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Club moss (Lycopodium clavatum)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Alpha-onocerin, ground pine, lyclavatol, lycopodine, Lycopodium alpinum L., Lycopodium annotinum L., Lycopodium chamaecyparissus A. (Br.) Doll., Lycopodium clavatum, Lycopodium complanatum ssp., Lycopodium hamiltonii, Lycopodium selago L., Lycopodiaceae (family), nankakurine A., running club moss, stag's-horn clubmoss.
  • Combination product examples: Hepeel® (homeopathic extracts of chelidonium from Chelidonium majus L., Carduus marianus from Silybum marianum L., veratrum from Veratrum album L., colocynthis from Citrullus colocynthis L., lycopodium from Lycopodium clavatum L., nux moschata from Myristica fragans Houtt, and China from Cinchona pubescens Vahl.).
  • Note: This monograph does not cover Chinese club moss (Huperzia serrata, Lycopodium serrata), a separate species that contains the sesquiterpene alkaloid huperzine A.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Club moss is a spore-bearing vascular plant that grows along the ground. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) PLANTS database, numerous species of club moss belong to two separate genera of the Lycopodiaceae family: Lycopodium and Huperzia. There is some overlap between the scientific names for species in both genera. The information in this monograph refers to the species Lycopodium clavatum.
  • According to secondary sources, Lycopodium clavatum has been used in folk medicine to treat bladder and kidney disorders and as a diuretic. Preliminary research indicates that Lycopodium clavatum may have acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity (1) and anti-inflammatory activity (2). There is insufficient available evidence in humans to support the use of Lycopodium clavatum for any indication.
  • Huperzine-containing club moss species (e.g., Huperzia serrata, Lycopodium serrata) have been mistaken for Lycopodium clavatum and ingested, resulting in cholinergic poisoning in one case report (3).

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.