Gabing-uak is an aquatic herb, smaller than gabi-gabihan (Monochoria hastata). Rootstocks are short,
suberect or creeping, and spongy. Leaves are extremely variable, long-petioled, linear to
ovate, oblong-ovate to broadly ovate, with a sharply acuminate apex
and cordate base, and with broad lobes, 6 to 10 centimeters long. Petioles are usually less than 30 centimeters long. Inflorescence is spicate, 3 to 6 centimeters long, and few-flowered. Flowers are blue, about 1 centimeter long, pedicles less
than 1 centimeter long. Capsules are oblong.
- At low and medium altitudes in open wet places, rice paddies, swamps, etc., from Luzon to Mindanao.
- Widely distributed in India to China, Malaysia and Japan.
- Various root extracts yielded alkaloids, carbohydrates, phenols, glycosides, tannins, flavonoids.
An ethanol extract yielded phytoconstituents n-hexadecanoic acid, 3-methyl- acetate-1-butanol, 1,1,3-triethoxy- propane, Z,Z,Z- 1,4,6,9 - nonadecatetraene, undecanoic acid, 3-trifluoroacetoxy penta decane and 4-ethyl-5-octyl-2,2-bis (trifluoromethyl) - cis-1,3-dioxalone.
- Study of whole plant isolated three new compounds--two cerebrosides and one acylglycosyl sterol.
- Study for mineral content yielded potassium (9.19 ppm), K/Na ration (7.67)
, Mg (3.028 ppm), Cu (0.138 ppm), Pb (0.021 ppm), Mn (3.386 ppm). (see study below) (19)
- Root stock and leaves are cooling, bitter, sweet, aromatic, alterant, diuretic and tonic.
Edibility / Nutritional
- Tubers, leaves and aerial parts are
eaten, raw or cooked.
- In Bengal, tender stalk and leaves are eaten as vegetable.
- In Java, entire plant, except for the roots, eaten as vegetable.
Nutritional evaluation suggests the plant can be an alternative nutrient rich leafy vegetable.
- Leaves are poulticed after boils have burst.
- Juice of roots for stomach and liver problems, asthma and toothache.
- In Java leaf juice use for coughs; roots for stomach and liver complaints, asthma and toothache. Leaves with ginger and honey taken for cough and cold.
- Bark eaten with sugar for asthma.
- In India, used for burns and scalds; general
debility, asthma, fever, hemorrhage, cough, scurvy, dipsia, strangury, gastropathy, hepatopathy, odontalgia, scurvy and hemorrhages.
- Paste of tuber used externally as antidote to snakebite poisoning in Tamil Nadu.
- In Tripuri, India, decoction of fresh roots used for nausea. Whole plant is cooked by tribal people and used in digestive disorders.
Young shoots used for gastritis and asthma.
- Paniya tribe of India use the leaves for diabetes.
- In the Siddha system, roots is used for cough, disease of pittam, venereal afflictions, thirst, fainting, and fever.
- Juice of leaves applied to boils.
- In Ayurvedic and Unani
medicine, root is chewed for toothaches and sugared bark for asthma.
• Phytoremediation: Monochoria vaginalis is one of the plants considered promising candidates for cleaning up arsenic-contaminated
surface water and wetland areas. (2)
• Antioxidant / Anti-Inflammatory: Root and leaf extracts were evaluated for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. An ethanol leaf extract showed maximum radical scavenging activity in ABTS, superoxide and hydrogen peroxide assays. In in vivo anti-inflammatory study, a methanolic leaf extract showed appreciable reduction in paw volume. (5)
• Nephroprotective / Acetaminophen Induced Toxicity: Study investigated a methanol extract in rats with acetaminophen-induced toxicity. Results showed it can prevent renal damage from APAP-induced nephrotoxicity in rats, probably mediated through active phytoconstituents and antioxidant activities. (6)
• Biochemical and Nutritional Evaluation: Nutritional evaluation showed maximum amount of total carbohydrates, total protein, reducing sugar and amino acids like methionine were present in the young leaf. The plant can be proposed as an alternative nutrient leaf vegetable. (13)
• Hepatoprotective / Carbon Tetrachloride Hepatic Injury: Study investigated a methanolic extract of Monochoria vaginalis for antioxidant and curative effect against CCl4 induced acute liver injury in rats. Extract treatment showed significant protection of liver as evidenced by enzymes and lipid peroxide levels, together with reduction in histopathological changes. Antioxidant status was measured by activity of GSH, catalase, SOD, GST and GPx. Activity was attributed to the presence of flavonoids and alkaloids. (15) Study showed rats pretreated with M. vaginalis and Silymarin remarkably prevented the elevation of AST, ALT, ALP, $ liver peroxides in CCl4 treated rats. (24)
• Analgesic Activity / Roots: Various extracts of roots yielded alkaloids, phenols, carbohydrates, glycosides, tannin, and flavonoids. Total ethanolic extract, chloroform fraction, and aqueous extract of M. vaginalis showed analgesic activity by Tail Immersion and Eddy's hot plate methods. (16)
• Alkenylphenol and Steroids: Study isolated two new compounds from the whole plant— (10Z)-1-(2,6-dihydroxyphenyl)octadec-10-en-1-one (1) (20R,24R)-campest-5-ene-3b,4b-diol (2)— together with nine known ones. (17)
• Anti-Diabetic / Leaves: Study of hydroalcoholic extract of leaves for anti-diabetic activity in alloxan induced diabetic albino rats. Results showed significant reduction in blood glucose levels. (18)
• Mineral and Heavy Metal Content: In a study of mineral content and heavy metal content of traditionally important aquatic plants of Tripura, India, Monochoria vaginalis showed: potassium (9.19 ppm), K/Na ration (7.67)
, Mg (3.028 ppm), Cu (0.138 ppm), Pb (0.021 ppm), Mn (3.386 ppm). (19)
• Nutritional Composition / Leaves and Flowers: Study evaluated the nutritional composition of leaves and flowers of M. vaginalis. Almost all essential and nonessential amino acids were present in leaves and flowers. with the nonessential amino acids, especially aspartic acid and glutamic acid, higher in flowers than leaves. The flowers yielded higher amounts of nonessential amino acids, especially aspartic acid and glutamic acid, and higher amounts of proteins (10.8g/100g) and carbohydrates (4.6g/100g). Mineral analysis yielded adequate amounts of phosphorus, potassium , magnesium, copper, manganese and calcium. Study suggests M. vaginalis can be used as a nutritional food supplement. (21)
• Hepatoprotective / Acetaminophen-Induced Hepatotoxicity: Study evaluated an ethanol extract of M. vaginalis on acetaminophen induced rat hepatic injury. Results showed hepatoprotective and antioxidant effects against APAP-induced hepatotoxicity and oxidative stress in rats. The activity of EEMV at 500 mg/kbw was comparable to standard drug silymarin (25 mg/kbw). (22)
• Phytoremediation Potential / Heavy Metal Accumulation: Study evaluated the bioaccumulation potential of six ecotypes of M. vaginalis from six different industrial zones in West Bengal, India, based on chromium (Cr), cadmium (Cd), and copper (Cu) accumulation pattern. Accumulation pattern significantly differed among ecotypes, and accumulation in plant organs was highly metal specific. Cr and Cu predominantly accumulated in leaves and rhizomes while Cd was predominant in roots. Cu showed higher capability in edible parts. Results showed the potential of plant parts as bioaccumulation organs and use for phytoremediation of heavy metal contamination in aquatic ecosystems. (23)