Family • Leguminosae / Fabaceae - Derris trifoliata Lour. - THREE-LEAF DERRIS - Yu teng

Scientfic names

Derris trifoliata Lour.
Derris heterophylla
Derris uliginosa (Willd.) Benth.
Deguelia trifolitata Lour.
Dalbergia heterophylla Willd.
Dalbergia heterophylla Willd.

Other vernacular names

BENGALI: Panlata, Panlota, Kali lota Goali lata, Kirtana.
CHINESE: Du yu teng, San ye yu teng, Lou teng.
MALAGASY: Fanamovahy, Vahinamo, Vahisamonta.
MALAY: Kĕtui, Sĕtui.
TAMIL: Tekil, Tilankoddi, Uppu Thailan-Kodi.
TELUGU: Nalla tiga.

Common names

Asi-asiman (Tag.)
Bugong (Bis.)
Hingasan (P. Bis.)
Hingasinan (P. Bis.)
Mangasin (Tag.)
Sabuko (Bag.)
Sila-sila (Tag.)
Tuba-tuba (Yak.)
Common derris (Engl.)
Derris (Engl.)
Sea derris (Engl.)
Three-leaf derris (Engl.)
Yu teng (Chin.)

Silasila is a smooth, climbing shrub, reaching a length of 8 m or less. Leaves are 10 to 20 centimeters long. Leaflets are 3 to 7, shining, oblong-ovate and 4 to 13 centimeters long. Flowers are white, often tinged with violet, 8 to 10 millimeters long, borne in simple axillary racemes or narrow panicles. Stamens are 10, usually monadelphous or the upper one free. Ovary is sessile, few-ovuled, superior. Fruits are pods subrhomboidal to broadly oblong, 2.5 to 5 centimeters long, 2 to 3 centimeters wide, smooth, prominently veined, with a narrow wing along the upper suture and containing 1 to 2 seeds.


– Abundant on muddy shores, along tidal streams, mangrove swamps, etc., throughout the Philippines.
– Also occurs in tropical East Africa and in Asia, through Malaya to Australia and Polynesia.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) 7a-O-methyldeguelol, a modified rotenoid with an open ring-C, from the roots of Derris trifoliata /doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2005.02.005 / Phytochemistry Vol 66, Issue 6, March 2005, Pages 653-657

(2) Cancer chemopreventive activity of rotenoids from Derris trifoliata / Ito, C., Itoigawa, M., Kojima, N., Tan, H. T.-W., Takayasu, J., Tokuda, H., Nishino, H., et al. (2004) / Planta Medica, 70(6), 585-588.

(3) Glycosidic constituents of the leaves of an Okinawan Leguminosae plant, Derris trifoliata Lour / Yoshio Takeda et al / Journal of Natural Medicines • Volume 62, Number 4 / October, 2008/ DOI 10.1007/s11418-008-0263-y

(4) Nitric oxide inhibitory principles from Derris trifoliata stems / S. Tewtrakul, S. Cheenpracha, C. Karalai / Phytomedicine, Volume 16, Issue 6, Pages 568-572


(6) Rotenoid derivatives from Derris trifoliata with nitric oxide production inhibitory activity. / Ito C, Murata T, Tan HT, Kaneda N, Furukawa H, Itoigawa M. / Nat Prod Commun. 2012 Nov;7(11):1479-82.

(7) Diuretic activity and brine shrimp toxicity of Derris trifoliata Lour. / Saifullah Al Mamoon and Md. Golam Azam*/ INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHARMACY & LIFE SCIENCES, Vol. 2, Issue 9: Sep.: 2011, 1029-1032

(8) ANTIOXIDANT & ANALGESIC ACTIVITIES OF LEAVES OF PANLATA (Derris trifoliate): IN-VITRO INVESTIGATION / Md. Raihan Sarkar*, Moynul Hasan, Md. Sariful Islam Howlader, Mohammad Saydur Rahman and Shubhra Kanti Dey / International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences ISSN 2305-0330 Volume 1, Issue 2, Serial 1: September 2012

(9) Antimicrobial activity of the Derris elliptica, Derris indica and Derris trifoliata extractives / M. R. Khan, A. D. Omoloso, Y. Barewai / Fitoterapia , vol. 77, no. 4, pp. 327-330, 2006 / DOI: 10.1016/j.fitote.2006.03.007

(10) ANTIPLASMODIAL AND LARVICIDAL FLAVONOIDS FROM DERRIS TRIFOLIATA / Abiy Yenesew,* Hannington Twinomuhwezi, Jacques M. Kabaru, Hoseah M. Akala, Bernard T. Kiremire, Matthias Heydenreich, Martin G. Peter, Fredrick L. Eyase, Norman C. Waters and Douglas S. Walsh / Bull. Chem. Soc. Ethiop. 2009, 23(3), 409-414.

Sila-sila3Parts utilized
· Roots and stems.
· Collected year round.
· Rinse, section into slices, sun-dry, pulverize.


