Cardiospermum halicacabum L.

Last updated: 30 June 2016

Scientific Name

Cardiospermum halicacabum L.


Cardiospermum acuminatum Miq., Cardiospermum corycodes Kunze, Cardiospermum glabrum Schumach. & Thonn., Cardiospermum inflatum Salisb., Cardiospermum luridum Blume, Cardiospermum moniliferum Sw. ex Steud., Cardiospermum truncatum A.Rich., Corindum halicacabum (L.) Medik. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Peria buian, uban kayu, bintang berahi [2], peria bulan, uban kayu [3]
English Ballon vine, heart pea [2][4], heart-leaved pea, heart seed, winter cherry [4]
China Jia hu gua [4]
India Kanphuti, kanphata (Hindi); nayaphataki, lataphatkar (Bengla); karocho (Gujarati); uhinja, pallolavam (Himalayam); valulavse, mudakkitaam (Tamil); buddakakara (Telegu); punj-habul-kalkal, kanphuta, kapalphodi, kolicharmol, muddakkathan [5], bodha, indravalli, laftaf, malmai, paravati padi, uzina [4], kaakatiktaa, kaakaadani, Karnsphotaa, shatakratulataa [6]
Indonesia Ketipes (Javanese); paria gunung (Sundanese); cenet (Malay, Western Sumatra) [2]
Thailand Kok kra om (Central); pho om (Pattani); luupleep khruea (Northern) [2]
Philippines Parol-parolan (Tagalog); kana (Cebu Bisaya); paria aso (Iloko) [2]; patul parolan, bangkolon [4]
Vietnam T[aaf]m phong, ch[uf]m phong [2]
Korea Ga-go-gwa [7]
Japan Papaia, manjui [4]
Hong Kong Doe-day-ling [7]
Nepal Kesh lahara [8]
France Coeur des Indes, pois de coeur [2]
Germany Ballonpflanze, Ballonrebe, Herzerbse, Herzsame [4].

Geographical Distributions

Cardiospermum halicacabum probably originates from the New World tropics. At present, it is a common weed in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world, and is common throughout Malesia. It is reported to be cultivated in the Philippines and Burma (Myanmar). [2]

Botanical Description

C. halicacabum  is a member of the Sapindaceae family. It is an annual or perennial climbing herb or subshrub, up to 3 m tall. It is often much branched especially near the base. The stems are deeply 5-grooved, slender, and hairless to sparsely hairy. [2]

The leaves are 5-8 cm x 5-8 cm, alternately arranged, compound and biternate. The leaf stalk is 1.5-3 cm long, grooved, slender and with minute stipules at the base. Its leaflets are mostly 3-partite and pinnately lobed. Lobes and apex are aristulate and nearly hairless to sparsely covered with short appressed hairs. The leaflet stalk is narrowly winged. The terminal leaflet is 1 cm long while the lateral ones are about 0.5 cm. [2]

The inflorescence is 5-14 cm long compound arising from the axil, with sparsely short hairs and a pair of tendrils. The 1-2 mm long bracts are lance-shaped to elliptical. Flowers are unisexual, 2-3.5 cm long, obliquely zygomorphic, with slender pedicel. There are 4 broadly ovate to broadly elliptical 1-2.5 mm x 1.2-2 mm sepals, imbricate, green, red-tinged with white margins and nearly hairless. Its 4 petals are obovate-cuneate to orbicular, 1.5-2.5 mm x 1-2 mm, with a scale inside above the base of each petal, white to cream with yellowish margin and almost hairless. Its 8 stamens are unequal and slightly curved upwards. The filaments are 0.8-2.5 mm long, only slightly reduced in female flowers and slightly hairy. The anthers are 0.5 mm long. The ovary is superior, obovoid, 2-3 mm long, 3-angled and 3-celled, with 1 ovule per cell, variously hairy, with a short columnar style and 3-lobed stigma. The pistil is strongly reduced in the male flowers. [2]

The fruit is a globular capsule, inflated, between 1.5-4 cm in diametre, 3-lobed and 3-celled. It is papery, green but reddish at base or with reddish veins. [2]

The seeds are nearly spherical, about 4 mm in diametre, dull-black, smooth and hairless. Its hilum is prominent, white, heart-shaped and rather large. [2]


C. halicacabum is found under a wide range of ecological conditions: in ever-wet or seasonal climates, on acid and basic soils, and in dry, marshy or periodically flooded places. It prefers sunny places, such as wasteland, roadsides, grassland, scrub, hedges and forest edges, at altitudes up to 1500 m. [2]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation.

