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Family Commelinaceae
Cyanotis axillaris (Linn.) D. Don ex Sweet

Qiao huo lan er cao

Scientific names Common names
Amischophacelus axillaris (L.) R. Rao & Kamm. Alikbañgon (Tag.)
Commelina axillaris Linn. Alitbañgon (Tag.)
Cyanotis axillaris (L.) D. Don ex Sweet Kulasin-marintek (Pang.)
Cyanotis disrumpens Hassk. Sabilau (P. Bis.)
Tonningia axillaris (L.) Raf. Spreading dayflower (Engl.)
Tonningia axillaris (L.) Kuntze  
Tradescantia axillaris (L.) L.  
Zygomenes axillaris (L.) Salisb.  
Alikbangon is a common name phonetically confused with aligbangon (Tradescantia rufa, sambilau), alibañgon (Commelina benghalensis, bias-bias), alitbangon.
Alikbañgon is shared by Commelina diffusa and Commelina axillaris (Cyanotis axillaris)
Cyanotis axillaris (L.) D.Don ex Sweet is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Qiao bao hua, Qiao huo lan er cao.
INDIA: Tena arxa, Tena arkha, Nilani phul, Salt-raj, Baghanulla.
TAMIL: Vazhukai pul.
THAI: Phak plaap naa, Ya peo to.

Sabilau is a succulent, slender, prostrate, somewhat branched, smooth herb. Stems are about 5 millimeters thick, 20 to 40 centimeters long, rooting at the nodes. Leaves are sessile, lanceolate, 4 to 11 centimeters long, 6 to 12 millimeters wide. Flowers are 3 to 6 in each leaf-axil, opening one at a time, with small bracteoles, and not imbricated. Calyx is pale-greenish. Corolla is bluish or purplish, with long-clawed petals; the limb 5 to 6 millimeters long. Capsules are long-beaked. Seeds are oblong, compressed or ventrally concave, brown, shining and shallowly pitted.

- Commonly found from northern Luzon to Palawan and Mindanao, in most islands and provinces, In clearings, open places along streams, rice paddies, etc, at low and medium altitudes.
- Also occurs in India to China and through Malaya to Australia.

- Study isolated a new type of spirobisnaphthalene with a previously unknown skeletal system, Spiroaxillarone A.
(see study below) (6)

- Traditionally considered febrifuge, anti-inflammatory, and antiparasitic.
- Study has shown antifungal and antimalarial properties.

Parts used
Whole plant.


- In India leaves cooked as vegetable for tympanitis.
- In the Malabar Coast, used as a remedy for tympanitis.
- External applications used in ascites and abscesses.
- Used as abortifacient in combination with other plants.
- Decoction of whole plant used in swellings above the abdomen.
- In India, roots and tubers used for fever and worms. Warm leaf juice used as ear drops to relieve eardrum inflammation.

- Irulu tribes of Western Ghats, India, use leaves, raw or in decoction, for swelling. Used for chest pains in herbal combination with Alpinia galanga, Curculio orchids, Cleome monophylla and Terminalis bellerica.
- In Thailand, decoction used to treat cirrhosis. Decoction of whole plant drunk to treat aphthous ulcers. (8)
- Fodder: Used as food for pigs.

• Antifungal:
Study evaluated different solvent extracts of dried whole plant of Cyanotis axillaris for antifungal activities against 12 opportunistic fungal strains. Hexane, ethyl acetate and methanol extracts showed significant antifungal activities. Highest antifungal activity was seen with the EA extract with zone of inhibition >30 mm against C. krusei. (5)
Antimalarial / Spiroaxillarone A: Spiroaxillarone A (1) was isolated from Cyanotis axillaris. The compound exhibited significant antimalarial activity against resistant Plasmodium falciparum (IC50=2.32 µM). (6)
Allelopathic / Growth Inhibitory Potential: Study evaluated the allelopathic potential of C. axillaris as biologicla option to control weeds. The aqueous methanol extracts were applied on growth on four docotyledonous grass (cress, lettuce, alfalfa and rapeseed) and four monocotylodonous (barnyard grass, Italian ryegrass, timothy snd foxtail fescue) plant species. The extracts inhibited the shoot and root growth of all test plant species. Inhibition increased with concentration. At 0.3 g dry weight equivalent extract/ml, cress, lettuce, alfalfa and rapesseed showed complete growth inhibition. Results suggest C. axillaris may have allelopathic activity and may contain growth inhibitory substances. and can be a potential candidate for development of an environmental-friendly bio-herbicide for weed control. (7)

- Wild-crafted.

Updated April 2022 / March 2018 / August 2016

IMAGE SOURCE / GNU Free Documentation Licences / File:Cyanotis fasciculata / J M Garg / 7.09.08 / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Cyanotis axillaris (L.) D. Don ex Sweet / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
A Survey of Ethnomedicinal Plants used by the tribals of Ajoydha Hill Region, Purulia District, India / Abhijit Dey and Dr Jitendra Nath De / American-Eurasian Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, 4(3): 280-290, 2010

Cyanotis axillaris / Synonyms / The Plant List
Ethnomedicinal assessment of Irula tribes of Walayar valley of Southern Western Ghats, India / Arjunan Benkatachalapathi et al / Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences / https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sjbs.2016.10.011
ANTIFUNGAL ACTIVITY OF CYANOTIS AXILLARIS (L.) D. DON EX SWEET AGAINST OPPORTUNISTIC FUNGAL STRAINS / R Anto Suganya, Jeya Jothi Gabriel / International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, July 2017; 9(7):140 / DOI: 10.22159/ijpps.2017v9i7.18868
Spiroaxillarone A, a Symmetric Spirobisnahthalene with an Original Skeleton from Cyanotis axillaris / Awat Wisetsai,, Florian T Schevenels et al / Org. Lett., 3029; 21(20): pp 8344-8348 / DOI: 10.1021/acs.orglett.9b03122
Evaluation of allelopathic potential of Cyanotis axillaris (L.) / Zaman Farhana, Kato-Noguchi Hisashi / Research on Crops, 2017; 18(4): pp 773-778 / DOI: 10.5958/2348-7542.2017.00127.9 / pISSN: 0972-3226 / eISSN: 2348-7542
A survey of herbal weeds that are used to treatgastrointestinal disorders from southern Thailand: Krabi and Songkhla provinces / Oratai Neamsuvam, Thamakorm Ruangrit / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 10`7; Vol 209: pp 318-327 / DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2017.06.039

DOI: 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)

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