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Family Lygodiaceae
Lygodium japonicum (Thunb.) Swartz.
Ha ma teng

Scientific names  Common names 
Adiantum scandens Lour. Nitong-pula (Tag.) 
Davallia scandens (Lour.) Sw. Nito-a-purao (Ig., Ilk.) 
Hydroglossum dissectum (Desv.) Steud. Climbing fern spore (Engl.)
Hydroglossum japonicum (Thunb.) Willd. Japanese climbing fern (Engl.)
Lygodium chaerophylloides Desv.  
Lygodium cochinchinense (Poir.) Desv.  
Lygodium dissectum Desv.  
Lygodium japonicum (Thunb.) Swartz  
Lygodium mearnsii Copel.  
Lygodium microstachyum Desv.  
Lygodium pubescens Kaulf.  
Lygodium tenue Blume  
Ophioglossum japonicum Thunb.  
Trichomanes cochinchinense Poir.  
Nito's varieties of common names is confusingly shared among four species of plants belonging to the Family Schizaeceae / Gemus Lygodium: (1) Nito, Lygodium circinnatum, nitong puti, nitoan (2) Nitong puti, Lygodium flexuosum, nito nga purao (3) Nitong-pula, Lygodium japonicum, nito, nito-a-purao (4) Nito-nitoan, Lygodium scandens, nitong parang, nito.
Lygodium japonicum (Thunb.) Sw. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Luo wang teng, Tie xian teng, Hai jin sha, Ha ma teng.
JAPANESE: Tsuru-shinobu.

Nitong-pula is similar to Lygodium flexuosum but is more delicate. It is a very slender, twining fern growing from 1 to 3 meters in length, somewhat pubescent or nearly glabrous, the dwarfed branches 2 to 4 millimeters long. Fronds are of 2 kinds (dimorphic). Sterile pinnae are 8 to 15 centimeters long, rarely longer, 2 to 4 millimeters wide. Pinnules (leaflets) are 2 to 5 centimeters on each side, the upper ones simple, sessile, often subconfluent, entire, the intermediate ones somewhat hastate and the lowest one stalked, pinnate or bipinnate (twice pinnate), all oblong to linear, 1.5 to 8 centimeters long, tripinnate, the segments relatively broader and shorter. Spikes (site of the fruiting bodies) are 1 to 6 millimeters long. Spores are verruculose.

- Very common throughout the Philippines at low and medium altitudes.
- Also reported from Japan and Korea to India, and southward to Australia.

- Study isolated a new 1,4-naphthoquinione and three known compounds from the roots. (1)
- Study isolated 8 compounds: tilianin, kaempferol-7-O-alpha-L-rhamnopyranoside, kaempferol, p-coumaric acid, hexadecanoic acid 2, 3-dihydroxy-propyl ester, daucosterol, beta-sitosterol, and 1-hentriacontanol. (7)
- Spores yield caffeic acid and lygodin.
- Study yielded a new phenolic glycoside, 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid 4-O-(4′-O-methyl)-β-D-glucopyranoside, from the roots. (13)
- Study yielded flavonols and phenolic acids identified as 3,4-dihydroxyl benzoic acid 4-O-beta-D-(4'-O-methyl) glucopyranoside (1), protocatechuic acid (2), acacetin 7-O-(6'-O-a-L-rhamnopyranosyl)-beta-sophoroside (3), 6,8-di-glucosylapigenin (vinenin) (4), tricin-7-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside (5), 2-anilino-1,4-naphthoquinone (6). (23)
- Study for chemical constituents of roots isolated six compounds: friedelin (1), hydroxyhopane (2), 2α-hydroxyursolic acid (3), daucosterol (4), succinic acid (5), kaempferol-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranose-7-O-α-L-rhamnopyranoside (6).
- Ethanol extract of plant yielded polyphenols, terpenoids, glycosides, saponins, flavonoids, and reducing sugar. (see study below) (20)
- GC-MS analysis for essential oil of whole herb yielded 52 volatile compounds representing 81.70% of the total oil. Main constituents were unsaturated hydrocarbon (30.43%), organic acids (14.926%), ketone (12.818%) and nonterpineols (8.296%). Compounds with contents over 3% (V/V) were 3-methyl-1-pentanol 4.097%, 2-(methylacetyl)- 3-carene 4.25%, eyclooctenone 7.616%, (E)-2-hexenoic acid 12.767% and 1-undecyne 28.611%. (22)

