Family • Rutaceae - Zanthoxylum rhetsa (Roxb.) DC. - IVY-RUE - Lai ta hua jiao

Scientific names

Zanthoxylum budrunga Wall.
Zanthoxylum rhetsa (Roxb.) DC.
Zanthoxylum limonella Alston
Zanthoxylum oxyphyllum F.-Vill.
Fagara budrunga Roxb.
Fagara rhetsa Roxb.
Fagara piperita Blanco

Common names

Kasabang (Ilk.)
Kasalang (Sbl.)
Kayatena (Tag.)
Kaytana (Tag.)
Kayutana (Tag.)
Sarai (P. Bis.)
Salai (Bis.)
Cabrit (Engl.)
Indian ivy-rue (Engl.)
Indian pepper (Engl.)
Hu jiao mu (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

ASSAMESE: Bajar mali.
BURMESE: Chyinbawng, Hmekaung, Jang bawng, Jingbawng, Kathit pyu, Kathit su, Ma yanin kyetsu.
CHINESE: Lai ta hua jiao.
FRENCH: Clavalier de l’Inde.
HINDI: Badrang, Mullilam, Pepuli, Tilfda.
INDIA: Tirphal.
KANNADA: Aramadala, Arempala, Juminam, Jummi mara, Jummina, Kadumenasu, Sessal.
LAOTIAN: Ma khaen.
MALAY: Hantu duri, Kayu lemah (Java), Kaju tanah, Kayu tana.
MALAYALAM: Kaatmurikku, Kothumurikku, Mulliam.
MARATHI: Chirphal, Tirphal, Tisal.
SANSKRIT: Ashvaghra.
SINHALESE: Katu kina.
TAMIL: Kattumurukku, Mullilam.
TELUGU: Rhetsaman.
THAI: Kamchat, Kamchat ton, Luk rat mat, Mat mat, Ma khuang, Ma khwaen, Phrik hom.
VIETNAMESE: Cóc hôi, Hoàng mộc hôi, Sẻn hôi, Vàng me.


Kayetana is a small or medium-sized tree reaching a height of 20 meters. Branchlets are usually spineless. Bark has prominent conical spines. Leaves are pinnately compound, up to 35 centimeters or more in length, with 8 to 20 pairs of leaflets which are somewhat ovate, 5 to 12 centimeters long, with two sides very unequal, particularly at the base, with a tapering, pointed tip. Flowers are numerous, fairly small, yellowish-white, with a red center, 4-parted, and borne in considerable number on terminal panicles which are about 40 centimeters long. Fruit is solitary, 6 to 8 millimeters in diameter, finely tubercled, and red when ripe. Seeds are somewhat rounded, and bluish-black.

– In thickets and forests at low and medium altitudes, from northern Luzon (Cagayan) to Palawan and Mindanao.
– Also reported from India and Sri Lanka to Myanmar, Indo-China, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Java, Moluccas, Sulawesi, and southern Papua New Guinea.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Therapeutic efficacy of Zanthoxylum rhetsa DC extract against experimental Hymenolepis diminuta (Cestoda) infections in rats / Arun K Yadav and Vareishang Tangpu / JOURNAL OF PARASITIC DISEASES, Vol 33, Numbers 1-2, 42-47, DOI: 10.1007/s12639-009-0007-2

(2) Statistical analysis of the antibacterial activity of Zanthoxylum rhetsa seed essential oil / L Joji Reddy and Beena Jose / J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2011, 3(1):440-444

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

(4) hemical profile studies on the secondary metabolites of medicinally important plant Zanthoxylum rhetsa (Roxb.) DC using HPTLC / Priya Alphonso and Aparna Saraf* / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2012)S1293-S1298

(5) Study of antibacterial activity of Essential Oil components obtained from pericarp of Zanthoxylum rhetsa (Indian origin) using HS-GCMS / Shimadzu, Excellence in Science

(6) Antinociceptive and antidiarrhoeal activity of Zanthoxylum rhetsa. / M T Rahman, M Alimuzzaman, S Ahmad, A Asad Chowdhury / Fitoterapia, 08/2002; 73(4):340-2.

(7) Therapeutic efficacy of Zanthoxylum rhetsa DC extract against experimental Hymenolepis diminuta (Cestoda) infections in rats / Arun K. Yadav, Vareishang Tangpu / Journal of Parasitic Diseases, December 2009, Volume 33, Issue 1-2, pp 42-47

(8) Formulation and In-Vitro Evaluation of Sun Protection Factor of Methanolic Extract of Zanthoxylum rhetsa DC. Sunscreen lotion. / Kale Shantanu S.*, Rajmane Amol H., Urunkar Vaibhav C., Gaikwad Megha K., Bhandare Snehal B. / Research Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, 2011, Volume 3, Issue 5.


