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Table of Contents
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 122-129

Pharmacognostic study of Hydrocotyl verticillata Thunb

1 Department of Dravyaguna, Datta Meghe Ayurved Medical College, Hospital & Research Centre, Wanadongari, Nagpur
2 Department of Dravyaguna Vigyan, All Indian Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission17-Apr-2020
Date of Decision15-May-2020
Date of Acceptance17-Jul-2020
Date of Web Publication07-Sep-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Meena S Deogade
Department of Dravyaguna, All Indian Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JISM.JISM_23_20

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Introduction: Hydrocotyl verticillata Thunb. is a shady creeping medicinal herb with therapeutic properties and is commonly used for fevers, wounds, boils, abscesses, colds, coughs, hepatitis, influenza, purities, sore throat, headaches, and urinary tract problems. However, it is not standardized to date. So, the study aims to standardize H. verticillate as it is used as a primary medicine for human ailments . Materials and Methods: The plant was collected from Mahatma Gandhi Ayurved College Hospital and Research Centre, herbal garden and authenticated by the pharmacognosy department of IPGT&RA, Jamnagar, Gujarat. A pharmacognostic study with microscopic and preliminary phytochemical analysis was carried out. Result: Microscopy study showed some characteristics of stomata, palisade, and surface, which is useful for the identification and standardization of H. verticillata.

Keywords: Hydrocotyle verticillata, medicinal plant, microscopy, pharmacognosy

How to cite this article:
Umate PR, Deogade MS. Pharmacognostic study of Hydrocotyl verticillata Thunb. J Indian Sys Medicine 2020;8:122-9

How to cite this URL:
Umate PR, Deogade MS. Pharmacognostic study of Hydrocotyl verticillata Thunb. J Indian Sys Medicine [serial online] 2020 [cited 2023 Jun 7];8:122-9. Available from: https://www.joinsysmed.com/text.asp?2020/8/2/122/294429

  Introduction Top

Medicinal plants become a center of attraction among various systems of medicine and scientific communities. WHO encourages the use of herbal drugs in prescribed doses in national healthcare programs due to their harmless nature.[1] With increasing demand, raw medicinal herbs are hard to scrutiny and the possibility of adulteration in the drug is high. As adulteration affects the efficacy of a drug and may harm consumers, standardization is the key and first step to assure safety, efficacy, and quality of an herb.[2]

Ancient Ayurveda physicians also accepted the concept of standardization and quality control of drugs. For that, they depended on Panchabhuatik Parikshana like Shabda (sound), Sparsha (texture), Roopa (color), Rasa (taste), Gandha (smell) and also based on habitat, morphology, etc. After checking safety, efficacy and quality, the drug would be used as a medicine. N nomenclature of many herbs denotes their physical and chemical characteristics and therapeutic uses, which are considered as primitive standardization parameters.[3] For example, Surasa, Sulabha, Surabhee, Shulaghnee, Bahumanjaree, Bhutaghni these synonyms of Krushnatulasi depicted its useful form (juice) for the treatment of many diseases, easy availability, aroma, efficacious in colic, morphological character and antimicrobial action.[4] But described morphology of a plant through various synonyms is difficult to attribute to a single herb and thereby argumentation of controversy is initiated. Therefore, recent pharmacognostic studies have identified many tests and parameters to evaluate the quality of drugs. So, it is very essential to perform pharmacognostic studies of medicinal plants used in various formulations. These studies deal with the authentication and standardization of natural drugs. Authentication and standardization are done using morphological or organoleptic tests; microscopic, chemical, and physical evaluation; chromatography, and spectrophotometry. The pharmacognostic study includes parameters that help identifying a drug in dry powdered form also. This is again necessary because once the plant is dried and made into powdered form, it loses its morphological identity.

Hydrocotyle verticillata Thunb. is commonly known as water pennywort, which comes under Araliaceae family. It is of cosmopolitan origin and common habitats of the plant are South and North America and West Indies. Its juice is used for the treatment of fevers. The poultice is used for the treatment of wounds and boils. The decoction of the plant is used for the treatment of abscesses, colds, coughs, hepatitis, influenza, purities, and sore throat. Hydrocotyle verticillata is used for headaches and urinary problems. In Malaya, it is mixed with sugar and cassia bark, and given to children for cough. Its juice is considered emetic. Leaves of the plant are pounded with alum for poulticing scrotal skin ailments. In China, the plant is used for the treatment of hepatoma and hepatitis. Also, the plant is an ingredient in Chinese herbal concoctions used for muscular dystrophy. In the Arunachal Pradesh district of India, juice of the plant mixed with honey is used for typhoid fever. In some parts of India, the juice is taken twice daily doses of three tablespoons for 5 days. Studies have shown effectiveness for antitumor, immune-modulatory, antioxidant, antiproliferative, new phytochemicals and saponins, and the presence of compounds that have benefits for the liver.[5]

The present study deals with pharmacognosy of H. verticillata, which is mainly available in shady and watery areas. Hydrocotyle verticillata, also known as whorled pennywort, whorled marsh pennywort or shield pennywort, is a flowering plant found in South and North America and the West Indies. Hydrocotyle verticillata is a common weed growing in areas ranging from poorly drained soils to shallow water. Because of its unique, umbrella-like leaves and short height, H. verticillata makes a charming foreground accent plant where the leaves look like miniature, green toadstools or mushrooms.[6]

As H. verticillata is not native of India, medicinal properties are not described in any Ayurvedic texts. From a perbotanical point of view, very few studies are available but none of the studies mentioned the pharmacognostic details. There are studies detailed about the habitat and other factors of H. verticillata. This study will be used for further pharmacological and therapeutic evaluation of the species by standardization for quality, purity and sample identification.

