Family • Lygodiaceae - Lygodium japonicum (Thunb.) Swartz. - JAPANESE CLIMBING FERN - Ha ma teng

Scientific names

Hydroglossum japonicum Willd.
Ophioglossum japonicum Thunb. ex Murray
Lygodium dissectum Desv.
Lygodium japonicum (Thunb.) Swartz.
Lygodium pubescens Kaulf.
Hai jin sha (Chin.)

Common names

Nitong-pula (Tag.)
Nito-a-purao (Ig., Ilk.)
Japanese climbing fern (Engl.)
Ha ma teng (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Luo wang teng, Tie xian teng.
JAPANESE: Tsuru-shinobu.


Nitong-pula 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.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) New naphthoquinone from the root of Lygodium japonicum (Thunb.) Sw/ Lijuan Chen et al / Journal of Natural Medicines / Volume 64, Number 1 / January, 2010 / DOI 10.1007/s11418-009-0376-y

(2) Study on flavonoiels and phenolic acids from the herb of Lygodium japonicum / Zhang LH et al / Zhong Yao Cai. 2008 Feb;31(2):224-6.

(3) A new ecdysteroside from Lygodium japonicum (Thunb.) Sw. / Linxia Zhu et al / Journal of Natural Medicines • Volume 63, Number 2 / April, 2009 / DOI 10.1007/s11418-008-0310-8

(4) Studies on the chemical constituents in herb of Lygodium japonicum. / Zhang LH, Yin ZQ, Ye WC, Zhao SX, Wang L, Hu F. / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2005 Oct;30(19):1522-4.

(5) Anti-oxidation and anti-microorganism activities of purification polysacchardie from Lygodium japonicum in vitro / Xiao Lan Li, Ai Guo Zhou, Yon Han / Carbohydrate Polymers 66, 2006, 34-42.

(6) Study on the Scavenging Activities of Extracts from Lygodium japonicum(Thunb)Sw.with Different Solvents to Free Radicals / BI Yong-guang et al / Journ of Anhui Agricultural Sciences, 2009-19

Nitong-pula3Lygodium japonicum Tallahassee


– Very common throughout the Philippines 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.


– 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.

Study Findings
• 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.
• Ecdysteroside: 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.