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Club moss (Lycopodium clavatum)
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

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

Background

  • Club moss grows along the ground and reproduces by producing spores, rather than seeds. Lycopodium clavatum has been used in folk medicine to treat bladder and kidney disorders and to increase urine flow. There is insufficient available evidence in humans to support the use of Lycopodium clavatum for any condition.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) PLANTS database, numerous species of club moss belong to two separate genera in 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.
  • Club moss species that contain huperzine, a cholinesterase inhibitor (e.g., Huperzia serrata, Lycopodium serrata) have been mistaken for Lycopodium clavatum and ingested, resulting in cholinergic poisoning.

Evidence

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Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

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Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. 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. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

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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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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.