Family • Euphorbiaceae / Phyllanthaceae - Securinega virosa Roxb. ex Willd. - COMMON BUSHWEED - Hong ci cong

Scientific names

Securinega virosa Roxb. ex Willd.
Securinega microcarpa Muell.-Arg
Securinega obovata Muell.-Arg.
Phyllanthus virosus Roxb. ex Willd.
Flueggea virosa (Roxb. ex Willd.) Royle
Flueggea leucopyrus F.-Vill.

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Bai fan shu, Jin gan teng, Mi hua ye di shu, Bai bei zi.
KENYA: Mukwamba, Mteja.
UGANDA: Omukarara.

Common names

Arusit (Ilk.) Kabukabukas (Mag.)
Barasiksik (Ilk.) Magaspang (P. Bis.)
Barsit (Ig.) Maluuit (Ibn.)
Barsik (Ilk.) Tulitañgalong (P. Bis.)
Barusik (Ilk.) Chinese waterberry (Engl.)
Tagalog (Tag.) Common bushweed (Engl.)
Bayasit (Tag.) Simple leaf bush weed (Engl.)
Boiset (Tag.) Snowberry tree (Engl.)
Botolan (Tag.) White berry bush (Engl.)
Bugbugutut (Ig.) Hong ci cong (Chin.)


Botolan is a deciduous, smooth, graceful, small to large shrub. Leaves are extremely variable in shape, elliptic-ovate, obovate or orbicular, 2.5 to 10 centimeters in length, rather glaucous beneath, and rounded, obtuse or pointed at the tip. Flowers are usually borne on axillary fascicles. Fruit is mostly small, black or white, dry, and about 3 to 5 millimeters in diameter.

In dry thickets at low and medium altitudes.

– Bark contains 10% tannic acid and an alkaloid.
– Phytochemical screening yielded reducing sugars, cardiac glycosides, resin, tannins, saponins, glycosides, flavonoids, glycerin carbohydrate, anthraguine and steroids.
– Phytochemical screening of aqueous extract of dried root yielded saponins, tannins, cardiac glycosides, and steroids.

– Bark is astringent and considered poisonous.
– Considered aphrodisiac, antidotal, laxative, wound healing.
– Studies have shown antimalarial, antioxidative, analgesic, antimalarial, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, cytotoxic, sedative properties.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Cytotoxic principles of Securinega virosa: Virosecurinine and viroallosecurinine and related derivatives / Hiroshi Tatematsu, Masami Mori et la / Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vol 80, Issue 4, pages 325–327, April 1991 / Publ on Line 17 Sept 2006 / DOI: 10.1002/jps.2600800408

(2) Anti-diabetic properties of Securinega virosa (Euphorbiaceae) leaf extract / Y. Tanko, M A Okasha, G M Magaji et al / African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 7 (1), pp. 022-024, 4 January, 2008

(3) Preliminary antidiarrhoeal activity of methanolic extracts of Securinega virosa (Euphorbiaceae) / Magaji MG, Yaro A H, Mohammed A et al / African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 6 (24), pp. 2752-2757, 17 December, 2007

(4) Behavioural Effects of the Methanolic Root Bark Extract of Securinega Virosa in Rodents / M G Magaji, J A Anuka, Abdu-Aguye et al / Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2008; 5(2): 147–153.


(6) New phenolic glycosides from Securinega virosa and their antioxidant activity / Rokia Sanogo, Antonio Vassallo, Nicola Malafronte et al / Nat Prod Commun 4(12):1645-50 (2009) PMID 20120099

(7) Phytochemical Screening, Acute Toxicity and Analgesic Properties of Aqueous Extract of Flueggea virosa’s Root in Rats / Joseph Obiezu Chukwujekwu et al / Ibnosina Journal of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Vol 5, No 1, 2013.

(8) Effects of Aqueous Extractive from Flueggea virosa(Roxb.ex Willd.) voigt.on Serological Markers in Rats with Hepatic Fibrosis / TANG Zhe,WEI Shao-xuan,LIAO Hou-zhi / Evaluation and Analysis of Drug-Use in Hospitals of China, 2011-07

(9) Radical Scavenging Activity of Selected Medicinal Plants From Limpopo Province of South Africa / AM Chauke, LJ Shai, PM Mphahlele, and MA Mogale / Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2012; 9(3): 426–430.

botolan2Parts used
Roots, leaves, wood, juice.

– Fruit is edible.
– White fruit reportedly eaten in East Africa.


