Quisqualis Indica – Nutritional Value, Health Benefits, Side Effects

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Quisqualis Indica is a spectacular creeping vine whose flowers change colors in 2 to 3 days’ time when blooming. But more to it is that this is used as herbal medicine for the expulsion of intestinal worms with anti-cancer health benefits. To know more about this amazing plant, read the rest of the article.

Scientific Name: Quisqualis indica

Also knows as:

Chinese honeysuckle (English); Rangoon Creeper (English); Niyog-niyogan (Filipino); Quiscual (Spanish); Madhu Malti or Madhumalti (Hindu); Radha Manoharam (Telugu); Shih-chun-tzu (China)

Niyog-niyogan, Rangoon creeper (Quisqualis indica) is a large climbing, woody shrub that is native in Southeast Asian countries including the Philippines, India, Myanmar and Malaysia. Niyog-yoga grows to about 20 feet in height with leaves that is rounded at the bottom and pointed at the tips.

Niyog-niyogan fruitNiyog-niyogan or Rangoon creeper shrub has fragrant and colorful flowers. Niyog-niyogan flowers exhibit varying colors, from white, red, reddish-purple, pink-red to orange that sprouts into clusters. Niyog-niyogan has edible fruit that is ellipsoidal in shape with five lengthwise wings. It has seeds that are black in color. Niyog-niyogan is also one of the herbal plants endorsed by the Philippine Department of Health for its deworming property. Niyog-niyogan has other medicinal benefits as discussed in the following.


Native to tropical Africa (i.e. Benin, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, Tanzania, Zaire and Angola), the Indian Sub-continent (i.e. India, Nepal and Sri Lanka), China, Taiwan and south-eastern Asia (i.e. Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines).

It is also thought to be native to some parts of northern Australia (i.e. it is regarded as being native to the coastal districts of northern Western Australia).


The Rangoon creeper is a ligneous vine that can reach from 2.5 meters to up to 8 meters. The leaves are elliptical with an acuminate tip and a rounded base. They grow from 7 to 15 centimeters and their arrangement is opposite. The flowers are fragrant and tubular and their color varies from white to pink to red. The 30 to 35 mm long fruit is ellipsoidal and has five prominent wings. The fruit tastes like almonds when mature.

Rangoon creeper is found in thickets or secondary forests of the Philippines, India, Pakistan, and Malaysia. It has since been cultivated and naturalized in tropical areas such as Burma, Vietnam, and Thailand.

The flowers change in color with age and it is thought that this is a strategy to gather more pollinators. The flower is initially white and opens at dusk. This attracts hawkmoths with long tongues for pollination. On the second day, it turns pink and on the third, it turns red attracting day flying bees and birds. The flower also changes from a horizontal orientation to a drooping pose.[rx]

Native DistributionPhilippines, India and Malaysia
Native HabitatTerrestrial
Preferred Climate ZoneTropical
Local Conservation StatusExotic (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)


Growth FormA woody climber. It climbs by means of hooks and can grow up to 8m tall.
FoliageThe leaves are arranged in opposite pairs along the stem and are elliptic to elliptic-oblong in shape, it is abaxially pilose and adaxially glabrous except for the mid-vein which is brown and pilose. The leaf petiole is modified into a thorny grappling hook as a climbing aid. Leaves measure about 5 – 18 cm by 2.5 – 7 cm.
StemsThe young branches are tomentose.
FlowersThe fragrant flowers are borne on a pendant raceme and are white in color, the upper surface of the flower turns pink then red over a period of time.
FruitsThe fruit is a drupe and is red, turning dark brown when mature. The fruit is elliptic-ovate in shape and is 5-ribbed, appearing star-shaped when seen in cross-section. Fruit is glabrous and measures about 2.7 – 4 cm by 1.2 – 2.3 cm.
SimilarUsually found in rain forests, hedges, mountains, riversides, and wasteland; below 1500 m.
EtymologyGenus name Quisqualis is derived from the Malay name “Udani” and refers to the variable habit and coloring of the plant. The species name India refers to being from India.
Ethnobotanical UsesMedicinal ( Seeds are used as medicine to kill intestinal parasites.)
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Desirable Plant FeaturesOrnamental Flowers, Fragrant (Flowers)
Plant & Rootzone Preference – ToleranceWell-Drained Soils
Landscape UsesParks & Gardens, Trellis / Arbour / Pergola
Thematic LandscapingFragrant / Aromatherapy Garden


