MEDICINAL HERBS – Names and Uses (Part – 4)

DANGSHEN BELLFLOWER

Common name: Dangshen Bellflower, Poor man’s ginseng

Botanical name:  Codonopsis pilosula    Family: Campanulaceae (Bell flower family)

Synonyms: Codonopsis modesta, Campanumoea pilosula, Codonopsis volubilis

Dangshen Bellflower is a twining perennial herb reaching the length of 5-10 ft with roots 1-3 cm thick. The plant is shrubby and dense. It produces light green five pointed bell shaped flowers with prominent yellow or light purple veins. Flowers are yellow-green, with purple spots inside, broadly bell-shaped, 1.8-2.3 x 1.8-2.5 cm, shallowly lobed. Lobes are triangular, tip pointed. Filaments are slightly dilated at base, about 5 mm; anthers elongate, 5-6 mm. Stigma is white bristly. Sepal cup is adnate to ovary up to middle. Sepals are broadly lanceshaped or narrowly oblong, 1.0-2.3 cm x 6-8 mm, margin subentire or sinuate, apex obtuse or acute; sinus between calyx lobes narrow and pointed. Roots are carrot-shaped or fusiform-cylindrical, 15-30 x 1-3 cm, often branched. Leaves on main stems and branches are alternate, those on branchlets opposite. Leaf-stalks are 0.5-2.5 cm long, sparsely bristly-hairy. Leaves are gray-green below, green above, ovate or narrowly ovate, 1-7.3 x 0.8-5 cm. Leaf underside is sparsely or densely hairy, rarely hairless, base is somewhat heart-shaped, rounded, or flat, margin toothed, tip blunt or pointed.

Medicinal uses:  The roots of Dangshen Bellflower are used in traditional Chinese medicine. The roots are harvested from the plant during the third or fourth year of growth and dried prior to sale. The root is also used as a gentler and more economical substitute for Panax ginseng.

COMMON HOP

Common name: Common Hop

Botanical name:  Humulus lupulus    Family: Cannabaceae (Marijuana family)

Common hop is a dioecious, perennial herbaceous climbing plant which sends up new shoots in early spring and dies back to the cold-hardy rhizome in autumn. Stems are annual, slender, climbing, up to 9 m in length, often with stout hooked hairs. Leaves are oppositely arranged, heart-shaped, 3-5-lobed, margins toothed, stalk slightly fleshy with stout hooked hairs. Plant is dioecious with unisexual flowers on separate plants, but occasionally monoecious plants occur, in which case male or female flowers are often infertile. The flowers are wind-pollinated. Female inflorescence are cone-like, 2.5-5 cm long, whereas male flowers are borne in long racemes. The flower cones of the plant, known as hops, are used in the production of beer to impart bitterness and flavor, and for their preservative qualities. Common Hop is native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere, and is widely cultivated around the world.

Medicinal uses:  Dried female hops have historically been used for its sedative effects on the central nervous system due to its methylbutenol content as a treatment for stress, anxiety and insomnia. Hops have been studied for anti-viral properties and anti-micro bacterial properties. They also contain numerous various flavonoids, and they have been studied for containing estrogen precursors as well.

ASIAN SPIDER FLOWER

Common name: Asian spider flower, Yellow spider flower, Cleome, Tickweed • Hindi: Bagra • Urdu: Hulhul • Malayalam: Naivela • Tamil: Naikkaduku • Kannada: Nayibela •Gujarati: Pilitalvani • Telugu: Kukkavaminta • Marathi: पिवला तिळवण Pivala tilavan

Botanical name: Cleome viscosa      Family: Capparaceae (Caper family)

Synonyms: Polanisia viscosa

Asian spider flower is a usually tall annual herb, up to a meter high, more or less hairy with glandular and eglandular hairs. Leaves are digitately compound, with 3-5 leaflets. Leaflets are obovate, elliptic-oblong, very variable in size, often 2-4 cm long, 1.5-2.5 cm broad, middle one largest; petiole up to 5 cm long. Racemes elongated, up to 30 cm long, with corym¬bose flowers at the top and elongated mature fruits below, bracteate. Flowers 10-15 mm across, whitish or yellowish; pedicels 6-20 mm long; bracts foliaceous. Sepals oblong-lanceolate, 3-4 mm long, 1-2 mm wide, glandular-pubescent. Petals 8-15 mm long, 2-4 mm broad, oblong-obovate. Stamens 10-12 (rarely more, up to 20), not exceeding the petals; gynophore absent. Fruit 30-75 mm long, 3-5 mm broad, linear-oblong, erect, obliquely striated, tapering at both ends, glandular-pubescent, slender; style 2-5 mm long; seeds many, 1-1.4 mm in diam., glabrous with longitudinal striations and transverse ridges, dark brown.

Medicinal uses:  The leaves are diaphoretic, rubefacient and vesicant. They are used as an external application to wounds and ulcers. The juice of the leaves has been used to relieve earache. The seeds are anthelmintic, carminative, rubefacient and vesicant. The seed contains 0.1% viscosic acid and 0.04% viscosin.

