Breynia androgyna
[Sweet Leaf Bush, Star Gooseberry, Katuk]
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Close-up view:

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The seeds:

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It is very easy to propagate this plant; simply cut a piece of stem and stick it into the soil.

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The leaves harvested from the plants that I grew along my corridor area.

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Plant Notes

| Last updated: April 2023 |

The change of the accepted botanical name of this plant from Sauropus androgynus to Breynia androgyna should be prompted by a publication in 2014 [1]. When I did a search using both names in PubMed in April 2023, there were 60 publications where Sauropus androgynus was mentioned with the latest one published in 2023. But, only one publication mentioned Breynia androgyna and it was published in 2022. It seems that the current accepted botanical name was still not widely used yet.

While this plant is a popular leafy vegetable, it can cause very serious lung disease if eaten raw as outlined in the Singapore Food Agency and Hong Kong's Centre for Food Safety websites. Two outbreaks of pulmonary dysfunction were reported in Taiwan [2-4] and Japan [] in 1995 and 2005 respectively after consumption of excessive quantity of this plant [6].


[1] van Welzen PC, Pruesapan K, Telford IRH, Esser HJ, Bruhl JJ. Phylogenetic reconstruction prompts taxonomic changes in Sauropus, Synostemon and Breynia (Phyllanthaceae tribe Phyllantheae. Blumea 2014;59:77-94. | Read article |

[2] Lai RS, Chiang AA, Wu MT, Wang JS, Lai NS, Lu JY, Ger LP, Roggli V. Outbreak of bronchiolitis obliterans associated with consumption of Sauropus androgynus in Taiwan. Lancet 1996;348(9020):83-85. | Read abstract |

[3] Lin TJ, Lu CC, Chen KW, Deng JF. Outbreak of obstructive ventilatory impairment associated with consumption of Sauropus androgynus vegetable. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 1996;34(1):1-8. | Read abstract |

[4] Ou CY, Chen CZ, Lee CH, Lin CC, Chang HY, Hsiue TR. Pulmonary function change in patients with Sauropus androgynus-related obstructive lung disease 15 years later. J Formos Med Assoc 2013;112(10):630-634. | Read article |

[5] Oonakahara K, Matsuyama W, Higashimoto I, Machida K, Kawabata M, Arimura K, Osame M, Hayashi M, Ogura T, Imaizumi K, Hasegawa Y. Outbreak of Bronchiolitis obliterans associated with consumption of Sauropus androgynus in Japan--alert of food-associated pulmonary disorders from Japan. Respiration 2005;72(2):221.

[6] Bunawan H, Bunawan SN, Baharum SN, Noor NM. Sauropus androgynus (L.) Merr. Induced bronchiolitis obliterans: from botanical studies to toxicology. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2015;2015:714158. | Read article |

Online Resources

| Plants of the World Online | Flora of China | Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) | Hospital Authority Toxicology Reference Laboratory | Useful Tropical Plants |


[2023] Sagna A, Nair RVR, Hulyalkar N, Rajasekharan S, Nair VTG, Sivakumar KC, Suja SR, Baby S, Sreekumar E. Ethyl palmitate, an anti-chikungunya virus principle from Sauropus androgynus, a medicinal plant used to alleviate fever in ethnomedicine. J Ethnopharmacol 2023;309:116366. | Read abstract |

[2022] Purba RAP, Paengkoum P. Exploring the phytochemical profiles and antioxidant, antidiabetic, and antihemolytic properties of Sauropus androgynus dried leaf extracts for ruminant health and production. Molecules 2022;27(23):8580. | Read article |

[2022] Ekasari W, Fatmawati D, Khoiriah SM, Baqiuddin WA, Nisa HQ, Maharupini AAS, Wahyuni TS, Oktarina RD, Suhartono E, Sahu RK. Antimalarial activity of extract and fractions of Sauropus androgynus (L.) Merr. Scientifica (Cairo) 2022;2022:3552491. | Read article |

[2022] Makati AC, Ananda AN, Putri JA, Amellia SF, Setiawan B. Molecular docking of ethanol extracts of katuk leaf (Sauropus androgynus) on functional proteins of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. S Afr J Bot 2022;149:1-5. | Read article |

[2022] Van Duong T, Van Mai D, Trong Ngon T, Van Hung M. Genetic study of medicinal Sauropus androgynus (L.) Merr. used in Mekong River, Southern Vietnam. Pak J Biol Sci 2022;25(5):401-405. | Read abstract |

[2022] S P, Kumar H, C R, A SB, K N, Ajmeer R, Jain V. Protective effects of Sauropus androgynus leaf extract against isoproterenol induced cardiotoxicity. Cardiovasc Toxicol 2022;22(6):579-591. | Read abstract |