Pollination Method(s)Biotic (Fauna)


Light PreferenceFull Sun
Water PreferenceModerate Water
Plant Growth RateFast
Propagation MethodSeed, Stem Cutting (Softwood)


Foliage RetentionEvergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s)Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s)Velvety / Furry / Tomentose
Foliar TypeSimple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along StemOpposite
Foliar Attachment to StemPetiolate
Foliar Shape(s)Non-Palm Foliage
Foliar VenationPinnate / Net
Foliar MarginEntire
Foliar Apex – TipAcuminate
Foliar BaseRounded / Obtuse


Flower Colour(s)Pink, Red, White
Flower GroupingCluster / Inflorescence
Inflorescence TypeRaceme

Niyog-niyogan (Rangoon creeper) Traditional Health Benefits

According to the Philippine Department of Health, Niyog-niyogan has the following health benefits.

  • Expels Intestinal Worms and Parasites. The seeds of Niyog-nitrogen are dried and taken orally. The recommended dosage is 4 to 7 seeds for Children while 8 to 10 seeds for Adults.
    Caution: Adverse reactions – diarrhea, abdominal pain, distention, and hiccups are more likely if nuts are eaten on consecutive days or when fresh nuts are eaten.
  • Treatment of Inflammation of Kidneys, Niyog-niyogan fruits is believed to alleviate nephritis or inflammation of the kidneys.
  • Remedy for boils and skin ulcers; Niyog-niyogan leaves are pounded and applied to externally to skin ulcers and boils.
  • Remedy for headaches, Niyog-niyogan leaves are applied to the head to relieve headaches.
  • Remedy for Diarrhea and Fever, ripe fruits of Niyog-niyogan are roasted and taken internally for diarrhea and fever treatment.
  • Remedy for Dysuria or painful urination. A decoction of boiled Niyog-niyogan leaves is taken as a tea to relieve pain while urinating.
  • Anti-Cancer, According to Professor Dr. Thomas Efferth of the DKFZ who studied 76 kinds of Chinese Medicinal plants, Niyog-niyogan or the Rangoon Creeper contains three ingredients with the powerful anti-tumor activity that suppress the growth of a specific tumor cell line that is particularly resistant to many commonly used cytotoxins due to overproduction of a transport protein in the cell wall. In contrast, a whole range of standard anti-cancer drugs fail to be effective against this cell.

Scientific Studies: Niyog-niyogan | Rangoon creeper

The study of antioxidant activities of edible flower extracts

  • The objective of this investigation is to find out the total polyphenolic contents and antioxidant activities of 24 Thai edible flowers by Trolox Equivalent Antioxidant Capacity assay (TEAC). Results showed that both dried flowers and crude extract of Quisqualis indica gave the highest total phenol contents and showed the highest antioxidant activities. The antioxidant activity of Q. India was moderate (TEAC = 0.70, IC50 = 13.26 µg/50µl) when compared to Trolox (TEAC = 1). From all data, indications are that the relationships between the antioxidant activities of the flower extracts are directly proportional to the amount of total polyphenol contents in the extracts. Source: Wetwitayaklung, P., Phaechamud, T., Limmatvapirat, C. and Keokitichai, S. (2008). Acta Hortic. 786, 185-192 DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2008.786.20 https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2008.786.20

Free radical scavenging property of Quisqualis indica.

  • A study was conducted to verify the traditional use of Quisqualis indica having antioxidant activity. According to literature, the leaves of Quisqualis indica contains flavanoids that may have antioxidant activity. Results of the study suggest that the extract from niyog-niyogan inhibited the free radicals in-vitro in a dose-dependent manner. It is further suggested that the extract is effective against free radical-mediated diseases. Source: International Journal of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences http://www.globalsciencebooks.info/Online/GSBOnline/images/0906/IJBPS_3(1)/IJBPS_3(1)1-4o.pdf

Effect of Quisqualis indica extract on cholesterol diet-induced hyperlipidemia in rats

