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Family Euphorbiaceae
Chenille plant
Acalypha hispida Burm. F

Scientific names Common names
Acalypha hispida Burm. F Buntot-pusa (Tag.)
Acalypha sanderi N. E. Br. Chenille plant (Engl.)
Acalypha sanderi K. Schum. Monkey tail (Engl.)
Ricinocarpus hispidus (Burm. f.) Kuntze Philippine medusa (Engl.)
  Red cat's tail (Engl.)
  Red-hot cat tail (Engl.)
Buntot-pusa is a shared common name of (1) Dysohylla auricularia(2) Pennisetum polystachum, foxtail (Engl.) and (3) Acalypha hispida, chenile plant
Acalypha hispida Burm.f. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
VIETNAMESE: Tai turong duoi chon, Tai turong xanh.
MALAYSIA: Ekor kucing.

Acalypha hispida is a shrub growing to a height of 1-3meters. Leaves are alternate, petioled 2-11 cm long, broad-ovate, bright green atop, pale green underneath, with crenulate-serrate margins. Inflorescence is axillary, solitary, in long pendant spikes, up to 15-40 cm long. Flowers are small and bright red.

Popular garden cultivation for its decorative red catkins.

- Phytochemical screening yielded flavonoids, carbohydrates, phenols and alkaloids.
- Plant has yielded gallic acid, corilagin, cycloartane-type triterpenoids,
quercetin and kaempferol derivatives.
- Leaves yielded kaempferol 3-O-rutinoside. (16)
- Phytochemical screening of hexane extract (non-polar fraction) of leaves and twigs yielded flavonoids, carbohydrates, phenols, anthraquinones, cardiac glycosides, proteins, and alkaloids, with an absence of tannins, sterols and saponins. (see study below) (9)
- Proximate composition of leaves showed moisture (11.02%), crude fate (6.15%), ash (10.32%), crude protein (13.78%), crude fiber (10.25%) and carbohydrate (44.48%). Aqueous and methanolic extracts of leaves yielded phenolics, flavonoids, hydroxyanthraquinones, saponins, steroids, and phlobatannins.   (10)
- Ethanol and aqueous extracts of leaves yielded flavonoid content of 126.30 and 149.72 mg QE/g dry extract, and phenolic content of 130.51 and 173.80 mg GAE/g dry extract, respectively. (see study below) (18)
- Screening of dried powder leaves yielded carbohydrates, flavanoids, cardiac glycosides, anthraquinone glycosides, saponins, steroids, and tannins. (19)
- Phytochemical screening of leaf extracts yielded tannin, alkaloid, saponin and flavonoids, with absence of hydrogen cyanide and carbohydrates. (21)

- Diuretic, emollient, expectorant and laxative.
- Studies suggest antidiarrheal, anti-leishmanial, antioxidant, trypanocidal properties. antiulcer, antitumore, anti-inflammatory

Parts utilized
Bark, flower, leaves, root
Propagated by stem cuttings.

• Not known in the Philippines for medicinal applications.
• In Indonesia, a root and flower decoction is used for hemoptysis. Leaf poultice used for leprosy.
• In Malaya, decoction of leaves and flowers taken internally as laxative and diuretic for gonorrhea.
Bark used as expectorant and for asthma.
• In Africa, bark root used for pulmonary problems; leaf for leprosy, and flower for kidney ailments and as diuretic.
• In West Nigeria, leaves and stems soaked and boiled in water, used for skin rashes. (13)
• In India, reported Mawasi tribal use of flowers for diarrhea. (14)

Antimicrobial: Studies of leaf extracts isolated gallic acid, corilagin and geranin responsible for antimicrobial activity. (2)
Trypanocidal: Aqueous extract of Acalypha hispida leaves suggest trypanocidal effect. (3)
Anti-ulcer / Anti-tumor: Studies yielded geraniin and dehydroellagitannins which suggest diverse biological properties including anti-ulcer and anti-tumor effects, antibacterial activity against helicobacter pylori and antifungal activity.

