Family • Verbenaceae - Lantana - Lantana camara - STINK GRASS - Ma-ying Tan

Common names

Lantana camara Linn.
Lantana aculeata Linn.
Lantana viburnoides Blanco

Common names

Bahug-bahug (P. Bis.) Lantana (Tag., Engl.)
Baho-baho (P. Bis.) Cinco negritos (Span.)
Bangbangsit (Ilk.) Coronitas (Span.)
Diris (Tag.) Ma-ying Tan (Chin.)
Koronitas (Tag.) Stink grass (Engl.)
Kantutay (Tag.) Wild sage (Engl.)


Gen info 
• There are 40 species of the genus Lantana.
• Some are extremely unpleasant and toxic to livestock, as is L. camara.
• In some countries, considered an invasive weed, earning the name, “Jekyll and Hyde of plants.” It releases chemicals in its surroundings, preventing germination of the native flora. It is wont to form dense thickets, spreads very quickly, with one plant producing as many as 12,000 seeds a year.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Evaluation of antimotility effect of Lantana camara L. var. acuelata constituents on neostigmine induced gastrointestinal transit in mice / Lenika Sagar, Rajesh Sehgal, and Sudarshan Ojha / BMC Complement Altern Med / 2005; 5: 18./ doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-5-18.

(2) Weed Alert: Lantana / John Patrick 

(3) Evaluation of wound healing activity of Lantana camara L. – a Preclinical study / B. Shivananda Nayak, S. Sivachandra Raju et al / Phytotherapy Research / Vol 23 Issue 2, Pages 241 – 245

(4) In vitro cytotoxic activity of Lantana camara Linn / C Raghu, G Ashok, SA Dhanaraj, B Suresh, P Vijayan / Indian Journal of Pharmacology /
RESEARCH LETTER / Year : 2004 | Volume : 36 | Issue : 2 | Page : 94-95

(5) Phytochemical and termiticidal study of Lantana camara var. aculeata leaves / VERMA Rajesh K, VERMA Suman K / Fitoterapia / 2006, vol. 77, no6, pp. 466-468

(6) Biochemical compositions and antibacterial activities of Lantana camara plants with yellow, lavender, red and white flowers / Deepak Ganjewala et al / EurAsia J BioSci 3, 69-77 (2009)

(7) Evaluation of Larvicidal Effect of Lantana Camara Linn Against Mosquito Species Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus / M Sathish Kumar and S. Maneemegalai / Avances in Biological Research 2 (3-4): 39-43, 2008

(8) A Comparative Study: Antimicrobial Activity of Methanol Extracts of Lantana camara Various Parts / Mahdi Pour Badakhshan, Srinivasan Sasidharan et al / RESEARCH ARTICLE, 2009m Vol 1, No 6, Page : 348-351

(9) In vivo toxicity study of Lantana camara / Badakhshan Mahdi Pour, Sreenivasan Sasidharan / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2011)230-232

(10) Evaluation of antimotility effect of Lantana camara L. var. acuelata constituents on neostigmine induced gastrointestinal transit in mice / Lenika Sagar, Rajesh Sehgal and Sudarshan Ojha / BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2005, 5:18 doi:10.1186/1472-6882-5-18

· Lantana is a gregarious, erect or half-climbing, somewhat hairy aromatic shrub; when erect, usually 1 to 2 meters high and when scandent, twice as high. Branches four-sided with recurved prickles. Leaves are elliptic, 5 to 9 centimeters long,3 inches long, pointed at the tip and rounded at the base and toothed in the margins. Flowers are pink, orange, yellow, white, lilac and other shades, according to the variety and borne in stalked heads which are 2 to 3.5 centimeters in diameter. Calyx small. Corolla-tube is slender; the limb spreading, 6 to 7 millimeters wide, and divided into unequal lobes. Stamens 4, in 2 pairs. Ovary is 2-celled, 2-ovuled. Fruit is drupaceous, sweet tasting, purple or black, fleshy ovoid, and about 5 millimeters long.

– A gregarious weed in the Philippines, in settled areas in thickets and waste places at low and medium altitudes.
– Certain varieties are cultivated as a trimmed hedge either alone or with other shrubs.
– Native of tropical America.
– Now pantropic in distribution.


