Family • Compositae - Bidens pilosa Linn. - BEGGAR TICKS - San ye gui zhen cao

Scientific names

Bidens pilosa Linn.
Bidens sundaica Blume
Bidens leucorrhiza (Lour.) DC.
Bidens odorata Cav.
Gui zhen cao (Chin.)

Common names

Anguad (Ig.)
Burbutak (Tag.)
Dadayem (Iv.)
Nghuad (Tag.)
Ñguad (Tag.)
Pisau-pisau (C. Bis.)
Puriket (Bon.)
Beggar ticks (Engl.,)
Water marigold (Engl.)
Spanish needles (Engl.)
Black jack (Engl.)
San ye gui zhen cao (Chin.)

Dadayem is an erect, branched perennial herb, glabrous or hairy, 0.2 to 1.5 meters high. Leaves are 1- to 2-pinnatifid and 15 centimeters long or less, the upper ones being usually much smaller; segments ovate-lanceolate, 2 to 5 centimeters long and toothed. Flowering heads are about 8 millimeters long. Disc flowers are brown or yellowish and the ray ones yellow or nearly white. Inner involucral bracts have broad, scarious margins. Flowering head about 8 millimeters long. Fruits are achenes, black, long and slender, linear, 1 to 1.5 centimeters long and characterized by four projections at the apex.


In waste places, chiefly at medium altitudes, ascending to 2,200 meters from Batanes and Babuyan Islands and Northern Luzon to Mindanao.

– A rich source of phytochemicals, especially flavonoids and polyynes.
– Plant contains iodine; the leaves, tannin and saponin; the flowers, sulfur.
– Earlier studies have isolated sterols, terpenoids, phenylpropanoids, hydrocarbons.
– Flavonoids metabolites are subdivided into aurones, chalcones, flavanones, flavones, and flavonols. The terpenoid metabolites are divided into sesquiterpenes, diterpenes, sterols, triterpenes, tetraterpenes.
– Metabolic profiling yielded a new compound, heptanyl 2-O-?-xylofuranosyl-(1→ß6)-glucopyranoside (1), and eight phenolic compounds: 3-O- rabinobioside, quercetin 3-O-rutinoside, chlorogenic acid, 3,4-di-O-caffeoylquinic acid, 3,5-di-O-caffeoylquinic acid, 4,5-di-O-caffeoylquinic acid, jacein, centaurein.

Biodiversity, Plant Inventory Mbizi Forest Reserve and Rukwa Reg

– Studies have suggested antibacterial, anticancer, antioxidant, antidysenteric, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antimalarial, diuretic, hepatoprotective, antipyretic, antifungal properties.
– Sweet tasting, mildly refrigerant.

Parts utilized
· Entire plant.
· Collect before flower opens, rinse, sun-dry, section into pieces or compress.


Edibility / Nutrition
• In sub-Saharan Africa, fresh or dried tender shoots and young leaves are eaten as vegetable in times of scarcity.
• In Uganda, leaves are boiled in sour milk.
• Leaves are added to salads and stews.
• Young shoots used to make tea.
• In Mexico, leaves used as a substitute for tea.
• A valuable source of vitamin C (63 mg/100 g), iron (15 mg/100 g), and zinc (19 mg/100 g).