GARLIC PEAR TREE

Common name: Garlic pear tree, Caper tree, Three-leaf caper, Obtuse Leaf Crateva •Hindi: Barna, Barni बर्नी, बर्ना • Manipuri: লোইয়ুম্বা লৈ Loiyumba lei • Tamil: Marvilinga • Bengali: Barun • Sanskrit: वरुण Varuna • Malayalam: Nir mathalam •Kannada: Nirvala • Telugu: Voolemara

Botanical name: Crataeva adansonii subsp. odora    Family: Capparaceae (caper family)

A moderate sized deciduous tree found throughout India, especially along the river banks. Bark grey, smooth horizontally wrinkled. Leaves trifoliate. Flowers white, or cream in many flowered terminal corymbs. The bark is grey, and the wood is yellowish-white, turning light-brown when old. The leaves are clustered at the ends of branchlets, with a common petiole 5 to 10 centimeters long, at the summit of which are tree leaflets. The leaflets are ovate-lanceolate or ovate, 7.5 to 12 centimeters long, 4 to 6 centimeters wide, and pointed at the base, with a rather slender point at the tip. The flowers occur in terminal corymbs, are about 5 centimeters in diameter, greenish-yellow, and the stamens are purplish. The petals are ovate or oblong, with the claw half as long as limb. The fruit is ovoid or rounded, and 3 to 5 centimeters in diameters, with hard and rough rind. The seeds are about 10 centimeters in length, numerous, kidney-shaped, and embedded in a yellow pulp.

Medicinal uses:  It is used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. It has anti-inflammatory, diuretic, lithontriptic, demulcent and tonic properties. Bark yields ceryl alcohol, friedelin, lupeol, betulinic acid and diosgenin. It is useful in disorders of urinary organs, urinary tract infections, pain and burning micturition, renal and vesical calculi. A postal stamp was issued by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate this tree.

COMMON SOAPWORT

Common name: Common Soapwort, Bouncing Bet, Sweet William

Botanical name:  Saponaria officinalis    Family: Caryophyllaceae (Pink family)

Common Soapwort is a perennial herb which derives its generic name saponaria from its utility as a soap. The plants possesses leafy, unbranched stems, often tinged with red. It grows in patches, attaining a height of 70 cm. The broad, lanceshaped, stalkless leaves are opposite and 4-12 cm long. Its sweetly scented pink or white flowers are radially symmetrical. Each of the five flat petals have two small scales in the throat of the flower. Flowers are about 2.5 cm wide. They are arranged in dense, clusters at the end of the main stem and its branches. The long tubular sepal tube has five pointed red teeth. Soapwort’s native range extends throughout Europe to western Siberia. It is cultivated in Kashmir, and often found growing wild. A soap can be obtained by boiling the whole plant (but especially the root) in water. It is a gentle effective cleaner, used on delicate fabrics that can be harmed by synthetic soaps. The best soap is obtained by infusing the plant in warm water. Soapwort is sometimes recommended as a hair shampoo, though it can cause eye irritations. Flowering: June-October.

Medicinal uses:  Soapwort root, has been used as an alternative medicine since ancient times. It is medicinal as an alterative, antiscrophulatic, cholagogue, depurative, diaphoretic, mildly diuretic, expectorant, purgative and tonic. A decoction of the herb is applied externally to treat itchy skin. One of the saponins in this plant is proving of interest in the treatment of cancer.

CONE CAMPION

Common name: Cone Campion, Large Sand Catchfly, Cone catchfly, Weed campion, Weed silene

Botanical name:  Silene conoidea    Family: Caryophyllaceae (Pink family)

Synonyms: Conosilene conoidea, Cucubalus conoideus

Cone Campion is an annual herb, up to 40 cm tall. Stems are erect, branched or simple, densely glandular-velvety. Leaves are 2.5-14 cm long, 0.2-1.2 cm wide, linear-lanceshaped, base stem,-clasping at the nodes, stalkless, glandular-velvety. Bracts are similar to leaves, but smaller in size. Flowers are borne in panicles, with 3-5 flowers in lax clusters. Flower-stalks are densely glandular-velvet-hairy. Sepal tube is 2.1-2.5 cm long, pointed, with lanceshaped teeth, 30-nerved. Petals are pink to reddish, limb 8-9 mm, notched or entire, claw 1.5-1.6 cm. Coronal scales are oblong. Carpophore is about 1 mm, glabrous. Capsule is 1.1-1.8 cm, conical, with narrow neck, included in the calyx. Seeds are 1.1 mm long, kidney-shaped. Cone Campion is found in the Himalayas, S. Europe, N. Africa and temperate Asia, at altitudes of 1500-2500 m. Flowering: May-July.

Medicinal uses:  The plant is said to be emollient and is used in baths or as a fumigant. The juice of the plant is used in the treatment of ophthalmia.

