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Family Alismataceae
Sagittaria sagittifolia Linn.

Ci gu

Scientific names Common names
Alisma sagittaria Stokes Gauai-gauai (S. L. Bis.)
Sagitta aquatica (Lam.) St.-Lag. Tikog (Bik.)
Sagittaria palustris Bubani Arrowhead plant (Engl.)
Sagittaria acuminata Sm. Arrowleaf (Engl.)
Sagittaria aquatica Lam. Chinese arrowhead (Engl.)
Sagittaria bulbosa (Poir.) Donn Common arrowhead (Engl.)
Sagittaria heterophylla Schreb. Swamp potato (Engl.)
Sagittaria minor Mil.  
Sagittaria sagittifolia Linn.  
Sagittaria tenuior Gand.  
Sagittaria vulgaris Gueldenst.  
Vallisneria bulbosa Poir.  
Sagittaria sagittifolia L. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Ci gu, Ye ci gu, T'Zu ku, Shui p'ing, Chieh ku.
DUTCH: Pijlkruid.
FINNISH: Pystykeiholehti.
FRENCH: Flèche d'eau, Sagittaire, Sagittaire à feuilles en flèche.
GERMAN: Pfeilkraut, Spitzes Pfeilkraut .
INDIA: Koukha.
ITALIAN: Erba saetta.
JAPANESE: Seiyou omodaka.
KOREAN: Keladi air.
PORTUGUESE: Erva-do-pântano, Espadena, Sagitária.
RUSSIAN: Strelolist obyknovennyi, Strelolist plavaiushchii, Strelolist strelolistnyi.
SPANISH: Cola de golondria, Cola de golondrina, Colomo, Erva frecha, Flecha de agua, Papa del agua, Saeta de agua, Sagitaria.
SWEDISH: Pilblad.
THAI: Khaa khiat, Phak khaang kai.

- The U.S. listed Sagittaria sagittifolia as a Federal Noxious Weed in 1981, cited as "impeding flow of water irrigation, interfering with water access, and reducing yield of rice.
- In 1996, it was discovered the "arrowhead tubers" were approved in 1948 for importation as vegetables.
- After review of risk assessment, it was kept on the Federal noxious weed list, prohibiting importation for propagation while allowing importation of the vegetable for consumption only.
- Since 1996, permits for tuber importation have been issued in Hawaii, California, and New York for human consumption during Chinese New Year, allowing movements from the months of November through March. (13)

Tikog is an aquatic plant, erect, stemless and usually perennial. Leaves are arrow-shaped, 10 to 35 centimeters long; the petioles are long, often long than the leaves, with 3 to 5 whorls of 3 to 5 flowers, each 1 to 2 centimeters in diameter; the lower whorls are female, and the upper, male, with longer pedicels. Petals are white, with yellow center. Achenes are flat, obliquely obovate, apiculate, with broad wings.

- An aquatic plant found in fresh-water swamps, rice paddies, etc., at low and medium altitudes In the Luzon Provinces of Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Tayabas, Camarines, Albay and Sorsogon; and in Catanduanes, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao.
- Also occurs in Europe through Asia to Japan and southward to Java.

- Study isolated a new diterpene, sagittariol, characterized as labda-7,14-dien-13(S,17-diol.

- Study of whole plant isolated seven new ent-rosane diterpenoids, sagittines A-G (1-7), along with one new labdane diterpene, 13-epi-manoyl oxide-19-O-α-L-2'-5'-diacetoxyarabinofuranoside (6). (see study below) (5)
- Study of methanol extract isolated one terpenoid and identified as sandaracopimaric acid. (see study below) (8)
- Phytochemical screening of tubers and leaf extracts and solvents yielded tannin, saponins, flavonoids, phenols, steroids, glycosides, protein, amino acids, starch, reducing sugars, and alkaloids. Phytochemicals were highest in the ethanol extract. (14)

- Acrid.
- Considered diuretic, antiscorbutic, galactagogue.
- Studies have suggested hepatoprotective, antibacterial, immunosuppressive and antioxidant properties.

- Ingestion of raw tubers may cause fluxes, diarrhea, weakness and hemorrhoids.
- Pregnant women should not eat them.

Parts used
Tubers, rhizomes, leaves.


- Tubers are edible.
- In Japan and China, a variety with starchy tubers is cultivated in rice paddies along small streams. The same form is also cultivated in the Trinidad Valley.
- In Vietnam, young leaves and rhizomes used in soups.
- In northeastern India, roots are steamed with sugar or prepared pakora along with besan. (4)
- Tubers used for deficient lochia and retention of the placenta, as well as in gravel.
- Bruised leaves applied to foul sores, snakes and insect bites.
- Powdered leaves applied to relieve itching.
- Tubers used for skin diseases.
In Indo-China, rhizome is grated in vinegar and applied as a poultice for boils and abscesses.
- Decoction of rhizome used for dog and snake bites.
- Leaves mashed in molasses used for throat and tongue soreness and in breast inflammation.
- In northeastern
India fresh root paste with a spoonful of honey used for coughs. (4) In India, leaf extract given with butter milk to treat skin diseases such as scabies and warts. (12)
- In Chinese medicine, bruised leaves are applied to foul sores, snake and insect bites. Powdered leaves applied to itchy diseases. (11) Use for treating gonorrhea and retention of placenta

Study in Sprague-Dawley rats showed pretreatment with Sagittaria sagittifolia extract can militate cadmium-induced liver damage through decreasing the expression of TNF-a mRNA in the process of acute cadmium exposure. (2) Study showed S. sagittifolia pretreatment was more effective than vitamin E in protecting against cadmium-induced acute liver injury, possibly through enhancement of antioxidant and detoxification liver processes. (1)
Antibacterial Against Oral Pathogens / ent-Rosane Diterpenoids: Study of the whole plant yielded seven new ent-rosane diterpenoids, sagittines A-G with one new labdane diterpene. Compounds 1-4 showed antibacterial activity against oral pathogens Streptococcus mutans and Actinomyces naeslundiis. Compound 5 was active only against A. naeslundiis. (5)
C-fos Induction: Study results suggest c-fos induction is independent of oxidative stress or inflammation in the liver during the process of acute Cd exposure in rats. (6)
Terpenoid / Sandaracopimaric Acid / Immunosuppressive: Study of methanol extract isolated a terpenoid, sandaracopimaric acid, showed to have good immunosuppressive action.
• Antioxidant / Polysaccharide Extraction: Study reports on the optimal extraction process for Sagittaria sagittifolia polysaccharide. Under the optimized process, the S. sagittifolia polysaccharides content was 29.32%. In-vitro study for radical scavenging activities showed good antioxidant activity against DPPH, hydroxyl free radicals, and reducing power. (11)


Updated June 2018 / January 2013

IMAGE SOURCE: Sagittaria sagittifolia L. / File:485 Sagittaria sagittifolia.jpg / PCarl Axel Magnus Lindman (1856-1928) / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
IMAGE SOURCE: Flower Close-up / File:Sagittaria sagittifolia (2005 08 08).jpg / Utrecht, Netherland (August 8, 2005) / Click on image to go to source page / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
The Protective Effect of Sagittaria Sagittifolia Against Cadmium-mediated Acute Liver Damage / Lu Zu-fu, Huang Fang et al / Journal of Fujian Medical University / 2001-02
Effect of Sagittaria Sagittifolia on Expression of TNF-α mRNA in Process of Cadmium-Induced Acute Liver Damage / November 10, 2002
Sagittariol: A new diterpene from Sagittaria sagittifolia / Shekhar Chandra Sharma, J S Tandon and M M Dhar / Phytochemistry, Vol14, Issue 4, April 1975, Pages 1055-1057 / https://doi.org/10.1016/0031-9422(75)85185-5
Aquatic / semi-aquatic plants used in herbal remedies in the wetlands of Manipur, Northeastern India / Alka Jain, S Roshnibala et al / Indian Journ of Traditional Knowledge, Vol 6(2), April 2007, pp 346-351
ent-Rosane and Labdane Diterpenoids from Sagittaria sagittifolia and Their Antibacterial Activity against Three Oral Pathogens / Xue-ting Liu, Qin Pan, Yao Shi et al / J. Nat. Prod., 2006, 69 (2), pp 255–260 /
DOI: 10.1021/np050479e
Hepatic c-fos Expression Is Independent of Oxidative Stress and Inflammation Induced by Acute Cadmium Exposure in Rats / Xiaonan Wu. Zufu Lu et al / Ann Nutr Metab 2007;51:258-263 / DOI: 10.1159/000105446)
Sagittaria trifolia var. L. var. sinensis Sims / Chinese name / Catalogue of Life, China
Chemical constituents of Sagittaria sagittifolia L. / J L Yuan, RS Jiang, YW Lin, WP Din /Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 1993 Feb ;18 (2):100-1, 126
Sorting Sagittaria names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / / Copyright © 1997 - 2000 The University of Melbourne.
Sagittaria sagittifolia L. / Synonyms / The Plant List
Study on Extraction of Polysaccharides and Antioxidant Activity of Sagittaria sagittifolia L. Polysaccharide / Lilan Ou, Pixian Shui, Ye Zhu, Chun Zhang / Agricultural Science & Technology, April 2017; Vool 18, Issue 4: pp 724-732
Use of aquatic and marshy plants in ethno-veterinary practices by tribals and rural people of Jammu province, (J&K), India / SYEEDA MAHMUD AND NAZAK HUSSAIN SHAH / International Journal of Plant Sciences, July-December 2009; Vol 4, Issue 2: pp 471-474
Pest Risk Assessment for Sagittaria sagittifolia L: Chinese arrowhead
/ Polly Lehtonen, Botanist / U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
Phytochemical Screening of Tubers and Leaf extracts of Sagittaria sagittifolia L.: Newsa (Arrowhead)
/ Anita Rao and V. N. Pandey / International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, September 2017. Volume 7, Issue 9

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.

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