HOME      •      SEARCH      •      EMAIL    •     ABOUT

Family Polypodiaceae
Nephrolepis cordifolia (L.) C.Presl.

Wu gong cao

Scientific names  Common names
Aspidium cordifolium (L.) Sw. Bayabang (Iv.) 
Nephrodium cordifolium (L.) Baker Olaluen (Ig.) 
Nephrolepis cordifolia (L.) C. Presl. Bangduan (Ig.) 
Polypodium cordifolium L. Common sword fern (Engl.)
Accepted Infraspecifics Erect sword fern (Engl.)
Nephrolepis cordifolia var. cordifolia Fishbone fern (Engl.)
Nephrolepis cordifolia var. pseudolauterbachii Hovenkamp & Miyam Herringbone fern (Engl.)
Nephrolepis cordifolia var. pumicicola (F.Ballard) Hovenk. & Miyam Ladder fern (Engll.)
  Narrow sword fern (Engl.)
  Tuberous ladder fern (Engl.)
  Tuberous sword fern (Engl.)
In another example of nomenclatural confusion in Philippine herbal plants, N. cordifolia's common name bayabang 'is phonetically confused with bayangbang (N. hirsutula).  Alolokdo is shared by both N. hirsutula and N. biserrata.
Nephroepis cordifolia (L.) C. Presl. is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
CHINA: Bi zi cao, Shi huang pi, Wu gong cao.
HAWAII: Kupukupu, Okupukupu, Ni'ani'au.
INDIA: Moothirakilangu (Tamil).
INDONESIA: Paku acel, Paku ubi.
JAPANESE: Tama-shida.
MALAYSIA: Pani amla.
NEPAL: Pani amala, Bhui amala, Ras.
THAI: Kui soi.

Gen info
- Nephrolepis is a genus of about 30 species of ferns.
- Etymology: The genus name Nephrolepis is Greek, meaning "kidney-shaped scales", referring to the shape of the spoor packets on the back of the fern's leaf. The species epithet cordifolia means "heart-leaf", referring to a little protrusion that looks like the bottom of a heart where the leaf (pinnule) attaches to the stem (rachis). (15)

Bayabang is a terrestrial or epiphytic fern. Rhizomes are densely clothed with brownish scales, with fleshy, egg-shaped tubers. Stipes are tufted and glossy, often clothed with slender soft, brown paleae, 2.5 to 25 centimeters long, not jointed to rootstock. (Note: a jointed rootstock, in contrast, breaks off very easily from its point of attachment, leaving a more or less rounded, even-edged depression.) Fronds are simply pinnate, smooth, linear lanceolate, 20 to 60 centimeters long, 2.5 to 5 centimeters wide. Pinnae are numerous, often imbricated at the widened bases, 4 to 8 millimeters wide, the apex more or less bluntish, the base heart-shaped, jointed to rachis, base rounded on the lower side and auricled on the upper side, toothed to subentire. Sori are large, round, submedial, nearer the edge than the midrib. Indusium is usually reniform, broad, opening towards the apices of the pinnae.

Nephrolepis cordifolia is an evergreen fern that grows to between 40 and 80 centimeters, in extreme cases up to 1 meter, and forming underground rhizome in the form of several small tubers. Pinnate fronds are erect and pinnate linear to lanceolate, glandular and simple. Rachis bears bicolored chaff scales. Petiole is covered with bicolored pale and dark brown scales. Leaflets are entire, sessile and elongate-lanceolate. They grow up to 4.8 centimeters long and up to 0.9 cm wide. They stand at a distance of less than 1 centimeter. Sori are rounded. Spores are warty, wrinkled. (16)

(Note: Resembles the common Boston Fern (Nephrolepsis exaltata L.), an ornamental used extensively in flower wreath-making, but the N. cordifolia frond is narrower.)

- Native to the Philippines.
- A common terrestrial fern used locally in gardens as a hedge plant.
- Found at all altitudes in Batanes Islands in the Provinces of Bontoc, Benguet, Ifugao, Zambales, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Pampanga, Rizal, and Laguna in Luzon; and in Cotobato, Lanao, and Zamboanga Provinces in Mindanao.
- Also grows wild in forests and wastelands, from sea-level to above 7000 feet altitudes.

