Justicia gendarussa Burm.f.

Fl. indica: 10 (1768).

Gendarussa vulgaris Nees (1832).

Vernacular names

Indonesia: gandarusa (general), besi-besi (Aceh), kawo (Seram). Malaysia: gandarusa, temenggong melela, urat sugi (Peninsular). Philippines: kapanitulot (Tagalog), bunlao (Bisaya), tagpayan (Iloko). Thailand: chiang phraa mon (central), pong dam (Trat), kraduuk kaidam (northern). Vietnam: t[aaf]n c[uwr]u, thu[oos]c tr[awj]c, t[aaf]n giao.


Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Indo-China, China, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Java, the Moluccas and the Philippines; possibly a native of China, but now much cultivated and naturalized.


An extract of the leaves or young shoots is used as an emetic in coughs and asthma in the Philippines, whereas fresh leaves are applied as topical to cure oedema of beri-beri and rheumatism. A decoction of the leaves is used for bathing during childbirth. In Malaysia, the leaves are much applied for poulticing to treat headache and pains, as a lotion to treat swellings and rheumatism, and in a bath after confinement, the roots for treating thrush and cough. The leaves are also used in preparations to treat gonorrhoea, amenorrhoea and malaria. In Indonesia, the leaves are used to treat headache, rheumatism and pain. In Vietnam, the leaves are applied externally, as a poultice, decoction or tincture, to treat rheumatic arthritis and swellings. In Thailand, the roots are used against diuresis, diarrhoea and as antivenin; the bark is used as antipyretic, anticough, diuretic and anti-amoebic, in the treatment of wounds and allergy; the leaves are taken internally against cough, fever and as a cardiotonic, and used externally to treat inflammation, wounds and allergy.|Numerous medicinal uses are recorded from India and China; the roots are used to treat rheumatism, dysuria, fever, carbuncles, jaundice and diarrhoea, the leaves as a diaphoretic and febrifuge and to treat lumbago, amenorrhoea, swellings, coughs, asthma, colics, eczema, cephalalgia, hemiplegia, facial paralysis, earache and hemicrania, and the bark as emetic. Magical uses are reported for Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Justicia gendarussa is cultivated as an ornamental, and is often used for living fences.


An undershrub up to 150 cm tall, stems terete, young twigs usually dark purple; leaves linear-lanceolate, 5-20 cm x 1-3.5 cm, with up to 1 cm long petiole; inflorescence a spike, bracts lanceolate, about 4 mm long; flowers 1.5-2 cm long, white with purplish streaks and spots inside; fruit clavate to ellipsoid, about 1.3 cm long, glabrous. Justicia gendarussa is cultivated, and naturalized in forest, forest borders and on river banks in Java, up to 1500 m altitude. In the Philippines, it often grows along streams in primary and secondary forest.

Selected Source:

[97] Backer, C.A. & Bakhuizen van den Brink Jr, R.C., 1963-1968. Flora of Java. 3 volumes. Noordhoff, Groningen, the Netherlands. Vol. 1 (1963) 647 pp., Vol. 2 (1965) 641 pp., Vol. 3 (1968) 761 pp.
[202] 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. [332] de Padua, L.S., Lugod, G.C. & Pancho, J.V., 1977-1983. Handbook on Philippine medicinal plants. 4 volumes. Documentation and Information Section, Office of the Director of Research, University of the Philippines at Los BaƱos, the Philippines.

[580] Heyne, K., 1950. De nuttige planten van Indonesiƫ [The useful plants of Indonesia]. 3rd Edition. 2 volumes. W. van Hoeve, 's-Gravenhage, the Netherlands/Bandung, Indonesia. 1660 + CCXLI pp.
[909] Martono, S. & Udayati, 1975. Efek analgetika dari infus daun Gendarussa vulgaris Nees pada mencit (penelitian pendahuluan) [Analgetic effect of Gendarussa vulgaris Nees leaf infusion on mice (A preliminary study)]. Thesis, Faculty of Pharmacy, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

[1012] Nasir, E. & Ali, S.I. (Editors), 1970-1988. Flora of West Pakistan. No 1-188. Department of Botany, University of Karachi and National Herbarium, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Islamabad, Pakistan.
[1035] Nguyen Van Duong, 1993. Medicinal plants of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Mekong Printing, Santa Ana, California, United States. 528 pp.

[1126] 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.
[1178] Quisumbing, E., 1978. Medicinal plants of the Philippines. Katha Publishing Co., Quezon City, the Philippines. 1262 pp.

[1366] Singh, P. & Sinha, K.K., 1986. Inhibition of aflatoxin production on some agricultural commodities through aqueous plant extracts. Journal of the Indian Botanical Society 65(1): 30-32.
[1572] Wijayakusuma, H.M.H., Wirian, S.W., Yaputra, T., Dalimartha, S. & Wibowo, B., 1992. Tanaman berkhasiat obat di Indonesia [Plants yielding medicine in Indonesia]. Vol. 1. Pustaka Kartini, Jakarta, Indonesia. 122 pp.

Author: H. Sangat-Roemantyo

Source of This Article:

Sangat-Roemantyo, H., 1999. Justicia gendarussa Burm.f.In: de Padua, L.S., Bunyapraphatsara, N. and Lemmens, R.H.M.J. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1. Backhuys Publisher, Leiden, The Netherlands, p. 330

Recommended Citation:

Sangat-Roemantyo, H., 1999. Justicia gendarussa Burm.f.[Internet] Record from Proseabase. de Padua, L.S., Bunyapraphatsara, N. and Lemmens, R.H.M.J. (Editors).
PROSEA (Plant Resources of South-East Asia) Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia. http://www.proseanet.org. Accessed from Internet: 21-May-2015