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Pistia stratiotes Linn.


Apiospermum obcordatum (Schleid.) Klotzsch, Limnonesis commutata (Schleid.) Klotzsch, Limnonesis friedrichsthaliana Klotzsch, Pistia aegyptiaca Schleid., Pistia aethiopica Fenzl ex Klotzsch, Pistia africana C. Presl, Pistia amazonica C. Presl, Pistia brasiliensis Klotzsch, Pistia commutata Schleid., Pistia crispata Blume, Pistia cumingii Klotzsch, Pistia gardneri Klotzsch, Pistia horkeliana Miq., Pistia leprieuri Blume, Pistia linguiformis Blume, Pistia minor Blume, Pistia natalensis Klotzsch, Pistia obcordata Schleid., Pistia occidentalis Blume, Pistia schleideniana Klotzsch, Pistia spathulata Michx., Pistia stratiotes var. cuneata Engl., Pistia stratiotes var. linguiformis Engl., Pistia stratiotes var. obcordata (Schleid.) Engl., Pistia stratiotes var. spathulata (Michx.) Engl., Pistia texensis Klotzsch, Pistia turpini Blume, Pistia turpinii K. Koch, Pistia weigeltiana C. Presl, Zala asiatica Lour. [1]

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia Daraido, Darahuo, Kiambang, Loloan
English River Lettuce, Water Lettuce, Nile Cabbage, Water Salad
China Zu Fu Ping, Hang Ping
Indonesia Empeing Ara, Gaambang, Sarme-sarme, Sirabon, Apu-apu, Kapu-kapu (Sumatera); Ki Ambang, Pengambangan, Tayapu (Kalimantan); Ki Apu, Apon-apon, Kajeng apu, Kayu Apu, Peyape, Kapu-kapu (Java); Poda-poda, Capo-capo (Sulawesi)
Philippines Kiapo
Japan Botan-uki-kusa
India Jalkumbhi (Hindi); Takapana (Bengali); Jalashamkhala (Gujrati); Akasatamari (Tamil); Boraijhanji (Oriya)
France Laitue d’eau
Germany Wassersalat
Spain Lechuga de Agua
Africa Abong Aaa (Acholi); Ileve (Nyamwezi); Yungi (Digo); Yunga (Luo) [3] [5] [6] [7]

General Information


Pistia stratoites is a member of the Araceae family and a floating aquatic plant. It is stoloniferous, producing rosettes of spirally arranged roundish to spathulate leaves with the outer ones lying on the water and the inner ones standing erect. The spathe is united with the spandex, the inflorescence consisting of a single unilocular ovary, containing numerous ovules. Above this is the male flowers appearing in whorls, each composing of two anthers united to form a sessile synandrium. Seed-coat developed into a thick outer and a thin inner layer forming a definite operculum above the micropyle and the minute embryo. [2]

Plant Part Used

Whole plant [3]

Chemical Constituents

7beta-hydroxy-4,22-stigmastadien-3-one; anthocyanin-cynidin-3-glucoside; luteolin-7-glycoside mono-C-glycosyl flavones; norisoprenoid; orientin; palmatic acids; potassium chloride; stigmasta-4,22-dien-3-one; stigmasterol; stigmasteryl stearate; vitamin A; vitamin C; vitamin B; vitexin [7] [8] [9]

Traditional Used:

The plant is considered antiseptic, antitubercular and antidysenteric. The root is laxative, emollient and diuretic. [7] 

Dermatological diseases

The ash of the plant is used to treat ringworm of the scalp while the leaves are used to treat eczema, leprosy, ulcers including those of syphilis. The juice of the leaves boiled in coconut is applied over chronic skin lesions. Pounded fresh roots are applied over burns. [5] [7]

Genito-urinary diseases

The diuretic property of the plant renders its usefulness in the treatment of dropsy, bladder complaints, kidney afflictions and haematuria. In China it is considered an emmenagogue. In New Guinea, when a man is desirous of increasing his lady’s affection, he will feed her with cooked roots. [7] [15]

Other uses

The ash from dried burnt plant is licked to cure cough and mixed with honey to treat tachycardia. In Africa the ash is a source of salt. The roots are wrapped in a rag and tied around the head of a demented person. The plant is also used to treat fever, diarrhea, dysentery and haemorrhoids. The juice form the leaves is dropped into the ears to treat ear complaints. [3] [4] [5] [7] [15]

