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Record Number


PROSEA Handbook Number

12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2


Acanthus ebracteatus Vahl

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


Symb. bot. 2: 75, t. 40 (1791).

Vernacular Names

Sea holly (En). Indonesia: daruju (Javanese), juruju (Sumatra). Malaysia: jeruju hitam, beruju (Peninsular). Thailand: ngueak plaa mo (general). Vietnam: [oo] r[oo].


Distributed from South-East Asia to northern Australia. Very common in Malaysia, but less common in Indonesia.


The boiled seeds of Acanthus ebracteatus are commonly used in Peninsular Malaysia, as an ingredient of a cough medicine. The seeds are also used for poulticing boils, or the decoction is drunk against boils. In Thailand, the roots and stem are used for skin diseases and for longevity.


An erect or reclining, smooth herb, up to 1 m tall, scarcely branched, with adventitious aerial roots; leaves oblong, 12—20 cm x 3—5 cm; spike up to 10 cm long, many-flowered, bracts ovate, 6—8 mm long, bracteoles early caducous, calyx lobes ovate, corolla lobe elliptical-oblong, 2.5 cm x 2 cm, white, rarely blueish. Acanthus ebracteatus is gregarious and very common in tidal rivers.

Selected Sources

[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.
[297] Farnsworth, N.R. & Bunyapraphatsara, N. (Editors), 1992. Thai medicinal plants. Medicinal Plant Information Center, Prachachon Co., Bangkok, Thailand. 402 pp.
[449] Hoult, J.R.S., Hongton, P.J. & Laupattarakasem, P., 1997. Investigation of four Thai medicinal plants for inhibition of pro-inflammatory eicosanoid synthesis in activated leukocytes. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Supplement 49(4): 218.
[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.
[846] Rojanapo, W., Tepsuwan, A. & Siripong, P., 1990. Mutagenicity and antimutagenicity of Thai medicinal plants. Basic Life Sciences 52: 447—452.


H.C. Ong

Correct Citation of this Article

Ong, H.C., 2001. Acanthus ebracteatus Vahl. 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:

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