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Rat Ears

A small erect herb, rat ears has almost translucent stems, which vary in colour from green to a pale yellow. The small leaves are shaped like the ear of a rat with flowers on tiny spikes about 1cm long, which bear even smaller seeds.

Traditional Uses

Rat Ears

Scientific Name:
(Peperomia pellucida – Piperaceae)
Other Names:
Shine Bush, Ratta Temper, Silver Bush, Erva-de-vidro, Coracaozinho, Pansit-pansitan
Parts Used:
Leaves, Whole Plant

In Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean, rat ears is used for colds, as a diuretic and for kidney problems. It is also used traditionally to lower blood pressure, as a cough suppressant, to treat asthma and other pulmonary complaints and diarrhoea. In Africa, rat ears is used for convulsions and is said to be useful in treating cancer.

In Brazil rat ears is used traditionally to treat abscesses and conjunctivitis. Rat ears is also widely used in other South American countries for conditions as varied as stomach problems, coughs, rheumatism and cancer.


In the Philippines, a tea made with rat ears' leaves is used for gout and arthritis, and an infusion is used externally as a facial rinse for skin problems. The pounded whole plant is heated and used as a warm poultice for boils.


Modern Research & Uses

Recent research has reported that a water based extract of rat ears had anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity and had low toxicity. Other research carried out in the Philippines has shown that an extract of rat ears can reduce intra-ocular pressure in glaucoma patients.

Animal studies as well as lab tests have demonstrated that rat ears has anti-bacterial, antifungal, antiprotozoal and cytotoxic properties.

Research in Jamaica reported that rat ears has anti-hypertensive properties and is also useful in treating convulsions.

Plant Chemicals

Among the plant chemicals in rat ears include: Acacetin; apigenin; peperomin E; pellucidin A; flavanoids; sesquiterpenes; secolignans; arylpropanoids; dihydronapthalenone; 2-tetrahydrofuran lignans; arylpropanoids and phytosterols.

Do not use in pregnancy or breast feeding.


  • Arrigoni-Blank, M de F - Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity of Peperomia Pellucida (Piperacea) - J. Ethnopharmacol (2004) Apr; 91(2-3): 215-218
  • Asprey, GF & Thornton, P - Medicinal Plants of Jamaica Parts 1-4 - West Indian Journal of Medicine vol. 2-4 (1953-1955)
  • Aziba PI , Adedeji A , Ekor M , Adeyemi O - Analgesic activity of Peperomia pellucida aerial parts in mice . Fitoterapia (2001);72:57-58.
  • Bojo AC , et al -. The antibacterial activity of Peperomia pellucida (L.) HBK (Piperaceae) . Asia Life Sci . 1994;3:35-44.
  • Capistrano, AP et al - Peperomia Pellucida in lowering the intra-occular pressure of glaucoma patients - Philippine Jrnl of Opthalmology (1999) vol 24 (4): Oct -Dec
  • Khan MR & Omoloso AD . Antibacterial activity of Hygrophila stricta and Peperomia pellucida Fitoterapia . 2002;73:251-254.
  • Mitchell & Ahmad - A Review of Medicinal Plant Research at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica 1948-2001 - WI Med J (2006);55(4):243
  • Xu S , Li N , Ning MM , Zhou CH , Yang QR , Wang MW - Bioactive compounds from Peperomia pellucida - J Nat Prod (2006);69:247-250.
  • www.drugs.com/npp/peperomia-pellucida