- Pantropic and tropical.
- It has become invasive in some areas. In New Zealand it is listed on the National Pest Plant Accord, which prohibits sale, cultivation, and distribution of the plant.
- Also native to Assam, Bangladesh, Borneo, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Hainan, Himalaya, India, Korea, Lesser Sunda Is., Malaya, Myanmar, Nansei-shoto, Nepal, Queensland, Sri Lanka, Sulawesi, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, Vietnam, etc. (13)

- Tubers were found to contain high amounts of moisture, fat, carbohydrate, and calcium; protein was maximum in the rhizome part.
- Study isolated five compounds and identified as daucosteorl, palmitic monoglycerol ester, ß-sitosterol, astrafgalin and quercitrin. (10)
- Study of essential oil yielded main components of hexadecanoic acid ethyl ester,hexadecanoic acid butyl ester, n-butyl laurate, linoleic acid ethyl ester, (R) Ethyl oleate,9,12-octadecadienoic acid ethyl ester, butyl oleate,dodencanoil acid ethyl ester, cedrol,1H-3a,7-methanoazulene,2,3,4,7,8,8a-hexahyd.   (13)

- GC-MS study of n-hexane leaf extract yielded 16 bioactive compounds . Main compounds were n-Hexadecanoic acid (24.42%), cis-13- Octadecenoic acid (10.31%), Octadecanoic acid (11.05%), Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (8.72%), 1,4-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, bis( 2-ethylhexyl) ester (18.35%) and Squalene (5.82%). (17)
- Study of hydro-distilled volatile constituents from aerial parts revealed dominant oxygenated compounds. Main constituents were ß-uibibe (8.0%), eugenol (7.2%), and anethol (4.6%). (18)
- Phytochemical investigation of ethanolic (E), aqueous (A) and hydroalcoholic (HA) leaves extracts yielded flavonoids, alkaloids, tannins and phenols, carbohydrates, cardiac glycosides (E and A only) and proteins.
- Proximate analysis of matured leaflets of N. cordifolia yielded moisture (86.58%), crude protein (0.78%), fat (0.34%), ash (2.50%), fiber (4.36%), and carbohydrate (7.79%).

- Faintly sweet, mildly tart.
- Cooling, stomachic, febrifuge, antitussive, tonic.
- Considered antibacterial, antitussive, styptic, antifungal.
- Studies have suggested diuretic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, alpha-amylase inhibitory, insecticidal, anthelmintic properties.

Parts utilized
· Tubers, rhizomes, fronds.
· Collect the fleshy underground tubers, remove the epidermal scales, wash, boil, and sun-dry.

- In Nepal, fresh and roasted tubers are consumed by locals. Tubers are eaten to quench thirst.
- In India, young leaves are cooked as vegetable.
• Decoction of fresh fronds for fever due to cold, chronic coughing, enteritis-diarrhea, infantile convulsions.
• In India, herb is used for cough and skin diseases.
• In Tamil Nadu the bulb or tuber extract is taken for stomach upsets and urinary problems.
• Rhizome used as antibacterial; for coughs, rheumatism, chest congestion, anorexia.
• Pinnae used for coughs, wounds and treatment of jaundice.
• In Nepal , juice of root tubers taken for fever, indigestion, headache, cough, cold and hematuria. Whole plant used for kidney, liver and skin disorders.

• In India local tribal women use extract of rhizome once during the menstrual period to cause permanent sterility.
• In Madhya Pradesh, plants used on wounds to stop bleeding. Also used for cough and intestinal disorders, stomach ulcers and acidity. (9)
- In Nepal, tuber juice used for gastric troubles. (11)
- In Nepal, Extract of rhizome used once during menstrual period to cause permanent sterility in women.
- Decorative: Leaves used for decoration purposes.
- Fodder: Nutrient analysis of matured leaflets suggest source of nutrients especially for ruminants. (see study above) (24)

