Family • Malvaceae - Sida cordifolia Linn. - INDIAN EPHEDRA - Ke dong

Scientific names

Sida cordifolia Linn.
Sida herbacea Cav.
Sida hongkongensis Gand.
Sida rotundifolia Lam. ex Cav.

Common names

Gulipas (Sub.)
Bala (India)
Country mallow (Engl.)
Flannel weed (Engl.)
Heart-leaf sida (Engl.)
Indian ephedra (Engl.)
Ke dong (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

ASSAMESE: Bariala.
BENGALI: Berela.
CHINESE: Yuan ye jin wu shi hua (Taiwan), Xin ye huang hua ren.
GUJARATI: Jangli methi.
HINDI: Bariara, Baryal.
JAPANESE: Maruba kingojika.
KANNADA: Kadeeru, Hithuthi.
KONKANI: Thapkoti.
MALAYALAM: Kurumthotti.
MARATHI: Chikana, Karaiti.
ORYA: Bisiripi.
PUNJABI: Kharenti.
RUSSIAN: Sida serdtselistnaia, Sida kordifolia.
SANSKRIT: Bala, Balaa.
SPANISH: Escoba negra, Escobilla, llima.
TAMIL: Chitaamuttie.
TELUGU: Chirubenda, Mailmanikkam.
THAI: Ya khat bai pom.

Gulipas is an erect, half-woody shrub, 0.4 to 1 meter in height, covered with soft, velvety hairs mixed with long spreading hairs. Leaves are hairy, ovate, 1.5 to 4.5 centimeters long, with blunt tip, heart-shaped base, and toothed margins. Flowers are yellow, borne in axils of the leaves, often crowded on the younger branches, forming leafy racemes. Carpels are prominently rough, the projections as long as the carpels.


– Found from northern Luzon to Mindanao as a weed in open dry places, in and about towns.
– Pantropic.
– Probably a native of the Old World.


– Early study yielded asparagin.
– Whole plant yields alkaloids, four times more in the seeds than stems, roots and leaves.
– Contains ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine that is responsible for its cardiovascular and CNS stimulant effect.
– The alkaloid ephedrine is present at 0.8 to 1.2%.
– Ethanolic and aqueous extracts of the plant yielded alkaloids, resins, flavonoids, steroids, amino acids (EE), proteins, carbohydrates.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Weight Loss Supplement Sida Cordifolia / Nutrition Reviews

(2) Effect of the aqueous extract of Sida cordifolia on liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy / Renato Lemos Silva et al / Acta Cir. Bras. vol.21 suppl.1 São Paulo 2006 / doi: 10.1590/S0102-86502006000700009

(3) Bala (Sida cordifolia L.)- Is It Safe Herbal Drug? / Dr Amrit Pal Singh et al / Ethnobotanical Leaflets 10: 336-341. 2006.

(4) Evaluation of the Antioxidant Activity of Sida cordifolia / K Dhalwal et al / Summary Pharmaceutical Biology, 2005, Vol. 43, No. 9, Pages 754-761

(5) Analgesic and Antiinflammatory Activities of Sida cordifolia Linn / R K Sutradhar et al / Indian J Pharmacol | June 2006 | Vol 38 | Issue 3 | 207-08 207

(6) Antistress, adoptogenic activity of Sida cordifolia roots in mice / Meera Sumanth and S S Mustafa / SHORT COMMUNICATION, Year : 2009 | Volume : 71 | Issue : 3 | Page : 323-324

(7) Bioactive Alkaloid from Sida cordifolia Linn. with Analgesic and Anti-Inflammatory Activities / Ranajit Kumar Sutradhar et al / IRANIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACOLOGY & THERAPEUTICS, IJPT 5:175-178, 2006

(8) Cardiovascular effects of Sida cordifolia leaves extract in rats / I A Medeiros et al / Fitoterapia 77 (2006) 19– 27

(9) Role of Sida cordifolia L. leaves on biochemical and antioxidant profile during myocardial injury / Kubavat J B and Asdaq S M / J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Jul 6;124(1):162-5. Epub 2009 Apr 10

(10) Sorting Sida names / Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 – 2000 The University of Melbourne.

(11) In Vitro Studies on Sida cordifolia Linn for Anthelmintic and Antioxidant Properties / Rajesh Singh Pawa*, Ankit Jain, Preeti Sharma, Pradeep Kumar Chaurasiya, Pradeep Kumar Singour / Chinese Medicine, 2011, 2, 47-52 / doi:10.4236/cm.2011.22009 Published Online June 2011 (

(12) Antiperoxidative and antiinflammatory effect of Sida cordifolia Linn. on quinolinic acid induced neurotoxicity /
Swathy SS, Panicker S, Nithya RS, Anuja MM, Rejitha S, Indira M. / Neurochem Res. 2010 Sep;35(9):1361-7 / doi: 10.1007/s11064-010-0192-5. Epub 2010 May 25.

(13) Free radical scavenging capacity, anticandicidal effect of bioactive compounds from Sida Cordifolia L., in combination with nystatin and clotrimazole and their effect on specific immune response in rats / Maurice Ouédraogo et al / Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials 2012, 11:33 /doi:10.1186/1476-0711-11-33

(14) Assessment of nephroprotective potential of Sida cordifolia Linn. in experimental animals / Mehul V. Makwana*, Nilesh M. Pandya, Dharmesh N. Darji, Sarav A. Desai, Bhaskar VH / Der Pharmacia Lettre, 2012, 4 (1):175-180


– Leaves considered emollient, analgesic, demulcent, diuretic, nervine, stimulant and tonic.
– Roots considered cooling, astringent, stomachic and tonic.
– Stems considered demulcent, emollient, febrifuge and diuretic.

Parts used
Roots, leaves, seeds and stems.

