Family • Umbelliferae - Hydrocotyle vulgaris Linn. - MARSH PENNYWORT

Common names

Pennywort (Engl.
Marsh pennywort (Engl.)
Common pennyworth
Sombrerillo de agua (Span.)
Waternavel (Engl.)
White rot, sheep rot, rot grass (Engl.)


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Hydrocotyle.—Water Pennywort 

General info
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 medicinal use.

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, 6-9 veined, iup to 4 cm across. Flowers are white, tinged with pink and green, 1mm, subsessile, 3-6 in a simple head-like umbel, 3mm across, somtimes with 1-3 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.

Parts utilized
Leaves and roots.

Edible: Leaves, cooked, in limited amounts.


No recorded folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
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.

Study Findings
• Cytotoxicity: Study showed cytotoxic activity of compounds isolated from the stem and root of H vulgaris, tested against a human erythromyeloblasted leukemia cell line.