Record display

Record Number


PROSEA Handbook Number

12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2


Acalypha indica L.

This article should be read together with the article on the genus: Acalypha in the Handbook volume indicated above in this database.


Sp. pl. 2: 1003 (1753).


Acalypha chinensis Benth. (1861), Acalypha caroliniana Blanco (1837) non Walt. (1788).

Vernacular Names

Indian acalypha, three-seeded mercury (En). Indonesia: lelatang, rumput kokosongan. Malaysia: rumput lislis, tjeka mas. Philippines: bugos (Tagalog), maraotong, taptapingar (Ilokano). Thailand: tamyae tuaphuu, tamyae maeo (central), haan maeo (northern). Vietnam: tai t[uw][owj]ng [aas]n, tai t[uw][owj]ng xanh.


Widespread in the Old World tropics from West Africa throughout India, Indo-China to the Philippines and Java, but apparently absent from Borneo and rare in eastern Malesia.


In Indonesia and Thailand, the leaves are externally applied on sores and swellings. In Malaysia and Thailand, a decoction of the plant is taken as a purgative. In the Philippines, fresh juice or a decoction of roots and leaves is, depending on dosage, given to children as an emetic or expectorant in bronchitis and asthma. A paste of fresh leaves is applied as a suppository to loosen the bowels of children. In southern Vietnam the leaves are used as an anthelmintic and the roots as a cathartic. In Indonesia, the root is considered a universal remedy for cats, based on observations of cats consuming the roots.


An erect, annual herb, up to 1.5 m tall; leaves rhombic- ovate, (1—)3—5(—7) cm x (1—)2.5—3(—5) cm, base cuneate, margin shallowly serrate, petiole 2—6 cm long; inflorescences bisexual, solitary, with a short slender male portion, female flowers fewer and less crowded than in Acalypha lanceolata, with broad, shallowly and obtusely toothed bracts, which are much less closely nerved, producing allomorphic female flowers at the apex; fruit 2—2.5 mm in diameter. Acalypha indica is found in waste places and cropped land at low altitudes, and is locally common.


Acalypha indica L. - 1, flowering twig; 2, female flowers with bract; 3, apex of inflorescence with allomorphic flower

Selected Sources

[31] Airy Shaw, H.K., 1972. The Euphorbiaceae of Siam. Kew Bulletin 26: 191—363.
[33] Airy Shaw, H.K., 1980. The Euphorbiaceae of New Guinea. Kew Bulletin Additional Series VIII. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, United Kingdom. 243 pp.
[34] Airy Shaw, H.K., 1981. The Euphorbiaceae of Sumatra. Kew Bulletin 36: 239—374.
[35] Airy Shaw, H.K., 1982. The Euphorbiaceae of Central Malesia (Celebes, Moluccas, Lesser Sunda Is.). Kew Bulletin 37: 1—40.
[36] Airy Shaw, H.K., 1983. An alphabetical enumeration of the Euphorbiaceae of the Philippines Islands. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. 56 pp.
[74] Backer, C.A. & Bakhuizen van den Brink Jr, R.C., 1964—1968. Flora of Java. 3 volumes. Noordhoff, Groningen, the Netherlands. Vol. 1 (1964) 647 pp., Vol. 2 (1965) 641 pp., Vol. 3 (1968) 761 pp.
[128] Brown, W.H., 1951—1957. Useful plants of the Philippines. Reprint of the 1941—1943 edition. 3 volumes. Technical Bulletin 10. Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Bureau of Printing, Manila, the Philippines. Vol. 1 (1951) 590 pp
[135] Burkill, I.H., 1966. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Revised reprint. 2 volumes. Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Vol. 1 (A—H) pp. 1—1240, Vol. 2 (I—Z) pp. 1241—2444.
[215] Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, 1948—1976. The wealth of India: a dictionary of Indian raw materials & industrial products. 11 volumes. Publications and Information Directorate, New Delhi, India.
[380] Gutierrez, H.G., 1980—1982. An illustrated manual of Philippine materia medica. 2 volumes. Natural Research Council of the Philippines, Tagig, Metro Manila, the Philippines. Vol. 1 (1980) pp. 1—234, Vol. 2 (1982) pp. 235—485.
[407] Heyne, K., 1950. De nuttige planten van Indonesië [The useful plants of Indonesia]. 3rd Edition. 2 volumes. W. van Hoeve, 's-Gravenhage, the Netherlands/Bandung, Indonesia. 1660 + CCXLI pp.
[412] Hiremath, S.P., Shrishailappa, Badami, Swamy, H.K.S. & Biradar, J.S., 1993. Antimicrobial activity of various extracts of Acalypha indica (Euphorbiaceae). Indian Journal of Microbiology 33(1): 75—77.
[662] Matthew, K.M., 1981—1988. The flora of the Tamilnadu Carnatic. 4 volumes. The Rapinat Herbarium, St. Joseph's College, Tiruchirapalli, India.
[714] Nahrstedt, A., Kant, J.D. & Wray, V., 1982. Acalyphin, a cyanogenic glucoside from Acalypha indica (aerial parts). Phytochemistry 21(1): 101—105.
[739] Nguyen Van Duong, 1993. Medicinal plants of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Mekong Printing, Santa Ana, California, United States. 528 pp.
[786] Perry, L.M., 1980. Medicinal plants of East and Southeast Asia. Attributed properties and uses. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States & London, United Kingdom. 620 pp.
[788] Pételot, A., 1952—1954. Les plantes médicinales du Cambodge, du Laos et du Vietnam [The medicinal plants of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam]. 4 volumes. Centre National de Recherches Scientifiques et Techniques, Saigon, Vietnam.
[810] Quisumbing, E., 1978. Medicinal plants of the Philippines. Katha Publishing Co., Quezon City, the Philippines. 1262 pp.
[822] Ram, M.R. & Mallaiah, K.V., 1996. Three new and interesting species of Pseudocercospora from India. Mycotaxon 59: 349—357.
[841] Ridley, H.N., 1922—1925. The flora of the Malay Peninsula. 5 volumes. Government of the Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States. L. Reeve & Co, London, United Kingdom.


Arbayah H. Siregar

Correct Citation of this Article

Siregar, A.H., 2001. Acalypha indica L.. In: van Valkenburg, J.L.C.H. and Bunyapraphatsara, N. (Editors): Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. PROSEA Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia. Database record:

Creative Commons License
All texts are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Netherlands License
This license does not include the illustrations (Maps,drawings,pictures); these remain all under copyright.