Family • Rubiaceae - Ixora coccinea Linn. - DWARF SANTAN

Scientific names

Ixora grandiflora Ker
Ixora coccinea Linn.

Common names

Santan-pula (Tag.)
Tangpupo (Bis.)
Ixora (Engl.)
Flame of the woods (Engl.)
Jungle flame (Engl.)
Jungle geranium (Engl.)
Dwarf santan (Engl.)
Scarlet jungleflame (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

CAMBODIA: Kam rontea
HINDI: Rugmini
MALAY: Pechah priok
VIETNAM: Dun trung quoc, dun do

Gen info
There are about 500 species in the genus Ixora. A few are in cultivation. There are numerous cultivars differing in flower color (yellow, pink, orange) and plant size. Several cultivars are dwarfs, under 3 feet.Other noteworthy ornamental santans: santan puti (Ixora finlaysoniana Wall), a shrub 2-4 m high, with white fragrant flowers; and Philippine santan (Ixora philippinensis Merr), a shrub or small tree, with white to pink flowers.


Santan is an erect and smooth ornamental shrub, growing to a height of 2 to 3 meters. Leaves are stalkless or on very short stalks, oblong, 5 to 9 centimeters long, heart-shaped or rounded at the base and blunt-tipped. Flowers are many, pink or red, and borne in terminal, stalkless or shortly stalked, hairy cymes. Calyx teeth are short and pointed. Corolla-tube is slender, 2.5 centimeters long; lobes are spreading and oblong, about half the length of the tube. Fruit is reddish, almost round, about 5 millimeters in diameter.


– Cultivated for ornamental purposes.
– Nowhere established in the Philippines.
– Native of India.
– Now pantropic.


– Root contains an aromatic acrid oil, tannin, fatty acids, and a white crystalline substance.
– Leaves yield flavonols kaemferol and quercetin, proanthocyanidins and phenolic acids and ferulic acids.
– Flowers contain cyanidin and flavonoids, and a coloring material related to quercitin.
– Flowers yielded tannins, lupeol, fatty acids, ß-sitosterols, cycloartenol esters and flavonoids.

– Considered internally sedative, stomachic, tonic, antiseptic, cholagogue; externally, astringent and antiseptic.
– Hepatoprotective, chemoprotective, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory.
– Stimulates gastric secretions.
– Flowers considered cytotoxic, hepatoprotective, antimicrobial.

Parts utilized
Leaves, roots, stems and flowers

– In the Philippines, root decoction used as sedative in the treatment of nausea, hiccups, and loss of appetite.
– Used for dysenteric diarrhea and associated colic pains.
– Flowers used for dysentery and leucorrhea.
– Poulticed fresh leaves and stems for sprains, eczema, boils and contusions.
– Diluted tincture of roots for mouthwash and gargles for sore throat.
– Flower decoction used for hypertension, amenorrhea and irregular menstruation, hemoptysis, catarrhal bronchitis.
– Decoction of leaves for wounds and skin ulcers.
– In Bengal, roots are used for dysentery.
– In Bombay, flowers used for dysentery.
– Flowers and bark used for blood-shot eyes.
– Root, ground into pulp, mixed with water and pepper, or as tincture, used for diarrhea and dysentery.
– Externally, powdered roots moistened with a little water on a piece of lint is applied to sores and chronic ulcers.
– In Indo-China, root decoction used to clarify the urine.
– In India and Sri Lanka, the fruits are eaten and the flowers used as flavoring.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Effect of Ixora coccinea flowers on dead space wound healing in rats / B S Nayak et al / Fitoterapia • vol. 70, no3, pp. 233-236, 1999 / doi:10.1016/S0367-326X(99)00025-8

(2) Antimicrobial activity of Ixora coccinea leaves / Fitoterapia Vol 74, Issue 3, April 2003, Pages 291-293

(3) Hepatoprotective effects of Ixora coccinea flower extract on rats./ Latha, P. G., Suja, S. R., Acham Abraham, Rajasekharan, S., Panikkar, K. R. / CABI Abstract

(4) Modulatory effects of ixora coccinea flower on cyclophosphamide-induced toxicity in mice / Phytother Res. 1999 Sep;13(6):517-20.

