Family • Euphorbiaceae - Acalypha indica Linn. - INDIAN ACALYPHA - Re dai tie xian cai

Scientific names

Acalypha caroliniana Blanco
Acalypha indica Linn.

Common names

Maraotong (Ilk.)
Taptapiñgar (Ilk.)
Indian nettle (Engl.)
Indian copperleaf (Engl.)
Indian acalypha (Engl.)
Three-seeded mercury (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Tie xian, Re dai tie xian cai.
FRENCH: Ricinelle des Indes, Oreille de chatte, Herba chatte.
HINDI: Kuppikhokli.
INDONESIA: Lelating, Kucing-kucingan, Rumput kokosongan, Rumput bolong-bolong.
KANNADA: Kuppigida.
MALAYALAM: Kuppameni.
MALAYSIA: Chika emas, Galak kuching.
SANSKRIT: Haritamanjari.

Maraotong is an erect, simple or branched, slightly hairy annual herb, growing to a height of 30 to 80 centimeters. Leaves are ovate. 3 to 6 centimeters long, shorter than the long stalks, with toothed margins. Flowers are sessile, greenish, borne on numerous, lax, erect axillary spikes. The male flowers are very small, clustered near the summit. Female flowers are solitary and scattered, each with a large and leafy bract, 5 to 6 millimeters long. Capsules are 2 millimeters long and concealed by the enlarged bract, often containing only one seed. Seed is ovoid and smooth.


– A common weed in and about towns, in thickets and waste places throughout the Philippines.
– Found in tropical Africa and Asia, through Malaya and Polynesia.

– Contains an alkaloid, acalyphine.
– Major phytochemicals identified are acalyphine, cyanogenic glycoside, inositol, resin, triaetomamine and volatile oils.
– Phytochemical screening of leaves yielded alkaloids, tannins, steroids, saponins, flavonoids, glycosides, and phenolic compounds.
– Study for fatty acids yielded eicosatrienoic acid methyl ester (35.47 ± 2.40%), hexatriacontane (9.56 ± 0.71%), 2,6,10 trimethyl undecatriene (8.69 ± 0.59%) and trifluoroacetic acid, n-heptadecyl ester (8.92 ± 0.52%). The highest volatile oil component was phytol (38.85%). Flavonoids from AI leaf were naringin (highest), quercitrin, hesperitin and kaempferol.


– Anthelminthic, cathartic, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, laxative.
– Studies have suggested anti-inflammatory, anti-malarial, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, neuroprotective, gastroprotective properties.
– Roots considered cathartic and laxative.

Parts utilized
Roots and leaves.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Post-coital antifertility activity of Acalypha indica L. / Journal of Ethnopharmacology Vol 67, Issue 3, 30 November 1999, Pages 253-258/doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(98)00213-X

(2) Flavonoids from Acalypha indica / A Nahrstedt, M Hungeling, F Peterelt / Fitoterapia Vol 77, Issue 6, September 2006, Pages 484-486 / doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2006.04.007

(3) ANTIDIABETIC ACTIVITY OF ACALYPHA  INDICA LINN. ON NORMAL AND ALLOXAN INDUCED DIABETIC RATS / Manisha Masih, Tanushree Banerjee et al / International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vol 3 Suppl 3, 2011

(4) Studies on Phytochemical screening and vasoconstrictor activity of leaf extracts of Acalypha indica on frog blood vessels / Krishna Madhur Marri Prasad Rao, Machineni, Vineela Sathuluri et al / Annals of Biological Research, 2011, 2 (2) : 337-340

(5) In Vitro Antihelmintic Activity of Acalypha indica Leaves Extracts / Garai Ranju et al / IJRAP 2011, 2(1) 247-249

(6) Acalypha indica / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED

(7) Acalypha indica Linn root extract improved hippocampal cell viability and increased Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) in hypoxic condition / Nurhadi Ibrahim, Julia Rahadian, Dewi F. Suniarti / Med Jour of Indon, Vol 21, No 3, August 2012

(8) The nerve protection and in vivo therapeutic effect of Acalypha indica extract in frogs / Ernie H. Purwaningsih, Nurhadi Ibrahim, Hamdani Zain / Medicinal Journal of Indonesia, Vol 19, No 2, 2010.

