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Family Selaginellaceae

Peacock moss
Selaginella uncinata (Desv. ex Poir) J. C. Bak.

Cui yun cao

Scientific names Common names
Lycopodioides uncinatum (Desv. ex Poir.) Kuntze Blue spikemoss (Engl.)
Lycopodium uncinatum Desv. ex Poir. Peacock moss (Engl.)
Selaginella eurystachya Desv. ex Poir. Peacock spike-moss (Engl.)
Selaginella uncinata (Desv. ex Poir.) Spring  
Selaginella uncinata (Desv. ex Poir.) Spring is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Cui yun cao.

Selaginella uncinata is a trailing herb with weak stems rooting at the nodes to a length of 60 centimeters long. Leaves are dimorphic, 4-ranked, bright blue-green; the strobili are four-angled and 2 centimeters long.

- Native to China.
- Recently introduced to the Philippines.

• Study of 60% ethanolic extract yielded seven 3′,8′′-linked bioflavonoids, including one new compound, (2′′S)-2′′, 3′′-dihydroamentoflavone-4′-methyl ether (1) and six known compounds: (2S)-2,3- dihydroamentoflavone-4′-methyl ether (2), (2S,2′′S)-2,3,2′′,3′′-tetrahydroamento- flavone-4′-methyl ether (3), (2S,2′′S)-tetrahydroamentoflavone (4), (2S)-2,3-dihydro- amentoflavone (5) and (2′′S)-2′′,3′′-dihydroamentoflavone (6) and amentoflavone (7).
• Study of 60% ethanolic extract yielded for steroidal saponins, including two new compounds, two new compounds, (3β, 7β, 12β, 25R)-spirost-5-ene-3, 7, 12-triol-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→2)-O-[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→4)]-O-β-D-glucopyranoside (1), (2α, 3β, 12β, 25R)-spirost-5-ene-2, 3, 12-triol-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→2)-O-[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→4)]-O-β-D-glucopyranoside (2) and two known compounds, (3β, 12β, 25R)-spirost-5-ene-3,12-diol-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→2)-O-[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→4)]-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, (3), (1α, 3β, 25R)-spirost-5-ene-2-diol-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→2)-O-[α-L-rhamnopyranosyl(1→4)]-O-β-D-glucopyranoside (4). (see study below)

• Studies have suggest antiviral, antitumor, and anti-anoxic properties.

• No recorded folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
• In China, used to treat acute infectious jaundiced hepatitis, cholecystitis, enteritis, edema, and rheumatic diseases.

Anti-Viral / Biflavonoids: Previous studies have yielded chromone glycosides (uncinoside A and B) which has shown good anti-tumor and anti-viral activity. This study isolated a new biflavonoids with five known compounds and one known phenolic acid. Preliminary study found the ethyl acetate extract exhibited good anti-HSV1 and Anti-COX B3 virus activity.
Bioflavonoids / Anti-Anoxic: Study of ethanolic extract of S uncinata isolated four new and three known bioflavonoids. Compounds 4 and 5 showed potent anti-anoxic effect in the anoxic PC12 cell assay.
Benzoic Acid Flavonoid: Study yielded a new flavonoid from the ethanol extract of S uncinata – 6-(5-carboxyl-2-methoxyphenyl)-apigenin, a first of a flavanoid with a benzoic substituent at C-6. (3)
Biflavonoids / Protective Effect Against Anoxia: Hypoxia is a common environmental stress in high altitude which can influence signaling pathways and cell functions. This study yielded seven 3′,8′′-linked bioflavonoids. All seven compounds showed protective effect against anoxia in the anoxic PC12 cells assay, with compound 6 displaying particularly potent activity. (see constituents above) (5)
Steroidal Saponins / Protective Effect Against Anoxia: Study of 60% ethanolic extract yielded four steroidal saponins. The four compounds showed potent protective effect against anoxia in anoxic PC12 cells assay, with compounds 1 and 2 the most active. (6)
COX-2 Inhibition / Anti-Tumor / Colon Carcinoma Cell Line: Study evaluated the action of total flavones from Selaginella uncinata on cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) mRNA expression in carcinoma of colon cell line HT-29, and explore the related molecular mechanism. Study suggests the mechanisms involved may be the inhibition of COX-2 protein expression in mRNA level by the total flavonoids, which may be one of the anti-tumor mechanisms of Selaginella uncinata. (7)


Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Updated April 2016

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Four new biflavonoids from Selaginella uncinata and their anti-anoxic effect / Jun-Xia Zheng et al /Journal of Asian Natural Products Research, Volume 10, Issue 10 October 2008 , pages 945 - 952 / DOI: 10.1080/10286020802181166
A new biflavonoid from Selaginella uncinata (Desv.) Spring / Lei Ting et al / http://www.chemistrymag.org/ cji/2010/121006ne.htm
A new flavonoid with a benzoic acid substituent from Selaginella uncinata
/ Jun Xia Zheng et al / Chinese Chemical Letters, Volume 19, Issue 9, September 2008, Pages 1093-1095/ doi:10.1016/j.cclet.2008.06.024
Selaginella uncinata / Synonyms / The Plant List
New 3′,8′′-Linked Biflavonoids from Selaginella uncinata Displaying Protective Effect against Anoxia / Jun-Xia Zheng*, Yang Zheng, Hui Zhi, Yi Dai, Nai-Li Wang, Yan-Xiong Fang, Zhi-Yun Du, Kun Zhang, Ming-Ming Li, Li-Ying Wu and Ming Fan / Molecules 2011, 16, 6206-6214; doi:10.3390/molecules16086206
Two new steroidal saponins from Selaginella uncinata (Desv.) Spring and their protective effect against anoxia. / Zheng JunxiaZheng YangZhi HuiDai YiWang NailiWu LiyingFan MingFang YanxiongZhao SuqingZhang Kun / Fitoterapia, 88, (2013): 25-30. / http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fitote.2013.04.003
Inhibiting Action of Total Flavones from Selaginella uncinata on COX-2 mRNA Expression in HT-29 Cells / COX-2 Reducing Herbs/Compounds I. Herbs / Daniel Weber / PhD MSc /Complementary Oncology

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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