Cuphea carthagenensis: Classification, Distribution, Morphology, and Phytochemical Constituents

Cuphea carthagenensis: Classification, Distribution, Morphology, and Phytochemical Constituents


The genus Cuphea is widespread around the world and is employed in many cultures’ traditional medicine. Medicinal herbs and plant extracts are now widely regarded as effective medications that should be respected and valued. They also play a significant part in the current situation. It has been extensively utilized in South and Central American traditional medicine for ages (Graham, 1988). Native American cultures use Cuphea pinetorum herbs as an antiprotozoal (Calzada et al., 2005). The Cuphea glutinosa leaves and stems have blood-purifying, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, laxative, and purgative properties (Uphof, 1959). They are used to treat pailpitations, menstruation problems, and excessive blood pressure (Sülsen et al., 2006). Helicobacter pylori are treated with Cuphea aequipetala as an antibiotic (Palacios et al., 2013). It is also employed as an antinociceptive and an antihypertensive (Krepsky et al., 2010). (Schuldt et al., 2004). Because it prevents the release of TNF and lipoperoxidation, it is a powerful antioxidant (Campana et al., 2015). A lot of attention has been paid to Cuphea species as a possible source of seed lipids that are high in short and middle-chain fatty acids. One specific fatty acid, caprylic acid, is extremely abundant in the seeds oil of some species. About 3/4 of the caprylic acid in cuphea painteri oil is present. Lauric acid makes up about 80% of Cuphea carthagenensis oil. The oil from Cuphea koehneana contains 95% capric acid, making it one of the most abundant natural sources of single fatty acids (Graham, 2016).

Cuphea carthagenensis, also known as “Colombian waxweed,” is a naturally occurring herbaceous weed in the Lythraceae family (Graham, 1975). The majority of the time, it is used to treat conditions like hypertension, heart disease, fever, viral illnesses like herpes, etc. Historically, Cuphea carthagenensis has been mistaken for the eastern USA-native Cuphea viscosissima (Graham, 1988; Graham 1975). The floral tube, which is green in Cuphea Carthagenensis and purple-green in Cuphea viscoissima, can be used to tell them apart. Having creeping, rooted stems distinguishes Cuphea carthagenensis, a species from tropical America, from Cuphea strigulosa (Graham, 1988).


Kingdom: Plantae

Phylum: Spermatophyta

Class: Dicotyledonae

Order: Myrtales

Family: Lythraceae

Genus: Cuphea

Species: Cuphea carthagenensis

Common names: Pani Jetuka, Colombian cuphea, Colombian waxweed, Tarweed


The Plant is found all over the world. Typically, it can be found in Asia, Oceania, South and North America, Africa, Central, and South America, and the Caribbean.


Cuphea carthagenensis is an upright spreading herb that can grow up to a foot tall, It is viscid-pilose with intermixed glandular and non-glandular hairs in the stem. Flowers appear at the tip of the leaves and are typically pink in colour, single or short racemes, 4.5–6 mm long, and covered with glandular hairs. Calyx 6, 3-5 mm in length, lobes unevenly spaced, and short bristlet-tipped. 6 petals, slightly asymmetrical. Longer than the floral tube, stamens are linear-elliptic, 2-3 mm long, and pale purple. The branches are 10 to 30 cm long with stiff hairs, opposing, subsessile to short petiolate, and small in size with a narrow, hairy base. Three 2 mm long, lenticular, olive to brown-colored seeds (Graham, 1975).

Traditional Uses

It is referred to as “Pani Jetuka” in Assam and is used as a treatment for menstrual pain. The plant’s leaves are crushed, and the juice is consumed directly. In the Indian state of Assam’s “Karbi Anglong” district, this method of alleviating pain is used. It is used to treat conditions like arteriosclerosis, arterial hypertension, and circulatory and cardiovascular conditions. Additionally, it serves as a diuretic and diaphoretic. Cuphea carthagenensis leaves decoction is taken orally and used to cure weakness and vaginal infections (Coe, 2008). In traditional medicine, Cuphea carthagenensis is used to treat obesity in south Brazil (Dickel et al., 2007).

Phytochemical Constituents

 It contains a variety of phytoconstituents, including polyphenolic chemicals, triterpenoids, flavonoids, tannins, unsaturated fatty acids, and steroids.

Question: What is the common name of Cuphea carthagenensis?

Ans: Pani Jetuka, Colombian cuphea, Colombian waxweed, Tarweed

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