· Used as preventive for influenza or cold, used for treatment of swelling pain at the throat, fever among infants, fear of cold weather.
· For sore eyes, pounded leaves are applied over the eyelids.
· Used for poisonous insects and snake bite.
· For enteritis, flatulence, diarrhea, appendicitis.
· For sprains, contusions, chronic ulcers.
· Used to stop wound bleeding.
· Leaves used for treatment of thrush and candida.
· For piles, chronic ulcers, various skin diseases.
· Dosage: use 30 to 60 gms of dried material or 90 to 150 gms fresh material in decoction. Fresh materials may be pounded and applied as poultice or boiled in water and applied as external wash.
· In Uganda, the sap from crushed leaves is used to speed up blood clotting in fresh wounds. Leaf decoction used for headaches. Plant sap is used for ear infections. Decoction of leaf powder for kidney ailments. Plant decoction used for flatulence.
· In Java, Malaya and Indo-China, the leaves are used for eye complaints.
· In Indo-China, dried flower buds and ground and mixed with alcohol, and used as mouthwash in toothache.
· In Java, heated leaves are applied to boils to facilitate ripening.
· In southern Africa, used for malaria.
· In Zimbabwe, used for stomach and mouth ulcers, diarrhea and hangovers.
· In Peru, leaves are balled up and applied to toothaches.
· In the Amazon, used for hepatitis, angina, sore throat.
· The Zulus use an enema of the powdered leaves in water for abdominal troubles. Also, flowers used as remedy for diarrhea.
· In Columbia, leaves used as sudorific.
· In the Congo, plant used as poison antidote and to facilitate child delivery.
· In Nigeria, the powder or seed ash is used as a local anesthetic for cuts.
· In Brazil, the plant is traditionally used for conditions related to cancer. Also, leaves are used as styptic to stop the flow of blood, and as vulnerary.
· In Tobago and Trinidad, aqueous solution of leaves used to bathe babies and children.
Note: This plant closely resembles Bidens tripartita which may be differentiated on the shape of the leaves, however the medicinal function of this plant is identical with Bidens pilosa and hence may be used as a substitute.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings


(1) Studies of anticancer and antipyretic activity of Bidens pilosa whole plant / Parimalakrishnan Sundararajan et al / Afr Health Sci. 2006 March; 6(1): 27–30.

(2) Flavonoids, centaurein and centaureidin, from Bidens pilosa, stimulate IFN-gamma expression / J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Jun 13;112(2):232-6. Epub 2007 Mar 7.

(3) Anti-herpes simplex virus activity of Bidens pilosa and Houttuynia cordata / Chiang Lien-Chai et al / The American journal of Chinese medicine / 2003, vol. 31, no3, pp. 355-362.

(4) The oxytocic properties of Luffa cylindrica (L.) M. Roem. and Bidens pilosa L., traditionally used medicinal plants from western Uganda / Kamatenesi-Mugisha et al / African Journal of Ecology, Volume 45, Supplement 3, December 2007 , pp. 88-93(6) / DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2028.2007.00863.x

(5) Study of the antitumor potential of Bidens pilosa (Asteraceae) used in Brazilian folk medicine / Kviecinski Maicon Roberto et al / Journal of ethnopharmacology, 2008, vol. 117, no1, pp. 69-75

(6) An aqueous extract of Bidens pilosa L. protects liver from cholestatic disease. experimental study in young rats / Marta Izabel Suzigan et al / Acta Cir. Bras. vol.24 no.5 São Paulo Sept./Oct. 2009 / doi: 10.1590/S0102-86502009000500003

(7) Antimalarial activity of Bidens pilosa L. (Asteraceae) ethanol extracts from wild plants collected in various localities or plants cultivated in humus soil / Andrade-Neto Valter F et al / PTR. Phytotherapy research, 2004, vol. 18, no8, pp. 634-63

(8) New evidences of antimalarial activity of Bidens pilosa roots extract correlated with polyacetylene and flavonoids / Oliveira F Q et al / Journal of ethnopharmacology, 2004, vol. 93, no1, pp. 39-42

(9) Relaxant effects of the neutral extract of the leaves of Bidens pilosa Linn on isolated rat vascular smooth muscle / T B Nguelefack et al / Phytotherapy Research, Volume 19 Issue 3, Pages 207 – 210 / DOI 10.1002/ptr.1646

(10) The distinct effects of a butanol fraction of Bidens pilosa plant extract on the development of Th1-mediated diabetes and Th2-mediated airway inflammation in mice / Cicero Lee-Tian Chang et al / Journal of Biomedical Science, Volume 12, Number 1 / January, 2005 / DOI 10.1007/s11373-004-8172-x

(11) Cytopiloyne, a novel polyacetylenic glucoside from Bidens pilosa, functions as a T helper cell modulator / Yi-Ming Chiang et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology 110 (2007) 532–538

