Family - Capparidaceae - Gynandropsis gynandra (Linn.) Briq. - SPIDER FLOWER - Yang jiao cai

Tandanduk is a shared common name: (1) Solidago virgo-aurea, tantanduk, and (2) Gynandropsis gynandra, tantandok
Cat’s whisker is a common name shared by: (1) Orthosiphon aristatus, Kabling-gubat, Balbas-pusa, and (2) Gynandropsis gynandra, spider flower.
Apoyapoyan (Pouzolzia zeylanica) is phonetically confusedwith (1) apoi-apoian (Gynandropsis gynandra), and (2) apoy-apoyan, bias-pugo, Ammannia baccifera.

Scientific names

Gynandropsis gynandra (Linn.) Briq.
Cleome gynandra Linn.
Gynandropsis pentaphylla DC.
Cleome alliacea Blanco
Cleome alliodora Blanco
Cleome pentaphylla Linn.
Pedicellaria pentaphylla Schrank.
Sinapistrum pentaphyllum Medic.

Common names

Apoi-apoian (Tag.)
Balabalanoian (Tag.)
Halaya (P. Bis.)
Hulaya (P. Bis.)
Tantandok (Ilk.)
Tantandok-a-dadakel (Ilk.)
Spider flower (Engl.)
Bastard mustard (Engl.)
Cat’s whiskers (Engl.)
Yang jiao cai (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Bai huo cai, Pe hua tsai.
CUBAN: Volantin.
EGYPTIAN: Abu quam, Arareeg, Tamaleekah, Tokshangeth.
ETHIOPIA: Boekbeha, Gargama.
FRENCH: Mousambe.
GERMAN: Senfkapper, Benzoinbaun, Fieberstrauch.
INDONESIAN: Babowan, Enceng-enceng, Mamang, Langsana, Merah, Boboon, Ent jengent, Leug-tengan.
KENYAN: Chinsaga, Saget, Keyo, Mikabili, Mwangani, Mwianzo, Kisiat, Akio luni.
NETHERLAND: Kattesnor.
SOUTH AFRICAN: Tameleika, Akaki, Agyiri, Ziri.
VIETNAMESE: M[af]n m[af]n tr[aws]ng.


Apoi-apoian is an erect, branched, somewhat hairy herb, growing 0.4 to 1 meter high, usually with purplish stems. Leaf has a very long petiole with five leaflets. Leaflets are obovate or oblong-obovate, 2 to 5 centimeters long, pointed at the base, more abruptly pointed at the tip. Flowers are borne in racemes which terminate the branches, showy and somewhat spidery in appearance. Sepals are lanceolate, green, about 4 millimeters long. Petals are white or tinged with purple, 1 to 1.2 centimeters long, withe elliptic to obovate blades. Fruit is a cylindric capsule, 4 to 10 centimeters long, about 5 mm in diameter, containing numerous, small, dark-brown seeds.

– At low and medium altitudes, occurring as a weed in waste places, often abundantly, especially near the sea.
– Pantropic.

– Plant yields an acrid, volatile oil having the properties of garlic or mustard.
– Seed yields a thick, greenish, drying oil.
– Screening for secondary metabolites yielded alkaloids, cynanogenetic glycosides and steroidal nucleus.

– Plant has an odor resembling asafoetida, but more delicate.
– Seeds considered to have properties similar to those of mustard.
– Seeds are febrifuge, antispasmodic, sudorific, anthelmintic, carminative.
– Leaves considered rubefacient and vesicant.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Toxicity of Gynandropsis pentaphylla DC Extracts Against Microbials and Its Phytochemical Profile / J Francis Borgio, Pravin K Thorat and Archana Lonkar / Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12: 320-336. 2008.

