- Ferns are the informal name given to a diverse group of vascular plants with over 10,500 species.
- Nephrolepidaceae is widely distributed in tropical regions, sometimes cultivated as ornamental sword ferns, with Nephrolepis as its sole genus, which was formerly placed in Lomariopsidaceae.
- Nephrolepis is a pantropical genus of about 20 species, and is probably the most popular source of commercially used fern. (3)
- Etymology: The genus Nephrolepis means "kidney-scale" and refers to the shape of the indusia of the sori. The Species epithet means "double-toothed" referring to the leaf margin.
Rhizome with rufous, lanceolate scales. Stipe grayish brown, 10-50 cm × ca. 4 mm, covered with lanceolate and fibrillar scales at base; lamina brownish green when dry, narrowly elliptic, 0.7-2 m or longer, 14-30 cm wide, papery, with sparse, lanceolate or linear scales when young, glabrous on both surfaces when mature; pinnae 30-55 pairs, 1.5-3 cm apart, subsessile, margin minutely serrulate, teeth remote, apex acute or acuminate, basal pairs of pinnae gradually shorter. Sori submedial, 1-2 mm apart, orbicular, 1.5-2 mm in diam.; indusia brown, orbicular-reniform, glabrous, sinus narrow. (Flora of China
- Native to the Philippines.
- Widely cultivated in Philippine gardens.
Also native to Assam, Bangladesh, Borneo, China, Hainan, India, Malaya, Myanmar, Nansei-shoto, Queensland, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Taiwan, Vietnam, etc. (1)
- LC-QTOF analysis of methanol extract yielded useful bioactive compounds viz. terpenoids (ivalin, isovelleral, brassinolide, and eschscholtzxanthin), flavonoids (alnustin, kaempferol 7,4′‐dimethyl ether, and pachypodol), phenolics (piscidic acid, chlorogenic acid, and ankorine), and aromatic (3‐hydroxycoumarin). (see study below) (6)
- Study of essential oil, methanol extract and methanol fractions yielded anthraquinones, alkaloids, tannins, steroids, phytosterol, saponin, triterpenoids and flavonoids. GC-MS analysis dominant compounds viz. benzeneacetaldehyde, alpha.-cubebene, butyrolactone, phenol, benzyl alcohol, phenol, 2-methoxy-, 4h-pyran-4-one, 2,3-dihydro- 3,5-dihydroxy-6-methyl, 2h-pyran-2-one, 4,6-dimethyl-, catechol, benzofuran, 2,3-dihydro-, phenol, 2,4-bis(1,1-dimethylethyl), hexadecanoic acid, methyl ester, n-hexadecanoic acid, 9,12-octadecadienoic acid, methyl ester, phytol, gamolenic acid and octadecanoic acid. (7)
- Study of methanol, acetone, petroleum ether, and methanol leaf extracts yielded tannins, terpenoids, alkaloids, saponin, glycosides, and flavonoids. (see study below) (8)
- Qualitative phytochemical screening of water (W), ethanol (E), and hexane (H) extracts yielded alkaloids (WE), saponins (W), total phenols (WEH), tannins (WEH) and flavonoids (WEH). (11)
Quantitative analysis of water extract yielded alkaloids 0.11 mg/g, saponins 0.11 mg/g, total phenols 8.18 mg GAE/g, tannins 3.11 mg TAE/g, and flavonoids 2.41 mg QE/g. (19)
- Study suggested phytoremediative, antioxidant, anti-parasitic, wound healing, antibacterial, antifungal, hepatoprotective, antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory, antimalarial, cytotoxic, glucosidase inhibitory, antihypertensive properties.
- Young curled-up leaves are edible; cooked or steamed as vegetable.
- In the Indonesia, rhizomes are dried, pounded, eaten like sago.
- In west New Guinea, flour is reported to be extracted from the roots by pounding it into flour. (15)
- In the Philippines, decoction of fresh leaves used for treating cough; decoction of tubers used for goiter. Young leaves used as poultice for swelling wounds and boils. (2)
In Java, used for treatment of cough.
- In Malaysia, used for skin disorders.
