Air plant / miracle plant proven benefits uses


Scientific name Common names
Bryophyllum calycinum Salisb. Abisrana (Ilk.)
Bryophyllum germinans Blanco Aritana (Bik.)  
Bryophyllum pinnatum (Lam.) Oken Balangbang (If.)  
Cotyledon calyculata Sol. ex Sims Inginga (Ig.) 
Cotyledon calyculata Solander Kapal-kapal (Sul.)
Cotyledon pinnata Lam. Karitana (Bis)  
Cotyledon rhizophylla Roxb. Kokoeng (Bon.)  
Crassula pinnata (Lam.) L.f. Lapak-lapak (Sul.)
Crassuvia floripendia Comm. ex Lam. Putputok (Bon.)  
Crassuvia floripenula Comm. Siempre viva, Angelica (Sp.) 
Kalanchoe brevicalyx (Raym.Hamet & H. Perrier) Boiteau Air plant (Engl.)
Kalanchoe calcicola (H. Perrier) Boiteau Cathedral bells (Engl.)
Kalanchoe pinnata (Lam.) Pers. Miracle plant (Engl.)
Sedum madagascariense Clus . Mother of thousands (Engl.)
Vereia pinnata (Lam.) Spreng. Live-leaf-of-resurrection plant (Engl.)
Bryophyllum pinnatum (Lam.) Oken is an accepted name


Other vernacular names
ARABIC: Kushnulhayat.
BANGLADESH: Pathorkuchi, Coughpatha, Koppata.
BRUNEI: Bendingin, Serigen.
BURMA: Yoekiyapinba.
CHINESE: Lao di sheng gen.
HINDI: Zakhm-hayat.
INDONESIA: Daun sejk, Buntiris, Sosor bebek.
LAOS: Pount tay, Poun po.
MALAYALAM: Elamurunga.
MALAYSIA: Sedingin, Seringing, Setawar padang.
SANSKRIT: Asthi-bhaksha.
THAILAND: Benchachat, Ton tai bai pen, Khwum taai ngaai pen.
VIETNAM: C[aa]y thu[oos]c b[or]ng, C[aa]y tr[uw] [owf]ng sinh, l[aj]c c[ij]a sinh c[aw]n.



Katakataka is an erect, more or less branched, smooth, succulent herb, 0.4 to 1.4 meters in height. Leaves are simple or pinnately compound, with the leaflets elliptic, usually about 10 centimeters long, thick, succulent, and scalloped margins. Plantlets grow along the notches of the leaf margins which can develop while still attached to the plant or when detached, a fascinating characteristic that earns its name. Flowers are cylindric, and pendulous in a large, terminal panicle. Calyx is tubular, cylindric, inflated, brownish or purplish, 3.5 to 4 centimeters long. Corolla is tubular, about 5 centimeters long, inflated at the base, and then constricted, the exserted parts being reddish or purplish and the lobes tapering to a point. Fruit is a follicle with many seeds.


– In open settled areas, thickets, dry second-growth forests, sometimes planted, and locally abundant.

– Prehistoric introduction from tropical Asia or Malaya.

– Also cultivated, flowering from December to March.

– Pantropic.


• Phytochemical screenings have yielded alkaloids, triterpenes, glycosides, flavonoids, steroids, butadienolides, lipids, and organic acids.

• Yields arachidic acid, astragalin, behenic acid, beta amyrin, benzenoids, bersaldegenin, beta-sitosterol, bryophollenone, bryophollone, bryophyllin, caffeic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, steroids, and taraxerol.

• Phytochemical evaluation of leaf extract yielded bryophyllum A, B and C, a potent cytotoxic bufadienolide orthoacetate.

• Bufadienolide has been reported to be poisonous with digitalis-toxicity type cardiac effects (slowing of heart rate, heart blocks and potentially fatal ventricular arrhythmias.

• Bryophillin A, a bufadienolide compound, has shown anti-tumor promoting activity.

• Leaves yield malic acid.