PANICLED CASSINE

Common name: Panicled Cassine • Malayalam: തന്നീമരമ് Thannimaram •Marathi: मोठा भुत्‍या Motha Bhutya • Tamil: தந்நீரமரம் Tanneermaram

Botanical name: Cassine paniculata    Family: Celastraceae (Spike-thorn family)

Synonyms: Elaeodendron paniculatum

Panicled Cassine is a large buttressed tree, up to 40 m tall. Trunk is hollow in very old trees. Bark is gray, smooth; blaze pink. Watery sap oozed from cuts on the bark. Leaves are opposite or nearly opposite. Leaf stalk is up to 1.5 cm long. Leaves are 7-8 x 2.5-3.5 cm, hairless, elliptic, tip long-pointed and twisted. Base is narrow to wedge-shaped, margins toothed. Greenish white flowers are borne in cymes. Petals are spoon-shaped. Fruit is roun,d 2-seeded. Panicled Cassine is endemic to the Western Ghats. Flowering: April-July.

Medicinal uses:  Bark is given internally in extreme cases of anemia, as a blood purifier, given as cardiac tonic and as wound healing.

LARGE-SEEDED SALACIA

Common name: Large-Seeded Salacia • Hindi: सप्तरंगी Saptarangi • Malayalam: anakoranti • Marathi: लेंडफळ lendphal

Botanical name:  Salacia macrosperma    Family: Celastraceae (Spike-thorn family)

Large-Seeded Salacia is a climbing shrub with warty branchlets often coiled at base. Leaves are opposite, leathery, elliptic-oblong, tip blunt or blunt with a short tip, base narrow. Flowers are 2-3 mm long, yellowish-green, fascicled, on axillary or extra-axillary tubercles. Flower-stalks are 2-4 mm long. Sepal cup is about 1 mm long, shortly 5-lobed. Sepals are fringed with prominent rusty hairs. Petals are 5, free, each 2×1 mm, oblong. Stamens are 3, with filaments inserted on the disc. Ovary is embedded in disc, 3-locular, style short, stigma simple. Berry is ovoid.

Medicinal uses:  Large-Seeded Salacia is medicinally important. Its roots, in particular, are believed to have medicinal quality.

MEXICAN TEA

Common name: Mexican Tea, Epazote, Wormseed, Jesuit’s Tea, Herba Sancti Mariæ • Hindi: सुगंध वस्तूका Sugandha-vastooka • Kannada: guddada voma, huli voma, kaadu voma, • Manipuri: মোনশাওবী মানবী Monshaobi-manbi • Marathi: Chandanbatva •Mizo: Buarchhimtir

Botanical name: Dysphania ambrosioides    Family: Chenopodiaceae (Cat tail family)

Synonyms: Chenopodium ambrosioides

Mexican Tea is an annual or short-lived perennial herb, growing up to 1.2 m tall. The plant is irregularly branched, with oblong-lanceshaped leaves up to 12 cm long. Flowers are small and green, produced in a branched panicle at the tip of the stem. It is grown in warm temperate to subtropical areas world over, sometimes becoming an invasive weed.

Medicinal uses:  Mexican Tea is used as a leaf vegetable and herb for its pungent flavor and its claimed ability to prevent flatulence caused by eating beans but also in the treatment of amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, malaria, chorea, hysteria, catarrh, and asthma.

PERFORATE ST.JOHNS WORT

Common name: Perforate St Johns Wort • Hindi: Choli phulya • Tamil: Vettai pakku

Botanical name: Hypericum perforatum    Family: Clusiaceae (St John’s wort family)

Perforate St Johns Wort is an erect pernnial herb with unbranched rounded stem 20-50 cm tall. Lance-like leaves are paired and stem-clasping. Yellow flowers occur in branched cluster at the top of the stem. Petals have marginal black dots. The leaves of Perforate St Johns Wort, when held to the light, reveal translucent dots, giving the impression that the leaf is perforated. The dots are not holes in the leaf, but a layer of colorless essential plant oils and resin. The flowers are a bright yellow-orange. The petals are peppered with black dots. When the black dots are rubbed between the fingers, the fingers become red. This species is being cultivated commercially. The plant is found in the Himalayas at altitudes of 1200-2400 m. Flowering: May-August.

Medicinal uses:  Used in sunburn oil as cosmetic protection to skin. Oil obtained from its fresh flowers, in combination of olive oil is used externally for sores, wounds, ulcers and swellings. Also used in hair-restorer preparations.

NAG KESAR

Common name: Cobra saffron, Ceylon ironwood, Indian rose chestnut • Hindi: नाग चम्पा Nag champa, नागकेसर Nagkesar • Urdu: नर्मिश्क Narmishka • Tamil: Tadinangu • Marathi: Thorlachampa • Malayalam: Vainavu • Assamese: নোক্তে Nokte • Manipuri: নাগেসৰ Nageshor

Botanical name: Mesua ferrea      Family: Clusiaceae (Garcinia family)

A handsome Indian evergreen tree often planted as an ornamental for its fragrant white flowers that yield a perfume; source of very heavy hardwood used for railroad ties. In olden time, the very hard timber was used for making lances. It is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree up to 13 m tall, often buttressed at the base with a trunk up to 90 cm in diameter. It has simple, narrow, oblong, dark green leaves 7-15 cm long, with a whitish underside; the emerging young leaves are red to yellowish pink and drooping. The flowers are 4-7.5 cm diameter, with four white petals and a centre of numerous yellow stamens. The flowers have many uses – they are used to make an incense and also used to stuff pillows in some countries. It is the National tree of Sri Lanka.

