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Family Hydrophyllaceae
Ceylon hydrolea
Hydrolea zeylanica (Linn.) Vahl

Tian ji ma

Scientific names Common names
Beloanthera oppositifolia Hassk. Ceylon hydrolea (Engl.)
Hydrolea arayatensis Blanco Blue water leaf (Engl.)
Hydrolea ceilonica F.Muell. Water olive (Engl.)
Hydrolea inermis Loureiro  
Hydrolea javanica Blume  
Hydrolea zeylanica (Linn.) Vahl.  
Nama zeylanca Linn.  
Steris aquatica Burm. f.  
Steris javana L.  
Steris javanica L.  

Hydrolea zeylanica (L.) Vahl is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
BENGALI: Isa-langulia, Kasschra.
CHINESE: Tian ji ma.
HINDI: Koliary, Langali.
MALAYALAM: Cheruvallel.
MANIPURI: Charang.
MARATHI: Popti, Keriti.
SANSKRIT: Langali.
TAMIL: Vellel

Hydrolea zeylanica is an annual, ascending or procumbent, sparingly branched, nearly smooth herb, a few centimeters to 1.2 meters in length, and rooting at the lower nodes. Leaves are lanceolate, 2 to 12 centimeters long, 6 to 12 millimeters wide, and pointed at both ends. Flowers are very numerous, bright blue, and borne in racemes. Sepals are hairy, green, oblong-linear, and about 5 millimeters long. Corolla is 8 to 10 millimeters in diameter, with ovate lobes. Fruit is a capsule, ovoid, 4 millimeters long, surrounded by the persistent calyx-lobes, and contains numerous, minute, oblong seeds, less than 0.5 millimeters long.

- Found in northern Luzon to Mindoro, probably in most islands and provinces, in open wet places, often common in rice paddies as a weed.
- Also occurs in Indian to China and through Malaya to tropical Australia.

- Shoots yield flavanoids - kaempferol and quercetin.
- Study of flavonoid content of shoots showed: total flavonoids, 10.1/100 g fw, dry matter 18.3, quercetin 2.2, kaempferol 7.9. (3)
- Ethyl acetate fraction yielded total phenolic and flavonoid contents of 286.33 ± 9.16 mg GAEeqv/g and 208.24 ± 5.56 mg Querqv/g, respectively. (see study below) (4)
- Preliminary phytochemical screening of methanol extract of leaves yielded glycosides, flavonoids, sterols, tannins, terpenoids, alkaloids, and phenolic acids. (see study below) (8)
- A chloroform fraction of whole plant yielded three bioactive compounds viz., stigmasterol, kaempferol, and p-coumaric acid. (see study below) (9)

- Leaves are considered to have healing and antiseptic properties.
- Studies have suggested antioxidant, antiulcer properties.

Parts used
Leaves, twigs.


- Considered edible, but underutilized.
- In India, shoots are eaten as vegetable. (11)
- Leaves, beaten into a pulp, used as poultice to facilitate healing of neglected and callous ulcers.
- In southern Assam, India, leaves and twigs used for diabetes. (1)
- In Ayurveda, leaf poultice used for ulcers.

- In the Hazaribag district of Jharkhad, India, leaves considered antiseptic. Decoction of leaves used for healing ulcers. (11)
- In Bangladesh, pulp of plant applied as poultice on neglected and callous ulcers; also used for pain. (12) A mixture of leaves of H. zeylanica, Crinum asiaticum, Datura metel, Calotropis gigantea and roots of Bombax ceiba, bark of Terminalia arjuna, camphor, and oil of turpentine are macerated together and boiled, and the decoction used for massaging painful areas of rheumatism. (13)

