Desmodium triflorum (L.) DC.

Last updated: 20 Apr 2016

Scientific Name

Desmodium triflorum (L.) DC.


Aeschynomene triflora Poir., Desmodium albiflorum Cordem., Desmodium bullamense G.Don, Desmodium caespitosum Bojer, Desmodium granulatum Walp., Desmodium stipulaceum Burm.f., Desmodium stipulaceum (Burm.f.) Hassk., Desmodium trifolium var. adpressum Ohwi, Desmodium triflorum var. minus Wight & Arn., Desmodium triflorum var. pygmaeum Hoehne, Desmodium triflorum var. triflorum, Desmodium triflorum var. villosum Wight & Arn., Hedysarum granulatum Schum. & Thonn., Hedysarum granulatum Schum., Hedysarum granulatum Schumach. & Thonn., Hedysarum stipulaceum Burm.f., Hedysarum stipulaceum Sesse ex DC., Hedysarum triflorum L., Hippocrepis humilis Blanco, Meinomia triflora (L.) Kuntze, Meibomia triflora f. coerulescens Kuntze, Meibomia trifolia f. flavescens Kuntze, Meibomia triflora var. glabrescens Kuntze, Meibomia triflora var. pilosa Kuntze, Meibomia triflora f. purpurea Kuntze, Meibomia triflora f. violacea Kuntze, Meibomia triflora f. virescens Kuntze, Nicolsonia reptans Meissner, Nicolsonia reptans Hook.f. & Benth., Nicolsonia reptans Meisn., Nicolsonia triflora Griseb., Pleurolobus triflorus J. St.-Hil., Sagotia triflora (L.) Duchass. & Walp. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Rumput barek sisek puteh, rumput barek sisek putih, sisek tenggeling, sisek tenggiling [2]
English Creeping tick trefoil, three-flowered beggarweed, threeflower begger weed [2]
China San dian jin [2], san dian jin cao, ying chi cao [3]
India Bawngekhlo, cherupulladi, chipti, chirupulladi, chotkwel, ciru pullati, cirupullati, hamsapadi, hanspadi (hans, swan, padi, footed), heen-undupiyali, jangli methi, kaadu menthe, kaadu pullam purache, kaadu pullam purasi, kaadu pullampurasi, kaan sisna, kansisna, kodalia, kudaliya, kunnappalai, moohoodoo, moordoo, motha, munta-mandu, muntamandu, munthamandu, munuddamoddu, nelaparande, nilamparanda, nilamparanta, pookarisa, ranmethi, ranmethi, ranmeti, siru-pullady, sirupulladi, sirupullati, tripadi, tripadika (tri, three, padika, footed) [2], kuddalia [4]
Indonesia Daun mules, delilan, djukut djarem, jukut jarem, rumput djarem, semanggen, sisik betook, udu pelian bule [2]
Thailand Ya-klethoi, ya-tanhoi, ya-tansai [2]
Philippines Gumadep, himbis-puyo, himbispuyo, kaliskis-dalag [2]
Cambodia Smau kaè lolook [2]
Vietnam H[af]n the, tra[n]g qu’a ba hoa [2]
Nepal Bute kanike, nimphuli [2]
Bangladesh Kulaliya (Benggali) [4]; ya re sur sah (Murong) [5]
Japan Hai-makie-hagi [2]
France Plata [3]
Spain Acaba pangola [3], heirba cuartillo [4]
Madagascar Kodiadiamborona, tsimathatrandrivamanitra [2]
Tonga Kihikihi. [2]
Portugal Amor-do-campo [3].

Geographical Distributions

No documentation.

