Elephantopus tomentosus L.

Last updated: 6 April 2016

Scientific Name

Elephantopus tomentosus L.


Elephantopus bodinieri Gagnep. Elephantopus nudicaulis Elliott, [Illegitimate], Elephantopus nudicaulis var. major Hook. Elephantopus nudicaulis var. nudicaulis, Elephantopus tomentosus var. nudicaulis (Poir.) C.F.Baker, Elephantopus tomentosus f. rotundatus Fernald, Elephantopus tomentosus f. tomentosus, Elephantopus tomentosus var. tomentosus, Elephantopus virgatus Desv. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Bersah hitam, chapa, pepalut, sebongbong, tapak leman, tapak sulaiman, tutup bumi [2]
English Devil's Grandmother,black cleanser, bung of the earth, elephant’s foot, ground-itch bush, prickly-leaved elephant’s foot, tobacco-weed [2]
China Ku di dan [2]
India Aane kaalu gida, aane gida, aanekaalu gida, achaksn, adhomukha, aetthina naalige gida, ana-schovadi,aba-shovadi, anaccuvati, anadujivha, anaicceviyati, anaiccivatai, bahuputra, ban muraee, banadungia, bis-shari, chirchitri, dadishakka, darvi, darvika, eddumalikettchhu, goji, gojialata, gojihba, gojihva, hastikasaka, joraphool, kurasa, mayor chulia, minjur chundi, mejojuthi, munjur chundi, nelaganagalu, nelamucchala, pathari, rajpundadi, yulu naalige [2]
Indonesia Talpak tana, tapak liman, tutup bumi [2]
Thailand Do mai ruu loom, kee fai nok khuun, naat me khalaen [2]
Philippines Dila-dila, kabkabon, kabkabron, kaburon,pagbilau, tabatabakohan[2] malatabako (Tagalog); tabtabako (Iloko); kaburon (Igorot) [3]
Vietnam C[or]l[uw][owx]I m[ef]o, c[us]c chi thi[ee]n, dia d[ar]m th[ar]o [2]
Japan Iga-ko-zori-na [2]
Africa Ahiboka, fandosimaitraomby (Madagascar) [2].

Geographical Distributions

Elephantopus tomentosus occurs in open waste places and grasslands up to 2000 m altitude. [3] Widely naturalized in tropical Africa, America and Asia. Also, reported in Philippines, Borneo, Sulawesi and Peninsular Malaysia. [3]

Botanical Description

E. tomentosus is a member of Compositae family.E. tomentosus may up to 10-60cm tall, stems whitish pilose and slender. [4]

The leaves are basal and cauline, elliptical-ovate or elliptical-obovate to elliptical-lanceolate, measuring about 8-22 cm x 3-7 cm; glomerules terminal, generally long-peduncled, glomerule bracts generally shorter than the involucral bracts. [4]

The flowers are with corolla about 5 mm long, whitish or sometimes pinkish or purplish. [2][4]

The fruit was measure about 2.5-3 mm long with pappus bristles equal and measuring 3.5-4 mm long. [4]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

E. tomentosus  has been reported to contain 2b-methoxy-2-deethoxy-8-O-deacylphantomolin-8-O-tiglinate, 2-dethoxy-2-hydroxyphantomolin, tomenphantopin A, B, H; tomenphantin A and B. [5][6][7]

Plant Part Used

Leaves [3][8]

Traditional Use

E. tomentosus  is believed to have diaphoretic, expectorant and emetic properties in its native land. In Hong Kong it is considered a diuretic, antihepatic and antibronchitis. [3][9] The leaves are used fresh in the form of a poultice to treat inflammatory conditions like wounds, erysipelas, tonsillitis and various respiratory disorders. In Malaysia E. tomentosus use include treating inflammatory conditions and to relieve pain. Decoction of the whole plant is prescribed for fever in Hong Kong. [3][8][10]