(12) Bidens pilosa suppresses interleukin-1ß-induced COX-2 expression through inhibition of mitogen activated protein kinases phosphorylation in normal human dermal fibroblasts / Nobuyo Yoshida et al / Journal of Dermatology 2006;33:676-683 / DOI: 10.1111/j.1346-8138.2006.00158.x

(13) Bidens pilosa / Common names / PIER

(14) Biden pilosa / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED

(15) Efficacy of Bidens pilosa Extract against Herpes Simplex Virus Infection In Vitro and In Vivo / Shinji Nakama, Kazumi Tamaki, Chie Ishikawa, Masayuki Tadano, and Naoki Mori / Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2012 (2012) / doi:10.1155/2012/413453

(16) Effect of the Hydroalcoholic Extract of Bidens pilosa L. on Leukocytes Mobilization / Joice Helena Lermen, Milene Borsoi, Cristine Kobayashi, Rage Maluf, Patricia Ardenghi and Edna Sayuri Suyenaga / Pharmacologia, Volume 3 Issue 9, 2012

(17) Bidens pilosa L. (Asteraceae): traditional use in a community of southern Brazil / Borges, C.C; Matos, T. F.I ; Moreira, J., Rossato, A.; Zanette, V. C; Amaral, P. A. * / Rev. bras. plantas med. vol.15 no.1 Botucatu 2013

(18) TOXICOLOGICAL EVALUATION OF AN INFUSION OF Bidens pilosa / María Boffill Cárdenas, Carmen Sánchez Álvarez, Emoe Betancourt Morgado, Marisabel Garcia Gutiérrez, Geidy Lorenzo Monteagudo, Osaida Sainz Suarez / Pharmacologyonline 3: 428-434 (2006)

(19) Study of the antitumor potential of Bidens pilosa (Asteraceae) used in Brazilian folk medicine. / Maicon Roberto Kviecinski et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 04/2008; 117(1):69-75. / DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2008.01.017

(20) Bidens pilosa L. (Asteraceae): Botanical Properties, Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry, and Pharmacology/
Arlene P. Bartolome, Irene M. Villaseñor, and Wen-Chin Yang / Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2013 (2013) /

(21) Cytopiloyne, a novel polyacetylenic glucoside from Bidens pilosa, functions as a T helper cell modulator /
Yi-Ming Chiang, Cicero Lee-Tian Chang, Shu-Lin Chang, Wen-Chin Yang∗, Lie-Fen Shyur / Journal of Ethnopharmacology 110 (2007) 532–538

(22) Cancer Chemopreventive Property of Bidens pilosa Methanolic Extract on Two Stage in vivo Skin Carcinogenesis Model / S Parimalakrishnan, D Akalanka, R Manavalan / West African Journal of Pharmacology and Drug Research. /

(23) Brazilian Bidens pilosa Linne ́ yields fraction containing quercetin-derived flavonoid with free radical scavenger activity and hepatoprotective effects / Maicon Roberto Kviecinski, Karina Bettega Felipe, Joa ̃ o Francisco Gomes Correia, Eduardo Antonio Ferreira, Maria Helena Rossi, Fernando de Moura Gatti, Danilo Wilhelm Filho and Rozangela Curi Pedrosa

(24) Wound healing potential of the ethanolic extracts of Bidens pilosa and Ocimum suave / Kyakulaga .A. Hassan, Olila Deogratius, Jane .F. Nyafuono, Omujal Francis and Ogwang .P. Engeu* / African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology Vol. 5(2), pp. 132-136, February 2011 / DOI: 10.5897/AJPP10.266

(25) Role of Ethanol Extract of Bidens Pilosa L. Against Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma Bearing Mice Exposed to Gamma Radiation / Sherif, N.H.; Fahim, Th.M. / Isotope and Radiation Research; v. 45(2); 2013; p. 213-226

(26) Anti-adult T-cell leukemia effects of Bidens pilosa / Shinji Nakama, Chie Ishikawa, Sawako Nakachi, Naoki Mori / International Journal of Oncology / DOI: 10.3892/ijo.2011.939


• Spirits: Igorots mix the flowers with balls of boiled rice, then fermented to make crude spirits.
• Fodder for pigs.
• Seeds for chicken feed.
• Leaves used as stimulant.
• In Kenya, used for the extraction of natural dyes.
• In the Congo, roots are washed, dried and used as painting brush.

