Properties of the Club moss, a very useful medicinal plant for skin ailments

The club moss, Lycopodium clavatum , is one of those very interesting medicinal plants that help us to take care of our health due to its different therapeutic uses. Traditionally it has been used for skin ailments, irritations, wounds, improving memory or relieving stomach pain.

In this article I tell you all the details you should know about the properties and benefits of the club moss.

Plants have been the ancestral medicines of animals and human beings and the different ways of using them and what they are for have been transmitted from generation to generation and, although some knowledge may have been lost in the mists of time, they are still used today. same plants.

Currently, much research is being carried out on plants for traditional medicinal use, since the properties that many plant varieties can offer a natural treatment for the cure or mitigation of ailments and diseases remain to be discovered.


The use of club moss in traditional medicine

The scientific name is Lycopodium clavatum and it belongs to the Lycopodiaceae family of which there are several species. The club moss arouses great interest for pharmaceutical research because it has been used ancestrally by the traditional medicine of different cultures .

The species used by Traditional Chinese Medicine for its effects on improving memory is being studied as a future promise for the treatment of Alzheimer’s; in Turkey there are five species, but it is Lycopodium clavatum (LC) that is commonly used in the Anatolia region to heal wounds and rashes ; in Papua New Guinea the same species is used for stomach pain .

At the Lycopodium clavatum , it is known by other names as gypsywort, terrestrial moss and sulfur plant . In Catalan it is named as peu le llop or licopodi, and in Galician as pé de lob, licopodio-da-estrella or licopodi. In Mexico it is also called terrestrial moss or vegetable sulfur.

It is a lively and creeping plant with aerial stems 20 cm to 2 m thickly leafy, light green in color and ending in a whitish hair. The spikes are 3 to 6 cm long with yellowish leaves, and the are small spores. This plant grows in humid, shady areas with acid soils rich in humus, preferring areas between rocks above 700 and 2000 m of altitude.

It is a plant that is on the red list of threatened species of extinction , due to changes in the use of the land in the Pyrenees, Cantabrian Mountains, Alto Sistema Ibérico and Sierra de la Estrela.

Active principles of Lycopodium clavatum

The club moss has mainly oils (50%) glycerides of lycopodoleic acids phytosterols, as well as carbohydrates, caffeic acid, sporonin, flovonides and triterpenes.

But it also has alkaloids that can be toxic such as lycopodin, dihydrolicopodin, acetyldihydrolicopodin, licodoline. It is important to take medicinal plants under the supervision of a professional to make sure that it will not be toxic or create unwanted effects and that it does not have contraindications with medications or foods that we take.

club moss properties

Properties of the club moss

The club moss is used in traditional medicine and folk medicine in many cultures and studies for its pharmaceutical use continue to be carried out today.

The spores are mainly used to treat ailments of the liver and gallbladder (hepatomegaly or bladder spasms), kidney and bladder or urethra (kidney grits, cystitis, renal colic and urethritis), gout, rheumatism, flatulence, constipation, bronchitis, hemorrhoids and varicose veins.

Its diuretic and laxative action is very effective and makes clubmoss a very interesting plant for cases of fluid retention and constipation.

In addition, it is considered to have actions on the constitution, blood, liver and kidneys.

In some cultures, lycopodium is considered to profoundly affect vital energies, producing a series of actions that indicate it as a valuable natural remedy for mental and physical fatigue, which is why it is often prescribed for exhausted people who have muscle weakness and weakness. predisposition to liver disorders or lung disorders.


How to use the club moss

In general, its use is external, in the form of dressings or compresses.

External use as a decoction : For skin conditions, such as irritations or rashes, and even to calm colic with compresses, you can prepare a decoction with a tablespoon of the green plant in 1 liter of boiling water, let it rest and apply on the affected or sore area.

External use as talc : the spore powder can be used on the skin as if it were talc, only when there are no open wounds. It is used mainly for irritations, itching, inflammation of the skin or to control excess sweating.

Internal use as an infusion : prepare 1 teaspoon in 250 ml of water, bring to a boil and strain. The daily dose should not exceed three cups a day and prolonged use (more than 2 weeks) is not recommended.

Precautions and contraindications

Club moss should not be used uncontrollably or outside the direction of an expert. Natural medicine is very effective but it must be administered and controlled, especially with this plant that contains alkaloids that can be toxic; all studies indicate that vomiting and gastroenteritis have been observed, such as effects of alkaloids.

Of course, it is contraindicated during pregnancy, lactation and childhood. For people with hypertension, heart disease or kidney failure, its use as a diuretic must be strictly controlled by a doctor due to the possibility of a tension decompression or the elimination of potassium.


This is general information, if you want to know how to take the club moss in your particular case, consult a specialist so they can advise you on the best depending on your needs.


  • LIFE12 NAT / ES / 000180 RESECOM Monitoring network for species of flora and habitats of community interest in Aragon. Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Environment, Government of Aragon. Life. Natura 2000.
  • Sheets with a compilation of information on the species included in Decree 63/2007 Junta de Castilla y León. Botany Department, University of Salamanca. Department of Plant Biology, University of León. Institute of Environmental Sciences (ICAM), University of Castilla la Mancha.
  • Appraisal of anti-inflammatory potential of the clubmoss, Lycopodium clavatum L. Ilkay Orhan, Esra Küpeli, Bilge Sener, Erdem Yesilada. Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Gazi University of Ankara. Departmant of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy Yeditepe University, Istanbul, Turkey. (2006)
  • Ethnobotania
  • Book “Materia Medica” by FARRINGTON Ernest A. Dr. Samuel Hanemann International Library.

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