Desmodium gangeticum (L.) DC.

Last updated: 16 Aug 2016

Scientific Name

Desmodium gangeticum (L.) DC.


Aeschynomene gangetica (L.) Poir., Aeschynomene meculata (L.) Poir., Desmodium cavaleriei H.Lev., Desmonium gangeticum var. maculatum (L.) Baker, Desmodium gangeticum var. ramnagari Haines, Desmodium lanceolatum Walp., Desmodium latifolium sensu Wight, Desmodium maculatum (L.) DC., Desmodium natalitium Sond., Desmodium polygonoides Baker, Hedysarum collinum Roxb., Hedysarum gangeticum L., Hedysarum lanceolatum Schum. & Thonn., Hedysarum lanceolatum Schumach. & Thonn., Hedysarum maculatum L., Hedysarum ochroleucum Moench, Hedysarum pseudogangeticum Miq., Meibomia gangetica (L.) Kuntze, Meibomia polygonodes (Baker) Kuntze, Pleurolobus gangeticus J.St.-Hil., Pleurolobus maculates J.St.-Hil. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Akar katah, kemani bali, meringan, sepantan, serengan [2] engan, lepantan [3]
India Amsumati, angshumati, anshumati, ansumati, asta-mati, asud, atiguha, bajis, mandardoo, chiktya (chikat = sticky), chirpat, chokkosondo, chuppa, civamatu, darh, devi, dhruva, dirghamoola, dirghamula, dirghanghni, dirghapatra, dirghapavrihiparnika, doddeta, ekamula, getanaramu, gita-naram, githanaram, guha, kareti, kaul munna, kitavinash-ini, kola panna, kolaku naaru, kolakunaaru, kolakuponna, kolakuporna, kolapanna, kulakunaaru, kumuda, lapeta (= wrapping), morale hoone, moorelehonne, moovilai, murele honne, murelehonne, muruluboane, nalla-nelapanki, nal-lanelapariki, nallanelapriki, nishchala, orila, ote rai, parni, patina, peddaantintha, peddanthrinta, peddantrinta, pivari, porongkhok, prasniparni, prsniparni, prthakparni, pulladi, pullati, ranbhal, saalparni, saivan, sal parni, salapami, sala-parni, saleparni, saliparni, saliparnini, salpalnu, salpam, sal-pani, salparni, salun, salvan, salwan, sarivan, sarvanukarini, saumya, shalani, shalaparni, shalidala, shaliparni, shalipar-nini, shalipatri, shalparni (shal-sal, Shorea robusta; parn, leaf), shalwan, shophaghni, shothaghni, shubhapatrika, siru-pulladi, spal parni, sthira, subhagam, sudala, sudha, suparni, suparnika, supatri, surupa, tandi bedi janetet, tanvi, taptude, tendi bhidi janetet, trika, triparni, vasumanti, vataghni, vidari, vidarigandha [2]
Nepal Dampate [2]
Indonesia Daun bulu ajam, daun bulu ayam, daun picah, gagaretan, waliketupa [2] nupan-nupan, upan-upan, rendetan, potong kujang, kalkal otek, cangsancangan [3]
Thailand i-nio, nut phra phuu, yaa tuet maeo [2]
Laos Do:yz tük hma, ph’è:ng kh’am h’o:yz, tük hma [2]
Philippines Andudukut, dikit-dikit, pega-pega [2]
Vietnam B[af]in g[af]i, c[aa]y th[os]c l[es]p, c[or] ch[as]y [2]
Tibet Sa la pa rn, sa la pa rni, sa la par ni, sa la phar ni [2]
Japan Tama-tsunagi [2]
Madagascar Famolakantsy, tsilavondivotra gran feuille [2]
Yoruba Aberodefe, amatoki, eemo aberadofe, emimo, ewe eemo olaworokoko, tipetipe [2]

Geographical Distributions

Desmodium gangeticum is found throughout the tropics and West Indies. In Peninsular Malaysia, it grows along the west coasts and in some areas of the east coast. The plant is widespread in the shady places of the lowlands. [4]

Botanical Description

D. gangeticum is a slightly woody perennial herb that belongs to Fabaceae family. [4]

This herb is a much-branched, erect shrub, or a prostrate to ascending slightly shrub within 30-200 cm tall, with its rootstock thickened. The young stems are hairy.

The leaves are 1-leaf with 2-, 3-, 4-leaflets. The stipules are narrow and tapering to a point with 7-15 mm long. The papery leaflet is (1-)2.5-18 cm x (0.8-)2-8 cm and very variable in shape and size. The upper surface is variably hairy while the lower surface is densely hairy. Their lateral veins are 6-12, usually extending to the margin and persistent. [5]

The inflorescence is a terminal or arising from the axils raceme or panicle and 10-30 cm long. [5]

The flowers are in clusters of 2-4, sepal is 4-lobed, densely covered with minute hooked hairs and longer straight hairs. The petal is white to pale yellow, or rose to violet and its male element is in two bundles. [5]

The pod is linear, variably incurved size 1.2-2.5 cm x 2-2.5 mm and (4-) 6-8-jointed. It is covered with minute hooked hairs, articles broadly oblong. [5]

The seeds are pale yellow, kidney-shaped size 1.5-1.8 mm x 2-2.5 mm. [5]


D. gangeticum is a very common weed in Malesia, mainly found in anthropogenic habitats in the lowlands, under ever wet or seasonal conditions. In Indo-China it is found in savannas and deforested terrains, in hedges and along forest paths, up to 1900 m altitude. [5]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation.

