Family • Verbenaceae - Stachytarpheta jamaicensis Linn. - BASTARD VERVAIN - Jia ma bian

Scientific names

Stachytarpheta indica (L.) Vahl
Verbena indicaLinn.
Verbena jamaicensis Linn.
Stachytarpheta cayennensis (L.C. Rich)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Jia ma bian.
HINDI: Kariyartharani.
KANNADA: Kariyuttarani.
MALAYALAM: Katapunnuttu, Seemakongini.
TAMIL: Seemai nayuruvi.

Common names

Albaka (P. Bis.) Blue porterweed (Engl.)
Bilu-bilu (Sul.) Blue vervain (Engl.)
Bolo-moros (Bik.) Blue snakeweed (Engl.)
Kalintigas (Tag.) Brazilian tea (Engl.)
Kandikandilaan (Tag.) Devil’s coach whip (Engl.)
Limbagat (C. Bis.) Rat tail (Engl.)
Verbena de las Antilla (Span.) Verbena cimarrona (Span.)
Aaron’s rod (Engl.) Wild verbena (Engl.)
Bastard vervain (Engl.)


Kandikandilaan is an erect and branched half-woody plant, 1 to 1.5 meters high. Stems are terete, the younger ones slightly angled. Leaves are elliptic to oblong-ovate, 2.5 to 10 centimeters long, with pointed tips and toothed margins, the base decurrent on the petiole. The spikes are terminal, rather slender, 10 to 30 centimeters long, 3-4 millimeters thick, green and continuous. Calyx is small, oblique, and 4-toothed. Corolla is deep blue, 1 centimeter long, The fruit is enclosed in the calyx, appressed to and somewhat sunk in the rachis, smooth, oblong, and about 4 millimeters long.

Universidad de Puerto Rico

– Common weed in open and waste places at low and medium altitudes in settled areas throughout the Philippines.
– Native of tropical America.
– Now pantropic.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Antidiarrheal and antimicrobial activities of Stachytarpheta jamaicensis leaves / S Sasidharan, L Yoga Latha et al / Indian Journ of Pharmacology. Vol 39. No 5. pg 245-248 / DOI: 10.4103/0253-7613.37276

(2) Inhibitory effects of leaf extracts of Stachytarpheta jamaicensis (Verbenaceae) on the respiratory burst of rat macrophages / Ezequiel Álvarez et al / Phytotherapy Research Volume 18 Issue 6, Pages 457 – 462 / DOI 10.1002/ptr.1442

(3) Some Cardiovascular Effects of the Aqueous Extract of the Leaves of Stachytarpheta jamaicensis L. Vahl 

(4) Gervâo / Raintree Nutrition / Tropical Plant Database

(5) Antinociceptive and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Stachytarpheta jamaicensis (L.) Vahl (Verbenaceae)in Experimental Animal Models / M.R. Sulaiman, Z.A. Zakaria et al / Med Princ Pract 2009;18:272-279 / (DOI: 10.1159/000215723)

(6) Preliminary Phytochemistry, Antimicrobial Properties and Acute Toxicity of Stachytarpheta jamaicensis (L.) Vahl. Leaves / Trends in Medical Research / Year: 2007 | Volume: 2 | Issue: 4 | Page No.: 193-198 / DOI: 10.3923/tmr.2007.193.198

(7) Effect of Stachytarpheta jamaicensis L. (Vahl.) on Wistar Rats: Serum Biochemistry and Ultrasonography / M. Idu, J.E. Ataman et al / Journal of Medical Sciences, 2006 | Volume: 6 | Issue: 4 | Page No.: 646-649 /
DOI: 10.3923/jms.2006.646.649

(8) In vivo antimalarial activity of ethanolic leaf extract of Stachytarpheta cayennensis / Jude E Okokon et al / Indian J Pharmacol. 2008 June; 40(3): 111–113. / doi: 10.4103/0253-7613.42303./ DOI: 10.4103/0253-7613.42303

(9) Uses of medicinal plants by Haitian immigrants and their descendants in the Province of Camagüey, Cuba/ Gabriele Volpato et al / J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2009; 5: 16. Publ online 2009 May 18 / doi: 10.1186/1746-4269-5-16.

