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Family Acanthaceae
Ruellia tuberosa Linn.

Scientific names Other common names
Ruellia tuberosa Linn. Bluebell (Engl.)
Ruellia clandestina. Cracker plant (Engl.)
  Meadow weed (Engl.)
  Minnieroot (Engl.)
  Pink-striped trumpet lily (Engl.)
  Popping pod (Engl.)
  Snapdragon root (Engl.)

Low-growing perennial herb with tuberous roots, growing to a height of a foot or more. Leaves are opposite, elliptic, short petioled, abruptly narrowed at the base, with undulate margins and up to 12 cm long. Flowers are showy, with funnel-shaped, 5-lobed corolla, up to 5 cm across, and mauve or light bluish purple. Fruit is a pod with 7 to 8 seeds, bursting open and hurtling the seeds when it gets wet.

In open waste places in the Philippines.

Parts used and preparation
Roots and leaves.

- Leaves contain apigenin and luteolin.
- The seed oil yields myristic, capril and lauric acids.
- Study yielded flavonoids, glycosides, phenols, saponins and essential minerals with good nutritive value and secondary metabolites.

• No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
• In Trinidad and Tobago, used as a "cooling" agent, for urinary problems and high cholesterol.
• In Suriname's traditional medicine, used as anthelmintic; for joint pains and muscle strain. Also used as abortifacient. Root is used against kidney diseases and whooping cough. Infusion used for clenasing the blood.
• Root and leaf used for alleviating urinary retention.
• Used for gonorrhea, syphilis, bladder stones, bronchitis and cancer.
• In the Cayman Islands, used for heart ailments.
• In Grenada, used for common colds, fevers and hypertension.
• In the Dominican Republic, an ingredient in a concoction for a male potency drink.
• In Sri Lankan traditional medicine, used for stomach problems.

Antinociceptive / Antiinflammatory:
Ethanol extract of Ruellia tuberosa showed antinociceptive and antiinflammatory activities with maximum time response against thermal stimuli similar to that of diclofenac and significant inhibition in serotonin and egg albumin-induced hind paw edema in rats. The antiinflammatory activirty was comparable to that of indomethacin.
Antioxidant: Study showed that Rubellia tuberosa possesses potent antioxidant activity. The results provide information on its antioxidant related activity in its use in traditional folk medicine.
Bioactive Flavonoids / Cytotoxicity: Ethanol extract study showed yielded five flavonoids –cirsimarin, cirsiliol 4'-glucoside, sorbifolin, pedalitin, along with betulin, vanillic acid, and indole-3-carboxaldehyde. Some compounds showed cytotoxicity against KB and HepG2 cell line.
Gastroprotective / Analgesic: Study of crude aqueous extracts of Ruellia tuberosa roots in a rat alcohol-induced gastric lesion model showed a strong and dose-dependent gastroprotective activity. The extract also showed mild erythropoetic and moderate analgesic activities.

Seeds in the cybermarkets.

Last Update October 2010

IMAGE SOURCE: Public Domain / Illustration of Cassytha filiformis (Orig. Cassytha americana) / Flora Brasiliensis vol. 5 pt. 2 tab. 107 / 1866-1868 / Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius (1794-1868) / Wikimedia Commons
IMAGE SOURCE / PD / File:Clusiaceae sp Blanco2.308-original.png / Flora de Filipinas / Franciso Manuel Blanco (OSA), 1880-1883 / Wikimedia Commons
Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory properties of Ruellia tuberosa / Alam, M. Ashraful et al / Pharmaceutical Biology • Volume 47, Number 3, March 2009 , pp. 209-214 / DOI: 10.1080/13880200802434575
Ethnomedicines used in Trinidad and Tobago for urinary problems and diabetes mellitus / Cheryl A Lans / Journal of Ethnobiology and
Evaluation of the antioxidant activity of Ruellia tuberosa / Fu-An Chen et al / Food Chemistry Volume 94, Issue 1, January 2006, Pages 14-18 / doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2004.09.046
BIOACTIVE FLAVONOIDS FROM RUELLIA TUBEROSA / Chwan-Fwu Lin et al / J Chin Med 17(3): 103-109, 2006
Fever Root - Ruellia tuberosa, Linn. / Yang Mekar ditamanku

Gastroprotective activity of Ruellia tuberosa root extract in rats
/ L S R Arambewela, R thambugtala and W D Ratnasooriya / Tropmedplants
Evaluation of biochemical contents, nutritional value, trace elements, SDS-PAGE and HPTLC profiling in the leaves of Ruellia tuberosa L. and Dipteracanthus patulus (Jacq.) / A Manikandan and D Victor Arokia Doss / J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2010, 2(3):295-303

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