- Sweet tasting, refrigerant; antifebrile, diuretic.
- Aids lymphatic circulation.
- Expectorant, cathartic, diuretic, anti-urolithiatic.

Parts utilized
· Entire plant.
· Collect material from May to October.
· Rinse, macerate. Dry under the sun.
· Active principles concentrated in the sporangia of the plant.

- Tender frond is edible.
- Decoction of 25 - 30 g of dried material for urinary tract infections, lithiasis, renal edema. cough-fever, reddish urine, enteritis-dysentery.
- Plant used as expectorant, Decoction of vegetative parts and spores used as diuretic. Spores used as general blood tonic. Also, as anti-gonorrheal agent. (11)
- Used as a blood tonic and for cold symptoms and urinary and kidney problems.

- In China, used as an expectorant. Also used in hematuria and blennorrhagia. Also used for pneumonia and for dissolving urinary stones.
- In India, the tribal people of Nagaland apply the plant past on eczema and ringworm and wounds.
- Crushed leaves used in treatment of fresh cuts and wounds. (20)
- An ingredient of Chinese medicine Jin Bo Xiao Shi San (mirabilite 100g, Hai Jin Sha [Lygodium japonicum] 100g, Hu Po (Amber) 40 g, and Peng Sha (sodium borate) 20 g—used to treat urolithic stranguria; also used to treat mumps, ascariasis, pruritus. (17)
- In Chinese traditional medicine, spores used for treatment of various inflammatory diseases. (19) Crushed leaves used to treat hepatitis and dysentery. (20) For centuries, used for treatment of gorge gall, eczema, enteritis, nephritis, dropsy, urinary tract infection and stones. (24)
- North American Indians use hair washes derived from L. japonicum and Yucca for treatment of hair loss and thinning. (21)
- Basketry: Splints from stems used in basketry, making hats and boxes. Splints sometimes mixed with buri for making fancy articles. (11)

