Centipeda minima (PROSEA)

From PlantUse English
Jump to: navigation, search
Logo PROSEA.png
Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Centipeda minima (L.) A. Br. & Asch.

Protologue: Ind. sem. hort. Berol.(1867), App. 6 (1868).
Family: Compositae
Chromosome number: 2n= 20


Artemisia minima L. (1753), Centipeda orbicularis Lour. (1790).

Vernacular names

  • Sneezeweed, sneezewort (En)
  • Indonesia: mbakoan (Javanese)
  • Philippines: harangan (Tagalog), pisik (Bisaya)
  • Thailand: krataai chan (central), yaa krachaam (peninsular), mueat lot (eastern)
  • Vietnam: cúc mẳn, cóc mẳn, cỏ the.

Origin and geographic distribution

C. minima occurs from Africa through Afghanistan and India to China and Japan, and southwards through South-East Asia to Australia and the Pacific Islands.


C. minima is used in general against eye and sinus infections and nose polyps. The leaves, when squeezed between the fingers and inhaled, make the eyes water, clear the head and provoke sneezing. In Indo-China and Thailand, the plant is also used against cough, common cold and bronchitis. In China, it is considered a hot and dry medicine which is useful as a decoction in paralysis and pain in the joints, and also against malaria, hepatitis, diabetes mellitus, eczema, insect or snake bites, and opium poisoning. Taken with wine, it is a remedy for internal injuries. The seed or dried aerial parts are used as a vermifuge and amoebicide.

In India, the herb is boiled to a paste and applied to the cheeks for toothache, and also used for other swellings and inflammations. In Taiwan, a decoction is suggested as a remedy for rickets and children’s sores, and for diseases of the digestive system. It is considered a stimulant, like Arnica spp. ( Compositae ).

C. minima is said to have caused poisoning of livestock in northern Australia.

Production and international trade

C. minima is only locally used as a medicinal plant and is not traded on the international market.


The essential oil of C. minima contains bitter compounds such as myriogynic acid and myriogynin, several flavonoids including quercetin, quercetin-3-methylether and kaempferol-7-rhamnoside, and pentacyclic triterpenes such as arnidiol, taraxasterol, taraxerol, 3α,21β,22α,28-tetrahydroxyolean-12-ene and 3α,16α,21β,22α,28-pentahydroxyolean-12-en-28-O-β-D-xylopyranoside. Other compounds include 6-hydroxy-hexacos-trans-8-en-3-on, 3,5,4'-trimethoxy-trans-stilbene, and several sesquiterpene lactones.

The sesquiterpene lactones 6-O-methylacrylylplenolin, 6-O-angeloylplenolin and 6-O-isobutyroylplenolin showed antibacterial activity against Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus in vitro, the latter compound being the most active. An aqueous extract of the above-ground plant parts showed in vitro activity against Entamoeba histolytica , Giardia intestinalis and Plasmodium falciparum . Activity was found to be caused by the sesquiterpene lactone brevilin A. Furthermore, an aqueous extract showed significant inhibitory activity on the binding of platelet activating factor to rabbit platelets. 6-O-angeloylplenolin and 6-O-senecioylplenolin were identified as the most potent compounds in the extract. Ether, methanol and aqueous extracts showed significant anti-allergy activity in the passive cutaneous anaphylaxis test. 6-O-isobutyroylplenolin, 6-O-senecioylplenolin and some flavonoids inhibited induced histamine release from mast cells. A methanolic extract of dried aerial parts showed significant activity against herpes simplex virus, polio virus and sindbis virus.

An infusion of dried plants exhibited antitussive activity in mice at 0.5 g/kg, and the aqueous extract showed antispasmodic activity against acetylcholine- and histamine-induced spasms of guinea-pig ileum. The ether extract showed anaphylactic activity when administered antiperitoneally to rats. C. minima extracts also show moderate antimutagenic activity against benzo[a]pyrene.

A weak cytotoxic activity of methanol and aqueous extracts was shown in culture of mammary microalveolar cells. The ethyl acetate extract, however, revealed strong cytotoxic activity on HeLaS3 cells, with a IC50value less than 10μg/ml, and the LD50of the ethanol extract, injected intraperitoneally in mice, at 500-750 mg/kg.