- In the Ivory Coast, applied to stop wound bleeding. (2)
- Used by Ndoumou in the province of Haut-Ogooue in Gabon for treatment and prevention of arterial hypertension. (12)
The Ehotile people of eastern littoral of Cote d'Ivoire use the plant for dysmenorrhea and to remove splinters. (16)
- Rituals: In Papua, Guinea, leaves placed alongside bones in death ceremonies.
- Agroforestry: In Malaysia, planted on a large-scale as soil cover in rubber plantations for the nitrogen released from roots. (2) Study suggested potential as ground cover vegetation in oil palm plantation.(14)
• Antioxidative / Hepatoprotective / Carbon Tetrachloride Toxicity / Leaves: Study evaluated the protective effect of methanol extract of N. biserrata leaves against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced hepatic damage in Sprague Dawley rats. The leaf extract showed high total phenolic content (127.28 mg GAE/g), which could be major contributor to its strong antioxidant activities. The extract also significantly depleted the elevation of ALT and AST, reduced malondialdehyde, increased level of reduced glutathione, and elevated activities of catalase, glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase, glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase, glutathione S-transferase, and quinone reductase. Histopathological exam showed decreased fatty degeneration and necrosis in CCl4 administered rats. (4)
• Wound Healing / Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated the combined wound healing effects of dried leaves of N. biserrata and H. indicum using in vivo and in vitro models. N, biserrata exhibited antioxidant activity with IC50 of 324.1 µg/ml on DPPH radical scavenging assay, 745.6 µg/ml in nitric oxide synthase assay, and 806.4 µg/ml in ferric reducing assay. Total phenolic content was 52.271 mg GAE/gm dry extract and total flavonoid content of 594.537. Monotherapy formulations performed better than polyherbal formulations. The 20% dosage of 1:2 H. indicum and N. biserrata showed highest wound healing activity of 93.8% among polyherbal treatments. (5)
• Antiparasitic / Parasitic Leech Zeylanica arugamensis: Study evaluated the anti-parasitic potential of N. biserrata against Z. arugamensis. LC-QTOF analysis of methanol extract yielded useful bioactive compounds viz. terpenoids (ivalin, isovelleral, brassinolide, and eschscholtzxanthin), flavonoids (alnustin, kaempferol 7,4′‐dimethyl ether, and pachypodol), phenolics (piscidic acid, chlorogenic acid, and ankorine), and aromatic (3‐hydroxycoumarin). Results showed significant anti-parasitic activity with 100% mortality of leeches. Results suggest potential as a biocontrol agent. (6)
• Antimicrobial / Leaves: Study evaluated methanol, acetone, and petroleum ether extracts of N. biserrata leaves for in vitro antioxidant using DPPH assay and antimicrobial properties using agar well diffusion method. All three extracts yielded tannins, terpenoids, alkaloids, saponin, glycosides, and flavonoids. Amphotericin B, fluconazole, and gentamicin were used as standards. All extracts showed antimicrobial activity against bacterial strains (B. cereus, B. subtilis, S. aureus, S. epidermis, P. aeruginosa, E. coli, P. vulgaris and K. pneumonia). The methanol extract showed maximum antimicrobial activity. The antimicrobial activity may be due to the presence of flavonoids and tannin components. (8)
• Antinociceptive / Anti-Inflammatory / Aerial Parts: Study evaluated ethanol extract of aerial parts for antinociceptive effect using radiant tail flick method and anti-inflammatory activity by egg-albumin induced paw edema in albino rats. Phytochemical screening yielded steroids, tannins, saponins, carbohydrates and flavonoids. At dose of 500 mg/'kg, extract exhibited significant (p<0.05) analgesic activity in 30-180 mins; 1000 mg/kg showed significant (p<0.05) activity at 30 mins. At 250 mg/lg oral dose, extract significantly inhibited (p<0.05) acute inflammation at 1 hr; 500 mg, at 4 hours, and 1000 mg showed significant (p<0.01) inhibition at 1 hr. (9)
