Family • Acanthaceae - Graptophyllum pictum ( Lin

Scientific names

Graptophyllum pictum ( Linn.) Griff.
Graptophyllum hortense Nees
Justicia picta Linn.

Common names

Antolang (Tag.) Morada (Span.)
Atai-atai (Sul., C. Bis.) Moradong-maputi (Tag.)
Balasbas (Tag., Bis.) Sarasara (Tag.)
Balasbas-malomai (Bis.) Ternate (Tag.)
Kalpueng (Tag.) Caricature plant (Engl.)

Kalpueng is an erect, smooth and branched shrub growing up to 3.5 meters in height. Leaves are opposite, oblong to broadly ellliptic, 10 to 20 centimeters long, purplish or green splotched with light yellow or orange, narrow and pointed at both ends, with entire margins. Flowers are large, generally dark purple or reddish purple color, about 4 centimeters long, and borne in terminal, erect racemes, 6 to 12 centimeters long. Corolla throat is compressed.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Antiinflammatory effect of Graptophyllum pictum (L.) Griff. / Ozaki Y, Sekita S, Soedigdo S, Harada M. / Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 1989 Oct;37(10):2799-802.

(2) The Graptophyllum pictum extract effect on acrylic resin complete denture plaque growth / Endang Wahyuningtyas /

(3) Oxytocic and anti-implantation activities of the leaf extracts of Graptophyllum pictum (Linn.) Griff. (Acanthaceae) / Stella O et al / African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 8 (21), pp. 5979-5984, 2 November 2009

(4) Effect of ethanol extract of Graptophyllum pictum (L ) Griff. on cisplatin induced nephrotoxicity in rats / KELOTH KAITHERI SRINIVASAN, JESSY ELIZABETH MATHEW, KERRYN JOSEPH, SEEKARAJAPURAM DINAKARAN VACHALA*, SHIVANNA MALINI / herbapolonica

Widely planted as a hedge.
Occurring in two forms in the Philippines: Green leaves blotched in white, the other, with dark purple leaves.

– Distilled leaves emit a scent of coumarin.
– Considered diuretic, emollient, resolvent.

Parts used
Leaves, juice.


• In the Philippines leaves are used as an emollient poultice on ulcers of the nad and for keeping artificial ulcers open for medicinal purposes.
• Leaves are applied to cuts.
• Juice squeezed into the ear for earaches.
• Leaves used as emollient poultice on ulcers on the hand.
• Juice use for certain skin complaints.
• Leaf infusion drunk for constipation.
• Reports of use as diuretic.
• In Java and the Moluccas, leaves are applied to swelliings.
• The mottled-leafed variety is pounded with coconut milk, used to reduce swellings.
• In Java, decoction of flowers taken to promote menstruation.
• Leaves used as emollient and resolvent.
• Poultice of leaves used on breasts to relieve inflammatory obstruction to the flow of milk.
• In Sabah, leaves pounded in hot water are applied as paste for headaches.

New #: P01006 Original #: IMGP0039.JPG 21 05 2006 Panamá: Arraiján, Loma del Río Acanthaceae Graptophyllum pictum leaves

Study Findings
• Antiinflammatory / Analgesic Effect. Study of the ethanol extract of GP showed both an anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect. Flavonoids found in one of the fractions was assumed to be partly responsibgle for the antiinflammatory effect.
• Anti Dental Plaque: Study of G pictum extract on the growth of plaque on acrylic resin complete denture showed inhibition of plaque growth, with highest growth inhibition on 40% extract of PG.
• Oxytocic / Anti-Implantation: Study in virgin female Sprague-Dawley albino rats showed the ethanol extract of Graptophyllum pictum exhibited oxytocic activity comparable to oxytocin while the aqueous extract reduced the normal contraction of the uterine strip. Results support the use of the plant in folkloric medicine as a delivery aid and suggests it can be used early in pregnancy as a contraceptive.
• Antidiabetic / Hypoglycemic: Study in alloxan-induced diabetic Wistar rats suggests an aqueous extract of fresh leaves possess a hypoglycemic effect comparable to metformin. Toxicity study suggests it can be safely administered orally without any immediate unwanted effect.
• Renoprotective / Cisplatin Induced Nephrotoxicity: Study evaulated the effects of an alcoholic extract of G. pictum on cisplatin induced nephrotoxicity in albino rats. Results indicated G. pictum rendered significant preventive effect with reduction of creatinine and urea levels and restoration antioxidant defence systems to normal.