Pre-Clinical Data


Cytotoxic activity

The methanol extract of P. stratiotes exhibited anticancer activity against B16F1 and B16F10 melanoma cell lines. The plant has been found to contain at least three cytotoxic stigmastanes. [8] [9]

Anti-oxidant activity

Extracts of P. stratiotes exhibited anti-oxidant activities comparable to ascorbic acid. [10] [11]

Wound healing activity

Ointment containing 5% and 10% (w/w) extract of P. stratiotes was found to exhibit significant wound healing activity with improvement in wound contraction, epithelisation period and tensile strength. This effect had been attributed in part to its anti-oxidant activity. [10]

Anti-diabetic and diuretic activity

Oral administration of leaf extract of P. stratiotes produced significant anti-hyperglycaemic action. This had been attributed to the blocking of glucose absorption by the extract. The extract also exhibited diuretic activity. [12]

Anti-inflammatory activity

Both the aqueous and ethanol extracts of P. stratiotes showed significant anti-inflammatory activity in two disease models i.e. induced arthritis and uveitis in Sprague-Dawley rats. It was found that the aqueous extract was more potent than the ethanol extract. [13] [14]


No documentation

Teratogenic effects

No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

Its emmenagogue property contraindicates its use in pregnancy. [15]

Age Limitations

Neonates / Adolescents

No documentation


No documentation

Chronic Disease Conditions

No documentation


Interactions with drugs

No documentation

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation



No documentation

Case Reports

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Available at Accessed on 23rd April 2014
  2. Rendle AB. The Classification of Flowering Plants Volume 1, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1976,  pg. 267
  3. Seidemann J. World Spice Plants: Economic Usage, Botany, Taxonomy Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2005, pg. 297
  4. Paulus A. The Seven Books of Paulus Aegineta Volume III, The Sydenham Society, London, 1847, pg. 358
  5. Kokwaro JO. Medicinal Plants of East Africa Third Edition, University of Nairobi Press, Nairobi, 2009, pg. 302
  6. Dalimartha S., Atlas Tumbuhan Obat Indonesia Jilid 4, Puspa Swara, Jakarta, 2007, pg. 7
  7. Tripathi P, Kumar R, Sharma AK, Mishra A, Gupta R. Pistia stratiotes, Plant Review Volume 4(8):153-160 2010
  8. Ayyad SN. A new cytotoxic stigmastane steroid from Pistia stratiotes. Pharmazie. 2002 Mar;57(3):212-4.
  9. Ling Y, Wan F, He B, Zhang Y, Zheng J. Chemical constituents of Pistia stratiotes L. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 1999 May;24(5):289-90, 318.
  10. Jha M, Sharma V, Ganesh N. Antioxidant and wound healing potential of Pistia stratiotes L., Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease Volume 2(2):S579-S584, 2012
  11. Jha M, Sharma V, Ganesh N. In vitro Antioxidant and Cytotoxicity Assay of Pistia stratiotes L. against B16F1 and B16F10 Melanoma Cell Lines. Chemistry of Phytopotentials: Health, Energy and Environmental Perspective 2012, pg. 19 – 23
  12. Pallavi T, Sandeep A, Rajiv G, Prabha M, Das BB. Diuretic Activity of Pistia stratiotes Leaf Extract in Rats, International Research Journal of Pharmacy, 2011, Volume 2(3):249-251
  13. Yyei S, Koffuor GA, Boampong JN, Owusu-Afriyie O. Ocular anti-inflammatory effect of aqueous and ethanolic leaf extract of Pistia stratiotes Linn (Araceae) in endotoxin-induced uveitis. Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals 2012, Volume 3(2):93-100
  14. Samuel Kyei, George A Koffuor, Johnson N Boampong,  Antiarthritic effect of aqueous and ethanolic leaf extracts of Pistia stratiotes in adjuvant-induced arthritis in Sprague-Dawley rats Journal of Experimental Pharmacology 20 March 2012
  15. Perry LM, Metzger J. Medicinal Plants of East and Southeast Asia: Attributed Properties and Uses. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts, 1980 pg. 39

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