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Family Peltiveriaceae
Rivina humulis L.
Shu zhu shan hu

Scientific names Common names
Rivina acuminata Raf. Baby pepper (Engl.)
Rivina aurantiaca Warsz. ex Schenk Coral bays (Engl.)
Rivina bengalensis S.C. Srivast. & T.K. Paul Coral berry (Engl.)
Rivina brasiliensis Nocca Bloodberry (Engl.)
Rivina canescens D. Don ex Steud. Pigeonberry (Engl.)
Rivina glabrata Kunth Rouge plant (Engl.)
Rivina gracilis Salisb. Turkeyberry (Engl.)
Rivina herbaceae C.Huber  
Rivina humulis L.  
Rivina laevis L.  
Rivina lanceolata Willd.  
Rivina mexicana Moc. & Sesse ex Moq.  
Rivina obliquata Raf.  
Rivina orientalis Moq.  
Rivina pallida Salisb . . . .  
Rivina viridis F.W.Schmidt  
Tithonia humulis (L,) Kuntze  
Piercea acuminata Raf.  
Solanoides laevis (L.) Moench  
Rivinia humulis L. is an accepted name. Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Shu zhu shan hu.
FRENCH Groseille, Petite groseille.
SOUTH AFRICA: Bloedbessie.
SPANISH: Coralito.
SWEDEN: Sminkbär
TONGA: Polo.

Gen info
- Rivina humulis is a species of flowering plant in the family Peltiveriacea (formerly in the pokeweed family Phytolaccacea).
- The specific epithet humulis means "dwarfish" or "lowly" in Latin, referring to its short stature. (2)

Rivina humulis is an herbaceous to wood perennial plant growing up to 1 m high. Stems are erect dichotomously branched, angular, glabrous or slightly pubescent at the nodes. Leaves are simple, alternate, entire, elliptic to ovate, up to 12 cm long, long petioled, the based rounded or attenuate, apex acuminate, glabrous to pubescent above and below, especially along the veins. Leaves are unpleasant-smelling when crushed. Inflorescences are terminal or axillary, up to 15 cm long, erect or curved, slender. Flowers are small, bisexual on pedicels up to 5 mm long, subtended by very small bracts and bracteoles, tepals 4, 2-3 mm long, green, white or pink, persistent; stamens 4. Ovary is superior, ovoid, 1-carpelled, 1-loculed. Style is shorter than the ovary, slightly curved, stigma capitate. Berry is round, glossy and bright red or orange, 3-4 mm in diameter; with a single hairy seed, 3 mm in diameter. (1)

- Introduced.
- Native distribution restricted to the Americas, from Argentina to southern USA. (1)
- Widely introduced to other countries and naturalized in much of the Pacific and some countries in Africa and Asia. (1)
- In Melanesia, given highest ranking as a serious weed. (1)
- Considered invasive in many places.
- Some ornamental cultivation.
- Also a shade-tolerant groundcover.

- Preliminary phytochemical screening of various solvent extracts (petroleum ether, chloroform, ethyl acetate, methanol, water) of whole plant powder showed alkaloids (C, EA, M, W), flavonoids (PE, C), phenols (PE, C), saponins (PE, W), steroids (PE, C), and tannins (PE, C). (3)
- GC-MS analysis of ethanolic stem extract yielded 14 compounds viz., cinnamyl 3,4-dihydroxy-α-cyannocinnamate, L-proline, N-methoxycarbonyle, isohexylester, L-tetradecene, 1-nonadecene, caffeine, b-hexadecanoic acid, oleic acid, octadecanoic acid. among others. (6)

- Vulnerary.
- Studies have suggest antioxidant, antimicrobial, pesticidal, colorant properties.

Parts used


- Caution: While berries are reportedly edible, as many report toxicity to humans.
- No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- Leaves used for treatment of catarrh.
- In Mexico, leaves are used for treating wounds.
- In Jamaica, herb decoction is drunk as tea three times daily for treating blocked tubes (fallopian), infertility, or any womb related problem. Also used for menstrual flow problems. (10)
- Dye: Red fruits yield a dye.
Used as colorant for beverage and fruit spread. (see study below) (9)

