Family • Acanthaceae - Ruellia tuberosa Linn. - POPPING POD

Scientific names

Ruellia tuberosa Linn.
Ruellia clandestina.

Other common names

Bluebell (Engl.) Pink-striped trumpet lily (Engl.)
Cracker plant (Engl.) Popping pod (Engl.)
Meadow weed (Engl.) Snapdragon root (Engl.)
Minnieroot (Engl.)


Low-growing perennial herb with tuberous roots, growing to a height of a foot or more. Leaves are opposite, elliptic, short petioled, abruptly narrowed at the base, with undulate margins and up to 12 cm long. Flowers are showy, with funnel-shaped, 5-lobed corolla, up to 5 cm across, and mauve or light bluish purple. Fruit is a pod with 7 to 8 seeds, bursting open and hurtling the seeds when it gets wet.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Ethnomedicines used in Trinidad and Tobago for urinary problems and diabetes mellitus / Cheryl A Lans / Journal of Ethnobiology and

(2) Evaluation of the antioxidant activity of Ruellia tuberosa / Fu-An Chen et al / Food Chemistry Volume 94, Issue 1, January 2006, Pages 14-18 / doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2004.09.046

(3) Fever Root – Ruellia tuberosa, Linn. / Yang Mekar ditamanku

(4) Evaluation of biochemical contents, nutritional value, trace elements, SDS-PAGE and HPTLC profiling in the leaves of Ruellia tuberosa L. and Dipteracanthus patulus (Jacq.) / A Manikandan and D Victor Arokia Doss / J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2010, 2(3):295-303


In open waste places in the Philippines.


Parts used and preparation
Roots and leaves.

– Leaves contain apigenin and luteolin.
– The seed oil yields myristic, capril and lauric acids.
– Study yielded flavonoids, glycosides, phenols, saponins and essential minerals with good nutritive value and secondary metabolites.

• No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
• In Trinidad and Tobago, used as a “cooling” agent, for urinary problems and high cholesterol.
• In Suriname’s traditional medicine, used as anthelmintic; for joint pains and muscle strain. Also used as abortifacient. Root is used against kidney diseases and whooping cough. Infusion used for clenasing the blood.
• Root and leaf used for alleviating urinary retention.
• Used for gonorrhea, syphilis, bladder stones, bronchitis and cancer.
• In the Cayman Islands, used for heart ailments.
• In Grenada, used for common colds, fevers and hypertension.
• In the Dominican Republic, an ingredient in a concoction for a male potency drink.
• In Sri Lankan traditional medicine, used for stomach problems.

Study Findings
• Antinociceptive / Antiinflammatory: Ethanol extract of Ruellia tuberosa showed antinociceptive and antiinflammatory activities with maximum time response against thermal stimuli similar to that of diclofenac and significant inhibition in serotonin and egg albumin-induced hind paw edema in rats. The antiinflammatory activirty was comparable to that of indomethacin.
• Antioxidant: Study showed that Rubellia tuberosa possesses potent antioxidant activity. The results provide information on its antioxidant related activity in its use in traditional folk medicine.
• Bioactive Flavonoids / Cytotoxicity: Ethanol extract study showed yielded five flavonoids –cirsimarin, cirsiliol 4′-glucoside, sorbifolin, pedalitin, along with betulin, vanillic acid, and indole-3-carboxaldehyde. Some compounds showed cytotoxicity against KB and HepG2 cell line.
• Gastroprotective / Analgesic: Study of crude aqueous extracts of Ruellia tuberosa roots in a rat alcohol-induced gastric lesion model showed a strong and dose-dependent gastroprotective activity. The extract also showed mild erythropoetic and moderate analgesic activities.

Seeds in the cybermarkets.