Ulam Herbs of Oenanthe javanica and Cosmos caudatus: an overview on their Medicinal Properties


  • UCSI University, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, 56000, Malaysia
  • Monash University Sunway, School of Science, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 46150, Malaysia
  • University of the Ryukyus, International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems, Faculty of Agriculture, Okinawa, 903-0129, Japan


In Southeast Asia, ulam herbs are consumed raw as a condiment. It is believed that these herbs have medicinal benefits and their regular intake can prevent degenerative diseases, delay aging and improve overall health. In this review, the current knowledge on the phytochemistry and pharmacology of Oenanthe javanica (water dropwort) and Cosmos caudatus (wild cosmos) is updated with some descriptions of their botany and uses. Water dropwort has constituents of phenylpropanoids, flavonoids and phenolic acids, notably, persicarin and isorhamnetin. Antioxidant, anti-quorum sensing, melanogenic, anti-diabetic, anti-arrhythmic, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, neurogenesis, alcohol detoxification, antitoxic, anti-coagulant, hepatoprotective, anti-hepatitis B virus and memory improvement are pharmacological properties of water dropwort. Wild cosmos, with flavonoids, phenolic acids and diterpenoids as major metabolites, possesses antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-quorum sensing, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive, hepatoprotective, detoxification, anti-osteoporosis and anti-hyperlipidemic activities. There are several patents on some of the pharmacological properties of water dropwort while a clinical trial has been conducted on the anti-diabetic effects of wild cosmos. Both these ulam herbs possess a wide array of pharmacological properties, which confer their traditional uses as food and medicine.


Pharmacology, Phytochemistry, Toxicity, Water Dropwort, Wild Cosmos

Subject Discipline

Pharmacy and Pharmacology

Full Text:


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