Plant Part Used

Whole plant, young leaf, roots, leaves, seeds [4][5]

Traditional Use

The herb is used for various skin conditions including eczema, scabies, skin eruptions and itchiness of the skin. Here the leaves of C. halicacabum  are rubbed over the lesions. The leaves also useful in the treatment of biliousness and a decoction of the leaves can relieve diarrhea and dysentery. [3][5][6][7][8][9]

For the treatment of respiratory conditions the whole plant had been advocated. A decoction of the whole plant is given to patients with chest cold and asthma. In Nepal the juice of the whole plant is used instead for asthma. In Hong Kong the whole plant is used to treat pertusis. The whole plant has anti-inflammatory activity and is used to treat infective conditions like abscesses, pyodermas and carbuncles, earaches, ophthalmias and muscular pains, rheumatism and arthritis. It has been recommended for use in snake bites probably due to this activity. [3][5][7][10][11][12]

The oil made from the whole plant is good for dandruff, alopecia and  darkening of the hair. The juice of the whole plant had been taken to treat haemorrhoids [8][9]. A decoction of the plant together with Vernonia cinera and Desmodium barbatum is recommended for kidney disorders in Guyana. In Hong Kong and Korea the whole plant is used to treat urinary tract infection, oedema, nephritis and oliguria [5][7].

The roots are considered laxative [8][9]. The roots of C. halicacabum has diuretic properties and this is taken advantage of and used in the treatment of renal conditions [5][7].

Preclinical Data


Anti-inflammatory activity

A study has been conducted  on the anti-inflammatory activity of the ethanol extract of the aerial parts of C. halicacabum. They identified the mechanism of action to be by inhibition of phospholipase A2 which results in reduced availability of arachidonic acid and/or by stabilization of the lysosomal membrane system [13]. A more detailed study revealed that the extract inhibits mRNA expression of COX-2, TNF-α, iNOS and COX-2 protein expression and it further inhibited the TNF-alpha induced DNA binding activity of NF-kappaB [14]. This was confirmed by another study  with their ethanol extract of the plant showing better activity than the aqueous extract [15].

Antipyretic activity

Three extracts have been used in a study of antipyretic activity of C. halicacabum. The study revealed that the ethanol and the n-hexane extracts showed promising antipyretic activity while the aqueous extract did not show any significant activity. [16]

Antimicrobial activity

A study has been done on the effects of aqueous and ethanol extracts of C. halicacabum on Brugia pahangi. The aqueous extract at >500 μg/ml was able to reduced significantly the mobility of both adult female (within 24 hr) and male (after 3 days) worms while at the same time it reduces the microfilariae release from female worms (from day 2). However, it did not affect the motility of microfliariae except at much higher concentration. On the other hand the ethanol extract (2 mg/ml) inhibited the motility of adult worms and the release of microfilariae from females and at 500 microg/ml could rapidly reduce the motility of microfilariae on day 2. [17]

Another study screened that antimalarial activity of aqueous extract of C. halicacabum both in vitro and in vivo. They found that it has weak in vitro antiplasmodial activity with IC50 greater than 28.0 The in vivo studies did not correspond to the in vitro studies. Not only did it not show antiplasmodial activity against Plasmodium berghei in the mice, it proved to be toxic to mice with non surviving beyond day 4 of oral administration. [18]

Both ethanol and aqueous extracts of C. halicacabum showed to be able to inhibit motility of Strongyloides stercolaris larvae within 48 and 72 hours respectively. The viability of the the larvae were also reduced by both extracts. [19]

Antiulcerogenic activity

The ethanol extract of C. halicacabum could inhibit gastric ulcer formation induced by absolute alcohol in rats. It was found that there was an increase in the levels of gastric glutathione nad a decrease alkalime phosphatase activity. [20]

Antioxidant activity

The ethanol extract showed potent in vitro hydroxyl radical scavenging and inhibition of lipid peroxidation activities [14][20]. Another study showed that their ethanol extract had stronger anti-oxidant activity than their aqueous extract [15]. A diabetic model involving rats also attest to the fact that their ethanol extract had antioxidant activity which could help in reversing oxidative damage in diabetic rats [21].