[2022] Anju T, Rai NKSR, Ajay Kumar A. Sauropus androgynus (L.) Merr.: a multipurpose plant with multiple uses in traditional ethnic culinary and ethnomedicinal preparations. J Ethnic Foods 2022;9:10. | Read article |

[2021] Djati MS, Christina YI, Rifa'i M. The combination of Elephantopus scaber and Sauropus androgynus promotes erythroid lineages and modulates follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone levels in pregnant mice infected with Escherichia coli. Vet World 2021;14(5):1398-1404. | Read article |

[2021] Christina YI, Diana MR, Fuzianingsih EN, Nurhayati, Ridwan FN, Widodo, Rifa'i M, Djati MS. Hormone-balancing and protective effect of combined extract of Sauropus androgynus and Elephantopus scaber against Escherichia coli-induced renal and hepatic necrosis in pregnant mice. J Ayurveda Integr Med 2021;12(2):245-253. | Read article |

[2020] Zhang BD, Cheng JX, Zhang CF, Bai YD, Liu WY, Li W, Koike K, Akihisa T, Feng F, Zhang J. Sauropus androgynus L. Merr.-A phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological review. J Ethnopharmacol 2020;257:112778. | Read abstract |

[2019] Mustarichie R, Salsabila T, Iskandar Y. Determination of the major component of water fraction of Katuk (Sauropus androgynus (L.) Merr.) leaves by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. J Pharm Bioallied Sci 2019;11(Suppl 4):S611-S618. | Read article |

[2018] Prakoso YA, Puspitasari, Rini CS, Aliviameita A, Salasia SIO, Kurniasih, Ikram AFD, Walalangi B, Utama KP, Al Huda MF, Su'udiyah NA. The role of Sauropus androgynus (L.) Merr. leaf powder in the broiler chickens fed a diet naturally contaminated with aflatoxin. J Toxicol 2018;2018:2069073. | Read article |

[2018] Zhang J, Zhu WF, Zhu WY, Yang PP, Xu J, Manosroi J, Kikuchi T, Abe M, Akihisa T, Feng F. Melanogenesis-inhibitory and cytotoxic activities of chemical constituents from the leaves of Sauropus androgynus L. Merr. (Euphorbiaceae). Chem Biodivers 2018;15(2). | Read abstract |

[2016] Suparmi S, Fasitasari M, Martosupono M, Mangimbulude JC. Comparisons of curative effects of chlorophyll from Sauropus androgynus (L) Merr leaf extract and Cu-chlorophyllin on sodium nitrate-induced oxidative stress in rats. J Toxicol 2016;2016:8515089. | Read article |

[2016] Bunawan H, Bunawan SN, Baharum SN, Noor NM. Sauropus androgynus (L.) Merr. Induced bronchiolitis obliterans: from botanical studies to toxicology. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2015;2015:714158. | Read article |

[2014] Madhu CS, Manukumar HM, Basavaraju P. New-vista in finding antioxidant and anti-inflammatory property of crude protein extract from Sauropus androgynus leaf. Acta Sci Pol Technol Aliment 2014;13(4):375-383. | Read abstract |

[2014] Samad AP, Santoso U, Lee MC, Nan FH. Effects of dietary katuk (Sauropus androgynus L. Merr.) on growth, non-specific immune and diseases resistance against Vibrio alginolyticus infection in grouper Epinephelus coioides. Fish Shellfish Immunol 2014;36(2):582-589. | Read abstract |

[2013] Hashimoto I, Imaizumi K, Hashimoto N, Furukawa H, Noda Y, Kawabe T, Honda T, Ogawa T, Matsuo M, Imai N, Ito S, Sato M, Kondo M, Shimokata K, Hasegawa Y. Aqueous fraction of Sauropus androgynus might be responsible for bronchiolitis obliterans. Respirology 2013;18(2):340-347. | Read abstract |

[2010] Soka S, Alam H, Boenjamin N, Agustina TW, Suhartono MT. Effect of Sauropus androgynus leaf extracts on the expression of prolactin and oxytocin genes in lactating BALB/C mice. J Nutrigenet Nutrigenomics 2010;3(1):31-36. | Read abstract |

[2007] Yu SF, Chen TM, Chen YH. Apoptosis and necrosis are involved in the toxicity of Sauropus androgynus in an in vitro study. J Formos Med Assoc 2007;106(7):537-547. | Read article |

[2006] Yu SF, Shun CT, Chen TM, Chen YH. 3-O-beta-D-glucosyl-(1-->6)-beta-D-glucosyl-kaempferol isolated from Sauropus androgynus reduces body weight gain in Wistar rats. Biol Pharm Bull 2006;29(12):2510-2513. | Read article |

[2005] Oonakahara K, Matsuyama W, Higashimoto I, Watanabe M, Koreeda Y, Date H, Yamadori I, Osame M, Arimura K. Living-donor lobar lung transplantation in Sauropus androgynus-associated bronchiolitis obliterans in Japan. Intern Med 2005;44(10):1103-1104. | Read article |