Phytochemicals: Phytochemical studies yield phenolics, flavonoids, hydroxyanthraquinones and saponins. It also detected steroids , phlobatannins and glycosides.
Anthocyanins: Study isolated three anthocyanins from the red flowers of the chenille plant. (6)
Anti-Leishmanial: In a study of three Acalypha species, only A. hispida showed to have anti-leishmanial activity with an IC50 of 71.75 µg/mL (8)
Antioxidant / Antioxidant: Study evaluated a hexane extract for phytoconstituents and antioxidant activity. Study yielded flavonoids, carbohydrates, phenols and alkaloids. Results showed significant antioxidant activities when compared to ascorbic acid. The scavenging activity could be linked to flavonoid and phenol contents. (see constituents above) (9)
Toxicity Studies: Study in mice toxicity of combined extracts of three Acalypha species viz. Acalypha hispida, A. nervosa and A. fruiticosa. Subacute toxicity study showed no mortalities or evidence of adverse effects at highest dose of 2000 mg /kg of crude extracts. (11)
Antidiarrheal / Combined Effects: Study evaluated the antidiarrheal potential of combined 70% hydroethanolic extracts of Acalypha hispida, A. nervosa and A. fruiticosa in castor oil-induced diarrhea in wistar rats. Results showed dose-dependent delay in the onset of induced diarrhea and also significant reduction in the number of diarrheal episodes and number of animals exhibiting diarrhea. Loperamide was used as standard drug. (12)
Essential Oil / Larvicidal: Study of leaves for essential oil yielded main constituents of neral (11.04%), citral (12.87%), 6,10,14, trimethyl-2-pentadecanone (13.43%) and n- hexadecanoic acid (14.69%). On toxicity for brine shrimps larvae (Artemia salina), LC50 value was 122.28 µg/mL, while activity against Anopheles gambiae showed an LC50 of 125 µg/mL. (15)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant activity, and bioactive plant polyphenols of ethanol and aqueous extracts of leaves. Both extracts showed statistically significant inhibition of carrageenan and histamine induced paw volume. Both extracts showed DPPH scavenging, Fe+2 iron chelating, NO scavenging, and concentration dependent reducing power ability. The anti-inflammatory activity may be due to the high presence of ellagic acid, contributed, too, by other phenolic contents. (see constituents above) (18)
• Antimicrobial / Cytotoxic / Leaves: Study evaluated an ethanolic extract of leaves for cytotoxic and antimicrobial activities. Cytotoxic activity by brine shrimp lethality showed potent cytotoxic effect with LC50 19.95 µg/ml, comparable to standard cytotoxic drub chloramphenicol (LC50 7 µg/ml). The extract showed antibacterial activity against Salmonella typhi and moderate activity against Enterococcus coli, Streptococcus saprophyticus and Streptococcus agalactin. (20)
• Antibacterial / Leaves: Study evaluated the antibacterial properties of ethanol, methanol, chloroform and water extracts of leaves against E. coli, S. aureus, P. aeruginosa, and S. typhi. The test organisms were susceptible to the extracts in varying degrees, with the methanol extract showed more antibacterial activity. (21)

- Milky sap from the leaves and stems are poisonous.
- Symptoms: Ingestion causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; skin contact may cause acute dermatitis which may be severe.
- The toxic principle: diterpene esters.

Ornamental cultivation.

Updated October 2018 / November 2014

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa
/ Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (K) . Burkill, IH, 1935: 24

Antimicrobial constituents of the leaves of Acalypha wilkesiana and Acalypha hispida / S K Adesina et al / PTR. Phytotherapy research ISSN 0951-418X / 2000, vol. 14, no5, pp. 371-374

Trypanocidal effect of an aqueous extract of Acalypha hispida leaves. / E O Okania, J A Owoyale, J A Akinyanju / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, May 1990, 29(2): pp 233-237 / https://doi.org/10.1016/0378-8741(90)90060-7