  • The present study established that the cholesterol diet raises the lipid and cholesterol level by reducing the HDL level which causes hyperlipidemia as well as hypercholesterolemia existing heart disease such as heart attack, heart stroke, etc in the future. Epidemiological studies suggest that increased dietary intake of antioxidants reduces the risk of coronary artery disease and the plant extracts showing a positive indication that it contains flavonoids and phenolic compounds helpful in CVD. The present investigation shows that the methanolic extracts of aerial parts of Quisqualis indica had markedly reduced the raised lipid level LDL, VLDL, and cholesterol due to cholesterol diet-induced, thus it acts as hypolipidemic at dose-dependent manner. Source: Research J. Pharmacology and Pharmacodynamics. November–December 2013, 317-320

Niyog-niyogan Usage, Dosage

Where can i buy/get Niyog-niyogan or Rangoon creeper?

Niyog-niyogan are seen in the wild forest of Southeast Asian countries but also cultivated and propagated as an ornamental plant for their beautiful and colorful flowers. You can buy this ornamental plant from your local horticulturist and plant it in your garden.

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Dried fruits and leaves of Niyog-niyogan may also be available in Chinese or Asian health stores

Niyog-niyogan Tea Preparation

  • Pound or cut about a tablespoon of flowers of niyog-niyogan
  • Then add in 2 cups of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes,
  • Strain,
  • Let it cool and drink a cup two to three times a day.
  • Make new niyog-niyogan herbal tea as needed.

When symptoms persist or irritation occurs stop the use and consult your doctor.

Niyog-niyogan Fruit

  • The fruit is edible and can be eaten raw, roasted or cooked and may be included in daily diet (see warnings and side effects).

Niyog-niyogan use Warnings and Side Effects

When properly prepared and consumed in moderation or as small amount included in daily diet, Niyog-niyog fruit is safe.

However, when taken more than the commended dosage such as fruit/nuts are eaten in consecutive days or when fresh nuts are eaten. This may result to overdose and may have the following adverse effects:

  • hiccups
  • diarrhea, abdominal pain, distention
  • nausea and vomiting
  • unconsciousness

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. There are no sufficient studies made to determine side effects to infants and babies. Stay on the safe side, avoid heavy consumption of Niyog-niyogan herbs when pregnant and while breastfeeding.

Allergies. In rare cases, Niyog-niyogan herb has caused allergic reactions when applied to the skin.

Plant species and study site

This study was conducted in Yunnan Province, southwest China, where Q. indica blooms from April through mid-May, whereas sporadic inflorescences are produced until early June. The experiments were mainly conducted on the liana collections of Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (21°45ʹN, 101°02ʹE; 580 m above sea level). Qindica plants have been cultivated at this site for many years, and some plants have already naturalized themselves into the adjacent limestone forest. During the flowering season, one inflorescence has 1–8 flowers that synchronously bloom each day. A single flower lasts for 2 days, whereas color-changed flowers are retained on their inflorescence for 4–6 days.

Based on field observations, flowers are white at anthesis, which occurs at approximately 19:00–20:00 (Fig. 1a). Their color changes to pink the following morning (Fig. 1b), and finally becomes red in the afternoon (Fig. 1c). This color transition was divided into six stages based on floral color: stage I (white flowers at anthesis), stage II (white flowers in the morning), stage III (pink flowers at noon), stage IV (red flowers in the second afternoon), stage V (red flowers in the third afternoon), and stage VI (red flowers in the fourth afternoon).

Flower color stages in Quisqualis indica. Petals are white at anthesis, which occurs at approximately 19:00–20:00 (a), their color changes to pink the following morning (b), and finally becomes red in the afternoon (c).

pH analysis

In order to study the association of petal color with pH values, we measured pH at different color stages using petals of different inflorescences from five different plots, using plants from roadside collections, liana collections, medicinal plant collections, wild vegetable collections, and semi-natural limestone forest collections. One gram of bulked petal tissue was ground and mixed with 8 ml ultrapure water, and the pH was measured immediately after filtration using a PHS-3C pH meter (Shanghai Yoke Instruments, China) (). Ten replicates were maintained for each pH measurement, and the pH readings were repeated in triplicate. Mean values were calculated to construct pH profiles for each petal color stage. To understand the difference of pH among petal colors, we performed multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) to identify pairwise differences using SPSS Statistics 21 (IBM, Armonk, NY, USA).

