Family - Acanthaceae - Asystasia gangetica Linn. - CHINESE VIOLET

Scientific names

Asystasia coromandelina Nees
Justicia gangetica Linn.
Asystasia gangetica (L.) T. Anders.
Ruelia coromandeliana Nees

Common names

Asistasia (Tag.)
Zamboangenita (Tag.)
Chinese violet (Engl.)
Coromandel (Engl.)
Creeping foxglove (Engl.)
Purple primrose (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Kuan ye shi wan cuo.
FRENCH: Herbe le rail, Herbe piment, Herbe pistache.
GUJARATI: Kaligharani.
KANNADA: Lavana valli.
MALAYALAM: Valli-upu-dali.
MARATHI: Lavana valli.
TAMIL: Miti-kirai.
ZULU: Isihobo

Gen info
– Asystasia means inconsistency and refers to the corolla that is more or less regular, unusual for Acanthaceae members.


Asistasia is a procumbent herb, growing up to 1 meter or more in height. Leaves are ovate, 2.5 to 3 centimeters wide, with pointed tips and rounded or narrowed base. Flowers are borne on one side of lax racemes 5 to 12 centimeters in length. Sepals are linear-lanceolate, about 5 millimeters long and hairy on the back. Corolla is hairy, 2 to 3 centimeters long, with a yellow and inflated tube, limb is pink or pale purple, usually dull or lurid, sometimes yellow altogether. Capsule is cylindric-compressed, about 2.5 centimeters long and hairy. Seeds are smooth, compressed, ovoid, angular, wrinkled or subtubercular, less than 5 millimeters in diameter.

– In thickets near towns at A low altitude, often cultivated in Manila and Los Ba�os.
– Also occurs in tropical Africa, Asia, and Malaya.

– Phytochemical analysis yielded carbohydrates, proteins, alkaloids, tannins, steroidal aglycans, saponins, flavonoids, and triterpenoids. Also yields, minerals: calcium, phosphorus, sodium, manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium, iron.
– Flowers yielded a biflavon glycoside – apigenin 7-O-glucosyl (3′-6″) luteolin 7″-O-glucoside.
– Aerial parts yielded a 5,11-epoxymegastigmane glucoside (asysgangoside).
– Preliminary phytochemical analysis of hexane, EA, and methanol extracts yielded saponins, reducing sugar, steroids, glycosides, flavonoids and anthraquinones.

– Considered astringent, anthelmintic, antidiabetic, anti-asthmatic, anti-inflammatory, vermifuge.

Parts utilized
Leaves and flowers.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Asystasia gangetica (L.) T.Anderson / Prota 2

(2) Traditional African medicines may hold potential for treating high blood pressure NewsMedicalNet

(3) In vitro 5-Lipoxygenase inhibition of polyphenolic antioxidants from undomesticated plants of South Africa 
Journal of Medicinal Plants Research Vol. 2(9), pp. 207-212, September, 2008 / ISSN 1996-0875� 2008 Academic Journals

(4) Megastigmane glucoside from Asystasia gangetica (L.) T. Anderson / Tripetch Kanchanapoom et al / Journal of Natural Medicines � Volume 61, Number 4 / October, 2007 / DOI 10.1007/s11418-007-0158-3

(5) Potential antidiabetic and antioxidant activities of Morus indica and Asystasia gangetica in alloxaninduced
diabetes mellitus 
/ R Pradeep Kumar et al / Journal of Experimental Pharmacology 2010:2 29�36

(6) Traditional African medicines may hold potential for treating high blood pressure / 2. May 2007 09:40 / Australian Institute of Applied Sciences

(7) Asystasia gangetica: Review on Multipotential Application / Tilloo SK et al / IRJP, 2012, 3(4)


(9) Asystasia gangetica / Common names / PIER

(10) Effects of aqueous leaf extract of Asystasia gangetica on the blood pressure and heart rate in male spontaneously hypertensive Wistar rats / Pierre Mugabo* and Ismaila A Raji / BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:283 doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-283