Antiulcer / Antioxidant:
Study evaluated the antioxidant and antiulcer activities of H. zeylanica in diclofenac and pylorus ligation induced ulcers inn rats. Results showed significant (p<0.01) reduction in gastric volume, free and total acidity, ulcerative index and significantly (p0.01) reduced gastric pH and % protection in both models. The ethyl acetate fraction showed better antioxidant activity than other fractions. There was significant reduction (p<0.01) in MDA and increased in GSH, CAT levels in gastric tissues. The antiulcer properties were attributed to phenols and flavonoids contents. (see constituents above) (4)
• Anthelmintic / Whole Plant:
Study of aqueous and methanolic extracts of whole plant against Pheretima posthuma showed anthelmintic activity as evidenced by paralysis (p<0.01) at lower doses and death at higher concentration of 100 mg/ml. Albendazole was used as standard drug. (5)
• Hepatoprotective / Carbon Tetrachloride Toxicity / Leaves:
Study evaluated the hepatoprotective activity of methanolic leaf extract in carbon tetrachloride intoxication rats. Pretreatment showed effects on AST, ALT, ALP, and total bilirubin comparable to standard drug silymarin. Histologically, there was also decreased necrotic zones and hepatocellular degeneration. (6)
• Gastroprotective / Cold Restraint Stress Induced Ulcers / Leaves:
Study investigated the antiulcer activity of methanolic extract of leaves of H. zeylanica using ethanol and cold restrained stress induced ulcer models in rats. The ME at 500 mg/kg showed maximum inhibition of gastric acid, free acid, and total acid and significant reduction in ulcer index. However, the activity was less than that of ranitidine. The activity may be attributed to the cytoprotective action of the extract or strengthening of gastric and duodenal mucosa with enhancement of mucosal defense mechanism. (7)
• Wound Healing / Leaves:
Study evaluated the wound healing property of H. zeylanica methanol leaf extract on excision and incision would models in rats. The leaf methanol extract showed wound healing potential as evidenced by increased the rate of wound contraction, decreased the period of epithelization and increased skin breaking strength. (see constituents above) (8)
• Antidiabetic:
Study evaluated ethanol extract and various fractions powdered whole plant for in vivo antidiabetic activity using streptozotocin induced diabetic male wistar rats. A choloroform fraction showed highest decrease in blood glucose, total cholesterol, and serum triglyceride levels at 75.11%, 59.77%, and 35.98%, respectively. The fraction yielded three bioactive compounds viz., stigmasterol, kaempferol, and p-coumaric acid, which were presumed to be responsible for may of its pharmacologic properties. (9)


Updated October 2018 / January 2014

IMAGE SOURCE: / Flower close-up / Hydrolea zeylanica / Dinesh Valke / November 1, 2008 / Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic / click on image to go to source page / flickr
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Illustration /Hydrolea zeylanica (L.) Vahl / Wight, R., Illustrations of Indian botany, vol. 2: t. 167 (1850) [Goovindo] / Illustration contributed by the Missouri Botanical Garden, U.S.A. / PlantIllustrations.org
Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Some Anti-Diabetic Plants of Southern Assam / G Banik, M Bawari et al / Assam University Journal of Science & Technology : Biological and Environmental Sciences Vol. 5 Number I 114-119, 2010
Ceylon Hydrolea / Common names / Flowers of India
Content and distribution of flavonoids among 91 edible plant species / Ray-Yu Yang PhD, Shou Lin BSc and George Kuo PhD / Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2008;17(S1):275-279
Antioxidant and Antiulcer Potential of Hydrolea Zeylanica (L.) Vahl against Gastric Ulcers in Rats / Atish Kumar Sahoo and Satish Kumar / International Journal of Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 2017; Vol 10, Issue 1 / DOI: 10.15406/ijcam.2017.10.00324
Exploring the in-vitro anthelmintic potential of Hydrolea zeylanica -An aquatic medicinal herb
/ Mohammad Shamim Qureshi, Shiv Kumar, A. Venkateshwar Reddy / Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology, Jan 2015; 8(12) / DOI: 10.5958/0974-360X.2015.00296.6
Hepatoprotective activity of Hydrolea zeylanica leaf extract on liver damage caused by carbon tetrachloride in rats / Mohammad Shamim Qureshi, A. Venkateshwar Reddy, G. S. Kumar, Jiitendra Patel / International Journal of ChemTech Research, 2017; 10(9): pp 260-266
Protective Effect of Hydrolea zeylanica Vahl. Leaf extract in Ethanol and Cold Restraint Stress Induced Ulcers in Rats / Mohammad Shamim Qureshi, A. Venkateshwar Reddy, G.S. Kumar / Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology, 2017; Vol 19, No 1
ANTIDIABETIC EFFECT EVALUATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF BIOACTIVE COMPOUNDS ISOLATED FROM HYDROLEA ZEYLANICA / Borkar Vijay S, Senthil Kumaran K, Senthil Kumar KL, Gangurde Hemant H, Chordiya Mayur A / Indonesian Journal of Pharmacy, 2015; Vol 26, No 4
Hydrolea zeylanica / Synonyms /The Plant List
STUDY OF AQUATIC MEDICINAL PLANTS OF HAZARIBAG DISTRICT OF JHARKHAND, INDIA / Lal Hari Shankar and Mishra PK / International Research Journal of Pharmacy, IRJP, 2012; 3 (4)
HYDROLEA ZEYLANICA Vahl. / Medicinal Plants of Bangladesh
Tribal Formulations for Treatment of Pain: A Study of the Bede Community Traditional Medicinal Practitioners of Porabari Village in Dhaka District, Bangladesh / Syeda Seraj, Farhana Israt Jahan, Anita Rani Chowdhury, et al / Afr. J. Tradit Complement Altern Med., 2013; 10(1): pp 26–34 / PMCID: PMC3746354

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