Stink grass proven health beauty benefits and uses


The scientific name of the stink grass is Lantana camara.

Scientific names Common names
Camara vulgaris Benth Bahug-bahug (P. Bis.)
Lantana antillana Raf. Baho-baho (P. Bis.)
Lantana asperata Vis Bangbangsit (Ilk.)
Lantana camara Linn. Diris (Tag.)
Lantana crocea Jacq. Koronitas (Tag.)
Lantana glandulosissima Hayek Kantutay (Tag.)
Lantana mixta Medik. Lantana (Tag., Engl.)
Lantana montziana f. parvifolia Moldenke Cherry pie (Eng.)
Lantana undulata Raf. Spanish flag (Engl.)
Lantana urticofolia Mill. Stink grass (Engl.)
West Indian lantana (Engl.)
Wild sage (Engl.)
Lantana camara L. is an accepted name.


Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Ma-ying Tan.
INDONESIA: Kembang telek, Tembelekan, Saliara.
MALAYSIA: Bunga pagar, Bunga tahi ayam, Jebat harimau.
SPANISH: Coronitas, Cinco negritosm
THAILAND: Kaam kung, Khee kae, Yeesyun.
VIETNAM: C[aa]y tr[aa]m [oor]i, C[aa]y b[oo]ng [oor]i, C[aa]y t[uws] qu[is].

• There are 40 species of the genus Lantana.

• Some are extremely unpleasant and toxic to livestock, as is L. camara.

• In some countries, considered an invasive weed, earning the name, “Jekyll and Hyde of plants.” It releases chemicals in its surroundings, preventing germination of the native flora. It is wont to form dense thickets, spreads very quickly, with one plant producing as many as 12,000 seeds a year.


· Lantana is a gregarious, erect or half-climbing, somewhat hairy aromatic shrub; when erect, usually 1 to 2 meters high and when scandent, twice as high. Branches four-sided with recurved prickles. Leaves are elliptic, 5 to 9 centimeters long,3 inches long, pointed at the tip and rounded at the base and toothed in the margins. Flowers are pink, orange, yellow, white, lilac and other shades, according to the variety and borne in stalked heads which are 2 to 3.5 centimeters in diameter. Calyx small. Corolla-tube is slender; the limb spreading, 6 to 7 millimeters wide, and divided into unequal lobes. Stamens 4, in 2 pairs. Ovary is 2-celled, 2-ovuled. Fruit is drupaceous, sweet tasting, purple or black, fleshy ovoid, and about 5 millimeters long.


– A gregarious weed in the many parts of the world, in settled areas in thickets and waste places at low and medium altitudes.

– Certain varieties are cultivated as a trimmed hedge either alone or with other shrubs.

– Native of tropical America.

– Now pantropic in distribution.


· Leaves yield a volatile oil, 0.22%, called Lantanol, together with 80% caryophyllene-like bicyclic terpene, and 10-12 % of l-d-phellandrene.

· Dried flowers yield volatile oil, 0.07%.

· Bark: Lantanine, 0.08%.

· U.S.A. dispensatory reports an allied species, Lantana brasiliensis, containing a quinine-like alkaloid, lantanine, with an antispasmodic effect.

· Toxicity is due to presence of toxic triterpenoids – the lantadenes (lantadene A, B, C, D and icterogenin.)

· Leaves contain a steroid, lancamarone, which is a fish poison and considered a cardiotonic.

· Bark of stems and roots contain a quinine-like alkaloid, lantanin, which is antipyretic and antispasmodic.·

· Roots are rich in oleanolic acid, a hepatoprotective triterpenoid.

· Phytochemical analysis detected common secondary metabolites–alkaloids, phenolics, terpenoids and other minor compounds such as phytosterols, saponins, tannins, phycobatannin and steroids (no steroids in the yellow and lavender leaf extracts).

· Phytochemical screening of various extracts of L. aculeata roots yielded triterpenoids, phenolics, flavonoids, glycosides, anthraquinone, and tannins. (see study)

· Study of leaves for essential oil yielded chemical compo 30 constituents, mostly mono and sesquiterpenes were identified. Dominant representative constituents were: germacrene D (24.90%), farnesene derivatives (22%) and (E)-cariophylene (14.31%). (see study)

· Leaves yielded six compounds viz. oleanonic acid (I), lantadene A (2), lantadene B (3), lantanilic acid (4), icterogenin (5) and 4′,5-dihydroxy-3,7-dimethoxyflavone-4′-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside (6), and a new compound, camaroside (7). (see study)

· Analysis of essential oil of leaves yielded 45 peaks. The major constituents were caryophyllene (16.37%), eucalyptol (10.75%), α-humelene (8.22%) and germacrene (7.41%), contributing 42.75 per cent of the total constituents. (see study)