Medicinal uses:  The leaves are applied to the head in the form of a poultice for severe colds. Oil from the seeds is used for sores, scabies, wounds, and rheumatism. The root of this herb is often used as an antidote for snake poison. The dried flowers are used for bleeding hemorrhoids and dysentery with mucus. Fresh flowers are also prescribed for excessive thirst, excessive perspiration, cough, and for indigestion.

ARJUN TREE

Common name: Arjun • Hindi: अर्जुन Arjun • Manipuri: মাঈযোকফা Maiyokpha • Tamil: மருது Marutu • Malayalam: Nirmarutu • Kannada: Nirmatti

Botanical name: Terminalia arjuna      Family: Combretaceae (rangoon creeper family)

In Indian mythology, Arjun is supposed to be Sita’s favourite tree. Native to India, the tree attracts lot of attention because of its association with mythology and its many uses. Arjuna is a large, evergreen tree, with a spreading crown and drooping branches. Grows up to 25 m height, and the bark is grey and smooth. Leaves are sub-opposite, 5-14 × 2-4.5 cm in size, oblong or elliptic oblong. Flowers small, white, and occur on long hanging recemes. Fruit is 2.3-3.5 cm long, fibrous woody, glabrous and has five hard wings, striated with numerous curved veins. Flowering time of the tree is April-July, in Indian conditions.

Medicinal uses:  Every part of the tree has useful medicinal properties. Arjun holds a reputed position in both Ayurvedic and Yunani Systems of medicine. According to Ayurveda it is alexiteric, styptic, tonic, anthelmintic, and useful in fractures, uclers, heart diseases, biliousness, urinary discharges, asthma, tumours, leucoderma, anaemia, excessive prespiration etc. According to Yunani system of medicine, it is used both externally and internally in gleet and urinary discharges.

BAHEDA

Common name: Baheda, Belliric Myrobalan, Bastard myrobalan, Beach almond, Bedda nut tree • Hindi: बहेड़ा bahera, बहुवीर्य bahuvirya, भूतवास bhutvaas, कल्क kalk, कर्षफल karshphal • Manipuri: bahera • Marathi: बेहडा behada, बिभीतक bibhītaka, कलिद्रुम kalidruma, वेहळा vehala • Tamil: தான்றி tanri • Malayalam: താന്നി thaanni • Telugu: భూతావాసము bhutavasamu, కర్షఫలము karshaphalamu, తాడి tadi, తాండ్రచెట్టు tandrachettu, విభీతకము vibhitakamu • Kannada: ತಾರೆಕಾಯಿ taarekaayi • Bengali: বহেড়া baheda •Oriya: bahada • Konkani: goting • Urdu: Bahera • Assamese: bauri • Gujarati: બહેડા baheda • Khasi: Dieng rinyn • Sanskrit: अक्षः akshah, बहुवीर्य bahuvirya, बिभीतकः bibhitakah, कर्षः karshah, विभीतकः vibhitakah • Nepali: बर्रो barro

Botanical name: Terminalia bellirica    Family: Combretaceae (Rangoon creeper family)

Synonyms: Myrobalanus bellirica

Baheda is a tall handsome tree, with characteristic bark, 12-50 m tall. Leaves are alternately arranged or fascicled at the end of branches, elliptic or elliptic obovate, leathery, dotted, entire. Leaf tip is narrow- pointed or rounded. Leaves are 8-20 cm long, 7.5-15 cm wide, on stalks 2.15 cm long. Flowers arise in spikes in leaf axils, 5-15 cm long. Flowers are greenish yellow, 5-6 mm across, stalklesse, upper flowers of the spike are male, lower flowers are bisexual. Stamens are 3-4 mm long. Fruit is obovoid 1.5-2.5 cm in diameter, covered with minute pale pubescence, stone very thick, indistinctly 5 angled.

Medicinal uses:  In traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Baheda is known as “Bibhitaki;” in its fruit form it is used in the popular Indian herbal rasayana treatment triphala. This species is used by some tribes in the Indian subcontinent for its mind-altering qualities – they smoke dried kernels. Too much of this can cause nausea and vomiting.