Diuretic / Rhizome: Study
evaluated N. cordifolia rhizome juice for diuretic activity in Wistar rats using rhizome juice dose of 100 mg/kg. Fursosemide was used as reference drug. A single dose of rhizome juice significantly increase urine output, with increase urinary levels of Na+, K+, and Cl-. Results indicated it to be an effective hypernatremic, hyperchloremic hyperkalemic diuretic. (1)
Nutrient Analysis: Study showed tubers contain high amount of moisture, fat, carbohydrate and calcium, while protein are maximum in the rhizome part of the plant. (2)
Antibacterial Polysaccharide: Study extract polysaccharide which was shown to have various activities against gram positive phytopathogenic microorganisms and animal pathogenic bacteria. (3)
Antimicrobial: In a study of pteridophytes for antibacterial and antifungal activities, the water extract of N. cordifolia showed antimicrobial properties. In another study, an ethanol extract showed marginally activity against P. mirabilis, E. aerogenes, E. coli and Klebsiella pneumonia. (5) Study of plant parts (rhizome, rachis and frond) extracts of ethnomedicinal ferns of Darjeeling viz. Nephrolepis cordifolia, Pteris vitata, and Adiantum capilus-veneris showed good antimicrobial activity. In Nephrolepis cordifolia highest activity for both gram positive and gram negative bacteria is found in the frond extract. (8)
Hepatoprotective / Antimicrobial / Oleanolic Acid: Study showed plant based oleanolic acid showed antimicrobial activity against vancomycin resistant enterococci with MIC of 8 µg/ml. Oleanolic acid also showed antimicrobial activity against Streptococcus pneumonia and Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Oleanolic acid also plays an important role in protection against liver injury induced by CCl4, phalloidin, acetaminophen, etc. by reducing the level of serum transaminase and preventing necrosis of liver cells. (19)
Alpha-Amylase Inhibitory Activity / Antioxidant: Nephrolepis cordifolia fruit showed highly potent DPPH free radical scavenging activity with IC50 value of 15.11 µg/ml. N. cordifolia fruit and leaves showed potent alpha-amylase inhibition in water extracts with IC50s of 0.49 mg/ml and 0.77 mg/ml, respectively. The fruit and leaves showed better glucose diffusion inhibition at lower concentration. (20)
Antioxidant / Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Study evaluated the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity of ethanolic extracts of leaves of N. cordifolia using DPPH and HRBC (human red blood cell) methods. In the antioxidant assay, results showed 67.02% inhibition at concentration of 30 µg/ml. In HRBC, at concentrations of 250 and 500 µg/ml the leaf extract showed promising effect with 59.95 and 82.66% inhibition, respectively. Docking studies showed compound 2 was more potent than diclofenac sodium with binding energy -8.5 and -5.96 kcal/mol, respectively. (see constituents above) (21)
Insecticidal against Whitefly A. rugioperculatus: Study evaluated aqueous extracts of ferns for efficacy in control of whitefly, A. rugioperculatus at different concentrations under laboratory conditions. Nephrolepis cordifolia exhibited 86% mortality rate at 5% concentration after 96 hours of treatment. (22)
Anthelmintic / Leaves: Study evaluated the anthelmintic activity of aqueous extract of leaves against Indian earthworm Pheretima posthuma. Albendazole was used as reference drug. Results showed anthelmintic activity as evidenced by decreased paralyzing time and death time at concentration of 10 mg/ml. (23)

Common garden hedge plant.

Updated April 2023 / Aug 2019 / Nov 2014

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photo: Nephrolepis cordifolia / image modified / Claire Herzog / CC BY-SA 4.0 International / click on image to go to source page / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Evaluation of Diuretic Potential of Nephrolepis cordifolia Rhizome Juice in Wistar Rats / A Rajasekaran and V Sivakumar / Sains Malaysiana, 2009; 38(1): pp 57–59

Extraction and Purification Antibacterial Polysaccharide from Nephrolepis Cordifolia / Chan Xiao-qing, Su Yu-cai et al / DOI?CNKI:SUN:ZSXZ.0.2006-04-024
In Vitro Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties of Aqueous and Non-Aqueous Frond Extracts of Psilotum nudum, Nephrolepis biserrata and Nephrolepis cordifolia / Dolly Rani, P. B. Khare, and P. K. Dantu / Indian J Pharm Sci. 2010 Nov-Dec; 72(6): 818–822. / doi: 10.4103/0250-474X.84606
Traditional medicinal plant wealth of Pachalur and Periyur hamlets Dindigul district, Tamil Nadu
/ J Karunyal and B Andrews / Indian Journ of Traditional Knowledge, Vol 9(2), April 2010, pp 264-270