Antianxiolytic activity

The roots of C. halicacabum had been reported to be used as treatment for epilepsy and anxiety disorders. The root extract was found to be an effective anxiolytic agent and identified cardiospermin, a cyanogenic glucoside to be the compound responsible for this activity. [22]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation.


No documentation.

Side effects

No documentation.

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

No documentation.

Age limitation

No documentation.

Adverse reaction

It had been reported that children would develop epileptiform convulsions after ingesting a significant amount of the seeds. [10]

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of C. halicacabum [1]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Cardiospermum halicacabum L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 26; cited 2016 Jun 28]. Available from:
  2. Rojo JP, Pitargue FC. Cardiospermum halicacabum 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. 176-178
  3. Mat-Salleh K, Latif A. Tumbuhan ubatan Malaysia. Bangi, Selangor: Pusat Pengurusan Penyelidikan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 2002. p. 477-478.
  4. Seidemann J. World Spice Plants: Economic Usage, Botany, Taxonomy. Berlin: Springer-Verlag; 2005, p. 85.
  5. Panda H. Herbs Cultivation & Medicinal Uses 2nd Edition. New Delhi: National Institute of Industrial Research; 2000, p. 512-513.
  6. Khare CP. Indian medicinal plants: An illustrated dictionary. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2007; p. 121.
  7. Sung CK, Kimura T, But PPH, Guo J, editors. International collation of traditional and folk medicine: Northeast Asia Part III. Singapore: World Scientific, 1998; p. 83-84.
  8. Manandhar NP. Sanjay Manandhar, Plants and people of Nepal. Oregon: Timber Press, 2002; p. 135.
  9. Jayabalan N. Plant biotechnology. New Delhi: APH Publishing Corporation, 2006; p. 214.
  10. Oliver-Bever B. Medicinal plants in tropical West Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986; p. 122.
  11. Lachman-White DA, Adams CD, Trotz UO. A guide to the medicinal plants of coastal Guyana. London: The Commonwealth Secretariat, 1992; p. 50.
  12. Griffith RE. Medical botany; or, descriptions of the more important plants used in medicine, with their history, properties and mode of administration. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1847; p. 212.
  13. Sadique J, Chandra T, Thenmozhi V, Elango V. Biochemical modes of action of Cassia occidentalis and Cardiospermum halicacabum  in inflammation. J Ethnopharmacol. 1987;19(2):201-212.
  14. Sheeba MS, Asha VV. Cardiospermum halicacabum ethanol extract inhibits LPS induced COX-2, TNF-alpha and iNOS expression, which is mediated by NF-kappaB regulation, in RAW264.7 cells. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Jul 6;124(1):39-44. Epub 2009 Apr 23.
  15. Huang MH, Huang SS, Wang BS, et al. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Cardiospermum halicacabum and its reference compounds ex vivo and in vivo. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Nov 10. [Epub ahead of print]
  16. Asha VV, Pushpangadan P. Antipyretic activity of Cardiospermum halicacabum. Indian J Exp Biol. 1999 Apr;37(4):411-414.
  17. Khunkitti W, Fujimaki Y, Aoki Y. In vitro antifilarial activity of extracts of the medicinal plant Cardiospermum halicacabum against Brugia pahangi. J Helminthol. 2000 Sep;74(3):241-246.
  18. Waako PJ, Gumede B, Smith P, Folb PI. The in vitro and in vivo antimalarial activity of Cardiospermum halicacabum L. and Momordica foetida Schumch. Et Thonn. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 May 13;99(1):137-143.
  19. Boonmars T, Khunkitti W, Sithithaworn P, Fujimaki Y. In vitro antiparasitic activity of extracts of Cardiospermum halicacabum against  third-stage larvae of Strongyloides stercoralis. Parasitol Res. 2005 Nov;97(5):417-419. Epub 2005 Sep 7.
  20. Sheeba MS, Asha VV. Effect of Cardiospermum halicacabum on ethanol-induced gastric ulcers in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Jun 15;106(1):105-110. Epub 2006 Feb 15.
  21. Veeramani C, Pushpavalli G, Pugalendi KV. In vivo antioxidant and hypolipidemic effect OF Cardiospermum halicacabum leaf extract in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2010;21(2):107-125.
  22. Kumar R, Murugananthan G, Nandakumar K, Talwar S. Isolation of anxiolytic principle from ethanolic root extract of Cardiospermum halicacabum. Phytomedicine. 2011;18(2-3):219-223.