HOME      •      SEARCH      •      EMAIL    •     ABOUT

Family Aspleniaceae
Asplenium nidus Linn.

Niao chao jue

Scientific names Common names
Asplenium australasicum (J.Sm.) Hook. Pakpak-lauin (Tag.)
Asplenium ficifolium Goldm. Pasdak (Tag)
Asplenium nidus Linn. Dapo (Tag., other dialiects)
Neottopteris australasica J. Sm. Bird's-nest fern (Engl.)
Neottopteris mauritiana Fée  
Neottopteris musaefolia J. Sm.  
Neottopteris nidus (L.) J. Sm.  
Neottopteris rigida Fee  
Note: There are some dissimilarities in Quisumbing's 1978 publication of Medicinal Plants of the Philippines and the Plants of the Philippines 1964 publication by the University of the Philippines. The former refers to Asplenium nidus as pakpak-lauin and the latter as pasdak; both refer to it as Bird's nest fern. The Plants of the Philippines publication has a Pakpak lawin entree with the scientific designation of Drynaria quercifolia.
Pakpak-lauin is a local name for three different herbal plants, two of the genus Asplenium and one of genus Drynaria: Pakpak-lauin: Asplenium nidus; Pakpak-lauin na babae: Asplenium macrophyllum; and Pakpak lawin: Drynaria quercifloia.
Asplenium nidus L. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHAMMORO: Galak dangkulo, Dalak feda.
CHINESE: Chao jue, Tai wan shan su hua.
HAWAII: Akaha, Ekaha, 'Ekaha kuahiwi.
MALAYSIAN: Daun semum, Rumah langsuyar, Paku pandan.
TAIWAN: Shan su.
VIETNAM: To dieu, Cay to chim, Rang o phung.

Pakpak-lauin is a huge herbaceous epiphyte at minor or moderate altitudes. Entangled rhizome is a mass of roots below. Leaves are erect and flaring from the crown aggregated in a dense tuft above. Leaves are broad and numerous, radiating from the center of the plant giving the appearance of a bird's nest; spiral, leathery, smooth, lance-shaped with entire margins, sharply pointed tips and broad bases. They often attain a large size, 40 to 120 centimeters long, 6 to 20 centimeters wide. Sori are numerous, elongate running along the line of the veinlets, reaching from the midrib about halfway to the margins. Spores are bilateral, monolete with a perispore.

- Common throughout the Philippines at low and medium altitudes.
- Cultivated as a hanging or landscaping plant.
-Grown extensively in other countries, usually as a ornament.
- Native of tropical countries; now grown extensively in America and Europe as an ornament.

- Fractionation and recognition of flavonoids by GC/MS yielded 12 known and 3 unknown compounds. Fractions 1 and 3 represented 13.12% and 2.61% of total composition (15.21%). Gliricidin7-O-hexoside was 3.83% followed by quercetin-7-O-rutinoside (3.09%), keampferol-3-O-rutinoside (0.19%), and myricetin-3-O-rhamnoside (1.10%).
(see study below) (17)

- Considered spasmolytic, estrogenic, depurative, sedative.
- Studies have suggested estrogenic, antibacterial, antioxidant, anticancer properties.

Parts utilized

- Reported to be occasionally eaten by aboriginal tribe in Malaysia.
- In Taiwan, sprouts eaten as vegetable.
• The plant has been reported to be depurative (purifying) and sedative.
• Plant has been used for halitosis.
• The Malay used a decoction of leaves to ease labor pains; also, lotion from pounded leaves in water used as poultice to the head to relieve fever. (12)
• In French Polynesia, used for stings and bites, contraception, chest pains and lice.
• In Hawaii, shoots used for general weakness, ulcers, and sores. Also, plant is part of an asthma regimen, mixed and pounded together with flowers of ki, mixed with poi made from kalo or uala (Ipomoea batatas).
• Shoots used for general debility, sores, ulcers.
• In Taiwan, used to treat fever; infusion used to alleviate labor pains, asthma, debility, halitosis, and sores. (8)
- In Malaysia, leaves used to treat fever and ease labor pains. (18)

