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Polypodium lepidopteris (Polypodium leucotomos extract and anapsos)

Polypodium lepidopteris (Polypodium leucotomos extract and anapsos) Image
Synonyms / Common Names / Related Terms
Calaguala, ferns, Polypodiaceae (family), Polypodium cambricum, Polypdium decumanum, Polypodium vulgare, samambaia.

Mechanism of Action


  • In vitro and animal research of Polypodium leucotomos extract (anapsos) has reported cardiovascular effects8, CNS depression8, free radical scavenging activity2,3, inhibition of cytokine production (interleukin-2, interferon-gamma, tumor necrosis factor-alpha)9,10,11, stimulation of interleukin-1 secretion7, inhibition of platelet activating factor activity4,5, inhibition of leukotriene B4 formation12, suppression of T-lymphocyte proliferation6,7, anti-microbial activity1, and inhibition of ultraviolet light-induced skin damage14,15,16,13.


  • Insufficient available evidence.


  1. Dea-Ayuela, M., Rodero, M., Rodriguez-Bueno, R., Bolas-Fernandez, F., and Martinez-Fernandez, A. R. Modulation by Anapsos (Polypodium leucotomos extract) of the antibody responses against the nematode parasite Trichinella spiralis. Phytother Res 1999;13(7):566-570. 10548747
  2. Gomes, A. J., Lunardi, C. N., Gonzalez, S., and Tedesco, A. C. The antioxidant action of Polypodium leucotomos extract and kojic acid: reactions with reactive oxygen species. Braz J Med Biol Res 2001;34(11):1487-1494. 11668361
  3. Fernandez-Novoa, L., Alvarez, X. A., Sempere, J. M., Miguel-Hidalgo, J. J., Diaz, J., Franco-Maside, A., and Cacabelos, R. Effects of anapsos on the activity of the enzyme Cu-Zn-superoxide dismutase in an animal model of neuronal degeneration. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol 1997;19(2):99-106. 9151285
  4. Vasange, M., Rolfsen, W., and Bohlin, L. A sulphonoglycolipid from the fern Polypodium decumanum and its effect on the platelet activating-factor receptor in human neutrophils. J Pharm Pharmacol 1997;49(5):562-566. 9178195
  5. Tuominen, M., Bohlin, L., and Rolfsen, W. Effects of Calaguala and an active principle, adenosine, on platelet activating factor. Planta Med 1992;58(4):306-310. 1438589
  6. Rayward, J., Villarrubia, V. G., Guillen, C., Prieto, A., Rodriguez-Zapata, M., Sada, G., and Alvarez-Mon, M. An extract of the fern Polypodium leucotomos inhibits human peripheral blood mononuclear cells proliferation in vitro. Int J Immunopharmacol  1997;19(1):9-14. 9226474
  7. Bernd, A., Theilig, C., Ramirez-Bosca, A., and et al. Comparison of extract from Polypodium leucotomos with further fractions regarding their immunomodulating activities [published abstract]. Presented at the International Symposium on the Impact of Cancer Biotechnology on Diagnostic and Prognostic Indicators, Nice, France, October 26-28, 1996.
  8. Mannan, A., Khan, R. A., and Asif, M. Pharmacodynamic studies on Polypodium vulgare (Linn.). Indian J Exp Biol 1989;27(6):556-560. 2583745
  9. Nogal-Ruiz, J. J., Gomez-Barrio, A., Escario, J. A., and Martinez-Fernandez, A. R. Effect of Anapsos in a murine model of experimental trichomoniasis. Parasite 2003;10(4):303-308. 14710626
  10. Gonzalez, S., Alcaraz, M. V., Cuevas, J., Perez, M., Jaen, P., Alvarez-Mon, M., and Villarrubia, V. G. An extract of the fern Polypodium leucotomos (Difur) modulates Th1/Th2 cytokines balance in vitro and appears to exhibit anti-angiogenic activities in vivo: pathogenic relationships and therapeutic implications. Anticancer Res 2000;20(3A):1567-1575. 10928072
  11. Sempere, J. M., Rodrigo, C., Campos, A., Villalba, J. F., and Diaz, J. Effect of Anapsos (Polypodium leucotomos extract) on in vitro production of cytokines. Br J Clin Pharmacol 1997;43(1):85-89. 9056057
  12. Vasange-Tuominen, M., Perera-Ivarsson, P., Shen, J., Bohlin, L., and Rolfsen, W. The fern Polypodium decumanum, used in the treatment of psoriasis, and its fatty acid constituents as inhibitors of leukotriene B4 formation. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 1994;50(5):279-284. 8066104
  13. Middelkamp-Hup, M. A., Pathak, M. A., Parrado, C., Garcia-Caballero, T., Rius-Diaz, F., Fitzpatrick, T. B., and Gonzalez, S. Orally administered Polypodium leucotomos extract decreases psoralen-UVA-induced phototoxicity, pigmentation, and damage of human skin. J Am Acad Dermatol  2004;50(1):41-49. 14699363
  14. Alcaraz, M. V., Pathak, M. A., Rius, F., Kollias, N., and Gonzalez, S. An extract of Polypodium leucotomos appears to minimize certain photoaging changes in a hairless albino mouse animal model. A pilot study. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed  1999;15(3-4):120-126. 10404722
  15. Gonzalez, S., Pathak, M. A., Cuevas, J., Villarrubia, V. G., and Fitzpatrick, T. B. Topical or oral administration with an extract of Polypodium leucotomos prevents acute sunburn and psoralen-induced phototoxic reactions as well as depletion of Langerhans cells in human skin. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed  1997;13(1-2):50-60. 9361129
  16. Gonzalez, S. and Pathak, M. A. Inhibition of ultraviolet-induced formation of reactive oxygen species, lipid peroxidation, erythema and skin photosensitization by polypodium leucotomos. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed  1996;12(2):45-56. 8897589

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