(9) Antioxidant and anticancer activities from aerial parts of Acalypha indica Linn / Duangsuree Sanseera et al / Research Online

(10) ACUTE AND SUBACUTE TOXICITY STUDIES OF ETHANOLIC EXTRACT OF Acalypha indica Linn IN MALE WISTAR ALBINO RATS / SATHYA M*, KOKILAVANI R, ANANTA TEEPA K.S / Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research Vol 5, Suppl 1, 2012

(11) Anti-inflammatory studies on Acalypha indica L leaves by membrane stabilization / M Syed Muzammil, M Manikandan, A Jafar, P Sakthivel , S Geetha and R Malarkodi / INDIAN J NAT PROD RESOUR, JUNE 2014


(13) Acalypha indica Linn: Biogenic synthesis of silver and gold nanoparticles and their cytotoxic effects against MDA-MB-231, human breast cancer cells / C. Krishnaraj, , , P. Muthukumaran, R. Ramachandran, M.D. Balakumaran, P.T. Kalaichelvan / Biotechnology Reports
Volume 4, December 2014, Pages 42–49

(14) CNS Activity of the Methanol Extracts of Acalypha indica linn in Experimental Animal Model / M. Vijusha*, P. Bharath, M. Suvarna / Annals of Experimental Biology 2014, 2 (2):34-36


(16) Antidermatophytic Activity of Azadirachta indica and Acalypha indica Leaves – An In-Vitro Study / S M Radhika, A Michael / CiteSeer

(17) Preliminary studies on the analysis of fatty acids, essential oils and flavonoids in Acalypha indica L. / R. Suri*, H. Abu Bakar*, A. Noor Rehan*, O. Rosnah* and A. Normah* / J. Trop. Agric. and Fd. Sc. 32(2)(2004)

(18) Extraction and Application of Eco – Friendly Natural dye obtained from Leaves of Acalypha indica Linn on Cotton Fabric / Saravanan P., Chandramohan G., Mariajancyrani J. and Shanmugasundaram P. / International Research Journal of Environment Sciences, Vol. 2(12), 1-5, December (2013)

(19) Biopotency of Acalypha indica Linn on Membrane Bound ATPases and Marker Enzymes urolithic Rats. / Sathya M, Kokilavani R, Ananta Teepa K S, Balakrishnan A. / Ancient Sci Life 2011;31:3-9

(20) Mosquito Larvicidal, Oviposition deterrent and Repellent properties of Acalypha indica L extracts against Aedes aegypti, Anopheles stephensi, and Culex quinquefasciatus / S. Vijaya kumar*, Panagal Mani, T.M.M. John Bastin and G. Ravikumar / Int J Med Biosci. 2012; 1(3): 33 – 41

(21) IN VITRO-STUDY OF EFFECT OF HERBAL SYRUP OF MEDICINAL PLANT EXTRACT AGAINST ESBL PRODUCING KLEBSIELLA PNEUMONIA CAUSING UTI INFECTION / V. Singh*, Sandip Patil, Shakti Pal and P. K. Chauhan / International Journal of Biomedical and Advance Research, 3(3), 2012

(22) The Efficacy of Kalipipi Acalypha indica linn Extract Soap on Wounds / Katrina C. Escobanas Katharina Nilda Ann T. Viquezo Patricio Jose H. Najeal / Minglanilla Special Science Elementary School, 2014

– In India, as famine food, leaves eaten as vegetable.
– In West Africa, leaves are cooked and eaten as vegetable.

– In the Philippines, decoction of leaves used for dysentery.
– Juice of the root and leaves given to children as expectorant and emetic.
– The leaves, in decoction or powdered form, is used as a laxative.
– For constipation, an anal suppository of the bruised leaves helps relax the constricted sphincter ani muscle.
– Leaves mixed with garlic used as anthelminthic.
– Leaves mixed with common salt applied to scabies.
– Leaves mixed with tumeric used for acne.
– Poultice of bruised leaves used for syphilitic ulcers, to maggot-eaten sores and as emollient to snake bites.
– Powdered dried leaves used for bed sores.
– Leaves used for treatment of insomnia.
– Leaves applied to pustules and insect bites.
– Juice of fresh leaves, mixed with oil or lime, used for rheumatic complaints.
– Decoction of leaves used as instillation for earaches and for periauricular poultice or compress
– Root, bruised in water, used as cathartic.
– Bruised leaves used as “suppository” in constipation, assumed to work through decrease of the sphincter ani contraction.
– In Indian pharmacopoeia, used as an expectorant. Also used for the prevention and reversal of atherosclerotic disease. Used for pneumonia, asthma and rheumatism.
– In Tamilnadu, India, the Paliyar tribes of Shenbagathope use the entire plant for bronchitis, a decoction of the herb for tooth- and earaches and paste of the leaves applied to burns.

– Dye: Dye extracted from eaves can be used for coloring textiles. Different shades of color can be obtained using chemical and natural mordants. The dye extract has shown good antibacterial and antifungal activity.

