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Family Euphorbiaceae
Sauropus androgynus (Linn.) Merr.

Mani cai

Scientific names Common names
Aalius androgyna (L.) Kuntze Binahian (Tag.)
Aalius lanceolata (Hook.f.) Kuntze Chinese malunggay (Engl.)
Aalius oblongifolia (Hook.f.) Kuntze Sauropus (Engl.)
Aalius retroversa (Wight) Kuntze Star gooseberry (Engl.)
Aalius sumatrana (Miq.) Kuntze Sweet leaf bush (Engl.)
Agyneia ovata Poir. Sweet leaf sauropus (Engl.)
Andrachne ovata Lam. ex Poir.  
Clutia androgyna L.  
Phyllanthus acidissimus Noronha [Invalid]  
Phyllanthus strictus Roxb.  
Sauropus albicans Blume  
Sauropus androgynus (L.) Merr.  
Sauropus convexus J.J.Sm.  
Sauropus gardnerianus Wight  
Sauropus indicus Wight  
Sauropus lanceolatus Hook.f.  
Sauropus oblongifolius Hook.f.  
Sauropus parviflorus Pax & K.Hoff.  
Sauropus retroversus Wight  
Sauropus scandens C.B.Rob.  
Sauropus sumatranus Miq.  
Sauropus zeylanicus Wight  
Sauropus androgynus (L.) Merr. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Mani cai.
INDONESIAN: Kebing, Katukan, Katuk.
JAPANESE: Aname shiba.
KERALA: Madhura cheera.
MALAY: Cekur manis, Sayur manis, Asin-asin.
THAI: Pak waan.

Binahian is an erect, perennial shrub growing to a height of 2.5 to 3 meters. Leaves are dark green, 2 - 6 centimeters long, 1.5 to 3 centimeters wide, usually with faint, grayish speckled markings on the upperside. Flowers are red and small, developing into round to angular white or purple fruit capsules measuring about 1.5 centimeter diameter.

- Occurs in the wild.
- In some SE Asian countries, cultivated on a commercial scale.

- Leaves are an excellent source of provitamin A, vitamins B and C, proteins and mineral.
- Protein content is higher than most other leafy vegetables; the mature leaves having more nutrients than the young leaves.

- Contains a considerable amount of alkaloid "papaverine" (580 mg of papaverine per 100 g of fresh leaf).
- Study yielded a lignan glycoside and a megastimane glucoside, sauroposide from the aerial parts.
- Nutrition analysis of 100 g. of fresh leaves yielded: protein 7.4 g, fat 1.1 g, fiber 1.8 g, moisture 69.9 g, carotene 5600 µg, riboflavin 0.21 mg, thiamine 0.50 mg, calcium 711 mg, vitamin C 244 mg, phosphorus 543 mg, iron 8.8 mg. (11)
- Constituent analysis of leaves yielded carbohydrates+, reducing sugar+, protein, sterols+, resins+, tannins++, saponins++, alkaloids++, flavonoids++, terpenoids+, glycosides++,++ phenols++, cardiac glycosides+. (13)
- GC-MS analysis of leaves yielded 9 compounds. Major compounds were 2(1H) Naphthalenone, 3,5,6,7,8,8a-hexahydro-4,8a-dimethyl-6-(1- methylethenyl) and Azulene. Other compounds were 1,14-tetradecanediol, 1-octadecyne, 1-hexadecyne, decanoic acid (ethyl ester), phytol, hexadecahydro-pyrene, and squalene. (13)

- Propagated by stem cuttings.
- Harvested 4 months after planting.
- Tender young leaves harvested from the top 15 centimeters of the stem tips.
- A fast growing vegetable with abundant fruiting.

Parts used
Roots, leaves.


- Young shoots, leaves, flowers and fruits, eaten raw or cooked, with a pleasant , slightly nutty taste, with a flavor of fresh garden peas and the texture of asparagus.
- Leaves and stem tips used as salad or steamed, added to stir-fries, egg dishes and casseroles.
- Young shoots fried with chili pepper and dried shrimp.
- Fruits are candied.
- Green dye squeezed out of the leaves used as food coloring for pastries, rice and preserves.
- Decoction of roots said to relieve urinary disorders; also, used for fever.
- Leaves used as vegetable by nursing mothers to stimulate breast milk production.
- Leaves used after childbirth to help the womb recover.

- In Taiwan, herb used as slimming agent to combat obesity. (11)
- In Malaysia and Indonesia, believed to increase lactation in women. (11)
- In India, leaves used as antidiabetic and to improve vision. (11)
- In Indonesia, used to increase breast milk and treat ulcers and fever. Leaves used for constipation.
- Fodder: Leaves used as cattle and poultry feed in India.