In the Philippines, the leaves (fresh and crushed or dried and powdered) are applied to wounds as a vulnerary. A decoction of the plant is prescribed as diuretic and febrifuge. It is also reported to act as an emetic. In Hong Kong, the entire plant is used for its diuretic, antihepatic and antibronchitis properties. It is also used to induce vomiting and to treat headaches. [3][8][9]

Preclinical Data


Anti-inflammatory activity

Ethanol extract of E. tomentosus was found to significantly reduce carrageenan-induced hind paw edema at a dose of 1000 mg/kg. [11]

Antinociceptive activity

The ethanol extract of E. tomentosus at a dose of 1000 mg/kg was able to increase the hyperalgesia pain threshold and inhibited writhing activity but did not affect the hot plate and tail flick tests. This antinociceptive effect was comparable to standard NSAID. [11]

Cytotoxic activity

E. tomentosus contain a number of compounds which proved to have cytotoxic activity. These compounds include tomenphantopin A and B which are sesquiterpene lactones, and tomenphantin A and B which are germacronolides. [7][8]

Antibacterial activity

Three compounds isolated and characterized from extracts of E. tomentosus exhibited antibacterial activity. They are tomenphantopin H, 2b-methoxy-2-deethoxy-8-O-deacylphantomolin-8-O-tiglinate, and 2-dethoxy-2-hydroxyphantomolin. [11]

Antioxidant activity

The ethanol extract of E. tomentosus exhibited antioxidant activity, lipid peroxidation inhibition, hydrogen peroxide and free radical scavenging activities. This is attributed to the 10% total phenolic content in the lypholized ethanol extract. [11]

Hepatoprotective activity

Oral administration of 500 mg/kg of ethanol extract of E. tomentosus was found have the ability to reduce liver damage in CCl4 treated rats. This was evidenced by the reduction of liver enzymes aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) together with histopathological changes to normalization. The hepatoprotective effects had been attributed to its antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties. [11]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing

No documentation.


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Elephantopus tomentosus L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Feb 11; cited 2015 May 29]. Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/gcc-28787
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume IV E-L. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 31-32.
  3. Ng LT. Elephantopus mollis Kunth. 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 Publisher, 1999; p. 252-253.
  4. Miller JH, Miller KV. Forest plants of the Southeast and their wildlife uses. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 2005; p. 60.
  5. Wang B, Mei WL, Zeng YB, Guo ZK, Liu GD, Dai HF. A new sesquiterpene lactone from Elephantopus tomentosus. J Asian Nat Prod Res. 2012;14(7):700-703.
  6. Hayashi T, Nakano T, Kozuka M, McPhail DR, McPhail AT, Lee KH. Antitumor agents. 190. Absolute stereochemistry of the cytotoxic germacranolides, tomenphantins A and B, from Elephantopus tomentosus. J Nat Prod. 1999;62(2):302-304.
  7. Crellin JK, Philpott J. Herbal medicine past and presence: A reference guide to medicinal plants. Durham: Duke University Press, 1989; p. 202.
  8. Dr Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Elephantopus tomentosus. [homepage on the Internet] US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service; c1992-2016 [updated 2016 Jun 02; cited 2013 Mar 21]. Available from: http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/duke/ethnobot.pl?ethnobot.taxon=Elephantopus%20tomentosus.
  9. Central nervous system agents: Advances in research and application. 2011 Edition. Atlanta, Georgia: Scholarly Editions, 2012; p. 192.
  10. Yam MF, Ang LF, Ameer OZ, Salman IM, Aziz HA, Asmawi MZ. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of Elephantopus tomentosus ethanolic extract. J Acupunct Meridian Stud. 2009;2(4):280-287.
  11. Mun FY, Basir R, Asmawi MZ, et al. antioxidant and hepatoprotective activities of Elephantopus tomentosus ethanol extract. Pharm Biol. 2008:46(3):199-206.