• Fractionation of an EtOAc extract yielded seven kaempferol rhamnosides: kaempferol 3-O-α-L-(2-acetyl)rhamnopyranoside-7-O-α-L-rhamnopyranoside, kaempferol 3-O-α-L-(3-acetyl)rhamnopyranoside-7-O-α-L-rhamnopyranoside, kaempferol 3-O-α-L-(4-acetyl)rhamnopyranoside-7-O-α-L-rhamnopyranoside, kaempferol 3-O-α-D- glucopyranoside-7-O-α-L-rhamnopyranoside, afzelin, and α-rhamnoisorobin. (19)

• Study of methanol extract of whole plant isolated compounds: glut-5(6)- en-3-one, taraxerone, 3ß-friedelanol, ß-amyrin-3-acetate, 3,5,7,3,5-pentahydroxyflavone and ß-sitosterol. (27)


• Leaves considered astringent, antiseptic, hemostatic, refrigerant, emollient, counterirritant, mucilaginous, vulnerary, depurative, anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, and tonic.

• Pharmacologic studies have showed pharmacologic properties: immunomodulatory, CNS depressant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antianaphylactic, antileishmanial, antitumorous, antiulcer, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, febrifuge, gastroprotective, immunosuppressive, insecticidal, sedative, muscle relaxant.

Parts utilized

Entire plant. May be collected year round; preferably used fresh.

Folkloric traditional medicine uses

– Leaves used as astringent, antiseptic, and counterirritant against poisonous insect bites.

– Pounded fresh material is applied as a poultice for a variety of conditions: Sprains, eczema, infections, burns, carbuncle and erysipelas.

– Leaves, made pliable by hold over fire, are applied to wounds, bruises, boils; also, used as poultice or power in bad ulcers.

– Juice is mixed with lard and used for diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, and phthisis.

– Pounded leaves are applied as poultices to the soles of the feet to stop hemorrhages.

– Leaves are used as topical in dislocation, ecchymoses, callosities.

– Leaves, pounded and mixed with salt, used as plaster and applied to stomach to relieve enuresis

– For boils, the whole leaf is pressed by hand, to and fro, until it becomes moist with the leaf extract. A small opening is made in the middle of the leaf which is then placed on the boil with hole over the pointing of the abscess.

– For asthma, leaves of leaves places in hot water for 15 minutes, then juice squeezed out of the leaves, and drunk.

– Juice of leaves used in bilious diarrhea and lithiasis.

– In Ayurveda, useful in vitiated conditions of vata and pitta, cuts, wounds, hemorrhoids, menorrhagia, boils, sloughing ulcers, burns and scalds, diarrhea, dysentery, headaches, vomiting, bronchitis.

– In Arunachal Pradesh, leaf extract is taken on an empty stomach for treatment of urinary bladder stones and fever in children.

– In Himalaya, leaves applied on bruises, skin problems, and painful areas.

– In Bangladesh, used for cough, fever, epilepsy, constipation.

– In Puerto Rico, leaf juice used as diuretic.

– Leaves are rubbed or tied on the head for headaches.

– Leaf decoction usually taken to lower blood pressure.

– Leaf juice used for earache and ophthalmia.

– In Sierra Leon, cough medicine is made from the roots.

– In Brazil leaves, heated over fire and mixed with oil, are used as emollient and refrigerant for facial swelling associated with neuralgia or tooth trouble. Also, used for asthma and bronchitis.

– In Jamaica, leaves used for coughs and colds. Sometimes, it is mixed with salt or honey, for headaches, colds, bronchial affections, and hypertension. Heated leaves used for swellings and abscesses.

– In Africa, used for earaches, eye problems, and as diuretic.

– In China used for rheumatoid arthritis, bruises, burns and ulcers.

• In Bangladesh, used for diabetes, wounds, boils, and insect bites. Also, used as diuretic, dissolving kidney stones. (27)

– In Nigeria, plant is considered sedative, wound-healing, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and cough suppressant. Leaf juice used to treat boils and skin ulcers. Plant used for intestinal parasites, bronchitis, pneumonia. (21)

– In the KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa, leaves used in combination with Opuntia stricta and Euphorbia hypericifolia to treat gonorrhea. (42)

• Cattle Poisoning: A report of 2 adult cattle deaths attributed the fatalities to a large of amount of feeding of B pinnatum plants. The main autopsy findings were acute rumenitis, reduction of bronchiolar lumens and emphysema.