Excessive consumption of leaf extracts: Excessive consumption of leaf extracts may be toxic. Leaves contain considerable amount of the alkaloid papaverine (580 mg/100 gm fresh leaves). Excessive consumption of the leaf causes dizziness, drowsiness, constipation. Papaverine in uncooked sauropus affects vasodilation, may cause bronchiolitis obliterans, a progressive respiratory distress disease. the harmful effect is due to consumption of large quantities of uncooked leaves (4.5 kg) and drinking raw juice rather than stir-fried or boiled leaves.
Papaverine: Report of 44 individuals suffering from temporary insomnia, poor appetite followed by progressive difficulty breathing four wees after ingestion of S androgynous of Sabah vegetable. Open lung biopsy disclosed bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia. Although papaverine was previously identified in the vegetable, it was deemed unlikely to be responsible for the whole range of toxicity seen.
Bronchiolitis obliterans: Bronchiolitis obliterans is an uncommon pulmonary disease characterized by inflammatory changes of the membranous and respiratory bronchioles. Histopathology varies from subtle cellular infiltrates surrounding the small airways to extensive infiltrates with fibrosis and smooth muscle hyperplasia to complete obliteration of the bronchial lumens. (2) (6) (7)
Lung Transplantation: In Taiwan, over 30 patients developed progressive respiratory failure after consuming the extract from raw SA leaves as a means of losing weight. Despite cessation of intake, severe obstructive ventilatory defect progressed. Five patients underwent lung transplantation. Authors believe lung transplantation to be the only effective modality for patients with end-stage SABO syndrome. (5)

