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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 10  |  Page : 195-198  

Aerva lanata: A review on phytochemistry and pharmacological aspects

1 Lachoo Memorial College of Science and Technology, Pharmacy Wing, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
2 Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, BIT Mesra, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India

Date of Submission15-Mar-2011
Date of Decision22-Aug-2011
Date of Web Publication23-Dec-2011

Correspondence Address:
Manoj Goyal
Lachoo Memorial College of Science and Technology, Pharmacy Wing, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-7847.91120

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Aerva lanata (L.) A. L. Juss. ex Schultes. (Amaranthaceae) locally known as 'bui' is an erect or prostrate undershrub with a long tap-root and many wolly-tomentose branches, found in the wild, throughout India. In traditional medicine the plant is used in cough, strangury (slow to be and painful discharge of urine), headache and urolithiasis. The photochemical constituents present in the plant include alkaloids (ervine, methylervine, ervoside, aervine, methylaervine, aervoside, ervolanine, and aervolanine), flavanoids (kaempferol, quercetin, isorhamnetin, persinol, persinosides A and B), methyl grevillate, lupeol, lupeol acetate benzoic acid, β-sitosteryl acetate and tannic acid. Pharmacological studies reported diuretic, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic, anti-diabetic, antiparasitic, antimicrobial, hepoprotective, anti-urolithiasis, antiasthmatic, antifertility and hypolipidemic properties of Aerva lanata. This review article includes the detailed exploration of the morphology, phytochemistry, and pharmacological aspects of Aerva lanata in an attempt to provide a direction for further research.

Keywords: Aerva lanata, ervine, ervoside, methylervine

How to cite this article:
Goyal M, Pareek A, Nagori B P, Sasmal D. Aerva lanata: A review on phytochemistry and pharmacological aspects. Phcog Rev 2011;5:195-8

How to cite this URL:
Goyal M, Pareek A, Nagori B P, Sasmal D. Aerva lanata: A review on phytochemistry and pharmacological aspects. Phcog Rev [serial online] 2011 [cited 2018 Jun 19];5:195-8. Available from: http://www.phcogrev.com/text.asp?2011/5/10/195/91120

   Introduction Top

Aerva lanata Juss. (Amaranthaceae) locally known as 'bui' is an erect, prostrate undershrub and occurs throughout India as a common weed in fields and waste places. The plant is diuretic, used in lithiasis. The root is demulcent, diuretic, useful in strangury (slow to be and painful discharge of urine). The roots are used in the treatment of headache. The plant is regarded as a demulcent on the Malabar Coast. [1],[2] It is valued for cough in Ceylon; also as a vermifuge for children. The Meena tribals of the Sawaimadhopur district of Rajasthan give orally the juice of the roots to patients of liver congestion, jaundice, biliousness and dyspepsia. They also give decoction of the whole plant to cure pneumonia, typhoid and other prolonged fevers. [3]


Kingdom: Plantae (Plants)

Sub-kingdom: Tracheobionta (Vascular plants)

Division: Magnoliophyta (Angiospermes, flowering plants)

Class: Magnoliopsida (Dicotylιdones)

Subclass: Caryophyllidae

Order: Caryophyllales

Family: Amaranthaceae

Genus: Aerva

Species: Aerva lanata (L.) A. L. Juss. ex Schultes

Common name

Ayurvedic: Paashaanabheda, Gorakshaganjaa, Aadaanpaaki, Shatkabhedi

Bengali: Chaya

Rajasthani: Bhui

Sindhi: Bhui, Jari

Punjabi: Bui-kaltan

Hindi: Gorkhabundi, Kapurijadi

Marathi: Kapurmadhura, Kapurimadhuri, Kapurphuti, Kumra


Herb, erect or prostrate with a long tap-root, branched from near the base; branches many, pubescent or wolly- tomentose, striate.

