Ixora coccinea: Classification, Origin, Characteristics, Phytochemistry and Traditional Uses

Ixora coccinea: Classification, Origin, Characteristics, Phytochemistry and Traditional Uses


Ixora coccinea Linn. (Rubiaceae), sometimes called red ixora, scarlet ixora, jungle of geranium, jungle flame, flaming love, and flame of the woods. The species name “coccinea” means crimson, while the genus name “Ixora” is thought to come from the Sanskrit word “ikvana,” which is named after a Malaysian deity. It may also be derived from the term “Iswara,” which is another name for Lord Shiva, to whom the flowers are dedicated during worship. All plant parts have been shown to have medicinal value in Ayurveda, the conventional Indian medical system, as well as in several indigenous medical systems in Sri Lanka and India. The plant produces chickpea-sized red to scarlet coloured fruits that are also eaten as food, particularly by Indian villages and tribal communities’ young inhabitants. There are over 500 species of tropical evergreen trees and bushes there. Ixora is a plant that is frequently found in subtropical regions of the United States, including Florida. Only a small number of the about 500 species in the genus Ixora are regularly grown in gardens.


Kingdom: Plantae

Class: Eudicots

Order: Gentianales

Family: Rubiaceae

Genus: Ixora

Species: coccinea

Scientific Name: Ixora coccinea

Common Names: Jungle Flame, Burning Love, Scarlet ixora, Jungle of Geranium, and Red ixora, Lame of the woods, Flame of the Forest   


The plant is thought to have originated in India and Sri Lanka, but it is now grown all over the world in tropical and subtropical climes. Additionally naturalised in Puerto Rico are the plants.


1. In the family Rubiaceae, there is a genus of flowering plants called Ixora. It is a typical Asian flowering shrub.

2. Ixora coccinea are abundantly found growing in dry areas with somewhat acidic soil.

3. The plant is a dense, heavily branched evergreen shrub that typically grows to a height of 4-6 feet (1.2- 2 metres), but can grow as high as 12 feet (3.6 m).

4. The stems are grey and have a base diameter of 3 to 4 cm.

5. The oblong-shaped leaves are a dark green colour.

6. The stem’s opposite pairs or whorls of leaves are sessile to short-petiolate, glossy, leathery, oblong, and measure around 10 cm long. Stipules are basally sheathing.

7. The terminal, thick corymbs of the inflorescences hold 15–50 blooms.

8. Each solitary flower has four or five calyx lobes and is tubular.

9. Flowers are small, sessile, tubular, and grouped in dense, spherical clusters. Calyx lobes are short, triangular, and persistent, and the corolla tube is typically 1 to 1.5 inches long.

10. Red or reddish-orange blooms are produced by the plants that grow wild. Although they are less common, plants with white, yellow, salmon or pink flowers are now grown and sold in horticultural stores. These plants also come in dwarf versions, which are widely utilised both as indoor plants and in landscaping.

11. When fresh, the plump, globose fruits are green; when ripe, they are dark blood crimson or purplish-black. Two seeds that are relatively huge for the size of the fruit are present in the fruits.

12. Traditional uses of the plant include hepatoprotective, chemoprotective, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-mitotic, and anti-inflammatory effects.


Ixora coccinea has lupeol, ursolic acid, oleanolic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acids, and sitosterol as its main constituents, according to phytochemical research. Rutin, lecocyanadin glycoside, cyanadin-3-rutinoside, and delphinidin monoglycoside are all said to be present in the blooms. Octadecadienoic acid is present in the root bark, and methyl esters of palmitic, stearic, oleic, and linoleic acids have been found in the root oil.

Ixora coccinea has long been used to treat a variety of illnesses in Ayurveda and other folk medical systems. Luecorrhoea, dysentery, dysmenorrhoea, haemoptysis, hypertension, menstrual irregularities, sprains, bronchitis fever, sores, chronic ulcers, scabies, and skin conditions are all treated with the flowers in the Ayurvedic medical system. The mixture is made by boiling the blooms of the plant along with the leaves of Centella asiatica, Coldenia procumbens, and Madhuca longifolia. Coconut oil is then added to the mixture, which is then used as a wound healing agent. Both dysentery and catarrhal bronchitis are treated with flowers. To treat eczema, the shade-dried flowers are heated in coconut oil before being applied externally. The cleaned root’s decoction is said to be beneficial in treating anorexia, hiccups, and nausea. It is thought that finely ground roots can treat chronic ulcers and sores. Urine clarity is supposed to benefit from the decoction. A poultice made from fresh leaves and stems is thought to be effective for treating contusions, boils, eczema, and sprains.