(5) Antinociceptive action of aqueous extract of the leaves of Ixora coccinea / W D Ratnasooriya et al / Acta Biologica Hungarica / Volume 56, Numbers 1-2 / February 2005 / DOI 10.1556/ABiol.56.2005.1-2.3

(6) Anti-inflammatory and anti-mitotic activities of lupeol isolated from the leaves of ixora coccinea linn. / Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences / 1994 | Volume : 56 | Issue : 4 | Page : 129-132

(7) Cytotoxic and antitumour principles from Ixora coccinea flowers / P Latha / Cancer Letters, Volume 130, Issue 1, Pages 197-202

(8) Anti-inflammatory Activity of the Aqueous Leaf Extract of Ixora coccinea / W.D. Ratnasooriya et al / Summary Pharmaceutical Biology • 2005, Vol. 43, No. 2, Pages 147-152

(9) Evaluation Of The Antidiarrhoeal Activity Of The Leaves Of Ixora Coccinea Linn. In Rats / Yasmeen M, Prabhu B and Agashikar N V / Experimental Research, Vol 4, No 5, pp 3298-3303, Oct 2010

(10) Ixorapeptide I and ixorapeptide II, bioactive peptides isolated from Ixora coccinea / Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters, ISSN: 1464-3405, Pages: 7354-7

(11) Chemoprotective effect of Ixora coccinea L. flowers on cisplatin induced toxicity in mice / P Latha, K R Panikar / Phytotherapy Research, Volume 15, Issue 4, pages 364–366, June 2001

(12) Evaluation of anthelmintic activity of Ixora coccinea / A. R. Surana, A.N. Aher, S.C Pal. and U.V. Deore / Int. J. of Pharm. & Life Sci. (IJPLS), Vol. 2, Issue 6: June: 2011, 813-814

(13) Antidiarrheal activity of flowers of Ixora Coccinea Linn. in rats. / Maniyar Y, Bhixavatimath P, Agashikar NV. / J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2010 Oct;1(4):287-91.

(14) Evaluation of Anti-asthmatic Activities of Ixora coccinea Linn (Rubiaceae) / A. Missebukpo, K. Metowogo, A. Agbonon, K. Eklu-Gadegbeku, K. Aklikokou and M. Gbeassor / Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology, 6: 559-570. / DOI: 10.3923/jpt.2011.559.570

(15) Pharmacognostical standardization of leaves of Ixora coccinea, linn. / R. Vadivu, N.Jayshree, C.Kasthuri, K.Rubhini and G.Rukmankathan / Vadivi R et al /J. Pharm. Sci. & Res. Vol.1(4), 2009, 151-157.

(16) Cardioprotective effect of methanolic extract of Ixora coccinea Linn. leaves on doxorubicin-induced cardiac toxicity in rats / Firoz N. Momin, Bharatesh R. Kalai, Tabassum S. Shikalgar, and Nilofar S. Naikwade / Indian J Pharmacol. 2012 Mar-Apr; 44(2): 178–183.

(17) Anti-inflammatory activity of ixora coccinea methanolic leaf extract / SM Handunnetti, RR Kumara, SA Deraniyagala, WD Ratnasooriya / Pharmacognosy Research, 2009, Vol 1, No 2, pp : 80-90

(18) Evaluation of wound healing and antimicrobial potentials of Ixora coccinea root extract. / Selvaraj N, Lakshmanan B, Mazumder PM, Karuppasamy M, Jena SS, Pattnaik AK. / Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2011 Dec;4(12):959-63.

