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

Scientific names  Common names 
Lycopodium cernuum L. Iuiukou (Ig.)
Lepidotis cernua (L.) P. Beauv. Iakiakan (Ig.)
Lycopodiella cernua (L.) Pic. Serm. Kolokolud (Ig.)
Palhinhaea cernua (L.) Franco et Vasc. Kuio-kuio (Bis.)
Chui sui shi song (Chin.) Lamon-babae (Tag.) 
  Licopodio (Tag.) 
  Samong-babai (Bik.)
  Monkey's paws (Engl.)
  Sinew-extending herb (Engl.)
  True club moss (Engl.)
  P'u-ti Wu-sung (Chin.)

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Hai nan chui sui shi song.
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.

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

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.

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

• 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).
• 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.
• Spores mixed with gunpowder to increase efficiency of gunpowder and reduce the decibel of explosion.

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.
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.


Last Update December 2012

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons Attribution / File:Lycopodium plant.jpg / 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

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