· Analysis of methanolic extract of roots revealed ß-caryophyllene (21.22%), limonene (13.27%) isocaryophyllene (12.73%), oleanolic acid (9.98%) γ-terpinene (8.38%) and α- humulene (8.17%) as the main components. (see study)

· Analysis of ethanolic root extracts yielded six oligosaccharides (I-VI) and six iridoid glucosides (VII-XII) identified as: stachyose (I), verbascose (II), ajugose (III), verbascotetracose (IV), alpha-D-galac-(1-[-6)-alpha-D-galac(-1](3)-6-D-gluc(V ) , alpha-D-galac-(1-6)-alpha-D-galac(-1]-(4)6-D-)gluc(VI) , theveside (VII), 8-epiloganin (VIII), shanzhsid methyl ester (IX), theviridoside (X), lamiridoside (XI) and geniposide (XII). (see study)


· Root: sweet and bitter tasting, refrigerant, antifebrile.

· Leaves: aromatic, minty tasting, cooling natured, antiphlogistic, anti-dermatoses.

· Flowers: sweet tasting, mildly cooling, hemostatic.

· Lantinine considered antipyretic and a good substitute for quinine.

· Alkaloid fraction believed to lower blood pressure, increase respiratory rate, and inhibit uterine motility in rats.

· Plant considered antiseptic, antispasmodic, vulnerary, diaphoretic and carminative.

· Phytochemical analysis detected common secondary metabolites–alkaloids, phenolics, terpenoids and other minor compounds such as phytosterols, saponins, tannins, phycobatannin and steroids (no steroids in the yellow and lavender leaf extracts).

Parts utilized

· Leaves, bark, roots, flowering tops.

· May be collected throughout the year.

· Sun-dry.


· Fruit is eaten in Malay and Sierra Leone.

· Fruit used as flavoring.

· In some parts of India, leaves used as tea substitute.

Folkloric traditional medicine benefits and uses of stink grass

· In the Philippines, decoction of fresh roots used as gargle for toothaches, and a decoction of the leaves and fruits to clean wounds.

· Decoction or syrup of roots (in sugared water) used for asthma.

· In Sinaloa, plant used for snake bites. Strong decoction of leaves taken internally and poultice of wounds applied to the wound.

· Influenza, cough, mumps, incessant high fever, malaria, cervical lymph node tuberculosis: use 30 to 60 gms dried roots or 60 to 120 gms fresh roots in decoction.

· Fever: Take decoction of bark or infusion of leaves and flowering tops as tea.

· Hemoptysis, pulmonary tuberculosis: use 6 to 9 gms dried flowers in decoction.

· Dermatitis, eczema, pruritus: use fresh stems and leaves.

· Rheumatism – Spread oil on leaves, warm over low flame and apply on affected part.

· Sprains, wounds, contusions: Use pounded fresh leaves applied as poultice.

· Leaf oil used for pruritic skin conditions and antiseptic for wounds.

· Decoction of plant used for tetanus, rheumatism, malaria.

· Decoction of fresh leaves used as gargle for toothaches.

· In Java, leaves applied to swellings; also used as lotion or fomentation for rheumatism.

· Decoction of leaves used internally as emetic.

· In West Africa, an aromatic infusion of the leaves and flowering tops, sometimes mixed with Ocimum, is used as febrifuge and diaphoretic.

· In Uganda, used to treat symptoms of tuberculosis.

· In Costa Rica, leaf infusion used as stimulant.

· Infusion of leaves used for bilious fevers and catarrhal affections.

· Lotions used externally for eczematous eruptions.

· Infusion of flowers used as pectoral for children.

· Tincture of bark used as tonic.

· Pounded leaves used as antiseptic for cuts, ulcers and swelling.

· Decoction of leaves and fruits used for wounds.


· In Taiping, toothbrushes are made from the stems.

Scientific studies on the benefits and uses of stink grass

Antimotility / alleviate the symptoms of diarrhea:

Evaluation of antimotility effect of Lantana camara L. var. acuelata constituents on neostigmine induced gastrointestinal transit in mice: Methanolic extract of L camara showed remarkable antimotility effect from an anticholinergic effect and suggests a potential utility in secretory and functional diarrheas.

Thrombin Inhibition:

Translactone-containing triterpenes show thrombin inhibitory activity.

Antiinflammatory / Antimicrobial:

Pentacyclic triterpenoids are being studied for anti-cancer, antiinflammatory and antimicrobial activities.

Anti-hyperlipidemic / Anti-tumor:

Oleanolic and ursolic acids from the stems, roots and leaves have application for human liver disorders, also as antihyperlipidemic and anti-tumor.

Wound Healing / Antimicrobial:

In an investigation of wound healing activity of Lantana camara L. in Sprague dawley rats using a burn wound model, results showed antimicrobial activity but not wound healing activity on burn wound in rats.