• Antimalarial: Study evaluated the in vivo antimalarial activities of four ferns viz. N. biserrata (NB), N. undulata (NU), Platycerium stemaria (PS) and P. angolense (PA) randomly and with chloroquine. NB and PS elicited comparable ED50 and lower activities than NU. Percentage chemosuppression by all individual extracts were comparable (p>0.05) to that of chloroquine, when combined with chloroquine, and each other. NB+PA, NB+PS, NU+NB+PS and NU+NB+PA gave comparable (p>0.05) chemosuppression to CQ. Results confirms the ethnomedicinal use of NB and NU for malaria and combining the ferns did not give any more significant activity than individual or standard drug. (10)
• Antihypertensive / Leaves: Study evaluated the hypotensive activity of N. biserrata used by Ndoumou in the province of Haut-Ogooue in Gabon to treat or prevent arterial hypertension. An aqueous foliar extract was used. Contraction of toad aorta was induced by norepinephrine in the presence and absence of endothelium. Nephrolepis biserrata caused reduction of contraction of the aorta induced by norepinephrine and pretreated with a solution of L-NAME. The antihypertensive effect supports the use of the plant for treatment of hypertension by populations of Franceville. (12)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Rhizomes: Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory activity of N. biserrata rhizome and Angiopteris palmiformis frond extracts via inhibition o f proinflammatory enzymes, 15-lipoxygenase (15-LOX) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). N. biserrata ethyl acetate-soluble partition and aqueous partition of N. biserrata showed inhibition of 15-LOX enzyme. All tested extracts of N. biserrata were active and selective towards inhibition of COX-2 enzyme. Results suggest N. biserrata is a potential source of natural anti-inflammatory constituents. (13)
• Potential as Ground Cover in Oil Palm Plantation: Study suggest the potential of N. biserrata as ground cover vegetation in oil palm plantations based on ecological characteristics of growth and decomposition rate, shade tolerance, organic contents, and carbon accumulation. (14)
• Antibacterial / Antifungal: Study investigated the antimicrobial properties of three selected ferns, viz., P. nudum, Nephrolepis biserrata and N. cordifolia. Water and ethanol fractions of fronds were active against most of the tested bacteria and fungal strains. N. biserrata was most inhibitory to E. coli. Phytochemical testing showed the presence of metabolites such as flavonoids, tannins, alkaloids, reducing sugars, triterpenoids, and steroids in all three pteridophytes. (17)
• Cytotoxicity / Glucosidase Inhibitory Activity: Study evaluated five selected edible and medicinal ferns for glucosidase inhibitory and cytotoxic activities viz. Blechnum orientale, Davallia denticulata, Diplazium esculentum, Nephrolepis biserrata, and Pteris vittata. Cytotoxicity was evaluated using methylthiazol tetrazolium assay on chronic myelogenous leukemia cell line (K562). All the fern extracts, except for D. denticulata, showed dose-dependent cytotoxicity against K562 cells. Concentration-dependent increases in α-glucosidase activity was observed for all extracts except D. denticulata. For N. biserrata, EC50 was not calculated because of lack of increasing trend in activity. (18)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Study evaluated leaf extract of N. biserrata for anti-inflammatory activity on albino wistar mice in inflammatory models induced by xylene and egg white albumen. Treatment with extract showed significant (p<0.05) dose dependent decrease in ear weight in both aqueous and ethanolic extracts. LD50 was 3741.66 mg/kg taken orally. (see constituents above) (19)
• Radical Scavenging and FRP Activities / Leaves: Study of leaves of N. biserrata for radical scavenging activity showed moderate TPC (total phenolic content) with IC50 of 0.53 ± 0.05 mg/ml and AEAC (ascorbic acid equivalent antioxidant) of 740 ± 71 AA/100 g and FRP (ferric ion reducing power) of 422 ± 46 mg/GAE/100g. (20)
• Potential Phytoremediator of Heavy Metal: Study assessed the antioxidant response of N. biserrata growing under metal stress in industrial land heavily contaminated with zinc, followed by lead and copper. Results showed N. biserrata is a moderate accumulator for the tested metals with a bioaccumulation factor between 0 to 0.1. HPLC analysis showed higher levels of myricetin and kaempferol in plant samples from contaminated area. Results showed potential as a potential metal phytoremediator with its capacity to scavenge oxygen radicals when exposed to heavy metal stress. (21)