Phytochemical Study: Phytochemical study isolated 3,4-dihydroxyl benzoic acid 4-O-beta-D-(4'-O-methyl)glycopyranoside, protocatechuic acid, acacetin 7-O-((6'-O-a-L-rhamnopyranosyl)-beta-sophoroside, venenin, tricin-7-O-beta-D-glycopyranoside, 2-anilino-1,4-naphthoquinone. (3)
Ecdysteroside: Phytochemical study of the roots yielded a new ecdysteroside, lygodiumsteroside A, as well as a known ecdysteroside. (4)
Hair Growth Promotion / Spores: Aqueous ethanol extract of spore of Lygodium japonicum showed in vitro testosterone 5a-reductase inhibitory activity and in vivo anti-androgenic activity with hair regrowth after shaving in testosterone-treated mice. Study yielded lipophilic constituents, oleic acid, linoleic and palmitic acids, identified as the main active principles inhibiting 5-alpha reductase. (5)
Antioxidant / Antibacterial / Purification Polysaccharides: Extracted purification polysaccharides showed strong antioxidant activity in various assays and also showed to be a potential source of natural broad-spectrum anti-microorganism. (8)
Scavenging Activities: Study compared the scavenging activities of total flavone from L. japonicum with different solvents to free radical activity. A 95% ethanol extract had the best scavenging effects. (9)
Inhibitory Effect on Renal Calculi: Study investigated an ethanol extract of Lygodii spora as preventive and therapeutic agent for experimentally induced calcium oxalate nephrolithiasis in male Wistar rats. Results showed significant decrease in levels of urinary calcium, oxalate, and uric acid, and increased levels of urinary citrate. (12)
Enhancement of Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activities: Pressure-assisted water extraction (PAWE) increased the phenol amount of L. japonicum to 12.8 mg GAE/g compared to conventional extraction (9.3 mg GAE/g) (p<0.05). The lowest minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC99) of L. japonicum extracted by PAWE were 2.59, 3.33, and 7.37 mg/mL, respectively, against Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella typhimurium, and Propionibacterium acnes. Results suggest PAWE can be an appropriate extraction method for enhancing biological and pharmaceutical properties of medicinal plants. (15)
New Phenylpropanoid Glucoside / Antioxidant / Aerial Parts: Study of aerial parts isolated a new compound, 4-O-caffeoyl-D-glucopyranose (1), and a new natural product, 3-O-caffeoyl-D-glucopyranose (2), together with six known compounds (3-8). In vitro evaluation of compounds 1-8 showed strong antioxidative properties. (16)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Spores: Study investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of ethanol extracts of L. japonicum spores by measuring inflammatory mediators and exploring molecular mechanisms. Results showed the extracts may suppress LPS-induced inflammatory responses in murine macrophages in vitro, through negative regulation of p38 MAPK and nuclear factor [NF]-kB. Study suggests potential in therapeutic strategies for alleviating inflammation. (19)
• Antibacterial / Antioxidant: Study evaluated three indigenous medicinal plants in Nepal for antioxidant and antibacterial activities i.e., Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Phlogacanthus thyrsiformis, and Lygodium japonicum. All extracts showed antibacterial properties against four gram negative bacteria ( E. coli, K. pneumonia, S. typhi, P. mirabilis) and two gram positive bacteria (S. aureus, B. subtilis). On antioxidant evaluation using DPPH scavenging activity, L. japonicum showed the highest activity (IC50 of 80 ± 1.3 µg/ml) compared to ascorbic acid (IC50=54 ± 0.5 µg/ml). (see constituents above) (20)

Spores and supplements in pill or capsule form.

© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D. / StuartXchange

Updated August 2018 / September 2016

Photos ©Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
IMAGE SOURCE: / Line drawing / Lygodium japonicum (Thunb.) Sw. - Japanese climbing fern LYJA / USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA NRCS. Wetland flora: Field office illustrated guide to plant species. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service / USDA
IMAGE SOURCE: / Photograph / Lygodium japonicum (Thunb.) Sw. - Japanese climbing fern / © Ann Murray / 1999 / University of Florida / click on photo to go to source page / AquaPlant

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
New naphthoquinone from the root of Lygodium japonicum (Thunb.) Sw. / Lijuan Chen et al / Journal of Natural Medicines / Volume 64, Number 1 / January, 2010 / DOI 10.1007/s11418-009-0376-y
Flavonoids from Lygodium japonicum / Zhang Lei-Hong et al / Biochemical systematics and ecology • 2006, vol. 34, no12, pp. 885-886 /
Study on flavonoiels and phenolic acids from the herb of Lygodium japonicum / Zhang LH et al / Zhong Yao Cai. 2008 Feb;31(2):224-6.
A new ecdysteroside from Lygodium japonicum (Thunb.) Sw. / Linxia Zhu et al / Journal of Natural Medicines • Volume 63, Number 2 / April, 2009 / DOI 10.1007/s11418-008-0310-8
Anti-androgenic and Hair Growth Promoting Activities of Lygodii Spora (Spore of Lygodium japonicum) I. Active Constituents Inhibiting Testosterone 5α-Reductase / Hideaki Matsuda et al / Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin • Vol. 25 (2002) , No. 5 62

Lygodium japonicum (Thunb.) Sw. / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Studies on the chemical constituents in herb of Lygodium japonicum. / Zhang LH, Yin ZQ, Ye WC, Zhao SX, Wang L, Hu F. / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2005 Oct;30(19):1522-4.

