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Family Flagellariaceae
Flagellaria indica Linn.
Xu ye teng

Scientific names Common names
Flagellaria angustifolia Wall. [Invalid] Anuad (Ilk.)
Flagellaria catenata Lour. ex B.A.Gomes Arayan (Tag.)
Flagellaria indica Linn. Auai (Iv.)
Flagellaria loureiroi Linn Steud. Auai-si=gayang (Is.)
Flagellaria minor Blume Baling-uai (Tag., Pamp.)
Flagellaria philippinensis Elmer Boboaya (Mbo.)
  Hoag-uai (Nik.)
  Huag (S. L. Bis., Mbo.)
  Huak (Bis.)
  Iñgual (Ilk.)
  Iñgula (Tag.)
  Inual (Pang.)
  Kala-uai (Ibn.)
  Kala-uaiuai (Ibn.)
  Ouag-uai (Bik.)
  Ouag-ouag ((Mbo.)
  Paua (P. Bis.)
  Sagakap (P. Bis.)
  Taua (P. Bis.)
  Tinuung (Ibn.)
  Uag (Sul., Bis., Bag., Nik.)
  Uai-ti-uak (Ilk.)
  Uak (Bis.)
  Venagaiang (Is.)
  Bush cane (Engl)
  False rattan (Engl.)
  Supple jack (Engl.)
  Whip vine (Engl.)
Flagellaria indica L. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Bian teng, Xu ye teng.
MADAGASGAR: Rotan du pays.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Guiaiti, Gwana, Mingop, Mung, Soangang, Suwagin, Vuvu.

Baling-uai is a reedlike plant, climbing night on trees through the leaf tendrils. Stem is about 2.5 centimeters thick towards the base, terete and smooth. Leaves are sessile, 15 to 25 centimeters long, variable in breadth, 2 to 4 centimeters or more, lanceolate from a rounded base and terminating in a curled tendril at the apex. Flowers are white, borne in clusters, shortly pedunculated, with irregular laxly branched panicles, 15 to 30 centimeters long. Outer perianth-segments are broadly ovate or suborbicular, and the inner segments similar, more or less unequal. Fruits are rounded and smooth, red when mature, about 5 millimeters in diameter.

- From Batanes Islands to Mindanao and Palawan, in all or most islands and provinces, in secondary forests at low and medium altitudes.
- Also occurs in tropical Africa, and in tropical Asia through Malaya to tropical Australia and the Marianne Islands.

- Study of various extracts of leaves for phenolic content in gallic acid equivalents yielded 153.28 mg/g for ethyl acetate extract, 134.78 mg/g butanol, 65.88 mg/g aqueous, 55.28 mg/g chloroform, 45.98 mg/g methanol and 22.78 mg/g hexane. Total flavonoids in catechin equivalents were highest in the ethyl acetate extract (38.9 mg/g), followed by butanol (28.45 mg/g), aqueous (21.18 mg/g), chloroform (12.9 mg/g), methanol (10.78 mg/g) and hexane (4.92 mg/g). (see study below)   (14)

- Stems and rhizomes are diuretic.
- Leaves are astringent and vulnerary.

Parts used
Stem, rhizome, leaves.

- Young leafy shoots cooked and eaten as vegetable. Stems yield a sweet sap and chewed like sugar cane. (12)
- In Madagascar, leaves and stems used for making tea. (12)


- Decoction of stems and rhizome used as diuretic.
- Leaves are astringent and vulnerary.
- Plaster of leaves used on wounds.
- Tips of leaves applied to sore eyes.
- Young leaves used for making hair wash and to promote hair growth.
- Decoction of flowers and leaves used as diuretic.
- Plant used as contraceptive; stem used to induce sterility.
- Used for postpartum baths. (See:
- Reported use of leaves for contraception.
-In Malaysia, boiled root is taken three times daily as health tonic. The Murut tribe in Sabah boil the whole plant and use the water as a bath for semi-paralytic conditions.

- In Malaysian Borneo, decoction of roots taken for influenza, cough and vomiting.
- In Vanuatu, to induce infertility, a handful of leaf buds are crushed with water and salt; to drink a glass of the juice before breakfast, to continue for the following four days. Leaves of whole plant used as contraceptive.
- In Papua New Guinea, infusion of chopped pieces of fresh stalk drunk to relieve stomachache, diarrhea, and dysentery. Fresh young leaves are boiled, cooled, and drunk to treat asthma, shortness of breath and fever. (13) Roots used as contraceptive. (16)
- In West Papua, the indigenous people of Manokwari use stem juices for fever. (15)
- In Australia, reported aboriginal use of sap from vine to relieve sore eyes. (17)
- In India, leaf used as contraceptive. (19)

Rituals and superstitions: The "huwag" vine from Flagellaria indica is used in the mananambal's Lenten rituals of producing curative concoctions and brews for sorcery.
In Australia, report of aboriginal use of stem strips for binding baskets and and sewing together sections of canoe hulls. (18) Used for basketry, but of inferior quality to rattan. Also used in making fish traps, nets and rope.
Hair wash: Leaves used for hair washes.

