Curanga amara Juss.
Curanga felterrae (Lour.) Merr.
Picria fel-terrae is an annual herb, growing up to 1 metres tall, though often smaller[
]. Its stems are laxly branched, erect or prostrate and often rooting at the nodes[
Harvested from the wild for its use in traditional medicine, the plant is also often cultivated in gardens and sold fresh on the markets in Indo-China and China[
E. Asia - southern China, India through Myanmar, Malaysia to Indonesia and the Philippines.
A rare to rather common herb, occurring on forest slopes, or shady forest edges, from sea-level up to 900 metres[
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Picria felterrae is widely used medicinally in eastern Asia and some research into its medicinal properties has been carried out[
]. A number of active constituents have been isolated from the plant, including a range of flavonoids, the glycoside curangin and a series of triterpene saponoids[
Curangin seems to possess similar properties to digitalin (obtained from Digitalis spp.) and also is a heart-stimulant[
]. It is only slightly poisonous[
Some of the triterpene saponins acted as inhibitors on both the classical and alternative pathways of the complement system, with picfeltarraenin II exhibiting the highest inhibitory activity[
An ethanol extract of the dried plant showed antibacterial activity against Proteus vulgaris and Staphylococcus aureus and antiviral activity against herpes simplex 1[
]. It also inhibited the classical pathway of the complement system[
The fresh leaves are very bitter and are generally considered aperient, appetizer, diuretic, emmenagogue, stimulant to the intestines, stomachic and sudorific[
]. Macerated in alcohol, the leaves are considered to be a tonic[
A decoction of the plant is said to improve the appetite and is taken to treat a wide range of complaints, particularly those related to the digestive system such as stomach-ache, colic, nausea and liver complaints[
]. The whole plant is also used for treating amenorrhoea, fever, herpes infections, lumbar pains and tumours[
A poultice of the pounded leaves is applied to wounds, itchy skin and other skin diseases[
The sap or a decoction of the plant is considered a vermifuge for children[
The plant is often used in combination with other herbs. Combined with gotu kola (Centella asiatica) it is used to treat whooping cough and tightness of the chest[
]. Combined with Hedyotis capitellata, it is applied to snakebites[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.