Leaves alternate, 2-2 x 1-1.6 cm on the main stem, 6-10 x 5-6 mm on the branches, elliptic or obovate, or subotbicular, obtuse or acute, entire, pubescent above, more or less white with cottony hairs beneath; petioles 3-6 mm long, often obscure.

Flowers greenish white, very small, sessile, often bisexual, in small dense subsessile axillary heads or spikes 6-13 mm long, often closely crowded and forming globose clusters; bracteoles 1.25 mm, long, membranous, broadly ovate, concave, apiculate. Perianth 1.5-1.25 mm long; sepals oblong, obtuse, sometimes apiculate, silky-hairy on the back. Utricle broadly ovoid, acute; stigmas two, seed 0.85 mm in diameter, smooth and polished, black. [1]

   Phytochemistry Top

Alkaloids: Plant contains biological active canthin-6-one alkaloids such as 10-methoxy-canthin-6-one, 10-hydroxy-canthin-6-one, 10-O-β-D-glucopyranosyloxycanthin-6-one, 10-hydroxycanthin-6-one (ervine), 10-methoxycanthine-6-one (methylervine), 10-β-D-glucopyranosyloxycanthin-6-one (ervoside), aervine (10-hydroxycanthin-6-one), methylaervine (10-methoxycanthin-6-one) and aervoside (10-β-D-glucopyranosyloxycanthin-6-one). Plant also contains alkaloids like β-carboline-1 -propionic acid, 6-methoxy-β carboline-1-propionic acid, 6-methoxy-β-carbolin-l-ylpropionic acid (ervolanine), and aervolanine (3-(6-methyoxy-β-carbolin-1-yl) propionic acid). [4],[5],[6]


Aerva lanata is a rich source of flavanoids such as kaempferol, quercetin, isorhamnetin, isorhamnetin 3-O-β-[4-p-coumaroyl-α-rhamnosyl(1→6) galactoside and flavanone glucoside persinol, persinosides A and B, 5, 4'-hydroxy-3, 6, 7-trimethoxyflavone, 5-hydroxy-3, 6, 7, 4-tetramethoxyflavone, 5-hydroxy 2', 3,5', 6, 7-pentamethoxyl flavone, 3,3', 5, 7-trihydroxy-4'-methoxyflavone, apigenin 7-O-β-D- glucoside and 7-O-β-D-glucopyranoside.[7],[8],[9]

Miscellaneous phytoconstituents

Aerva lanata
also contains methyl grevillate, lupeol, lupeol acetate benzoic acid, β-sitosteryl acetate and tannic acid.[10]

Nutritive content

Leaves of Aerva lanata were found to be high in carbohydrate (26.6 g/100g), crude protein (22.6 g/100g) and ash (31.2 g/100g). Mineral composition (mg/100g) revealed that the leaves were high in PO 4 (187), and moderately high in other minerals such as K (47.9), K (Poatssium) (39.4), Ca (Calcium) (51.7), Mg (Magnesium) (41.5), Zn (Zinc) (44.7), Fe (Ferrous) (11.0) and low in Mn (Manganese) (1.04).[ [10]

   Pharmacological Studies Top


Aerva lanata whole plant ethyl acetate and methanol extracts showed interesting antimicrobial activities against Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus,  Escherichia More Details coli, Shigella dysenteriae, Shigella shiga, Shigella sonnei, Shigella flexneriae, Shigella boydii, Klebsiella, Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus niger, Candida albicans, Hensinela californica and Rhizopus oligosporum and petroleum ether, ethyl acetate and methanol extracts showed significant cytotoxic properties. [11]


The antiparasitic activity of the seed and leaf extracts of Aerva lanata were tested against a tapeworm and an earthworm, particularly the ethanolic extract proved to be better against tapeworms and earthworms than the Albendazole, which is used for treating parasite infections. [12]