Ixora species are widely dispersed throughout Asia’s tropical and subtropical areas. Different ethnic groups from Asia, Africa, and Europe use the leaves, flowers, roots, stems, and fruits for a variety of purposes.


The anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrheal, anti-asthmatic, anti-ulcer, and antinociceptic properties of I. coccinea leaves have been discovered. Additionally, they are employed as an antiseptic and to soothe vitiated pitta, skin conditions, colic, flatulence, diarrhoea, indigestion, ulcers, and wounds. I. grandiflora leaves are applied as a poultice in the fresh form to cure boils, concussions, eczema, and sprains. For the treatment of wounds and skin ulcers, leaves were brewed into a decoction. I. chinensis leaves have been used as a treatment for early tuberculosis as well as to cure stomachaches and headaches. The leaves of I. finlaysoniana exhibited antigestagenic action. I. javanica’s leaves are employed in the treatment of cancer. I. parviflora leaf extract exhibited antiviral, hypotensive, and spasmolytic action.


I.coccinea flowers have been used to cure conditions such as cancer, leucorrhea, diarrhoea, dysmenorrhea, hemoptysis, and hypertension. I. javanica flowers have anti-cancer properties and are consumed locally as vegetables. I. chinensis fresh flower infusion is consumed freely in the Philippines because it is believed to be beneficial for haemorrhage, headache, and incipient tuberculosis. Amenorrhea and hypertension are treated with flower decoction. Scientific research has shown that I. finlaysoniana flowers have estrogenic, abortifacient, and anti-implantation characteristics. Flowers from I. parviflora are used to cure ulcers as well as whooping cough. I. macrothyrsa’s blossoms are used to give herbal preparations colour.

Ixora coccinea Flower


The I. coccinea roots showed antimicrobial and wound-healing properties. While the roots of I. parviflora are used to cure menorrhagia, it is also useful against scabies and other skin problems as an astringent and antiseptic. I. chinensis roots are used to treating urinary issues. After delivery, the decoction is also administered. In Indonesia, bronchial diseases are treated with root decoction. I. macrothyrsa relieves menorrhagia, leucorrhea, general weakness, vitiated Kapha, pitta, burning sensations, eczema, ringworm, and other skin ailments. I. grandiflora is used for labour and indigestion.

Pharmacological Activity

Anti-ulcerogenic Effects

Some of the most prevalent diseases that impact people are gastrointestinal ulcers, which have a high morbidity and fatality rate. Although the specific aetiology of stomach ulcers is unknown, several things are known to cause or aggravate the condition, including smoking, alcohol usage, stress, fatty foods, and Helicobacter pylori infections. The commonly prescribed medications have substantial adverse effects such as arrhythmias, impotence, gynecomastia, arthralgia, hypergastrinemia, and hemopoietic alterations, and they may not work as well to reduce the likelihood of relapses. Consequently, efforts to find novel, non-toxic antiulcer drugs continue.

Ixora fresh leaf methanolic extract (100 and 200 mg/kg) has been found in preclinical investigations to have antiulcerogenic properties against pyloric ligation and hypothermic-restraint stress in rats. The anti-ulcerogenic effect of the extract was better (50134%) at the lower concentration of 100 mg/kg than in the pyloric ligation model (45186%), while at the higher dose of 200 mg/kg, the effects in both models were nearly identical. This indicates that the extract was more effective in preventing hypothermic-restraint stress. In the pyloric ligation investigation, the extract reduced gastric ulcerations and both the free and total acidity of the produced gastric juice in a concentration-dependent manner. The protective effect of 200 mg/kg of the extract was comparable to that of the famotidine (20 mg/kg) therapeutically used standard medication.

I.Coccinea was extracted with 50% ethanol and subjected to antimicrobial activity. It was determined that 125 g/ml was the effective inhibitory concentration of the extract for both bacteria and fungi, after which the inhibitory efficacy began to wane and the organisms began to recover from the antimicrobial component. The plant’s aqueous extract was also tested on albino rats for its ability to treat several experimental diarrhoea types. The outcome supported the aqueous extract’s ability to treat diarrhoea.