Scientific studies on miracle plant

Neuropharmacological Effects / CNS Depressant:

Study evaluated aqueous leaf extracts for neuropharmacological activities in mice. Results revealed CNS depressant activity attributed to the presence of bufadienolide and other water soluble constituents. (1)

Antinociceptive / Anti-inflammatory / Antidiabetic:

Leaf extract study of BP on animals showed it to possess antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory and hypoglycemic properties probably due to the flavonoid, polyphenol and triterpenoid contents. (2)


Results of methanolic extract study in rats showed that BP possessed potent antiulcer properties. Leaf extract showed significant reduction in incidence of ulceration in indomethacin-induced gastric ulceration in a dose-dependent manner. (3)


(1) Results of methanolic extract study in rats showed that BP possessed potent antiulcer properties. Leaf extract showed significant reduction in incidence of ulceration in indomethacin-induced gastric ulceration in a dose-dependent manner. (2) Study of methanolic fraction of extract of BP showed significant anti-ulcer activity in nine different experimental animal models.

Tocolytic / Pre-term labor:

Study characterized the tocolytic activity of BP in vitro vs the betamimetic, fenoterol. Results confirmed its tocolytic activity and justifies further clinical studies. (4)

Tocolytic / Better Tolerated than Beta-Agonist:

Intravenous tocolysis with Bryophyllum pinnatum is better tolerated than beta-agonist application.

• Analgesic:

The study concludes that the aqueous extract of BP has strong analgesic potency comparable in a times- and dose-dependent manner to a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. (5)


The antileishmanial activity assessment of unusual flavonoids from Kalanchoe pinnata: Quercetin from K pinnata has demonstrated to be a potent antileshmanial flavonoid. Another study yielded unusual flavonoids with antileishmanial effect. (6)


A study isolated a potent cytotoxic bufadienolide orthoacetate and identified as bersaldegenin 1,3, 5-orthoacetate. (8)


Extract of leaves showed activity against all test organisms except for Candida albicans. Of all the extracts of Bp, the methanol extract was the most active with marked antibacterial activities against control strain of S aureus, E faecalis, B subtilis and P aeruginosa. (9)


Study showed a blood pressure lowering effect. However, since the reduction in blood pressure was only slight, and because of potential hepatotoxic nephrotoxic effects, and cardiotoxicity at high doses, it is not suggested as a blood pressure lowering agent.

Hepatoprotective / Nephroprotective:

In India, juice of fresh leaves used for jaundice. Study showed the juice of leaves to be more effective than an ethanolic extract as evidenced by in vivo and in vitro hepatoprotective studies. Study showed nephroprotective effect on gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity in rats, possibly through antioxidant and oxidative radical scavenging mechanisms.

Neurosedative / Muscle Relaxant:

Study in mice investigating the neuropharmacological activities of a saline leaf extract of B. pinnatum showed a dose-dependent prolongation of onset and duration of pentobarbitone-induced hypnosis. It also delayed onset to convulsion in strychnine- and picrotoxin-induced seizures with minimal protection against picrotoxicin seizures. (13)

Tocolysis / Effect on Oxytocin Signalling Pathway / Juice:

In vitro results showed B. pinnatum juice inhibits the oxytocin-induced increase of Ca in human myometrial cells in a dose-dependent manner. The inhibition was attributed to a specific effect on the oxytocin signalling pathway. (15)

Inhibition of Detrusor Contractility / Potential Treatment for Overactive Bladder:

Study evaluated the inhibitory effects of leaf press juice on porcine detrussor bladder strips. Results showed BP juice inhibits contractions induced by electrical field stimulation and relaxes carbachol-induced contractions. However, the effect was less than the reference drug oxybutinin. (18)

