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Family Typhaceae
Typha capensis (Rohrb.) N. E. Br

Shui zhu

Scientific names Common names
Typha capensis (Rohrb.) N. E. Br Balangot (Tag., S.L. Bis.) 
Typha latifolia subsp. capensis Rohrb. Homay-homay (Bis.) 
  Kaidked (Pamp.) 
  Lampakanay (C. Bis.) 
  Tubal-tubal (C. Bis.) 
  Cattail (Engl.) 
  Love reed (Engl.)
  Narrowleaf cattail (Engl.) 
  Small bulrush (Engl.)
Quisumbing compilation lists Typha capensis and Typha angustifolia as synonyms. Other compilations lists them as separate species.
Typha capensis (Rohrb.) N.E.Br. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names (As Typha capensis)
AFRICA: Papkuil, Matjiesriet, Plamiet.
CHINESE: Shui zhu.
FRENCH: Massette du Cap.
Other vernacular names (As Typha angustifolia)
ARABIC: Bardi, But, Hhafa.
CHINESE: Shui zhu.
CZECH: Orobincem uzkolistym, Orobinec úzkolisty.
DUTCH: Kleine lisdodde.
FINNISH: Kapeaosmankäämi.
FRENCH: Massette à feuilles étroites, Massette des étangs, Quenouilles.
GERMAN: Schmalblaettriger Rohrkolben, Schmaler Rohrkolben.
ITALIAN: Lisca a foglie strette, Mazza sorda, Stiancia minore, Tifa a foglie strette.
JAPANESE: Hime gama.
NEPALESE: Khar, Pater.
NORWEGIAN: Smalbladet dunkjevle, Smalt dunkjevle.
PORTUGUESE: Tabua-estreita.
RUSSIAN: Rogoz uzkolistnyi.
SPANISH: Anea, Espadaña común, Espadaña estrecha, Junco de la pasion, Macio de hoja estrecha.
SWEDISH: Smalkaveldum
TURKISH: Su kamishi.
VIETNAMESE: Bon bon, Thuy huong.

Lampakanay is an erect swamp plant reaching up to 2 meters in height. Leaves are long, linear and 10 to 12 millimeters wide. Spikes are exserted, cylindric; the male flowers superposed above the female ones; the female ones when mature are brown, 12 to 20 centimeters long and up to 2 centimeters in diameter. Fruits are very minute, with membranous pericarp.

- Widely distributed in the Philippines at low altitudes in low wet places and in shallow or stagnant waters.
- Also used as ornamental in garden ponds.

- Also occurs from Africa and Madagascar to New Guinea.

- Study isolated stearic and propanetriol ester, quercetin, naringenin.
- Hexane extract of rhizomes yielded two new bibenzyls, typharin and typhaphthalide, together with ß-sitosterol. An acetone extract yielded several flavan-3-ols in their free phenolic form viz. afzelechin, epiafzelechin, (+) catechin, and (-)-epicatechin.
- Study of hexane extract of rhizomes of Typha capensis yielded two new phenolics, typhaphthalide (a benzylphthalide) and typharin (an isocoumarin) along with sitosterol. An acetone extract yielded afzelechin, epiafzelechin, and catechin. (19)

Considered anticoagulant, anti-contusive. anodyne, astringent, aphrodisiac, diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, hemostatic, sedative, styptic, tonic, vermifuge, vulnerary.

Parts utilized
· Whole inflorescence.

All parts of the cattail can be eaten.
· Core of young flower shoots are tender and can be eaten raw, with a taste of cucumbers.
Rhizomes and seeds (with fluffy parts burnt off) processed to make flour.
· Green flower stems cooked on the stick and eaten like corn-on-a-cob.