• In North Eastern India, rootstock used against fever and elephantiasis. Also, used as emollient, in coughs and diseases of the chest. Leaf is smoked to treat colds. (9)
• In Kumaun Himalaya, Uttrakhand, India, used in splenic enlargement, urine calculus, jaundice, and malaria. (11)
• In India, plant used for fever and urinary problems. Leaf paste applied to affected body parts for body pain. (22)
• In Madya Pradesh, used for jaundice and malaria. (15)

• In Guam, leaf and root of the fern used as ingredient in medicinal preparations. (19)
• In Arunachal Pradesh, rootstock used for fever and elephantiasis. Used as emollient in coughs and diseases of the chest. Leaf is smoked to treat colds. (20)
• In Indonesia, minced leaves mixed with grated coconut used as hair shampoo. In Malaysia, cooling lotion made from leaves macerated in water applied to head for feverish conditions; similar preparation applied locally to ease labor pains. (21)
• In Vanuatu, used as contraceptive: the young fronds are eaten just following the menstrual period. (21)
Veterinary: In Papua New Guinea, leaves used as contraceptive in pigs. (12)
Rituals: In Guam, used decoratively in wedding fiestas and religious rituals. (19)

Estrogenic Activity:
Maternity and medicinal plants in Vanuatu II. Pharmacological screening of five selected species: Five plant species, including A nidus, were studied for possible estrogenic activity. (1)
Antibacterial Activity: In a study of five medicinal ferns, including Asplenium nidus, all showed antibacterial activity which may justify its use in traditional medicine. (2)
Patent Application for Prostatic Disease: Patent application has been made for the use of extract of Asplenium nidus with therapeutic effects on treatment and prophylaxis of prostatic diseases. The objective of the invention is an extract capable of modulating the secretion of androgen. The extract comprises pyropheophorbide a methyl ester, pheophorbide a methyl ester, 1-linleoyl-3-linolenoyl-glycerol, 1-linleoyl-2,3-dipalmitoyl-rac-glycerol and 1,3-dipalmitoyl- sn-glycerol. (10)
Antiviral / Cytotoxicity Testing: Study evaluated six plant extracts of three local Malaysian medicinal plants—Asplenium nidus, Eleusine indica, and Phaleria macrocarpa— for cytotoxicity and antiviral activities. Cytotoxicity screening in Vero cell line by MTT assay showed safety of the extracts even at high concentrations. Antiviral properties by plaque reduction assay showed EC concentration between 3.2 to 47 mg/mL suggesting the usefulness of the extracts as potential antiviral agents. (13)

• Antibacterial / Frond: Study of extracts of fonds of A. nidus for antimicrobial activity against four potentially pathogenic microorganisms viz. E. coli (MTCC 1610), P. aeruginosa (MTCC 3541), S. aureus (MTCC 3160) and S. pyogenes (MTCC 1928) showed positive results. (16)
• Anti-Cancer / Antibacterial / Antioxidant / Flavonoids: GC/MS fractionation of bioactive flavonoids yielded 12 known and three unknown compounds. Study reports on flavonoids that may act as therapeutically useful compounds against MDR pathogens. Most extracted flavonoids (gliricidin-7-O-hexoside (78.1%) and quercetin-7-O-rutinoside (69.2%) showed a significant in vitro radical scavenging activity by DPPH assay. Both fractions showed cytotoxic effects on human hepatoma HepG2 and human carcinoma HeLa cells. (see constituents above) (17)