(2) The effect of immunotherapy with gynandropsis gynandra pollen in atopic asthma patients / G Suman Latha et al / Lung India, 2007, Volume : 24, Issue 4, Pp124-127 / DOI: 10.4103/0970-2113.44375

(3) Preventive role of G gynandra L against aflatoxin B1 induced lipid peroxidation and antioxidant defense mechanism in rat / D Sivanesa and V Hazeena Begum / Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, Vol 45, March 2007, pp 299-303

(4) In vitro Anthelmintic Properties of Buchholzia coriacea and Gynandropsis gynandra Extracts / E O Ajaiyeoba et al / Pharmaceutical Biology, 2001, Vol 39, No 3, Pp 217-220

(5) NUTRITIONAL AND MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF CLEOME GYNANDRA / E Van den Heever, S L Venter / International Society for Horticultural Science

(6) Modulatory effect of Gynandropsis gynandra L. on glucose metabolizing enzymes in aflatoxin B1-induced hepatocellular carcinoma in rats / Sivanesan D and Begum V H / Indian J Biochem Biophys. 2007 Dec;44(6):477-80.

(7) In vitro anthelmintic property of various seed oils against Pheritima posthuma / S s Jalaipure, K R Alagawadi et al / Indian Journ of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2007 | Volume : 69 | Issue : 1 | Page : 158-160


(9) Gynandropsis gynandra / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED

(10) Volatile compounds from leaves of the African spider plant (Gynandropsis gynandra) with bioactivity against spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) / S.O. Nyalala, M.A. Petersen, B.W.W. Grout / Annals of Applied Biology
Volume 162, Issue 3, pages 290�298, May 2013 / DOI: 10.1111/aab.12021

(11) Antinociceptive Activity of Gynandropsis gynandra Leaves / U R Ghogare, S A Nirmal, R Y Patil, and M D Kharya / Natural Product Research, Vol 23, No 4, March 2009, pp 327-333.

(12) Antineoplastic Agents 540. The Indian Gynandropsis gynandra (Capparidaceae) / Pettit, George R.; Meng, Yanhui; Herald, Delbert L.; Stevens, Andrew M.; Pettit, Robin K.; Doubek, Dennis L. / Oncology Research Featuring Preclinical and Clinical Cancer Therapeutics, Volume 15, Number 2, 2005 , pp. 59-68(10)

(13) Antiproliferative effects of Gynandropsis gynandra and Piper methysticum on human and lung cancer cells/ Adebolu, Olujoba O., M.S., VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, 2010, 50 pages; 1480003 / Dissertation

Parts used
Leaves, seeds.

Edibility / Nutrition
– Throughout Africa, the tender leaves or young shoots, often the flowers, are boiled and consumed as potherb, relish, flavoring for sauces, stew or side dish. Fresh leaves are bitter and so are cooked with other vegetables; also, are ingredients of mashed foods and dried leaves are ground and incorporated in weaning foods.
– Flavor suggests that of radishes.
– Often pickled with salt and added to rice as a flavoring.
– Rich source of nutrient, especially vitamins A and C, minerals (calcium and iron).

– Bruised leaves used as counterirritant or revulsive.
– Leaves used externally as the seeds of mustard, and taken internally for certain bilious disorders.
– Whole plant made into an ointment applied to pustular eruptions of the skin; simply boiled in oil, used – for cutaneous diseases, especially leprosy.
– In Indo-China, used as antiscorbutic.
– Bruised leaves used as rubefacient and vesicant, producing copious exudation, providing relief obtained from blister without its inconveniences.
– Shangaans used the pounded leaf as counterirritant in rheumatism, neuralgia, headache, stiff neck, taking care to withdraw the application before it produces a blister.
– Leaf juice used occasionally for earache, otorrhea, and other ear affections.
– Root decoction used as mild febrifuge.
– Decoction of seeds used as wash for piles, rheumatism and malarial disorders.
– Seeds are febrifuge and applied locally for headaches.
– In Africa, leaves are crushed for a concoction to drink as scurvy cure. In other communities, leaves are boiled and marinated in sour milk to become a nutritious meal, believed to improve eyesight, provide energy, and cure marasmus. Also, highly recommended for pregnant and lactating women. Also, used in the treatment of bronchitis, boils, earaches and nasal congestion and as eyewash.