Bronchiolitis Obliterans:
Study establishes the association between consumption of S. androgynus and the BO syndrome. The cases in the report ingested S. androgynous more frequently (more than twice a week) and in large amounts (average per week, 814± 417 g). Patients in the report also consumed uncooked juice, rather the the traditional boiled and stir-fried form of preparation. (2)
Antioxidant: Study demonstrated the antioxidant capacity and nutritive values of Pak-Wanban.
Immunohistochemical Analysis: Study suggests a possibility is indicated that a disproportion of Matrix metalloproteinases/Tissue inhibitor of metallo-proteinase occurred in the bronchiole local field, and might be involved in the disease state formation of bronchiolitis obliterans. (7)
Necrosis and Apoptosis: Study results indicate that necrosis and apoptosis are involved in the toxic effect of Sauropus androgynus in NIH3T3 firbroblasts. More evidence is needed to clarify if necrosis and apoptosis are also related to the pathogenesis of SA-associated obliterative bronchiolitis. (8)
• Anti-Obesity / GGK: The anti-obesity effect has been confirmed in previous studies. However, the increase in cases of brochiolitis obliterans in Taiwan has raised caution and concerns on its anti-obesity use. This study focused on the isolated compound GGK (3-O-β-D-glucosyl-(1-6)-β-D-glucosyl-kaempferol) in combination with EtOAc and n-BuOH fractions for body weight in Wistar male rats. Results showed a reduction in food intake and body weight in rats. Results conclude that GGK has potential as anti-obesity agent without the side effects observed when consuming the entire plant. (11)
• Benefits and Toxicity of Fresh Leaves: The antioxidative components of SA leaves have shown vast health benefit to humans, from test tubes to in vivo studies. However, extract precaution is advised for minimizing the adverse health effect of consumption of fresh leaves because of antinutrient and heavy metals content. (see above) (12)
• Antioxidant / Antimicrobial / Stems: Study evaluated the antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anticancer properties of SA stem extract. Results showed the stem extract to have high antimicrobial activity, moderate antioxidant activity (inhibition concentration 50% with IC50 of 8 ppt DPPH), with no anticancer activity. (see constituents above) (14)
• Wound Healing: Study evaluated the wound healing effect of 5% S. androgynus on excision and incision wound models on Wistar rats. Results showed the extract significantly promoted wound healing in both models, significantly augmenting wound contraction (p<0.001), significantly re-epithelization (p<0.0001) and increase in wound breaking strength (p<0.001). (15)
• Anti-Diabetic / α-Glucosidase Inhibition / Leaves: Study evaluated an alcoholic extract of leaves of S. androgynus for antidiabetic effect in alloxan induced diabetic rats. On drug receptor interaction study, the isolated compound, a bound flavonoid which binds with α-glucosidase, showed excellent hydrogen bond and hydrophobic interactions. Results suggested the isolated compound is a potent α-glucosidase inhibitor with good antidiabetic potential. (16)
• Treatment of Aphthous Stomatitis / Leaves: Randomized, placebo-controlled study evaluated the efficacy of Sauropus androgynus leaves in capsule and ointment forms in patients with recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS). S. androgynus showed advantages over steroids and is safe in all patients including infants and pregnant women. Topical application suggest some protective or barrier function for the ointment and is suggest as the first choice of treatment. (17)
• Anti-Anemia Effect / Chlorophyll / Leaves: Study evaluated the effect of chlorophyll isolated from katuk leaves on levels of Hb, malondialdehyde (MDA), ferritin, and schistocytes percentage in female mice induced NaNO2. Results showed an increase in ferritin levels. The antioxidant activity of chlorophyll from katuk leaves decreased schistocytes percentage and MDA levels. The increase of Hb and ferritin levels indicate a potential for treatment of hemolytic anemia. (18)
• Anti-Stress / Toxicity Study / Leaves: Study investigated the anti-stress activity of a hydroalcoholic extract of Sauropus androgynus leaves against experimentally induced stress in rats using forced swimming endurance test and chronic cold restraint stress test. Acute toxicity study of the leaf extract to be safe at a dose of 2000 mg/kbw. Parameters of cholesterol, triglycerides and corticosterone were estimated to determine the anti-stress activity. Results suggest significant dose-dependent anti-stress activity. (19)
• Segmental Small Bronchi Necrosis after Prolonged Intakes of S. androgynus: Since 1994 an endemic of COPD has developed in Taiwan after prevalent use of body-weight reducing vegetable, S. androgynus. Lung biopsy specimens revealed bronchiolitis obliterans. Excised lungs revealed focal fibromuscular sclerosis and obliteration of bronchial arteries. Pathologic changes were most consistent with segmental ischemic necrosis of the bronchi. (20)
• Antibacterial / Leaves: Study evaluated the antibacterial activities of various extracts of Sauropus androgynus leaves against Gram positive and Gram negative bacterial strains. A methanol extract showed significant antibacterial activity against all six bacterial test strains. The antibacterial activity of the leaf extract was attributed to the presence of multivitamins and peptides, glycosides, alkaloids, saponins, terpenoids, flavonoids, etc. (21)
• Expression of Prolactin and Oxytocin Genes in Lactating Mice Supplemented with Leaf Extracts: S. androgynus is believed to increase breast milk production during lactation and is traditionally consumed by Indonesians. The expression of oxytocin gene in the lactating mice supplemented with SA leaf extracts increased significantly. The prolactin gene expression level in the mice group supplemented with leaf extracts increased significantly compared to control. The increased gene expression could be related to papaverine content in mature leaves that relaxed smooth muscles and dilated blood vessels. (22)
• Antioxidant / Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Study evaluated the antioxidant (DPPH, reducing power, hydroxyl radical scavenging, superoxide radical scavenging) and anti-inflammatory (inhibition of protein denaturation, membrane stabilization models) properties of Sauropus androgynus leaf dialysed protein extract. Results illustrated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Antioxidant property is attributed to polyphenols and flavonoids. Results suggest a potential for cosmetic and therapeutic applications.   (23)