Pollination treatments

To test whether pollen deposition on the stigma induces petal color change in Q. indica, 10 inflorescences were randomly selected from different plants in each plot, and the flowers were emasculated before anther dehiscence. All inflorescences were bagged until anthesis to avoid any contact with pollinators. The treatments were as follows: (1) non-pollination, (2) flowers that cross-pollinated at 20:00 when the flowers just opened, and (3) flowers that cross-pollinated at 8:00 the following morning. The petal color was observed and recorded every 2 h in each treatment, and color reflectance of each petal was measured in triplicate by a spectrophotometer (JAZ, Ocean Optics, Oxford, UK).

Light treatments

To determine light mediated induction of petal color change in Q. indica, we set five different light treatments: (1) inflorescences were maintained under natural conditions (control, N + N), (2) inflorescences were covered with transparent white polyester mesh bags which allow light to pass through but prevent insect visitation during budding (8:00–20:00 before anthesis) and flowering period (after 20:00) (W + W), (3) inflorescences were covered with white polyester mesh bags during the bud period and black cotton bags (∼100% light shading in sunlight) during the flowering period, to give light stimulations before anthesis but block sunlight later (W + B), (4) inflorescences were covered with black cotton bags during the bud period and white polyester mesh bags during the flowering period, to block sunlight before anthesis but give sunlight later (B + W), and (5) inflorescences were covered with black cotton bags during both budding and flowering period (B + B). Since after anthesis the petal color remains white overnight, we recorded the color change every 2 h from 7:00 in the following morning to 17:00 in the afternoon. The petal color reflectance was determined by a spectrophotometer. This experiment was conducted in two plots using three inflorescences in each plot for each treatment. One petal was randomly selected from each inflorescence, and each measurement was repeated in triplicate.

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Temperature treatments

Multiple inflorescences were randomly collected from different individuals, and 2–3 inflorescences were placed in individual bottles filled with sucrose solution (6%). Our previous experiments indicated that with adequate water supply and high humidity, the detached flowers (without leaves) display the same rate of petal color change as those on the mother plants (Zhang et al., unpublished data). To further determine the influence of temperature on petal color change in Q. indica, we performed the same light treatments as described above using five temperature gradients (15, 20, 25, 30, and 35 °C) in growth chambers under dark and light conditions (white light, 200 μmol m−2s−1 from 7:30–20:00; photoperiod = 12.5 h). The growth chamber conditions were similar to the natural daily temperature range of 17.4–38 °C during the blooming period. As temperature changed with illumination intensity, we could not distinguish the individual effects of these two factors, and thus, we also conducted the following treatments in growth chambers to distinguish the light effects from the above experiment: (1) inflorescences in the dark at constant temperature of 20 °C and (2) inflorescences in the dark with temperature variations similar to natural conditions. All open flowers were removed, and many buds in different developmental stages were left on the inflorescences. Inflorescences on the mother plants and detached inflorescences under natural conditions were used as controls. We used at least nine inflorescences in each treatment. The petal color was observed and recorded every 2 h. We used a light reflectance of 540 nm under natural conditions to present different color stages for analysis, and we used Univariate Analysis of Variance to test the effect of temperature and light treatments with SPSS Statistics 21 (IBM, Armonk, NK, USA).

Ethylene treatment

Silver thiosulphate (STS), which blocks the action of ethylene, was used to determine whether ethylene mediates color change in Q. indica. STS solution was prepared by pouring 8 mM AgNO3 into an equal volume of 32 mM Na2S2O3 (). All open flowers were removed from nine control and nine experimental inflorescences from three plots. The leaves and buds of the experimental inflorescences were thoroughly sprayed with STS the evening before anthesis, following , and then covered with plastic bags. All control and experimental inflorescences were maintained pairwise under the same conditions. Flower petals on all the inflorescences were examined every 2 h from 7:00 in the second morning after STS application until 2 d after petals already changed color to red, because both pollen viability and stigma receptivity declined quickly at day 3 in the red floral stage. We used the light reflectance of 540 nm under natural conditions to present different color stages for analysis. To assess the differences of petal color change rate between control and experimental inflorescences, we performed the Mann–Whitney U test to identify pairwise differences using SPSS Statistics 21 (IBM, Armonk, NY, USA).

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