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Peperomia pellucida

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

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 20, 2020.

Clinical Overview


The plant species has a history of ethnomedicinal use. Anti-inflammatory, chemotherapeutic, and analgesic properties have been found in crude extracts of P. pellucida.


None validated by clinical data.


Patients with known hypersensitivity reactions to any of the components of the plant species should avoid use.


Avoid use because of lack of clinical data. The plant species interferes with prostaglandin synthesis.


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

The plant has a strong mustard-like odor and may cause asthma-like symptoms in patients with known hypersensitivity reactions to the plant species.


No clinical data have been reported on human toxicity. Animals tolerated 14 days of P. pellucida aqueous extract 5 g/kg with no adverse reactions or changes in behavior or weight.

Scientific Family

  • Piperaceae (pepper)


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.

Anti-inflammatory activity

Animal data

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

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of P. pellucida as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Analgesic activity

Animal data

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

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of P. pellucida as an analgesic agent.

Antimicrobial activity

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

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of P. pellucida for antimicrobial activity.

Other uses

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.

Adverse Reactions

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 Fatima 2004


Aqil M, Khan IZ, Ahmad MB. Flavonoids from Peperomia pellucida. Sci Phys Sci. 1993;5:213-215.
Aqil M, Rahman FA, Ahmad MB. A new flavonol glycoside from Peperomia pellucida. Sci Phys Sci. 1994;6:141-143.
Arrigoni-Blank Mde F, Oliveira RL, Mendes SS, et al. Seed germination, phenology, and antiedematogenic activity of Peperomia pellucida (L.) H. B. K.BMC Pharmacol. 2002;2:12-19.12019026
Aziba PI, Adedeji A, Ekor M, Adeyemi O. Analgesic activity of Peperomia pellucida aerial parts in mice. Fitoterapia. 2001;72:57-58.11163942
Bayma JD, Arruda MS, Müller AH, Arruda AC, Canto WC. A dimeric ArC2 compound from Peperomia pellucida. Phytochemistry. 2000;55:779-782.11190395
Bojo AC, Albano-Garcia E, Pocsidio GN. The antibacterial activity of Peperomia pellucida (L.) HBK (Piperaceae). Asia Life Sci. 1994;3:35-44.
Chan-Bacab MJ, Peña-Rodriguez LM. Plant natural products with leishmanicidal activity. Nat Prod Rep. 2001;18:674-688.11820764
da Silva MH, Zoghbi MG, Andrade EH, Maia JG. The essential oils of Peperomia pellucida Kunth and P. circinnata Link var. circinnata. Flavour Fragrance J. 1999;14:312-314.
de Fatima Arrigoni-Blank M, Dmitrieva EG, Franzotti EM, Antoniolli AR, Andrade MR, Marchioro M. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity of Peperomia pellucida (L.) HBK (Piperaceae). J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;91:215-218.15120441
dos Santos PR, de Limas Moreira D, Guimaraes EF, Kaplan MA. Essential oil analysis of 10 Piperaceae species from the Brazilian Atlantic forest. Phytochemistry. 2001;58:547-551.11576595
Khan MR, Omoloso AD. Antibacterial activity of Hygrophila stricta and Peperomia pellucida. Fitoterapia. 2002;73:251-254.12048020
Lee SW, Sim KY, Wendy W, Zulhisyam AK. Peperomia pellucida leaf extract as immunostimulator in controlling motile aeromonad septicemia due to Aeromonas hydrophila in red hybrid tilapia, Oreochromis spp. farming. Vet World. 2016;9(3):231-234.27057104
Manalo JB, Han BH, Han YN, Park MH, Anzaldo FE. Studies on ether-soluble neutral compounds of Peperomia pellucida. Arch Pharm Res. 1983;6:133-136.
Moreira DL, De Souza PO, Kaplan MA, Guimaraes EF. Essential oil analysis of four Peperomia species (Piperaceae). Acta Hortic. 1999;500:65-69.
Muñoz V, Sauvain M, Bourdy G, et al. A search for natural bioactive compounds in Bolivia through a multidisciplinary approach: Part III. Evaluation of the antimalarial activity of plants used by Alteños Indians. J Ethnopharmacol. 2000;71:123-131.10904155
Ngueguim FT, Khan MP, Donfack JH, et al. Ethanol extract of Peperomia pellucida (Piperaceae) promotes fracture healing by an anabolic effect on osteoblasts. J Ethnopharmacol. 2013;148(1):62-68.23578859
Oliveros-Belardo L. Some constituents of volatile oil of Peperomia pellucida. Perfum Essent Oil Rec. 1967;58:359-363.
Peperomia pellucida. USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (, March 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
Ragasa CY, Dumato M, Rideout JA. Antifungal compounds from Peperomia pellucida. ACGC Chem Res Commun. 1998;7:54-61.
Rojas-Martínez R, Arrieta J, Cruz-Antonio L, et al. Dillapiole, isolated from Peperomia pellucida, shows gastroprotector activity against ethanol-induced gastric lesions in Wistar rats. Molecules. 2013;18(9):11327-11337.24064453
Xu S, Li N, Ning MM, Zhou CH, Yang QR, Wang MW. Bioactive compounds from Peperomia pellucida. J Nat Prod. 2006;69:247-250.


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