Family • Leguminosae - Desmodium gangeticum Linn. - TICKTREE - Da ye shan ma huang

Scientific names

Hedysarum gangeticum Linn.
Hedysarum maculatum Linn.
Desmodium gangeticum (L.) DC.
Desmodium gangeticum Linn. var. neaei
Desmodium natalitum Linn.
Hippocrepis multisiliquosa Blanco
Meibomia gangetica O. Kuntze

Common names

Andudukut (Sul.)
Dikit-dikit (Tag.)
Kupkupies-ñg-babasit (Ilk.)
Mangkit (Tag,)
Paiang-paiang (Tag.)
Pega-pega (C. Bis.)
Ticktree (Engl.)
Da ye shan ma huang (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

BENGALI: Salpani, Chalani.
CHINESE: Da ye shan lu dou, Heng he shan lu dou, Chan dou.
HAWAIIAN: Kareti, Salwan, Sarivan.
HINDI: Sarivan, Shapami, Salpani, Salpan.
INDONESIA: Daun bulu ayam, Rumput goro-goro, Nupan-nupan, Upan-upan, Gangaretan, Kalkal otek.
MALAGASY: Famolakantsy
MALAYALAM: Pullati, Orila.
SANSKRIT: Prisniparni.
TAMIL: Pulladi, Orilai..
THAI: I-nio.

Dikit-dikit is an erect or ascending, half-woody branched plant, usually about 1 meter high. Stems are slender, somewhat angular and grayish-hairy. Leaves are simple, on petioles of 1.5 to 2 centimeters long, oblong-ovate, 6 to 13 centimeters in length and 3.5 to 7 centimeters wide, hairy beneath, with rounded bases and pointed tips. Flowers are numerous, white, purple or lilac, 4 millimeters long, borne on lateral and terminal, slender racemes, up to 30 centimeters long. Pods are numerous, somewhat curved and crowded, 1.5 to 3 centimeters long, 3 millimeters wide, clothed with minute, hooked hairs.


– In thickets and open secondary forests and waste places throughout the Philippines.
– Also reported in India, Himalayas, Ceylon, the Malay Peninsula and Archipelago, China, and tropical Africa.


– Contains a principle that gives a marked reaction with alkaloidal reagents.
– Yields a yellow resin.
– Contains flavone and isoflavonoid glycosides.
– Roots yield gangetin, gangetinin, desmodin, N,N-dimethyl tryptamine, hypaphorine, hordenine, candicine, N-methyl tyramine and B-phenyl ethyl amine.
– Phytochemical studies have yielded alkaloids, pterocarpans, phospholipids, sterols, flavones, and flavonoid glycosides.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1)  Effect of Desmodium gangeticum extract on blood glucose in rats and on insulin secretion in vitro / R Govindarajan ; H sare-Anane ; S Persaud ; P Jones ; P J Houghton / Planta medica (Planta Med) Vol. 73 Issue 5 Pg. 427-32 (May 2007) ISSN: 0032-0943 Germany

(2) Exploring Indian medicinal plants for antiulcer activity

(3) Antiinflammatory and antioxidant activities of Desmodium gangeticum fractions in carrageenan-induced inflamed rats / R. Govindarajan*, M. Vijayakumar, Ch. V. Rao, A. Shirwaikar, Santhosh Kumar, A. K. S. Rawat and P. Pushpangadan / Phytotherapy Research, Volume 21, Issue 10, pages 975–979, October 2007 / DOI: 10.1002/ptr.2199

(4) Studies on the antioxidant activities of Desmodium gangeticum / Govindarajan R, Rastogi S et al / Biol Pharm Bull. 2003 Oct;26(10):1424-7.