Study Findings
• Hepatoprotective: Study of water extract from B pilosa on Wistar rats showed phytotherapeutic activity in hepatic damage induced by chronic obstructive cholestasis by hepatoprotective effects on liver function, decrease of rate of necrosis and liver fibrosis.
• Studies of anticancer and antipyretic activity of Bidens pilosa whole plant: Extracts from B. pilosa were tested for anticancer and antipyretic activity. Extracts showed a significant cytotoxic effect against Hela cells by in vitro method and showed a comparable antipyretic activity; a methanolic extract, the worst.
• Anti-Tumor / Aerial Parts: Various extracts were evaluated for antiproliferative potential in vivo using Ehrlich ascites carcinoma cell line assay. The chloroform fraction showed the best antitumor activity.
• Anti-Malarial Activity / Polyacetylene and Flavonoids: New evidences of antimalarial activity of Bidens pilosa roots extract correlated with polyacetylene and flavonoids: The results showed the in vivo activity of the ethanol extract depends on polyacetylene and flavonoids.
• Anti-Malarial Activity: Study showed the presence of flavonoid compounds believed to be responsible for the antimalarial activity. Its proven activity against P falcifarum drug-resistant parasites in vitro and in rodent malaria in vivo, suggests it a good candidate for further testing as a phytotherapeutic agent.
• Immunomodulation / Centaurein and Centaureidin: Study yielded flavanoids – centaurein and centaureidin, which stimulated IFN-gamma expression.
• Immunomodulation / T-Cell Differentiation: Study showed the butanol fraction of B pilosa has a dichotomous effect on helper T cell-mediated immune disorders, possibly through modulation of T cell differentiation.
• Anti-Herpes: Study showed the hot water extract of Bidens pilosa inhibited replication of the HSV. (5)
• Antiinflammatory / Antiallergic: Results of studies on suspension and boiling water extract of dried powder from the aerial parts of B pilosa L var radiata Scherff inhibited histamine release and production of IgE, suggesting it may be clinically useful in the prevention of type 1 allergic disease.
• Anti-Diabetic: Results of study on water extract of B pilosa suggests it ameliorates type 2 diabetes in mice through regulation of insulin secretion and islet protection.
• Anti-leukemic: Study of hot water extracts showed inhibition of leukemic cell lines and suggests it may be a useful medicinal plant for treating leukemia.
• Flavonoids / Hepatoprotective: Study in carbon tetrachloride-induced liver injury in mice and rats showed the total flavonoids of Bidens pilosa had a protective and therapeutic effect on animal liver injury and could be associated with its antioxidant properties and inhibition of NF-kB activation.
• Oxytocic: Study to validate the claimed uses of Bidens pilosa and Luffa cylindrica inducing labor during childbirth showed the aqueous leafy extracts of Bp and Lc increased rat uterine motility suggesting oxytocic activity and validates their therapeutic herbal uses in childbirth.
• Mutagenic Potential: A study to evaluate the capacity of teas of B pilosa and Mikania glomerata to induce DNA damages and mutagenic effects showed dose-dependent and preparation-form effects and suggests caution in the phytotherapeutic use of the plants.
• Vasodilating / Calcium Antagonist: Study showed the vasodilating properties of the neutral extract of B pilosa and indicate a potential as a calcium antagonist.
• Cytopiloyne / T Helper Cell Modulator / Anti-Diabetes: Study yielded a novel bioactive polyacetylenic glucoside, cytopiloyne. Results showed it functions as a T cell modulator, an activity that may directly contribute to its ethnopharmacologic effect on preventing diabetes.
• Anti-COX-2 / Anti-PGE2 / Anti-Inflammatory: In a study of interleukin-1ß induced inflammation in normal human dermal fibroblasts, B pilosa inhibited the phosphorylation of MAPKs, COX-2 expression and subsequently PGE2 production.
