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Family Marsileaceae
Marsilea crenata C. Presl


Scientific names Common names
Marsilea crenata C. Presl Kaya-kayapuan, (Tag.)
  Banig-usa (Tag.) 
  Dwarf four leaf clover (Engl.)
  False pepperwort (Engl.)
  Four leaves clover (Engl.) 
  Water clover (Engl.) 
Marsilea crenata C. Presl is an accepted name. There are no synonyms recorded for the name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
JAVANESE: Semanggi.

Kaya-kayapuan is an aquatic, herbaceous fern. Rootstock are slender, creeping, branched, the stipes of the sterile fronds 2 to 12 centimeters high, slender. Leaves are arranged in two rows on long, the young leaves sightly downy, on trailing, wiry stems. Leaflets are 4, light to dark green, obovate-cuneate, glabrous, 10 to 15 centimeters long or smaller in terrestrial forms, rounded and slightly crenate or subentire at the apex , the lateral margin entire, straight, cuneately narrowed to the sessile base. Sporocarps (spore bearing organ found near the rootstock) are covered with brown hairs when young, becoming glabrous and nearly so, oblong, about 3 millimeters long, rounded, slightly compressed, somewhat clustered or solitary, their pedicels 5 millimeters long or less, the upper basal tooth prominent.

- Widely distributed in the Philippines; in muddy places, ditches, shallow pools, and rice fields.
- Found in Indonesia, Malaysia, India, and Sri Lanka.

- Study for bioactives yielded alkaloids, saponins, phenolics and flavonoids. Protein content was as high as 4.4 mg/g. (7)
- Preliminary screening of dried M. crenata leaves and n-hexane extraction by GC-MS analysis yielded monoterpenoid, diterpenoid, fatty acid compounds and other unknown compounds. (12)

- Prepared drug sweet tasting with cooling nature.
- Diuretic, antiphlogistic and tranquilizer.

Parts used
· Entire plant.

Edibility / Culinary
· Leaves are used in Indonesian East Javanese cuisine, served with sweet potatoes and peanut sauce. (1)
· In Thailand, leaves are used in Isan cuisine, as Phak waen and eaten raw with Nam phrik chili dip. (
1) In Thailand, young plants are consumed all year round. Young shoots or whole plant is eaten raw or parboiled (4)
· Used for neurasthenia, edema.
· Dosage: 15 to 25 gms of dried material or 30 to 60 gms fresh material in decoction.

· In the Rajshahi district of Bangladesh, used for hepatic disorders (jaundice, hepatitis). (13)

No Effect on Endometrial Histopathology:
Study of 96% ethanolic extract of semanggi leaf on female mice showed no significant histopathologic endometrial effect. (2)
Antioxidant / Flavonoid Content: Study evaluated the flavonoid content and antioxidant activity from ferns such as D. esculentum, Marsilea crenata and D. querciforia. The flavonoid content of M. crenata was 11.202 mg/g dried. Antioxidant activity was determined using DPPH assay where M. crenata showed 27.644 inhibition on ethanol extraction. (3)
Phenolic Content / Antioxidant Activity: Study evaluated five Thai vegetables for phytochemical contents, phenolic content and antioxidant activity. Marsilea crenata extract exhibited the highest phenolic content (3.6041 mg GAE/g dry weight) and showed the most potent antioxidant activity on DPPH assay (IC50=248.94µg/ml). The Marsilea extract also yielded alkaloids. (5)
Early Detection of Lead Stress: Study showed that Pb concentration tends to inhibit the plant growth and suggests its potential use as an early detection remediation process. (6)
• Estrogen Effect / Potential for Hormone Replacement Therapy: Study evaluated the effects of water clover extract on estrogen and progesterone levels and its effect on uterine histology. Phytoestrogen content in water clover leaves was 538.0 pg/g, while dried clover increased to 1068.0 pg/g. Uterine histology showed some endometrial thickening. Results showed consumption of water clover extract has promise as replacement estrogen hormone therapy. However, further study is need to find the proper dose for human consumption. (8)
• Loliolide and Isololiolide / Potential Phytotoxic Substances: Study explored the phytotoxic properties and phytotoxic substances from Marsilea crenata. Aqueous methanol extracts showed inhibition various seedling growths (lettuce, alfalfa, cress etc). Inhibition increased with concentration. Two substances were isolated: loliolide and isololiolide. These compounds may be responsible for the phytotoxic effects of the extract and presents a potential of ruse in organic agriculture. (9)
• Renal Function Benefits in Urolithiasis / Leaves and Stalks: Study evaluated the effect of M. crenata leaves extract and stalk juice in preventing disturbances of kidney functions in ,male Wistar rats with urolithiasis. Results showed leaf extract and stalk juice can prevent kidney function disturbance in urolithiasis, as evidenced by decreases in BUN and increase in Cr clearance. (10)
• Anti-Helicobacter pylori Activity: Helicobacter pylori is recognized as a cause of gastritis, dyspepsia, peptic ulcers, and gastric carcinoma. Study evaluated the anti-Helicobacter pylori activity of 57 methanolic extracts of edible plants in Thailand. Marsilea crenata was one of eight plants found to have activity against H. pylori with MIC of 2.5 µg/ml compared to amoxicillin, positive control, with 7.8 µg/ml. (11)


© Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Updated May 2017 / October 2015

© Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
IMAGE SOURCE: / Illustration / Marsilea crenulata Desv. [as Marsilea diffusa Lepr.] Revue générale de botanique, vol. 6: t. 4 (1894) [L. Trabut] / PlantIllustrations.org
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Photo / Marsilea crenata / Meneerke bloem / CC-BY-SA-3.0,2.5,2.0,1.0, GFDL, License migration redundant / click on photo to see source image / Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Marsilea crenata / Wikipedia
THE EFFECTS OF FEEDING 96% ETHANOLIC EXTRACT OF SEMANGGI (Marsilea crenata Presl) OVERVIEW OF FEMALE MICE ENDOMETRIUM HISTOPATHOLOGY / Tim Peneliti : Lully Hanni Endarini Prof. Dr. Sukardiman, MS, Apt / penelitian.unair.ac.id
Determination of flavonoid content and antioxidant activity from ferns by ultrasonic extraction / Jutarat Tawekijpokai*, Jindarat Pimsamarn / TIChE International Conference 2011, November 10 – 11, 2011 at Hatyai, Songkhla THAILAND
Children's traditional ecological knowledge of wild food resources: a case study in a rural village in Northeast Thailand / Chantita Setalaphruk and Lisa Leimar Price* / Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2007, 3:33 / doi:10.1186/1746-4269-3-33
Phytochemical Screening, Total phenolic Content and Antioxidant Activity in Selected Local Northeastern
/ Prasertsung C, Padumanonda T*, Tiyaworanan S, Mahakunakorn P / PP-PS-058-KKU / The 4th Annual Northeast Pharmacy Research Conference of 2012
Early Detection of Lead Stress on Marsilea Crenata Using Biolectricity Measurement / Arry Y. Nurhayati, Yuda C. Hariadi, P. Lestari / Procedia Environmental Sciences, Volume 28, 2015, Pages 57–66
Bioactives in three Philippine edible ferns / VICTOR B. AMOROSO, APRIL JOIE D. LAGUMBAY, RAINEAR A. MENDEZ, REGGIE Y. DE LA CRUZ, ANNABELLE P. VILLALOBOS / Asian International Journal of Life Sciences, Vol 23, No 2 (2014)
The Effects of Water Clover (Marsilea Crenata) Extract against Estrogen, Progesterone And Uterine Histology on Rat (Rattus Norvegicus) / Nurina Titisari*, Ahmad Fauzi, Anom Adyana, Pratiwi Trisunuwati / International Journal of Pharm Tech Research, 2016, 9(6), pp 165-171.
Isolation and identification of two potential phytotoxic substances from the aquatic fern Marsilea crenata / Islam, M.S., Iwasaki, A., Suenaga, K. et al. / J. Plant Biol. (2017) 60: 75. / doi:10.1007/s12374-016-0408-6
Preventive Effect of Marsileacrenata Leaves and Stalks Juices Against Urolithiasis Showed by Improving of Kidney Function / Sri Murwani / American Journal of Animal and Veterinary Sciences 2016 11 (1): 47.54 / DOI: 10.3844/ajavsp.2016.47.54
Anti-Helicobacter pylori activity of local edible plants / L Wirasathien / Planta Med 2013; 79 / DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1352460
PHYTOCHEMICAL ASSESSMENT ON N-HEXANE EXTRACT AND FRACTIONS OF Marsilea crenata Presl. LEAVES THROUGH GC-MS ANALISIS / Burhan Ma’arif*, Mangestuti Agil and Hening Laswati / Trad. Med. J., May - August 2016 Vol. 21(2), p 77-85
A Comparative Analysis of Medicinal Plants Used by Folk Medicinal Healers in Three Districts of Bangladesh and Inquiry as to Mode of Selection of Medicinal Plants / Md. Ariful Haque Mollik, Md. Shahadat Hossan, Alok Kumar Paul, M. Tau q-Ur-Rahman, Rownak Jahan and Mohammed Rahmatullah / Ethnobotany Journal, Vol 8

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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