(5) Medicinal Plants / P P Joy, J Thomas, Samuel Mathew et al / Aromatic and Medicinal Plants Research Station

(6) Desmodium gangeticum (L/) DC. / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED

(7) In vitro antibacterial activity of Desmodium gangeticum (L.) DG / Krishnasamy Karthikeyan*, Gandhi Siddhar Selvam, Rajendran Srinivasan¥,Chidambaram Chandran and Subramaniyan Kulothungan / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease (2012)

(8) Screening and Identification of Salicin Compound from Desmodium gangeticum and its In vivo Anticancer Activity and Docking Studies with Cyclooxygenase (COX) Proteins from Mus musculus / Preeti Srivastava*, Vinay K Singh, Brahma Deo Singh, Gaurava Srivastava, Bhuwan B Misra and Vyasji Tripathi / J Proteomics Bioinform 2013, 6:5 / http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/jpb.1000269

(9) Interpretation of Inotropic Effect Exhibited by Desmodium gangeticum Chloroform Root Extract Through GSMS and Atomic Mass Spectroscopy: Evaluation of its Anti Ischemia Reperfusion Property in Isolated Rat Heart. / G.A. Kurian, R.S.S. Srivats, R. Gomathi, M.M. Shabi and J. Paddikkala / Asian Journal of Biochemistry, 5: 23-32, 2010 / DOI: 10.3923/ajb.2010.23.32

(10) Studies on Desmodium gangeticum: A review / T. Shri Vijaya Kirubha*, M. Jegadeesan, S. Kavimani / J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2011, 3(6):850-855

(11) Gastroprotective effect of Desmodium gangeticum roots on gastric ulcer mouse models / Ayyavu MaheshI,II*; Robert JeyachandranII; Dowlathabad Muralidhara RaoIII; Devarajan / Rev. bras. farmacogn. vol.22 no.5 Curitiba Sept.-Oct. 2012 / doi.org/10.1590/S0102-695X2012005000081

(12) Antihypertrophic effect of Desmodium gangeticum root extract / Divya Hitler, Parthasarathy Arumugam, Mathivanan Narayanasamy, Elangovan Vellaichamy٭ / J Pharm Pharmacogn Res 2(5): 129-137, 2014.

(13) Screening of medicinal plant extracts for antioxidant activity / Prakash Veeru, Mishra Pankaj Kishor and Mishra Meenakshi / Journal of Medicinal Plants Research Vol. 3(8), pp. 608-612, August, 2009

(14) EVALUATING THE USE OF DESMODIUM GANGETICUM AS ALPHA GLUCOSIDASE AND DPP-IV INHIBITOR FOR TYPE-II DIABETES / Rekha Bisht, S. Bhattacharya, Yusuf Ali Jaliwala / Advanced Journal of Phytomedicine and Clinical Therapeutics, Vol 2, No 4, 2014

(15) Antiarthritic Activity of Desmodium gangeticum Root / Vedpal, Santosh Kumar Gupta, A K Gupta, Dhirendra Pakash, Amit Gupta / Int. Res. J. Pharm, 2013, 4(9)

(16) Cardiotonic and Anti Ischemic Reperfusion Injury Effect of Desmodium Gangeticum Root Methanol Extract/ Gino A. Kurian, M. Mohamed Shabi, Jose Paddikkala / Türk Biyokimya Dergisi [Turkish Journal of Biochemistry–Turk J Biochem] 2010; 35 (2) ; 83–90.

(17) An Evaluation of Antinociceptive Effect of Methanol Extracts of Desmodium Gangeticum (L.) Dc. Stems and Benincasa Hispida (Thunb.) Cogn. Leaves on Acetic Acid-induced Gastric Pain in Mice / Farhana Israt Jahan, Mohammad Shahadat Hossain, Abdullah Al Mamun, Md. Tozammal Hossain, Syeda Seraj, Anita Rani Chowdhury, Zubaida Khatun, Nahin Zaman Andhi, Majeedul H. Chowdhury, Mohammed Rahmatullah / Advances in Natural and Applied Sciences, 4(3): 365-369, 2010


(19) Methanol extract of Desmodium gangeticum DC root mimetic post-conditioning effect in isolated perfused rat heart by stimulating muscarinic receptors / Gino A Kurian*, Jose Paddikkala / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine (2012)448-454

– Root is considered alterative, anthelmintic, tonic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, aphrodisiac, constipating, diuretic, cardiotonic, expectorant, astringent, antidiarrheal, carminative, antiemetic, febrifuge and anti-catarrhal.

Parts used
Leaves, roots, bark.