(10) Alteration of Plasma Lipid Profiles and Atherogenic Indices by Stachytarpheta jamaicensis L. (Vahl) / Chigozie Jude Ikewuchi and Chidinma Catherine Ikewuchi / Biokemistri, Vol. 21 (No 2), pages 71-77 (December 2009)

(11) Isolation and characterization of Steroidal Glycosides from the leaves of Stachytarpheta Jamaicensis Linn Vahl / Donatus Ebere Okwu and Offiong N Ohenhen / Der Chemica Sinica, 2010, 1 (2): 6-14

(12) Antimicrobial activity and cytotoxic effects of stachytarpheta jamaicensis (L.) vahl crude plant extracts / Indera Putera, Ku Anis Shazura / Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Institutional Repository

(13) Indian snakeweed / Common names / Flowers of India


(15) HYPOGLYCEMIC ACTIVITY OF Stachytarpheta indica ON STREPTOZOTOCIN INDUCED WISTAR STRAIN RATS / Silambujanaki P*, Chitra V, Soni D, Raju D, Sankari M / International Journal of PharmTech Research, Vol.1, No.4, pp 1564-1567, Oct-Dec 2009

(16) PHYTOCHEMICAL SCREENING AND ANTIBACTERIAL ACTIVITY OF STACHYTARPHETA INDICA / Kumar, H. N. Krishna; Preethi, S. D.; Chandana, E.; Chauhan, Jyoti Bala / International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences & Research;Jun2012, Vol. 3 Issue 6, p1684

(17) Preliminary phytochemical screening and antimicrobial activity of aerial parts of Stachytarpheta indica L. (Vahl.) / Princely S., Basha N. Saleem, Kirubakaran J. John, Dhanaraju M.D. / Medicinal Plants – International Journal of Phytomedicines and Related Industries, 2013, Volume : 5, Issue : 2 / DOI : 10.5958/j.0975-6892.5.2.015

(18) Evaluation of analgesic activity of different extracts of Stachytarpheta indica L. (Vahl). / Jagadish, N. R. N.; Gopalkrishna, B. / Biomed 2008 Vol. 3 No. 3/4 pp. 229-233

(19) Evaluation of wound healing activity of hydroalcoholic extract of leaves of Stachytarpheta jamaicensis in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats / Chitra Pandian*, Ajit Srinivasan and Indira C. Pelapolu / Der Pharmacia Lettre, 2013, 5 (2):193-200

– Phytochemical studies have yielded flavonoids, triterpenes, monoterpenes, iridoids, phytosterols, aromatic acids, GABA, dopamine and alkanes.
– Phytochemicals isolated include epigenol-7-glucoronide, alpha-spinasterol, stachytarphine, scutellarein, uroslic acid, scultellarein and verbascoside.
– A glucoside, stachytarphine has been isolated from the plant.
– An iridoid glycoside, verbascoside or acetoside, has been isolated from the plant, shown to be a powerful antioxidant phytochemical.
– A flavonoid, scuttelarein, has been isolated, with cardioprotective, anti-inflammatory and antiviral actions.
– Hopidulin, another flavonoids, is reported to be bronchodilator, antispasmodic and anti-asthmatic.
– Phytoscreening yielded phenolic compounds, tannin, saponins, terpenoids and flavonoid.

– Considered analgesic, antacid, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic; flowers, emollient, anti-ulcerogenic, gastroprotective, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, hypotensive, immunomodulatory, oxytoxic, sedative and tonic.
– Secondary metabolites display oxytoxic, neuroprotective, antiviral, antibacterial, cardioactive and antitumor effects.

Parts utilized 
Leaves, stems, roots.


– Decoction or roots are abortive.
– Decoction of leaves are vermifuge to children.
– In the Antilles, juice of fresh leaves is emetocathartic.
– Decoction of leaves in enemas used to expel intestinal worms; also used as purging vehicle for other vermifuges.
– Infusion of roots has been used for gonorrhea.
– Triturated fresh leaves used on ulcers. Used as maturative cataplasm for boils.
– Bruised leaves rubbed on sprains and bruises.
– In Brazil, used for coughs, fever, to expel worms and promote menstruation; as a diuretic and laxative. Also used for rheumatism.
– In the West Indies, used to expel worms.
– Creoles use the leaf tea for dysentery.
– In North Nigeria, decoction used for dysentery. Also used as vermifuge.
– In Peru, used for diabetes.
– In Cuban herbal medicine, used as an abortive.
– In immigrant Haitian communities in Cuba, an infusion made from three whorls or tops of S. jamaicensis is used for children in the morning on an empty stomach as an anthelmintic.
– In traditional medicine, leaves and stem extracts used to prepare drugs for use as stomach tonic, for dyspepsia, allergies, asthma, fevers and liver problems. Externally,used for ulcers, sores, cuts and wounds.
In the Bahamas, called the Voodoo plant or voodoo flower.
In Trinidad, report of use of leaves as high protein feed for horses.