– Decoction of leaves used as emollient and a diuretic.
– Pounded in water, juice used for spermatorrhea and gonorrhea.
– Infusion of roots, used for nervous and urinary disease; also for disorders of the blood and bile.
– In China, plant used as diuretic.
– Root juice used for healing wounds.
– Juice of whole plant used for rheumatism and spermatorrhea.
– Decoction of root and ginger used for intermittent fevers with shivering fits.
– Root bark powder in milk and sugar used for frequent micturition and leukorrhea.
– Root, alone or with asafoetida and rock salt used for neurologic disorders (headaches, paralysis).
Infusion of root used for delirium.
– Roots also used internally for asthma and as a cardiac tonic.
– Infusion of leaves used as cooling medicine for fevers and to check bloody fluxes.
– Bruised fresh leaves used for boils to promote suppuration.
– Leaves cooked and eaten for bleeding piles.
– Leaves are mucilaginous and used as a demulcent.
– In Konkan, leaves for ophthalmia.
– Seeds considered aphrodisiac; used for gonorrhea, cystitis, colds and tenesmus.
– Gujarat folk tribes in India use the herb for coronary manifestations.

• Fiber: Produces a fiber, as valued as jute.

Study Findings 
• Weight Loss Supplement / Ephedrine / Hepatotoxicity: Because of the small amounts of ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine it contains, it has become a component in many weight loss products. However, at present, no evidence supports the use of S. cordifolia as a weight loss product in humans. In many countries, the use of ephedrine in weight loss products has been banned because of reported hepatotoxicity.
• Liver Regenerative: Study showed the aqueous extract of Sida cordifolia stimulates liver regeneration after 67% partial hepatectomy in rats.
• Immunomodulatory: In cyclophosphamide-treated birds with marked immunosuppression, administration of A. racemosa and S. cordifolia in combination with Levamisole showed immunomodulatory effects.
• Antioxidant: Study showed S. cordifolia to be a potential source of antioxidants. The ethanol extracts were found to be a good scavenger of DPPH radicals, the roots betters than stems, leaves and whole plant.
• Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory: Study of extracts exhibited sufficient inhibition of paw edema, comparable to standard drug, phenylbutazone.  Study isolated a bioactive alkaloid that exhibited significant analgesic activity and significant inhibition of paw edema induced by carrageenan.
• Antimicrobial: Methanol extracts of several medicinal plants were studied for antimicrobial activity. S. cordifolia showed significant activity against B subtilis, E coli, P fluorescens, S aureus and X axonopodis. The root and leaf extract showed significant activity against all test bacteria. The methanol extract also exhibited significant antifungal activity against F. verticillioides.
• Antistress / Adaptogenic / Roots: Mice pretreated with ethanol extract of roots of Sida cordifolia showed significant improvement in the swim duration and reduced the elevated WBC, blood glucose and plasma cortisone.
• Cardiovascular Effects: Study of the aqueous fraction of the hydroalcoholic extract of Sida cordifolia leaves produced hypotension and bradycardia, mainly due to direct stimulation of the endothelial vascular muscarinic receptor and indirect cardiac muscarinic activation, respectively.
• Cardiovascular Effects / Antioxidant: Study of biochemical and antioxidant profile during myocardial injury showed significantly increased endogenous antioxidants in heart tissue homogenate. Biochemical findings were supported by histopathological observations. Results confirm, in part, its folk use in the treatment of MI.
• Anti-Neurotoxicity: Study showed that on coadministration of Ksheerabala with quinolinic acid, the levels of all biochemical parameters were restored to near-normal levels, indicating a protective effect.
• Antibacterial / Antifungal / Phytochemicals: Study of chloroform and ethanol extracts yielded carbohydrates, alkaloids, phytosterols, saponins and fixed oils. Antimicrobial screening with S aureus, B subtilis, E Coli, P aeruginosa, C albicans and A niger. There was appreciable antibacterial activity against all the selected bacteria, with maximum activity against S aureus and E coli.
• Antioxidant / Anthelmintic: Study evaluated ethanolic and aqueous extracts from the whole plant of Sida cordifolia for antioxidant activity and anthelmintic activity against earthworm Pheretima posthuma. Both extracts showed anthelmintic activity. For antioxidant activity, the ethanolic extract was more significant.
• Antiperoxidative / Anti-Inflammatory / Quinolinic Acid-Induced Neurotoxicity: Study evaluated an ethanolic extract of S. cordifolia root on quinolinic acid-induced neurotoxicity in rat brain. Extract treatment decreased lipid peroxidation products and increased activity of scavenging enzymes. Results showed the ethanolic extract possess potent antioxidant and antiinflammatory activity comparable to standard drug deprenyl.
• Anti-Candidal / Free Radical Scavenging / Synergism: Study showed a synergistic effect between alkaloidal compounds and antifungal references such as Nystatin and Clotrimazole. Antioxidant capacity was best with reduction capacity of DPPH radicals. Results showed potentially exploitable antifungal activity.
• Nephroprotective: Study evaluated the nephroprotective activity of an aqueous root extract of S. cordifolia against gentamicin and cisplatin-induced experimental animal models. Results showed nephroprotective activity with prevention of renal damage and normalization of increased levels of renal markers.
• Antitumor Activity / Cytotoxicity: A methanolic extract of the plant showed antitumor activity on cytotoxicity assay. GCMS analysis of the bioactive compounds yielded vasicine and ephedrine.
• Cardiotonic: Study evaluated the cardiotonic activity of infusion of roots of S. cordifolia using perfused frog heart assembly. Results showed better cardiotonic activity than digoxin. There was a significant increase in force of contraction (positive ionotropic effect) and decrease heart rate (negative chronotropic effect).

Capsules, extracts and syrups in the cybermarket.