Botanical Description

Desmodium triflorum is a member of the Fabaceae family. It is a trailing herb. [6]

The stems are pubescent while the older parts are glabrous. The stipules are lanceolate and 3 mm long. [7]

The leaves are trifoliate in shaped, leaflets are obvate, retuse of emarginated, glabrous or sparsely pubescent, measuring 3.6 mm long. [6][7]

The flowers are pink, 3-6 opposite the leaves or axillary. The calyx is 3 mm long, the teeth lanceolate, acuminate and pilose. The pedicel is slender about 1 cm long. The stamens are diadelphous or nearly so. [6][7]

The pods are curved with 3-5 joints. The upper suture is continuous while the lower suture crenate to one fourth, the joints are subquadrate, 3 mm long and broad, veiny, puberulous, and tardily dehiscent. [6][7]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

D. triflorum extract has been reported to contain 3,4-di-hydroxy phenylethyl trimethyl ammonium cation, β-phenylamine (major), betaine,  choline, coryneine, hypaphorine, indole-3-acetic acid, N, N-dimethyl tryptophan methyl ester, S-l-stachydrine, trigonelline, tyramine. [5]

Plant Part Used

Roots, leaves and whole plant [3][5]

Traditional Use

In Haiti, the plant is used to treat fever with catarrh and a decoction of D. triflorum tea is used for rheumatism. [3] In Bangladesh it is used as a remedy for blindness, eye diseases, menorrhagia and breast pain. [5] The Indians considered D. triflorum plant as acrid, sweet, cooling, expectorant, and galactagogue which rendered its usefulness for cough, bronchitis, wounds, dysentery and flatulence. [8] Throughout the tropics, a decoction of the plant is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery. [9]

The leaves paste is used for abscesses and skin eruptions. Decoctions of the leaves are given to children with diarrhoea, dysentery,indigestion, and convulsion. [3] The leaves are also considered a galactagogue and laxative. [5] A poultice of the leaves is used as antiseptic for wounds, ulcer and other skin problems. In Philippines, the decoction is used as mouthwash and expectorant. [9]

The roots are carminative, tonic, diuretic and traditionally used to treat cough, asthma and bilious complain. [3][5]

Preclinical Data


Anthelmintic activity

The alcoholic extract of D. triflorum has been found to effectively kill Ascaris lumbricoides in vitro. [10]

Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity

The methanol extract of D. triflorum possesses both anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity shown by animal models of λ-carrageenan-induced paw edema in mice and acetic acid-induced writhing response and formalin test, respectively. The mechanism of anti-inflammatory activity seems to be related to the decreases in the levels of malondialdehyde in the oedema paw which could have been mediated through increase in activity of superoxide dismutase and glutathione reductase in the liver, and the nitric oxide level via regulating the IL-1β production and the level of tumour necrosis factor (TNF-α) in the inflamed tissues. [11]

Antioxidant activity

The ethyl acetate fraction of D. triflorum proved to have the most potent antioxidant activity amongst the tested extracts i.e 0.4 mg was equivalent to 186.6 +/- 2.5 µg α-tocopherol and 82.5 +/- 2.1 µg and trolox. [12]

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing

No documentation.


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Desmodium triflorum (L.) DC. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2010 July 14; cited 2016 Apr 20]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC World dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms and etymology. Volume II C-D. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 676-677.
  3. Philippine Medicinal Plants. Kaliskis-dalag. No date [updated 2015; cited 2016 Apr 20]. Available from:
  4. Rehm G. Multilingual dictionary of agronomic plants. Dordercht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994; p. 69.
  5. Medicinal plants of Bangladesh. Desmodium triflorum (L.) DC. No date [cited 2016 Apr 20]. Available from
  6. Sanyal MN. Handbook of excursion flora of the gangetic plains and adjoining hills. New Delhi: Mittal Publications, 1991; p. 29.
  7. Pulle AA, Stoffers AL. Flora of suriname. Volume 2. Amsterdam: Royal Tropical Institute, 1940; p. 249.
  8. Sahoo S. Conservation and utilization of medicinal and aromatic plants. Mumbai: Allied Publishers Ltd., 2001; p. 49.
  9. Batugal PA, Kanniah J, Oliver JT. Medicinal plants research in Asia. Volume 1. Serdang: International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, 2004; p. 163.
  10. Raj RK. Screening of indigenous plants for anthelmintic action against human Ascaris lumbricoides: Part II. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1975;19(1).
  11. Lai SC, Peng WH, Huang SC, et al. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities of methanol extract from Desmodium triflorum DC in mice. Am J Chin Med. 2009;37(3):573-588.
  12. Lai SC, Ho YL, Huang SC. Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of Desmodium triflorum (L.) DC. Am J Chin Med. 2010;38(2):329-342.