Family • Acanthaceae - Barleria prionitis Linn. - PORCUPINE FLOWER

Scientific names

Barleria prionitis Linn.
Barleria hystrix Linn.
Barreliera prionitis Blanco
Prionitis hystrix Miq.

Common names

Kokong-manok (Tag.)
Kolinta (Tag.)
Korinta (Tag.)
Kulanta (Tag.)
Kuranta (Tag.)
Common yellow nail dye plant (Engl.)
Porcupine flower (Engl.)
Barleria (Engl.)
Espinosa amarilla (Span.)

Other vernacular names

ARABIA: Shakhad.
INDIA: Vajradanti, Kurantaka, Koranta, Cateserina, Katsareya,Kantajati, Muti goranta, Shemulli.
MALAYSIA: Duri landak.
MALDIVES: Dat kurandu.
SRI LANKA: Ikshura, Ikiri, Katukarandu.


Kolinta is an erect, smooth, branched shrub, growing up to 1 to 2 meters high, with slender axillary spines. Leaves are elliptic to elliptic-ovate, 6 to 12 centimeters long, narrowed, and pointed at both ends. Flowers are yellow and axillary, with the upper ones in spikes. Bracts and calyx are green, with the outer bract usually foliaceous. Corolla is about 4 centimeters long.


– In thickets and waste places, in and about towns, at low altitudes.
– Introduced.
– Also occurs in tropical Africa, Asia, and Malaya.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Anti-inflammatory activity of ‘TAF’ an active fraction from the plant Barleria prionitis Linn. / B Singh, S Bani et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 85, Issues 2-3, April 2003, Pages 187-193 / doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(02)00358-6 |

(2) Chemistry and hepatoprotective activity of an active fraction from Barleria prionitis Linn. in experimental animals / B Singh, B K Chandan et al / Phytotherapy Research, Volume 19 Issue 5, Pages 391 – 404 / Published Online: 16 Aug 2005

(3) A study of the antidiabetic activity of Barleria prionitis Linn / Reema Dheer, Pradeep Bhatnagar / ndian Journal of Pharmacology;Apr2010, Vol. 42 Issue 2, p70

(4) Effect of isolated fractions of Barleria prionitis root methanolic extract on reproductive function of male rats: preliminary study / Pramod Kumar Verma et al / Fitoterapia, Volume 76, Issue 5, July 2005, Pages 428-432
/ doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2005.03.007 |

(5) EVALUATION OF FLOWER OF BARLERIA PRIONITIS FOR ANTIINFLAMMATORY AND ANTINOCICEPTIVE ACTIVITY / Sunil K Jaiswal, Mukesh K Dubey et al / International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences V1(2)2010

(6) Glutathione S-transferase- and acetylcholinesterase-inhibiting natural products from medicinally important plants / Athar Ata, Stephanie A Van Den Bosch et al / Pure Appl. Chem., Vol. 79, No. 12, pp. 2269–2276, 2007. / doi:10.1351/pac200779122269

(7) Antifertility studies of the root extract of the Barleria prionitis Linn in male albino rats with special reference to testicular cell population dynamics / Gupta RS, Kumar P, Dixit VP, Dobhal MP / J Ethnopharmacol. 2000 May;70(2):111-7.

(8) Potency of Barleria prionitis L. bark extracts against oral diseases causing strains of bacteria and fungi of clinical origin / Kamal Rai Aneja, Radhika Joshi, Chetan Sharma / New York Science Journal 2010;3(11)

(9) Anti-inflammatory activity of aqueous extract fractions of Barleria prionitis L. roots / Khadse C. D. and Kakde R. B. / Asian Journal of Plant Science and Research, 2011, 1 (2):63-68

(10) Some abortifacient plants used bythe tribal people of West Bengal / S Mitra and Sobhan Kr Mukherjee / Natural Product Radiance, Vol. 8(2), 2009, pp.167-171

(11) Barleria prionitis / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED

(12) Topical anti-inflammatory studies on Barleria prionitis and B. cristata. / Maninder Karan*, Kawal Preet & Karan Vasisht / J Pharm Biomed Sci., 2013 June; 31(31): 1164-1169.

