BRYOPHYTES: LIVERWORTS & MOSSES (Musci) • 22,000 -27,000 species occur on earth,which rates second (after Magnoliophyta division) amonghigher plants. • Peat musci(Sphagnales) 1 family (Sphagnaceae) representing 1 genus (Sphagnum)- small part of an extended groupincluding various plants classified as Bryophyta division.
Traditional uses-viewed with caution, we don't know the dosage needed, side effects, +precautions that need to be taken- may be safe for one race of people & not for others. Afterall, thosealivetodayaredescendents of survivors.
Herbal Medicines of China, India, and Native Americans include bryophytes- Native Americans used them for drugs, fibers, & clothing. Doctrine of Signatures (concept-ALLAHhas provided visual cues through plantcharacteristics), dictatesthe use of a variety of bryophytes, especially liverworts, in herbal medicine.
New Medical Sources (254 Abstracts,2 on ferns) Substances we know as pesticides & fungicides that discourage insect feeding + bacterial or fungal attack may have antibiotic properties-useful in treating human disease. Wonder if any of those heated phenolic compounds in bryophytes might be as harmful as the substances they filter out! A peat product has actually entered modern medicine as a means to cleanse the body of pollutants: humic acids.
Bryophytes used both in treating &in cushioning wounds. The active ubstance is humin acid. HUMET-R syrup entered medicine as a transporter of trace elements, reducing excess trace elements that are bombarding the human body from pollutants and other sources.
Bryophytes contain numerous potentially useful compounds including: oligosaccharides, polysaccharides, amino acids, fatty acids, aliphatic compounds, phenylquinones, aromatic & phenolic substances. Much work remains to link medical effects with specific bryophyte species or compounds.
Their pharmaceutical partseems promising, we lack any understanding of their USE, Caution inexercising any medicinal use of bryophytes. Oftentheverycompoundsthathavethesemedicalpotentialsmaycauseallergicreactions.
A sesquiterpene lactone in common epiphyte Frullaniacausescontact dermatitis, especially to forest workers. A patch test with a sesquiterpenelactonemixtodeterminesensitivitytoFrullania.
Yet sesquiterpenelactonesarewellknownfortheirantimicrobialactivity. Frullania tamarisci imparts an allergic reaction to olive pickers, listed as one of the medicinal species.
Frullaniatamarisci, a species with both allergic and medicinal properties. Upper: Typical epiphytic plant habit. Lower: Underside of branch showing lobules by which the genus may be determined.
An allergytoChiloscyphuspolyanthos, especiallywhenonesqueezes it toremoveexcesswater. 24 liverwortspecieswereknowntohavepotentialallergenicsesquiterpenelactones. Thesecompoundsundoubtedlyendowthesameadvantagetobryophytesthatthey do tofloweringplants – discouragingconsumptionbyhungryherbivores.
Severalcompoundsfromleafyliverwortsexhibitantileukemicactivity. Marchantin A from Marchantiapalacea, M. polymorpha, andM. tosana, riccardinfromRiccardiamultifida, andperrottetin E fromRadulaperrottetiiallshowcytotoxicityagainsttheeukemic KB cellsforsomereason, thisbiochemicalwork has concentrated on theliverworts.
The leafy liverwort Diplophyllumalbicans is active against human epidermoid carcinoma.
Diplophyllin, isolatedfromtheliverwortsDiplophyllumalbicansandD. taxifolium, shows significant activity (ED50 4-16 μg/ml) gainst human epidermoid carcinoma(KB cell culture). SesquiterpenoidscostunolideandtulipinolideisolatedfromConocephalumsupradecompositum, Frullaniamonocera, F. tamarisci, M.polymorpha, Porella japonica, and Wiesnerella denudataand in Lepidozia vitrea and Plagiochila semidecurrens. Have activity to combat carcinoma of thenasopharynx, at least incell culture.
Riccardiamultifida is a thallose liverwort known for its antileukemic activity.
Liverworts Plagiochasma japonica & Marchantia tosanaexhibit antitumor activity, antifungal & antimicrobial activity, inhibition of superoxide release, inhibition ofthrombin activity, + muscle relaxation. Theeffect of the total extract is betterthanthat of theisolatedcompounds, perhapsdueto a synergisticeffect.
Isolated 3 prenylbibenzylsfromRadulaspp. demonstratethey can inhibitgrowth of Staphylococcusaureusat concentrations of 20.3 μg ml-1. Out of 80 species tested, fatty acid extracts from the mosses completely inhibit the growth of rice blast fungus Pyricularia oryzae. Antimicrobial activity in extracts of the liverworts Pallavicinia, Reboulia, from Porella.
Liverworts, Leptolejeunea& Moerckiadistinctlyaromatic, Lophozia bicrenata has a pleasant odor. Solenostomasmelllikecarrots. Geocalyx graveolens has a turpentine-like odor. Conocephalumconicumsmells like mushrooms. TropicalPlagiochilarutilanssmellslikepeppermint-duetoseveralmenthanemonoterpenoids.
The leafy liverwort Geocalyxgraveolens. Underleaf is indicated by the red star.
Marchantia polymorpha thallus -surface resemblesthe cross section of liver (Chinese).
Use of bryophytes determined by its appearance. Marchantiapolymorpha-treatliver & otherailments; thesurfacesuggeststhecrosssection of liver+ other ailments. China-still used to treat the jaundice of hepatitis, as an external cure to reduce inflammation & has gained the reputation of cooling+ cleansing the liver.