Diuretic and anti-urolithiasis

The alcoholic extract of Aerva lanata was tested for diuretic activity. The study indicated that the alcoholic extract at a dose of 800 mg/kg acted as a diuretic, with respect to control. Aerva lanata aqueous suspension (2 g/kg body wt/dose/day for 28 days) to CaO 2 urolithic rats had reduced the oxalate-synthesizing enzymes, and diminished the markers of crystal deposition in the kidney. The results of the study confirmed that Aerva lanata can be used as a curative agent for urolithiasis. [13],[14]

Acute renal failure

The ethanol extract of the entire plant of Aerva lanata was studied for its nephroprotective activity in cisplatin- and gentamicin-induced acute renal injury in albino rats of either sex. In the curative regimen, the extract at dose levels of 75, 150 and 300 mg/kg showed dose-dependent reduction in the elevated blood urea and serum creatinine and normalized the histopathological changes. In the gentamicin model the rats in the preventive regimen also showed good response to the ethanol extract at 300 mg/kg. The findings suggest that the ethanol extract of Aerva lanata possesses marked nephroprotective activity with minimal toxicity and could offer a promising role in the treatment of acute renal injury caused by nephrotoxins like cisplatin and gentamicin. [15]


The ethanolic extract of the aerial parts of Aerva lanata showed antiasthematic at 100 μg/ml in the isolated goat tracheal chain preparation. When administered orally 30 and 60 mg/kg of extract demonstrated antiastmatic activity against clonidine -induced catalepsy and it also inhibits mast cell degranulation in mice. [16]

Antifertility activity

The ethanolic extract of the aerial parts of Aerva lanata were evaluated for antifertility activity using anti-implantation, abortificient, and motility of rat spermatozoa (in vitro) models. The anti-implantation effect seems to be dependent on the dose as well as the initiation of treatment on specific days of pregnancy. Aerva lanata has shown pre-implantation loss of 20% and 30% against control at the dose of 200 and 400 mg/kg b/w, respectively. Percentage pregnancy failure among the treated groups was 30% and 40% at the dose of 200 and 400 mg/kg b/w, respectively. Aerva lanata at a concentration of 10% showed no motility of rat spermatozoa within 60 sec. [17]

Anti-hyperglycemic and anti-diabetic

In the oral glucose tolerance test, Aerva lanata (400 mg/kg) increased the glucose threshold at 60 min after the administration of glucose. The alcoholic extract of Aerva lanata was found to reduce the increased blood sugar level of alloxan-induced diabetic rats (42% at 375 mg/kg and 48% at 500 mg/kg body weight). Aerva lanata (400 mg/kg) treatment prevented a diabetic mice weight loss in. In the subacute study, repeated administration (once a day for 28 days) of glyburide and Aerva lanata caused a significant reduction in the serum glucose level as compared to the vehicle-treated group. [18],[19]


The hypolipidemic activity of Aerva lanata was assessed on ethylene glycol-induced calcium oxalate urolithic rats. Total lipids, total cholesterol and triglyceride levels were significantly increased in the serum, liver and kidney of calcium oxalate urolithic rats. Besides, phospholipids (PL), high-density lipoproteins (HDL), low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) levels were altered in calcium oxalate urolithic rats. On supplementation of Aerva lanata aqueous suspension, the above changes were reverted to near normal. These results indicate that the Aerva lanata aqueous suspension acts as a hypolipidemic agent in calcium oxalate urolithiasis. [20]


Petroleum ether extractable fraction of the whole plant Aerva lanata was evaluated for the protective effect against liver damage induced by carbon tetra chloride (CCl 4 ) in Sprague Dawley rats. Aerva lanata administration significantly reversed the histopathological changes, reduced hepatic lipid peroxidation and increased the serum total protein and albumin/globulin (A/G) ratio. [21]

Immunomodulatory and antitumor

Petroleum ether extract of Aerva lanata showed significant cytotoxicity against Daltons lymphoma ascites (DLA) tumor cell lines in vitro and stimulated lymphocyte proliferation in in vitro and in vivo conditions. DLA-bearing animals when treated with A. lanata showed increase in lifespan compared to control animals. Partially purified fraction was also found to be hepatoprotective as evidenced from the normal levels of liver marker enzymes compared to the elevated levels of these enzymes in DLA alone inoculated animals.