Study Findings
• Antidiarrheal / Antimicrobial: The methanol extract of Stachytarpheta jamaicaensis leaves showed significant antidiarrheal activity and moderate inhibitory activity against E coli, Staph epidermis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
• Antioxidant / O2-Scavenging Activity: Inhibitory effects of leaf extracts of Stachytarpheta jamaicensis (Verbenaceae) on the respiratory burst of rat macrophages: Extract showed potent O2-scavenging activity. Study suggest SJ may have potential pharmaceutical value for immunologic diseases related to oxidative stress.
• Anti-Hypertensive / Bradycardic Effect: Some Cardiovascular Effects of the Aqueous Extract of the Leaves of Stachytarpheta jamaicensis L. Vahl: The aqueous extract of SJ leaves caused a dose-dependent drop in blood pressure and heart rate. The acute hypotensive effect could be partly caused by a negative chronotropic effect of direct effect on vascular smooth muscles.
• Antinociceptive / Antiinflammatory: The study of the ethanol extract of SJ showed significant dose-dependent nociceptive activity in all nociceptive models tested. The extract also showed significant antiinflammatory activity in both acute and chronic models. The analgesic activity was assumed to be modulated via peripheral and central mechanisms, partly involving the activation of the opioid receptor system.
• Phytochemicals / Antimicrobial / Toxicity Study: Phytochemical study yielded secondary metabolites including tannins, saponins and flavonoids. Crude aqueous extract showed activity against B subtilis, E coli, C albicans, S aureus, P aeruginosa, P vulgaris, P mirabilis. No toxicity was found even at high concentrations.
• Toxicity Study: A study on 20 Wister rats on the effect of powdered SJ leaves, using serum biochemistry and ultrasonography showed no toxicity, suggesting a wide therapeutic margin of safety.
• Antimalarial :The ethanolic extract of Stachytarpheta cayennensis exhibited significant schizonticidal activity comparable to that of the standard drug, chloroquine. The antiplasmodial activity confirms its folkloric use in the treatment of malaria.
• Anti-Dyslipidemia / Anti-Atherogenic:The effects of Stachytarpheta jamaicensis tea on plasma lipid profile and atherogenic indices were studied in rabbits. Treatment caused significant decreases in plasma total cholesterol, LDL, VLDL and triglycerides with also significant decreases in atherogenic indices. The results suggest the use of TJ tea in the management of primary and secondary dyslipidemia.
• Steroidal Glucosides: Study reported two novel steroid glucosides from the leaves of S. jamaicensis. The occurrence of steroidal glucoside in SJ may explain the use of the plant in phytomedicine for birth control, abortion, treatment of menstrual disorders and as a lactagogue.
• Antimicrobial: Study showed more antimicrobial activity with the chloroform extract against gram positive organisms like Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis and B. subtilis. The chloroform and alcohol extracts showed antifungal activity against C. albicans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
• Lanostane Glycoside: Study of leaves isolated a new lanostane triterpenoid glycoside 16ß-(ß-D-glycopyranosyl-3-8,-dihydroxylanstan-5,22-diene-11-methoxy-1ß-yl-6-O-(2,3-dimethoxybenzoyl)-ß-d-glycopyranoside.
• Antimicrobial / Cytotoxic: Root extract was found to inhibit most of the bacterial growth compared to leaves and stem extracts. In the study on cytotoxic effect, leaves extracts showed the highest inhibition on the growth of Hela cancer cells compared to the root and stem extract.
• Hepatoprotective / Leaves: Study evaluated the hepatoprotective activity of various extracts of shade dried leaves of S. indical on carbon tetrachloride induced toxicity. Results showed hepatoprotective activity comparable to standard drug Liv-52. Histopathological studies of pretreated animals with ethanolic extract showed minimal changes with distinct preservation of structures and hepatic cells architecture comparable to standard Liv-52.
• Hypoglycemic / Leaves: Study evaluated the hypoglycemic effect of an ethanolic extract of S. indica on blood glucose level of streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. Results dose dependent hypoglycemic activity almost equal to the standard drug Metformin.
• Antibacterial / Root: Study evaluated the antibacterial activity of aqueous and methanolic extracts of root. The aqueous extract showed significant antibacterial activity against E. coli, B. cereus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacter pathogens.
• Antibacterial / Aerial Parts: Study evaluated aqueous and ethanol extracts of aerial parts. Phytochemical screening yielded alkaloids, steroids, flavonoids, glycosides, tannins, carbohydrates and saponins. The alcoholic extract showed significant activity against all species of bacteria (S. aureus, E coli, P aeruginosa and K pneumonia) comparable to standard antibiotic streptomycin.
• Analgesic / Leaves: Study evaluated the analgesic activity of various extracts of dried leaves on acetic induced writing responses in Swiss albino mice. Result showed significant analgesic effect.
• Wound Healing / Leaves: Study evaluated the wound healing effect of a hydroalcoholic leaf extract of S.jamaicensis on streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. Results showed significant dose dependent wound healing potential with a significant increase in percentage wound closure, tensile strength, hydroxyproline, Hexosamine, DNA and total protein content together with decrease in period of epithelization and blood glucose levels.