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Family Scrophulariaceae
Limnophila aromatica (Lam.) Merr.

Zi su cao

Scientific names Common names
Ambulia aromatica Lam.                                        Unresolved Añgañgi (Bon.)
Gratiola aromatica (Lam.) Pers.                             Unresolved Rice paddy herb (Engl.)
Limnophila aromatica (Lam.) Merr. Finger grass (Engl.)
Limnophila aromaticoides Yang & Yen Swapleaf (Engl.)
Limnophilia chinensis subsp. aromatica (Lam) T.Yamaz.  
Limnophilia gratissima Blume  
Limnophilia punctata Blume  
Limnophila aromatica (Lam.) Merr. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Zi su cao.
ESTONIAN: Järvelemb.
FRENCH: Ambulie aromatique.
GERMAN: Reisfeldpflanze.
HINDI: Kutna.
JAPANESE: Shiso-kusa.
KHMER: Ma om.
KOREAN: Soyeob, So yeop pul.
LITHUANIAN: Kvapioji Pelkenė.
MALAY: Beremi, Kerak-kerak, Selaseh ayer kecil.
MALAYALAM: Manganari.
POLISH: Limnofila Pachnąca.
RUSSIAN: Ambuliia aromatnaia.
SANSKRIT: Amragandha.
SUNDANESE: Kehkehan.
THAI: Ka yaeng, Kyeng, Ma om, Phak ga yaeng, Phak kha yaeng, Phak phaa.
VIETNAM: Láng hôm nay, Một vùng Rau, Mot vung rau, Rau ngó, Rau ngô, Rau ngo, Rau om.

Añgañgi is a smooth herb that grows in water or marshy places. Stems are stout, erect, simple, 30 to 60 centimeters in length, and rarely branched above. Leaves are linear-oblong or oblong-lanceolate, 2 to 6 centimeters in length, 0.5 to 1 centimeter in width, opposite and whorled, with pointed tip, rounded and clasping base, and toothed margins. Flowers are pink or pale purple, and borne singly or in whorls in inflorescences at the axils of the leaves, with long, very slender pedicels 1 to 1.5 centimeters long. Calyx is about 4 millimeters long, glandular, and divided into lanceolate segments. Corolla is 1.2 centimeters long. Capsules are oblong and pointed at the tip.

- In marshes and open wet places at low and medium altitudes, ascending to 1,600 meters.
- Found in Ilocos Norte, Bontoc, Benguet, Nueva Viscaya, and Camarines Provinces in Luzon; in Palawan, Polilo and Mindanao.
Occurs in India to Taiwan and southward through Malaya to tropical Australia.

- Analysis of essential oil showed the major components were limonene (15.09%), (+)-trans-isolimonene (14.52%) and α-humulene (6.04%). (see study below) (1)
- Studies have isolated about 54 phytochemicals, mostly terpenoids, phenolics, and flavonoids. (16)
- Other oil constituents are perillaldehyde and a monoterpenoid ketone, cis-4-caranone.
- In a study of 5 edible wild plants for vitamin composition, phenolic and flavonoid content, Limnophila aromaticoides (finger grass) yielded: (Vitamins/ µg/g FW) ascorbic acid 844.6 ± 7.3, y-tocopherol 7.0 ±1.2, α-tocopherol 14.8 ±0.4, thiamin 16.6 ±0.1, riboflavin 13.7 ± 0.0; (Antioxidant components) total phenolic (mg GAE/g FW) 3.8 ±0.1, total flavonoid (mg RE/g FW) 1.3 ±0.0; (EC50 value: mg extract/ml) DPPH radical scavenging ability 2.8±1.58, ferrous ion chelating ability 10.80±0.25. (12)
- In a study of leaf essential oil, methyl benzoate (27.7%), pulegone (23.4%) and limonene (20.2%) were the significant compounds of L. aromatica. (13)
- Study of leaf ethanol extract yielded: (phytochemicals) essential oils, terpenoids, saponins, tannins.   (14)
- Study of essential oil yielded a total of 36 volatile organic constituents. Analysis revealed the presence of only seven major volatile compounds viz., amyl vinyl carbinol, terpinolene, ß-linalool, sabinene, terpinen-4-ol, a-humulene, and aromadendrene in the range of 3.02% to 30.06%. Volatiles can be grouped into monoterpene (44.10%), oxygenated monoterpene (32.15%), sesquiterpene (20.87%), oxygenated sesquiterpene (1.2%) and oxygenated diterpene (2.27%-1.51%). (see study below) (18)

- Plant emits a turpentine-like odor.
- Sour, slightly bitter.
- Considered antiseptic, aperient, appetizer, digestive, carminative, anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, cooling, emollient, febrifuge, galactagogue.
- Studies have shown antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, hemolytic, and cytotoxic activities.

Parts used
Whole plant, leaves, roots.


