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Family Peltiveriaceae
Rivina humilis L.
Shu zhu shan hu

Scientific names Common names
Rivina acuminata Raf. Baby pepper (Engl.)
Rivina andamanensis L.J.Singh & M.C.Naik Bloodberry (Engl.)
Rivina aurantiaca Warsz. ex Schenk Bloodshrub (Engl.)
Rivina bengalensis S.C. Srivast. & T.K. Paul Coral bays (Engl.)
Rivina brasiliensis Nocca Coral berry (Engl.)
Rivina brasiliensis var.viridis (F.W.Schmidt) Moq. Dog blood bush (Engl.)
Rivina canescens D. Don ex Steud. Jamaican Cherry (Engl.)
Rivina glabrata Kunth Pigeonberry (Engl.)
Rivina gracilis Salisb. Rouge plant (Engl.)
Rivina herbaceae C.Huber Turkeyberry (Engl.)
Rivina humilis L.  
Rivina humilis var. bracteata D.Maity, S.Mitra, M. Mandal, Maiti  
Rivina humilis var. canescens L.  
Rivina humilis var. glabra L.  
Rivina humilis var. laevis (L.) Millsp.  
Rivina humilis var. orientalis (Moq.) H.Walter  
Rivina humilis var. plumbaginafolia Moq.  
Rivina humilis var. puberula (Kunth) Moq.  
Rivina laevis L.  
Rivina laevis f. brasiliensis (Nocca) Voss  
Rivina laevis f. humilis (L.) Voss  
Rivina laevis var. pubescens Griseb.  
Rivina laevis f. viridiflora (Bello) Voss  
Rivina lanceolata Willd.  
Rivina mexicana Moc. & Sesse ex Moq.  
Rivina obliquata Raf.  
Rivina orientalis Moq.  
Rivina pallida Salisb.  
Rivina paraguayensis D.Parodi  
Rivina plumbaginifolia Willd. ex Moq.  
Rivina portulaccoides Nutt.  
Rivina procumbens Ruiz ex Moq.  
Rivina puberula Kunth  
Rivina purpurascens Schrad.  
Rivina purpurascens var. mollis Moq.  
Rivina tetrandra Desf.  
Rivina tinctaria Buch.-Ham. ex G.Don  
Rivina vernalis Teran & Berland.  
Rivina viridiflora Bello  
Rivina viridis F.W.Schmidt  
Piercea acuminata Raf.  
Piercea glabra Mill.  
Piercea obliquata Raf.  
Piercea tomentosa Mill.  
Solanoides laevis (L.) Moench  
Solanoides pubescens Moench  
Solanoides undulata Moench  
Tithonia humulis (L,) Kuntze  
Rivinia humulis L. is an accepted name. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
AUSTRALIA: Coral berry, Turkey berry.
CHINESE: Shu zhu shan hu.
FRENCH: Groseille, Petite groseille.
INDONESIAN: Getih-gethihan.
MEXICO: Bajatripa.
SOUTH AFRICA: Bloedbessie.
SPANISH: Coralito.
SWEDEN: Sminkbär
TONGA: Polo.

Gen info
- Rivina humilis is a species of flowering plant in the family Peltiveriaceae (formerly in the pokeweed family Phytolaccacea).
- The genus Rivina is named after A.Q. Rivinus, Professor of Botany and Medicine at Leipzig (1691-1725).
- The specific epithet humilis means "dwarfish" or "lowly" in Latin, referring to its short stature. (2)
- Rivinia is a monotypic genus, with its single species R. humilis.

