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Family Amaryllidaceae / Hypoxidaceae
Hypoxis aurea Lour.

Xiao jin mei cao

Scientific names Common names
Hypoxis aurea Lour. Kitkitli (Ig.)
Hypoxis fraquevillei Miq. Golden star grass (Engl.)
Hypoxis flava Merr. Yellow star grass (Engl.)
Hypoxis minor D. Don.  
Curculigo graminifolia Nimmo  

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Hsien-mao, P'o-lo men sheu, Xiao jin mei cao.
HINDI: Bhui khajur, Golkya.
JAPANESE: Ko-kinbai-zasa.
MARATHI: Sontara.
NEPALESE: Ban siru.
SANSKRIT: Ho-lun-lei-t'o.
VIETNAMESE: H[aj] tr[aa]m.

Kitkitli is a small hairy tuberous plant. Rootstock is rounded or cylindrical, erect, 2.5 centimeters long or more, and crowned with the fibrous remains of old leaves. Leave are slender and grasslike, narrowly linear, 10 to 30 centimeters long and 2 to 3 millimeters wide. Flowers are solitary or paired, golden-yellow. Scape is 2.5 to 10 centimeters long, slender, filiform, and hairy. Perianth-lobes are elliptic-lanceolate, 8 to 12 millimeters long, yellow, and green on the back. Capsules are 6 to 12 millimeters long, clavate, at length 3-valved, crowned with the erect perianth-lobes. Seeds are black, and tuberculate.

- In open grasslands at medium and higher altitudes, ascending to 2,300 meters in Bontoc, Benquet, and Nueva Ecija Provinces in Luzon, and in Lanao and Bukidnon Provinces in Mindanao.
- Also occurs in India, Pakistan, China, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and New Guinea.

- Ethanol extract yielded twelve compounds: quercetin-3-O-β-D-glucoside,kaemferol-3-O-β-D-glucoside, apigenin-5-O-β-D- glucopyranoside, α-spinasterol, 2,6-dimethoxy-benzoic acid, 1H-indole-3-carboxylic acid, ( 2S,3R,4E,8E) -1 - (β-D-glucopyranosyloxy) -3 -hydroxy-2 [ ( R ) -2′ -hydroxyeicosanoly ) amino ] -9-methy-4,8-octadecadiene, n-dotriacontanol,14,15-eicosenicacid, lignoceric acid, β-sitoster-ol, daucosterol.
- Study of rhizomes yielded two new phenolic compounds, aureaside A and B, together with seven known compounds. (See study below)

- Properties similar to ginseng.
- Rootstock swell in water and is mucilaginous.
- It has small starch grains and bundles of raphides.
- Considered reconstructive, rejuvenating, aphrodisiac and tonic.


- Similar to ginseng, used as reconstructive, rejuvenating, aphrodisiac and tonic.
- Used in wasting diseases, dyspepsia, lassitude, impotence, wounds, and diseases of the eyes and ears.
- In China, used to treat hernias, and to warm the kidney.
- In northwestern Himalaya, roots used as aphrodisiac.
- In China and Malaysia, used as tonic and aphrodisiac.

Phenolic Glycosides:
Study of rhizomes isolated two new phenolic glycosides, aureaside A and B, together with seven known compounds, curculigoside I,5 orcinol glucoside ,6 curcapital,7 cimifugin prim-O-β- D-glucopyranoside, 8 2-O-β-D-apiofuranosyl (1→6)-O-β- D-glucopyranoside, 9 (2R,5S)-bornane-2,5-diol-2-O-β-D- glucopyranoside, 9 and bornyl 7-O-β-D-apio-D-furanosyl (1→6)-O-β-D-glucopyranoside. (1)
Radical Scavenging Activity / Tyrosinase Inhibitory Activity: Study showed a tuberous extract of H. aurea extracted by distilled water at room temperature gave high free radical scavenging activity and tyrosinase inhibition activity which was comparable to vitamin C as antioxidant and tyrosinase inhibitor agent. Results suggest potential for development of whitening cosmetic products. (7)
Anti-Melanogenesis / Collagen Biosynthesis Stimulating Activity Scavenging Activity: Study of H. aurea extracts for anti-melanogenesis and collagen biosynthesis stimulating activity. Results showed the leaves from H. aurea extracted by 95% ethanol can be applied as whitening and anti-aging agents for cosmetic pharmaceuticals. (8)

- Wild-crafted.
- Powders, extracts in the cybermarket.

Last Update May 2015

IMAGE SOURCE: / Photo / Hypoxis aurea (Japanese name: Kokinbaizasa) / © Hiroshi Moriyama / Permission granted for non-commercial use / Click on graphic to see original image/ Wildflowersof Shimane, Japan

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Two New Phenolic Glycosides from Hypoxis aurea Lour / Zhong-Quan Cheng, Dan Yang et al / Bull. Korean Chem. Soc. 2009, Vol. 30, No. 10
Hypoxis aurea Lour. / Chinese name / Catalogue of Life, China
Hypoxis aurea / Common names / Flowers of India
Chemical Constituents from Hypoxis aurea Lour / Cheng Zhong-Quan; Yang Dan; Ma Qing-Yun; Liu Yu-Qing; Zhou Jun; Zhao You-Xing/ Natural Product Research and Development, Volume 23, Issue 06, 2011
Hypoxis aurea / Chinese Medicinal Herbs: A Modern Edition of a Classic Sixteenth-century Manual /
edited by Shih-chen Li, F. Porter Smith, George Arthur Stuart
Diversity, indigenous uses and conservation status of medicinal plants in Manali wildlife sanctuary, North western Himalaya / Rana Man S & Samant*SS / Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge Vol. 10 (3), July 2011, pp. 439-459
Free Radical Scavenging and Tyrosinase Inhibition Activities of Hypoxis aurea Lour. Tuberous Extracts / Korawinwich Boonpisuttinant; Supanida Winitchai; Supassorn Keawklin; Janyaporn Yuenying; Pakawadee Srisanga; Khanitta Meepradit; Usa Sodamook / Journal of Applied Sciences Research;Special Issue2013, Vol. 9 Issue 12, p6039
In Vitro Anti-melanogenesis and Collagen Biosynthesis Stimulating Activities of Star Grass (Hypoxis aurea Lour.) Extracts / Korawinwich Boonpisuttinant, Usa Sodamook, Warintorn Ruksiriwanich, Supanida Winitchai / ASIAN JOURNAL OF APPLIED SCIENCES, Vol 2, No 4, 2014

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.

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