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Family Blechnaceae / Polypodiaceae
Pakong-alagdan
Blechnum orientale Linn.

FISH FERN
Kuan chung

Scientific names  Common names 
Blechnum orientale Linn. Pakong-alagdan (Tag.)
Blechnopsis orientalis (L.) Presl. Centipede fern (Engl.)
Wu mao jue (Chin.) Fish fern (Engl.)
  Shield fern (Engl.)
  Kuan chung (Chin.)
Pako is a local name shared by many medicinal plants: (1) Pako - Athyrium esculentum (2) Pakong-alagdan - Blechnum orientale (3) Pakong-anuanag, pako, buhok-virgin, dila-dila - Onychium siliculosum (4) Pakong-gubat, pakong kalabao, Pityrogramma calomelanos (5) Pakong-parang - Pteris mutilata (6) Pakong-roman - Ceratopteris thalictroides. (7) Pakong-tulog, pakong-cipres, Selaginella tamariscina (8) Pakong buwaya - Cyathea contaminans

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Long chuan jue, Guan zhong, Chi jue tou.
MALAY: Paku ikan, Paku lipan, Paku ular, Paku kelindang.

Botany
Pakong-alagdan is a fern, the caudex stout, erect and densely covered with glossy brown scales. Stipes are erect, 10 to 40 centimeters long. Fronds are 20 to 200 centimeters long and 10 to 40 centimeters wide. Pinnae are sessile, 5 to 20 centimeters long and 0.5 to 2 centimeters wide. Sori are arranged in a long continuous line close to the costae.

Distribution
- Widely distributed in the Philippines.
Also found throughout India, Sri Lanka, and the Malay Peninsula, and extends to the Malay Isalnds, tropical Asia, Polynesia, and Australia.

Constituents
Phytochemistry showed essential oil, phenolic compounds and triterpenoids.

Study yielded flavonoids, terpenoids and tannins.

Properties
- Considered anthelmintic, antiviral, contraceptive and tonic.

Uses
Edibility
The Malays reportedly eat it.
Young fronds used as wild food supplement.
Folkloric
Used as poultice for boils by Malays.
Used for urinary complaints.
In China, the rhizomes are used as anthelmintic.
In India, used for impotence; boils in infants and older children, diarrhea,
Used to stop wound bleeding.
In Malaysia, used for abscesses, blisters and sores; poultice of young leaves for furuncles and boils.
One of the plants used for fungal skin infections, esp ringworm: Plant is pounded with some kerosene and applied to affected areas.
In Papua New Guinea, new fronds are eaten to induce sterility in women, new leaves ingested daily for three successive days, then repeating the course after a fortnight.

In India, paste of young frond and underground rhizome are mixed with the dried powder of Zingiber officinale and applied over fresh cut wounds to cure pain and stop bleeding.

Studies
Antibacterial: Antibacterial effect could come from the bioactive constituents of essential oil, phenolic compounds and triterpenoids. Study showed antibacterial activity, greatest against P vulgaris and less with B subtilis and S aureus.
Cytotoxicity / Breast Cancer: In vitro studies on the cytotoxic potential of three plants – Blechnum orientale, Tectaria singaporeana and Tacca integrifolia showed the roots displayed the highest cell mortality.
Polyphenols / Antioxidative / Antibacterial: Study of the leaf extracts of five medicinal ferns – A aureum, Asplenium nidus, Blechnum orientale, C barometz and D linearis– showed B orientale to possess the highest amount of total polyphenols and strongest potential as antioxidant, tyrosinase inhibition and antibacterial.
Antioxidant / Anticancer / Antibacterial: Study of Blechnum orientale showed (1) cytotoxic activity towards human colon cancer cell (2) strong radical scavenging activity, and (3) antibacterial activity against B cereus, MR Staph aureus, S epidermis.
Antioxidant: In a study of ferns for antioxidant activity, Blechnum showed strong DPPH radical scavenging activity, ferric ion reducing power, and inhibition of lipid peroxidation.
Wound Healing: Study evaluated the wound healing activity of a water extract on Sprague-Dawley rats. Results showed significant reduction in wound size and mean epithelisation time, and higher collagen synthesis, supported by histopathological evidence of greater tissue regeneration, more fibroblasts and angiogenesis.

Availability
Wild-crafted. 

Last Update November 2012

Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Ferns and Man in New Guinea / based on a paper presented to Papua New Guinea Botany Society, 1982 / Jim Croft
(2)

Blechnium Orientale Linn - a fern with potential as antioxidant, anticancer and antibacterial agent / How Y Lai, Yau Y Lim and Kah H Kim / BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2010, 10:15 / doi:10.1186/1472-6882-10-15
(3)
Anti-inflammatory plants used by the Kahmti tribe of Lohit district in eastern Arunachal Pradesh, India / Hui Tag, A K Das and Hari Loyi / Natural Product Radiance, Vol 6(4), 2007, pp 334-340.
(4)
Cytotoxic Potential on Breast Cancer Cells Using Selected Forest Species Found in Malaysia / A S Nor Aini, A Merrina et al / Malaysia. Int. J. Cancer Res., 4: 103-109. / DOI: 10.3923/ijcr.2008.103.109
(5)
Blechnum orientale L. / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
(6)
Evaluation of Antioxidant Activities of the Methanolic Extracts of Selected Ferns in Malaysia / HowYee Lai and YauYan Lim / International Journal of Environmental Science and Development, Vol. 2, No. 6, December 2011
(7)
ANTIBACTERIAL ACTIVITY OF LEAVES OF BLECHNUM ORIENTALE L / M Maridass and S Ghanthikumar / Pharmacologyonline 3: 58-60 (2008) Newsletter
(8)
Antioxidative, Tyrosinase Inhibiting and Antibacterial Activities of Leaf Extracts from Medicinal Ferns / How Yee Lai et al / Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry Vol. 73 (2009) , No. 6 pp.1362-1366

(9)
Potential dermal wound healing agent in Blechnum orientale Linn / How Y Lai, Yau Y Lim and Kah H Kim / BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2011, 11:62 / doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-62


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