• Rivina humilis is an herbaceous to wood perennial plant growing up to 1 m high. Stems are erect dichotomously branched, angular, glabrous or slightly pubescent at the nodes. Leaves are simple, alternate, entire, elliptic to ovate, up to 12 cm long, long petioled, the based rounded or attenuate, apex acuminate, glabrous to pubescent above and below, especially along the veins. Leaves are unpleasant-smelling when crushed. Inflorescences are terminal or axillary, up to 15 cm long, erect or curved, slender. Flowers are small, bisexual on pedicels up to 5 mm long, subtended by very small bracts and bracteoles, tepals 4, 2-3 mm long, green, white or pink, persistent; stamens 4. Ovary is superior, ovoid, 1-carpelled, 1-loculed. Style is shorter than the ovary, slightly curved, stigma capitate. Berry is round, glossy and bright red or orange, 3-4 mm in diameter; with a single hairy seed, 3 mm in diameter. (1)

• Bloodberry is a small, upright, or straggling perennial herb. Stem: grooved, solid, and softly pubescence when young. younger stems are greenish in color and mostly hairless. Leaves: simple, alternate, entire with a wavy margin. Blade is light green, thin textured, ovate to ovate-elliptic, supported by a long slender petiole, 10-50 mm long . Base is round and the apex is acuminate. Upper leaf surface is glabrous and the lower surface is covered with a few minute hairs along the midrib and main veins. Flowers: 2-3 mm in diameter, shortly pedicellate (2-3 mm). Four petals are obovate, turn from white or pinkish to greenish as they mature; four white stamens. Fruits: glossy, small, bright red berries, subglobose (4 mm in diameter) with one seed per fruit, turn from green to bright glossy red as they mature. Seeds: 2.5-3.5 mm in diameter, puberulent. (20)

- Introduced.
- Native distribution restricted to the Americas, from Argentina to southern USA. (1)
- Widely introduced to other countries and naturalized in much of the Pacific and some countries in Africa and Asia. (1)
- In the wet tropics, found in forests, thickets, on roadsides, and disturbed areas, urban bushland, and shady places.
- In Melanesia, given highest ranking as a serious weed. (1)
- Considered a weed and invasive in many countries.
- Ornamental cultivation.

- Preliminary phytochemical screening of various solvent extracts (petroleum ether, chloroform, ethyl acetate, methanol, water) of whole plant powder showed alkaloids (C, EA, M, W), flavonoids (PE, C), phenols (PE, C), saponins (PE, W), steroids (PE, C), and tannins (PE, C). (3)
- GC-MS analysis of ethanolic stem extract yielded 14 compounds viz., cinnamyl 3,4-dihydroxy-α-cyannocinnamate, L-proline, N-methoxycarbonyle, isohexylester, L-tetradecene, 1-nonadecene, caffeine, b-hexadecanoic acid, oleic acid, octadecanoic acid. among others. (6)
- GC-MS analysis of fruit showed 20 phytochemical compounds such as 1-P-methen-8-ylacetate, henicosylformate, citronella, hexadecanoic acid, methyl ester (CAS, neryl propionate, hexadecanoic acid, -d-nerolidol, octadec-9-enoic acid, ocadecanoic acid, zonarone 1- eicosanol etc. FTIR spectroscopic studies yielded 18 functional groups viz., hydroxy groups, alcohol, phenol, alkanes, alkene, amino acid, nitro, aromatic, aliphatic amines, primary/secondary amines, alkyl halide, halogen etc. (16)
- Phytochonstituent analysis revealed a potential source of carbohydrates (50.15 g/100g), protein (10.96 g/100g), and fats (11.25 g/100g). Roots yielded highest fat (17.55 g/100g) and dietary fiber (81.49 g/100g). Leaves and roots yielded more iron (29.59 and 29.39 mg/100g), while seeds showed high zinc content (12.09 mg/100g). (17)
- GC-MS analysis of leaf oil showed 47.83 g/100 g of omega-3-fatty acid. Seed oil showed 22.23 g/100, 44.48 g/100, and 24.04 g/100 g of palmitic, oleic, and linoleic acids, respectively. Leaf extract has the highest TPC (total phenolic content: 597.55 mg/100 g), followed by the seed (421.68 mg/100 g). The leaf’s 80% ethanolic extract had high TFC (total flavonoid content: 2442.19 mg/100 g), followed by 70% methanolic extract (1566.25 mg/100 g). Antinutritional profile indicated significant phytic acid and oxalates in the leaf (9.3 g/100 and 2.07 g/100 g) and stem (6.9 and 1.58 g/100 g) and low tannin content (<0.5 g/100 g). (17)

- Studies have suggest antioxidant, antimicrobial, pesticidal, colorant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-filarial, anticancer, hepatoprotective, antidiabetic, anticancer properties.