Updated June 2019 / February 2017 / January 2013

Content / Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Datei:Asplenium nidus Blanco2.395.png / Plate from book / Flora de Filipinas / Francisco Manuel Blanco (OSA) / Public Domain / Modifications by Carol Spears / Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Maternity and medicinal plants in Vanuatu II. Pharmacological screening of five selected species / Journal of Ethnopharmacology • Volume 52, Issue 3, 5 July 1996, Pages 139-143 / G. Bourdya, C. Françoisb, C. Andaryc and M. Boucard
Antioxidative, Tyrosinase Inhibiting and Antibacterial Activities of Leaf Extracts from Medicinal Ferns / How Yee Lai et al / Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry • Vol. 73 (2009) , No. 6 pp.1362-1366
Bird's Nest Fern / Lee-Khoo and Guan Fong / Singapore Infopedia

Plants in Hawaiian medicine / Beatrice H. Krauss
Medical Ethnobotany, Phytochemistry, and Bioactivity of the Ferns of Moorea, French Polynesia
/ Nicole Baltrushes / May 2006 / Moorea Digital Flora Project
Asplenium nidus / Hawai'i Birdnest Fern / EOL Encyclopedia of Life
Neottopteris nidus / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Taiwanese Native Medicinal Plants—Phytopharmacology and Therapeutic Values / Thomas S.C. Li, Ph.D. / Publ. 2006, CRC Press
Medicinal ferns of North Eastern India with special reference to Arunachal Pradesh / Benniamin A / Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge Vol. 10 (3), July 2011, pp. 516-522
Patent application title: EXTRACT OF ASPLENIUM NIDUS L. / Kun-Hsuan Huang, Tza-Zen Chang, Pei-Wen Hsiao, Chia-Jui Tsai. / US20140142157A1 / United States
Ethnomedicinal uses of Pteridophytes of Kumaun Himalaya, Uttarakhand, India / Kanchan Upreti, Jeewan S. Jalal, Lalit M. Tewari*, G. C. Joshi, Y.P.S.Pangtey and Geeta Tewari / Journal of American Science 2009;5(4):167-170
Cytotoxicity and Antiviral Activities of Asplenium nidus, Phaleria macrocarpa and Eleusine indica / Mariya Mohd Tahir, Nazlina Ibrahim and Wan Ahmad Yaacob / The 2014 UKM FST Postgraduate Colloquim
Asplenium nidus L. / Synonyms / The Plant List
Medicinal Pteridophytes of Madhya Pradesh / Balendra Pratap Singh and Ravi Upadhyay / Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies 2014; 2(4): 65-68
Antibacterial Activity of Frond Extract of Asplenium Nidus L., A Threatened Ethno- Medicinal Fern of North East India / Kathakali Nath, Mrinal Kanti Bhattacharya, Aniruddha Sen, and Sanjib Kar / International Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, Sept 2013; Vol.28, Issue.2
Potent anticancer, antioxidant and antibacterial activities of isolated flavonoids from Asplenium nidus / Rini Jariala, Sveta Thakura, Mimi Sakinaha, A.W. Zularisama, Amit Sharadb, S.S. Kanwarc, Lakhveer Singh /Journal of King Saud University / Journal of King Saud University-Science, April 2018; 30(20): pp 185-192 / http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jksus.2016.11.006
Bird's nest fern: Asplenium nidus / Wild Fact Sheets
Asplenium nidus / University of Guam: College of Natural and Applied Sciences
Medicinal ferns of North Eastern India with special reference to Arunachal Pradesh / Benniamin A / Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, July 2011; 10(3): pp. 516-522
Asplenium nidus / Cheryll Williams / Medicinal Plants in Australia Volume 3: Plants, Potions and Poisons
Ethnomedicinal importance of fern and fern allies traditionally used by tribal people of Palani Hills
(Kodaikanal), Western Ghats, South India
/ Ganesan Sathiyaraj, Thangavelu Muthukumar, Konganapuram Chellappan Ravindran / Journal of Medicinal Herbs and Ethnomedicine, 2015; 1(1): pp 4-9 /
Asplenium nidus / Kenneth M Nagata / Hawaiian Medicinal Plants

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

HOME      •      SEARCH      •      EMAIL    •     ABOUT