Parts utilized
· Leaves, bark, roots, flowering tops.
· May be collected throughout the year.
· Sun-dry.

· Leaves yield a volatile oil, 0.22%, called Lantanol, together with 80% caryophyllene-like bicyclic terpene, and 10-12 % of l-d-phellandrene.
· Dried flowers yield volatile oil, 0.07%.
· Bark: Lantanine, 0.08%.
· U.S.A. dispensatory reports an allied species, Lantana brasiliensis, containing a quinine-like alkaloid, lantanine, with an antispasmodic effect.
· Toxicity is due to presence of toxic triterpenoids – the lantadenes (lantadene A, B, C, D and icterogenin.)
· Leaves contain a steroid, lancamarone, which is a fish poison and considered a cardiotonic.
· Bark of stems and roots contain a quinine-like alkaloid, lantanin, which is antipyretic and antispasmodic.·
· Roots are rich in oleanolic acid, a hepatoprotective triterpenoid.
· Phytochemical analysis detected common secondary metabolites–alkaloids, phenolics, terpenoids and other minor compounds such as phytosterols, saponins, tannins, phycobatannin and steroids (no steroids in the yellow and lavender leaf extracts).


· Root: sweet and bitter tasting, refrigerant, antifebrile.
· Leaves: aromatic, minty tasting, cooling natured, antiphlogistic, anti-dermatoses.
· Flowers: sweet tasting, mildly cooling, hemostatic.
· Lantinine considered antipyretic and a good substitute for quinine.
· Alkaloid fraction believed to lower blood pressure, increase respiratory rate, and inhibit uterine motility in rats.
· Plant considered antiseptic, antispasmodic, vulnerary, diaphoretic and carminative.
· Phytochemical analysis detected common secondary metabolites–alkaloids, phenolics, terpenoids and other minor compounds such as phytosterols, saponins, tannins, phycobatannin and steroids (no steroids in the yellow and lavender leaf extracts).

· Fruit is eaten in Malay and Sierra Leone.
· Fruit used as flavoring.
· In some parts of India, leaves used as tea substitute.

· In the Philippines, decoction of fresh roots used as gargle for toothaches, and a decoction of the leaves and fruits to clean wounds.
· Decoction or syrup of roots (in sugared water) used for asthma.
· In Sinaloa, plant used for snake bites. Strong decoction of leaves taken internally and poultice of wounds applied to the wound.
· Influenza, cough, mumps, incessant high fever, malaria, cervical lymph node tuberculosis: use 30 to 60 gms dried roots or 60 to 120 gms fresh roots in decoction.
· Fever: Take decoction of bark or infusion of leaves and flowering tops as tea.
· Hemoptysis, pulmonary tuberculosis: use 6 to 9 gms dried flowers in decoction.
· Dermatitis, eczema, pruritus: use fresh stems and leaves.
· Rheumatism – Spread oil on leaves, warm over low flame and apply on affected part.
· Sprains, wounds, contusions: Use pounded fresh leaves applied as poultice.
· Leaf oil used for pruritic skin conditions and antiseptic for wounds.
· Decoction of plant used for tetanus, rheumatism, malaria.
· Decoction of fresh leaves used as gargle for toothaches.
· In Java, leaves applied to swellings; also used as lotion or fomentation for rheumatism.
· Decoction of leaves used internally as emetic.
· In West Africa, an aromatic infusion of the leaves and flowering tops, sometimes mixed with Ocimum, is used as febrifuge and diaphoretic.
· In Costa Rica, leaf infusion used as stimulant.
· Infusion of leaves used for bilious fevers and catarrhal affections.
· Lotions used externally for eczematous eruptions.
· Infusion of flowers used as pectoral for children.
· Tincture of bark used as tonic.
· Pounded leaves used as antiseptic for cuts, ulcers and swelling.
· Decoction of leaves and fruits used for wounds.


· In Taiping, toothbrushes are made from the stems.