(13) Potency of Barleria prionitis L. bark extracts against oral diseases causing strains of bacteria and fungi of clinical origin / Kamal Rai Aneja, Radhika Joshi, Chetan Sharma / New York Science Journal 2010;3(11)

(14) Investigation of Antihypertensive activity of Leaves of Barleria Prionitis in Doca Salt Induced Hypertensive Rats / Bhavna H. Marya*, S. B. Bothara / Int. J. Pharm. Sci. Rev. Res., 18(2), Jan – Feb 2013; no 03, 17-19

(15) Glutathione S-Transferase, Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitory and Antibacterial Activities of Chemical Constituents of Barleria prionitis / Kalhari S. Kosmulalage, Shamsulhaq Zahid, Chibuike C. Udenigwe, Sarfraz Akhtar, Athar Ata, and Radhika Samarasekera / Z. Naturforsch. 2007, 62b, 580 – 586

– Large amount of neutral and acid resin soluble in light petroleum ether.
– Leaves yield alkaloids, glycosides and tannin.
– Phytochemical analysis of leaves yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, steroids, saponins, tannin, and phenolic compounds.
– An ethanolic extract yielded a new compound, balarenone, along with three known compounds, pi- pataline, lupeol and 13,14-seco-stigmasta-5,14-diene-3-α -ol (4) and three different derivatives of compound, 7,8-epoxypipataline, 8- amino-7-hydroxypipataline and 7,8-dibromopipataline.


Considered diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge.

Parts used
Leaves, tops, roots, juice.

– In the Philippines, decoction of leaves and tops used for bathing in cases of febrile catarrh.
– Whole plant used for urinary and paralytic affections, rheumatism, jaundice, hepatic obstruction and dropsy.
– In Abyssinia, used as febrifuge.
– Paste of roots is applied to boils and glandular swellings.
– In the Konkan, dried bark is given in whooping cough; for anasarca, the juice of the fresh bark with milk.
– In catarrhal afflictions of children with fever and phlegm, two teaspoons of a mixture of the juice of leaves in honey or sugar and water, twice daily.
– For rain soaked feet, juice of the leaves applied to the feet to prevent cracking and laceration.
– Juice of leaves mixed with honey applied to bleeding gums; also used as ear drops for otitis.
– In indigenous systems of medicine in India, stem, leaves and flowers are used for fever, toothaches, inflammation, gastrointestinal disorders, whooping cough. Roots used as tonic and diuretic.
– In Thailand and India, decoction of leaves and flowers used for viral fever.
– In West Bengal used by the Santals as abortifacient: 3 gm of fresh root is crushed with about 100cc of pochai (alcohol from rice) or Mahua (alcohol from flowers of Bassia latifolia, given once daily in the early morning for 3 to 5 consecutive days in induce abortion up to 3 months pregnancy.