Betalains / Acute, Subacute and Subchronic Safety Studies:
Rivinia humulis accumulates vacuolar pigments betalains. Red beet is the only industrial source of these hydrophilic and low acidic pigments. Betalains rich R. humulis berry juice could be an alternative source of the pigments. In single-dose (1, 2,5 g RBJ/kbw), repeated-dose (2.5 and 5 g/kbw for 35 days) and dietary feeding (0.5%, 1%, and 2% RBJ in diet, w/w for 90 days) in male rats showed the RBJ did not affect growth and normal biochemical homeostasis, and is safe to consume without adverse effects. (4)
Juvenile Hormone Activity against Cx quinquefasciatus: Study evaluated 18 plants belonging to various plant families for juvenile hormone analogue activity against filarial mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus. Acetone extracts of eight plants, including Rivina humulis, showed significant juvenile hormone activity. (5)
Silver Nanoparticles / Antibacterial / Leaves: Study reports on synthesis of AgNPs using leaf extract of R. humulis. The silver nanoparticles exhibited potential antibrucellosis activity against B. abortus, B. melitensis and B. suis with effect inhibition at 800 µg/mL. Biocompatibility of Rh-AgNPs was established by rate of hemolysis, hemagglutination and fibrinolytic activity. (7)
Antimicrobial / Antioxidant: Study evaluated the antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of various plant parts (root, stem, leaf, fruit,inflorescence) of R. humulis showed tremendous antibacterial potential against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, with most significant activity obtained from the chloroform extract of fruit i.e., 46 ± 2.7 mm. Antifungal activity ranged from good to satisfactory with maximum potential shown by petroleum ether extract against Aspergillus oryzae. Various extracts showed significant DPPH antioxidant activity with the petroleum ether leaf extract at 89.1 ± 1.7% and fruit extract at 83.8 ± 0.8%. (8)
Natural Colorant / Betalain : Study reports on the use of berries as a natural colorant in fruit spread and beverage and its physiochemical properties and acceptability of the product. Results showed the 68% color retained in Rivina banana spread after 6 months of storage at 5°C. although there was reduction in L, a, and chroma values. Rivina banana beverage lost redness completely during processing. Microbial analysis showed products were safe for consumption. The spread had overall good sensorial quality and did not alter product quality. (9)
Agricultural Pesticide / m Spodoptera litura: Study evaluated the pesticidal activity of antifeedant, oviposition deterrent, ovicidal and larvicidal activities of benzene, dichloromethane, diethylether, ethyl acetate and methanol extracts of R. humulis against agricultural polyphagous pest Spodoptera litura. Results showed all the extracts exhibited moderate antifeedant activity, with the methanol extract showing significant antifeedant, ovicidal, oviposition deterrent and larvicidal activities. (11)
Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Study evaluated dried, crushed, and defatted alcoholic extracts of R. humulis for analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity. Results showed anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities by carrageenan induced paw edema and cotton pellet granuloma testing in Wistar albino rats. (12)
Phytofungicide: Study evaluated 24 plant extracts for antifungal activity on the development of Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lycopersici as a green alternative to synthetic fungicides. Of the 24 plant extracts, five, including Rivina humulis, showed good antifungal activity. The plant extracts with good antifungal activity generally had high level of total polyphenolic content and titrable acidity and low pH values. The efficacy of R. humulis may be due to the presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, and resin, known bioactive compounds against bacteria and fungi. (13)
Betalains and Antioxidant Enzymes During Development and Abiotic Stress in Berries: Study investigated the betalains profiles and molecular changes during development and post-induction stress induced by elicitors such as salicylic acid and chitosan. Treatment with SA enhanced betalains accumulation/ Treatment with CH produced morphological changes in berries and expression of SOD was significantly suppressed. (15)



July 2021

IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph: / Pigeonberry / Hans Hillewaert / CC by SA 3.0 / click on image to go to source page / WIKIPEDIA

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Rivina humulis (bloodberry) / CABI
: Invasive Species Compendium
Rivina humulis / Wikipedia
Preliminary phytochemical screening and FTIR analysis on Rivina humulis L. (Mixture) / A Kavitha and Mary V Kensa / Adalya Journal / ISSN: 1301-2746
Acute, subacute and subchronic safety assessment of betalins rich Rivinia humulis L. berry juice in rats / M I Khan, K M D Joseph, Muralidhara, H P Ramesh, P Giridhar, G A Ravishankar / Food abd Chemical Toxicology, 2011; 49(12): pp 3154-3157 / DOI: 10.1016/j.fct.2011.08.022 / ISSN: 0278-6915
Juvenoid activity in plant extracts against filarial mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus /
Neraliya S, Ratna Gaur / Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Sciences, 2004; 26(1): pp 34-38 / ISSN: 0253-7125
GC-MS analysis of ethanolic extract of Rivina humulis L. (stem) / Kavitha A and Mary Kensa V / Sikitusi Journal for Multidisciplinary Research, / ISSN: 0975-6876
Green synthesis of silver nanoparticles by Rivina humulis leaf extract to tackkle growth of Brucella species and other perilous pathogens / Sri Raghava, Kenneth Munnene Mbae, S Umesha / Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, Jan 2021, 28(1): pp 495-503 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sjbs.2020.10.034
Rivina humulis L: A Potential Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Source / Muhammad Ajaib, Annam Zikrea, Khalid Mohammed Khan et al / Chemical Society of Pakistan, Oct 2013; 35(5): pp 1384-1398
Betalains rich Rivina humulis L. berry extract as natural colorant in product (fruit spread anbbd RTS beverage) development / Mohammad Imtiyaj Khan, P S C Sri Harsha, A S Chauhan, S V N Vijayendra, M R Asha, P Giridhar / J Food Sci Technol., Mar 2015; 52(3): pp 1808-18113 / PMID: 25745261 /
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-013-1175-8
Rivina humulis L. (Phytolaccaceae)L a new distributional record of plant species and family for Palamu division of Jharkhand, India / Dr Jasbir Bagga / International Journal for Innovative Research in Multidisciplinary Field, Apr 2017; 3(4) / ISSN: 2455-0620
Pesticidal activity of Rivina humulis L. (Phytolaccaceae) against important agricultural polyphagous field pest, Spodoptera litura (Fab.( (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) / Elumalai Arumugam, Backiyaraj Muthusamy, Kasinathan Dhamodaran, Elumalai Kuppusamy et al / Journal of Coastal Life Medicine, 2015; 3(5): pp 389-394 / ISSN: 2309-5288
Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity on Rivina humulis L. / Kavitha A and Mary Kensa V / Aegaeum Journal, 2020; 8(11): pp 108-122 / ISSN: 0776-3808
Antifungal activity of some botanical extracts on Fusarium oxysporum / Domenico Rongai, Patrizio Pulcini, Barbara Pesce, Filomena Milano / Open Life Sci., 2015; 10L pp 409-416
Rivinia humulis / Synonyms / Plants of the World Online
Betalains and expression of antioxidant enzymes during development and abiotic stress in Rivinia humulis L. berries / Mohammad Imtiyaj Khan, Avinash Kumar, Parvatam Giridhar / Turkish Journal of Botany, 2016; 40: pp 28-36 / DOI: 10.3906/bot-1405-32

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

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