Anti-Dengue Activity:
Study evaluated Thai medicinal plants for in-vitro anti-dengue activity. In an antiviral assay, Flagellaria indica showed 45.52% inhibition of DENV-2 in vitro at 12.5 µg/mL of ethanol extract. The CC50 of the ethanol extract was 312 gm/L. Results showed significant potential effect and suggested a potential for the development of anti-DENV drug. (8) (11)
Hepatoprotective / CCL4-Induced Toxicity / Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated the hepatoprotective mechanism of F. indica against carbon tetrachloride (CCl-4)-mediated liver damage in adult Sprague-Dawley rats. Total phenolic content in the aqueous extract of leaves was 65.88 ± 1.84 mg gallic acid equivalent/g. IC50 value for free radical scavenging was reached at extract concentration of 400 µg/mL. Immunochemical results showed the suppression of oxidative stress markers and pro-inflammatory markers (TNF-
α, interleukin-6, prostanglandin E2). Findings suggest the presence of phenolic contents and their antioxidant effects can be credited to the hepatoprotective activity. (10)
Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated the antioxidant capacities of leaves of Flagellaria indica and phytochemical constituents of six different extracts. On DPPH assay, the highest values for radical scavenging were in the order of butanol>ethyl acetate>chloroform>methanol>hexane. Total phenolic content was also highest in the EA extract (38.96 mg/g) using catechin equivalents. Antioxidant and radical scavenging activity may be due strong presence of phenolic constituents, flavonoids and several bioactive compounds. (14)


Updated September 2020 / June 2018 / July 2016

                                                  PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph / Flowers of Flagellaria indica / click on image to go to source page / © Plant Biodiversity Conservatory and Researc Core / UCONN
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Illustration of Flagellaria indica / File:Flagellaria indica.jpg / 1809 / Les liliacées vol. 5 pl. 257 / Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759-1840) / / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Photograph / Flagellaria indica / Ripening Fruits / Roji Mahroji / Photo modified by G. Stuart / Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported / click on image to go to source page / Useful Tropical Plants

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
The folk healers-sorcerers of Siquijor / Rolando V. Mascuñana, Evelyn Fuentes Mascuñana

Medicinal Plants used by various Ethnic Groups in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo / Fasihuddin Ahmad / Faculty of Resource Science and technology, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)
Maternity and medicinal plants in Vanuatu / I. The cycle of reproduction / G Bourdy and A Walter / Journal of Ethnopharmacology,1992; 37: pp 179-196
Vines & climbers / Mangrove Guidebook for Southeast Asia Part 2
An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal and other useful plants of Muruts in Sabah, Malaysia / Julius Kulip / Telopea 10(1):2003
Flagellaria indica L. / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Effect of Thai Medicinal Plant Extracts against Dengue Virus in vitro / N. Klawikkan, V. Nukoolkarn, N. Jirakanjanakit, S. Yoksan, C. Wiwat1 and K. Thirapanmethee / Mahidol University Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Flagellaria indica / Synonyms / The Plant List
Hepatoprotective effects of Flagellaria indica are mediated through the suppression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress markers in rats. / Gnanaraj C, Shah MD, Makki JS, Iqbal M / Pharm Biol. 2016 Jan 25; 54(8): pp 1-14. / https://doi.org/10.3109/13880209.2015.1104697
Dengue and Its Phytotherapy: A Review / Manoj kumar Sarangi*, Sasmita Padhi / Investigational Journal of Pharmaceutical and Phytopharmacological Research
Flagellaria indica / Ken Fern: Tropical Plant Database / Useful Tropical Plants
Medicinal Plants in Papua New Guinea / WHO-Western Pacific Region
The wild plants used as traditional medicines by indigenous people of Manokwari, West Papua / OBED LENSE / BIODIVERSITAS, Volume 13, Number 2, April 2012: pp98-106 / DOI: 10.1305/biodiv/d130208
Ethnochemistry and Ethnomedicine of Ancient Papua New Guineans and Their Use in Motivating Students in Secondary Schools and Universities in PNG / Basil Marasinghe / Universal Journal of Educational Research, 2016; 4(7): pp 1724-1726 / DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2016.040726
Australian Aboriginal Use of Plants for Medicine / Ronda Green / Planet World Guide
Aboriginal Uses of Plants Around Sydney / Les Robinson / Australian Plants
Role of Anti-fertility Medicinal Plants on Male & Female Reproduction / Afsar Shaik*, Prasanna Raju Yalavarthi and Chandrasekhar Kothapalli Bannoth / Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medical (2017); 3(2): pp 1-11

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants

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