Study Findings
• Anti-Inflammatory / Anti-Arthritic: Study of ‘TAF’ fraction from methanol-water extract of B prionitis exhibited significant anti-inflammatory activity against different animal test models and significant anti-arthritic activity in adjuvant-induced polyarthritis test in rats.
• Hepatoprotective: Study ethanol extract of aerial parts exhibited significant and concentration dependent hepatoprotective activity against carbon tetrachloride, galactosamine and paracetamol induced hepatotoxicity in rats.
• Anti-Diabetic: Study of the alcoholic leaf extract of Barleria prionitis showed a significant decrease of blood glucose levels and glycosylated hemoglobin.
• Antifertility / Reduction of Spermatogenesis: Study of isolated fractions of BP root methanolic extract in rats showed a significant reduction of spermatogenesis, with significant reduction of sperm motility.
• Antifertility / Spermatogenesis Effects: Study showed root extract to exhibit interference with spermatogenesis. The antifertility effects seem to be mediated by a disturbance in testicular somatic cells functions (Leydig and Sertoli cells) resulting in the physio-morphological events of spermatogenesis.
• Antinociceptive / Anti-Inflammatory Activity / Flowers: Results showed the ethanolic extract of the flower of B. prionitis possess significant anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive activity.
• GTS (glutathione S-transferase) and Acetylcholinesterase Inhibition: Screening of crude extracts of B prionitis showed GST inhibitory activity and AChE inhibition. GTS are considered responsible for decreasing the effectiveness of anticancer / antiparasitic agents and AChE inhibitors have potential applications in the treatment of cardiac disorders and Alzheimer’s disease.
• Antifungal / Antimicrobial: Study of methanolic extract of bark showed more potent activity against all test oral fungi (S. cerevisiae, C. albicans strains) than the standard drug Amphotericin B. Even crude extracts showed good activity against dental caries-causing oral pathogens.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Roots: Various root extracts were tested for anti-inflammatory activity using carrageenan-induced rat paw edema. The aqueous extract was the most active with significant dose-dependent anti-inflammatory activity.
• CNS Activity / Antidepressant Effect: Study evaluated the CNS activity of a 70% ethanol extract of leaves in Swiss albino mice. Results suggested B. prionitis exhibited antidepressant activity in the tested animal models.
• Topical Anti-Inflammatory: Study evaluated the topical anti-inflammatory activity of different species of Barleria against croton oil induced edema in female rats. The chloroform extract of B. prionitis showed the best topical activity with 88.31 per cent inhibition of ear edema.
• Mast Cell Stabilization and Membrane Protection: Study evaluated the membrane stabilization and mast cell protection activity of a hydroalcoholic extract of B. prionitis whole plant. Results showed dose-dependent inhibition of hypo-saline induced erythrocyte membrane hemolysis and induced mast cell degranulation . The results validate the anti-inflammatory activity and supports its traditional usage for inflammatory disorders.
• Anti-Diabetic / Leaves and Roots: Study evaluated the antidiabetic activity of various parts of B. prionitis using alloxan induced hyperglycemic rats. Alcoholic and aqueous extracts of leaf and root caused significant reduction in blood glucose, an effect almost equipotent to chlorpropamide.
• Antibacterial / Leaves: Study evaluated various extracts of B. prionitis against S. aureus, B. subtilis, P. vulgaris, K. pneumonia, E. coli and P. aeruginosa. Results showed significant activity against all tested pathogens.
• Antimicrobial / Bark Extracts / Oral Diseases: Study evaluated various bark extracts for antifungal activity on two Candida albicans strains and Saccharomyces cerevisiae causing oral diseases in humans and antibacterial activity against four oral bacteria, viz., S. mutans, S. aureus, Pseudomonas sp., Bacillus sp. The methanolic extract showed more potent activity against all tested oral fungi than standard drug amphotericin B. The methanolic extract was also most effective against all four oral bacteria.
• Antihypertensive Activity / Leaves: Study evaluated the antihypertensive activity of a methanolic extract of leaves using DOCA salt induced antihypertensive model. Results showed significant antihypertensive effect. Phytochemical analysis yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, steroids, saponins,, tannin and phenolic compounds.
• Nootropic Activity / Memory Function / Leaves: Study evauated a leaf extreat for effects on cognitive dysfunction and influence on brain cholinergic system in experimental rats. Results showed the leaf extract enhances memory function possibly mediated through the brain cholinergic system.
• Antibacterial / Glutathione S-Transferase and AChE Inhibitory Activity: Study yielded a new compound, balarenone along with three known compounds 4, 5 and 6, three derivatives of compound 2 (5,6 and 7). Compounds 1,2, and 4 exhibited antibacterial activity against B. cereus and P. aeruginosa. Compounds 1-4 showed activity against GST and AChE.
• Immunomodulatory Activity / Aerial Parts: Study investigated in vivo and in vitro immunomodulatory activities of the iridoids fractions of B. prionitis aerial parts. Results showed potent immunostimulatory activity, stimulating both the specific and non-specific immune mechanisms.