  Materials and Methods Top


Collection and authentication of plant material

A whole plant of H. verticillate was collected from Bhavamishra vatika (a herbal garden), MGACH&RC, Salod (H) [Figure 1]. The plant was authenticated from Pharmacognosy department of IPGT&RA, Jamnagar, Gujarat. Its voucher number of authentication is 120189. The collected plant material was washed and shade dried for phytochemical study and powder microscopy.
Figure 1: Collection site photo of H. verticillata

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Pharmacognostical Analysis

Macroscopic study

The collected sample was identified and authenticated systematically as per the methods described in the textbooks of pharmacognosy. The specimen was observed as the same species as H. verticillata.


Evaluation of raw and purified samples was done based on their color, texture, odor, and taste.[7]


Microscopic study of free-hand sections of the plant material tested under distilled water showed the presence of primary and secondary metabolites, like starch grains, which were confirmed by staining them with iodine. The sections were cleared with chloral hydrate to observe various ergastic cell contents such as crystals of calcium oxalate, calcium carbonate, and silica if present any. The nature of these crystals was also confirmed by performing some tests like acid solubility (HCl). The sections were then stained with phloroglucinol and HCl for detecting lignified elements like fibers, sclereids, xylem vessels, tracheids. The same method was followed for powder samples.[8]

Stomata index. The stomata index was calculated using the following equation:

Histochemical evaluation

Thick sections of the sample were subjected to histochemical tests to detect starch grins, tannin, calcium etc. by treating with various reagents. Natural products have played a vital role in prevention and mitigation of human diseases for centuries. Due to their large structural diversity, natural products have emerged as appealing sources of useful leads for the discovery of new drugs; their potential is further enhanced with the present sophisticated techniques for isolation, identification, structure elucidation and combinatorial synthesis.[9]

  Observation and Results Top

Macroscopy of Plant

Hydrocotyle verticillata is a perineal, glabrous, succulent prostate herb. 10–15cm long, stem creeping, rooting at the nodes, with long stolon. Leaf simple, alternate, leaflets are 2.0–5.0 × 2.5–6.0 cm orbicular-reniform and palmately lobed, margin very coarsely repand serrate, shiny, blackish green above and pale beneath, Sooth, prominently veined with long petiole 8–25cm long. Inflorescence is 5–25cm long arising from the axil of the leaves. Flowers in clusters, 6–12 in quantity of greenish to creamy white color, star shape, small with pedicel very short, 2–3 mm long in fruit; perianth 5, c. 1.5 × 1.0 mm, ovate-acute, each flower subtended by a minute bract at the base. Stamens usually 5. Ovary orbicular, glabrous; style filiform, divaricate. Fruits sub-orbicular, 1.0–1.5 × 2.0–2.5 mm, broader than long, laterally compressed with prominent ribs.

Organoleptic Characters

Powder of leaf and petiole is of green color having bitter and astringent taste with characteristic odor [Table 1].
Table 1: Organoleptic characteristics of powder of leaf and petiole

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The diagrammatic section shows that epidermis is followed by hypodermis and central ground tissue [Figure 2]. The vascular bundles are abruptly distributed all over the ground tissue.
Figure 2: T.S. of the petiole

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Details of T.S. show that epidermis consists of compactly packed barrel-shaped epidermal cells rarely interrupted by stomata covered by cuticle, cuticle suberized.


Hypodermis consists of two to three layers of collenchyma cells without any intercellular cell without supporting ground cells.

Ground tissue parenchymatous loosely arranged with some chlorophyll pigments toward the center, and some parenchyma cells consist of aerenchyma cells distributed all over the ground cells.

Vascular Bundle

The vascular bundle consists of outer phloem and inner xylem. Phloem consists of sieve elements and xylem consist of fibers and few parenchyma cells with a concentric system of the vascular bundle.

T.S. through midrib

T.S. through midrib shows upper epidermis and lower epidermis through nerve vascular bundles [Figure 3].
Figure 3: T.S. through midrib

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Lamina is differentiated into upper and lower spongy parenchyma. Palisade parenchyma is compactly packed with chlorophyll pigment of two rows. Lower spongy parenchyma is 2–3 layered, oval-shaped surrounded by air chambers loaded with chlorophyll pigments. Upper and lower epidermis are covered with a thick cuticle, where the lower epidermis is interrupted by sunken stomata.

The strong vein in the mesophyll shows that both below epidermis covered by several layers of collenchyma tissue supporting the bundle sheath. The vascular bundle consists of few elements of xylem toward the upper epidermis and phloem situated toward the lower epidermis.