In a pre-clinical study evaluating the wound healing activity of Lantana camara L. results showed LC is effective in healing excision wounds in the experimental animal and suggests further evaluation as a therapeutic agent in tissue repair processes associated with injuries.

Study showed Lantana camara leaf extract has antimicrobial activity by not wound healing promoting activity on burn wound.

Cytotoxicity / Leaves:

In a study for cytotoxic activity of Lantana camara Linn. results showed the leaf extract of LC is cytotoxic in nature and may possess antitumor activity that may be due to the presence of toxic lantanoids and alkaloids.

Phytochemical / Termiticidal:

5% chloroform extract of Lantana camara var. aculeata leaves showed termiticidal effects against adult termite workers.

Biochemical Compositions/ Antibacterial Activity:

Study of the leaves and flowers of four Lantana camara plants with yellow, red, lavender and white flowers showed three of the four to have similar carbohydrates and lipid compositions. The carbohydrate levels were higher in the flowers than the leaves, and the lipids higher in the leaves except for the lavender- and white-flowered kinds. The carbo in lavender L camara was very low. Leaf protein electrophoresis also showed similarities and differences. Antibacterial activities varied according to the type of tissue used.

Mosquito Larvicidal Activity / Phytol:

Phytochemical screening of leaves and flowers yielded saponin, terpenoids, flavonoids and cardiac glycosides. Phytol, a diterpene, is present in higher concentration in the methanol leaf extract of Lantana camara. The larvicidal activity noted was attributed to the phytochemicals and results suggests the shrub may have a potential in the control of vector borne diseases.

Antimicrobial / Comparative Study on Various Plant Parts:

Study on extracts of root, stem, leaf, flower and fruit of L. camara on a panel of organisms that included 10 bacterial and 5 fungi showed the leaf extract to have the highest antibiotic effect among all parts especially against Gram positive Bacillus cereus and Gram negative Salmonella typhi. Results support the use of the leaf extract in some infectious gastroenteritic disorders.

Anti-Hyperglycemic Activity:

Oral administration of a methanol extract of Lantana camara leaves in alloxan-induced diabetic rats showed significant dose-dependent reduction of blood glucose concentration.

In vivo Toxicity Study:

Study investigated the toxicity of methanol extract of various parts (root, stem, leaf, flower, and fruit) in Artemia salina. Results showed all tested extracts exhibited very low toxicity in brine shrimp larva. The root extract was the most toxic part of the plant and may have a potential as an anticancer agent. Study concludes L. camara is relatively safe on short-term exposure.

Oil / Antibacterial / Wound Healing:

Study showed L. camara leaves oil have sufficient antibacterial activity on human pathogenic strains, and also wound healing properties.


Study of methanolic extract of Lantana camara against neostigmine as promotility agent showed an anticholinergic effect due to Lc constituents. Results suggests a utility in secretory and functional diarrhea and other GI disorders. Further study showed significant inhibition of castor-oil induced diarrhea in mice.

Insecticidal / Anti-Cockroach:

Study evaluated an extract of flowers and leaves for insecticidal activity against cockroach (Periplaneta Americana). Baygon™ was used a control. Results showed an insecticidal effect, with the pure extract of flowers and leaves causing cockroach death. No significant difference was noted between the leaves/flowers and the commercial insecticide.

Anti-Mycobacterial / Roots:

Study evaluated chloroform and methanol extracts of L. camara against three strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, including Rifampicin-resistant strain. The methanol extract showed the highest activity against all three strains tested. Results suggest L. camara contains principles active against M. tuberculosis.

Antihelmintic / Leaves:

Study evaluated various extracts of leaves, stems and roots for anthelmintic activity against Pheretima posthuma. Results showed the methanolic extract of stems to be most active.

Antispasmodic / Leaves:

Study evaluated the antispasmodic effects of Lantana camara leaf constituents on isolated rat ileum, with atropine as standard anti-spasmodic agent. Results showed the methanolic extract of leaves to have promising antispasmodic action on excised rat ileum.

Cytotoxicity / Toxicity:

Study evaluated the toxicity of Lantana camara methanol extract on adult mice and cytotoxicity test on Vero cell line. Results of both tests confirm L. camara shows a pro toxic effect.

Antiulcerogenic / Leaves:

Study evaluated a methanol extract of leaves on aspirin, ethanol, and acid restraint stress induced gastric lesions in rats. Pretreatment showed gastroprotective effects on the ulcer models.

Anti-Leishmaniasis / Essential Oil of Leaves:

Study showed the essential oil of leaves exhibited significant leishmanicidal against L. amazonensis and a potential toxic effect on Brine shrimp and macrophage assays.

