Family • Scrophylariaceae - Curanga fel-terrae (Lour.) Merr. - CURANJA

Scientific names

Curanga felterrae (Lour.) Merr.
Curanga amara Juss.
Curanga amara Vahl.
Gratiola amara Roxb.
Herpestis amara Benth.
Picria fel-terrae Lour.

Common names

Sagai-uak (Sul.)
Curanja (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

INDONESIA: Tamah raheut, Daun kukurang, Papaita.
LAOS: Kong saden, Pu:n.
MALAYSIA: Hempedu tanah, Gelumak susu, Rumput kerak nasi.
VIETNAM: M[aaj]t d[aas]t, Thanh.

Sagai-uak is a smooth, prostrate herb. Branches are slender, straggling, 60 to 90 centimeters long, rooting at the lower nodes. Leaves are ovate, 3 to 6 centimeters long, 2 to 3 centimeters wide, pointed at both ends, and toothed at the margins. Flowers are crowded on short axillary and terminal racemes. Calyx in the flower is about 6 millimeters long, double that length in the fruit; its outer sepals are broadly ovate and heart-shaped. Corolla is dark reddish brown. Fruit is a capsules, ovate, flattened, 3 to 4 millimeters long, bivalved with several seeds. Spherical seeds are about 0.6 millimeter in diameter, with 8 oblong hollows.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Curangine / Detroit Medical Journal / Archive

(2) Flavonoid glucuronides from Picriafel-terrae / Ying Huang, Tess De Bruyne, Sandra Apers, Yuliang Ma, Magda Claeys, Luc Pieters, Arnold Vlietinck / Phytochemistry, Volume 52, Issue 8, December 1999, Pages 1701–1703

(3) Isolation and identification of a new cucurbitacin from Picria fel-terrae / Zou JM, Wang LS, Ma XM, Shi RB, Guo YJ. / Yao Xue Xue Bao. 2004 Nov;39(11):910-2.

(4) Complement-inhibiting cucurbitacin glycosides from Picria fel-terrae. / Huang Y, De Bruyne T, Apers S, Ma Y, Claeys M, Vanden Berghe D, Pieters L, Vlietinck A. / J Nat Prod. 1998 Jun 26;61(6):757-61.

(5) Picria fel-terrae / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED

(6) Isolation of β-sitosterol from n-Hexane Extract of Picria fel-terrae Lour. Leave and Study of Its Antidiabetic Effect in Alloxan Induced Diabetic Mice / Panal Sitorus*, Urip Harahap, M Pandapotan, Tonel Barus / Int.J.PharmTech Res.2014,6(1),pp 137-141.

– On forested slopes at low altitudes, ascending to 400 meters, rather rare and local.
– Found in Cagayan, Kalinga and Laguna Provinces in Luzon and in Zamboanga, Mindanao.
– Occurs in India to Indo-China and through Malaya to the Moluccas.


– Plant yields an amorphous bitter glucoside, curangin, which is either nonpoisonous or only very slightly poisonous.

– Plant, especially the leaves, is very bitter.
– Considered aperient, febrifuge, diuretic, emmenagogue, sudorific.
– Curangine, an alkaloid derived from the plant, reported to have a marked febrifuge property.


Parts used
Whole plant, leaves.

– In the Philippines, decoction of the plant is used as febrifuge, especially for malaria.
– The plant, masticated, decocted or infused, is used as stomachic and for irregular menstruation.
– Leaves are aperient; a stimulant to the intestines, sudorific, diuretic and emmenagogue.
– Leaves are used in the early stages of dropsy, in intermittent fevers, amenorrhea, arrested lochia, colic and lumbar pains.
– In the Moluccas, used as vermifuge, for tertian fever, as liver and bile stimulant. Also used for colic.
– Malays used it for its bitterness to whet the appetite.
– Juice given to provoke nausea.
– Decoction of leaves used for stomachache.
– Leaves applied to the head in cases of headache; cooling the head and allaying the pain.

Study Findings
• Flavonoid Glucoronides: Study of a n-butanol extract yielded three flavonoid glucoronides: apigenin 7-O-β-glucuronide, luteolin 7-O-β-glucuronide and a new compound, apigenin 7-O-β-(2″-O-α-rhamnosyl)glucuronide, the latter one being a new compound.
• New Cucurbitacin: Study yielded a new compound, 11, 24-dioxo-5, 21-diene-cucurbit-3alpha-O-beta-D-xylopyranosyl-16alpha-O-alpha-L-rhamnopyranoside (dehydrobryogenin glycoside). Hexanorcucurbitacin F, was obtained for the first time from Picria fel-terrae.
• New Phenylethanoid Glycosides: Study searching for bioactive compounds from the whole plant yielded three new phenylethanoid glycosides, picfeosides A-C, along with five known phenylethanoid glycosides: wiedemannioside, acteoside, acteoside isomer, cis-acteoside isomer, and cis-acteoside.
• Complement-Inhibiting Cucurbitacin Glycosides: Study isolated four cucurbitacin glycosides: Picfeltarraenins 1A and 1B, picfeltarraenin IV, and a new compound picfeltarraenin VI. All showed activity as inhibitors of both the classical and alternative pathways of the complement system.
• ÃŸ- Sitosterol / Anti-Diabetic Effect: Study isolated ß-sitosterol from an n-hexane extract of leaves of Picria fel-terrae. The extract showed good antidiabetic effect, indicated by significant blood glucose lowering in alloxan induced diabetic mice.
• Antimicrobial /Stem and Leaves: An in vitro study of a crude stem with leaf extract showed against five human pathogenic microorganisms showed effective activity against E. coli, Bacillus subtilis, Klebsiella sp., Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans.