Paederia foetida L.

Last updated: 13 Oct 2016

Scientific Name

Paederia foetida L.


Apocynum foetidum Burm.f., Crawfurdia paniculata Griseb, Gentiana scandens Lour., Hondbesseion foetidum (L.) Kuntze, Hondbesseion tomentosum (Blume) Kuntze, Paederia amboinensis Miq., Paederia barbulata Miq., Paederia chinensis Hance, Paedria chinensis var. angustifolia Nakai, Paederia chinensis var. maritima Koidz., Paederia chinensis var. megaphylla Koidz., Paederia chinensis f. microphylla Honda, Paederia chinensis f. tenuissima Masam., Paederia chinensis var. velutina Nakai, Paederia corymbosa Noronha [Invalid], Paederia dunniana H.Lév., Paederia esquirolli H.Lév, Paederia foetida f. microphylla (Honda) Tsukaya, Imaichi & J.Yokoy., Paederia foetida var. sessiliflora (Poir.) Baker, Paederia laxiflora Merr. ex H.L.Li, Paederia longituba Nakai, Paederia magnifolia Noronha [Invalid], Paederia mairei H.Lév., Paedeia ovata Miq., Paederia prainii Gand., Paederia scaberula Miq., Paederia scandens (Lour.) Merr., Paedeia scandens var. longituba (Nakai) H.Hara, Paederia scandens f. mairei (H.Lév) Nakai, Paederia scandens var. mairei (H.Lév.) H.Hara, Paederia scandens var. maritima (Koidz.) H.Hara, Paederia scandens f. megaphylla (Koidz.) H.Hara, Paederia scandens f. microphylla (Honda) H.Hara, Paederia scandens f. rebescens Asai, Paederia scandens f. rubrae-stellaris Konta & S.Matsumoto, Paederia scandens var. tomentosa (Blume) Hand.-Mazz., Paederia scandens var. velutina (Nakai) Nakai, Paederia scandens var. villosa (Hayata) Masam., Paederia sessiliflora Poir., Paederia stenophylla Merr., Paederia tomentosa Blume, Paederia tomentosa var. glabra Kurz, Paederia tomentosa var. mairei (H.Lév.) H.Lév., Paederia uraiensis Hayata, Paederia villosa Hayata, Psychotria volubilis Roxb. ex Wight & Arn., Reussia sarmentosa Dennst. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Akar sekentut, dangdangking, daun kentut, daun sekuntot, kesimbukan, sekuntut [2]
English Chicken-dung creeper, Chinese fevervine, Chinese moon creper, kings tonic [2]
China Chiao piao (= sparrow calabash), ji shen teng, ji shit eng, nu ching [2]
India Appe-taruh, aprasarini, bakuchi, bala, balya, bedolisutta, bhadrabala, bhadraparni, bhedai lata, bhe-dai lota, bhedailota, vhede lata, bhodolota, biri, biri lara, biri lorong, bodhakora, candravalli, cankai-p-pinari, caru-parni, chandbaela, chandbeli, chandraparni, chandravalli, chandvela, charuparni, gabbu balli, gandel, gandha bhadulia, gandha-prasarini, gandhabhadra, gandhabhadulia, gandhali, gandhapasarani, gandhapatra, gandhaprasarini, gandheli, gandhi bhadulia, gandholi, gandhputigandha, gandhya, gan-dyapatylla, gombheyamagaruchettu, gonthe mogaru chettu, gonthenogaru, guganari, gundali, gundhabhaduli, hesara-ane, hesarane, hiranbael, hiranvel, hiranwel, ipetri, katamb-hara, khip, khipibandong, kutumbhare, lepcha, madot thi, mei iwtung, mei sohmyrsem, milono, muthiar koonthal, oinam, padli-larang, padre lewa, paduri-lata, paduri lata, paduri-lata, padurilota, pasaruni, pashum, peeth laha, penarisangai, pichulati-elai, prabala, prabhadra, prasaarani, prasara, prasa-ran, prasarani, prasarini, prasarinijati, pratanika, pratanini, rajabala, rajaparni, sabiralachettu, sara, sarana, sarani, saru-parni, saviraela chettu, savirela, sharana, sharani, so-maraji, soma raajee, soma raji, somaraji, somraj, somraji, suprarasa, surrasara, tak-lang-chat, talanili, thabai, tsumenumli, tzu-menumli, upter, upteri, vawih-uih-hrui, vawihuihhrui [2]
Indonesia Bintaos, daun kentut, kahitutan, kasembukan, sembukan [2]
Thailand Choh-ka-thue mue, kon, yaan phaahom [2]
Laos Kua ak ton sua [2]
Philippines Bangogan, dikut na buluk, kantukai, kantutai, kantutak, kantutan, lilitan, mabolok, matabang-dikut, taitai [2]
Cambodia Vear phnom [2]
Vietnam Day dam cho, d[aa]y m[ow] l[oo]ng, d[aa]y m[ow] tr[of]n, mo tam the, m[ow] tam th[eer] [2]
Bangladesh Ghondhobadali [2]
Nepal Tukpitrik (Lepcha) [2]
Hawaii Maile ka kahiki, maile pilau [2]
Madagascar Laingomaimbo, lengomena, liane caca, lingue caca [2].