• Anti-Herpes simplex: Study of Bp in tissue culture cells and a mouse model showed potent virucidal activity. Bp treatment increased the survival rate of HSV-infected mice and limited development of skin lesions.
• Leucocyte Mobilization / Anti-Inflammatory Effect: Study evaluated aerial parts of Bidens pilosa on in vitro and in vivo leukocyte mobilization, using models of chemotaxis and pleurisy induction by carrageenan in rats. Results showed reduction of leukocyte mobilization in both assays suggesting a potential anti-inflammatory effect.
• Toxicological Evaluation of Infusion: Study evaluated the potential toxicity of a plant infusion in single and repeated doses in assessing it as a dermal irritant. Results showed the absence of toxicological effects in the single dose and repeat dose study. Study proved the infusion is non-toxic for dermal structures.
• Antitumor Potential: Study evaluated a crude alcoholic extract and solvent fractions for cytotoxicity by brine shrimp and hemolytic, MTT and NRU assays, and antiproliferative potential was evaluated using Ehrlich ascites carcinoma in Balb/c mice. Results showed the chloroform fraction to have the best antitumor activity.
• Cytopiloyne / T-Helper Cell Modulator / Anti-Diabetic: Study isolated a novel bioactive polyacetylenic glucoside, cytopiloyne. Cytopiloyne inhibited the differentiation of naive T helper cells into type 1 T helper cell; also suppressed IFN-y expression and promoted IL-4 expression. Results showed cytopiloyne functions as a T cell modulator and may contribute to the effect of B. pilosa on preventing diabetes.
• Chemopreventive / Free Radical Scavenging Activity: Study evaluated crude and fractionated plant extracts of Bidens pilosa for chemopreventive activities. EA and butanolic fractions exhibited significant scavenging free radical activity comparable to α-tocopherol. Detectable cytotoxicity was observed on RAW 264.7 cells.
• Cancer Chemopreventive: Study of methanolic extract for anticarcinogenic potential using DMBA model induced forestomach and TPA promoted skin papillomagenesis. Results showed a potential to induce Phase-II enzyme activity associated with carcinogen detoxification in liver of mice. There was significant inhibition of tumor burden and reduction of tumor incidence.
• Quercetin / Free Radical Scavenging / Hepatoprotective: Study evaluated hydroethanol crude extract and fractions for antioxidant and hepatoprotective activities. Study yielded high contents of total soluble polyphenols and presence of a quercetin-derived flavanoid, quercetin 3,3?-dimethyl ether 7-O-b-D -glycopyranoside. In CCl4-induced liver injury, results showed hepatoprotection attributed to constituents with free radical scavenging activity.
• Anthelmintic: Study evaluated the in vitro efficacy of Bidens pilosa against ruminant gastrointestinal nematode, Haemonchus contortus. An aqueous extract showed weak activity on different developmental stages of H. contortus; an ethanolic extract was more potent on larvae than on eggs.
• Wound Healing: Study evaluated an ethanolic extract for wound healing potential on excision wound models in Wistar albino rats. Wound treated extracts showed faster rates of wound contraction and histological exam showed better collagenation, angiogenesis and organization of the wound tissue, with results comparable to neomycin sulfate.
• Hepatoprotective / Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma Mice Exposed to Gamma Radiation: Studyevaluated the role of ethanolic extract of B. pilosa against Ehrlich ascites carcinoma-induced hepatic dysfunction in gamma irradiated mice. Treatment of BpE modulates most of the pathological alterations suggesting a hepatoprotective effect.
• Anti-Adult T-Cell Leukemia Effects: Study evaluated the molecular pathways responsible for the anti-adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) effect. Water extracts of Bp showed growth suppressive effects on human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infected T-cell lines and ATL cells. Extract arrested cells in G1 cell cycle and induced apoptosis of HTLV01 infected T-cell lines Results suggest a potentially useful plant for the treatment of ATL.