Antimicrobial / Antioxidant / Kaempferol Rhamnoside Derivatives:

Fractionation of an EtOAc yielded seven kaempferol rhamnosides. (See constituents above) Study showed B. pinnatum and some of its isolated compounds have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. (19)

Wound Healing:

Study evaluated various leaf extracts on excision resutured incision and dead-space wound models in albino rats. Results showed all three tested extracts promote healing of resutured incision and dead space wounds, with increased breaking strength and hydroxyproline content of the granulation tissue. Topical application of water extract also hastened the healing in the excision wound model. (20)

Two Novel Flavonoids / Antimicrobial:

Study of leaf yielded two novel flavonoids: 5I Methyl 4I, 5, 7 trihydroxyl flavone 1 and 4I, 3, 5, 7 tetrahydroxy 5-methyl 5I-propenamine anthocyanidines. The isolated compounds inhibited P. aeruginosa, K pneumonia, E coli, S aureus, C albicans and A niger. (21)

Hematological Effects / Platelet Concern:

Study evaluated the effect of a crude methanolic leaf extract on hematological parameters in Wistar rats. Results suggest the extract may have properties that increase the Hb, PCV, and TWBC while decreasing platelets. (22)

Anti-Inflammatory / Antinociceptive:

Study of an ethanol extract showed antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects using acetic acid-induced abdominal contractions in mice and formalin-induced hind paw edema in rats. (23)

Green Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticle Using B. pinnatum:

Study reports an ecofriendly cost effective, and green approach for the synthesis of ImM AgNO3 solution using aqueous leaf extracts of B. pinnatum as reducing and capping agent. Nanotechnology provides the ability to engineer the properties of materials by controlling their size. For medicines, silver and silver nanoparticles have wide application in skin ointments and creams containing silver to prevent infection of burns and open wounds. In this study, the silver nanoparticles formed showed promising antibacterial activity against E coli and S aureus. (24)

Hypotensive / Inhibitory Cardiovascular Effects:

Study showed both aqueous and methanolic leaf extracts produced dose-related and significant reductions in arterial blood pressures and heart rates of anesthetized normotensive and hypertensive rats. The leaf extract also produced dose-dependent, significant decreases in rate and force of contractions of guinea-pig isolated atria. (25)


Study evaluated the antidiarrheal potential of Bryophyllum pinnatum against several experimental models of diarrhea in albino Wistar rats. The aqueous extract of leaves showed significant antidiarrheal activity against castor oil-induced diarrhea and castor oil-induced enteropooling, together with reduction in gastrointestinal motility. (26)

Antioxidant / Cytotoxicity / Thrombolytic Activity:

Study of a chloroform fraction of methanol extract of whole plant showed potent antioxidant activity. It also showed significant cytotoxicity on screening against Artemia salina. Crude extract showed noticeable polyphenol content with moderate membrane stabilizing activity and inhibition of clot lysis of blood. (27)

Antidiabetic / Leaves:

Study evaluated the antidabetic activity of Cocor Bebek leaves (Kalanchoe pinnata Lam. Pers) ethanolic extract. Results showed antidiabetic activity, however less than quercetin which was used as standard drug. Quercetin is a flavonoid compound with antioxidant property and antidiabetic activity on a previous study on streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. (28) Study demonstrated the antidiabetic property of aqueous extract of leaves using diabetic albino rats as models.

Antibacterial / Antioxidant:

Study evaluated methanolic and aqueous extracts of root, stem, leaf and whole plant for antibacterial activity against six species, viz., three Gram-positive (Corynebacterium diphtheriae, M. luteus, B. subtilis) and three Gram-negative bacteria (Alcaligenes faecalis, B. bornchiseptica, and Serratia marcescens). Results showed antibacterial activity and ability of the extracts to scavenge hydroxyl and superoxide free radicals. (29)

Anticancer / Antioxidant / Leaves:

Study of B. pinnatum leaves showed anti-cancer and anti-Human Papillomavirus (HPV) activities. Results showed growth inhibitory activity in crude leaf extracts and specific anti-HPV activity on cervical cancer cells. Also, fraction F4 strongly induced apoptosis. Phytochemically analysis of fraction F4 and HPTLC and NMR indicated activity that resembled Bryophyllin A. (30)

Anti-Urolithiatic / Leaves:

Study showed B. pinnatum is effective in prevention and treatment of ethylene glycol-induced urolithiasis. Administration of aqueous extracts of leaves significantly reduced urine oxalate levels with reduction in kidney calcium-oxalate depositions. (31)

Improved Sleep Quality in Pregnancy:

A prospective, multi-centre, observational study of pregnant women suffering from sleep problems were treated with B. pinnatum (350 mg tabs, 50% leaf press juice, Weleda AG, Arlesheim). Results suggest B. pinnatum is a suitable treatment for sleep disorders in pregnancy. No serious drug reactions were detected. (32)

Adverse Effects on Testes:

Study evaluated the effect of ethanolic fractions of B. pinnatum leaves on male testes using adult male wistar rats. Results suggested adverse effect on testes of treated rats with increase intercellular spaces within seminiferous epithelium, with shrunken and increase lumen suggesting cells disintegration. (33)

Effects of Chronic Use on Wistar Rat Pregnancy:

Study evaluated the effects of B. pinnatum mother tincture (MT) on Wistar rats and their fetuses throughout pregnancy. Daily administration of MT at high doses interfered with maternal weight gain and did not interfere with the fetal compartment. There were no maternal or fetal deaths, no implantation differences, and no macroscopic fetal abnormalities. (34)

Anticonvulsant / Leaves:

Study evaluated ethanolic extract of leaves against maximal electroshock (MES) induced convulsions and Pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) seizure model in mice. Results showed an anticonvulsant effect which may be due to the potentiation of GABA-ergic inhibition or blocking of seizure spread by inhibiting voltage gated Na+ channels and/or glutaminergic excitation through NMDA receptors.

Antimicrobial Synergism / B. pinnatum and Aloe barbadensis / Leaves:

Study evaluated the in-vitro antimicrobial activity of combined leaf extract of Bryophyllum pinnatum and Aloe barbadensis on some clinical isolates. Results showed synergism between the two herbs increased antimicrobial potential. (36)

Hepatoprotective / N-diethylnitrosamine Induced Hepatic Injury:

Study evaluated the effect of extracts of aerial parts BP on DENA induced injury in rats. Aqueous extract of leaves showed hepatoprotective activities which may be due to antioxidant or oxidative free radical scavenging activities by alleviating lipid peroxidation through scavenging of free radicals, or by enhancing activity of the antioxidants.

Antidiabetic / Leaves / Synergism with GLI:

Study demonstrated the antidiabetic property of aqueous extract of leaves using diabetic albino rats as models. Also, the mixture of glibenclamide and the aqueous extract proved more effective and efficient than use of any single dosage of the aqueous extract. (38)

Sleep Quality in Cancer Patients:

A prospective, observational study evaluated the sleep quality of cancer patients during treatment with B. pinnatum. Results suggest B. pinnatum may be a suitable treatment for sleep problems of cancer patients. Authors suggested controlled, randomized clinical trials. (41)

Hepatoprotective / DENA-Induced Hepatotoxicity:

Study evaluated the effect of B. pinnatum on N-diethylnitrosamine (DENA)-induced hepatic injury in rats. Results showed hepatoprotective effects of an aqueous extract of leaves in DENA-induced hepatotoxicity which may involve antioxidant or oxidative free radical scavenging activities through enhancement of antioxidants or alleviation of lipid peroxidation through scavenging of free radicals. (43)

Antimicrobial Phenenthrene Alkaloid / Leaves:

Study isolated a phenenthrene alkaloid, 1-ethanamino 7 hex-1-yne-5I-one phenanthrene, from the ethanolic extract of leaves of B. pinnatum. The isolated compound showed activity against P. aeruginosa, K. pneumonia, S. aureus, E. coli, C. albicans and A. niger. (44)



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