|Scientific names||Common names|
|Mollugo pentaphylla Linn.||Lepouo (Bon.)|
|Mollugo stricta Linn.||Malagoso (Tag.)|
|Mollugo sumatrana Gandog.||Malugoso (Tag., Bis.)|
|Su mi cao (Chin.)|
|Di ma huang (Chin.)|
|Indian chickweed (Engl.)|
|Itch flower (Engl.)|
|Five-leaved carpetweed (Engl.)|
|Some compilations suggest Mollugo pentaphylla L. is a distinct species from Mollugo stricta; some consider them synonyms.|
|Other vernacular names|
|BENGALI: Khet papra.|
|CHINESE: Su mi cao.|
|JAPANESE: Zakuro sou.|
|MARATHI: Jharasi, Sarsalida.|
Indian chickweed is similar i habit to sarsalida (Mollugo oppositifolia) – a slender, spreading or ascending, smooth, branched, annual herb, with branches 10 to 40 centimeters in length. Leaves are 1.5 to 3 centimeters long, 3 to 5 centimeters wide, whorled or opposite, usually linear-lanceolate, and narrowed at both ends. Flowers are borne in compound cymes, with very slender and very short stalks. Sepals are 1.5 to 2 millimeters long. Capsule is as long as the sepals, and nearly spherical, with many seeds which are dark chestnut, thin-walled, and covered with raised tubercular points. The species differs from sarsalida (M. oppositifolia) in the shape of the leaves, and in the smaller flowers and capsules.
– Throughout the world cultivated as a weed, in open grasslands, etc., at low and medium altitudes.
– Also occurs in India to Japan and southward to Malaya.
– Studies have yielded a saponin and much salt-petre.
– Study yielded two closely related triterpene alcohols – mollugogenol A and mollugogenol B.
– Phytochemical screening yielded flavanoids, saponins, terpenoids and tannins.
– Considered stomachic, aperient, antiseptic, emmenagogue, and spermicidal.
– Leaves are bitter and antiperiodic.
– Not so well known a vegetable as sarsalida, and less desired because of its smaller leaves. However, it is much esteemed by the Hindus as a bitter vegetable.
– In India, leaves used as bitter pot herb.
Folkloric traditional medicinal benefits and uses of Indian chickweed herb
– Malays used it as poultice for sore legs.
– In Java, used for sprue and mouth infections.
– In India, used as aperient, antiseptic, emmenagogue, and stomachic; also, used as mild laxative. Infusion of the plant is used to promote menstrual discharges, to improve digestion and to stimulate the liver. Also used as diuretic, anthelmintic, antioxidant and spermicidal. Decoction of roots used to treat eye diseases. Leaves are warmed after smearing with oil and applied to ear to relieve earaches.
– Used for allergic skin conditions.
– In Taiwan folk medicine, used as anticancer, antitoxic, and diuretic.
– In China, soup used to promote appetite; root decoction used for eye diseases.
– In Thailand, entire plant used as antipyretic.
– In Bangladesh, stems and fruits used in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
– Insect Repellent: In the Solomon Islands, whole plant is burnt for mosquito repellent effect.
Scientific studies on benefits and uses of Indian Chickweed
• Antioxidant / Peh-Hue-Juwa-Chi-Cao:
Three plants used interchangeably as “Peh-Hue-Juwa-Chi-Cao (PHJCC) – Hedyotis diffusa, Hedyotis corymbosa, and Mollugo pentaphylla were investigated for their antioxidant activities. Mollugo pentaphylla was found to have the greatest hydroxyl radical scavenging activity compared to HD and HC. (1)
• Mollugogenol A / Antifungal Triterpenoid:
Study yielded an antifungal compound, mollugogenol A, along with inactive mollugogenol B. (11)
• Antibacterial / Fruit:
Aqueous extract of the fruit of Mollugo pentaphylla revealed antimicrobial activity against gram-positive bacteria (B. subtilis, S. aureus, S. epidermis) and gram-negative bacteria (E. coli, Salmonella flexneri and Pseudomonas aeruginosa). (3)
• Hypoglycemic Potential:
Study of aqueous extract of leaves of M. pentaphylla exhibited anti- hyperglycemic activity probably due to free radical scavenging potential of the test extract. (4)
Study of methanolic extract of the whole plant of M. pentaphylla in albino mice exhibited significant antipyretic activity. (5)
Ethanolic extract and fraction of aerial parts exhibited significant dose-dependent anthelmintic activity against Pheretima posthuma and Ascardia galli. Activity was comparable to piperazine citrate and albendazole. (6)
The ethanol, ethyl acetate, and n-butanol extracts of the whole plant of M. pentaphylla were able to reduce pain in Swiss albino mice; the ethyl acetate extract was comparably better than the others.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Hepatoprotective / Peh-Hue-Juwa-Chi-Cao:
as “Peh-Hue-Juwa-Chi-Cao (PHJCC) is the commercial name for the herbal extract of either Hedyotis diffusa, Hedyotis corymbosa, or Mollugo pentaphylla. In a study, all three plants showed anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective effect. In the carrageenan-induced paw edema model, M. pentaphylla showed the greatest inhibition. (8)
• Spermicidal / Antifungal:
The ethyl acetate fraction of Mollugo pentaphylla contains an antifungal saponin, mollugogenol-A. Study showed a dose-dependent and time-dependent effect of this saponin on sperm motility and viability. Results indicate the natural saponin has potential as a spermicidal, besides its known antifungal activity. (9)
Study in rats of an alcohol extract of M. pentaphylla exhibited significant protection from liver damage in carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage model. (10)
• Antidiabetic / Aerial Parts:
Study evaluated the antihyperglycemic activity of ethanolic extracts of aerial parts of Mollugo pentaphylla and Glinus oppositifolius in alloxan-induced hyperglycemic rat models. The extracts produced significant decrease in blood glucose levels comparable to standard drug glibenclamide. (13)
Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory activity of an ethanolic extract of Mollugo pentaphylla in a subacute model using cotton pellet-induced granuloma technique. Results showed anti-inflammatory activity which was attributed to steroidal saponins. Also, the lower dose (200mg/kbw produced better activity than the higher dose. (14)
Study evaluated the antipyretic activity of methanolic extract of whole plant of Mollugo pentaphylla in brewer’s yeast injection induced pyrexia in albino mice. Results showed significant antipyretic activity. The action might be due to the inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis. (15)
Study investigated the gastroprotective activity of ethyl acetate and chloroform fractions of the methanolic extract of aerial parts of M. pentaphylla against various ulcer models in rats. Results showed significant reduction of ulcer index value. The antiulcer activity may be due to phytochemicals such as flavonoids, saponins and glycosides in the plant. (16)
• Inhibition of Proliferation and Migration and Collagen Synthesis:
Study showed M. pentaphylla can inhibit the proliferation and migration and collagen synthesis of rat vascular smooth muscle cells. Results suggest a potential strategy for the treatment of vascular hyperplasia diseases. (17)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Analgesic / Antipyretic:
An ethanolic extracts of aerial parts exhibited significant peripheral and central analgesic activity together with marked anti-inflammatory and antipyretic activity in rats. (18)
• Anti-Acne Inducing Bacteria:
Study evaluate ethanol extracts of four medicinal plants against etiologic agents of acne vulgaris. Results suggest M. pentaphylla, A. anomala, M. orientalis and O. japonica are attractive ace-mitigating candidates for topical application. (19)
• Cardiovascular Effects / Saponin:
Intravenous injection of total saponin of M. pentaphylla into rabbits and anesthetized rats significantly produced negative chronotropic and negative dromotropic effects. A small dose could dilate the coronary artery of the rabbit model without influencing heart rate; large dose could decrease coronary blood flow and heart rate. (20)
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