(11) Antibacterial Efficacy of Abrus precatorius L. and Asystasia gangetica (L.) T. Anderson / Janakiraman N, Jasmin Jansi J, Johnson M, Zahir Hussain MI and Jeeva S / Anti-Infective Agents, Vol 12 2014 / , IDOI: 10.2174/22113525113119990004

(12) Preliminary Phytochemistry, Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties of extracts of Asystasia gangetica Linn T. Anderson grown in Nigeria / A. A. Hamid*, O. O. Aiyelaagbe, R. N. Ahmed, L. A. Usman and S. A. Adebayo / Advances in Applied Science Research, 2011, 2 (3): 219-226

(13) In vitro antidiabetic activity of anthocyanin extract of Asystasia gangetica (Chinese violet) flower / Kavitha Sama, Rajeshwari Sivaraj* and Rajiv. P / Asian Journal of Plant Science and Research, 2013, 3(2):88-92

(14) In Vitro Antioxidant and Antidiabetic activity of Asystasia gangetica (Chinese Violet) Linn. (Acanthaceae) / N. V. L. Suvarchala Reddy*, Sneha J. Anarthe and N. M. Raghavendra / International Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, Vol. 1 (2) Oct � Dec 2010

(15) Antidiabetic, hypolipidemic and antioxidant properties of Asystasia gangetica in streptozotocin-nicotinamide-induced type 2 diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) in rats / Kuppusamy, Asok Kumar; Muthusamy, Umamaheswari; Shanmugam, Somanathan Sathravada; Thirumalaisamy, Sivashanmugam Andichetiar; Varadharajan, Subhdradevi; Ramanathan, Sambathkumar / Journal of Pharmacy Research; Oct2010, Vol. 3 Issue 10, p2516

(16) Evaluation of Anti Inflammatory activity of Methanolic Extract of Asystasia gangetica (L).T.Andas. Leaves /
CH.KRISHNA MOHAN*, E.MADHAN MOHAN*, M.RAMESH / Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2011 Vol-1 Issue 1

Edibility / Culinary
– In the Philippines the leaves and flowers eaten as pot herb.
– In Uganda and Kenya, consumed as a popular vegetable mixed with beans, groundnut or sesame paste.
– Leaves and flowers used as intestinal astringent.
– Leaves consumed as spinach.

– In the Philippines, leaves and flowers used as intestinal astringent.
– In the Gold Coast the plant is commonly used as woman’s medicine. Infusion of plant used to ease pain during childbirth. infusion or decoction of plant mixed with peppers used as an enema in the later months of pregnancy.
– In Nigeria, leaves used for treatment of asthma.
– In South Africa,used for anthelmintic activity, swelling, rheumatism, gonorrhea, and ear disease.
– In India, sap is applied to swellings; also used for rheumatism and as vermifuge. In Tamil Nadu, root paste used for skin allergies. Plant also used as antiasthmatic, anthelmintic and antidiabetic.
In Kenya and Uganda, used as forage for cattle
In Tanzania, plants pounded in water and used to wash flea-infested young animals.
In Africa, commonly as ornamental ground cover.

