Family • Piperaceae - Peperomia pellucida (L.) Kunth - SHINY BUSH - Cao hu jiao

Scientific names

Peperomia bilineata Miq.
Peperomia hymenophylla Miq.
Peperomia pellucida Linn.
Piper pellucida Linn.
Micropiper pellucidum Miq.
Micropiper tenellum Klotz

Other vernacular names

CHAMORRO: Podpod-lahe, potpopot
CHINESE: Cao hu jiao
PALAUAN: Rtetill
THAILAND: Phak krasang
SAMOA: Vao vai
SPANISH: Alumbre, Erva de vidro
CHINESE: Nuan ku cao

Common names

Olasiman-ihalas (C. Bis.)
Sahica-puti (Tag.)
Sinaw-sinaw (Zamboanga)
Ulasiman bato (Tag.)
Ulasimang bato  (Tag.)
Clear weed (Engl.)
Pepper-elder (Engl.)
Rat-ear (Engl.)
Shiny bush (Engl.)
Silver bush (Engl.)


Pansit-pansitan is an erect, branched, annual herb, shallow rooted, reaching up to 40 centimeters high, with very succulent stems. Stems are round, often about 5 millimeters thick. Leaves are alternate, heart-shaped and turgid, as transparent and smooth as candle wax. Spikes are green, erect, very slender, 1 to 6 centimeters long. Tiny dot-like flowers scattered along solitary and leaf-opposed stalk (spike); naked; maturing gradually from the base to the tip; turning brown when ripe.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity of Peperomia pellucida (L.) HBK (Piperaceae) / Maria de Fatima Arrigoni-Blank et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology / Volume 91, Issues 2-3, April 2004, Pages 215-218 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2003.12.030

(2) Antipyretic Activity of Peperomia pellucida Leaves in Rabbit / Turk J Biol 32 (2008) 37-41

(3) Seed germination, phenology, and antiedematogenic activity of Peperomia pellucida (L.) H. B. K./ Maria de Fatima Arrigoni-Blank et al / BMC Pharmacology 2002, 2:12doi:10.1186/1471-2210-2-12

(4) Bioactive compounds from Peperomia pellucida / Su Xu, Na Li, Ning Meng-Meng et al / Journal of natural products, 2006, vol. 69, no2, pp. 247-250

(5) Isolation and Bioactivity of a Xanthone Glycoside from Peperomia pellucida / Alam Khan, Moizur Rahman, Shariful Islam / Life Sciences and Medicine Research, Volume 2010: LSMR-1

(6) Preliminary Investigation into the Chemical Properties of Peperomia pellucida L. / R.U. Egwuche, A.A. Odetola and O.L. Erukainure / Research Article / Science Alert

(7) In vivo Anti-inflammatory and in vitro Antioxidant Activities of Peperomia pellucida / Mutee A F, Salhimi S M, Yam M F, Lim C P et al / International Jour of Pharmacology. 01/2010 / DOI:

(8) Peperomia pellucida / common name details from PIER

(9) Studies on ether-soluble neutral compounds ofPeperomia pellucida / Josefina B. Manalo, Byung Hoon Han, Yong Ham Han, Myung Hwan Park, Felicidad E. Anzaldo / Archives of Pharmacal Research, December 1983, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 133-136

(10) Phytochemical, Antimicrobial and ToxIicological evaluation of the leaves of Peperomia Pellucida (L.) HBK (Piperaceae) / Tavs A Abere, Freddy O Agoreyo, Gerald I Eze / Journal of Pharmaceutical and Allied Sciences, Vol. 9 No. 3 (2012)

(11) Proximate composition, nutritional attributes and mineral composition of Peperomia pellucida L. (Ketumpangan Air) grown in Malaysia. / Ooi DJ, Iqbal S, Ismail M. / Molecules. 2012 Sep 17;17(9):11139-45 / doi: 10.3390/molecules170911139.

(12) Possible Mechanism of Action of the Hypotensive Effect of Peperomia pellucida and Interactions between Human Cytochrome P450 Enzymes / Chukwuemeka R. Nwokocha*, Daniel U. Owu, Kelece Kinlocke, JeAnn Murray, Rupika Delgoda, Karen Thaxter, Garsha McCalla and Lauriann Young / Med Aromat Plants 2012, 1:4 /

(13) The essential oils of Peperomia pellucida Kunth and P. circinnata Link var. circinnata / Milton Helio L. da Silva, Maria Das Graças B. Zoghbi, Eloisa Helena A. Andrade, José Guilherme S. Maia* / Flavour and Fragrance Journal, Vol 14, NO 5, pp 312–314, Sept/Oct 1999 / DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1026(199909/10)14:5<312::AID-FFJ835>3.0.CO;2-B

– An annual herb, favoring shady, damp and loose soil.
– Often grows in groups in nooks in the garden and yard.
– Conspicuous in rocky parts of canals.
– Propagation by seeds. – – Numerous tiny seeds drop off when mature and grow easily in clumps and groups in damp areas.
– Pantropic species of American origin.

• Preliminary phytochemical screening of methanol extracts of stems yielded carbohydrates, alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids, steroids, triterpenoids, with the absence of saponins and proteins.
• Study yielded 5 new bioactive compounds: two secolignans, two tetrahydrofuran lignans, and one highly methoxylated dihydronaphthalenone.
• Proximate analysis of leaves yielded a high ash content, a higher crude fiber content, and a still higher carbohydrate content. Mineral analysis showed low manganese, iron, zinc and copper, with high sodium content. Phytochemical screening yielded alkaloids, cardenolides, saponins and tannins.
• An ether soluble fraction of the whole plant yielded 4,7-dimethoxy-5-(2-propenyl)-1, 3-benzodioxole or apiol, in a liquid state, 2,4,5,-trimethoxy styrene, mp 138°, and three phytosterols, campesterol, stigmasterol and β-sitosterol.
• Study of essential oil showed the main components to be dillapiole (39.7%) and trans-caryophyllene (10.7%).


