of hypotension. [8][9][10][11][12]


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1. Gynura divaricata (L.) DC. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Feb 11; cited 2016 May 4]. Available from:
  2. Flora of China. Gynura divaricata L. [homepage on the Internet]. No date [cited on 2016 May 19]. Available from:
  3. Chen L, Wang JJ, Zhang GG, Song HT, Qin LP. A new cerebroside from Gynura divaricata. Natural product research. 2009;23(14):1330-1336.
  4. Chen L, Song ZY, Wang JJ, Song HT, Zhang GG, Wang JH. [Studies on the chemical constituents from aerial parts of Gynura divaricate]. Zhong yao cai. 2010;33(3):373-376.
  5. Wan C, Yu Y, Zhou S, Tian S, Cao S. Isolation and identification of phenolic compounds from Gynura divaricata leaves. Pharmacogn Mag. 2011;7(26):101-108.
  6. Chen J, Adams A, Mangelinckx S, Ren BR, Li WL, Wang ZT, De Kimpe N. Investigation of the volatile constituents of different Gynura species from two Chinese origins by SPME/GC-MS. Nat Prod Commun. 2012;7(5):655-657.
  7. Chen L, Wang JJ, Song HT, Zhang GG, Qin LP. New cytotoxic cerebroside from Gynura divaricata. Chinese Chem Let. 2009;20(9):1091-1093.
  8. Chou SC, Lee SS. Quantitative analysis of fructo-oligosaccharides in Gynura divaricata subsp. formosana by high performance anion exchange chromatography-pulsed amperometric detection. Nat Prod Commun. 2012;7(8):1063-1064.
  9. Li WL, Ren BR, Min-Zhuo, et al. The anti-hyperglycemic effect of plants in genus Gynura Cass. Am J Chin Med. 2009;37(5):961-966.
  10. Wu T, Zhou X, Deng Y, Jing Q, Li M, Yuan L. In vitro studies of Gynura divaricata (L.) DC extracts as inhibitors of key enzymes relevant for type 2 diabetes and hypertension. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011;136(2):305-308.
  11. Deng YX, Chen YS, Zhang WR, Chen B, Qiu XM, He LH, Mu LL, Yang CH, Chen R. Polysaccharide from Gynura divaricata modulates the activities of intestinal disaccharidases in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Br J Nutr. 2011;106(9):1323-1329.
  12. Chou SC, Chuang LM, Lee SS. Hypoglycemic constituents of Gynura divaricata subsp. formosana. Nat Prod Commun. 2012;7(2):221-222.
  13. Wan C, Yu Y, Zhou S, Liu W, Tian S, Cao S. Antioxidant activity and free radical-scavenging capacity of Gynura divaricata leaf extracts at different temperatures. Pharmacogn Mag. 2011;7(25):40-45.