- Plant used as spinach, eaten raw or steamed.
- Herb has an intense lemon-like flavor.
- In Java, plant is eaten raw or steamed; thought to be good for quieting the stomach after eating durian.
- A popular culinary herb in Vietnamese cuisine.
- Used in all traditional Cambodian soup dishes.
- Leaves are used for poulticing sores on legs.
- Decoction of leaves and roots given for fevers.
- Plant used as a cooling medicine for fevers.
- Used by nursing mothers when their milk is sour; also used as a galactagogue.
- In Ayurveda, used in vitiated conditions of pitta. Also used for foul ulcers, agalactia, galactic impurities, anorexia, dyspepsia, helminthiasis, constipation, inflammations and strangury.
- Plant juice used as cooling medicine for fever and pharyngitis.

Study of the antioxidant properties of a methanol extract, essential oil and related compounds showed the methanol extract and essential oil exhibiting free radical scavenging, NO radical scavenging and antilipid peroxidation. However, both showed less potent antioxidant activity than the reference compounds, torlox and curcumin. (see constituents) (1)
Antioxidant / Vascular Protective: Study of three popular Thai dietary and herbal plants, Cratoxylum formosum, Syzygium gratum and Limnophila aromatica for antioxidant and vascular protective activities in in vitro and in vivo models showed the plant extracts to possess antioxidants and have potential roles in prevention of vascular dysfunction. (2)
Antimicrobial: Study of L. aromatica extract showed antimicrobial activity against B. cereus, Listeria monocytogenes, Pseudomonas fluorescens, S. typhimurium, S. aureus and Yersinia enterocolitica. The activity may be attributed to its essential oil consisting of limonene and peril-aldehyde as major compounds, flavone, and flavonoids. (4)
Volatile Oil Constituents / Aerial Parts: Study of essential oil isolated from the aerial parts of L. aromatica yielded 29 components representing 99.3% of the total oil. The oil was rich in Z-ocimene (39.2%), terpinolene (17.2%) and camphor (12.9%). (5)
Anti-Inflammatory: Study of anti-inflammatory activity of extracts of 13 Thai spices/herbs with lipopolysaccharide-activated RAW 264.7 murine macrophages showed the extract from L. aromatica to be the most robust dose-dependent suppression of NO production without exerting cytotoxicity. L. aromatica extract also showed the greatest inhibition of TNF-alpha production (IC50 10.5 mcg/ml). (6)
Antioxidant / Antimicrobial: Study screened 20 Thai plants, a methanolic extract of C. siamea, Limnophilia aromatica, and Pl odoratum exhibited strong antioxidant and antimicrobial activities. (8)
Antioxidant / Phenolic and Flavonoid Content: Study evaluated various extracts of freeze dried L. aromatica for antioxidant activity, total phenolic content, and total flavonoid content. A 100% ethanol extract showed the highest antioxidant activity, reducing power and DPPH radical scavenging activity. The extract also showed the highest phenolic content (40.5 mg gallic acid equivalent/ g of defatted L. aromatica) and the highest flavonoid content (31.11 mg quercetin equivalent/g of defatted L. aromatica). (11)
Antioxidant / Leaves: Study of ethanol leaf extract showed a phenolic content of 152.41±14.20 µg GAE/mg and a flavonoid content of 112.35±0.50 µg CAE/mg. Antioxidant activity on various assays showed: DPPH 24.44±0.30 EC50 µg/ml; LPO inhibition 17.58±1.04 EC50 µg/ml; FRAP 2.30±0.12 µmol Fe/mg. (14)
Cytotoxicity / n-Lymphocytes and Cancer Cell Lines / Leaves: Study on cytotoxicity effects on n-lymphocytes and 3-cancer cell lines showed: n-lymphocyte >400; (cancer cell lines) Jurkat 128.60 (109.30-151.30), MCF7 291.70 (270.70-315.70), and HepG2 349.90 (316-393.60). (14)
Hemolytic Activity on Human Erythrocytes / Leaves: Study of leaf extract on human erythrocytes showed % hemolysis: (200 µg/ml) 0.90±0.11, (400 µg/ml) 1.50±0.41, (600 µg/ml) 6.08±0.99, (1200 µg/ml) 22.78±5.93, (EC50 µg/ml) >1200. (14)
Anti-Inflammatory: In a study 10 local Thai vegetables fr analgesic (writhing test and tail flick test) and anti-inflammatory (rat hind paw edema model) activities, Limnophila aromatica was one of seven that showed significant inhibition on writhing reflex. (15)
• Antioxidant: In a study of various extracts for antioxidant activity, total phenolic, and total flavonoid content using in vitro assays, a 100% ethanol extract showed highest total antioxidant activity, reducing power and DPPH radical scavenging activity. Same extract yielded highest phenolic content (31.11 mg QEC/gm extract; while a 50% aqueous extract gave highest extraction yield. Study suggest potential dietary application to reduce oxidative stress. (16)(17)
• Volatile Hydrocarbons / Possible Chemotaxonomic Marker: Study of essential oil yielded a total of 36 volatile organic constituents. The presence of sabinene, terpinen-4-ol and a-humulene in high percentages suggested use as chemotaxonomical markers of the herbs. (see constituents above) (18)