 

CHEBULIC MYROBALAN

Common name: Chebulic Myrobalan, Myrobalan • Hindi: हर्रा Harra, हरड़ Harad •Manipuri: মনাহী Manahi • Marathi: Hirad • Tamil: kaDukkaay • Malayalam: Katukka •Telugu: Nallakaraka • Kannada: Halle • Bengali: Haritaki • Oriya: Karedha • Konkani: Ordo • Assamese: Hilika • Sanskrit: Kayastha, Jivapriya

Botanical name: Terminalia chebula    Family: Combretaceae (Rangoon creeper family)

Chebulic Myrobalan is a flowering evergreen tree called in English the Myrobalan or sometimes the Chebulic Myrobalan. It is native to the Indian subcontinent and the adjacent areas such as Pakistan, Nepal and the south-west of China stretching as far south as Kerala or even Sri Lanka where is called Aralu. This tree yields smallish, ribbed and nut-like fruits which are picked up when still green and then pickled, boiled with a little added sugar in their own syrup or used in preserves or concotions. The seed of the fruit, which has an eliptical shape, is an abrasive pit enveloped by a fleshy and firm pulp. Chebulic Myrobalan can reach heights of 20 meters.

Medicinal uses:  Chebulic Myrobalan is highly regarded as the ‘king of medicines’ in the Ayur-Vedic Medicine. It is reputed to cure blindness and it is believed to inhibit the growth of the malignant tumours. It is allegedly also a powerful detox agent.

GRASS OF THE DEW

Common name: Grass of the Dew

Botanical name: Cyanotis arachnoidea    Family: Commelinaceae (Dayflower family)

Synonyms: Cyanotis bodinieri

Grass of the Dew plant has furry violet blooms, dotted with yellow stamens. It is a perennial her with fibrous roots. Main stem is undeveloped, short. Fertile stems arise from below the leaf rosette, diffuse, creeping, 20-80 cm. Leaves are in a basal rosette and cauline. Rosulate leaf blade linear, 8-35 × 0.5-1.5 cm; cauline leaf blade on fertile stems much shorter, to 7 cm, abaxially rather densely arachnoid. Flowers arise in often several, both terminal and axillary heads, stalkless or on a stalk up to 4 cm. Bracts are 7-8 mm. Sepals are fused at base, linear-lanceshaped, about 5 mm, webby on the underside. Petals are blue-purple, blue, or white, about 6 mm. Filaments are blue, cobweb-like. Capsules are broadly oblong, trigonous, about 2.5 mm, densely hairy at the tip. Flowering: June-September.

Medicinal uses:  Grass of the Dew was used to cure the rheumatic infections in the China Imperial. The roots are used as medicine for stimulating blood circulation, as a muscle and joint relaxant, and for relieving rheumatoid arthritis.

SHANKH PUSHPI

Common name: Prostrate Bindweed • Hindi: शंख पुष्पी Shankh Pushpi

Botanical name: Convolvulus prostratus    Family: Convolvulaceae (Morning glory family)

Synonyms: Convolvulus pluricaulis, Convolvulus microphyllus

Shankha-pushpi is an indigenous plant commonly mentioned in Ayurveda, as a rasayanawhich is mainly advocated for use in mental stimulation and rejuvenation therapy. Shankha pushpi is a prostrate, spreading, perennial, wild herb commonly found on sandy or rocky ground under xerophytic conditions in northern India. The species is marked by great morphological variability especially in size of the flower. Stems are ascending or prostrate, 10-40 cm long, densely velvety with appressed to spreading hairs. Leaves are nearly stalkless, linear to oblong, lanceshaped or inverted-lanceshaped, 0.8-3 cm long, 1.5-6 mm broad, wedge-shaped at the base, pointed to blunt at the tip, velvety to hairy. Flowers are borne in 1-3-flowered cymes which are carried on stalks up to 2-3 cm long but often much shorter or absent. Bracts are linear to lanceshaped, about 3-7 mm long. Flower-stalks are up to 3 mm long. Sepals are lanceshaped, long-pointed, 4-8 mm long, the 2 outer longer, hairy. Flowers are white or pale pink, 1-1.3 cm long, midpetaline areas velvety. Style is about 2-4 mm long, stigma-lobes 3-5 mm long. Capsule is round, 3-4 mm in diameter. Seeds are 2-4, about 2-2.5 mm long, dark brown.

Medicinal uses:  The leaves are the major constituent of a herbal drug ‘ShankhaPushpi’. The drug is used as antiepileptic. It is used alone or is administered alongwith modern antiepileptic drugs.

RUDRAVANTI

Common name: Rudravanti, Littoral bind weed • Hindi: रुद्रवंती rudravanti • Marathi: लोण lona, रुद्रवंती rudravanti • Tamil: உப்புசணக uppucanaka • Malayalam: azhukanni •Telugu: ఉప్పుగడ్డి uppugaddi, ఉప్పుసెనగ uppusenaga • Kannada: ಮುಳ್ಳುಮದ್ದುಗಿಡ mullumaddugida • Konkani: चवल chaval • Urdu: Rudanti • Gujarati: Una • Sanskrit: रुद्रवन्ति rudravanti, Palitaka

Botanical name: Cressa cretica    Family: Convolvulaceae (Morning glory family)

Rudravanti is a shrubby, diffuse herb, a few cm to 30 cm high, arising from a woody perennial root-stock. It is commonly found in India along sandy sea shores. Numerous stalkless leaves are very small, ovate, acute tipped, hairy or ashy-velvety. Flowers are small, white or pink, nearly stalkless in upper leaf axils, forming a many-flowered head. Sepals are 5, flower is funnel-shaped, and stamens protrude out of the flower. It is commonly in cultivated fields about Mumbai. Flowering: December-February.