• Hematomas: Mix 9 gms of the dried material with 4 gms gumamela (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), in one cup of baby's urine (suckling). Boil to decoction and drink.
• Wooly soft Inflorescence is hemostatic, used for dressing ulcers and wound healing.
• For herpes labialis, cheilosis, swelling of the tongue: apply powdered preparation on lesions.
• For dysmenorrhea, post-delivery pain: grind to powder 3 to 9 gms of dried pollen preparation and drink with warm water or wine.
• Pollen used for kidney stones, dysmenorrhea, abnormal uterine bleeding, abscesses.
• Used for tapeworms, diarrhea, dysentery.
• Root infusion used for gravel.
• Roots are used as diuretic; used for urethritis and dysentery.
Zulus use a decoction of root in the treatment of venereal diseases; Xoas use it as an aid to expel the placenta.
• Used to strengthen uterine contractions. Also used to promote fertility in women, to enhance male potency and libido, to improve circulation.
• In Chile and Argentina, used in folk remedies for tumors.
American Indians reported to use jelly from young leaves for wounds and skin problems. Used for wound dressing. Rhizomes used as salve for wounds. Smoke from burning of flower heads repel insects.(Source)
• Tea of roots and leaves used for stomach cramps.
• In South Africa used to treat male fertility problems.
• In India used as refrigerant, aphrodisiac and cure for dysuria.
• In Chinese medicine, used for angina, brain clots, high lipids, difficult urination, chronic colitis, hemorrhoids, boils, rash in infants. (Source) Also, used in treatment of hypermenorrhea. (Source) Also, used as astringent for dysentery and for hemorrhage of the bowels. Stamens, without the pollen, used as astringent and styptic.
• In Antilles the pollen is used as substitute for powder of licopodio; hairs and seeds used against burns.
• In South Africa, Typha capensis, along with Clivia miniata and Agapanthus africanus, used as ingredients for a traditional herbal medicine, Isihlambezo, for pregnant mothers. (20)
Weaving: Stems and leaves used in making paper, woven into mats, hats.
Building: As building material, used for making thatch.
Fuel: Source of biomass, compost heap, or fuel.
• Pollen highly inflammable and used in making fireworks.
Seeds used to stuff pillows and clothing insulation.
• Extensive root system makes it ideal for stabilizing wet banks of rivers and lakes.

Immunosuppressive Effect: Immunosuppressive activity of Pollen Typhae ethanol extract on the immune responses in mice. Study showed ethanol extract could suppress humoral and cellular response in mice.
Cholesterol Lowering Effect: Five aliphatic compounds were isolated from the pollen of TA. Compound IV showed significant lowering of serum cholesterol.
Cerebrosides / Vascular Smooth Muscle Effect: Study yielded two new cerebrosides from the pollen of Typha angustifolia, both exhibiting effect on the proliferation of cultured vascular smooth muscle cells induced by fatal bovine serum.
Processing Effects on Flavonoids and Polysaccharides: Study showed processing temperature, yellow wine and vinegar affected the chemical constituents, influencing flavonoids and polysaccharides in different degrees.
Allergenic Potential : TA has been reported to be the fourth most common airborne pollen in Thailand. In a study of 513 patients, 68.42% showed a positive allergenic reaction to TA extract; however, less than the four other tested extracts. (5)
Wastewater Treatment: Study showed narrow-leaved cattails can treat wastewater. (6)
Nonacosanetriols / Anti-Platelet Aggregation: Study yielded two new nonacosanetriols from the pollen of TA, which exhibited weak anti-platelet aggregation in vitro. (7)
Inhibition of Collagenase Activity / Free Radical Scavenging / Sperm Motility Effects: Study evaluated in vitro effects of aqueous extracts from the plant on male reproductive functions. Results showed rhizome extract had significant negative effects of all parameters (sperm vitality, motility, production of reactive oxygen species). Extracts from leaves and rhizomes showed dose dependent inhibitory effect for collagenase and free radical formation. The inhibitory activity for collagenase may indicate possible anti-cancer effects. (13)
Antibacterial: Study evaluated various extracts and solvents of dried ground leaves and rhizomes of Typha capensis for antibacterial activity. Average total activity, a measure of potency, was highest for methanol leaves and rhizomes extracts. (14)
• Effect on Male Reproductive Functions / Rhizomes: Study of crude aqueous extracts of rhizomes of T. capensis yielded bioactive compounds i.e., quercetin and naringenin. Study showed enhanced production of testosterone and suggests possible use in treating male infertility and aging male problems. (17)
• Uptake of Heavy Metals from Wetland Sites: Study used Typha capensis, a good accumulator of heavy metals, to demonstrate the existence of metal-metal interactions in plants and the implications for absorption of toxic elements like Cr. and possible Cr. detoxification mechanisms within the plant are discussed. (18)