Mixture of Conocephalum conicum + Marchantia polymorpha with vegetable oils - used in China on bites, boils, burns, cuts, eczema, wounds. HimalayanIndiansuseMarchantiapolymorphaorM. palmatatotreatboilsandabscesses, theyoungarchegoniophoreresembles a boil as it emergesfrom he thallus.
China:30-40 species of bryophytes found on the shelves of local pharmacist as Heart Medicine. Recent tests on Riccia fluitans indicated no ability to inhibit growth of bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus) or yeast (Candida albicans). Riccia spp. (Himalayas)used to treat ringworm reason-resemblance of growth habit to the rings made by the worm.
Circularformations of Ricciaspecies, such as thisRicciaaustinii, suggesteditsuseforcuringringworm, accordingtotheDoctrine of Signatures.
Similarity of Marchantia polymorpha thalli to the texture of lung tissue caused Europeans to use that liverwort to treat pulmonary tuberculosis. BUT, some of the bryophytes especially Sphagnumharbor fungi that cause lung disease.
Curing a fungalinfection of the skin with a bryophyteextractreported. Biologicallyactivesubstancesareterpenoidsandmaycauseallergiceffectstosomepeople. Onereputedly can cureathlete'sfootbywalkingthrough a peatbog, presumablybecause of thesesameterpenoids.
Absence of fungal diseases in liverworts suggest that lunularic acid, an aging hormone found in liverworts but not in mosses, might be responsible for liverwort antifungal activity. Degree of antibiotic activity in a species may depend on the age of the gametophyte.
Antifungal activity against Botrytis cinerea, Pythium debaryanum, and Rhizoctonia solani by the liverwort Herbertus aduncus age-dependent. 3 agingsubstancesisolatedfrom it: (-)-alpha-herbertenol; (-)-Beta-herbertenol, and (-)-alpha-formylherbertenol. Alcoholicextracts of 20 bryophytestested had antifungalactivity on infectedcrops.
SphagnumcymbifoliumBogMoss, • Sphagnum -a genus of ± 120 sps. of mossesSphagnaceae. • Can acidifyitssurroundingsbytakingupcations, such as Ca , Mg> releasing H ions.
Sphagnum has gained fame for its use as a bandage. Even before the First World War, Sphagnum was used to bandage the wounded in the Russo-Japanese war.
FirstWorldWar, USA andCanadiansusedSphagnum(peatmoss) tomakebandages, conservingthevaluablecottonformakingandpackinggunpowder. Woundsapparentlyhealbetterthanthosewith sterile surgicalbandages, benefittingfromthemoistureandfewerinfections.
BritishArmyused1,000,000 pounds of dressing/month, saving200,000 $, CanadianRedCross200,000 pounds/ month, US 500,000 duringthelast 6 months of war. Afterwar-theyreturnedtotraditionalgauzebandages, ChinesehavecontinuedtouseSphagnumforthispurpose.
Superiorityof Sphagnumbandages- attributedtoitsabilitytoabsorb 3-4 times as muchliquid as a cottonbandage at a rate 3 times as fast. Theinterlacedhyalinecellsaredeadandpossesspores-retainwaterandreadilyabsorbwaterwhendry.
Bandageretainsliquidslongerandmoreuniformly, necessitatinglessfrequentchange. Morecomfortablefortheuserbecausecooler, softer, lessirritating, retardsbacterialgrowth. Testsindicatethat- amount of woundareacoveredbynewepidermisdoubleswithuse of Sphagnumdressingcomparedto no dressing.
Sphagnumis not theonlymossthat has beenusedforbandages. Natives of Canadausea mossknown as maidenhairmossFissidensadianthoidestobandagewounds.
Fissidensadianthoides is the maidenhair moss used by the Nitinaht native people for bandages.
Soothinga wound of a differentsort (humanpride), theChineseuseFissidens, burned, to put on theirheadstoencouragehairgrowth! Use of Sphagnumas bandage - not withoutitshazards. Perhapsothermossesmayserve an absorptivefunction as wellorbetterthanSphagnumandimposefewerhazards.
Numberof mossescomparedon theirabilitytoabsorbwater. Several can rivalSphagnumin absorptiveability. Antibiotics & OtherBiologicallyActiveSubstances Bryophytespeciesactuallyproducebroad-rangeantibiotics.
Sphagnumused in Europe as a bandagematerial for wounds&abscesses (1880’s). • Much attention paid to the ion-exchangeproperties of musci.
Moss treated with HgCl2 solution, Hg2+ ions are strongly bound to cellmembranes, retained in the bound state after washingwith distilled water. • Moss treated with a HgCl2solutionis chemically modified & produces an additional antisepticeffect due to the bound Hg2+ ions.
Etherextract of Rhodobryumgiganteum, usedbythepeasantstocureangina-containsvolatileoils, lactones, amino acids(in whitemice, extractactuallyreducedtheoxygenresistancebyincreasingthe rate of flow in the aorta byover 30%). Rhodobryumgiganteum (moss) in drycondition - a traditionalTibetanmedicineforhearttrouble. Rhodobryum giganteumandR. roseum -treat nervous prostration & cardio-vascular diseases.
Women in China, hike to fens in the alpine area to collect large amounts of Sphagnum, which they subsequently dry. 27 species of Sphagnum reported , but Lisu women able to recognize a particular species in the field; they claim it is only this species that is used for medicinal purposes. Species -used as a heart tonic, probably brewed like a tea. Once dried & packaged-moss exported to Canada!
Polytrichum commune used in China to reduce inflammation & fever. -Seminolenatives N- USA usesmallmossesBarbulaunguiculata& Bryumcapillare, + largermosseslikeOctoblepharumalbidum, as externalapplicationsforfeverand body aches.