Parts used
Leaves, stems.


- Caution: While berries are reportedly edible, many report toxicity to humans.
- Study (Khan et al. 2011) confirmed extract of berries were not toxic to rats. The juice of berries was tested in male rats and reported as safe to consume. (1)
- Leaves used for making herbal tea.
- No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- As folk medicine, used for treatment of colds, diarrhea, difficult urination, flatulence, gonorrhea, jaundice and ovarian pain (Nellis, 1987). (1)
- Leaves used for treatment of catarrh.
- In Mexico, leaves are used for treating wounds. Branches used for "nervios" and anxiety.
- In Jamaica, herb decoction is drunk as tea three times daily for treating blocked tubes (fallopian), infertility, or any womb related problem. Also used for menstrual flow problems. (10)
- In Mexico, leaves used for wound healing and treatment of skin diseases. In Jamaica, herb used for infertility, womb-related and menstrual flow problems. In Panama, the Amerindian Tribe of Bocas del Toro use stem and leaf decoction for treatment of colds. (17)
- Dye: Red fruits yield a dye.
Used as colorant for beverage and fruit spread. (see study below) (9)
- Agrofrestry: A shade-tolerant groundcover.

Betalains / Acute, Subacute and Subchronic Safety Studies:
Rivina humilis accumulates vacuolar pigments betalains. Red beet is the only industrial source of these hydrophilic and low acidic pigments. Betalains rich R. humilis berry juice could be an alternative source of the pigments. In single-dose (1, 2,5 g RBJ/kbw), repeated-dose (2.5 and 5 g/kbw for 35 days) and dietary feeding (0.5%, 1%, and 2% RBJ in diet, w/w for 90 days) in male rats showed the RBJ did not affect growth and normal biochemical homeostasis, and is safe to consume without adverse effects. (4)
Juvenile Hormone Activity against Cx quinquefasciatus: Study evaluated 18 plants belonging to various plant families for juvenile hormone analogue activity against filarial mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus. Acetone extracts of eight plants, including Rivina humilis, showed significant juvenile hormone activity. (5)
Silver Nanoparticles / Antibacterial / Leaves: Study reports on synthesis of AgNPs using leaf extract of R. humilis. The silver nanoparticles exhibited potential antibrucellosis activity against B. abortus, B. melitensis and B. suis with effect inhibition at 800 µg/mL. Biocompatibility of Rh-AgNPs was established by rate of hemolysis, hemagglutination and fibrinolytic activity. (7)
Antimicrobial / Antioxidant: Study evaluated the antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of various plant parts (root, stem, leaf, fruit,inflorescence) of R. humulis showed tremendous antibacterial potential against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, with most significant activity obtained from the chloroform extract of fruit i.e., 46 ± 2.7 mm. Antifungal activity ranged from good to satisfactory with maximum potential shown by petroleum ether extract against Aspergillus oryzae. Various extracts showed significant DPPH antioxidant activity with the petroleum ether leaf extract at 89.1 ± 1.7% and fruit extract at 83.8 ± 0.8%. (8)
Natural Colorant / Betalain : Study reports on the use of berries as a natural colorant in fruit spread and beverage and its physiochemical properties and acceptability of the product. Results showed the 68% color retained in Rivina banana spread after 6 months of storage at 5°C. although there was reduction in L, a, and chroma values. Rivina banana beverage lost redness completely during processing. Microbial analysis showed products were safe for consumption. The spread had overall good sensorial quality and did not alter product quality. (9)
Agricultural Pesticide / Spodoptera litura: Study evaluated the pesticidal activity of antifeedant, oviposition deterrent, ovicidal and larvicidal activities of benzene, dichloromethane, diethylether, ethyl acetate and methanol extracts of R. humulis against agricultural polyphagous pest Spodoptera litura. Results showed all the extracts exhibited moderate antifeedant activity, with the methanol extract showing significant antifeedant, ovicidal, oviposition deterrent and larvicidal activities. (11)
Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Study evaluated dried, crushed, and defatted alcoholic extracts of R. humulis for analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity. Results showed anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities by carrageenan induced paw edema and cotton pellet granuloma testing in Wistar albino rats. (12)
Phytofungicide: Study evaluated 24 plant extracts for antifungal activity on the development of Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lycopersici as a green alternative to synthetic fungicides. Of the 24 plant extracts, five, including Rivina humulis, showed good antifungal activity. The plant extracts with good antifungal activity generally had high level of total polyphenolic content and titrable acidity and low pH values. The efficacy of R. humilis may be due to the presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, and resin, known bioactive compounds against bacteria and fungi. (13)