• Considered anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, refrigerant, analgesic, antifungal, anticancer.

Parts utilized
Leaves and stems.

– Leaves and stems may be eaten as vegetable.
– In salads, the fresh plant has the crispness of carrot sticks and celery.


– Infusion and decoction of leaves and stems are used for gout and arthritis.
– Decoction of leaves used for urinary tract infections.
– Externally, as a facial rinse for complexion problems.
– In Ayurveda, used to pacify vitiated cough, pitta, constipation, kidney diseases, urinary retention, dysuria, urinary tract infection, emaciation, edema and general weakness.
– Pounded whole plant used as warm poultice for boils, pustules and pimples.
– In Jamaica and the Caribbean used for colds and as a diuretic for kidney problems.
– In South America, solution of fresh juice of stem and leaves used for eye inflammation. Infusion and decoction of leaves and stems used for gout and arthritis.
– In Brazil, used for abscesses and conjunctivitis.
– In Bolivia, decoction of roots used for fever; aerial parts for wounds.
– In Bangladesh, leaves used in the treatment of excited mental disorders.
– In Africa, used for convulsions and tumors.
– Used for headaches, rheumatic pains, impotence.
– In Brazil, used to lower cholesterol; for treatment of abscesses, furuncles and conjunctivitis

New uses
Belongs to the “preferred list” of Philippine medicinal plants, being studied for its use in the treatment of arthritis and gout.
For arthritis: Leaves and stems of the fresh plant may be eaten as salad. Or, as an infusion, put a 20-cm plant in 2 glasses of boiling water; and 1/2 cup of this infusion is taken morning and evening.

Study Findings
• Analgesic / Antiinflammatory: Extract study of aerial parts of PP tested in rats and mice exhibited anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities. The antiinflammatory activity was attributed to interference with prostaglandin synthesis. Results also showed low toxicity.
• CNS Depressant Activity: Study of peperomia leaf extract showed dose-dependent depressant effects probably due to psychoactive substances that are CNS depressant.
• Antipyretic: Study of PP leaf extract on rabbits showed antipyretic effects comparable to a standard aspirin.
• Antibacterial: Study of methanolic extract of PP exhibited a very good level of broad spectrum antibacterial activity.
• Phenological Antiedematogenic: P pellucida has a phenological cycle of about 100 days. The aqueous extract is used as antiedematogenic during pheophases 1 and 2 of winter and spring.
• Anti-Cancer: Study isolated five new compounds, including two secolignans, two tetrahydrofuran lignans, one highly methoxylated dihydronaphthalenone with known peperomins A, B, C and E. Compound 1 and peperomin E showed growth inhibitory effects on three cancer cell lines.
• Toxicity Study: Study evaluated the potential systemic toxicity of acute oral use of P. pellucida freeze-dried aqueous extract powder in mice. In excessive amounts, P. pellucida showed a dose-dependent increase in adverse effects in the major systems of the body. The moderate slope of the dose-response line was suggestive of a moderately wide margin of safety of the plant.
• Analgesic / Anti-Arthritic Study: Study showed both twice daily P. pellucida decoction and ibuprofen treatment significantly lowered the mean scores on pain, stiffness and disability on the WOMAC arthritis index on patients with knee joint rheumatism.
• Xanthone Glycoside / Antibacterial: Study isolated patuloside A, a xanthone glycoside from P. pellucida. The compound showed significant antibacterial activity against four Gram-positive bacteria (B subtilis, B megaterium, S aureus, Strep ß-hemolyticus) and six Gram-negative bacteria (E coli, S dysenteriae, S sonnei, S flexneri, P aeruginosa and S typhi.)
• Antihyperuricemic: A randomized controlled study of the effect of freeze-dried aqueous extract powder of P. pellucida in male adult Sprague Dawley rats showed a mean % decrease from hyperuricemic level of 44.1% compared to allopurinol\\\\\\\’s 64.0%. Results indicate P. pellucida may be used as an alternative medication for hyperuricemia.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Antioxidant: A petroleum ether extract significantly reduced carrageenan-induced hind paw edema. The methanol extract showed the strongest free radical scavenging activity. Results suggest the plant is a good natural source for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant therapy.
• Phytochemical / Antimicrobial / Toxicological Evaluation: Photochemical studies yielded alkaloids, tannins and flavonoids. Extracts inhibited growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, K. pneumonia, and B. subtilis, while only the methanol extract inhibited Staphylococcus aureus. Oral doses as high as 5g/kg did not cause death or toxicological symptoms in mice. Histopathological effects of an aqueous methanol extract on the liver, spleen kidney and heart of rats showed mild to moderate congestions and infiltrations of chronic inflammatory cells.
• Mineral Composition / Nutritional Attributes: Study evaluated the proximate and mineral composition and nutritional attributes of P. pellucida. Results showed it to be rich in crude protein, carbohydrate, and total ash contents. The ash content suggest a high-value for potassium, calcium, and iron as main elements. Results suggest P. pellucida can serve as a good source of protein, energy, and micronutrients.
• Hypotensive Effect / Cytochrome P450 Effect: Study evaluated P. pellucida for its use as an antihypertensive remedy and its impact on cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzyme activity. Results showed a dose-dependent hypotensive, bradycardic, and vasorelaxant effects probably mediated through nitric oxide-dependent mechanisms. An aqueous extract showed poor in vitro inhibition on CYP3A4 enzyme making it unlikely to cause clinically significant pharmacokinetic drug interactions via the enzyme inhibition.