Palisade ratio

The number of palisade parenchyma below one epidermal cell is called palisade ratio. The palisade ratio of this plant is 1:6.

Stomata index

Stomata index of H. verticillata is 20.

Powder microscopy

Coarse powder of H. verticillata is prepared for powder microscopy. Powder microscopy shows oil globule, stomata of paracytic type on the surface, prismatic crystals, simple trichome, simple fibers and some brown content [Figure 4].
Figure 4: Powder microscopy

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Surface study

Paradermal sections of the leaf were cleared with 5% sodium hydroxide and epidermal peeling was carried out using Jeffery’s maceration fluid for studying the morphology of stomata, pattern of venation and trichomes [Figure 5].[10]
Figure 5: Surface study (for stomata with micrometry)

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Results of histochemical studies

The results of histochemical studies are given in [Table 2].
Table 2: Results of histochemical studies

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  Discussion Top

Hydrocotyle verticillata is a creeping plant found in shady places used in folklore medicine and for ornamental purpose. It is taken as Gattu kola (Centella asciatica) in West Bengal and Bangladesh for various purposes. Lacking in detailed study regarding pharmacognosy encourages to evaluate the same. Generally, the areal part of the plant is taken for medicinal use; hence, the same is studied here. The results of this study show that H. verticillata is a perennial glabrous, succulent prostate herb. 10–15cm long, stem creeping, rooting at the nodes, with long stolon. Leaf simple, alternate, leaflets are orbicular-reniform and palmately lobed, margin very coarsely repand serrate, shiny, dark green above and pale beneath, Sooth, prominently veined with long petiole. Inflorescence 5–25cm long arising from the axil of the leaves. Flowers in clusters, greenish to creamy white in color, star shape, small. The pedicel is very short, 2–3 mm long in fruit; perienth5, c. 1.5 × 1.0 mm, ovate-acute. Stamens usually 5. Ovary orbicular, glabrous; style filiform, divericate. Fruits sub-orbicular, tiny, broader than long, laterally compressed with prominent ribs.[6]

Microscopic study shows that the palisade ratio of the plant is 1:6 and stomatal index is 20. The vascular bundle is closed type, meaning that xylem is located inner side and phloem is located outer side. In T.S. of a leaf, few elements of xylem are present toward upper epidermis and that of phloem are present toward lower epidermis. Lower epidermis is interrupted by sunken stomata. Power microscopy shows oil globule, brown content, which may be responsible for its aromatic smell, and astringent, bitter taste. Also, trichome, stomata, prismatic crystal, and simple fiber are characteristics of this plant. The preliminary phytochemical study reveals the presence of lignified cells, starch grains, calcium oxalate crystals, tannin cells, mucilage, oil globule, calcium carbonate, silica and Aleurone grains which help in the identification of the plant materials, which provides the basis for their medicinal use for some human ailments.

  Conclusion Top

The present work focuses on the standers and could be useful to find the authenticity of this traditionally used medicinal plant.

  Financial support and sponsorship Top


  Conflicts of interest Top

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Anonymous. WHO guidelines on safety monitoring of herbal medicines in pharmacovigilance systems. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/43034 Last accessed date 16 August 2018.  Back to cited text no. 1
Gawhare Vikesh S. Study of physico-chemical properties of Kutajbeejai.e. Indrayava (Holarrhena antidysenterica Wall) and its antibacterial effect on enteropathogenic E-coli (EPEC) (in vitro). J Ayu Her Med 2013;4:113-21.  Back to cited text no. 2
Meena D, Anita W, Seema L. Pharmacognostical and phytochemical study of costus igneus NE Br leaf. J Indian Syst Med 2014;2:174-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
Deogade MS, Kethamakka, SRP. Standardization of wild Krushnatulasi (Ocimum tenuiflorum Linn) leaf. Int J Ayurved Med2019;10:52-61.  Back to cited text no. 4
Plant Biodiversity Conservatory and Research Core.http://florawww.eeb.uconn.edu/198501441.html. Last accessed date 04 May 2020.  Back to cited text no. 5
Rezia Khatun BM, Rahman O, Sultana SS. Hydrocotyle verticilla Thunb. (Apiaceae): a new angiospermic record for Bangladesh. Bangladesh J Plant Taxon 2010;17:105-8.  Back to cited text no. 6
Evans W, Evans T. Pharmacognosy. 16th ed. Philadelphia: W.B. Sunders Company Ltd.;1996. p. 569-70.  Back to cited text no. 7
Wallis TE. Text Book of Pharmacognosy. 5th ed. New Delhi: CBS Publishers;2002. p.123-32, 210-5.  Back to cited text no. 8
Li JW, Vederas JC. Drug discovery and natural products: end of an era or an endless frontier? Science 2009;325:161-5.  Back to cited text no. 9
Palanisamy S, Sen DJ, Gupta JK. Pharmacognostical standardization of Commiphora berryi (Arn) Engl and phytochemical studies on its crude extracts. African J Pharm Pharmacol 2009;3:37-46.  Back to cited text no. 10


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5]

  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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