HydrocotyleBotanical Name: Hydrocotyle Asiatica (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Synonyms: Indian Pennywort. Marsh Penny. White Rot. Thick-leaved Pennywort.
Part Used: Leaves.
Habitat: Asia and Africa.
Description: A small umbelliferous plant growing in Southern Africa and India, indigenous to the Southern United States. The special characteristics of the leaflets are petiolate, reniform, crenate, seven nerved and nearly glabrous.
Constituents: An oily volatile liquid called vellarin (which has a strong smell reminiscent of the plant, and a bitter, pungent, persistent taste) and tannic acid.
Medicinal Action and Uses: A valuable medicine for its diuretic properties; has long been used in India as an aperient or alterative tonic, useful in fever and bowel complaints and a noted remedy for leprosy, rheumatism and ichthyosis; employed as a poultice for syphilitic ulcers. In small doses it acts as a stimulant, in large doses as a narcotic, causing stupor and headache and with some people vertigo and coma.
European hydrocotyle vulgaris (syn. Common Pennywort). Leaves orbicular and peltate. The plant appears to have no noxious qualities; it grows freely in boggy places on the edges of lakes and rivers.
The plant has come into disfavour because it is said to cause footrot in sheep.