• Post-Coital Infertility Activity: Petroleum ether and ethanol extracts of A. indica were found to be effective in causing significant anti-implantation activity.
• Flavonoids: Four known kaempferol glycosides–mauritianin, clitorin, nicotiflorin and biorobin were isolated from the flowers and leaves of A. indica.
• Fatty Acids / Essential Oils / Flavonoids: Studies yielded fatty acids (eicosatrienoic acid methyl ester, hexatriacontaine, trimethyl undecatriene and trifluoroacetic acid), volatile essential oil (phytol), and flavonoids (naringing, quercitrin, hesperitin and kaempferol) — most of the identified components having their own medicinal properties.
• Antibacterial: Study have shown it to possess antibacterial activity against Aeromonas hydrophylla and Bacillus cereus. (2) All extracts of leaves of Acalypha indica exhibited antibacterial activity against Gram-positive bacteria (S. aureus, S. epidermis, B. cereus, Strep faecalis). Among gram-negative bacterial only P. aeruginosa was susceptible to the extracts.
• Antifungal / Antimicrobial: Study of fresh, dried and powdered samples of leaf, stem and root of Acalypha indica showed activity against Candida albicans, Aspergillus niger and E. coli. An active compound showed more activity than clotrimazole. Study concludes the plant has potential antifungal properties providing a scientific basis for utilization of the plant for treatment of antifungal infections. Results of study were negative for antibacterial activity against E coli and S aureus.
• Antimalarial: Results of leaf extract of A. indica show promising larvicidal and ovicidal activity against malaria vector A. stephensi.
•Neuroprotective / Neurotherapeutic: Results of water extract study showed A indica has neuroprotective and neurotherapeutic effects ex vivo on m. gastrocnemius frog.
• Antioxidant: Ethanol and aqueous extract of root of A indica showed nitric oxide scavenging activity in a dose-dependent manner.
• Antibacterial / Antioxidant: Study of Acalypha indica and Ocimum basilicum showed antibacterial activity against E coli, K pneumonia, S aureus, P aeruginosa and Proteus sp, the ethanol more effective than the acetone extract.
• Wound Healing: Study showed the water extracts of Azadirachta indica and Acalypha indica were more effective than the acetone extracts particularly on pseudomonas sp. Results suggest a potential for use in wound infections.
• Antidiabetic: Study of methanol and acetone extract in alloxan-induced diabetic rat model showed dose-dependent antidiabetic activity attributed to an increased uptake of glucose at the tissue level or by an increase in pancreatic beta cell function or due to inhibition of intestinal absorption of glucose.
• Vasoconstrictor Activity: Study showed the petroleum ether extract exhibited better vasoconstrictor activity against blood vessels of frog comparable to the reference drug adrenaline. Results provide support for use of the extract in treating disorders of headache and migraines, and for diuretic and alexeteric effects.
• Antimicrobial: Study evaluating the antimicrobial activity of different extracts of A. indica showed antibacterial activity against Gram-positive bacteria was more pronounced in water and ethanol extracts and antifungal activity significant with the chloroform extract.
• Anthelmintic / Leaves / Roots: Study evaluated an ethanol extract of leaves for anthelmintic activity against Pheretima posthuma. Results showed significant anthelmintic activity at 100 mg/mL. Study evaluated the anthelmintic potential of crude ethanolic extract of roots using Pheretima posthuma as test worm. Results showed significant anthelmintic activity when compared to reference drug Albendazole.
• Improved Hippocampal Cell Viability in Hypoxic Condition / Stroke Benefits: Study showed a root extract of Acalypha indica is able to improved rat hippocampal cell viability and endogenous BDNF (Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor) levels in hypoxic condition.
• Gastroprotective: Study evaluated the gastroprotective effect of leaves and roots of A. indica on rats with peptic ulcers induced by physical and chemical agents. Results showed the ethanol root extract with dose-dependent ulcer protective effect on peptic ulcers induced by physical and chemical agents.
• Nerve Protection: Study evaluated nerve protection of A. indica extract on nerve paralysis induced by subcutaneous injection of pancuronium bromide on frog’s back. Results showed comparable protective and treatment effect on the the nerves as piracetam.
• Anti-Arthritic / Root: Study evaluate a methanol extract of root in in vitro models for potential in inhibition of protein denaturation, proteinase inhibitory action and antihyaluronidase activity. A dose-dependent inhibition was showed in all three models. Results showed very good anti-arthritic activity.
• Antioxidant / Anticancer / Aerial Parts: Study evaluated aerial parts for antioxidant, anticancer activity, and cytotoxicity. Results showed a non-cytotoxic response against Vero cells, anticancer activity against NCIH187-Small Cell Lung Cancer, and significant antioxidant activities.