Anti-oxidation and anti-microorganism activities of purification polysacchardie from Lygodium japonicum in vitro / Xiao Lan Li, Ai Guo Zhou, Yon Han / Carbohydrate Polymers 66, 2006, 34-42.
Study on the Scavenging Activities of Extracts from Lygodium japonicum(Thunb)Sw.with Different Solvents to Free Radicals / BI Yong-guang et al / Journ of Anhui Agricultural Sciences, 2009-19
Conservation of folk healing practices and commercial medicinal plants with special reference to Nagaland / Rama Shankar and Ramesh Babu Devalla / International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation Vol. 4(3), pp. 155-163, March 2012 / DOI: 10.5897/IJBC10.044
Lygodium japonicum / Useful Tropical Plants
The inhibitory effect of an ethanol extract of the spores of Lygodium japonicum on ethylene glycol-induced kidney calculi in rats / Hyuk Jin Cho, Woong Jin Bae, Su Jin Kim, Sung Hoo Hong, Ji Youl Lee, Tae-Kon Hwang, Yeong Jin Choi, Sung Yeoun Hwang, Sae Woong Kim / Urolithiasis, August 2014, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 309-315
A new phenolic glycoside from the roots of Lygodium japonicum / Wencai Yea, Chunlin Fan, Leihong Zhang, Zhiqi Yin, Shouxun Zhao / Fitoterapia, Volume 78, Issues 7–8, December 2007, Pages 600–601 / DOI: 10.1016/j.fitote.2007.04.003
Lyygodium japonicum / Synonyms / The Plant List
Enhancement of antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of Dianthus superbus, Polygonum aviculare, Sophora flavescens, and Lygodium japonicum by pressure-assisted water extraction / Jingyu Gou, Yunyun Zou, Juhee Ahn / Food Science and Biotechnology, February 2011, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 283–287
A new phenylpropanoid glucoside from the aerial parts of Lygodium japonicum / Ying-Hui Duan, Yi Dai, Rong-Rong He, Hiroshi Kurihara, Yao-Lan Li & Xin-Sheng Yao / Journal of Asian Natural Products Research, Volume 14, Issue 3 (2012)
Glauber's Salt (Mang Xiao) / Chinese Healing Herbs
Chemical constituents from the root of Lygodium japonicum(Thunb.) Sw. / ZHU Lin-xia,ZHANG Guo-gang,WANG Sheng-chao,ZUO Tian-tian / Chinese Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2008-04
Anti‑inflammatory effects on murine macrophages of ethanol extracts of Lygodium japonicum spores via inhibition of NF‑κB and p38 / Young‑Chang Cho, Ba Reum Kim, Hien Thi Thu Le, Sayeon Cho / Molecular Medicine Reports, Oct 217; Vol 14, Issue 4: pp 4362-4370 / https://doi.org/10.3892/mmr.2017.7070
Assessment of phytochemical content, antioxidant and antibacterial activities of three medicinal plants of Nepal / Bimala Subba, Anjana Sharma, Anupa Budhathoki / Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, Dec 2016; 10(45): pp 829-837 / https://doi.org/10.5897/JMPR2016.6269
Patient Guide to Hair Loss & Hair Restoration / D. J. Verret / GoogleBooks
Analysis of volatile oil from Lygodium japonicum by GC-MS / SF Ni, YJ Pan, P Wu, YSG Chan, CX Fu, H Xu / Chinese Pharmaceutical Journal, Feb. 2004; Vol 39, No 2: pp 99-100 / http://hdl.handle.net/10397/62568
Study on flavonoiels and phenolic acids from the herb of Lygodium japonicum / Zhang LH, Fan CL, Ye WC, Li YP / Journal of Chinese Medicinal Materials, 1 Feb 2008; 31(2): pp 224-226 / (PMID:18619266)
A review of the use of pteridophytes for treating human ailments / Xavier-rai Baskaran, Antony-varuvel Geo Vigila, Shou-zhon Zhang, Shi-xiu Feng, Wen-bo Liao / J Zhejiang Univ-Sci B (Biomed & Biotechnol), 2018; 19(2): pp 85-119




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