– In Java, decoction of leaves for stones of the gall bladder, kidneys and bladder.
– Malays use a decoction of root for diarrhea and as sedative for fretful children.
– Malays apply the root to the gums for toothaches, and the leaves externally for headaches.
– Root extract used for whooping cough.
– Decoction of roots used for fevers.
– In India, used for piles, typhoid, inflammation, asthma, bronchitis and dysentery. Root decoction used as antipyretic, and for cough and asthma. Roots considered anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and aphrodisiac; used as diuretic, febrifuge, expectorant, laxative, anticatarrhal.
– In Bangladesh leaves are used for treatment of toothache, chest pains, and fungal infections.
– Root is used for snake bites and sorption stings.
– In west tropical Africa, bark is used as laxative, leaf and root for kidney ailments and as diuretic, root used as abortifacient, antidotes for venomous stings, pain killer, tumors and cancers.
– In southern Nigeria, leaf used for urinary problems. Root considered astringent and diuretic; used for abdominal tumors, asthma, diarrhea, fever, nasal polyps. Also used as anti-catarrhal and febrifuge, for dysentery and worms.
– Root of D. gangeticum is chief of ten ingredients of a famous Ayurvedic preparation Dashamoola kwaatha, considered antipyretic, alterative, and bitter tonic; and used for typhoid, biliousness, as a diuretic and aphrodisiac.
– Root are an ingredient of the Unani preparation “Arq dasmul” which is considered curative for leucorrhea and pains associated with colds.