Betalains and Antioxidant Enzymes During Development and Abiotic Stress in Berries: Study investigated the betalains profiles and molecular changes during development and post-induction stress induced by elicitors such as salicylic acid and chitosan. Treatment with SA enhanced betalains accumulation/ Treatment with CH produced morphological changes in berries and expression of SOD was significantly suppressed. (15)
Antioxidant / Omega Fatty Acids /  Leaf, Stem, Root, Seeds: Study evaluated the phytoconstituents, mineral content, fatty acid composition, phenolics, flavonoids, antinutritional factors, and antioxidant activities of different plant parts of Rivina humilis he leaf with an 80% ethanolic extract had the lowest DPPH and ABTS radical scavenging EC50 (2.22 and 0.37 mg/mL). The 80% ethanolic extract  of leaf showed lowest DPPH and ABTS radical scavenging EC50 (2.22 and 0.37 mg/mL).  The 80% ethanolic extract of leaf and seeds showed highest FRAP activity with 479.73 mg/100 g and 391.14 mg/100 g respectively. Results showed leaves and seeds are a novel source of omega fatty acids and minerals. (see constituents above) (17)
Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles / Anticancer, Antioxidant, Antibacterial / Leaves: Study reports on the ecofriendly synthesis of zinc oxide nanoparticles using aqueous extract of R. humilis leaves. The ZnONPs exhibited remarkable antioxidant activities and antibacterial effect by agar diffusion assay. The ZnONPs (5-100 µg/ml) exhibited dose-depended decrease in viability of Neuro 2a neuroblastoma cells. The NPs induced huge amount of lipid peroxidation and produced
malondialdehyde driving cancer cells to apoptosis. Treatment of Neuro 2a cells with ZnONPs induced apoptotic cell death through the intrinsic mitochondrial pathway by overexpressing caspases 3 and 9, while reducing Bcl-2 and upregulating Bax protein. (18)
Hepatoprotective / Antioxidant / Fruit: Study evaluated the hepatoprotective and antioxidant potential of hydromethanolic extract of R. humulis using carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) and paracetamol (PCM) induced hepatotoxicity. Groups treated with extract ( 500 and 1000 mg/kbw) showed significant (p<0.001) decrease in serum marker enzymes, restoration of total bilirubin levels, stabilization and restoration of lipid profile and endogenous enzyme system. Study suggests the hepatoprotective effect may be mediated through the antioxidant system. (19)
Biopesticidal / Antioxidant / Fruit: Armyworm (Spodoptera litura) is a leaf-eating pest that causes loss of crops from 85% to crop failure. Study evaluated the efficacy of Getih-getihan (Rivina humilis) as a botanical pesticide. The extract of leaves yielded alkaloid, flavonoid, tannin, and terpenoid. Probit analysis showed LC50 of 1.42% and ANOVA test showed very significant effect on armyworm mortality (p=0.000). (21)
Hypoglycemic / Antidiabetic Potential: Study evaluated an ethanol extract of Rivina humilis for beneficial effects against streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. In OGTT, the extract could stimulate glucose utilization evidenced by significant blood glucose reduction at 90 and 120 mins. In the chronic study, there was significant reduction in blood glucose level on the 21st day, along with normal liver and kidney function, HbA1c, and vitamin E levels. There was significant increase in liver antioxidant enzymes in the treated group which revealed regeneration of ß-cells. Results suggested significant antidiabetic potential. (22)
Anticancer / Antioxidant / Fruit: Study evaluated the cytotoxic and antioxidant properties of hydromethanolic extract of Rivina humilis fruits on human cancer cell lines i.e., MEF-L929, DU-145, and PC-3 cells using MTT assay.  The fruit extract demonstrated considerable cytotoxicity against all cancer cell line. Antioxidant activity was evaluated measuring various assays i.e.,  hydroxyl radicals, DPPH, superoxide radical scavenging, metal chelating, nitric oxide radical test, ABTS, and reducing power assays. The fruit extracts demonstrated concentration-dependent antioxidant similar to that of ascorbic acid. (23)
Betalains as Mordant / Berries: Rivina humilis (bloodberry) berries contain betalains, which can be used as natural mordant for dyeing textile filaments. Study evaluated the berries extract as sustainable source of natural mordant in dyeing eucalyptus leaves on silk and wool fabrics. Results showed silk and wool dyed fabrics without mordant showed a shade of light brown, while Rivina berries mordants exhibited dark reddish brown shades in simultaneously mordanting method. There was color fastness to washing, perspiration, rubbing and light. Results suggest a sustainable source of natural mordant as an alternative to synthetic metallic mordants that are harmful to environment. (24)