Medicinal ues: According to Ayurved, it is bitter, pungent, rough and hot in properties. The whole plant is used for medicinal purposes. It is useful herb for asthma, bronchitis, dyspepsia, flatulence, colic, anorexia, anemia, diabetes and skin disease.

DWARF MORNING GLORY

Common name: Dwarf Morning Glory, Slender Dwarf Morning Glory • Hindi: Visnukrantha, Shyamakrantha • Marathi: Vishnukranta • Tamil: Vishnukranthi •Malayalam: Vishnukranthi • Telugu: Vishnukrantha • Kannada: Vishnykranti • Sanskrit: Vishnugandhi

Botanical name: Evolvulus alsinoides    Family: Convolvulaceae (Morning glory family)

Synonyms: Convolvulus alsinoides

This is a very slender, more or less branched, spreading or ascending, usually extremely hairy herb. The stems are 20 to 70 centimeters long, and not twining. The leaves, which are densely clothed with appressed, white, and silky hairs, are variable clothed, lanceolate to ovate, and usually 0.5 to 1 centimeter in length (but may be larger); the apex is blunt with a little point and the base is pointed. The flowers are pale blue and 6-8 mm in diameter. The fruit (capsule) is rounded, and usually contains 4 seeds. Dwarf Morning Glory is native to the South America, and is widely naturalized all over the world, including India.

Medicinal uses:  The whole plant is used in the Goa territory. It is used extensively as a febrifuge and tonic. With cumin and milk it is used for fevers nervous debility, and loss of memory; also for syphilis, scrofula, etc. it is said to be a sovereign remedy for bowel complaints, especially dysentery.

GIANT POTATO

Common name: Giant potato, Large Forest Ipomoea • Hindi: भूई कोहाड़ा Bhuyikohada •Telugu: Nelagummudu • Tamil: Palmudamgi • Malayalam: Mutalakkilannu • Marathi: भूई कोहाला Bhui-kohala

Botanical name: Ipomoea mauritiana      Family: Convolvulaceae (morning glory family)

Synonyms: Ipomoea digitata, Ipomoea insignis

Giant potato is a type of morning glory plant. Like the sweet potato, it belongs to the Ipomoea genera. It grows as a vine. The origin of Ipomoea mauritiana is unknown, it is there all over the tropics. It is naturalised in many parts of the world. This vine has stems that can grow to 10 m. Leaf blade is circular in outline, 7-18 X 7-22 cm, usually palmately 5-7-divided to or beyond middle, rarely entire or shallowly lobed. Inflorescences few to many flowered. Flowers are pink or reddish purple, with a darker center, funnelform, 5-6 cm across.

Medicinal uses:  The leaves and roots are used externally to treat tuberculosis and for the treatment of external and breast infections. In Ayurveda, a decoction of the tuberous roots are used for the preparation of medicinal wine. The Ayurvedic name isKiribadu Ala, and it is also an ingredient in Chyavanprash.

KIDNEY LEAF MORNING GLORY

Common name: Kidney Leaf Morning Glory • Hindi: Musakani • Marathi: उंदीर कानी Undirkani • Tamil: Elikkadhu-keerai • Telugu: Elikajemudu

Botanical name: Merremia gangetica    Family: Convolvulaceae (Morning glory family)

Synonyms: Merremia emarginata, Convolvulus reniformis, Ipomoea reniformis

This is a slender, prostates, creeping, smooth or somewhat hairy herb. The stems root at the nodes, and are 10-80 cm in length. The leaves are small, kidney-shaped to somewhat heart-shaped, 6-15 mm long, often wider than long, and irregularly toothed. One to three flowers occur on short stalks in the axils of the leaves. The sepals are rounded and about 4 mm long, with few to many white, weak hairs. The corolla is yellow, and nearly twice as long as the calyx. The capsule is rounded and about 5 mm in diameter.

Medicinal uses:  In the Philippines the decocted leaves and tops are sometimes employed as a diuretic. In India, the leaves are useful as a diuretic and an alterative and used in rheumatism and neuralgia.

PAINTED SPIRAL GINGER

Common name: Painted Spiral Ginger, Spotted Spiral Ginger

Botanical name: Costus pictus    Family: Costaceae (Spiral Ginger family)

Synonyms: Costus hieroglyphica, Costus mexicanus, Costus congestus

Painted Spiral Ginger is a perennial herb, native to Mexico. It has long narrow leaves with a characteristic wavy edges. The bases of the sheaths are mottled with markings that have earned the plant the synonym of Costus hieroglyphica. The inflorescences form both at the end of a leafy stem, and less often radically on a short nearly leafless stem. Painted Spiral Ginger can be recognized by its yellow flowers with red spots and stripes. In India it is grown in gardens as ornamental plant especially in Kerala in every home. The major attraction of this plant is its stem with spiral leaves and light airy and tissue paper like flowers. Red painted stem enhances the beauty of the glossy leaves and strongly spiralling canes.

