Iresine herbstii belongs to the family Amaranthaceae. It is commonly referred to as bloodleaf, chicken gizzard, beefsteak plant and herbst's bloodleaf. Bloodleaf native to tropical South America was probably first collected in Brazil. But it is available in the tropical forest in several parts of India and tropical Asia. I. herbstii are traditionally used in the Northern Peruvian Andes for black magic with the ritual aim to expel bad spirits from the body (De Feo, 2003) and in association with San Pedro for magic rituals (Dobkin De Rios, 1977; De Feo, 2003), to diagnose various illness.
Nencini et al. (2006), evaluated the central effects of I. herbstii which interacts with the Central Nervous System (CNS) receptors and this study confirmed the ritual use of I. herbstii. According to them, methanolic extract was able to interact with the central 5-HT (2C) and D1 receptors, whereas aqueous extract showed affinity for D2 receptors. I. herbstii was reported as an additive of ayahuasca (Bianchi and Samorini, 1993), as an ingredient of San Pedro decoction, with possible hallucinogenic properties (Schultes and Hofmann, 1973). I. herbstii leaves are used as wound healing, anticancer agent (Sebold, 2003), post-labor tonic (Srithi et al., 2009), and externally against skin depurative such as eczemas, sores and pimples (De Feo, 2003) as well as antimicrobial agent (Khare, 2007). Moreover, the plant is also used in astringent, diuretic, spasmolytic, whooping cough and roots in hemicranias (Khare, 2007). Leaves and flowers are used in decoction, fever, relaxant and kidney problems (Vicente et al., 2007) and also as an antipyretic (De Feo, 2003). Schmidt et al. (2009), reported that this plant possessed anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic and apoptotic activities and also has very low antioxidant activity (Cai et al., 2003). So far, the phytochemicals constituent identified in the leaves are 21,5-Dimethoxy-6,7-(methylenedioxy)-isoflavone; acylated betacyanins (Vašinová et al., 2004; Cai et al,. 2005), iresinin I (acylated amaranthine)and its C15 -epimer iresinin II (Cai et al., 2001).
A water-soluble oligosaccharide composing of six glucose and three mannose units, has been isolated from the roots of I. herbstii which enhanced the immune response and prolonged the survival time of mice bearing Ehrlich carcinoma. Also the roots contain free oleanolic acid and its saponins. An alcoholic extract of the root showed the presence of amino acids, steroids, tri-terpenoids, alkaloids and coumarins. The seeds also contain dachyranthin (Khare, 2007).
Different species of the genus Iresine are used in traditional medicine. It contains several bioactive substances and showed different biological activities and is used to treat various diseases. Leaves of I. diffusa are used to treat malaria (Céline et al., 2009). Red-coloured plants in the family Amaranthaceae are recognized as a rich source of diverse and unique betacyanins such as acetylated and non-acetylated betacyanins. Acylated betacyanins are available with the highest proportion in I. herbstii and Gomphrena globosa (Cai et al., 2001).
Constituent of viscous oil from I. celosia are sesquiterpene Iresine, tlatlancuayin, isoflavones carbohydrates and acid steroids glutapectique to its natural state. In these some substances are traditionally used in cytostatic anticancer (that can block cell division and forced to die). This acts on the permeability of the cell disease, and changes the bio-electric potential of the membrane carcinogen. The sesquiterpene Iresine is found in high concentration in the plant "herb of the Maya" and the properties include anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic and antiseptic. Most terpenes are also substances with positive and stimulatory effect on the body in general. These substances are also able to shorten the menstrual period. Isoflavone tlatlancuayin has anti-oxidant, which captures free oxygen radicals, and contributes to cell renewal, and also a powerful antimicrobial agent (Alfonso and Guido, 1983).