- Wild-crafted.
- Ornamental cultivation.
- Teas and herbs in the cybermarket.

Updated January 2024 / March 2023
  July 2021

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Rivina humilis / Inflorescence and infructescence / Copyright © 2011 by Leonardo L Co [ref. DOL25870] / Non-Commercial Use / click on image to go to source page / Phytoimages.siu.edu

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Rivina humulis (bloodberry) / CABI
: Invasive Species Compendium
Rivina humulis / Wikipedia
Preliminary phytochemical screening and FTIR analysis on Rivina humulis L. (Mixture) / A Kavitha and Mary V Kensa / Adalya Journal / ISSN: 1301-2746
Acute, subacute and subchronic safety assessment of betalins rich Rivinia humulis L. berry juice in rats / M I Khan, K M D Joseph, Muralidhara, H P Ramesh, P Giridhar, G A Ravishankar / Food abd Chemical Toxicology, 2011; 49(12): pp 3154-3157 / DOI: 10.1016/j.fct.2011.08.022 / ISSN: 0278-6915
Juvenoid activity in plant extracts against filarial mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus /
Neraliya S, Ratna Gaur / Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Sciences, 2004; 26(1): pp 34-38 / ISSN: 0253-7125
GC-MS analysis of ethanolic extract of Rivina humulis L. (stem) / Kavitha A and Mary Kensa V / Sikitusi Journal for Multidisciplinary Research, / ISSN: 0975-6876
Green synthesis of silver nanoparticles by Rivina humulis leaf extract to tackkle growth of Brucella species and other perilous pathogens / Sri Raghava, Kenneth Munnene Mbae, S Umesha / Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, Jan 2021, 28(1): pp 495-503 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sjbs.2020.10.034
Rivina humulis L: A Potential Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Source / Muhammad Ajaib, Annam Zikrea, Khalid Mohammed Khan et al / Chemical Society of Pakistan, Oct 2013; 35(5): pp 1384-1398
Betalains rich Rivina humulis L. berry extract as natural colorant in product (fruit spread and RTS beverage) development / Mohammad Imtiyaj Khan, P S C Sri Harsha, A S Chauhan, S V N Vijayendra, M R Asha, P Giridhar / J Food Sci Technol., Mar 2015; 52(3): pp 1808-18113 / PMID: 25745261 /
DOI: 10.1007/s13197-013-1175-8
Rivina humulis L. (Phytolaccaceae)L a new distributional record of plant species and family for Palamu division of Jharkhand, India / Dr Jasbir Bagga / International Journal for Innovative Research in Multidisciplinary Field, Apr 2017; 3(4) / ISSN: 2455-0620
Pesticidal activity of Rivina humulis L. (Phytolaccaceae) against important agricultural polyphagous field pest, Spodoptera litura (Fab.( (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) / Elumalai Arumugam, Backiyaraj Muthusamy, Kasinathan Dhamodaran, Elumalai Kuppusamy et al / Journal of Coastal Life Medicine, 2015; 3(5): pp 389-394 / ISSN: 2309-5288
Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity on Rivina humulis L. / Kavitha A and Mary Kensa V / Aegaeum Journal, 2020; 8(11): pp 108-122 / ISSN: 0776-3808
Antifungal activity of some botanical extracts on Fusarium oxysporum