• Toxicity Study: Study evaluated acute and subacute toxicity of the ethanolic extract of A. indica on male wistar rats. Results showed no significant signs of toxicity at the dose levels used in the study (100 – 500 mg/kbw) and suggests safety for alternative use for various infections.
• Antibacterial / Leaves: Study of ethanol extract showed activity against Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. The good antibacterial activity is less than standard erythromycin. Study evaluated the antibacterial activity of A. indica against three strains of human pathogenic bacteria viz., Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumonia
• Anti-Inflammatory / Membrane Stabilization / Leaves: Study evaluated the methanolic extract of leaves for anti-inflammatory activity in HRBC membrane stabilization. Results showed significant dose dependent inhibition of erythrocyte hemolysis induced by hypotonic solution. Diclofenac sodium was used as reference drug.
• Antihyperlipidemic / Leaves: Study evaluated the antihyperlipidemic activity of aqueous extracts of A. indica in Wistar albino rats with hyperlipidemia induced by an atherogenic diet. Results showed improvement of lipid profile and improvement of atherogenic index with decrease in serum TC, TG, LDL-C and increase in HDL-C.
• Nanoparticles / Cytotoxicity / Human Breast Cancer Cells: Study evaluated the in-vitro cytotoxic effect of biologically synthesized silver and gold nanoparticles against MDA-MB-231, human breast cancer cells. Results showed the plant derived nanoparticles exhibited significant cytotoxic effects with apoptotic features confirmed through caspase-3 activation and DNA fragmentation assays.
• Hepatoprotective / Acetaminophen Induced Hepatotoxicity: An ethanol extract of leaves investigated against acetaminophen-induced hepatic damage showed hepatoprotective action through antioxidant effect.
• Antibacterial / Leaves and Roots: Study evaluated the antibacterial activity of extracts of leaves, roots, and stems of A. indica against three strains of human pathogenic bacteria viz., Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumonia. The ethyl acetate extract of leaves and roots inhibited growth of all three selected bacterial species.
• CNS Depressant Activity / Leaves and Roots: Study investigated the methanol extract of leaves of Acalypha indica in Swiss albino mice for central nervous system activity. Results showed CNS depressant activity.
• Anti-Dermatophytic Activity / Leaves: Study investigated ethanolic, ethyl acetate and hexane leaf extracts of Azadirachta indica and Acalypha indica against dermatophytes (Trichophyton rubrum, T. mentagrophytes, Microsporum gypseum and Trichophyton tonsurans).The ethanolic and EA extracts inhibited all the isolates. Azadirachta indica showed more activity than Acalypha indica.
• Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles / Leaves: Aqueous leaf extract of A. indica was used to synthesize zinc oxide nanoparticles. Zinc oxide nanoparticles have significant applications in the field of medicine, pigment electronics, spintronics, and piezoelectricity. The green synthesis and biogenic invention of zinc oxide nanoparticle is an ecofriendly option that avoids conventional energy sources and harmful chemicals.
• Hepatoprotective / Roots / Potentiating Effect of Piperine: Study showed roots of Acalypha indica exert a protective effect against CCl4 and Rifampicin-Isonazid induced hepatotoxicity. Results also show that piperine has a dose dependent potentiating effect on the hepatoprotective activity of A. indica. Piperine has been reported to enhance the bioavailability of some drugs by a non-specific and non-competitive inhibition of metabolic enzymes.
• Urolithiasis Benefits / Biopotency on Membrane Bound Enzymes and Marker Enzymes: Study evaluated an ethanolic extract for its biopotency on membrane bound enzymes and marker enzymes in urolithiasis in male wistar albino rats. Results suggest AI can play a role in the prevention of disorders associated with kidney stone formation.
• Mosquito Repellent / Larvicidal / Leaves: Study evaluated various leaf extracts and solvents for larvicidal, oviposition deterrent and repellent activities against mosquitoes Aedes aegypti, Anopheles stephensi, and Culex quinquefasciatus. Results showed A. indica contain larvicidal, oviposition deterrent and repellent compounds in its leaves, suggesting a potential ecofriendly candidate against mosquitoes.
• Herbal Syrup for Antibiotic Resistant Klebsiella pneumonia UTI: In-vitro study evaluated the effect of herbal syrup of plant extract against ESBL (extended spectrum ß-lactamase) producing Klebsiella pneumonia causing urinary tract infections. Crude water extracts exhibited an antibiotic potential against multidrug resistant ESBL producing Klebsiella pneumonia UTIs from ICU patients.
• Herbal Soap for Wound Healing: Soap made from extracted Kalipipi Acalypha indica was effective in healing wounds. Results suggest a potential alternative to commercial products—economical, user-friendly and highly effective.

Extracts in the cybermarket.