Scientific Name(s): Peperomia pellucida L. HBK.
Common Name(s): Coracaozinho, Erva-de-jaboti, Erva-de-jabuti, Erva-de-vidro, Lingua de sapo, Shiny bush, Silver bush
The family Piperaceae comprises about 5 genera and 1,400 species. The genus Peperomia represents nearly half of the Piperaceae. P. pellucida L. HBK is a herbaceous plant found in many South American and Asian countries. The plant grows to a height of 15 to 45 cm, and its shiny light-green leaves are succulent, well spaced, and heart shaped. The species develops during rainy periods (often in the spring) and thrives in loose, humid soils under the shade of trees.Arrigoni-Blank 2002, Bayma 2000, de Fatima 2004, dos Santos 2001, USDA 2017
The plant has a rich history of medicinal use. Ethnomedicinal data in Bolivia from Alteños Indians document the whole plant being crushed, mixed with water, heated, and then orally administered to stop hemorrhage. The same reference documents a root decoction for treatment of fevers and mashed aerial parts applied topically or used as dressing for wounds.Muñoz 2000
P. pellucida has been used for treating abdominal pain, abscesses, acne, boils, colic, fatigue, gout, headache, renal disorders, and rheumatic pain, and to treat breast cancer, impotence, measles, mental disorders, and smallpox. It has been used in salads or as a cooked vegetable to help relieve rheumatic joint pain.Aziba 2001, Khan 2002
Other medicinal properties vary depending on region. In northeastern Brazil, the plant has been used to lower cholesterol; in Guyana, it has been used as a diuretic and to treat proteinuria; and in the Amazon region, it has been used as a cough suppressant, diuretic, and emollient, and to treat cardiac arrhythmia.Arrigoni-Blank 2002, Bayma 2000, de Fatima 2004
Numerous chemical investigations, primarily on the essential oils of the plant, are found in medical literature. One study identified 71 compounds from the essential oils of 10 Piperaceae species. Sesquiterpenes appear to be the major chemical constituents in the essential oils. Carotol (13.41%) was the major hydroxylated sesquiterpene in a chemical analysis of P. pellucida. Flavonoids, phytosterols, arylpropanoids (eg, apiols), substituted styrenes, and a dimeric ArC2 compound or pellucidin A have been isolated. Antifungal activity has been documented for arylpropanoids such as the apiols. Other compounds, like the peperomins, have cytotoxic or anticancer activity in vitro. Isolated flavonoids include acacetin, apigenin, isovitexin, and pellucidatin. Isolated phytosterols include campesterol and stigmasterol.Aqil 1993, Aqil 1994, Bayma 2000, da Silva 1999, dos Santos 2001, Manalo 1983, Moreira 1999, Oliveros-Belardo 1967, Ragasa 1998, Xu 2006
Uses and Pharmacology
Reviews of P. pellucida document in vitro and animal data on the anti-inflammatory, chemotherapeutic, and analgesic properties found in the crude extracts.
One study reported that anti-inflammatory activity may vary depending on the plant's development phases. Anti-inflammatory activity was evaluated by using the rat paw edema test induced by carrageenan. Eight Wistar rats received oral indomethacin 10 mg/kg as a control; another group of rats received P. pellucida aqueous extract 400 mg/kg for all 4 distinct phenophases 1 hour before subplantar injection of 1% carrageenan 0.1 mL/paw. Although indomethacin was more effective, greater anti-inflammatory action was documented with extracts from phenophase 1 and 2 during winter and spring, or vegetative and beginning-of-bloom stages, respectively. In a similar experiment, rats orally administered P. pellucida aqueous extract 200 and 400 mg/kg exhibited anti-inflammatory activity in the carrageenin test. The mechanism of action is associated with prostaglandin synthesis interference, as confirmed by results of an arachidonic acid-induced rat paw edema study.Arrigoni-Blank 2002, de Fatima 2004
Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of P. pellucida as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Most studies assessed analgesic activity by the abdominal writhing test using acetic acid or by the hot-plate test. The results suggest that the analgesic effect of P. pellucida is related to the mechanism of action associated with prostaglandin synthesis. In mice subjected to the acetic acid-induced writhing test, a P. pellucida extract exhibited analgesic activity at 400 mg/kg, inhibiting pain by 50% compared with controls. The same test, when repeated in another study, attained higher inhibition percentages (78%) when a methanolic extract of P. pellucida 210 mg/kg was used. The difference in results may be associated with use of different extracts, climatic conditions, and plant origin. An analgesic effect was observed in the hot-plate test at lower concentrations of 100 and 200 mg/kg, which may indicate extract activity against inflammatory and noninflammatory pain.Aziba 2001, de Fatima 2004
Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of P. pellucida as an analgesic agent.
In vitro data
Crude methanolic extracts of P. pellucida had broad spectrum antimicrobial activity using the disk diffusion method. The fractions were more active than the crude extracts.Muñoz 2000 Other studies document similar results for activity against numerous species, including Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus.Bojo 1994, Lee 2016
Chloroform extracts from dried leaves of P. pellucida, particularly apiol and pachypophyllin, have antifungal activity against Trichophyton mentagrophytes.Ragasa 1998
A whole plant extract inhibited growth of the chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum Indo strain by 95% in vitro at 100 mg/mL, and the rodent malaria Plasmodium vinckei petteri by 78% in vivo at 1,000 mg/kg. Monoterpenoid derivatives from the plant species Peperomia galioides have toxic activity against promastigote forms of Leishmania braziliensis, Leishmania donovani, and Leishmania amazonensis at a concentration of 25 mcg/mL and cause total lysis of the parasites at 100 mcg/mL.Chan-Bacab 2001, Muñoz 2000
Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of P. pellucida for antimicrobial activity.
Cytotoxicity was observed in crude extracts from P. pellucida against the cancer cell lines HL-60, MCF-7, and HeLa.Xu 2006
A study in rodents demonstrated bone healing, suggested to be due to stimulatory effects on osteoblast differentiation and mineralization.Ngueguim 2013
Gastroprotective activity of extracts from P. pellucida has been reported in rodents.Rojas-Martínez 2013
None validated by clinical data.
Pregnancy / Lactation
Information regarding pregnancy and lactation is lacking. The plant species interferes with prostaglandin synthesis.
No drug interaction data could be found in medical literature. Theoretically, patients taking herbal preparations containing P. pellucida with analgesic or anti-inflammatory drugs should be wary of potential additive and adverse effects such as GI bleeding, constipation, and bruising.
The plant has a strong mustard-like odor and may cause asthma-like symptoms in patients with known hypersensitivity reactions to the plant species.
Animals given P. pellucida aqueous extract 5 g/kg for 14 days showed no adverse reactions or changes in behavior or weight. No clinical data have been reported on human toxicity.de Fatima 2004
This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.
This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.
Copyright © 2018 Wolters Kluwer Health