Medicinal uses:  The Costus pictus is valued mainly for its tonic, stimulant and antiseptic properties. It is said to be aphrodisiac and to be able to prevent the hair turning grey. Its root is anodyne, antibacterial, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, carminative, skin, stimulant, stomachic, tonic and vermifuge.

AIR PLANT

Common name: Air Plant, Donkey Ears, Life Plant, Leaf of Life, Resurrection Plant, Canterbury Bells, Cathedral Bells, Mexican Love Plant, Floppers • Hindi: Amar poi अमर पोई • Malayalam: Elamarunna • Tamil: Runakkalli • Bengali: Kop pata • Urdu: Zakhmhaiyat ज़ख़्महयात • Manipuri: , মনাহিদাক Manahidak

Botanical name: Kalanchoe pinnata    Family: Crassulaceae (sedum family)

Synonyms: Cotyledon pinnata, Bryophyllum pinnatum

Native Hawaiian plant. Easy to grow just from one leaf set on top of moist soil. Very fast growing, drought tolerant small shrub. Tolerates almost any conditions. Spectacular bloomer. Air Plant grows to about 3-6 feet tall. The erect, thick, succulent stems bear large, fleshy leaves, each with 3 or 5 oval leaflets with round-toothed edges. Young plantlets develop along the margins of the mature leaves. The attractive, drooping blooms are borne on large panicles. The flowers have purple or yellowish-white tinged calyxes and reddish corollas. Kalanchoe is a genus of about 125 species of tropical, succulent flowering plants in the Family Crassulaceae, mainly native to the Old World but with a few species in the New World. These plants are cultivated as ornamental houseplants and rock or “cactus” garden plants. They are popular because of their ease of propagation, low water requirements, and wide variety of flower colors typically borne in clusters well above the vegetative growth. The “Air plant” Kalanchoe pinnata is a curiosity because new individuals develop vegetatively at indents along the leaf, usually after the leaf has broken off the plant and is laying on the ground, where the new plant can take root.

WILD CUCUMBER

Common name: Wild Cucumber • Hindi: मीठा करेला meetha karela

Botanical name:  Cyclanthera pedata    Family: Cucurbitaceae (Pumpkin family)

Wild Cucumber is a vine grown for its small fruit, used as a vegetable. The leaves are 4-5 inches wide and divided into several lobes. Flowers are small, pale green. It produces a pale green, semi-flattened fruit resembling a cucumber that is 4-6 inches long and 2-3 inches wide. The immature fruits may be eaten raw or pickled. The young shoots and leaves may also be eaten as greens. The mature fruit are also prepared as stuffed peppers; stuffed with meat, fish or cheese and then baked – earning it’s name “Stuffing Cucumber.”

CHINESE CUCUMBER

Common name: Chinese Cucumber, Spiny bitter-cucumber, Chinese bitter-cucumber •Hindi: ककुर Kakur, कंटोला Kantola, ककरोल Kakrol • Manipuri: কারোত Karot • Marathi: Gulkakra • Malayalam: Kshudramalakasanda • Telugu: Varivalli • Bengali: গোলককরা Golkakra • Assamese: Bhat kerala • Sanskrit: Katamala

Botanical name: Momordica cochinchinensis    Family: Cucurbitaceae (Pumpkin family)

Chinese cucumber is a traditional medicinal plant in India, China and Vietnam, commonly seen growing in gardens with its red fruit and red pulp. It is found throughout Asia and Australia. It is used in cooking, to make candy and jam, and is thought to support the health of the eyes. Aril, the red, oily pulp surrounding the seeds, is cooked along with seeds to flavor and give its red color to a rice dish, xoi gac, which is served at festive occasions such as weddings in Vietnam. It has large leaves and large white flowers.

Medicinal uses:  Seeds are used in Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicine. The total beta-carotene in this fruit is very high.

SNAKE GOURD

Common name: Snake Gourd • Hindi: चचिंडा Chachinda, चिचौंडा Chichonda • Kannada: adla balli, adla kaayi, bettada padavala • Malayalam: പടവലങ്ങ padavalanga, kaippam-patolam • Marathi: jangli padavala • Sanskrit: अमृतफल Amritaphala, bijagarbha • Tamil: புடலங்காய் pudalankaai, alakaipputal • Telugu: పొట్లకాయ potlakaaya, adavi potla

Botanical name:  Trichosanthes cucumerina    Family: Cucurbitaceae (Pumpkin family)

Snake Gourd is a tropical or subtropical vine, raised for its strikingly long fruit, used as a vegetable and for medicine. The narrow, soft-skinned fruit can reach 150 cm long. Its soft, bland, somewhat mucilaginous flesh is similar to that of the luffa and the calabash. Leaf blade kidney-shaped or broadly ovate, 7-10 × 8-11 cm, membranous, deeply 5-7-lobed, lobes triangular or rhombic. The white flower is beautiful and lacy, and open at night. It is most popular in the cuisine of South Asia and Southeast Asia. The shoots, tendrils, and leaves are also eaten as greens. It is a popular vegetable in South India.