Updated April 2019 / July 2015

IMAGE SOURCE: Photo / :Typha capensis.jpg / © Herbal Fire Botanicals / Click on photo to go to source page
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE File:Typha capensis.jpg / Andrew Massyn / Dec 2006 / Public Domain/ Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Typha latifolia L. /USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Vol. 1: 68.Schede di botanica

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Studies on the Aliphatic Constituents from the Pollen of Typha augustifolia L: / Jia Shi-shan et al / Acta Botanica Sinica / 1990. 32 (6):465-468
Immunosuppressive activity of Pollen Typhae ethanol extract on the immune responses in mice
Two new cerebrosides from the pollen of Typha angustifolia / Wei-Wei Tao, Nian-Yun Yang et al / Fitoterapia / doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2009.08.026
Analysis on contents of flavonoids and polysaccharides in pollen of Typha angustifolia L. and its different processed products / Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2000 Jan;25(1):25-8.

ALLERGENIC POTENTIAL OF TYPHA ANGUSTIFOLIA ALLERGY IN THAILAND (NO. 399) / Kunda Kasetsinsombat et al / Inflam Res 2000; 49:460-465 /
Synthetic reactive dye wastewater treatment by narrow-leaved cattails (Typha angustifolia Linn.): Effects of dye, salinity and metals / S Nilratnisakom et al /
Science of The Total Environment, Vol 384, Issues 1-3, 1 October 2007, Pages 67-76 / doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2007.06.02
Two new nonacosanetriols from the pollen of Typha angustifolia / Wei Wei Tao, Nian Yun Yang et al /
Chinese Chemical Letters, Vol 21, Issue 2, Feb 2010, Pages 209-212 / doi:10.1016/j.cclet.2009.10.025
Typha ssp. / Typhaceae / Cattail – James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.
Study on the constituents of Typha angustifolia L. / Chen Pei-dong, Yan Hui et al / DOI CNKI:SUN:HAIX.0.2008-12-033
Typha angustifolia L. / Plants For A Future
Typha capensis (Rohrb.) N.E.Br. / Plantzafrica
Sorting Typha names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 - 2000 The University of Melbourne.
Typha capensis (Rohrb.) N.E.Br. (bulrush) extract scavenges free radicals, inhibits collagenase activity and affects human sperm motility and mitochondrial membrane potential in vitro: a pilot study.
/ Henkel R, Fransman W, Hipler UC, Wiegand C, Schreiber G, Menkveld R, Weitz F, Fisher D. / Andrologia, May 2012; 44, Suppl 1: pp 287-294 / doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0272.2011.01179.x
Biological activities of Typha capensis (Typhaceae) from Limpopo Province (South Africa)
/ Masoko, P.*, Mokgotho, M. P., Mbazima, V. G. and Mampuru, L. J. / African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 7 (20), pp. 3743-3748, 20 October, 2008
A phytochemical investigation of Acridocarpus Natalitius and Typha Capensis. / Mahomed, Abdul Samad. / Thesis (M.Sc.)-University of Durban-Westville, 2001
Typha capensis / Synonyms / The Plant List
Investigations on the effects of Typha capensis on male reproductive functions / Ilfergane, Abdulkarem / Thesis, 2016 / University of the Western Cape
Uptake of heavy metals by Typha capensis from wetland sites polluted by effluent from mineral processing plants: implications of metal-metal interactions. / Zaranyika M F, Nyati W / 3 Biotech, 20 Aug 2017; 7(5) / DOI: 10.1007/s13205-017-0916-1 
Typhaphthalide and typharin, two phenolic compounds from Typha capensis / / Phytochemistry, 2002; 61(8): pp 955-957 / DOI: 10.1016/s0031-9422(02)00439-9 / PMID: 12453524
PREVALENCE AND PATTERN OF USE OF HERBAL MEDICINES DURING PREGNANCY IN TUMPAT DISTRICT, KELANTAN / Azriani Ab. Rahman, Siti Amrah Sulaiman*,Zulkifli Ahmad, Wan Nudri Wan Daud, Abdul Manaf Hamid / Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences, July 2008; 15(3): pp 40-48

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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