Study Findings

– Antiasthmatic / Leaves: Phytochemical screening yielded carbohydrates, proteins, alkaloids, tannins, steroidal saponins, flavonoids, triterpenoids. Leaf extract relaxed histamine-precontracted trachial strips and exhibited antiinflammatory activity. Study justified its use in Nigerian folk medicine for asthma treatment.
– Bronchospasmolytic activity: Another Nigerian study suggests that the leaves of A gangetica provides benefit through a bronchospasmolytic effect of the terpenoid compounds.
– Antihypertensive: In a South African study of 16 plants on the ACE Inhibitor Activity of Nutritive Plants, Asystasia gangetica was one of eight that showed significant ACE inhibition activity.
– Antioxidant / Antiinflammatory: Asystasia gangetica was one of 18 plants investigated for free radical scavenging activity, total phenolic content and antiinflammatory properties.
– Asysgangoside / Phytochemicals: Study isolated a 5,11-epoxymegastigman glucoside (asysgangoside) together with known compounds.
– Anti-Diabetic / Antioxidant: Results showed significant antidiabetic and antioxidant potential for A gangetica and M indica, individually or in combination.
– Anti-Diabetic / Antioxidant Study results suggest the potential of A. gangetica as antioxidant in protecting the tissue defense system against oxidative damage in streptozotocin-induced diabetes.
– Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibition / Antihypertensive: Study showed A gangetica as one of eight plants that showed significant ACEI activity.
– Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory: A methanolic extract of A. gangetica, evaluated for anti-inflammatory activity in albino wistar rats, showed significant decreased paw edema in the carrageenan model.
– Antimicrobial / Antifungal: Study of hexane, ethylacetate, and methanol extracts was studied for in vitro inhibition of human pathogenic organisms. Crude extracts showed concentration-dependent inhibition of the growth of the 12 test organisms. The extracts showed higher antifungal properties on C. albicans, P notatum, T. rubrum, and E. flocossum comparable to Tioconazole, the reference drug.
– Antimicrobial: Extracts of leaves, stems, and roots were studied for antimicrobial activity. Methanol extracts showed the highest activity; the water extracts, the least. The methanol extract also showed potent antifungal activity against C. albicans.
– Antidiabetic / Hypolipidemic / Leaves: Study of M. indica and Asystaia gangetica in alloxan-induced diabetes in rats showed the ethanolic extract of leaves to have good hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effect.
– Antihypertensive / Angiotensin Effects: Study evaluated the in-vivo effects of an aqueous leaf extract on blood pressure and heart rate in anesthetized hypertensive male rats. Results showed significant and dose-dependent reduction of systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial BP. The effect may be due to actions of the ALE on ACE (angiotensin 1 converting enzyme), ANG II (angiotensin II) receptors and heart rate.
– Antibacterial: Study evaluated the antibacterial activity of various cold organic solvent extracts of A. precatorius and A. gangetica. In Asystasia gangetica, the benzene extracts showed the broadest spectrum of inhibition against B. subtilis followed by an ethanolic extract against Salmonella typhi.
– Antimicrobial: Study evaluated hexane, ethylacetate and methanol extracts of whole plant of A. gangetica to determine inhibition of human pathogenic microorganisms. All the bacterial strains showed concentration sensitivity to all the extracts. The extracts showed higher antifungal properties on C. albicans, P. notatum, T. rubrum, and E. floccosum with activity comparable to reference drug, Tioconazole.
– Antidiabetic / Flowers: Study evaluated the alpha amylase and alpha glucosidase inhibitory effects of extracted anthocyanins from A. gangetica flower. The anthocyaninn extraction showed significant inhibition and appreciable alpha amylase and alpha glucosidase inhibitory activity. The activity may be due to the presence of anthocyanin phenolic compounds; and presents a potential source of a natural antidiabetic agent.
– Antidiabetic / α-glucosidase and α-amylase inhibitory activity / Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated the in vitro antioxidant and antidiabetic activity of a methanolic extract of leaves of A. gangetica in various models. The methanolic extract showed concentration dependent α-glucosidase and α-amylase inhibitory activity. The reducing power of the extract was concentration dependent. Results suggest a potential candidate for the management of T2DM.
– Antidiabetic / Hypolipidemic / Antioxidant: Study evaluated A. gangetica using streptozotocin-nicotinamide-induced type 2 diabetes model in rats. Antioxidant activity was observed in various models. Treatment significantly lowered blood glucose, HbA1C, total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, VLDL, with elevation of Hb and HDL. The antihyperglycemic effect may be due to peripheral glucose utilization and the hypolipidemic effect may lower cardiovascular complications and offer protection against oxidative damage in STZ-induced diabetes.
– Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Study for the anti-inflammatory activity of a methanolic extract of A. gangetica leaves in albino Wistar rats showed dose-dependent decrease of paw edema in the Carageenan model and significant decrease in granuloma formation in the Cotton Pellet model. The anti-inflammatory activity may be due to inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis.