Japanese climbing fern – proven benefits, uses

japanese climbing fern

The scientific name of the japanese climbing fern is Lygodium japonicum (Thunb.) Swartz.

Scientific names  Common names 
Hydroglossum japonicum Willd. Nitong-pula (Tag.) 
Ophioglossum japonicum Thunb. ex Murray Nito-a-purao (Ig., Ilk.) 
Lygodium dissectum Desv. Japanese climbing fern (Engl.)
Lygodium japonicum (Thunb.) Swartz. Ha ma teng (Chin.)
Lygodium pubescens Kaulf.  
Hai jin sha (Chin.)  
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.
Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Luo wang teng, Tie xian teng.
JAPANESE: Tsuru-shinobu.

Japanese climbing fern 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 many part of world 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.

– 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.

– Spores yield caffeic acid and lygodin.


– Sweet tasting, refrigerant; antifebrile, diuretic.

– Aids lymphatic circulation.

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.

Folkloric traditional medicine benefits and uses of japanese climbing fern

– Decoction of 25 – 30 g of dried material for urinary tract infections, lithiasis, renal edema. cough-fever, reddish urine, enteritis-dysentery.

– 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.

– In India, the tribal people of Nagaland apply the plant past on eczema and ringworm and wounds.

Scientific studies about health benefits, and uses of japanese climbing fern

Phytochemical Study:

Phytochemical study isolated 3,4-dihydroxyl benzoic acide 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 – compounds isolated for the first time.


Phytochemical study of the roots yielded a new ecdysteroside, lygodiumsteroside A, as well as a known ecdysteroside.

Hair Growth Promotion:

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.

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.

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.



Spores and supplements in pill or capsule form.

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