Plant Part Used

Whole plant, roots, and leaves. [4]

Traditional Use

In India, it has been used to treat catarrh and as fever. In Java, a decoction of the leaves is taken to treat gallstones and renal or bladder calculi. The Malays are believed to have applied the leaves onto the forehead to relieve headache while a decoction of the root is used to treat diarrhoea as well as a sedative for fretful children. The root is also applied on the gums to heal toothaches. [4]

Preclinical Data


Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity

The water decoction of the root and aerial parts of D. gangeticum possesses anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activity in experimental animal. The result supports its claim of traditional use as an analgesic. [6]

A compound, gangetin, isolated from hexane extract of D. gangeticum root showed both significant anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities in albino rats in 50 mg/kg and 100 mg/kg dosage, respectively. [7]

Antioxidant activity

Total alcoholic extract of D. gangeticum that has been reported to exhibited significant anti-inflammatory activity, was evaluated for its antioxidant potential. Caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid extracted from this plant have show a potent antioxidant activity in arthritic rats. [8]

Another study also showed that D. gangeticum extract has a potent antioxidant activity hypochlorous acid scavenging activity and lipid perodixation. [9]

Antioxidant and hypocholestrolemic activity

The aqueous extract of D. gangeticum root in isoproterenol induced myocardial infarction rats showed that it possesses cardio-protective effect through antioxidant activity and hypocholesterolemic action. [10]

Antileishmanial activity

Crude ethanolic and n-butanol extracts of D. gangeticum has been demonstrated antileismanial activity against experimental visceral leishmaniasis in hamsters. Ethanolic extract showed 41.2+/-5.3% inhibition of parasite multiplication when administered at a dose of 250 mg/kgx2 on day -7 and +7 of Leishmania donovani infection. Its n-butanol fraction exhibited better efficacy than the ethanolic extract by 66.7+/-6.1% inhibition when administered at similar dosage. [11]

A novel compound, aminoglucosyl glycerolipid extract from D. gangeticum has been reported to exhibited in vitro antileishmanial and immunomodulatory activities, as it enhanced nitric oxide (NO) production and provided resistance against infection established in peritoneal macrophages by Leishmania donovani. [12]

Anti-amnesic activity

The aqueous extract of D. gangeticum has been reported as a potential anti-amnesic agent in mice indicates that the extract not only decreases acetylcholinesterase enzyme levels but also ultimately improves memory of both exteroceptive and interoceptive behavioural models. [13]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation.


No documentation.

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation.


No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of D. gangeticum [5]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Desmodium gangeticum (L.) DC. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2010 Jul 14, cited 2016 Aug 16]. 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.671-672.
  3. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 1. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p.261.
  4. Burkill IH. A dictionary of economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Volume 1. Kuala Lumpur: Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Malaysia; 1966. p.793.
  5. Setyowati-Indarto N, Brink M. Desmodium gangeticum (L.) DC. In: de Padua LS, Bunyapraphatsara N, Lemmens RHMJ, editors. Plant resources of South-East Asia No. 12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1. Leiden, The Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher; p. 245-246.
  6. Rathi A, Rao ChV, Ravishankar B, De S, Mehrotra S. Anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activity of the water decoction Desmodium gangeticum. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;95(2-3):259-263.
  7. Ghosh D, Anandakumar A. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activites of gangetin – A pterocarpenoid from Desmodium gangeticum. Ind J Pharmacol. 1983;15(4):391-402.
  8. Govindarajan R, Vijayakumar M, Shirwaikar A, Rawat AK, Mehrotra S, Pushpangadan P. Antioxidant activity of Desmodium gangeticum and its phenolics in arthritic rats. Acta Pharm. 2006;56(4):489-496.
  9. Gocindarajan R, Rastogi S, Vijayakumar M, et al. Studies on the antioxidant activities of Desmodium gangeticum. Biol Pharm Bull. 2003;26(10):1424-1427.
  10. Kurian GA, Philip S, Varghese T. Effect of aqueous extract of the Desmodium gangeticum DC root in the severity of myocardial infarction. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005;97(3):457-461.
  11. Singh N, Mishra PK. Kapil A, Arya KR, Maurya R, Dube A. Efficacy of Desmodium gangeticum extract and its fractions aganist experimental visceral leishmaniasis. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005;98(1-2):83-88.
  12. Mishra PK, Singh N, Ahmad G, Dube A, Maurya R. Glycolipids and other constituents from Desmodium gangeticum with antieishmanial and immunomodulatory activities. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2005;15(20):4543-4546.
  13. Joshi H, Parle M. Anti-amnesic effects of Desmodium gangeticum in mice. Yakugaku Zasshi. 2006;126(9):795-804.