(19) APPLICATION OF NATURAL PRODUCTS IN COSMETICS: A STUDY OF IXORA COCCINEA EXTRACTS FOR THEIR ANTITYROSINASE AND ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITIES / S. Rohini, M. Shalini, Nithya Narayanaswamy & K. P. Balakrishnan* / International Journal of Research in Cosmetic Science 2012; 2 (1) : 1-7

(20) Evaluation of Anxiolytic Activity of Ixora coccinea Linn. Ethanolic Extract in Swiss Albino Mice / Shan P Mohammed*, Nasiya Latheef and Sri Ganeshan P / Clin Exp Pharmacol 4:146. / doi: 10.4172/2161-1459.1000146

(21) AnAlgesic And Anti-inflAmmAtory Activities of Ixora coccInea flower / Aher A.N., Pal S. C., Muke S. A.* / INDIAN DRUGS 50(01) JANUARy 2013

(22) Ixora coccinea Enhances Cutaneous Wound Healing by Upregulating the Expression of Collagen and Basic Fibroblast Growth Factor / Aadesh Upadhyay, Pronobesh Chattopadhyay, Danswrang Goyary, Papiya Mitra Mazumder, and Vijay Veer / ISRN Pharmacology, Volume 2014 /

(23) Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antipyretic effects of Ixora coccinea / Md. Syed Ali Adnan / Md. Mamun Al-Amin / Mir Muhammad Nasir Uddin / M. Shohel / Rajib Bhattacharjee / J.M.A. Hannan / Biplab Kumar Das / Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology

(24) Evaluation of the Hypoglycaemic and Hypolipidaemic Activities of the Aqueous Extract of the leaves of Ixora Coccinea Linn in Diabetic Rats / Yasmeen Maniyar, Prabhu Bhixavatimath / Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research , Nov 2011, Vol 3, Issue 7, pp1381-1384