When mice with intraperitoneal transplanted Daltons lymphoma and ehrlich ascites carcinoma tumours were exposed to I. coccinea flowers’ anticancer activity, the flower extract demonstrated a significant antitumor principle.

Ixora coccinea leaves were tested for their antinociceptive potential, and the findings revealed that the antinociceptive activity was mediated centrally at the supraspinal level via a dopaminergic mechanism.

The aqueous extract of I. coccinea leaves demonstrated hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic action and significantly reduced blood glucose and serum lipid levels.

Hepatoprotective Effects

The lack of efficient drugs in the current medical system makes the management of serious liver illnesses more challenging. Liver dysfunction and diseases are a major public health concern. Some pharmaceuticals have been proven to be beneficial when taken in conjunction with herbal remedies to treat a variety of liver problems. According to studies, liver damage can be avoided by taking the roots’ ethanolic extract orally for two days in a row before administering aflatoxin B intraperitoneally (100, 200, or 300 mg/kg). Pretreatment with the extract led to a concentration-dependent drop in the amounts of the hepatic enzymes glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase, glutamate pyruvate transaminase, and alkaline phosphatase in the serum as compared to the aflatoxin B group alone.

The cohorts provided at a 300 mg/kg concentration had the best results, whereas silymarin (used as a positive control) at 100 mg/kg had comparable protective effects. According to histological investigations, the extract reduced lymphocyte infiltration, repaired the lobular architecture that had become altered, and lowered fatty degenerative alterations and localised necrosis. The extracts reduced the FeCl2-ascorbic acid-induced lipid peroxidation in rat liver homogenate in vitro and restored GSH levels in the liver of rats treated with aflatoxin, indicating that the hepatoprotective effects may be mediated by the antioxidant and by inhibition of lipid peroxidation.

Antidiarrhoeal Effects

In underdeveloped nations, diarrhoea brought on by intestinal infections is a significant cause of infant mortality and a serious public health concern. Recent research suggests that the leaves’ aqueous extract has antidiarrheal benefits on rats. Throughout the trial, the oral dose of the extract (100, 200, and 400 mg/ kg, intraperitoneal injection) decreased the diarrhoea in a concentration-dependent way before castor oil delivery (30 min to 240 min). The faecal matter was more uniform in the cohorts that additionally got the extract compared to the castor oil alone cohorts. Additionally, the extract stopped the enteropooling caused by castor oil, and its effects were superior to those of the loperamide utilised in clinical settings. Following castor oil administration, administering the extract decreased the gastrointestinal motility in the charcoal meal test. The 400 mg/kg extract treated groups showed the best antidiarrheal effects, which were on par with loperamide’s (5 mg/kg) effects. All of these findings together strongly support the effectiveness of root extracts in avoiding diarrhoea.

Antinociceptive Effects

The most popular drugs for treating moderate to severe pain include morphine and meperidine. These opioids’ numerous side effects, including the possibility of tolerance and dependency after prolonged use, have, however, restricted their therapeutic application and prompted the search for less dangerous substitutes. According to studies, the leaf’s aqueous extract exhibits antinociceptive action when tested using the hot plate and formalin methods but not the tail flick method. With a peak impact occurring 3 hours after extract administration, the extract’s antinociceptive activity was quick to take action (within 1 hour) and continued for a reasonable amount of time (up to 5 hours). When used for a prolonged period, the antinociceptive action was concentration-dependent and had no negative systemic and behavioural consequences.

Antimicrobial Effects

Antimicrobials, particularly antibiotics and antifungal medications, are frequently used to treat a variety of medical diseases. However, several bacteria and fungi have developed antibiotic resistance as a result of patients’ rife irrational drug usage and lax compliance with treatment regimens. As a result, ongoing research is being done to find more potent compounds, and plants are now being investigated as potential leads for the production of antimicrobial drugs.

Chemopreventive Effects

An alternate strategy for lowering cancer-related mortality is chemoprevention, which emphasizes stopping, reversing, or postponing the beginning of cancer by using pharmacological or nutritional treatments at harmless doses. According to research by Latha and Panikkar, the 7, 12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced and croton oil-promoted skin carcinogenesis can be delayed when 100 mg/kg body weight of the active component of the flower is applied topically. The scientists also noted that oral administration of the active fraction (100 mg/kg body weight) was successful in preventing mice from developing fibrosarcomas after being exposed to 3-methylcholanthrene.

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