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Family Scrophulariaceae
Limnophila indica (Linn.) Druce

You geng shi long wei

Scientific names Common names
Limnophila indica (Linn.) Druce Tara-tara (Ilk.)
Hottonia indica Linn. Indian marshweed (Engl.)
Limnophila gratioloides R. Brown Indian ambulia (Engl.)
Limnophila myriophylloides Llanos  
Limnophila sessiflora Merr. & Rolfe  

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: You geng shi long wei.
FRENCH: Ambulie de l'Inde.
HINDI: Kuttra.
MALAYALAM: Manganari.

Tara-tara is a small, gregarious, smooth, submerged or partly submerged, aquatic herb 10 to 20 centimeters in height, and exceedingly variable in its vegetative characters. Stems are slender, erect, simple, or diffusely branched. Leaves are in whorls, pinnatifid, and 6 to 18 millimeters long. Leaves under water are opposite. Flowers are pale purple or pale violet, and borne singly in the axils of the leaves. Calyx is 3 to 4 millimeters long, rarely larger, and hemispheric in fruit, with ovate lobes. Corolla is 10 to 12 millimeters long.

- In shallow, slow streams at low and medium altitudes, ascending to 1,500 meters.
- Found in Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Bontoc, Benguet, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Rizal and Laguna Provinces in Luzon; in Leyte; and in Bukidnon, Davao and Lanao Provinces in Mindanao.
- Also occurs in India to Japan and through Malaya to tropical Australia.

- Plant contains an essential oil.
- Study of the whole plant yielded two flavonoids, (2S)-5,7,3′,4′-tetramethoxyflavanone and 5,7,2′,5′-tetramethoxyflavone. together with three known flavonoids.
- Study of roots and aerial parts yielded two flavonoids, 5,6-dihydroxy-7,8,4'-trimethoxy flavone and 5,2'-dihydroxy-8,3',4'-trimethoxyflavone together with three known compounds.
- A hexane extract of the aerial parts and roots of Limnophila indica yielded a new flavone, 3',4'-ethyl- enedioxy-5-hydroxy-3-(1-hydroxy-1-methylethyl)-6,7-dimethyl-5'-methoxyflavone-8-carboxylic acid.

- Agreeable and refreshing odor of fresh plant resembles camphor oil or oil of lemon.
- Considered antiseptic, carminative.

Parts used
Leaves, plant juice.


- In the Philippines, infusion of leaves used for dysentery and dyspepsia.
- Juice of the plant is rubbed over the body in pestilent fevers.
- Liniment made from the plant with coconut oil is used in elephantiasis.
- Internally the juice, combined with cumin and other aromatics, is given for dysentery.

Study of whole plant yielded two flavonoids, (2S)-5,7,3′,4′-tetramethoxyflavanone and 5,7,2′,5′-tetramethoxyflavone, together with three known flavonoids, 7-O-methylwogonin, skullcapflavone I and 5-hydroxy-7,2′-dimethoxyflavone. (1)
Flavanoids: Aerial parts and roots yielded a flavonoid - 5,2'-Dihydroxy-8,3',4'-trimethoxyflavone, 5,8-Dihydroxy-6,7,4'-trimethoxyflavone
Cytotoxicity: In a study investigating the cytotoxic effect of 16 Bangladesh medicinal plant extracts, Limnifolia indica's aqueous extract showed no toxicity against healthy mouse fibroblast but selective cytotoxicity against breast cancer cells. (2)
Antimicrobial: L. indica extract was found to inhibit the growth of Xanthomas campestris and X. malvacearum in vitro.
Antibacterial / Antidiarrheal / Shigellosis: Study of whole plant extract yielded phenolic compounds, flavonoids, alkaloids, fats, and oils. It showed potent antibacterial activity against four bacterial strains and exhibited powerful antibacterial effect against antibiotic-resistant Shigella species. It also showed dose-dependent in vivo antidiarrheal activity, with a result superior to loperamide. In vitro antacid activity showed mild activity. Results suggest an eminent substitute as anti-dysentery and antidiarrheal agent. (6)


Last Update April 2014

IMAGE SOURCE: Asian or Dwarf Ambulia or Asian marshweed Limnophila sessiliflora in Hyderabad, India. / File:Limnophila sessiliflora (Asian Ambulia) in Hyderabad, AP W IMG 1415.jpg / J M Garg / 02.11.08 / GNU Free Documentation License / click on photo to see source image / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Flavonoids from Limnophila indica / Nimmanapalli P Reddy, Bandi A K Reddy et al /
Phytochemistry, Volume 68, Issue 5, March 2007, Pages 636-639 / doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2006.12.018
Cytotoxic Effects of Bangladeshi Medicinal Plant Extracts / Shaikh J Uddin, Darren Grice and Evelin Tiralongo / eCAM, doi:10.1093/ecam/nep111
Limnophila (Scrophulariaceae): Chemical and Pharmaceutical Aspects / Goutam Brahmachari / The Open Natural Products Journal, 2008, 1, 34-43
Chemical Constituents of Limnophila indica / G Brahmachari, S K Jash et al / Indian Journ of Chemistry, Vol 47B, Dec 2008, pp. 1898-1902.
An Ethylenedioxy Flavonoid Carboxylic Acid from Limnophila indica / G. Brahmachari, S. M. A. Sohel, D. Gorai, S. Mondal and B. Misrti / Journal of the Chinese Chemical Society, 2003, 50, 325-328 325
In vitro and in vivo evaluation of the inhibitory effect of Limnophila indica (Linn.) Druce on shigellosis. / Subhadra S, Gade G, Ravindran VK, Emani VS, Parre S, Banji D. / Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2012 May;10(5):538-45.
Sorting Limnophilia names / /Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1995 - 2020 The University of Melbourne.

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