Family • Acanthaceae - Barleria cristata Linn. - VIOLETA, PHILIPPINE VIOLET

Kolintang-violeta is an erect, unarmed, branched ornamental shrub, 1 to 3 meters high. Branches are sparingly hairy. Leaves are oblong to elliptic, 4 to 10 centimeters long, pointed at the tip and somewhat hairy beneath. Flowers are borne singly or in pairs, and terminal or in the upper axils of the leaves. Bracteoles are linear. Two outer sepals are green, ovate-lanceolate, nearly 2 centimeters long, persistent, and laciniately toothed. Corolla is 6 to 7 centimeters long, slender-tubed, winged above; limb is 4 to 5 centimeters in diameter, violet or nearly white, or streaked with violet and white.


– Widely cultivated ornamental hedge plant.
– Also occurs in India, China, and Malaya.

– Phytochemical screening of crude extract of leaves yielded amino acids, carbohydrates, flavonoids, proteins, phenolic groups, saponins steroids, tannins, and terpenoids.
– Three phenylethanoid glycosides viz; (desrhamnosylacteoside), (acteoside) and (poliumoside) were isolated and identified from the callus cultures of Barleria cristata.
– Study of bark extracts yielded yielded a new flavonoid compound, 6-O-α-L-rhamnopyranoside-3,7,3′-O-trimethylated-8- hydroxyquercetin, together with known flavonoids flavonoids 6- O-α-L-rhamnopyranoside 3-methoxy quercetin, quercetagetin, tamarixetin, gossypetin and quercetin.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Antiinflammatory activity of aqueous extract of Barleria cristata leaves / M N Gambhire et al / PHARMACOGNOSY, 2009 | Volume : 1 | Issue : 3 | Page : 220-224

(2) Part 1: Antiplasmodial, cytotoxic, radical scavenging and antioxidant activities of Thai plants in the family Acanthaceae. / Panarat Charoenchai, Srunya Vajrodaya, Winai Somprasong, Chulabhorn Mahidol, Somsak Ruchirawat, Prasat Kittakoop, Chulabhorn Research Institute, Bangkok, Thailand. / Planta Medica, 11/2010; 76(16):1940-3. / DOI:10.1055/s-0030-1250045

(3) IN-VIVO HEPATOPROTECTIVE ACTIVITY OF Barleria cristata L. ETHANOLIC LEAF EXTRACTS AGAINST CCl4 INDUCED HEPATIC INJURY IN WISTAR RATS / P Balaji*, G Kishore and Yogendra Verma / Pharmacie Globale (IJCP) 2013, 4 (04)

(4) PHENYLETHANOID GLYCOSIDES FROM BARLERIA CRISTATA L. CALLUS CULTURES / A. M. A. Abd El-Mawl1, A. S. Ahmed, Z. Z. Ibraheim1 and L. Ernst / Bull. Pharm. Sci., Assiut University, Vol. 28, Part 2, December 2005, pp. 199-204.

(5) Screening for anti-diabetic activity of the ethanolic extract of Barleria cristata seeds / Ranjit Singh*, P. H. Rajasree and C. Sankar / INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHARMACY & LIFE SCIENCES, 3(10): Oct., 2012

(6) Barleria cristata Linn.: Phytochemical Screening and HPTLC Analysis / Rajasekaran Narmadha and Kanakasabapathi Devaki / International Research Journal of Pharmacy, 2012, 3(7).

(7) Toxicological evaluation and oral glucose tolerance test of ethanolic leaf extract of Barleria cristata L. in wistar albino rats / R. Narmadha, K. Devaki / Int J Basic Clin Pharmacol. 2013; 2(6): 742-746doi: 10.5455/2319-2003.ijbcp20131213

(8) Evaluation of anti-inflammatory and radical scavenging activity of an aqueous extract of Barleria cristata leaves / M Gambhire, M Juvekar, A Juvekar, S Wankhede, S Sakat / Planta Med 2009; 75 – PJ166 DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1234971


Considered antibacterial, antidotal.

Parts used
Roots, leaves, seeds.

– Seeds used as antidote for snake bites.
– Roots and leaves used to reduce swellings.
– Infusion of roots and leaves used for coughs.
– In India used for treatment of cough.
– Elsewhere, used for toothaches, anemia and inflammatory disorders.

Kolintang-violeta3Study Findings
• Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Methanol extract of leaves of Barleria cristata was evaluated for anti-inflammatory activity. The effect was compared to the activity of indomethacin and cyproheptadine as reference standard. Results revealed BC possesses significant anti-inflammatory activity.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study of aqueous extract of BC leaves exhibited anti-inflammatory activity with significant dose-dependent inhibition of carrageenan-induced paw edema, prostaglandin activity, vascular permeability.
• Phytochemicals / Antioxidant Activity: Phytochemical screening yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, saponins, phenols and tannins in the ethanol and aqueous extracts of BC. The 50 % ethanol extract of leaves showed significant antioxidant activity probably from the occurrence of secondary metabolites.
• Antioxidant: In the ORAC antioxidant assay, a methanolic extract of Barleria cristata, J. procumbens, and S. auriculara exhibited antioxidant activity with ORAC units of 3.1-3.9.
• Hepatoprotective / Leaves: Study evaluated an ethanolic extract of leaves for hepatoprotective activity in a CCl4-induced liver damage model in male Wistar albino rats. Results showed hepatoprotective activity which was attributed to alkaloids and flavonoids. The extract did not show any mortality up to a dose of 2000 mg/kbw.
• Anti-Diabetic / Seeds: Study evaluated alcoholic extracts of dried seeds of Barleria cristata for hypoglcemic activity in Wistar rats. Results showed significant of blood glucose.
• Antibacterial / Flavonoids / Bark: Study evaluated various extracts for antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Streptococcus mutans and Escherichia coli. An ethanolic extract exhibited the largest zone of inhibition against the tested bacteria. Study yielded a new flavonoid compound, 6-O-α-L-rhamnopyranoside-3,7,3′-O-trimethylated-8- hydroxyquercetin, together with known flavonoids flavonoids 6- O-α-L-rhamnopyranoside 3-methoxy quercetin, quercetagetin, tamarixetin, gossypetin and quercetin. Gossypetin 8-methyl ether showed the highest antibacterial activity.
• Toxicity Study / Hypoglycemic Effect: Study of an ethanolic leaf extract revealed the non-toxic nature of B. cristata. A 400 mg/k dose brought an effective hypoglycemic acticity in wistar albino rats.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Radical Scavenging Activity: Study of a methanol extract of Barleria cristat leaves exhibited significant anti-inflammatory and radical scavenging activity.
• Antihypertensive / Leaves: Study investigated a methanolic extract of leave