Oxidized Ellagitannins in Medicinal Plants and Their Biological Activities
Chenile Plant Toxicity / Poisonous Plants of North Carolina / Dr Alice B Russell / North Carolina State University
Anthocyanins acylated with gallic acid from chenille plant, Acalypha hispida. / Bergitte Relersen et al / Phytochemistry Volume: 64 ISSN: 0031-9422 ISO Abbreviation: Phytochemistry Publication Date: 2003 Oct
Acalypha hispida Burm.f. is an accepted name / Synonyms / The Plant List
Antileishmaniasis and Phytotoxicity of three Nigerian Acalypha species / Patricia. A. Onocha*,Ganikat K. Oloyede, Omotayo O. Dosumu and Muhammad S. Ali / Archives of Applied Science Research, 2011, 3 (6):1-5
Proximate Composition and Phytochemical Constituents of Leaves of Some Acalypha Species / O.M. Iniaghe, S.O. Malomo and J.O. Adebayo /
Pakistan Journal of Nutrition 8 (3): 256-258, 2009
Toxicity Studies of Combined Extracts of Acalypha hispida, Acalypha nervosa / Acalypha fruiticosa / K Bhargava Manikanta, P Raghu Varma, *P Vamsi Krishna, A Ravi Kumar, K M Subbu Rathinam / Indian Journal of Research in Pharmacy and Biotechnology ISSN: 2321-5674
Phytochemical and anti diarrhoeal activity of combined extracts of Acalypha hispida, Acalypha nervosa and Acalypha fruiticosa / *Bhargav Manikanta, P Raghu Varma, P Vamsi Krishna, A Ravi Kumar, K M Subbu Rathinam / Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vol 7, Issue 3, July-Sept 2014
Preliminary Investigations on the Ethnomedicinal Plants of Akoko Division, South West Nigeria / Ige O. E. / Global Journal of Health Science Vol. 3, No. 2; October 2011
Medicinal Plants Used for Diarrhoea by Tribals from Majhgawan Block of District Satna, Madhya Pradesh, India / Ravindra Singh* and Anjula Sharma / Ethno Med, 5(3): 205-208 (2011)
Chemical constituents, toxicity and larvicidal activity of the essential oil from the leaves of acalypha hispida and acalypha wilkesiana in south-west Nigeria / Sherifat Aboaba and Olukemi Omotoso / Elixir Appl. Chem. 52 (2012) 11263-11265
A Review on the Dietary Flavonoid Kaempferol / J.M. Calderón-Montaño, E. Burgos-Morón, C. Pérez-Guerrero and M. López-Lázaro* / Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, 2011, 11, 298-344
Acalypha hispida / Synonyms / The Plant List
Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Activity of Acalypha hispida Leaf and Analysis of its Major Bioactive Polyphenols by HPLC / Md. Afilaus Siraj, Jamil A Shilpi, Md. Golam Hossain, Shaikh Jamal Uddi, Md Khirul Islam, Ismet Ara Jahan, and Hemayet Hossain / Adv Pharm Bull. 2016; 6(2): pp 275-283 / doi:  10.15171/apb.2016.039
Phytochemical evaluation of Acalypha hispida, Acalypha nervosa and Acalypha fruiticosa / Bhargav Manikanta, P Raghu varma P, Vamsi Krishna, A Ravi Kumar, K M Subbu Rathinam / Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, July-September 2014; Vol 7, Issue 3
ASSESSMENT OF ANTIMICROBIAL AND CYTOTOXIC ACTIVITIES OF ETHANOLIC EXTRACT OF LEAVES OF ACALYPHA HISPIDA / B. Bokshi, M.A.S. Sayeed, M.I. Ahmed, U.K. Karmakar, S.K. Sadhu / International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research / http://dx.doi.org/10.13040/IJPSR.0975-8232.3(6).1705-08
Phytochemical and antibacterial properties of Acalypha hispida leaves / S Okorondu, T Sokari, M Okorondu, E Chinakwe / DOI: 10.4314/ijonas.v5i2.49977

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