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Family Scrophulariaceae / Linderniaceae
False pimpernel
Lindernia crustacea (Linn.) F. Muell.

Mu cao

Scientific names Common names
Lindernia crustacea (Linn.) F. Muell. Malaysian false pimpernel (Engl.)
Capraria crustacea Linn. Brittle false pimpernel (Engl.)
Torenia paniculata Blanco Round-fruited lindernia (Chin.)
Vandellia crustacea Benth.  

Other vernacular names
BRUNEI: Kerak nasi.
CAMBODIA: Chiek to:k.
CHINESE: Mu cao.
HIMALAYA: Pitt papadi.
MALAYSIA: Akar kerak nasi, Akar kelurut, Rumput jari chechak.
THAILAND: Yaa kaaphoi tua mia, To ti ke kang.
VIETNAM: M[aax]u th[ar]o, D[aa]y l[uw] [owr]i d[oof]ng.

Lindernia crustacea is a diffusely branched, smooth, suberect or spreading herb, growing to a height of 8 to 20 centimeters. Leaves are ovate, 8 to 15 millimeters long, pointed at both ends, and distantly toothed in the margins. Flowers are borne singly in the axils of the leaves, with stalks 1 to 3 centimeters long. Calyx is green or purplish, 4 to 5 millimeters long, with pointed lobes about 1.5 millimeters long. Corolla is purple, about 9 millimeters long. Capsules are oblong-ovoid to ellipsoid, 5 to 6 millimeters long, and included in the persistent calyx, whose length they approximate.

- Common throughout settled areas in the Philippines, in open places, rice paddies, and disturbed soil, at low and medium altitudes.
- Introduced in the New World.
- Occurs in tropical and subtropical Asia from India to Australia and Polynesia.

Plant yielded two bitter substances, neither a glycoside nor alkaloid.

Parts used
Whole plant.


- Malays used it for poulticing boils, sores, etc, especially those caused by forest ticks.
- Also used for ringworm and itches.
- Malays also use the decoction after childbirth.
- In Indo-China used for biliousness affections and dysentery; in poultices for boils, sores, ringworm and itches.
- In Kerala, expressed juice from crushed plant taken early morning on an empty stomach to clear the stomach.
- In India, leaf paste with lemon juice taken orally to cure excess bile secretion. Applied externally on ringworm and boils.
- In the Himalaya, decoction of herb used twice daily for abdominal ailments. Paste of herb with cow's urine is applied on cuts and wounds to facilitate healing. (4)

Phytoremediation / Mercury / Effect on Maize Growth:
A study of six wild plant species for phytoremediation potential showed three species with potential for phytoextraction of Hg (mercury)—Lindernia crustacea, Paspalum conjugatum, and Cyperus killingia—efficiently taking it up and translocating mercury from roots to shoots. The ratio of Hg shoot/root treated with ammonium thiosulfphate was greatest in L. crustacea, followed by PC and CK. Growth and biomass production in maize growth on remediated soil increased. (1)


Last Update April 2014

IMAGE SOURCE: Lindernia crustacea (flowers) / PFile:Starr 031118-0050 Lindernia crustacea.jpg / Plants of Hawaii / Forest & Kim Starr / 1883 / 18 November 2003 / Creative Commons Attribution / Wikimedia Commons
Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
A review on the medicinal and edible aspects of aquatic and wetland plants of India / Swapna M. M., Prakashkumar R., Anoop K. P., Manju C. N. and Rajith N. P. / Journal of Medicinal Plants Research Vol. 5(33), pp. 7163-7176, 31 December, 2011
Lindernia crustacea (L.) F. Muell. / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED
Phytoremediation of Mercury-Contaminated Soil Using Three Wild Plant Species and Its Effect on Maize Growth / N. Muddarisna, B.D. Krisnayanti, S.R. Utami, E. Handayanto / AEES, Vol 1, Issue 3.
Ethno-medicinal Plants of the Garhwal Himalaya Used to Cure Various Diseases: A Case Study / L.R Dangwal, Antima Sharma*, C.S Rana / New York Science Journal 2010;3(12)

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