Study Findings
• Antibacterial: Extract of shoots showed antibacterial activity against E. coli and Micrococcus pyogenes.
• Antimotility: Evaluation of antimotility effect of Lantana camara L. var. acuelata constituents on neostigmine induced gastrointestinal transit in mice: Methanolic extract of L camara showed remarkable antimotility effect from an anticholinergic effect and suggests a potential utility in secretory and functional diarrheas.
• Thrombin Inhibition: Translactone-containing triterpenes show thrombin inhibitory activity.
• Antiinflammatory / Antimicrobial: Pentacyclic triterpenoids are being studied for anti-cancer, antiinflammatory and antimicrobial activities.
• Anti-hyperlipidemic / Anti-tumor: Oleanolic and ursolic acids from the stems, roots and leaves have application for human liver disorders, also as antihyperlipidemic and anti-tumor.
• Wound Healing: (1) Investigation of wound healing activity of Lantana camara L. in Sprague dawley rats using a burn wound model: The study showed antimicrobial activity but not wound healing activity on burn wound in rats. (2) Evaluation of wound healing activity of Lantana camara L. – a Preclinical study: Study showed LC is effective in healing excision wounds in the experimental animal and suggests further evaluation as a therapeutic agent in tissue repair processes associated with injuries.
• Cytotoxicity: In vitro cytotoxic activity of Lantana camara Linn: Study showed the leaf extract of LC is cytotoxic in nature and may possess antitumor activity that may be due to the presence of toxic lantanoids and alkaloids.
• Phytochemical / Termiticidal: 5% chloroform extract of Lantana camara var. aculeata leaves showed termiticidal effects against adult termite workers.
• Biochemical Compositions/ Antibacterial Activity: Study of the leaves and flowers of four Lantana camara plants with yellow, red, lavender and white flowers showed three of the four to have similar carbohydrates and lipid compositions. The carbohydrate levels were higher in the flowers than the leaves, and the lipids higher in the leaves except for the lavender- and white-flowered kinds. The carbo in lavender L camara was very low. Leaf protein electrophoresis also showed similarities and differences. Antibacterial activities varied according to the type of tissue used.
• Mosquito Larvicidal Activity / Phytol: Phytochemical screening of leaves and flowers yielded saponin, terpenoids, flavonoids and cardiac glycosides. Phytol, a diterpene, is present in higher concentration in the methanol leaf extract of Lantana camara. The larvicidal activity noted was attributed to the phytochemicals and results suggests the shrub may have a potential in the control of vector borne diseases.
• Antimicrobial / Comparative Study on Various Plant Parts: Study on extracts of root, stem, leaf, flower and fruit of L. camara on a panel of organisms that included 10 bacterial and 5 fungi showed the leaf extract to have the highest antibiotic effect among all parts especially against Gram positive Bacillus cereus and Gram negative Salmonella typhi. Results support the use of the leaf extract in some infectious gastroenteritic disorders.
• Anti-Hyperglycemic Activity: Oral administration of a methanol extract of Lantana camara leaves in alloxan-induced diabetic rats showed significant dose-dependent reduction of blood glucose concentration.
• In vivo Toxicity Study: Study investigated the toxicity of methanol extract of various parts (root, stem, leaf, flower, and fruit) in Artemia salina. Results showed all tested extracts exhibited very low toxicity in brine shimp larva. The root extract was the most toxic part of the plant and may have a potential as an anticancer agent. Study concludes L. camara is relatively safe on short-term exposure.
• Oil / Antibacterial / Wound Healing: Study showed L. camara leaves oil have sufficient antibacterial activity on human pathogenic strains, and also wound healing properties.
• Antimotility: Study of methanolic extract of Lantana camara against neostigmine as promotility agentshowed an anticholinergic effect due to Lc constituents. Results suggests a utility in secretory and functional diarrhea and other GI disorders. Further study showed significant inhibition of castor-oil induced diarrhea in mice.

• In Himachal Pradesh, L. camara variety aculeata (red flower variety) has been responsible for livestock poisoning.
• Most of the livestock poisoning occur on grazing after prolonged stall feeding and during fodder scarcity or draught periods.
• Toxicity: Toxic chemical constituents are toxic terpenoids: lantadene A, B, C and D, and icterogenin. Lantadene A,B and C constitute nearly 69% of total terpenoids. Triterpenoids are most rapidly absorbed from the small intestine, but slow absorption from and stasis in the rumen causes slow and continuous exposure of the liver that lasts for days.
• Ingestion of lantana foliage causes decreased luminal motility that may progress to ruminal atony and cause constipation and impaction as the animals become anorectic and unable to defecate.
• Sometimes, the afflicted animals present with photosensitization with swollen ears and eyelids.