Study Findings
•Wound healing / Flowers: Alcoholic extract of IC showed increase in granuloma tissue weight, tensile strength and glycosaminoglycan content. The prohealing activity was attributed to increased collagen deposition, alignment and maturation.
• Antimicrobial: Extract studies of EC for antimicrobial activity showed the ethyl fraction to be more active than the methanol fraction.
• Antioxidant: Phytochemical screening showed the flower extract to possess flavonoids, steroids, tannin. IC showed strong reducing power and total antioxidant capacity.
• Pharmacologic evaluation / Electroconvulsive Protective:Evaluation showed that IC has protective property against electroconvulsions, antiinflammatory and hemostatic properties.
• Hepatoprotective / Flowers:Extract of IC flowers showed significant hepatoprotective effect against paracetamol overdose-induced hepatotoxicity in rats.
• Chemoprotective / Modulatory / Flowers: Ixora chinensis flower fraction showed chemoprotective effects on cyclophosphamide-induced toxicity in mice.
• Chemoprotective / Cisplatin-Induced Toxicity: Active fraction from Ixora coccinea flowers prevented a decrease in body weight, hemoglobin levels and WBC counts of mice treated with cisplastin with significant prolongation of life span of cisplatin-treated mice.
• Antinociceptive : Study showed the aqueous leaf extract of IC possesses considerable antinociceptive activity mediated centrally via a dopaminergic mechanism. In addition, the antioxidant activity may play a role in inducing antinociception. The dopaminergic and antioxidative activities may arise from alkaloid and flavonoid constituents, respectively.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Anti-mitotic / Leaves: Lupeol, isolated from the leaves of IC, was shown to have anti-inflammatory activity in carrageenan induced paw edema in rats. Anti-mitotic activity was also noted in a preliminary cytotoxic study.
• Cytotoxic / Antitumor / Flowers: Study of the active fraction of Ixora coccinea flowers showed greater activity on ascitic tumors than solid tumors. It had no toxicity to normal lymphocytes but was toxic to lymphocytes from leukemic patients.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Study of the aqueous leaf extract of Ixora coccinea showed strong antihistamine and antioxidant activity that can account for its anti-inflammatory potential. In addition, the inhibition of prostaglandins and bradykinins may play a role in its antiinflammatory effect.
• Anti-Ulcer / Leaves: Study of the fresh leaf extract of Ixora coccinea was found to possess potent anti-ulcerogenic property and could be a potential therapeutic agent against ulcer disease.
• Antidiarrheal / Leaves: Study of aqueous extract of leaves of Ixora coccinea showed significant inhibitory activity against castor-oil induced enteropooling in rats. There was significant reduction in gastrointestinal motility by the charcoal meal test.
• Bioactive Peptides / Anticancer / Platelet-Aggregation Inhibition: Study of methanol extract of Ixora coccinea yielded ixorapeptide I and ixorapeptide II, in addition to 28 other known compounds. Compound 1 exhibited selective potency against Hep3B liver cancer cell line. Compound 2 showed superoxide anion generation and elastase release. Kaempferol and luteolin from the plant showed inhibition of collagen-induced platelet aggregation.
• Anthelmintic: Study evaluated the anthelmintic activity of different extracts of Ixora coccinea roots on earthworm Pheretima posthuma. Results showed good anthelmintic activity with the chloroform extract showing better activity than petroleum ether, ethyl acetate and methanol extracts. Albendazole was used as standard.
• Anti-asthmatic: Study of an hydroalcoholic leaf extract in ovalalbumin-induced asthmatic rat model showed anti-asthmatic activity suppressing airway inflammation and airway hyperactivity. It also showed inhibitory effect on immediate allergic reactions probably mediated by reducing the release of mediators such as histamine from mast cells.
• Cardioprotective / Doxorubicin-Induced Toxicity: Study of a methanolic extract of leaves showed dose-dependent cardioprotection against doxorubicin-induced toxicity. The cardioprotection was attributed to to antioxidant properties.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study of a methanolic leaf extract showed dose-dependent anti-inflammatory activity probably mediated via inhibition of NO production, phagocytic cell infiltration, anti-histamine effect, scavenging of free radicals, membrane stabilizing activity and lipid peroxidation.
• Wound Healing / Antibacterial: Study of an root extracts showed pronounced wound healing and antibacterial activity. It is proposed the external application of the extract prevented microbes from invading the wound. An aqueous extract showed moderate inhibition against all bacterial strains tested.
• Anti-Tyrosinase / Antioxidant / Cosmetic Applications: Study evaluated different parts of Ixora coccinea in various solvents for antityrosinase and antioxidant activities. A methanolic extract of bark exhibited the highest inhibition of DPPH whe compared to flowers and leaves. The antioxidant potential of leaves and flowers were comparable to the bark. Results suggest Ixora coccinea is a potential source of ingredients for cosmetic products.
• Anxiolytic: Study evaluated the anxiolytic activity of Ixora coccinea extract using an Elevated plus maze model and Hole board test. The ethanolic extract showed significant (P <0.01) anxiolytic effect in a dose-dependent manner when compared with standard dose of diazepam.
• Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory / Flowers: Study showed all flower extracts tested with significant analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities. Results suggest the plant can be developed as a good hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent.
• Wound Healing / Anti-Inflammatory / Flowers: Study showed an Ixora coccinea methanol extract to have potent antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, with significant fibroblast proliferation. The ME stimulated the fibroblast growth factor and Smad mediated collagen production in wound tissue.
• Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory / Antipyretic / Leaves: Study showed an ethanolic extract of leaves with analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antipyretic activities. Phytochemical screening yielded flavonoids, tannins, and triterpenes.
• Anti-Leishmanial / Leaves: Study evaluated the in vitro antileishmanial activity of leaves from Ixora coccinea. Both ethyl acetate and methanol extracts markedly inhibited growth of L. donovanipromastigotes in vitro in a dose-dependent manner.
• Anti-Diabetic / Hypolipdemic: Study evaluated the hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic activity of aqueous extracts of leaves in alloxan induced diabetic albino rats. Results showed significant reduction (p<0.01) in blood glucose levels and serum lipid profile levels.

Common garden cultivation.