Family • Fabaceae - Desmodium triflorum (Linn.) DC. - THREE-FLOWER TICK TREFOIL - San dian jin

Scientific names

Desmodium triflorum (Linn.) DC.
Hedysarum triflorum Linn.
Hyppocrepis humilis Blanco
Desmodium parviflorum Blanco
Meibomia triflora O. Kuntze

Common names

Kaliskis dalag (Tag..)
Pakpak-lanagu (Tag.)
Amor Seco (Engl.)
Three-flower tick trefoil (Engl.)
Creeping Tick Trefoil (Engl.)
Tick clover (Engl.)
Three-flower beggarweed (Engl.)
San dian jin (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

BENGALI: Kudaliya.
CHINESE: San dian jin cao, Ying chi cao.
FRENCH: Plata.
HAWAIIAN: Kudaliya, Motha.
HINDI: Kudaliya.
MALAGASY: Kodiadiamborona, Tsimathatrandrivamanitra.
MARATHI: Jungalimethi, Raan methi.
PORTUGUESE: Amor-do-campo.
SANSKRIT” Hamsapaaadi, Tripaadi.
SINHALESE: Heen-undupiyali.
SPANISH: Acaba pangola, Hierba cuartill.

Kaliskis-daga is a slender, prostrate and branched plant, somewhat hairy herb. Stems are 10 to 30 centimeters long. Leaves are small and 3-foliate. Leaflets are oblong-elliptic to obovate and 7 to 15 millimeters long. The flowers are purplish, about 6 millimeters long, axillary, solitary or 2 to 3 together, with slender pedicels about 1 centimeter long. Pods are 5 to 12 millimeters long, with 2 to 6 joints.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities of methanol extract from Desmodium triflorum DC in mice./ Lai SC, Peng WH, Huang SC, Ho YL, Huang TH, Lai ZR, Chang YS / Am J Chin Med. 2009;37(3):573-88.

(2) The Alkaloids / Arnold Brossi

(3) Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of Desmodium triflorum (L.) DC. / Lai SC et al / Am J Chin Med. 2010;38(2):329-42.

(4) Anti-ulcer activity of Desmodium triflorum leaves extract / Singh N, Jain N, Gupta P et al /

(5) Preliminary Phytochemical Screening and Anthelmintic Activity of Desmodium Triflorum (L.) DC Leaf and Root Extracts / Venkateswara Rao Gavalapu*, Prabhanjan Kolli, Sanjeev Kumar Korra, Manoj Kumar Kavuri, Chandrasekhar Avagadda, Venkataramya Singam, Yernikumari Vanumu and Harish Kudirella / International Journal of Pharma Sciences, Vol. 3, No. 1 (2013): 156-158

(6) Biosynthesis of Silver Nanoparticles from Desmodium triflorum: A Novel Approach Towards Weed Utilization / Naheed Ahmad, Seema Sharma, V. N. Singh, S. F. Shamsi, Anjum Fatma, and B. R. Mehta / Biotechnology Research International, Volume 2011 (2011) / doi:10.4061/2011/454090

Found in open, grassy places, in and about towns, throughout the Philippines.

– Roots considered carminative, tonic, diuretic and anti-bilious.
– Leaves considered galactagogue.

Roots considered carminative, tonic, diuretic and anti-bilious.
Leaves considered galactagogue.

Parts used 
Roots, bark, leaves, seeds



In Burma, leaves reportedly eaten as vegetable.
Leaves used in children for diarrhea, dysentery, indigestion and also for convulsions.
Leaves used as a galactagogue.
Roots used for asthma and coughs.
Leaf paste or fresh leavesused for skin eruptions, wounds and abscesses.
Malays drink the root decoction for stomachaches.
Paste of the bruised leaves mixed with kamala applied to indolent sores and itches.
Plant used for fever with catarrh.
In Haiti, tea decoction used for rheumatism.
In India, leaves used for dysentery and diarrhea. Fresh leaves are applied to wounds and abscesses that are healing with difficulty. Paste applied to sores an itch. Plant juice used as laxative.


Study Findings
• Analgesic / Antiinflammatory: Results of a study of the methanol extract of Desmodium triflorum on animal models of acetic acid-induced writhing response and formalin test suggested that MDT possessed analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects possibly through increased glutathione reductase activities in the liver and nitric oxide level via regulation of interleukin-1beta production and level of tumor necrosis factor in inflammed tissues.
• Stachydrine / Pyrrolidine Alkaloids: / Soviet studies have shown stachydrine slows the the heart rate in frogs by 20%. Stachydrine is present in DT whose total alkaloid mixture produces antispasmodic, sympatomimetic, CNS stimulant and curarimimetic activities.
• Antioxidant: Study showed D. triflorum to be a potent antioxidant medicinal plant, probably attributable to its polyphenolic compounds. Among the fractions, EA was the most active in scavenging DPPH and TEAC radicals.
• Anti-Ulcer: Study of anti-ulcer activity of D. triflorum leaf extracts on ethanol- and pylorus-ligation induced ulcer models in albino rats showed significant inhibition of gastric lesions, a significant reduction in free acidity and ulcer index. The hydroalcoholic extract was found to possess antiulcerogenic as well as ulcer healing properties which may be due to its antisecretory activity.
• Antihelmintic: Study of leaves and roots for anthelmintic activity on adult earthworm Pheretima posthuma showed all test extracts to exhibit dose-dependent anthelmintic activity.
• Nanoparticles: Stable and spherically shaped nanoparticles of average size – 10nm were synthesized using Desmodium plant. The Ag nanoparticles presented good antibacterial performance against common pathogens.
• Antinocicetive / Cold Water Extract: Study of cold water extract showed marked antinociceptive activity when evaluated in the hot plate test but not in the tail flick method. Activity was dose-dependent, with a rapid but short duration of action. The results was mediated by supraspinal mechanisms, possibly via alkaloids and flavanoids.
• Anticonvulsant / Antioxidant: Study evaluated ethanolic and aqueous extract of D. triflorum for anticonvulsant activity. Results showed anticonvulsant and antioxidant activity. The extracts were through to affect both GABA-ergic and glutaminergic systems. Possibly, alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, and saponins may contribute to the anticonvulsant activity.
• Antibacterial: The methanolic extracts of Desmodium triflorum showed antimicrobial activity against human pathogenic test microorganisms (Bacillus pumilus, B. subtilis, E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa). Phytochemical screening yielded steroids, terpenoids, and flavonoids.