Study Findings
– Antimicrobial / Antifungal / Phytochemicals: Phytochemical screening yielded tannin, alkaloid, flavones, sugar, phenolic group, essential oil, amino acids, and saponin. Antimicrobial activity was shown against Agrobacterium tumefaciens, Penicillium notatum. The extracts of leaves showed the highest activity and the highest activity index was against the fungus P notatum.
– Antimicrobial: Study showed showed activity against A niger, A flavus and Metarhizium anisopliae, with the seed extract showing the highest activity.
– Essential Oil / Tick Repellent: Study of the G. gynandra oil yielded 28 compounds; carvacrol occurred in the largest quantity (29.2%), followed by trans-phytol (24.0%), linalool (13.3%), among others. Tested against the livestock tick, Rhipicephalus appendiculatus, the oil exhibited a repellency effect higher than a commercial arthropod repellent. Methyl isothiocyanate which occurred at a relative percentage of 2.1, not tested in the bioassay due to its toxicity may have contributed significantly to the repellency of the oil.
– Allergic Disorders / Immunotherapy: Study evaluating the effect of immunotherapy with specific pollen of Gynandropsis gynandra showed both immediate and delayed skin test responses were highly significant. The symptom intensity score and medication was reduced and total IgE levels were inconsistent after the course of IT.
– Immunotherapy: Stu Aeroallergens play a major role in the pathogenesis of respiratory allergic diseases – asthma, rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, urticaria. In a study evaluating the effect of immunotherapy towards whole pollen antigen of G gynandra and its fractions showed a significant increase in IgG and its subclass antibodies specific to Gg pollen.
– Lipid Peroxidation Inhibition / Antioxidant: Study of G. gynandra extract confirmed its chemopreventive efficacy by diminishing the rate of lipid peroxidation and significantly increasing the levels of enzymatic (superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase) and nonenzymatic (reduced glutathione vitamins E and C, and uric acid) antioxidants.
– Anthelmintic: Study of G gynandra and B coriaceae extracts showed considerable anthelmintic activities against Fasciola gigantica, Taenia solium and Pheritima posthuma.
– Anthelmintic / Seed Oil: Study of seed oils from five medicinal plants, including G gynandra, all showed moderate to significant anthelmintic activity against Pheritima posthuma.
– Anti-Inflammatory / Antinociceptive: Study of G gynandra extract showed significant dose-dependent analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity.
– Modulatory Effect on Hepatocellular Carcinoma: The modulation of glucose-metabolizing enzyme activities play a role in the depletion of energy metabolism that leads to inhibition of cancer growth. In this study, the effect of Gg extract on aflatoxin-induced hepatocellular carcinoma on glucose metabolizing enzymes in rats caused a significant increase in the activities of glycolytic enzymes and an increase in gluconeogenic enzyme activities. The results suggest a definite modulating role on the key enzymes of glucose metabolism in HCC and may be due to phytoactive constituents in the extract.
– Anticancer: Study of methanol extract of Cg in Swiss albino mice against Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma cell line showed a potent dose-dependent anticancer activity comparable to that of 5-fluorouracil.
– Antimicrobial: Study evaluated the extract of leaves and stems of G. gynandra and Buchholzia coriacea for antibacterial and antifungal properties. Hexane and methanolic extracts of both plants showed various degrees of activity in both bioassays. Ampicillin and tioconazole were used as standard reference drugs.
– Volatile Constituents / Spider Mite Repellent: Study evaluated G. gynandra leaves in search of compounds for the management of spider mites. Results yielded thirteen volatile compounds including isothiocyanates, aldehydes, esters, alcohols, and terpenes. Spider mite populations were rendered inactive on 2 h exposure to some of the compounds.
– Antinociceptive: Study evaluated extracts of leaves for antinociceptive activity using a hot plate test and acetic acid-induced writhing test in mice. Ethanol and aqueous extracts were most active. Results suggested involvement of opioid receptors, and flavonoid and tannin constituents probably responsible for the antinociceptive activity.
– Antineoplastic Agents 540: Study of an entire plant extract based on a bioassay employing cancer lines isolated six cancer cell growth inhibitors which were known flavone apegenin and flavonols 1-3, 5 and 6. The five flavonols inhibited the murine P388 lymphocytic leukemia cell line and all six flavonoids exhibited activity against a panel of six human cancer cell lines. Compound 3, penduletin, inhibited Gram-negative pathogen Neisseria gonorrhea.
– Antiproliferative Effects on Human and Lung Cancer Cells: Study showed both G. gynandra and Piper methysticum possess antiproliferative effects on human lung and stomach cancer cells.