Genus hydrocotyle is an extensive family of almost
100 species of small, inconspicuous marsh herbs. The name "sheep
rot" came from a false belief that it causes the "liver rot"
when eaten by sheep; the real culprit proving to be liver fluke which
lives in the plant. It has more than a century of recorded folkloric
Pennyworth is a creeping or floating perennial herb. Stems are slender,
creeping, rooting at the nodes. Leaf stalk is attached to the leaf blade
in the center of the under-surface. Leaves have long and slender petioles,
glossy, dark green, crenate, peltate to orbicular, 6 to 9 veined, up to
4 cm across. Flowers are white, tinged with pink to purplish green, 1 millimeter, subsessile,
3 to 6 in a simple head-like umbel, 3 millimeters across, sometimes with 1 to 3 whorls
of flowers below..
- Recently introduced to the Philippines.
- Grows wells in marshy and acidic soil.
- Provides good ground cover.
- Propagated by cuttings and seeds.
- Study isolated an amorphous saponin designated as
hydrocotyle-saponin B. (6)
- GC-MS analysis of stem, flowers and leaves (S, F, L) for essential oil yielded
15 components viz., hexenal, (2E)-hexenal, 3-hexen-1-ol, santalene, ß-farnesene, ß cubebene, y-muurolene, ß-bisabolene, y-sesquiphellandrene, nerolidol, caryophyllene oxid, ledol, Z-α-bisabolene epoxide, glubulol, epi-globulool, 5,5-dimethyl-4-(3-methyl-1,3,butadienyl)-1-oxapirol[2.5]octane. (see study below) (10)
- Considered vulnerary.
- Studies have shown cytotoxic and phytoremediative properties.
Leaves and roots.
- Leaves are cooked; with a strong carrot taste, eaten in limited
- In Samar, used for diarrhea.
- Subanens of Zamboanga del Sur use decoction of whole plants for cough and kidney stones. (9)
- Elsewhere has a long recorded history of folkloric medicinal use.
- In 1850s, used in India
for treatment of leprosy.
- Used for eczema and other dermatologic maladies: scrofula, ulcers.
- Also used for rheumatism, headaches, dizziness, bloody stools.
- Leaves used to dress burns or applied to skin diseases.
- In Malaya, traditionally used for treating wounds and as a diuretic.
- In Danish folk medicine,
used for whooping cough.
- Preferred infusion use, 1 ounce of root in 1 pint of fluid, used as
1/2 - 1 fluid ounce 3 - 4 times daily.
• Cytotoxicity: Study showed cytotoxic activity of compounds isolated from the stem and root of H vulgaris, tested against a human erythromyeloblasted leukemia cell line. (2)
• Waste Water Purifying Effect: Study was done to evaluate the removal effects of H. vulgaris on CODCr, nitrogen and phosphorus in municipal domestic wastewater. Results indicated H. vulgaris was adaptable to grow in municipal domestic waste water with good purifying effect and is recommended as a specific aquatic vegetation in phytoremediation of municipal waste water. (3)
• Phytoremediation Potential: Study evaluated the potential of H. vulgaris as an aquatic plant for phytoremediation of C.I. Basic Red 46. Overall, the increase in activity of antioxidant enzymes was much higher in the roots than in the leaves. (7)
• Essential Oil / Antimicrobial Activity / Cytotoxicity: Study of leaves, stems, and flowers for essential oil yielded 16 components. The essential oil was evaluated for antimicrobial activity on E. coli, P. aeruginosa, S. aureus, F- oxysporum and for cytotoxicity on RD, Hep-G2, LU cancer cells. The essential oil of H. vulgaris had weaker bioactivities than H. bonariensis. (see constituents above) (10)