Geographical Distributions

Paederia foetida is found in the region from India, China and the Philippine Islands. In Peninsular Malaysia, it grows wild in open places, scrambling over trees and bushes. [3]

Botanical Description

P. foetida is a member of Rubiaceae family [1]. It is a slender, perennial herb. Its stinking and twining branches are 1.5-7 m long [4].

The young stems are purplish- or reddish-brown, almost hairless to densely hairy. The old stems are yellowish-brown to greyish in colour, and it is smooth and shiny. The leaf form is simple, broadly egg-shaped and elliptical-oblong to linear, with sizes about 2-21 cm x 0.7-9 cm. [4]

The leaf base is heart-shaped, rounded or sometimes hastate, while the apex is acute to acuminate. The whitish to golden yellow-brown surface is hairless to variably hairy. The petiole size is 0.5-6(-9) cm long. Stipules are present ininterpetiolar, rounded or ovate to triangular form in sizes ranging between 1.5-5mm x 2-3 mm. It is usually entire, hairless or hairy. [4]

The inflorescence consists of a terminal or axillary cymose panicle that is extremely variable. It grows from widely branched paniculate over 1 m long to rather reduced size, normally 10 cm long. The bracts are either leaf-like or small and linear, with few to numerous flowers, often in lax coiled cymes with peduncle that is 2-30 mm long. [4]

The flowers are bisexual, usually 5-merous; in dirty pink or lilac or purplish colour. The corolla lobes are pinkish to whitish on the inside while the throat is dark purple. The sepal is bell-shaped, with 5 normally smooth triangular-lobed with sizes up to 1 mm x 0.6 mm. The petal is cylindrical to bell-shaped, and sizes 5-17 mm x 2-5 mm. The throat and the inside of the long tube are densely hairy with 5 oblong to triangular lobes and sizes between 1-3 mm x 1.5-3 mm. The margins are wavy and flexed. It has 5 stamens that are inserted in the middle of the tube which includes 2-2.5 mm long anthers. The 2-celled and 2-ovuled ovary is inferior with a small disk and 4-15 mm long style. The stigmas joined the style up to 2 mm of its length. The 2 stigma branches are thread-like and irregularly twisted. The (sub) spherical fruit is a drupe at 4-6 mm in diameter. [4]

The fruit walls are thin, dry and brittle. It is crowned by the persistent sepals, shiny pale brown to yellowish-or reddish-brown in colour. The 2 semi-orbicular or semi-ellipsoidal kernels are flat on one side and convex or compressed on the other. It is normally slightly smaller than the fruit, without conspicuous wings, black in colour and often conspicuously covered with needle-shaped crystals. [4]

The seedling is germinated above the ground, with cotyledons broadly rounded. The veins are prominent while the first pair of leaves form is elliptical and apex is acuminate. [4]


P. foetida plant prefers moisture and sunlight and is adaptable to a variety of soils. [3] P. foetida occurs commonly as a ruderal in thickets and woodland, but is also found along forest edges, in secondary evergreen to deciduous forest and clearings in primary forest. It also grows in montane vegetation up to 3000 m altitude, on steep, forested slopes, or on sandy or rocky sea coasts. [4]

Chemical Constituent

The aerial parts of P. foetida contain iridoid glucoside: asperuloside, scandoside and paederoside. An enzyme that splits paederoside to give a bad odour of sulphur containing methyl-mercaptan is released when the plant tissue is bruised. The plant also contains alkaloids, a- and b-paederine and an essential oil. [5]

The intense colour of the essential oil is due to methyl mercaptan. Linalool is the major component of the oil obtained from the stem, leaf and flower, together with terpineol and geraniol. The leaf and stem also contain hentriacontane, hentriacontanol and ceryl alcohol, 2,3-dihydrobenzofuran, benzofuran and sulphur containing compounds dimethyl sulphide and dimethyl trisulphide. The leaf and stem contain ursolic acid, epifriedelinol, friedelin, sitosterol, stigmasterol and campesterol. Embelin has been isolated from the aerial parts. The leaf contains a mixture of fatty acids including non-ionic, capric, lauric, myristic, arachnidic and palmitic acids. The leaves are rich in vitamin C. [6]