[2003] Kanchanapoom T, Chumsri P, Kasai R, Otsuka H, Yamasaki K. Lignan and megastigmane glycosides from Sauropus androgynus. Phytochemistry 2003;63(8):985-988. | Read abstract |

[2000] Chang YL, Chen JS, Wu HD, Lee YC. Retransplantation of contralateral lung in a patient with Sauropus androgynus-induced bronchobronchiolitis obliterans. Transplant Proc 2000;32(7):2432-2434. | Read abstract |

[2000] Hsu H, Chang H, Goan Y. Intermediate results in Sauropus androgynus bronchiolitis obliterans patients after single-lung transplantation. Transplant Proc 2000;32(7):2422-2423. | Read abstract |

[2000] Wang JS, Tseng HH, Lai RS, Hsu HK, Ger LP. Sauropus androgynus-constrictive obliterative bronchitis/bronchiolitis--histopathological study of pneumonectomy and biopsy specimens with emphasis on the inflammatory process and disease progression. Histopathology 2000;37(5):402-410. | Read abstract |

[2000] Lai RS, Wang JS, Lee PC. Sauropus androgynus and papaverine do not induce bronchiolitis obliterans in Sprague-Dawley rats. Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi (Taipei) 2000;63(7):536-541. | Read abstract |

[1999] Luh SP, Lee YC, Chang YL, Wu HD, Kuo SH, Chu SH. Lung transplantation for patients with end-stage Sauropus androgynus-induced bronchiolitis obliterans (SABO) syndrome. Clin Transplant 1999;13(6):496-503. | Read abstract |

[1999] Kao CH, Ho YJ, Wu CL, ChangLai SP. Using 99mTc-DTPA radioaerosol inhalation lung scintigraphies to detect the lung injury induced by consuming Sauropus androgynus vegetable and comparison with conventional pulmonary function tests. Respiration 1999;66(1):46-51. | Read abstract |

[1998] Hsu H, Chang H, Su J, Goan Y, Wong C, Huang M. Lung transplantation in Sauropus androgynus consumption patients in Taiwan. Transplant Proc 1998;30(7):3393-3394. | Read abstract |

[1998] Wu CL, Hsu WH, Chiang CD. The effect of large-dose prednisolone on patients with obstructive lung disease associated with consuming Sauropus androgynus. Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi (Taipei) 1998;61(1):34-38. | Read abstract |

[1998] Chang YL, Yao YT, Wang NS, Lee YC. Segmental necrosis of small bronchi after prolonged intakes of Sauropus androgynus in Taiwan. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1998;157(2):594-598. | Read abstract |

[1998] Hsiue TR, Guo YL, Chen KW, Chen CW, Lee CH, Chang HY. Dose-response relationship and irreversible obstructive ventilatory defect in patients with consumption of Sauropus androgynus. Chest 1998;113(1):71-76. | Read abstract |

[1997] Ger LP, Chiang AA, Lai RS, Chen SM, Tseng CJ. Association of Sauropus androgynus and bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome: a hospital-based case-control study. Am J Epidemiol 1997;145(9):842-849. | Read abstract |

[1997] Yang CF, Wu MT, Chiang AA, Lai RS, Chen C, Tiao WM, McLoud TC, Wang JS, Pan HB. Correlation of high-resolution CT and pulmonary function in bronchiolitis obliterans: a study based on 24 patients associated with consumption of Sauropus androgynus. AJR Am J Roentgenol 1997;168(4):1045-1050. | Read abstract |

[1997] Wu CL, Hsu WH, Chiang CD, Kao CH, Hung DZ, King SL, Deng JF. Lung injury related to consuming Sauropus androgynus vegetable. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 1997;35(3):241-248. | Read abstract |

[1997] Chang H, Wang JS, Tseng HH, Lai RS, Su JM. Histopathological study of Sauropus androgynus-associated constrictive bronchiolitis obliterans: a new cause of constrictive bronchiolitis obliterans. Am J Surg Pathol 1997;21(1):35-42. | Read abstract |

[1996] Chen IC, Chang KC, Hsieh YK, Wu D. Torsade de pointes due to consumption of Sauropus androgynus as a weight-reducing vegetable. Am J Cardiol 1996;78(10):1186-1187. | Read abstract |

[1996] Chen CW, Hsiue TR, Chen KW, Chang HY, Chen CR, Yang BC. Increased IL-5 and IL-10 transcription in bronchial cells after Sauropus androgynus ingestion. J Formos Med Assoc 1996;95(9):699-702. | Read abstract |

[1990] Padmavathi P, Rao MP. Nutritive value of Sauropus androgynus leaves. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 1990;40(2):107-113. | Read abstract |

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