Family • Lythraceae - Ammannia baccifera Linn. - BLISTERING AMMANIA - Shui xian cai

Scientific names

Ammannia baccifera Linn.
Ammannia debilis Alton
Ammannia apiculata Koehne
Ammannia indica Lam
Ammannia retusa Koehne
Celosiaa bicolor Blanco
Celosiaa nana Blanco

Common names

Apoy-apoyan (Pang., Tag.)
Bias-pugo (Tag.)
Parapit-lañgit (Pamp.)
Blistering Ammannia (Engl.)
Monarch redstem (Engl.)
Tooth cup (Engl.)
Shui xian cai (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

BENGALI: Banmarich.
CHINESE: Xi ye shui xian, Jiang guo shui xian.
HINDI: Aginbuti, Ban mirich, Dadmari, Jungli mehendi.
MALAYALAM: Kallur vanchi, Nirumelneruppu.
MARATHI: Aginbuti, Bharajambhula, Dadmari.
NEPALI: Ambar.
SANSKRIT: Agnigarbha, Brahmasoma, Kshetrabhusha, Kshetravashini.


Bias-pugo is an erect, branched, smooth, slender, annual, more or less purplish herb, 10 to 50 centimeters in height. The stems are somewhat 4-angled. Leaves are oblong, oblanceolate, or narrowly elliptic, about 3.5 centimeters long, those on the branches very numerous, small, 1 to 1.5 centimeters long, with narrowed base and pointed or somewhat rounded tip. Flowers are small, about 1.2 millimeters long, greenish or purplish, borne in dense axillary clusters. Capsules are nearly spherical, depressed, about 1.2 millimeters in diameter, purple, and irregularly circumsciss above the middle. Seeds are black.

– In open, damp, waste places throughout the Philippines at low and medium altitudes throughout the Philippines.
– Also occurs in tropical Asia and Africa and through Malaya to tropical Australia.


– Plant yields resin, glucose, and probably an active principle.
– Phytochemical screening yielded tannins, saponins, flavonoids, steroids, and alkaloids.
– Series of studies for chemical constituents yielded four known compounds: β-sitosterol-3-O- β-glucopyranoside, quercctin-3-rutinoside (Rutin), kaempferol-3-O- β-glucopyranoside and quercetin-3-O-α-L-rhamnoside (Quercitrin).

– Plant is caustic.
– Traditionally considered cooling, rubifacient, laxative, stomachic, diuretic, aphrodisiac, lithotriptic.
– Leaves are caustic, rubefacient, irritant and vesicant.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Cytotoxic Effects of Bangladeshi Medicinal Plant Extracts / Shaikh J Uddin, I Darren Grice, Evelin Tiralongo / eCAM, doi:10.1093/ecam/nep111

(2) Antibacterial and phytochemical studies on twelve species of Indian medicinal plants / Jigna Parekh and Sumitra Chanda / African Journal of Biomedical Research, Vol. 10: 175 – 181

(3) Ethnobotanical Study of Medicinal Plants used by the Local People in Vellore District, Tamilnadu, India / T Thirumalai et al /

(4) PHARMACOLOGY OF MEDICINAL PLANTS AND NATURAL PRODUCTS / S A Dahanukar, R A Kulkarni, N N Rege / Indian Journal of Pharmacology 2000; 32: S81-S118

(5) Ammannia baccifera L / The Plant List

(6) Safety evaluation of the ethanol extract of Ammannia baccifera (Lythraceae): assessment of Acute and Subacute toxicity / Lavanya Goodla, Manjunath Manubolu, Sivajyothi Ravilla and Parthasarathy R. Poondamalli / Journal of Pharmacy Research, Vol 3, No 11 (2010)


(8) Evaluation of wound healing activity of Ammannia baccifera and Blepharis maderaspatensis leaf extracts on rats / Alyalu Rajasekaran Vellaichamy Sivakumar an Sabarimuthu Darlinquine / Rev.

bras. farmacogn., ahead of print Epub Nov 21, 2011 /

(9) Evaluation of Ammannia baccifera Linn. for antiurolithic activity in albino rats. / Prasad K V, Bharathi K, Srinivasan K K / Indian J Exp Biol. 1994 May;32(5):311-3.

(10) Antisteroidogenic Activity of Ethanol Extract of Ammania baccifera (L.) Whole Plant in Female Albino Mice Ovaries / RAMAIYAN DHANAPAL, SUBRAMANI KAVIMANI et al / IRANIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACOLOGY & THERAPEUTICS, Jan 2005, Vol 4, No 1, Pp 43-45

(11) Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive effects of Ammannia baccifera L. (Lythracceae), a folklore medicinal plant. / Loganayaki N, Siddhuraju P, Manian S. / J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Mar 27;140(2):230-3. / doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.01.001.

(12) Antitumor activity of the methanolic extract of Ammannia baccifera L. against Dalton’s ascites lymphoma induced ascitic and solid tumors in mice. / Loganayaki N, Manian S. / J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Jun 26;142(1):305-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.05.008. Epub 2012 May 14.

