Health Benefits of Skunkvine (Paederia Foetida)

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Skunkvine Quick Facts
Name: Skunkvine
Scientific Name: Paederia foetida
Origin Bangladesh and southern Bhutan, China Cambodia and Taiwan
Colors Shiny brown
Shapes Globose capsule, to 0.7 cm (0.3 in) wide
Skunkvine also known as Paederia Foetida, is a fast growing vine having 7 m long stems that twine into other plants for support (climbs into tree canopies or crawls on the ground). The plant is grown in East Asia. Usually, it is found to an altitude of 1800 m in Himalayan region. It has opposite, narrowly oval leaves and gray-purple flowers. Probably, Skunkvine is a weed as it is naturalized in various areas and seeds are dispersed easily by birds.

Paederia foetida was introduced from Asia to Hernando Country, Florida as a probable fiber crop. It was reported as troublesome weed in its introduction getaway into native areas throughout Florida. It is regarded as an important invasive weed. The plant did not got its common name “skunkvine” for its smell like rose. But the species name “foetida” is derived from Latin word for foul smelling or stinky. Crushing the leaves or stems of Skunkvine offers displeasing and foul odor which is derived from sulfur compound present in leaves.

The plant possess antiviral, antinocietive, anti-tussive, antidiarrhoeal, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. The majority of chemical constituents are present in its leaves and the chemical constituents comprises of sitosterol, iridoid glycoside, carbohydrates, alkaloids, ascorbic acid, β-sitosterol, amino acids, flavonoids, stigmosterol, volatile oil and galacturonic acid.

Geographical distribution

Skunkvine is endemic to Bangladesh and southern Bhutan, China Cambodia and Taiwan and the provinces of Anhui, Gansu, Fujian, Guangdong, Hainan, Guangxi, Henan, Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Shandong, Sichuan, Yunnan, Xizang, Zhejiang; India (in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Telangana, Sikkim, in the northern part of West Bengal and the Andaman & Nicobar islands); Indonesia; Japan (in Kyushu, Honshu, Shikoku prefectures and in the Ryukyu Islands); Laos; Myanmar; Malaysia; Nepal; Singapore; the Philippines; Thailand; South Korea; and Vietnam.

Plant description

Skunkvine is a climbing, hairy or smooth slender vine which twins into woody rootstock. The stems are climbing, prostrate and about 7 m (23ft) or more. Leaves are opposite, ovate to oblong-ovate measuring 6 to 10 cm long and 3.5 to 5 cm wide. Blades are entire, hairy or glabrous, oval to linear-lanceolate about 2-11 cm (1-4.3 in) long. The flowers are grayish pink or lilac. Corolla is densely hairy and tubular with five spreading lobes. Flowers give way to fruits as a globose capsule, shiny brown measuring 0.7 cm (0.3 in) wide which encompasses 2 black and roundish seeds often dotted with white raphides.


The plant has cylindrical or sub cylindrical, tortuous taproots about 2-4 cm long and 0.5-2 cm thick with number of branches and rootlets. The surface is rough due to longitudinal wrinkles, fissures and ridges. The thin scars, horizontal lenticles are present.


Stem is slender and sub-erect with diffuse branching and is 4 cm thick. It is sub-cylindrical that shows dumb bell shaped displayed in transverse view due to two dominant furrows that runs opposite each other on both surfaces. Externally it is dark brown with longitudinal anastomosing wrinkles, ridges and less cracks and circular lenticels, fracture and fibrous. It has foetid odor and indistinct taste.


Leaves are simple, petiolate, glabrous, ovate, 10-15 cm long and 5-6 cm broad. The base is broad or narrow, apex acute/cuspidate. Stipule is ovate, lanceolate, entire, bifid, acute and base broad with hairy surface. Leaves have foetid odor and indistinct taste.


Flowers are bisexual, pedicellate, bracteates, violet to pink. It has campanulate calyx; funnel shaped, pubescent, gibbous, wooly inside corolla; narrow limb, divided into 5 cordate crenulate segments; short lobes; short filaments which is inserted irregularly about the middle of the tube. Anther is erect within tube and ovary is turbinate, two celled which contains one ovule each attached to bottom of the cell.


Berries are ellipsoid, orbicular, compressed and smooth with five lines on each side. The red or black berries are 1.1 cm across and two seeded.


Seeds are smooth, compressed and enlarged with membranous ring all round.

Traditional uses

  • In Asia and South East Asia, it is used for digestive ailments.
  • Plant decoction has anti-inflammatory properties against arthritis.
  • Leaves are useful for intestinal problems such as colic, abdominal pain, flatulence, cramps, rheumatism, gout and dysentery.
  • Leaves are also used for paralysis and infertility.
  • Stems and leaves are used for inflammation of urethra.
  • Drink the filtered infusion of pounded leaves adding water for intestinal problems.
  • Apply the leaves externally for treating swellings, bruises or apply the mashed ones for ulcerations of nose, earache and swollen eyes.
  • Use it in form of poultice to treat swollen belly, herpes, distension, ringworm or use it in anti- rheumatic baths.
  • Use the leaves juice as a treatment for diarrhea in children.
  • Use the root juice for indigestion, piles, pain in chest, liver and inflammation of spleen.
  • In India, the fruit is used to blacken teeth and treatment for toothache.
  • It was used to treat rheumatism in folkloric.
  • Apply the boiled and mashed leaves to abdomen for urinary retention.
  • Leaves decoction is used for urinary bladder stones and urinary retention.
  • Apply the pounded leaves to abdomen for flatulence.
  • Root decoction is used to expel gas.
  • Plant decoction is used for arthritis, abscesses and abdominal pain.
  • In Asia traditional therapies, it is used for dysentery and diarrhea.
  • In India, it is used for joint stiffness and rheumatism.
  • Leaves are used for treating paralysis and infertility.
  • Take 1-2 teaspoons of Paederia Foetida extract twice a day to provide relief from chronic abdominal pain, over eating, abscesses and arthritis.
  • Apply the soaked cloth in decoction to forehead to treat fever.

Remedial Benefits of Skunk Vine

  1. Abdominal Pain and flatus

Take 2-3 ml of leaves juice in empty stomach to provide relief from flatus, abdominal pain and recurrent complaints of worm infestation.

  1. Arthritis and inflammatory condition

Mix the paste of Skunkvine leaves and tamarind leaves. Apply it in joints affected by swelling and arthritis. It is effective for swelling andpain.

  1. Joint pain and body ache

Make an herbal decoction with equal quantity of Paederia foetida, Zingiber officinale and Cuminum cyminum. Take 20-30 ml of this decoction for body ache and joint pain.

Culinary uses

  • Leaves are consumed raw or cooked.
  • Mix the leaves with spices and grated coconut and consume it raw in the form of side dish with rice.
  • Leaves are added to soups.
  • Mix the leaves with spices and various vegetables and then wrap it in a banana leaf and cook it over fire.
  • Sweet stem juice is sucked in Taiwan.


  • Decoction – 20-30 ml
  • Powder – 3 to 6 gm
  • Leaf juice – 2-3 ml

Other facts

  • Skunkvine is perennial plant having lifespan of more than 2 years.
  • It is a valuable food source for birds facilitating seed dispersal in wild.
  • It is propagated by division of root and seeds.
  • In the past, Skunkvine leaves were used as the source of fiber.






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