– Yields a considerable amount of tannin and red coloring matter.
– A quantitative determination showed the tannin in the bark at 9.3%.
– Study reported the bark to yield a neutral crystalline principle, wax, two resins, two coloring matters, an alkaloid, glucose, an acrid glucoside allied to saponin, gum, and mineral matter (8%).
– Stems yield, besides gum and sugar, an appreciable amount of inorganic salts, notably potassium nitrate.
– Acetone extract yielded a new isoflavonoid derivative, 7a-O-methyldeguelol (rotenoloid), with known rotenoids – rotenone, deguelin and a-toxicarol.
– Phytochemical screening yielded fatty acids, steroids, triterpenoids, alkaloids, phenols, phenyl propanoids, tannin and mucilage.

Pungent-tasting, warming.
Anticontusion, antispasmodic, analgesic, insecticide, stimulant, counterirritant.
Bark is alterative, insecticidal, fiscicidal.

· Poultice of powdered material, heating with alcohol, applied to areas of swelling and sprains.
· Roots and stems may be used to kill maggots.
· In India, raw leaf juice used two or three times daily for chronic dysentery.
· In India plant used as stimulant, antispasmodic, and as counterirritant.

· Fish poison: Crushed leaves dispersed in streams will kill fish and shrimp.

Caution !
Contains rotenone and has an good insecticidal effect. Not to be taken internally.

Study Findings
• Larvicidal / 7∂-O-methyldeguelol:: Study of acetone extract of roots isolated an isoflavonoid, 7a-O-methyldeguelol, and known rotenoids, rotenone, deguelin and a-toxicarol. Rotenone and deguelin were shown to have larvicidal properties.
• Larvicidal : Acetone extract of roots of Derris trifoliata showed potent larvicidal activity against second instar larvae of Culex quinquefasciatus and Aedes aegypti.
• Cancer Chemopreventive: A new rotenoid was isolated from the stems of DT together with five other known rotenoids. Study indicated the rotenoids to be valuable anti-tumor promoters.
• Glycosidic Constituents: Phytochemical study from the leaves of D trifoliata yielded 15 glycosidic compounds.
• Rotenoids / Nitric Oxide Inhibitory Activity: Study yielded nine rotenoids from the stems of D trifoliata. Results showed very potent inhibition of NO. Results showed scavenging activity, the highest with compound 5, followed by deguelin (1). All compounds showed no cytotoxicity.
• Anti-Hyperlipidemic: Study of methanolic extract of the leaves and stems of Derris trifoliata showed significant antihyperlipidemic effect with lowering of triglyceride and cholesterol levels with increase of HDL.
• Cytotoxic Rotenoloids / Cancer Chemopreventive: Study isolated a new rotenoloids, 6aα,12aα-12a-hydroxyelliptone from stem extracts, together with 5 known compounds. Deguelin, and a-toxicarol exhibited marked inhibitory effect on mouse skin tumor promotion in an in vivo carcinogenesis test. The result of the present study indicates that rotenoids could be a potent candidate as a phytotherapeutic anti-tumor promoter.
• Anti-Helicobacter pylori Effect: Study showed Derris trifoliata shows potential as a source of selective anti-H. pylori agent.
• Inhibition of Nitric Oxide Production: Study isolated three known and two new rotenoid derivatives. The new derivatives, derrisfolin A and B, inhibited nitric oxide production in murine macrophage-like RAW 264.7 cells stimulated with interferon-gamma and lipopolysaccharide.
• Diuretic Activity / Brine Shrimp Toxicity: Study evaluated aerial parts for diuretic activity in mice and general toxicity activity by brine shrimp test. Results showed significant diuretic effect, while BST lethality assay exhibited significant toxicity towards the brine shrimp nauplii.
• Diuretic Activity / Brine Shrimp Toxicity: Study evaluated an 80% ethanol extract of aerial parts on castor oil-induced diarrhea in mice. Oral administration of the extract showed dose-dependent delay in the onset of diarrhea induced by castor oil, significant reduction in the number of diarrheal episodes and number of animals exhibiting diarrhea.
• Antioxidant / Analgesic / Leaves: Study of an ethanol extract of leaves showed free radical scavenging activity in the DPPH assay comparable to ascorbic acid. In the analgesic activity test using the Tail Immersion method, results showed significant inhibition of pain.
• Antibacterial: Study evaluated various parts of D. ellipitca, D. indica and D. trifoiata for antimicrobial activity. Petrol and ethyl acetate fraction of D. trifoliata exhibited good antibacterial activity.
• Antiplasmodial / Larvicidal: Study of extract of seed pods yielded a new flavanone derivative (S)-lupinifolin, together with known flavonoids lupiniflin and rotenone. Lupinifolin showed moderate in vitro antiplasmodial activity against chloroquin-sensitive and chloroquin-resistant strains of Plasmodium falcifarum. Different plant parts showed larvicidal activity against Aedes aegypti. Rotenoids were identified as active principles.
• CNS Depressant Activity: Study of evaluated an ethanol extract of aerial parts for neurobehavioral activity. Results showed CNS depressant effects with potentiation of onset of sleep and prolongation of total sleeping time in mice. On exploratory behavior, there was significant effect on ambulation.