(13) Evaluation of antioxidant activity of Ammania baccifera (L.) Whole plant extract in rats / Subash vijayakumar*, Ramaiyan Dhanapal, I. Sarathchandran, A. Saravana Kumar and J.Vijaya Ratna / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2012) / doi:10.1016/S2221-1691(12)60309-8

(14) Antibacterial and Antifungal Activity of Aerial Part of Plant Ammannia baccifera Linn. / Das Srimanta Kumar*, Dhake A.S, Nayak A., Das N.B., Pandeya S.N. / Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology, 2011, Volume 4, Issue 3.

bias-pugo3Parts used

– Used in place of catharides for blistering plaster.
– Leaves are vesicant. In India, used to raise blisters, applied to the skin for half an hour or longer.
– Ethereal tincture found equal to liquor epispasticus.
– Leaves or ashes of the plant, mixed with oil, applied to herpetic eruptions.
– Fresh bruised leaves used in skin diseases as rubefacient and as external remedy for ringworm and parasitic skin infections.
– Also used for urinary calculi.
– In India, a folklore remedy for tumors and inflammation. Leaf paste applied to swellings.
– In India and China, used for wound healing.

Study Findings
• Cytotoxicity / Anticancer: Study investigated the cytotoxic effects of extracts from 16 Bangladesh medicinal plants. The methanolic extract of A baccifera showed low toxicity against mouse fibroblasts but selective cytotoxicity against different cancer cell lines.
• Antibacterial: Study of methanolic extract exhibited activity against B cereus and P vulgaris.
• Urinary Stones / Preventive and Curative: Ethanolic extract was reported to be effective in reducing the formation of urinary stones and the dissolving existing ones that were induced by the implantation of zinc discs in the urinary bladder of rats. Treatment with A. baccifera also significantly reduced calcium and magnesium levels.
• Safety Studies: Evaluation of ethanolic extract of Ammannia baccifera in rats for acute and subacute toxicological effects showed all the animals to tolerate the maximum test dose without any significant toxic effect and was considered to be safe.
• Wound Healing: Significant wound healing was observed with creams prepared from a 5% chloroform fraction of A. baccifera. Ethanol leaf extract application was found to improve different phases of wound repair, including collagen synthesis and maturation, wound contraction and epithelialization.
• Antiurolithic: An ethanolic extract of A. baccifera for antiurolithic activity in male albino rats. Induced stones were mainly magnesium ammonium phosphate with traces of calcium oxalate. There was significant urinary excretion of calcium, magnesium and oxalate. Treatment with A. baccifera resulted in significant reduction of calcium and magnesium levels in the prophylactic group and reversed their levels to normal in the curative group.
• Analgesic: Study of ethanol extract of A. baccifera in chemical models of nociception in mice showed a dose-dependent analgesic effect.
• Antisteroidogenic Activity: Study of ethanol extract of the whole plant exhibited antisteroidogenic activity. There was significant inhibition of the activity of Δ5-3β-hydroxy steroid dehydrogenase (Δ5-3β-HSD) and Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PD), the two key enzymes involved in ovarian steroidogenesis. Preliminary phytochemical testing revealed the presence of flavonoids to which the antisteroidogenic activity might be attributed.
• Antioxidant / Free Radical Scavenging: Treatment with an ethanol extract of A. baccifera can minimize the deleterious effects caused by carbon tetrachloride through its strong antioxidative and free radical scavenging properties.
• Antioxidant / Anti-Inflammatory / Anti-Nociceptive: A methanol extract showed free radical scavenging significantly super or to standards BHA and rutin. It also exhibited significant anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities, the latter effect comparable to standard drugs aspirin and morphine.
• Antitumor Activity: A methanol extract was evaluated for anticancer activity against Dalton’s ascites lymphoma (DAL)-bearing Swiss albino mice and in vitro cytotoxicity against human cervical cancer cell line (HeLa). Results showed the methanol extract was effective in inhibiting tumor growth in ascetic models comparable to 5-fluorouracil. It presents a potential for the development of anticancer therapy.
• Antioxidant / Erythrocyte Protective Activity: Study evaluated the antioxidant activity of an ethanol extract of whole plant of Ammania baccifera against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced erythrocyte damage. Results showed the whole plant possess erythrocyte protective activity against drug induced oxidative stress.
• Antibacterial / Antifungal / Aerial Parts: Various extracts were evaluated for invitro antimicrobial activity against E. coli, P. aeruginosa, K. pneumoniae and S. aureus and against fungi C. albicans, K. mamlamus. Results showed all the extracts exhibited significant activity.
• Larvicidal / Antifungal / Aerial Parts: Study evaluated the larvicidal effect of the aerial extracts of Ammannia baccifera on two important mosquito species, Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus. Results showed A. baccifera could be effectively used for control of mosquito larvae and presents a potential for the development of commercial larvicides from a plant widely occurring in India.