Oriental pepper

Family • Polygonaceae - Polygonum orientale Linn. - TALL PERSICARIA - Shui hong hua zi

Scientific names

Polygonum orientale Linn.
Polygonum amoenum Blume
Polygonum torquatum De Br.
Persicaria orientalis

Common names

Oriental pepper (Engl.)
Prince’s feather (Engl.)
Tall persicaria (Engl.)
Kiss me over the garden gate (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Shui hong hua zi.
HINDI: Vasaka.

Polygonum orientale is a branching annual, 30 to 100 centimeters in height. Leaves are long petioled, ovate or ovate-cordate, 15 to 20 centimeters long, 5 to 12 centimeters wide, and covered with soft, silky, grey hairs. Racemes are cylindric, laxly panicled, 8 to 13 centimeters long. Flowers are white. Nut is rounded, black and shining, about 3 millimeters in diameter.

Oriental pepper

A variety of the plant has rose-pink flowers.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Determination of taxifolin in Polygonum orientale and study on its antioxidant activity / Yan Wei, Xiaoqing Chen et al / Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, Volume 22, Issue 2, March 2009, Pages 154-157 /
doi:10.1016/j.jfca.2008.08.006 |

(2) Free radical-scavenging activity and flavonoid contents of Polygonum orientale leaf, stem, and seed extracts / Xinyu Jiang, Xiaoqing Chen and Yan Wei / Arch. Biol. Sci., Belgrade, 61 (1), 79-83, 2009 / DOI:10.2298/ABS0901079J

(3) Studies on chemical constituents in herb of Polygonum orientale / Li Y J et al / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2005 Mar;30(6):444-6

(4) Study on fingerprint-pharmacology correlation of protective effect of Polygonum orientale on myocardial cell oxidative injury induced by H202 / Zheng L, Li J, Chen H, Wang YL, Wang AM, Huang Y. / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2012 Sep;37(17):2585-8.

(5) Studies on the Lignans of Polygonum orientale / ZHENG Shang-Zhen, WANG Ding-Yong, MENG Jun-Cai and SEN XU Wei / Acta Botanica Sinica Volume 40 Issue 5, Pages

(6) Antihyperglycaemic activity on flower of Polygonum orientale Linn. using steptozotocin induced diabetic mice model / Vijay Nigam et al / Int. J. of Pharm. & Life Sci. (IJPLS), Vol. 4, Issue 5: May: 2013, 2626-2631

(7) UPLC–PDA–ESI–MS/MS Analysis of Compounds Extracted by Cardiac h9c2 Cell from Polygonum orientale / Shang-Gao Liao, Yue-Ting Li et al / Phytochemical Analysis, Volume 24, Issue 1, pages 25–35, January/February 2013 / DOI: 10.1002/pca.2374

Oriental pepper3Distribution
– In open, wet places along streams at low and medium altitudes in Pampanga and Rizal Provinces in Luzon.
– Also occurs in India to Japan and southward to Australia.



– Rootstock yields oxymethyl-anthraquinone, 0.05%.
– Study yielded six compounds: myricitrin, luteolin, gallic acid, catechin, protocatechuic acid and p-hydroxycinnamic acid.
– Study of aerial parts isolated three lignans: arctiin, lappaol B, orientalin.
– Study of fruits yielded 28-O-ß,7ß-dihydroxt-lup-20(29)-en-28-oate (a new triterpenoid saponin), 5,7-dihydroxychromone, and naringenin.

Parts used

Oriental pepper4Oriental pepper5

– Nuts prescribed for flatulence and for tuberculous swellings.
– In India, whole plant is used for whooping cough and menorrhagia. Fruit and leaves are burned and prescribed for fever. Decoction of leaves used for liver and splenic diseases.

Study Findings
• Taxifolin / Antioxidant: Study showed the taxifolin from Polygonum orientale showed potent antioxidant activity.
• Free Radical Scavenging: Study investigated the free radical scavenging potentials of P orientale extracts. Results showed the free radical-scavenging activities to be: methanol>ethanol>water>ethyl acetate>chloroform.
• Cardioprotective / Antioxidant: Study evaluated the protective effect of flowers, leaves, and main stem of Polygonum orientale on H9c2 myocardial cells oxidative injury induced by H2O2. Results showed a protective effect on H9c2 myocardial cells oxidative injury. The activity showed a positive correlation with antioxidant activities.
• Antihyperglycemic / Flowers: Study evaluated the antihyperglycemic effect of an aqueous extract of flowers in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. Results showed significant reduction of blood glucose, serum cholesterol, and increase in liver glycogen.
• Cardioprotective Flavonoids: A FEE (flavonoid-enriched extract) was reported to show cardioprotective effect. Study isolated twenty-three active phenolics including ten flavonoid C-glycosides and six flavonoids O-glycosides.
• Bone Healing / Osteoblastic Effects: Study showed root tubers of P. orientale could increase ALP activity and DNA synthesis by stimulating proliferation and differentiation of osteoblasts in vitro, respectively. Results partly explain the pharmacologic ways the herb promotes the healing of bone fractures and rheumatism.
• New Triterpenoid Saponin / Fruits: Study of fruits yielded 28-O-ß,7ß-dihydroxt-lup-20(29)-en-28-oate (a new triterpenoid saponin), 5,7-dihydroxychromone, and naringenin.