A small annual, aromatic herb, 8-20(-30) cm tall, often much branched, often prostrate; stems filiform, ribbed, internodes 2-10 mm long, 1 mm large, sparsely to densely covered with fine white, cobwebby hairs. Leaves alternate, simple, narrowly spatulate, 5-20 mm × 1-7 mm, base attenuate, apex obtuse and mucronulate, sometimes 3-lobed at the apex and entire at the lower part, margins pinnatilobed or dentate (lobes or teeth mucronulate), sparsely pilose on both sides; petiole absent; stipules absent. Inflorescence an axillary head, 2-4 mm in diameter, opposed to a leaf; peduncle absent, involucral bracts 2-seriate, oblong, about 1 mm long, margins membranous, subdentate, with long, cotton-like hairs, apex rounded. Flowers all tubular, marginal flowers numerous, female, corolla 0.2 mm long, pilose, whitish, disk flowers few, bisexual, corolla 0.5 mm long, campanulate, deeply 4-lobed, yellow or tinged with violet; anthers 4, 0.4 mm long, apically thickened; ovary obconical, 4-angled; style filiform, short, bifid. Fruit an oblong and curved achene, 1 mm long, 4-angled, angles with appressed hairs 1 mm long, white, pistil more or less persistent; pappus absent. Seedling with epigeal germination, hypocotyl 2 mm long, cotyledons subsessile, elliptical, 1.8 mm × 0.9 mm, base attenuate, apex rounded, glabrous, epicotyl absent, first leaves opposite, subsessile, elliptical, 1.7-2 mm × 1.1-1.3 mm, midvein distinct, base attenuate, margin entire, apex apiculate, glabrous.

Growth and development

C. minima is a minor weed because it does not root deeply, and it stays small. The flowering period in Java is March-October.

Other botanical information

Centipeda comprises 6 species, which are predominantly distributed over the Old World tropics. C. minima is at present placed in the tribe Anthemideae , but on the basis of the pollen grain structure it is probably better placed in the Astereae .


C. minima is common in humid open locations, on thinly grassed patches in savanna, on banks of permanent waterholes, and on muddy banks of rivers. In Indo-China, it is common in fallow rice-fields and waste land. It occurs from sea-level up to 30 m in Java, but up to 1200-2400 m altitude elsewhere.

Propagation and planting

C. minima propagates through achenes, which are zoo- and hydrochorous.

Diseases and pests

No diseases and pests are known to attack C. minima . It is resistant to root-knot nematodes.


C. minima is harvested either when the flower heads are just opening or are in full bloom.

Handling after harvest

C. minima is cleaned of sand and dried after harvesting.

Genetic resources and breeding

C. minima is a widespread weed, which does not seem to be in danger of genetic erosion. No germplasm collections or breeding programmes are known to exist.


Little information is available about phytochemical and pharmacological properties of C. minima . The bactericidal activity of the sesquiterpene lactones merits further research.


  • Gupta, D. & Singh, J., 1990. Phytochemical investigation of Centipeda minima. Indian Journal of Chemistry, Section B Organic Chemistry including Medicinal Chemistry 29(1): 34-39.
  • Heywood, V.H. & Humphries, C.J. 1977. Anthemideae - systematic review. In: Heywood, V.H., Harborne, J.B. & Turner, B.L. (Editors): The biology and chemistry of the Compositae. Vol. 2. Academic Press, New York & San Francisco, United States and London, United Kingdom. pp. 851-898.
  • Iwakami, S., Wu, J.B., Ebizuka, Y. & Sankawa, U., 1992. Platelet activating factor (PAF) antagonists contained in medicinal plants: lignans and sesquiterpenes. Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 40(5): 1196-1198.
  • Soerjani, M., Kostermans, A.J.G.H. & Tjitrosoepomo, G. (Editors), 1987. Weeds of rice in Indonesia. Balai Pustaka, Jakarta, Indonesia. p. 70.
  • Wu, J.B., Chun, Y.T., Ebizuka, Y. & Sankawa, U., 1991. Biologically active constituents of Centipeda minima: sesquiterpenes of potential anti-allergy activity. Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 39(12): 3272-3275.
  • Yu, H.W., Wright, C.W., Cai, Y., Yang, S.L., Phillipson, J.D., Kirby, G.C. & Warhurst, D.C., 1994. Antiprotozoal activities of Centipeda minima. Phytotherapy Research 8(7): 436-438.

Other selected sources

74, 108, 134,

  • Burkill, I.H., 1966. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Revised reprint. 2 volumes. Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Vol. 1 (A-H) pp. 1-1240, Vol. 2 (I-Z) pp. 1241-2444.

215, 329, 355, 559, 595, 604, 739, 786, 788, 793, 810, 876, 981, 993, 994.


Wongsatit Chuakul, Noppamas Soonthornchareonnon & Orawan Ruangsomboon