Updated March 2017
July 2010

Photo and Content © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Sauropus / AVRDC / The World Vegetable Center
Association of Sauropus androgynus and Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome: A Hospital-based Case-Control Study / Luo-Ping Ger, Ambrose A Chiang et al / Am J Epidemiol Vol. 145, No. 9, 1997
Lignan and megastigmane glycosides from Sauropus androgynus / Tripetch Kanchanapoom, Phannipha Chumsri et al /
Phytochemistry, Volume 63, Issue 8, August 2003, Pages 985-988 / doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(03)00219-X
Determination of Antioxidant Capacity and Nutritive Values of Pak-Wanban (Sauropus androgynus L. Merr.) /
Lung transplantation for patients with end-stage Sauropus androgynus-induced bronchiolitis obliterans (SABO) syndrome / S P Luha, Y C Leea et al / Clinical Transplantation, Volume 13 Issue 6, Pages 496 - 503 / Published Online: 25 Dec 2001
Outbreak of obstructive ventilatory impairment associated with consumption of Sauropus androgynus vegetable. / Lin TJ et al / J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 1996;34(1):1-8.
National Research of Sauropus androgynus associated pulmonary disorder in Japan and immunohistochemical analysis of Sauropus androgynus associated bronhiolitis obliterans / Onakahara Ken'ichi, Higashimoto Ikko et al / Bimansei Haishikkan ni kansuru Chosa Kenkyuhan Heisei 17 Nendo Kenkyu Hokokusho, VOL.;NO.;PAGE.177-181(2006)
Apoptosis and Necrosis are Involved in the Toxicity of Sauropus androgynus in an In Vitro Study / S Yu, T Chen, Y Chen / Journal of the Formosan Medical Association, Volume 106, Issue 7, Pages 537-547
Sauropus androgynus / Synonyms / The Plant List
Sauropus androgynus / Common names / Wikipedia
Review Article: Sauropus androgynus (L.) Merr. Induced Bronchiolitis Obliterans: From Botanical Studies to Toxicology / Hamidun Bunawan, Siti Noraini Bunawan, Syarul Nataqain Baharum, and Normah Mohd. Noor / Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2015 (2015) /
Sauropus androgynus Leaves for Health Benefits: Hype and the Science / Hock Eng Khoo, Azrina Azlan, Amin Ismaila / The Natural Products Journal
Phytochemical Analysis and GC-MS profiling in the leaves of Sauropus Androgynus (l) MERR / Senthamarai Selvi. V* and Anusha Basker / International Journal of Drug Development & Research, Vol. 4, Issue 1, January-March 2012
Characterization of antimicrobial, antioxidant, anticancer properties and chemical composition of Sauropus androgynus stem extract / Lee Seong WEI, Wendy WEE, Julius YONG FU SIONG, Desy Fitrya SYAMSUMIR / Acta Medica Lituanica, Vol 18, No 1 (2011)
Wound Healing Profile of Sauropus androgynus in Wistar Rats / Aruna Bhaskar, K V Ramesh, Rajeshwai / Journal of Natural Remedies, Vol. 9/2 (2009) 159 - 164
Evaluation of antidiabetic activity of bioactive constituent of Sauropus androgynus in alloxan induced diabetic Rats and effect on inhibition of α-glucosidase enzyme / Sujila V, Dr. Biju CR and Dr. G Babu / Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry 2016; 5(6): 80-84

Efficacy And Safety of Sauropus Androgynous in the Treatment of Aphthous Stomatitis- A Placebo Controlled Double Blind Trial / Dr.Ashok Shenoy K , Dr. Mukta N Chowta , Dr. Nandita Shenoy, Dr. Prabha Adhikari / Journal of Medical Science and Clinical Research, Vol 2, Issue 5, May 2014
Anti-anemia Effect of Chlorophyll from Katuk (Sauropus androgynus) Leaves on Female Mice Induced Sodium Nitrite / Suparmi Suparmi, Sampurna Sampurna, Nur Anna C.S, Alvenia Meilina Ednisari, Galuh Dea Urfani, Iqrommatul Laila, and Heavin Rakhmat Saintika / Pharmacognosy Journal, 2016, 8(4), 375-379./ DOI:10.5530/pj.2016.4.10
EVALUATION OF ANTI-STRESS ACTIVITY OF HYDRO-ALCOHOLIC EXTRACT OF SAUROPUS ANDROGYNUS LEAVES / Karunakar Hegde * and K. V. Divya / International Journa of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research (2015)
Segmental Necrosis of Small Bronchi after Prolonged Intakes of Sauropus androgynus in Taiwan
/ YIH-LEONG CHANG , YU-TUNG YAO , NAI-SAN WANG , and YUNG-CHIE LEE / Amercan Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Vol 157, No 21, Feb 1998 / DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1164/ajrccm.157.2.9704040
ANTIBACTERIAL ACTIVITY OF SAUROPUS AND ROGYNOUS LEAF EXTRACTS AGAINST SOME PATHOGENIC BACTERIA / V. N. Ariharan*, V. N. Meena Devi and P. Nagendra Prasad / Rasayan J. Chem, Vol 6, No 2, April-June 2013
The Expression of Prolactin and Oxytocin Genes in Lactating BALB/C Mice Supplemented with Mature Sauropus androgynus Leaf Extracts / Susan Soka, Jessica Wiludjaja and Marcella / 2011 International Conference on Food Engineering and Biotechnology IPCBEE, vol.9 (2011)
NEW-VISTA IN FINDING ANTIOXIDANT AND ANTI-INFLAMMATORY PROPERTY OF CRUDE PROTEIN EXTRACT FROM SAUROPUS ANDROGYNUS LEAF / Chakkere Shivamadhu Madhu, Honnayakanahalli Marichenne Gowda Manukumar, Puttalingaiah Basavaraju / Acta Sci. Pol., Technol. Aliment. 13(4) 2014, 375-383

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