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Family Polypodiaceae
Bayabang
Nephrolepis cordifolia (Linn.) Presl.
SWORD FERN

Wu gong cao

Scientific names  Common names
Polypodium cordifolium L. Bayabang (Iv.) 
Nephrolepsis tuberosas Presl. Olaluen (Ig.) 
Aspidium tuberosum Bory Bangduan (Ig.) 
Nephrolepsis auriculata Trime Fishbone fern (Engl.)
Nephrolepis cordifolia (Linn.) Presl. Sword fern (Engl.) 
Shen jue (Chin.)  Wu gong cao (Chin.)

Other vernacular names
CHINA: Bi zi cao, Shi huang pi.
JAPANESE: Tama-shida.
 
 
 
 
 

Botany
Bayabang is a terrestial 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.

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

Distribution
- A common terrestial 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.

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

Constituents
- Tubers were found to contain high amounts of moisture, fat, carbohydrate, and calcium; protein was maximum in the rhizome part.

Properties
Faintly sweet, mildly tart.
Cooling, stomachic, febrifuge, antitussive, tonic.
Considered antibacterial, antitussive, styptic, antifungal.

Uses
Folkloric
In Nepal, fresh and roasted tubers are consumed by locals. Tubers are eaten to quench thirst.
In India, young leaves are cooked as vegetable.
Folkloric
· 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 Tamilnadu tthe bulb or tuber extract is aken 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.

Studies
Diuretic: Study showed Nephrolepis cordifolia rhizome juice to be active in the renal system of rats. Results indicated it to be an effective hypernatremic, hyperchloremic hyperkalemic diuretic.
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.
Antibacterial Polysaccharide: Study extract polysaccharide which was shown to have various activities against gram positive phytopathogenic microorganisms and animal pathogenic bacteria.
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.

Availability
Wild-crafted.
Common garden hedge plant.


Last Update November 2012

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

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

(2)
NUTRIENT ANALYSIS OF NEPHROLEPIS CORDIFOLIA (L.) C. PRESL / D P Gauchan, Dina Manandhar et al / KATHMANDU UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF SCIENCE, ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY, VOL. I, No. V, SEPTEMBER 2008, pp 68-72.
(3)
Extraction and Purification Antibacterial Polysaccharide from Nephrolepis Cordifolia / Chan Xiao-qing, Su Yu-cai et al / DOI?CNKI:SUN:ZSXZ.0.2006-04-024
(4)
Nephrolepis cordifolia (L.) C. Presl / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
(5)
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
(6)
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
(7)
ETHNO GYNECOLOGICAL USE OF PTERIDOPHYTES IN PACHMARHI BIOSPHERE RESERVE, MADHYA PRADESH, INDIA / SHWETA SINGH* & RITA SINGH/ Life sciences Leaflets 9: 63-71(iii,)2012


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