Antimicrobial / Leaves:

Phytochemical analysis of leaves yielded alkaloid, volatile oil, tannins, sugars and saponin glycosides. A petroleum ether extract showed excellent antibacterial activity against E. coli, P. aeruginosa, B. subtilis and Staphylococcus faecalis. PE and ME showed good and significant antifungal activity against Malassesia furfur, although not comparable with standard drug fluconazole.

Adulticidal to Mosquitoes / Essential Oil of Leaves:

Study evaluated the essential oil isolated from leaves for insecticidal activity against mosquitoes. Results showed adulticidal activity against different mosquito species viz. Ae. aegypti, Cx. quinquefasciatus, An. culicifacies, An. fluvialitis, and An. stephensi. Findings suggest a potential for an oil-based insecticide as supplementary to synthetic insecticides.

Phenol Adsorbent:

Study evaluated the potential of L. camara, a forest waste, as an adsorbent for phenol reduction in wastewater. The adsorption process is feasible, spontaneous and exothermic in nature. Results enhanced the credibility of the forest waste as one of the most suitable precursors for adsorbent preparation for pollutant removal.

Antioxidant / Antibacterial:

Study evaluated the antioxidant potential of various extracts of roots of L. camara. The methanol extract showed the most effective antioxidant activity. Total phenolic content of roots showed 39.32 µg pyrocathechol of phenols.

Gold Nanoparticles / Catalytic Activity:

Study reports on the Lantana camara leaf mediated green synthesis of gold nanoparticles. The method is simple, cost-effective and non-toxic in nature. The synthesized AuNPs were utilized as catalyst for the sodium borohydride reduction of 4-nitrophenol to 4-aminophenol.

Toxicological Studies on Leaf Extract:

Study evaluated the a methanol leaf extract for toxicity. On acute toxicity test of extracts on mice, there was no toxicity up to 5000 mg/kbw. Study showed a level of toxicity at chronic stage (beyond two weeks of extract administration). Results seriously caution extended use of the medicinal plant to avoid hepatic and renal biochemical distortion.


Study evaluated the antagonistic effect of water and organic solvents of L. camara extracts against 15 pathogenic strains of bacteria. Bacterial strains whose growth were inhibited by water solvent could not be inhibited by organic solvent extracts. Both solvent extracts showed high antibacterial effect towards Staph aureus, Staphylococcus sp. and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Repellent / Antifeedant / Anti-Termite / Leaf Extract:

Study investigated a chloroform extract of dry leaves against eastern subterranean termite, Reticulitermes flavipes. Results showed excellent repellent and moderate toxic and antifeedant activities.

Hypoglycemic / Wound Healing / Toxicity:

Study investigated the antihyperglycemic and wound healing activity of leaf extracts of Lantana camara on rats. An aqueous extract showed significant reduction of blood glucose. In wound healing studies, the leaf juice was found to be more active than the extract. However, study cautions on the use of the plant for diabetes until the alarming toxic principles of the plant are properly identified.

Decreased Defecation Frequency / Leaves:

Study showed that kantutay leaves (Lantana camara) crude extract was effective in reducing the defecation frequency of male white mice. Results was attributed to an antimotility component in the extract.

Toxicity concerns

• In Himachal Pradesh, L. camara variety aculeata (red flower variety) has been responsible for livestock poisoning.

• Most of the livestock poisoning occur on grazing after prolonged stall feeding and during fodder scarcity or draught periods.

• Toxicity: Toxic chemical constituents are toxic terpenoids: lantadene A, B, C and D, and icterogenin. Lantadene A,B and C constitute nearly 69% of total terpenoids. Triterpenoids are most rapidly absorbed from the small intestine, but slow absorption from and stasis in the rumen causes slow and continuous exposure of the liver that lasts for days.

• Ingestion of lantana foliage causes decreased luminal motility that may progress to ruminal atony and cause constipation and impaction as the animals become anorectic and unable to defecate.

• Sometimes, the afflicted animals present with photosensitization with swollen ears and eyelids.

Ingestion of Berries by Children / No Significant Toxicity:

Study reviewed the California Poison Control System database on 641 reported pediatric cases of ingestion of L. camara berries from 1997-2008. Reported effects were vomiting, abdominal pain, agitation, diarrhea, buccal irritation, tachycardia, drowsiness, nausea and mydriasis. No significant effects and no deaths were recorded. Report concludes the ingestion of L. camara (including unripe berries) was not associated with significant toxicity. The ingestion of unripe berries did not exhibit more frequent or more severe symptoms than ingestion of ripe berries or other plant parts. Children with asymptomatic ingestions or mild symptoms can be treated at home.

* Accidental Poisoning of Ostriches that Fed on L. camara Hay:

Letter reports an unusual case of poisoning from ingestion of L. camara by a flock of 14-month old ostriches. The report cautions farmers to prevent the encroachment of the plant onto pasture land where grass is cut and collected for purpose of making hay.



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