Study Findings
• Antileishmanial / Immunomodulatory: 19 compounds of various classes were identified. A new compound was identified – aminoglucosyl glycerolipid, which exhibited antileishmanial and immunomodulatory activities, enhanced nitric oxide production and showed resistance to protozoan Leishmania donovani in macrophages. Another, glycosphingolipid, a cerebroside, also showed antileishmanial and immunomodulatory properties, in vitro.
• Anti-Diabetes / Effect on Insulin Secretion / Aerial Parts: Study evaluated the insulin secretion and antidiabetic activity of study D. gangeticum aerial parts. Results showed a significant reduction of blood glucose. There was a significant increase in insulin secretion from MIN6 cells suggesting the antidiabetic effect may be a results, at least in part, from stimulation and increased insulin secretion by pancreatic islet cells.
• Free Radical Scavenging / Cardioprotection: Methanol extract of Desmodium gangeticum roots preserves mitochondrial respiratory enzymes, protecting rat heart against oxidative stress induced by reperfusion injury: Study of methanolic extracts showed that D. gangeticum has the ability to scavenge free radicals during ischemia and ischemia reperfusion with the end result of cardioprotection.
• Free Radical Scavenging / Hypocholesterolemic: Aqueous extract of D gangeticum studied in isoproterenol-induced myocardial infarction in rats was studied for radical scavenging activity and hypocholesterolemic effect.
.• Anti-ulcer: Study of Indian medicinal plants suggests an antiulcer activity for D. gangeticum. A reduced acid output indicates the extracts protective mechanism on gastric mucosa and an inhibition of gastric secretion. The antiulcerogenic effect of DG is mainly due to cytoprotective effect rather than antisecretory effect.
• Phenolics / Antioxidant: Study in rats indicates antioxidant properties of DG under arthritic conditions. Study of ethanolic extract showed excellent antioxidant activity attributed to the presence of flavanoids and phenolics.
•Antiinflammatory / Antioxidant: Study evaluated flavonoid and alkaloid fractions of DG for antiinflammatory and antioxidant activities in carrageenan-induced inflammation in rats. Results showed the flavonoid fraction of DG possesses potent antioxidant activity compared with the alkaloid fraction and also with respect to standard drug indomethacin.
• Antiamnesic / Anti-dementia: Effects of Desmodium gangeticum in Mice: DG might be a promising candidate for improving memory and a worthwhile study for dementia and Alzheimer disease.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Antinociceptive: Water decoction of root and aerial parts of Desmodium gangeticum showed dose-dependent inhibition of carrageenin-induced swelling. Results validates the traditional use of the water decoction of DG in Indian system of medicine.
• Antioxidant / Myocardial Ischemia-Protective: Study evaluating the antioxidant potential of an ethyl acetate extract of DG root showed myocardial protection against ischemia-reperfusion-induced damage i rats. The effect may be related to the inhibition of lipid peroxidation.
• Insulin Plus D. gangeticum Extract / Myocardial Ischemia-Protective: Study in rats showed hyper insulin prior to myocardial ischemia can exacerbate myocardial ischemia perfusion injury. Significant cardio protection was noted in rats administered insulin mixed with DG.
• Antibacterial: Study evaluated various solvents for antibacterial activity against Klebsiella pneumonia, E. coli, Salmonella typhi, Strep mutans and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The methanolic extract showed a potential antibacterial source for various infective pathogens.
• Salicin / COX-Inhibitor / Anticancer: Salicin, isolated from Desmodium gangeticum, was evaluated on its effect on COX (cyclooxygenase) proteins. The ligand salicin showed high binding affinity against COX-2 protein and lesser interaction with COX-1. Results suggest salicin could be a potential COX inhibitor. Its in vivo anticancer activity confirm salicin as a potent anticancer drug.
• Cardiotonic / Inotropic Effect: Study showed a DG chloroform root extract can protect the myocardium against damages induced by ischemia reperfusion in rats, probably through a calcium releasing property. Study showed DG root extract mediates cardioprotection in ischemic reperfusion injury model in rat heart through negative inotropic and chronotropic effect by stimulating the G coupled receptors similar to the action of acetylcholine.
• Oral Delivery Of insulin via D. gangeticum Root Extract: Study evaluated the oral delivery of human insulin in normal and STZ-induced diabetic rats mixed with an aqueous extract of root. Insulin mixed DG potentially stimulates release of insulin in STZ-induced diabetic rats. The increased plasma insulin suggest not only insulin secretagogue action of the mixture but also a possible altered insulin release mechanism in the diabetic condition. Results suggest a promising vehicle for oral delivery of insulin.
• Anti-Ulcer / Gastroprotective / Roots: Study evaluated an ethanolic root extract of D. gangeticum in various acute and chronic ulcer mouse models. An ethyl acetate extract showed significant dose dependent reduction of ulcer index and lesion number, increase in protein and glutathione levels, decreased gastric juice, free acidity and total acid output. Results suggest gastroprotective activity, regeneration of damaged gastric mucosa, and safety for human use.
• Antihypertrophic Effect / Cardioprotective / Roots: Study investigated the possible cardioprotectiveactivity of a root extract against isoproterenol (ISO)-induced left ventricular hypertrophy in adult Wistar rats. Results showed the extract exhibited anti-hypertrophic activity in-vivo by inhibiting ISO-induced ROS generation and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activities.
• Comparative Antioxidant Activity: Study screened methanolic crude extracts of Desmodium gangeticum, E. alba, Ocimum sanctum, Piper Longum, Solanum nigrum and A. caudatus for free radical scavenging activity through DPPH assay and ascorbic acid as standard antioxidant. The overall antioxidant activity of D. gangeticum was found to be the strongest.
• Anti-Diabetes / Alpha Glucosidase and DPP-IV Inhibitor: Study investigated the alpha glucosidase and Dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-IV) inhibitory activity of aqueous extract of D. gangeticum. Results showed good alpha glucosidase and DPP-IV inhibitory activity, supporting its use in traditional medicine.
• Anti-Arthritic / Root: Study of aqueous extract of DG root using inhibition of protein denaturation model and human RBC membrane stabilization model showed significant anti-arthritic activity. Diclofenac was used as standard drug.
• Cardioprotective / Inotropic and Chronotropic Effect / Anti-Ischemic Reperfusion Injury: Study showed DG root extract mediates cardioprotection in ischemic reperfusion injury model in rat heart through negative inotropic and chronotropic effect by stimulating the G coupled receptors similar to the action of acetylcholine.
• Antinociceptive / Stems: Study evaluated the antinociceptive potential of methanol extract of stems of D. gangeticum in acetic acid-induced gastric pain in Swiss albino mice. Results showed a dose-dependent and significant reduction of acetic acid-induced abdominal constrictions.
• Root Alkaloids: A 1969 study of roots isolated seven alkaloids representing three structural types, viz., carboxylated and decarboxylated tryptamines, and ß-phenylethylamine. Bases identified were: N, N-dimethyltryptamine, its Nb-oxide, hypaphorine, hordenine, candicine, N-methyltyramine, and ß-phenylethylamine.
• Mimetic Post Conditioning Effect / Myocardial Protective: Study evaluated the pharmacological mimetic action of DG root extract on ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI). Results showed the DG root extract provides myocardial protection towards IRI by stimulating muscarinic receptors. Protection mediated by the extract was superior to Ach, attributed to the presence of antioxidants in the crude extract.