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Veterinarian Reviewed on June 20, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized



Hydrocotyle (Hydrocotyle bowlesioides) may also be known as pennywort, marsh penny, thick-leaved pennywort or Indian pennywort. This plant has a very long creeping stem that is often seen in ponds, lakes and rivers. Some hydrocotyle species can also grow in places near the sea.

The leaves of this plant are small which appear to look like a kidney that has rather scalloped edges. The flowers of the hydrocotyle are simple and round and develop into round fruits. This plant is native to places and locations where there is a tropical to temperate climate. The entire part of the hydrocotyle plant is utilized for herbal remedies and treatments. It is harvested year round.

History and Origin

The use of the many hydrocotyle varieties is rather well known in many cultures all around the world. This plant is hardy and can grow almost anywhere. In folkloric medicine, the plant is used to remedy many illnesses that plague the skin and respiratory system. In India, in the Arunachal Pradesh district, this plant is used to treat typhoid fever. The hydrocotyle is also added in many recipes that can emit a parsley-like smell in cooking.

Ancient Uses

During ancient times, the hydrocotyle plant is used as a pot herb in many ancient recipes. In many ancient tribes, the extracts of the plant was used to reduce fevers and as a poultice to treat boils, inflammation, severe itching and wounds. The hydrocotyle was also used as a decoction to reduce abscesses, sore throat, severe itching and also as a cure for coughs and many other illnesses of a person’s upper respiratory tract.

Modern Uses

In modern times, the hydrocotyle plant is a promising cure to reduce tumors and to improve the overall health of the immune system in cancer patients during cancer treatments. The herb is also seen as an important source of natural antioxidants that can help improve health to the cellular level.

Several uses during ancient times have also been found useful during today’s modern times. The hydrocotyle plant is still used in many countries and civilizations as a cure for upper respiratory illnesses such as coughs, sore throats, colds and to effectively reduce high fevers. It can also be used as a herbal remedy to cure headaches; relieve influenza and is also a promising cure for hepatitis.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the hydrocotyle herb is combined with other herbs to form a formula to treat muscular dystrophy.

Side Effects

Although there are no noted major side effect of using hydrocotyle plant for illnesses it is still contraindicated for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. There is also no research to back up the safety of its use for very young children and infants.

It is important to consult your doctor first regarding the use of this herbal remedy for your own illness or ailment. Ask for the appropriate dose and for any adverse reaction to the current medication you are using.

Always purchase supplements, teas and extracts of the hydrocotyle plant from well-known and reliable manufacturers to make sure you are purchasing fresh, sun-dried herbal parts. Do not attempt to self medicate with hydrocotyle herb, always consult your doctor if you want to use this herb for the therapeutic benefits that it has.

Read also: Female Inability to Concentrate

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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