Mountain thistle

Family • Acanthaceae - Acanthus montanus Nees

Scientific names

Acanthus montanus Nees

Common names

Mountain thistle (Engl.)

Mountain thistle

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Acanthus montanus: An experimental evaluation of the antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory
and immunological properties of a traditional remedy for furuncles 
/ Charles O Okoli et al / BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2008, 8:27 / doi:10.1186/1472-6882-8-27

(2) Antifertility and fetotoxic activities of Acanthus montanus aqueous extract in Wistar ratsAsongalem EA et al / Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 2008 Sep;30(7):521-8.

(3) Maternal and developmental toxicity evaluation of Acanthus montanus leaves extract administered orally to Wistar pregnant rats during organogenesis / P Nana et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology • Volume 116, Issue 2, 5 March 2008, Pages 228-233 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2007.11.021

(4) The analgesic effect of the methanolic extract of Acanthus montanus / Olufunmilayo O Adeyemi et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology • Volume 90, Issue 1, January 2004, Pages 45-48 /doi:10.1016/j.jep.2003.09.021

(5) Prevention of Carbon Tetrachloride (CCl4)-Induced Liver Damage in Rats by Acanthus montanus / K C Patrick et al / Asian Journal of Biochemistry • Volume: 3, Issue: 4, Page No.: 213-220. 2008 /
DOI: 10.3923/ajb.2008.213.220

(6) Antiinflammatory, lack of central analgesia and antipyretic properties of Acanthus montanus (Ness) T. Anderson / Asongalem EA, Foyet HS et al / J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Nov;95(1):63-8.

Mountain thistle2Botany
Perennial herb growing to a height of 1.5 meters. Leaves are shallow to deeply lobed, toothed with short spines, dark glossy green above and pale green below. Flowers are pink to reddish in long erect spikes.

Recently introduced to the Philippines.
Rarely cultivated.

Constituents and properties

Mountain thistle3

Parts used

Not known in the Philippines for its medicinal applications.
In southeastern Nigeria, roots used for furuncles, leaves used for boils on the fingers. Leaves also used for coughs.
In African traditional medicine, used for urogenital infedtions, urethral pain, endometritis,, cystitis, aches and pains.
In the Congo, central portion of twigs or leaves applied as hot poultice to mature abscesses; decoction of leaf and twigs used as purgative.
In Camerron, used for pain, inflammation and threatened abortion; leaf infusion used for cough and chest complaints.
In Gabon, leaf-macerate used in children as emetic; fresh young growths used for heart troubles.

Mountain thistle5Mountain thistle4

Study Findings
• Analgesic: The Analgesic effect of the methanolic leaf extract was studied in rats and mice. Results showed dose dependent increases in pain threshold. The study indicated that the analgesic effect of Acanthus montanus methanolic extract is both centrally and peripherally mediated. (2) Analgesic tests conducted revealed the extract had only peripheral analgesic properties.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Antimicrobial / Immunologic activity: Acanthus montanus: An experimental evaluation of the antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and immunological properties of a traditional remedy for furuncles: Study showed the aqueous root extract showed antiinflammatory and moderate antimicrobial activity against P aeruginosa and S aureus, the usual pathogens in boils. Phytochemical testing revealed an abundance of alkaloids and carbohydrates, with traces of saponins, glycosides and terpenoids.
• Relaxant Activity: The Relaxant activity of methanolic extract on intestinal smooth muscles suggested a non specific smooth muscle relaxant activity.
Journal of Ethnopharmacology Volume 68, Issues 1-3, 15 December 1999, Pages 169-173. <>
• Safety / Toxicity Studies: Study of leaves extract on Wistar pregnant rats showed no maternal or organ toxicity. Embyotoxicity was observed during organogenesis with signs of growth retardation which were not manifest after 5 days of postnatal survival. The extract can be tolerated by pregnant patients.
• Antifertility / Fetotoxic Activities: Study showed reversible prolongation of the metestrous and occasionally the diestrous stages of the estrous cycle. The extract showed a lack of estrogenic and progestational effects. At 1000 mg/kg/day, the extract caused appreciable implantation losses. The extract also caused delayed fetal growth.
• Hepatoprotective: Study showed the alcoholic and aqueous extracts of leaf and stem of Acanthus montanus may prevent liver damage induced by carbon tetrachloride in rats.