Updated August 2019 / June 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph / Limnophila aromatica/ Photo #1 Submersed: US and International Copyright 2004 / Tony Gomez / All Rights Reserved / AQUATICPLANTCENTRAL.COM / click on photo to go to source page / Plant Finder
IMAGE SOURCE: Limnophila aromatica/ File:Rice Paddy Herb.jpg / Sean Murray / 17 April 2009 / Creative Commons Attribution - Share-Alike / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Antioxidant activity of Limnophila aromatica Merr. / Arunya Sribusarakum, Nuntavan Bunyapraphatsara et al / Thai Journal of Phytopharmacy Vol. 11(2) Dec. 2004
Antioxidant and Vascular Protective Activities of Cratoxylum formosum,, Syzygium gratum and Limnophila aromatica / Upa KUKONGVIRIYAPAN, Saowanee LUANGARAM et al / Biol. Pharm. Bull., April 2007; 30(4): pp 661-666
Limnophila (Scrophulariaceae): Chemical and Pharmaceutical Aspects
/ Goutam Brahmachari / The Open Natural Products Journal, 2008, 1: pp 34-43
Antimicrobial, antioxidant and anticancer activities of Thai local vegetables
/ S. Nanasombat and N. Teckchuen / Journal of Medicinal Plants Research , May 2009; 3(5): pp 443-449
Constituents of Volatile Oils from Limnophila aromatica and Adenosma capitatum / JU Chowdhury, MNI Bhuiyan, J Begum / Bangladesh Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research, 2011; Vol 46, No 3
Anti-inflammatory activities of extracts of Thai spices and herbs with lipopolysaccharide-activated RAW 264.7 murine macrophages / Tuntipopipat S, Muangnoi C, Failla ML. / J Med Food. 2009 Dec;12(6):1213-20.
Sorting Limnophilia names / /Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1995 - 2020 The University of Melbourne.
Evaluation of Some Indian Medicinal Plants for Antimicrobial, Antioxidant and Cytotoxic Activity / NEELANJAN CHATTERJEE / A Protocol submitted to Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences
Karnataka, Bangalore
Limnophila aromatica / Synonyms / The Plant List
Effect of extraction solvent on total phenol content, total flavonoid content, and antioxidant activity of Limnophila aromatica / Quy Diem Do, Artik Elisa Angkawijaya, Phuong Lan Tran-Nguyen, Lien Huong Huynh, Felycia Edi Soetaredjo, Suryadi Ismadji, Yi-Hsu / Journal of Food And Drug Analysis, Sept 2014, vol 22, Issue 3, pp 296-302DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jfda.2013.11.001
Nutritional pro le and antioxidative properties of selected tropical wild vegetables / Ng, X. N. , *Chye, F. Y. and Mohd Ismail, A. / International Food Research Journal 19(4): 1487-1496 (2012)
Chemical constituents of leaf essential oils of four Scrophulariaceae species grown in Vietnam
/ Do N. Dai, Tran D. Thang, Tran H. Thai & Isiaka A. / Journal of Essential Oil Research, Volume 27, Issue 6, 2015 / DOI:10.1080/10412905.2015.1067650
Antioxidant Activity and Cytotoxicity of Six Selected, Regional, Thai Vegetables
/ Jirayus Woraratphoka, Kanok-Orn Intarapichet and Korakod Indrapichate / American-Eurasian Journal of Toxicological Sciences 4 (2): 108-117, 2012 ISSN 2079-2050 / DOI: 10.5829/idosi.aejts.2012.4.2.641
Screening for Analgesic and Anti-inflammatory Activities of Extracts from Local Vegetables in Northeast Thailand / Panot Tangsucharit, Veerapol Kukongviriyapan, Upa Kukongviriyapan, Wanchai Airarat / Srinagarind Medical Journal, Vol 21, No 4, October-December 2006
Chemical and Pharmacological Aspects of Limnophila aromatica (Scrophulariaceae): An Overview / Dilip Gorai, Shyamal K. Jash, Raj K. Singh and Arindam Gangopadhyay / American Journal of Phytomedicine and Clinical Therapeutics, 2914; 2(3): pp 348-356
Effect of extraction solvent on total phenol content, total flavonoid content, and antioxidant activity of Limnophila aromatica / Quy Diem Do, Arik elisa Angkawijaya et al / erlay pane Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, Sept 2014; 22(3): pp 296-302 / https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfda.2013.11.001
Major volatile hydrocarbons of rice paddy herb, Limnophila aromatica Lam. Merr as possible chemotaxonomic marker / Charles Santhanaraju Vairappan, Thilahgavani Nagappan / Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation, 2014; 11:pp 41–48

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