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Family Lycopodiaceae
Lycopodium cernuum L.
P'u-ti Wu-sung

Scientific names  Common names 
Lepidotis cernua (L.) P. Beauv. Iuiukou (Ig.)
Lycopodium boryanum A. Rich. Iakiakan (Ig.)
Lycopodium capillaceum (Spring) Hieron. Kolokolud (Ig.)
Lycopodiella cernua (L.) Pic. Serm. Kuio-kuio (Bis.)
Lycopodium cernuum L. Lamon-babae (Tag.) 
Lycopodium heeschii Müll. Hal. Licopodio (Tag.) 
Lycopodium moritzii O.F. Müll. Samong-babai (Bik.)
Palhinhaea capillacea (Spring) Holub Monkey's paws (Engl.)
Palhinhaea cernua (L.) Franco et Vasc. Sinew-extending herb (Engl.)
  True club moss (Engl.)
Lycopodium cernuum L. is a synonym of Lycopodiella cernua (L.) Pic. Serm. The Plant List
Lycopodiella cernua (L.) Pic. Serm. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Hai nan chui sui shi song, Chui sui shi song, P'u-ti wu-sung.
WEST AFRICA: Akuru eke, Nyonyo.

Lamon-babae is a prostrate plant, with stout and creeping stems, 30 to 100 centimeters long, and with small bristly leaves throughout. Primary branches are rigidly erect, 20 to 60 centimeters long, much branched in the upper portion; the lower branches are divided and short, spreading or ascending, pendulous towards the tips. Leaves are inserted all around the stems and branches, crowded, narrowly linear-subulate, 2 to 3 millimeters long. Spikes (cone-like fruiting bodies) are numerous, solitary, and sessile on the tips of the branchlets, 5 to 15 millimeters long.

- Widely distributed; abundant at medium and high altitudes, rare at low altitudes.
- Found throughout the warmer countries of the Old World.

- Study yielded a new triterpenoid (16-oxo-21-episerratriol) and a flavonoid (cernoside) together with known alkaloids lycocernuine and cernuine, triterpenoids, aonocerin diacetate, serratenediol diacetate, serratriol triacetate and 21-episerratriol triacetate.
- Study isolated three new serratene-type triterpenoids (1-3) and a new hydroxy unsaturated fatty acid (13) together with nine known compounds (4-12). (see study below) (12)

- Sweet tasting, cooling natured.
- Antirheumatic, antitussive, diuretic.

Parts utilized:
· Whole plant.
· Collect the plants throughout the year.
· Rinse, cut into pieces and sun-dry.
· Compress before storing.

• Decoction of 15-30 gms of dried material used for acute hepatitis, reddening and swelling in the eyes, costochondritis, chronic cough.
• Decoction used as a lotion in beriberi.
• Decoction used for coughs and uneasiness of the chest.
• Embrocation of its ashes in vinegar used for skin eruptions.
• Decoction of plant used as diuretic; also for rheumatism, diarrhea, dysentery and tenesmus.
• Used medicinally throughout Malaysia for external application.
• In Fiji, traditional use as an antifungal.
• In the Antilles, powder is dusted on irritated parts of children from contact of urine.
• Powder used against diarrhea and dysentery.
• In French Guiana, used for leg pains, spider bites, fever, and in herbal baths
.• In French Polynesia, used in treatment for hay fever.
.• In India, spores are applied as antiseptic in wounds and injuries. Also, fresh plant infusion used for intestinal infection. Also, for rickets in children.
.• In Kerala, for chicken pox drink a lukewarm water concoction of 5 gm of Oryza meyeriana seeds ground to a paste with 5 gm of L. cernuum, a black ant's head (Monorium dichroum) and 100 mg Jumboldtia unijuga (root gall).
Ornamental: In the Philippines, in much demand among florists, especially around All Saints' Day, were it is used for making wreaths, baskets and other floral decorations. In India, used as an ornament.
Gunpowder: Spores mixed with gunpowder to increase efficiency of gunpowder and reduce the decibel of explosion.
Rituals/Superstition: Leaves used for sacred rituals. Women do not use the plant during their menstrual periods. In some places, plants are harvested with utmost respect for cultural traditions. Some believe improper use can put the user in great danger. (11)

