Ethnobotanical Leaflets 11: 73-75. 2007.





Didymocarpus pedicellata: The Lithontriptic Ethnomedicine



Dr. Amrit Pal Singh


PGDMB; BAMS; MD (Alternative Medicine), Herbal Consultant, Ind-Swift Ltd, Chandigarh


Address for correspondence:

House No: 2101 Phase-7,




Issued 24 May 2007



Didymocarpus pedicellata R.Br. (Gesneriaceae) is valuable although a lesser known medicinal plant. It is popularly known as stone flower. In Ayurveda it is known as shilapushpa, shantapushpi and sometimes pasanbheda (Bahl &.Seshadri, 1978). In common language it is known as charela or patharphori.


Traditionally Didymocarpus pedicellata is used in the treatment of renal diseases particularly kidney stones (Kapoor & Kapoor, 1976). According to a hypothesis the plant is supposed to regulate calcium absorption in the body. The plant is known for its diuretic effect and in maintaining healthy urinary tract.


In Ayurveda pasanbheda is a drug of controversial origin. Further work on proper botanical identification of pasanbheda is warranted. The following plants are used as pasanbheda in different parts of India (Singh & Sandhu, 2005):

Botanical name

Natural order


Parts used


Bergenia ligulata (Wall.) Engl.



Coumarin (bergenin), gallic acid, tannic acid, minerals and wax.



Bryophyllum calycinum Salisb.


Citric acid, malic acid and flavonoids



Aerva lanata Juss.ex Schult.



α-amyrin and β-sitosterol



Bridelia crenulata




Stem bark


Coleus amboinicus Lour.



Essential oil (contains carvacrol)



Decalepis arayalpatra Joseph & Chandrasekharan






Homonoia riporia Lour.





Rotula aquatica Lour.



Whole plant



The plant is native to Tropical Asia (McGuffinet al).


Didymocarpus pedicellata is a small herb with a reduced stem, bearing 2-3 pairs of opposite, roundy ovate, glabrous, glandular-punctate leaves, 3-6 inches in diameter (Kapoor & Kapoor, 1976; Shah, Shah & Mody, 1972).


Chemically, the plant contains:


  1. Chalcones (Rathore, Garg & Gupta, 1981): pashanone (Agarwal, Bhaskar & Sheshadri).
  2. Polyterpenes: didymocarpol and didymacarpenol
  3. Flavonoid: didmyocarpin (Bose & Chauadhary, 1978; Garg, Gupta & Sharma, 1979), isodidmyocarpin (Bose & Chauadhary, 1978), pedicin, isopedicin and pedicellin (Sharma & Siddiqui,1939) and pediflavone (Guha & Bhattacharya, 1992).
  4. Dicarboxylic acid: pedicellic acid (Rao et al, 1966). This is considered to be the active principle of Didymocarpus pedicellata extracts. This compound is also valued for anticancer activity.
  5. Essential oil: main compound is didymocarpene (Singh, Sinha & Pathak, 1978).


The essential oil of Didymocarpus pedicellata has antimicrobial activity (Singh, Sinha & Pathak, 1978).


Ethanolic extract of the aerial parts of Didymocarpus pedicellata demonstrated significant antioxidant and protective activity against ferric nitriloacetate induced renal oxidative stress, nephrotoxicity and tumor promotion response. Further the extract provided significant protection against. The extract also significantly and dose-dependently protected against ferric nitriloacetate mediated damage to lipids and DNA. The nephroprotective activity of the plant is attributed to polyphenolic compounds. The study further supported ancient use of plant in the treatment of kidney diseases (Kaur et al., 2007).




1.                  Agarwal, S.C., Bhaskar, A. & T.R. Sheshadri. 1972. Constituents of the roots of Didymocarpus pedicellata. Isolation and structure of pashanone, a new chalcone. Indian J Chem 12:2-5.

2.                  Bahl, C.P. & T.R. Seshadri. Eds.1978. Pashanbhedi: drugs for urinary calculus, K.N. Udupa 77-98.

3.                  Bose. P.C. & N. Chauadhary. 1978. Didmyocarpin, a new flavanone from Didymocarpus pedicellata. Phytochem 17:587-8.

4.                  Bose. P.C. & N. Chauadhary. 1978. Isodidmyocarpin, a new chalcone from Didymocarpus pedicellata. J Indian Chem 25:1198-1200.

5.                  Garg, S.K., Gupta, S.R. & N.D. Sharma. 1979. Synthesis of 7-hydroxy-5, 6, 8-trimethoxyflavone: revision of structure of didmyocarpin. Indian J Chem 17B:394-5.

6.                  Guha, P.K. & A. Bhattacharya. 1992. 5, 8-dihydroxyflavone from the immature leaves of Didymocarpus pedicellata. Phytochem 31(5): 1833-34.  

7.                  Kapoor, S.L. & L.D. Kapoor. 1976. On the botany and distribution of `pashanbheda', Sachitra Ayurved  28, 12, 769-791.

8.                  Kaur, G. et al. 2007. Protective effect of Didymocarpus pedicellata on ferric nitriloacetate induced renal oxidative stress and hyperproliferative response. Chem Biol Interact 165(1):33-34.

9.                  McGuffin, M. et al. eds. 2000. Herbs of commerce, ed. 2. (Herbs Commerce ed2)

10.              Rao, K.V. et al. 1966. Isolation and constitution of pedicellic acid a new dicarboxylic acid from the leaves of Didymocarpus pedicellata. Tetrahedron  22(4):1495-98.

11.              Rathore, J.S., Garg, S.K. & S.R. Gupta. 1981. A chalcone and flavanones from Didymocarpus pedicellata. Phytochem 20:1755-6.

12.              Rathore, J.S. et al. 1981. New phenolic compounds of Didymocarpus pedicellata. Phytochem 43:86-8.

13.              Shah, C.S., Shah, N. & K.D. Mody. 1972. Pharmacognostic study of pashanbhed: I-III: Bergenia ciliata and Didymocarpus pedicellata. Quarterly Journal of Crude Drug Research 12(1): 182-193.

14.              Sharma, V. & S. Siddiqui. 1939. The constituents of Didymocarpus pedicellata. Part 11. Comparative studies in the constitution of pedicin, isopedicin and pedicellin. J Indian Chem Soc 16:1-8.

15.              Siddiqui, S. 1937. The constituents of Didymocarpus pedicellata. Part 1. Isolation of a new series of colouring matter. J Indian Chem Soc 12:703-8.

16.               Singh, A. & A.S. Sandhu. 2005. A Dictionary of Medicinal Plants. Sundeep Publishers, New Delhi.

17.              Singh, P., Sinha, G.K. & RC. Pathak. 1978. Antimicrobial activity of some essential oils JRIM 13(4):111-114.