The partially thin layer chromatography-purified fraction of the petroleum ether extract of Aerva lanata proved to be cytotoxic to DLA, Ehrlich ascites (EA) and B16F10 cell lines in vitro. Since partially TLC-purified fraction was found to be more cytotoxic to DLA cell lines, it was used to study the pharmacological effect and its potential to reduce solid tumor induced by DLA cell lines in mice. [22],[23]


Ethanolic and aqueous extracts of Aerva lanata and A. javanica were screened for anti-diarrheal activity. All the extracts showed significant anti-diarrheal activity in charcoal meal test. reduction of the intestinal transit is suggested as mechanism of action. [24]

   Conclusion Top

Aerva lanata has been ethnomedicinally used as a therapeutic agent for a variety of diseases. [25],[26],[27],[28] Moreover, numerous research works have proven its uses beyond the ethnomedicinal ones in experimental animals. [29] Alkaloids and flavonoids which were isolated from this plant may be responsible for its pharmacological activities. The road ahead is to establish specific bioactive molecules, which might be responsible for these actions. Therefore the cultivation, collection, and further pharmacological exploration of Aerva lanata are essential.

   References Top

1.Kirtikar KP, Basu BD, Mahaskar C. Indian Medicinal Plants. 2 nd ed. Allahabad: International Book Distributors; 1987. p. 2051.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Anonymous, The Wealth of India: A Dictionary of Indian Raw Materials and Industrial Products, Vol. 1A. New Delhi: CSIR Publications; 1959. p. 91.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Singh V, Pandey RP. Ethnobotany of Rajasthan, Jodhpur: Scientific Publishers; 1998. p. 38.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Zapesochnaya G, Kurkin V, Okhanov V, Miroshnikov A. Canthin-6-one and â-carboline alkaloids from Aerva lanata. Planta Med 1992;58:192-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Zapesochnaya GG, Kurkin VA, Okhanov VV, Perzykh LN, Miroshnilov AI. Structure of the alkaloids of Aerva lanata. Chem Nat Compd 1991;27:725-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Zapesochnaya GG, Pervykh LN, Kurkin VA. A study of the herb Aerva lanata. III. Alkaloids. Chem Nat Compd 1991;27:336-40.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Saleh NA, Mansour RM, Markham KR. An acylated isorhamnetin glycoside from Aerva javanica. Phytochemistry 1990;29:1344-5.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Ahmed E, Imran M, Malik A, Ashraf M. Antioxidant activity with flavonoidal constituents from Aerva persica. Arch Pharm Res 2006;29:343-7.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Pervykh LN, Karasartov BS, Zapesochnaya GG. A study of the herb Aerva lanata IV. Flavonoid glycosides. Chem Nat Compd 1992;28:509-10.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Omoyeni OA, Adeyeye EI. Chemical composition, calcium, zinc and phytate interrelationships in Aerva lanata (Linn) Juss. ex schult leaves. Orient J Chem 2009;25:485-8.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Chowdhury D, Sayeed A, Islam A, Shah Alam Bhuiyan M, Astaq Mohal Khan GR. Antimicrobial activity and cytotoxicity of Aerva lanata. Fitoterapia 2002;73:92-4.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Anantha D, Israiel Kumar T, Santosh Kumar M, Manohar Reddy A, Mukharjee NS, Lakshmana Rao A. In vitro anti helmentic activity of aqueous and alcoholic extracts of Aerva lanata seeds and leaves. J Pharm Sci Res 2010;2:317-21.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Vetrichelvan T, Jegadeesan M, Senthil Palaniappan M, Murali NP, Sasikumar K. Diuretic and antiinflammatory activities of aerva Ianata in rats. Indian J Pharm Sci 2000;62:300-2.  Back to cited text no. 13
