Family • Amaranthaceae - Alternanthera ficoidea (L.) P. Beauv. - JOSEPH'S COAT - Jin xiu xian

Scientific names

Alternanthera amabilits Lem.
Alternanthera amoena (Lem.) Voss.
Alternanthera bettzickiana (Reg.) G. Nicholson
Alternanthera bettzickinan (Regel) Voss..
Alternanthera ficoidea Linn.

Common names

Kutcharitas (Tag.)
Baptist plant (Engl.)
Calico plant (Engl.)
Joseph’s coat (Engl.)
Joy weed (Engl.)
Parrot leaf (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Jǐn xiù xiàn.
FRENCH: Alternanthère de Bettzick.
GERMAN: Papageienblatt.
INDIA: Madranga.
JAPANESE: NMoyoubiyu.
MALAY: Djukut selon.
SPANISH: Cucharita.
THAI: Phak pet daeng, Phak pet farang.
VIETNAMESE: Dệu đỏ; Dệu dạng sung

Gen info 
Alternanthera, also called “joy weeds” is a genus of about 80 herbaceous species belonging to the amaranth family. A study showed the leaves to be lighy sensitive, ie, the darker the place, the greener the color. A. ficoidea leaves tend to curl in full sun. source


Kutcharitas is a low and fleshy herb, with oval to broad-lanceolate leaves, variegated, in reddish-brown, orange, pink, green, or white colors. Flowers are in small heads, white or straw-colored, borne at the axils of leaves.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Alternanthera bettzickiana / Useful Tropical Plants

(2) Alternanthera bettzickiana (Regel) G.Nicholson is an accepted name /The Plant List

(3) Alternanthera sessilis and Alternanthera bettzickiana Improved Superoxide Dismutase and Catalase Activities in the Livers of Ovariectomized Mice / Suphanthip Phusrisom1,2, Waranya Chatuphonprasert3, Orawan Monthakantirat2, Pradit Pearaksa2 and Kanokwan Jarukamjorn* / Journal of Applied Biopharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics, 2013, 1, 64-71

(4) Foliar Biophenolic Antioxidant Metabolites of Alternanthera bettzickiana / A.J.A. Petrus*, K. Kalpana and A. Bharadha Devi / Oriental Journal of Chemistry. An International Journay of Pure and Applied Chemistry, Volume 30, Number 3

(5) Comparative Studies on Anti-inflammatory and Diuretic Activities of Alternanthera Bettzickiana, Alternanthera pungens, Alternanthera tenella and Digera muricata / Vetrichelvan T., Elavarasi N., Sunitha Jain B. / Research & Reviews: A Journal of Biotechnology, Vol 1, No 1 (2013

(6) Alternanthera bettzickiana (Regel) G. Nicholson, a potential halophytic ornamental plant: Growth and physiological adaptations / Anis Ali, Naeem Iqbal, Faryad Ali, Beenish Afzal / Morphology Distribution Functional Ecology of Plants, 04/2012; 207(4):318–321. / DOI: 10.1016/j.flora.2011.12.002

(7) Inhibitory Effect of Alternanthera bettzickiana On Alzheimer’s disease Induced by Oxidative Stress in Mice Behavioural Model / Purin Pongsajanukul, Orawan Monthakantirat, Charinya Khamphukdee / Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand.

– Widely distributed in the Philippines.
– Grows well in warm and sunny locations, although some bleaching may occur under full summer’s sun.

– Hydrophilic extract of fresh leaves that exhibited in vitro antioxidant/radical scavenging and metal chelating capacities yielded six biphenolic antioxidants.

– Studies have suggested antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral properties.

Parts utilized

– Leaves and young shoots are eaten raw or cooked.

– No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
– Elsewhere, used for herpes.


Study Findings

• Silver Nanoparticles / Antibacterial Potential: Study reported an environmentally benign and cost effective approach in synthesizing silver nanoparticles using leaf extracts of Alternanthera ficoidea. Silver nanoparticles synthesized from leaf extract of A. ficoidea inhibited the growth of two clinical bacterial isolates i.e., Escherichia coli and Serratia marcescens. The leaf extract, taken as control showed no inhibitory effect on the bacterial strains.
• Arsenic Accumulation: In a study in India, among terrestrial plants evaluated, the maximum SAU (Specific Arsenic Uptake) and TF (Transfer Factor) were demonstrated by A. ficoidea and Phyllanthus amarus.
• Antiviral Activity: Leaf root extract from 21 plants were evaluated for antiviral activity against foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMCV) and Aujeszky virus (ADV) in IB-RS-2 pig cell line and bovine diarrhea virus (BVD) in GCK bovine cells lines. Crude aqueous extracts of 9 plants, including Alternanthera ficoidea showed antiviral activity against ADV and/r BVD.
• Antioxidant Benefit in Livers of Ovariectomized Mice: Study investigated the impact of Alternanthera sessilis (AS) and Alternanthera bettzickiana (AB) on the activity of catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) on livers of ovariectomized induced oxidative stress in mice to clarify oxidative potentials. Results showed AS and AB possessed antioxidant benefit to improve the hepatic oxidant-antioxidant balance in the ovariectomized mice comparable to 17ß-estradiol.
• Antioxidant Metabolites: Hydrophilic extract of fresh leaves that exhibited in vitro antioxidant/radical scavenging and metal chelating capacities yielded six biphenolic antioxidants, viz., 7-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-6-C-β-D-glucopyranosylapigenin, 6-C-β-D-glucopyranosylapigenin, 8-C-β-D-glucopyranosylapigenin, (E)-3-(4-hydroxyphenyl)prop-2-enoic acid, (E)-3-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)prop-2-enoic acid and (E)-3-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)prop-2-enoic acid.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Diuretic: Comparative studies were done on anti-inflammatory and diuretic activities of Alternanthera bettzickiana, Alternanthera pungens, Alternanthera tenella and Digera muricata.
• Potential Halophytic Ornamental Plant: Exploration and cultivation of salt tolerant plants is a strategy for utilization of salt affected soils. Study showed Alternanthera berttzickiana to be salt tolerant, accumulating less Na+ in shoot as compared to root when grown under stress, and can be used as a salt-tolerant glycophyte that could be used for greening of salt affected soils.
• Hypoglycemic: Study evaluated fresh leaves and alcoholic extract from leaves of Alternanthera ficoides R. Br. ex R&S var bettzickiana for hypoglycemic effects using oral glucose tolerance test in comparison to tolbutamide in normal rats. Results showed significant lowering of plasma glucose levels in rats given the alcoholic extracts with half the hypoglycemic effect of tolbutamide at dose of 0.5 g/kbw, with fresh leaves showing no effects.
• Hypoglycemic: Study evaluated the effectiveness of Alternanthera bettzickiana in preventing oxidative stress in the hippocampus that could induce cell aging process and neurodegenerative disorder, the possible mechanism in Alzheimer’s disease. Previous studies on Alternanthera sessilis have shown possible prevention of oxidative stress in female mice attributed to flavonoids and beta-sitosterol.