– In the Rizal Province in the Philippines, charcoal of the wood is powdered and used as cicatrizant of wounds. Decoction of leaves used for cleaning wounds.
– Juice of leaves of paste of leaves with tobacco used to destroy worms in sores.
– Decoction of leaves used as laxative.
– Root, sometimes with the leaves, taken for venereal disease.
– In tropical Africa, used as remedy for diarrhea. Root decoction given as drink to calm children and to help them sleep.
– In Rhodesia, roots used as aphrodisiac.
– In south-central Zimbabwe, all plant parts used to treat frigidity, liver, bile, kidney, testicular inflammtion, sterily, urinary and venereal diseases. Root extract drunk for treatment of pneumonia; drunk as contraceptive before sexual intercourse. Dried root powder applied to snake bites; root powder applied to wounds.
– In West Ashantis, root used for gonorrhea.
– In Tanzania and West Africa, used for malaria.
– In Western Uganda, roots and leaves used for sexual impotence and erectile dysfunction.
– Ewe people of Togoland used decoction of leaves internally for constipation.
– In Kenya, roots used for malaria; root bark used for chest pains.
– In Northern Nigeria, root decoction used for treatment of mental illness.

– Tanning / Dye: Bark is used for tanning and as a black dye for matting. Leaves also used for staining.
– Fuel: Makes a good fuelwood.
– Timber: Valued for use in houses and fence posts; as joists, rafters, and tool handles.

Study Findings
• Cytotoxic Alkaloids: Study isolated virosecurinine and viroallosecurinine as cytotoxic alkaloids from the leaves of Securinega virosa.
• Anti-Diabetic: Study of a methanol extract of Securinega virosa leaves on streptozocin-induced diabetic rats showed significant reductions of blood glucose levels on three different extract doses.
• Antidiarrheal: Study investigating the antidiarrheal activity of methanolic extracts of leaves, stem bark and root bark of Securinega virosa on a castor oil-induced diarrheal model showed the leaves and root bark extract to possess pharmacological activity against diarrhea.
• Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Study showed the methanol leaf extract had significant analgesic effect and moderate anti-inflammatory activity. Phytochemical screening revealed alkaloids, tannins, saponins, cardiac glycosides, flavonoids and resins.
• Behavioral Effects / Sedative / Sleep-Inducing: Study of methanol extract showed significant and dose-dependent reduction of the onset and prolonged the duration of sleep. It also produced significant and dose-dependent motor coordination deficit in mice. Results suggest the root bark extract contains biologically active principles that are sedative.
• Sedative Activity: Fractions from a methanolic bark extract exhibited sedative activity. Sedative properties could be due to the presence of flavonoids, saponins, and other phytochemical constituents.
• Antioxidant / New Phenolic Glycosides: Study of leaves isolated one new flavonoid glycoside, 3-O-kaemferol 4-O-(galloyl)-beta-D-glucoside, a new bergenin derivative, 11-0-caffeoylbergenin, along with known flavonoids and phenolic derivatives. The isolated compounds showed quenching activity of DPPH radicals and a direct scavenging activity on superoxide anion.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Antipyretic / Toxicity Study: An aqueous extract of dried root showed significant anti-inflammatory and antipyretic effects at doses of 200mg/kg and 400mg/kg. Toxicity testing showed safety up to 10,000 mg/kg dose with no death in rats.
• Analgesic / Toxicity Testing / Roots: Study evaluated an aqueous extract of roots for acute toxicity and analgesic activity in Wistar rats. Acute toxicity tests showed it is generally safe. It showed a significant dose-dependent inhibition of pain in the formalin test.
• Flueggines / Cytotoxicity: Study of twigs and leaves of Flueggea virosa yielded fleuggines A and B, two dimeric indolizidine alkaloids. Flueggine B exhibited growth inhibitory activity against MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells.
• Antimalarial: A methanol extract showed high antiplasmodial a tivity against both D6 and W2 Plasmodium falcifarum strains.
• Hepatic Fibrosis Inhibition: Study of an aqueous extractive from F. virosa on serologic markers in rats with hepatic fibrosis showed hepatoprotection, with reduction of enzyme levels, improvement of proteolipid, and inhibition of hepatic fibrosis.
• Antioxidative / Radical Scavenging Activity: In a study of South African plants for antioxidative activity using the DPPH radical scavenging assay, acetone extracts of F. virosa showed the highest antioxidant activity with IC50 of 30 µg/ml closely matching ascorbic acid.