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14.Soundararajan P, Mahesh R, Ramesh T, Begum VH. Effect of Aerva lanata on calcium oxalate urolithiasis in rats. Indian J Exp Biol 2006;44:981-6.  Back to cited text no. 14
15.Shirwaikar A, Issac D, Malini S. Effect of Aerva lanata on cisplatin and gentamicin models of acute renal failure. J Ethnopharmacol 2004;90:81-6.  Back to cited text no. 15
16.Kumar D, Prasad DN, Parkash J, Bhatnagar SP. Antiasthmatic activity of ethanolic extract of Aerva lanata Linn. Pharmacologyonline 2009;2:1075-81.  Back to cited text no. 16
17.Savadi R, Alagawadi K. Antifertility activity of ethanolic extracts of plumbago indica and Aerva lanata on albino rats. Int J Green Pharm 2009;3:230-3.  Back to cited text no. 17
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18.Deshmukh TA, Yadav BV, Badole SL, Bodhankar SL, Dhaneshwar SR. Antihyperglycaemic activity of alcoholic extract of Aerva lanata (L.) A.L. Juss. ex J.A. Schultes leaves in alloxan induced diabetic mice. J Appl Biomed 2008;6:81-7.  Back to cited text no. 18
19.Vetrichelvan T, Jegadeesan M. Anti-diabetic activity of alcoholic extract of Aerva lanata (L.) Juss. ex Schultes in rats. J Ethnopharmacol 2002;80:103-7.  Back to cited text no. 19
20.Soundararajan P, Mahesh R, Ramesh T, Begum VH. Hypolipidemic activity of Aerva lanata on ethylene glycol induced calcium oxalate urolithiasis in rats. Pharmacologyonline 2007;1:557-63.  Back to cited text no. 20
21.Nevin KG, Vijayammal PL. Effect of Aerva lanata against hepatotoxicity of carbon tetrachloride in rats. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol 2005;20:471-7.  Back to cited text no. 21
22.Nevin KG, Vijayammal PL. Pharmacological and immunomodulatory effects of Aerva lanata in daltons lymphoma ascites-bearing mice. Pharm Biol 2005;43:640-6.  Back to cited text no. 22
23.Nevin KG, Vijayammal PL. Effect of Aerva lanata on solid tumor induced by DLA cells in mice. Fitoterapia 2003;74:578-82.  Back to cited text no. 23
24.Joanofarc J, Vamsadhara C. Evaluation of antidiarrhoeal activity of Aerva species. Nat Prod Sci 2003;9:177-9.   Back to cited text no. 24
25.Tabuti JR, Lye KA, Dhillion SS. Traditional herbal drugs of Bulamogi, Uganda: Plants, use and administration. J Ethnopharmacol 2003;88:19-44.   Back to cited text no. 25
26.Ssegawa P, Kasenene JM. Medicinal plant diversity and uses in the Sango bay area, Southern Uganda. J Ethnopharmacol 2007;113:521-40.   Back to cited text no. 26
27.Samy RP, Thwin MM, Gopalakrishnakone P, Ignacimuthu S. Ethnobotanical survey of folk plants for the treatment of snakebites in Southern part of Tamilnadu, India. J Ethnopharmacol 2008;115:302-12.   Back to cited text no. 27
28.Rahman MA, Mossa JS, Al-Said MS, Al-Yahya MA. Medicinal plant diversity in the flora of Saudi Arabia 1: A report on seven plant families. Fitoterapia 2004;75:149-61.  Back to cited text no. 28
29.Sharma A, Sharma SC, Vaghela JS. Phytopharmacological Investigation of Aerva Lanata Flowers with Special Emphasis on Diuretic Activity. Pharmacogn J 2010;2:59-62.  Back to cited text no. 29

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