– Fruit with peel yields volatile oil, 5.8 % with 90% terpenene (sabinene).
– Seeds contain 29.7 % volatile oil.
– Screening of an ethanolic extract of fruit for secondary metabolites yielded 8 glycosides, 10 flavonoids, 6 essential oils, 5 anthraquinones, 9 bitter principles, 7 coumarins, and 8 terpenoids.
– Preliminary screening of ethanol extracts of spine yielded alkaloid, terpenoid, catechin, coumarin, tannin, flavonoid, phenol, xanthoprotein, sugar, and fixed oil.
– The ash values of stem spine of Z. rhesa is 4.42%; ash value is indicative of the impurities present in the drug.


– Fruit is considered stimulant, astringent, aromatic, digestive.
– Bark considered aromatic and aphrodisiac.
– Essential oil from fruits a locally anesthetic.
– Studies have shown analgesic, antidiarrheal, antidiabetic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and diuretic properties.

Parts used
Bark, roots, fruit.

– Bark, pounded and mixed with oil, used externally as remedy for stomach pains.
– Decoction of bark taken internally for chest pains.
– Bark chewed and applied to snake bites.
– Fruit used for urinary complaints and dyspepsia caused by atrabilis (the melancholic “humor”). Also used in some forms of diarrhea.
– Bark is considered a bitter aromatic and aphrodisiac.
– Fruit, mixed with honey, taken for rheumatism.
– In Goa, root bark used as purgative for kidneys.
– Essential oil used for cholera.
– In India, traditionally used in diabetes and inflammation; as antispasmodic, diuretic and anti-inflammatory.
– Naga tribes of India use the plant as deworming remedy.
– The Kanikkar tribe in Tamil Nadu prepare a paste of the plant by rubbing the hard spines on rock along with water and apply it on the breast for relief of pain and to increase lactation in nursing mothers.
– Paste prepared by rubbing the hard spines on rock and water is applied to breasts to relieve pain and increase lactation in nursing mothers.

Study Findings
• Antiparasitism: Study investigated the efficacy of Z. rhetsa leaf extract against experimental Hymenolepsis diminuta infections in albino rats. The efficacy of the extract was moderate against immature and adult stages of parasite. Results suggest the leaves of ZR possess significant anticestodal property and supports its use in folk medicine.
• Bark Constituents: Study of bark spines yielded dodecanoic acid, 9,12,octadecanoic acid, oleic acid, octadecanoic acid, 2-hydoxyl-1,3-propanediyl ester, and 1,2-benzenedicarboxylic acid, diisooctylester – phytochemicals that showed various properties: antioxidant, antimicrobial, larvicidal, anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic.
• Essential Oil / Antibacterial: Essential oil steam distilled from aqueous, alkaline, and acidic media showed significant antibacterial activity against S. aureus, E. coli, P. vulgaris and K. pneumonia probably due to synergistic effect of the components present in the oil. The acid distilled essential oil can be used as a potential external antiseptic and incorporated into drug formulations.
• Secondary Metabolites: An ethanolic extract of fruit yielded 8 glycosides, 10 flavonoids, 6 essential oils, 5 anthraquinones, 9 bitter principles, 7 coumarins, and 8 terpenoids.
• Antinociceptive / Anti-Diarrheal: A methanol extract of stem bark significantly reduced abdominal contraction induced by acetic acid and diarrheal episodes induced by castor oil in mice.
• Anticestodal / Anti-Diarrheal: A leaf extract was investigated against experimental Hymenolepis diminuta (Cestoda) infections in albino rats. The extract exhibited moderate efficacy against immature and adult stages of the parasite. The anticestodal property supports its use in folk medicine.
• Sunscreen Activity / Seed: Study evaluated the formulation of a sunscreen lotion using a methanolic extract of ZR seed. Evaluation of sunscreen activity using in vitro SPF method showed the formulation to be 1.09 with an ultra boot star rating 2 which approaches toward sunscreen activity.
• Pharmacogonostical Study of Spine: Study attempts a modest comprehensive investigation of the stem spines of Zanthoxylum rhetsa. Various extracts of stem spiines yielded alkaloid, catechin, coumarin, flavonoid, phenol, quinone, steroid, tannin terpenoid, sugar, glycoside, xanthoprotein, and fixed oil. Ash value is 4.41%—ash value are constant for a given drug, and generally the index of purity as well as indentity of the drug. The pharmacognostic studies include microscopic, physicochemical constants (ash & extractive values), fluorescence analysis and preliminary phytochemical evaluations.