Plant Part Used

Leaf, root, bark, and fruit. [3]

Traditional Use

The main uses of the leaves of P. foetida are to relieve intestinal complaints, that is, in dyspepsia, flatulence, gastritis and enteritis. The leaves mixed with omelettes are said to be an effective remedy for intestinal catarrh. In Chinese medicine, the leaves are eaten to aid digestion and to expel gas. The extract of the leaves has been claimed to be an astringent and is given to children suffering from diarrhoea. The boiled and mashed leaves are also applied to the abdomen to treat stomachache, abdominal distension and urinary retention. Meanwhile, the leaves decoction is used to relieve urinary calculi and dysuria. An infusion, from the paste of pounded leaves mixed with water, or the emulsion has been used to treat flatulence and rheumatism. In the Philippine Islands, the leaves are used as an antirheumatic bath. To treat fever, pieces of cloth are soaked in the decoction and are applied to the head; at the same time the decoction is drunk. Malays and Javanese use it to reduce swellings and as a poultice to treat nose ulcer. The Chinese also use it as a remedy for poisonous insect bites. [3]

The root of P. foetida has been claimed to be an emollient and a carminative. It is useful for the treatment of colic, spasms, rheumatism and gout. Indians believe that the root works as an emetic while the Filipinos use the bark. In the Philippine Islands, the fruit is reported to have been used as a remedy for toothache. [3]

Preclinical Data


Anti-inflammatory activity

A butanolic fraction of a methanolic extract of the defatted leaves of P. foetida inhibits significantly the formation of the granulation tissue formation in cotton-pellet implanted rats. This fraction inhibits the enzymatic activity of liver aspartate transaminase (AST) without affecting serum AST, but did not affect the adrenal weight and the vitamin C content significantly. This fraction also reduces the serum orosomucoid levels suggesting the possibility of the presence of disease-modifying antirheumatic activity. It also antagonised hyposaline-induced haemolysis of human red blood cells and elevate the enzyme activity of serum acid phosphatase, indicating the presence of a membrane stabilising activity. [7]

Antidiarrhoeal activity

The ethanolic extract of the whole plant of P. foetida was administered to groups of mice 60 min before the administration of castor oil or magnesium sulphate to induce diarrhoea. In the castor oil study, P. foetida showed potent antidiarrhoeal activity at 500 mg/kg dose, while the same extract exhibited significant antidiarrhoeal activity against magnesium sulphate-induced diarrhoea in a dose-dependent manner. In both groups of animal models, P. foetida ethanol extract showed antidiarrhoeal activity by inhibiting gastrointestinal motility. Further study is required to identify the active component and the exact mechanism of action. [8]

 Antitussive activity

The antitussive activity of ethanolic extract of P. foetida was evaluated in conscious cats using the method of mechanically induced cough. The results showed that the ethanolic extract of P. foetida at the oral dose of 200 mg/kg body wt had a cough- suppressive effect. These effects were observed both in decreasing number of efforts and intensity of attack. Comparison study of the ethanolic extract to suppress the cough to commonly used drugs in clinical practice was examined. The findings indicate that the antitussive activity of the ethanolic extract of P. foetida is lower than that of the narcotic antitussive drug – codeine but is similar to that of commonly used non-narcotic antitussive agent, dropropizine. [9]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of P. foetida. [4]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Paederia foetida L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Oct 13). Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 387-388.
  3. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 2. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p. 191-192.
  4. Aquilar NO. Paederia foetida L. In: van Valkenburg JLCH, Bunyapraphatsara N, editors. Plant resources of South-East Asia No. 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Leiden, The Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 2001; p. 396-400.
  5. Sammy J, Sugumaran M. and Lee KLW. Herbs of Malaysia. In: Wong KM, editor. Malaysia: Federal Publications Sdn Bhd, 2005; p. 178-179.
  6. Williamson EM. Major herbs of Ayurveda. Churchill Livingstone, 2002; p. 206-208.
  7. De S, Ravishankar B, Bhavsar GC. Investigation of the anti-inflammatory effects of Paederia foetidaJ Ethnopharmacol.  1994;43:31-38.
  8. Afroz S, Alamgir M, Khan MT, jabbar S, Nahar N, Choudhuri MS. Antidiarrhoeal activity of the ethanol extract of Paederia foetida Linn. (Rubiaceae). J Ethnopharmacol. 2006;105(1-2):125-130.
  9. Nosálová G, Mokry J, Ather A, Khan MTH. Antitussive activity of the ethanolic extract of Paederia foetida (Rubiaceae family) in non-anaesthetized cats. Acta Vet Brno. 2007;76:27-33.