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Family Capparidaceae
Capparis sepiaria Linn.

Qing pi ci

Scientific names Common names
Capparis sepiaria Linn. Arayat (Ilk.)
  Keme-keming (Ilk.)
  Tarabtab (Tag.)
  Indian caper (Engl.)
  Qing pi ci (Chin.)

Other vernacular names
BENGALI: Kaliakara.
CHINESE: Gong xu hua, Qu zhi chui guo teng.
HINDI: Kanthari.
NEPALESE: Junge laharo.
MARATHI:: Kantharyel.
SANSKRIT: Kanthari, Grdhranakhi, Ahimsra, Vyaghrayudha.

Tarabtab is a woody vine, growing from 1.5 to 3 meters in height. Young branches are hairy. Spines are short, sharp, and recurved. Leaves are oblong-ovate to elliptic-ovate, 2 to 8 centimeters long, with a shallow notch at the tip. Flowers are grouped 5 to 15 in axillary and terminal, sessile or short-peduncled umbels, with the slender pedicels 1 to 1.5 centimeters long. Sepals are green and concave. Petals are oblong, white, and 7 to 8 millimeters long. Fruit is rounded, 8 t 10 millimeters in diameter, nearly black when mature, and one-seeded.

- In thickets at low altitudes from the Babuyan Islands and northern Luzon to Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.
- Also occurs in India to Malaya and Australia.

- Phytochemical screening yielded reducing sugars, flavonoids, steroids, tannins, glycosides, alkaloids, gums, resins, amino acids, proteins and anthraquinones.
- Studies yielded alkaloids, glycosides, carbohydrates, anthocyanins, flavonoids, sterols, terpenes and amino acids.
- Leaf contains four pentacyclic triterpenoid ethanol, taraxasterol, α and β-amyrin, β- sitosterol, erythrodiol

- Febrifugal, alterative, tonic.
- Considered blood purifier stomachic, tonic, and appetizer.
- Roots considered anti-inflammatory and analgesic.

Parts used
Bark, stem, leaves.


- Used as febrifuge, alterative, and tonic.
- Used for skin diseases.
- In India, traditionally used as blood purifier stomachic, tonic, and appetizer. Fresh bark, stem, and leaves used to treat eczema, dandruff and to reduce body heat. Flowers leaves, and roots used in cough and toxemia. Root powder used for inflammation and diseases of the muscles; also used for snake bites.

Toxicity Study / Phytochemicals:
Plant is rich in various biologically active compounds and a potential source of crude drugs and showed no toxicity in the experimental model.
Anti-Diabetic: Study of C. sepiaria leaves in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats showed hypoglycemic levels at various dose levels. Results suggest a potential use as adjunct therapy to traditional formulation and drug treatment. (3)
Hepatoprotective / Leaves / CCL4 / Antioxidant: Study of ethanolic extract of leaves of C. sepiaria in CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity in Wister rats showed significant hepatoprotective effects, confirmed by histopathological studies of the liver. The extract also showed significant free radical scavenging activity in vitro. (4)
Anti-Inflammatory / Analgesic: Study of petroleum ether, methanol, and water extracts of roots of Cs all showed significant anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities. (5)
Hepatoprotective / Roots / Acetaminophen-Induced Hepatotoxicity: Study showed a hepatoprotective activity of root extracts on acetominophen-induced hepatotoxicity in albino Wistar rats. (7)
Antitumor / Antioxidant / Bark: Study evaluated a methanol extract of bark for antitumor activity and antioxidant activity against Dalton's ascites lymphoma (DAL)-bearing swiss albino mice. Results showed significant decrease in tumor volume, packed cell volume, and viable cell count, and prolonged the life span of DAL-tumor bearing mice. Lipid peroxidation and antioxidant levels increased significantly. (8)
Antibacterial / Enteric Pathogens: Study evaluated the antibacterial properties of various extracts against different bacteria including E. coli, P mirabilis, S. typhi, Enterobacter aerogenes, and Shigella flexneri. A hexane extract showed maximum inhibition against Salmonella typhi. An ethanol extract showed 51% antioxidant activity with a-tocopherol at 66.76% as standard reference. (9 )


Last Update July 2013

IMAGE SOURCE: Photo / File:Capparis sepiaria L..jpg / Family: Capparidaceae Local name(Telugu): Nalla Uppili. Distribution:Common in scrubs, In Tropical Asia and Africa. Large straggling armed shrub with wiry branches, Leaves ovate, lanceolate, stipular spines recurved, Flowers 1 cm across / 3 June 2010 / Lalithamba from India / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license./ Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: File:Capparis sepiaria Blanco1.209.png / Flora de Filipinas / 1880 - 1883 / Francisco Manuel Blanco (O.S.A) / Public Domain / Modificdation bg Carol Spears / Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Pharmacognostic studies on Capparis sepiaria (L.) R.Br. / Kalidass C, Mohan V R, Amish Abragam / Phcog J, November, 2009, Volume 1, No. 2
Phytochemical Screening and Toxicity Studies on the Leaves of Capparis sepiaria Linn. (Capparidaceae) / P Rajesh, S Latha et al / Journal of Basic and Clinical Pharmacy, Vol 1 Issue 1 December 2009 – February 2010
Antidiabetic Activity of the Ethanol Extract of Capparis sepiaria L Leaves / P. Selvamani, S. Latha, K. Elayaraja et al / Indian J Pharm Sci. 2008 May-Jun; 70(3): 378–380. / doi: 10.4103/0250-474X.43008
Evaluation of Hepatoprotective activity of Capparis sepiaria leaves / R.Thirumalaikumarana, C.Uma Maheswara Reddya / IJBR 2 [3] [2011]204-212
Phytochemical And Pharmacological Studies On The Roots Of Capparis Sepiaria / S R Chaudhari, M J Chavan, R S Gaud / Indian Journ of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2004, Vol 66, No 4, Pp 454-457
Capparis sepiaria L. (accepted name) / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Protective Effects of Capparis sepiaria Root Extracts against Acetaminophen-Induced Hepatotoxicity in Wistar Rats / V. Madhavan / Ajay Shankar Pandey / Anita Murali / S. N. Yoganarasimhan / Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine. Volume 9, Issue 1, Pages 1–12 / DOI: 10.2202/1553-3840.1593, January 2012
Antitumor and Antioxidant Activity of Capparis sepiaria Against Dalton's Ascites Lymphoma in Rodents / S.A. Sreenivas, Y. Venu Gopal, A. Ravindranath, G. Kalpana and B. Rajkapoor / Academic Journal of Cancer Research 5 (2): 46-52, 2012 / DOI: 10.5829/idosi.ajcr.2012.5.2.928

Studies on phytochemicals, antibacterial efficacy and antioxidant potency of Capparis sepiaria on enteric pathogens / S Mohana Sundaram* et al / International Journal of Biomolecules and Biomedicine (IJBB), Vol. 1, No.3, p. 1-7, 2011

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