Antimicrobial / Anti-Helicobacter pylori: In vitro anti-Helicobacter pylori activity of Lycopodium cernuum (Linn) Pic. Serm: All fractions of LC extracts demonstrated antimicrobial activity suggesting the plant contains compounds with therapeutic activity. Pharmacologically active compounds such as alkaloids and serratene triterpenes have been found in L cernuum which may be responsible for its antimicrobial effect. 5 fractions from the hexane fraction (100% hexane) yielded the highest activity. Study suggests the plant is a potential source of an antibacterial agent for the treatment of H. pylori. (1)
Antifiungal: Fractionation of ethanol extract of L cernuum for Candida albicans secreted aspartic proteases (SAP) inhibition resulted in six new and four known serratene triterpenes and an apigenin-glucopyranoside. Two compounds, lycernuic acid C and and apigenin-4'-O(2',6' '-di-O-p-coumaroyl)-beta-D-glycopyranoside, showed inhibitory effects against C albicans secreted aspartic proteases. (2)
Cholinesterase Inhibitors: Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors increase the availability of acetylcholine in the central cholinergic synapses and are promising drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Study showed the water fraction of a methanolic extract of Lycopodiella cernua significantly inhibited AChE in vitro. Fractionation isolated a new lignan glycoside, lycocernuaside A, together with 15 known compounds. Compound 7 exhibited potent AChE inhibitory activity. Compound 15 showed potent inhibitory activity against BChE and BACE1 while compounds 4 and 7 showed mixed- and competitive-type AChE inhibition. (9)
Anti-Amnesic / Nootropic: Study evaluated the alkaloid fraction of a methanol extract for in vitro acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitory activity in cognition-relevant brain areas of mice. In the in vivo study, the cognitive enhancing effect on amnesic mice induced by scopolamine was investigated by assessment of passive avoidance and a water maze test. Results showed anticholinesterase activity with significant reversal of cognitive impairment in mice. (10)
Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitory Activity: Study isolated three new serratene-type triterpenoids (1-3) and a new hydroxy unsaturated fatty acid (13) together with nine known compounds (4-12). Compound 13 showed the most potent inhibitory activity against AChE with IC50 value of 0.22µm. (12)

- Wild-crafted.
- Plants and powdered formulations in the cybermarket.

Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Update December 2015

IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph / Lycopodiella cernua / click on image to go to source page / © Guatemala Cloud Forest Biodiversity
IMAGE SOURCE: / File:Lycopodium plant.jpg / Creative Commons Attribution / Wikimedia Commons / (Adapted / Modified by G. Stuart)

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
In vitro anti-Helicobacter pylori activity of Lycopodium cernuum (Linn) Pic. Serm
/ Ndip R.N., Ajonglefac A.N. et al / African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 7 (22), pp. 3989-3994, 19 November, 2008
Natural products inhibiting Candida albicans secreted aspartic proteases from Lycopodium cernuum
/ Zhang Z, ElSohly HN et al / J Nat Prod. 2002 Jul;65(7):979-85.
FOLK MEDICINAL PLANTS OF THE NAGAS IN INDIA / Sapu Changkija / Asian Folklore Studies, Volume 58, 1999: 205–230
Studies on the Constituents of Domestic Lycopodium Genus Plants. XIII. : On the Constituents of Lycopodium cernuum L. and Lycopodium inundatum L. [in Japanese] / Inubishi Yasuo, Harayama Takashi et al / Journal of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan 91(9), 980-986, 1971-09-25
Traditional uses of some Indian plants among islanders of the Indian Ocean / S K Jain and Sumita Srivastava / Indian Journ of Traditional Knowledge, Vol 4(4), Oct 2005, pp 345-357

Traditional remedies of Kani tribes of Kottoor reserve forest, Agasthyavanam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala / Arun Vijayan, Liju VB et al / Indian Journ of Traditional Knowledge, Vol 6(4), Oct 2007. pp 589-594.
Palhinhaea cernua (L.) Franco et Vasc. / Chinese names and synonyms / Catalogue of Life, China
Lycopodiella cernua / Synonyms / The Plant List
Kinetics and molecular docking studies of cholinesterase inhibitors derived from water layer of Lycopodiella cernua (L.) Pic. Serm. (II). / Hung TM, Lee JS, Chuong NN, Kim JA, Oh SH, Woo MH, Choi JS, Min BS / Chem Biol Interact. 2015 Oct 5;240:74-82. / doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2015.07.008
Anti-amnesic effect of alkaloid fraction from Lycopodiella cernua (L.) Pic. Serm. on scopolamine-induced memory impairment in mice. / Chuong NN, Trung BH, Luan TC, Hung TM, Dang NH, Dat NT. / Neurosci Lett. 2014 Jul 11;575:42-6. / doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2014.05.031
Lycopodiella cernua--Taboos that limit overharvesting / Sacred Natural Sites: Conserving Nature and Culture / Edited by Bas Verschuuren, Jeffrey McNeely, Gonzalo Oviedo, Robert Wild
Isolation of cholinesterase and β-secretase 1 inhibiting compounds from Lycopodiella cernua. / Nguyen Van Thu, To Dao Cuong, Tran Manh Hung, Oh Sang Ho, Kim Jeong Ah et al. / Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry, 2015; 23 (13) / doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2015.04.080

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