STUDY OF ACTIVITY OF SOME ETHNOMEDICINAL FERNS OF DARJEELING / Samir Kumar Pal / International Journal of Pharmacology Research, Vol 4, Issue 1, 2014, pp 23-26.
Medicinal Pteridophytes of Madhya Pradesh / Balendra Pratap Singh and Ravi Upadhyay / Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies 2014; 2(4): 65-68
Studies on the chemical constituents from the Chinese traditional medicine Nephrolepis cordifolia / Wang Hengshan, Wang Guangrong, Tan Mingxiong, Pan Yingming / Guangxi Zhiwu, 2004, 24(2):155-157.
Aspects of Traditional Medicine in Nepal / MOHAN BIKRAM GEWALI / Institute of Natural Medicine, University of Toyama
Studies on the Chemical Constituents of the Essential Oil from Nephrolepis Cordifolia L.
/ Chinese Journal of Spectroscopy Laboratory
Nephrolepis cordifolia / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Nephrolepis cordifolia: Sword fern's secret / Deane
Nephrolepis cordifolia / Wikipedia
GC-MS Analysis of Bioactive Compounds from N-Hexane Leaf Extract of a Tropical Fern, Nephrolepis cordifolia (L) C. Presl / Adebiyi A O, S D Oyeyemi, P O Tedela, V I Ojo /  East African Scholars Journal of Biotechnology and Genetics, 2019; 1(5) / pISSN: 1663-189X / eISSN: 2663-7286
Chemical composition and biological evaluation of the volatile constituents from the aerial parts of Nephrolepis exaltata (L.) and Nephrolepis cordifolia (L.) C. Presl grown in Egypt / Mona E El-Tantawy, Manal M Shams, Manal S Afifi /  Natural Product Research, 2016; 30(10): pp 1197-1201 /
DOI: 10.1080/14786419.2015.1046070
A review on anti-microbial and hepatoprotective properties of himalayan wild fern Nephrolepis cordifolia (Pani Amla)   / Ujjal Chettri, Swati Kumari, Bikkey Chettri /  The Pharma Innovation, 2020; 9(9): pp 572-577 / eISSN: 2277-7695 / pISSN: 2349-8242
Phytochemical screening, free radical scavenging activity, In-vitro Alpha-amylase enzyme and glucose diffusion inhibition activity of ethyl acetate and water extracts of selected medicinal plants of Nepal  / Rishiram Baral, Laxman Subedi, Monica Gurung, Sabita Ojha, Basanta Shrestha, Dinesh Chaudhary and Nirmala Jammarkattel /  International Journal of Herbal Medicine, 2021; 9(3): pp 18-27 / eISSN: 2321-2187 / pISSN: 2394-0514
In vitro anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of Nephrolepis cordifolia and molecular docking of its active chemical constituents / Rohit Pal, Ghanshyam Teli, Bharti Sharma, Bhupinder Kumar, Pooja A chawla / Pharmaspire, 2021; 13(1): pp 21-27
Insecticidal potential of certain common ferns on Rugose spiralling whitefly, Aleurodicus rugioperculatus Martin (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae). / D Sowmiya, S Surya Kumar, H Rehanabanu, Santhana N Bharathi / Journal of Biopesticides, 2022; 15(1): pp 50-58
In-Vitro Evaluation of Anthelmintic Activity of Nephrolepis cordifolia Leaves 
/ Rohit Pal  / Journal of Pharmacy and Experimental Medicine, 2021; 1(1): pp 1-6 / DOI: 10/51521/JPEM.2021.1105
Phytochemical Constituents and Proximate Composition of Nephrolepis cordifolia (L) C. PRESL grown in Nigeria  / Adedeji Olayinka Adebiyi / New York Science Journal, 2016; 9(2)




DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants

HOME      •      SEARCH      •      EMAIL