/ Domenico Rongai, Patrizio Pulcini, Barbara Pesce, Filomena Milano / Open Life Sci., 2015; 10(1): pp 409-416 / DOI: 10.1515/bio-2015-0040
Rivinia humulis / Plants of the World Online
Betalains and expression of antioxidant enzymes during development and abiotic stress in Rivinia humulis L. berries / Mohammad Imtiyaj Khan, Avinash Kumar, Parvatam Giridhar / Turkish Journal of Botany, 2016; 40: pp 28-36 / DOI: 10.3906/bot-1405-32
GC-MS and FTIR screening of ethanol extract of fruits of Rivina humilis L / Kavitha A, Mary Kensa V / International Journal of Botany Studies, 2021; 6(6): pp 1270-1275 / ISSN: 2455-541X
Phytoconstituents, GC-MS Characterization of Omega Fatty Acids, and Antioxidant Potential of Less-Known Plant Rivina humilis L. /  ACS Omega, 2023; 8(31): pp 28519-28530 / PMID: 37576640 /
DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.3c02883
Eco-friendly synthesis of zinc oxide nanoparticles using Rivina humilis leaf extract and their biomedical applications / Angusamy Annapoorani, Arunagirinadhan Koodalingam, sundaram Janarthanan, Ramar Manikandan et al / Process Biochemistry, 2022; Vol 112: pp 192-202 / DOI: 10.1016/j.procbio.2021.11.022
Preclinical study on hepatoprotective potential and antioxidant status analysis of the fruit extract of Rivina humilis L. (red pigeon berry) in rats / Raju Asirvatham, Dinu George, P A Daily, Dawn V Tomy, G Boby Johns / The Thai Journal of Pharmaceutical Science, 2023; 46(6): pp 653-659
Bloodberry - Rivina humilis / SOCFINDO: Conservation
The Effect of Extract of Getih-Getihan (Rivina humilis L.) on Armyworm (Spodoptera litura F.) Mortality / Dewi Nurhayati, Wachju Subchan, Jekti Prihatin / Bioedukasi, 2018; XVI(1)
In vivo antioxidant and hypoglycaemic potentials of Rivina humilis extract against streptozotocin induced diabetes and its complications in wistar rats /  Ramesh C, Kaushik Ghosh, Sowmya BA, Pinkey Rawal, Soma Pramanik /  Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders,  2023; Volume 22: pp 1373-1383 /
DOI: 10.1007/s40200-023-01258-6
IN VITRO ANTIOXIDANT AND ANTICANCER ACTIVITY OF THE FRUIT EXTRACT OF RIVINA HUMILIS L. (RED PIGEON BERRY) / Raju Asirvatham, Dinu George / JMBFS: Journal of Microbiology, Biotechnology, and Food Sciences, 2023; 13(1): e9347 / DOI: 10.55251/jmbfs.9347
Sustainable utilization of betalains rich Rivina humilis L. berries as natural mordant for dyeing silk and wool with eco-friendly natural dye / D Thangamani, OM Mohamed Nawas, S Lalitha / Indian Journal Applied & Pure Bio., 2021; Special Volume: pp 159-169 / ISSN: 0970-2091

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants
                                          New plant names needed
The compilation now numbers over 1,300 medicinal plants. While I believe there are hundreds more that can be added to the collection, they are becoming more difficult to find. If you have a plant to suggest for inclusion, native or introduced, please email the info: scientific name (most helpful), local plant name (if known), any known folkloric medicinal use, and, if possible, a photo. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

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