Medicinal uses:  According to Ayurveda, the plant pacifies vitiated pitta, constipation, skin diseases, burning sensation, diabetes, anorexia, flatulence, constipation, worm infestation, fever and general weakness.

UMBRELLA SEDGE

Common name: Umbrella Sedge, Nutgrass, Nutsedge, Purple Nutsedge • Hindi: नागरमोथा Nagarmotha • Marathi: lawala • Tamil: koraikkilangu, nakamuttakkacu •Malayalam: korakizhanna • Telugu: kolatungamuste, tungagaddalaveru • Kannada: konnarigadda, nagarmusthe • Urdu: Nagarmotha, Sadkofi • Sanskrit: chakranksha, charukesara, chudalapindamusta, kachharuha, kalapini, nadeyi, nagar-mustaka

Botanical name: Cyperus scariosus    Family: Cyperaceae (Sedge family)

Umbrella Sedge is a perennial herb, about a meter tall, arising from rhizomes and tubers. The stems are 3-sided and triangular in cross section and there is an umbrella-like tuft of long narrow leaves at the top. The leaves are yellow to green in color with a distinct ridge. The plant has red-brown flower spikelets with up to 40 individual flowers. The dried tuberous roots are collected, dried and used in traditional medicine. Nutgrass is used in hair – and skin care products. It stimulates sebaceous glands near hair roots. Also interesting is that the oil, an amber viscous liquid, extracted from this plant is used in perfumery.

Medicinal uses:  The tubers are credited with astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, dessicant, cordial and stomachic properties. A decoction of the tuber is used for washing hair, treating gonorrhea and syphilis. It is also given in diarrhea and for general weakness.

KARMAL

Common name: Karmal, Dog Teak, Dillenia, Nepali elephant apple • Hindi: करमल karmal • Marathi: पिवळा करमळ piwala karmal • Tamil: நாய்த்தேக்கு nay-t-tekku, புன்னை வகை punnai vakai • Malayalam: കുടപ്പുന്ന kutapunna, പട്ടിപ്പുന്ന pattippunna, വാഴപ്പുന്ന vaazhappunna • Telugu: చిన్న కళింగ chinna kalinga, రేవడ revada • Kannada: ಕಾಡು ಕಣಿಗಲು kaadu kanigalu • Bengali: বন চালতা ban chalta • • Oriya: railgatcho • Konkani: लहान करमल lahan karmal •Assamese: okshi • Gujarati: કરમલ karmal • Khasi: dieng soh bar • Mizo: kaihzawl, kawrthing-dengte • Sanskrit: अक्षिकीफल aksikiphal, पुन्नाग punnaga • Nepalese: राम फल ram phal, तानतारी tantari

Botanical name: Dillenia pentagyna    Family: Dilleniaceae (Karmal family)

Synonyms: Dillenia floribunda, Dillenia hainanensis

Karmal is a large deciduous tree grows up to 40 meters in height. Leaves are large, 1-2 ft, alternate, ovate-rhomboid, obtuse or acute. Flowers yellowish, fragrant, 2-3 cm across, arise from the nodes of fallen leaves, on panicles. Fruits 2.5 cm in diameter, globose contain single seed. The flower-buds and young fruits have a pleasant, acid flavor and are eaten raw or cooked in Oudh and central India. The ripe fruits are also eaten.Dillenia, named in honour of J. J. Dillenius (1684-1747), a noted botanist. Pentagyna in allusion to the flower having five styles. Flowering: March-May.

Medicinal uses:  According to Ayurveda, the plant pacifies vitiated vata, kapha, anal fistula, wounds, diabetes, diabetic carbuncle, neuritis, pleurisy, pneumonia, and burning sensation.

WILD YAM

Common name: Wild Yam, Colic Root

Botanical name: Dioscorea villosa    Family: Dioscoreaceae (Yam family)

Synonyms: Dioscorea glauca, Dioscorea hirticaulis, Dioscorea quaternata

Native to North America, Wild Yam is a perennial vine which can reach a height of 10 ft. The stem is slender, rarely branched and tends to twine right to left or counterclockwise. Alternately arranged leaves are heart- shaped. The lowest leaves may appear whorled. Leaves have 7-11 parallel veins, and may be hairy on the underside. Wild yam has separate male and female flowers, yellow-green, in loose straggling clusters. Female flowers sit on top of winged green fruits. Flowering time: June-August.

Medicinal uses:  Native Americans and early herbalist had many uses for this plant including the treatment of many female and childbirth related problems. It was also used to treat various gastrointestinal problems, muscle spasms, various painful conditions such as arthritis and rheumatism. There seems to be no scientific evidence of its effectiveness for these conditions. Nonetheless, plants of this genus are valuable to modern medicine. Many of our modern steroids are manufactured from diosgenin extracted from them.

GAUB

Common name: Gaub, Indian persimmon • Hindi: गाब Gaab • Tamil: தும்பிகா Tumbika • Marathi: Temburi • Malayalam: Panancca • Telugu: Bandadamara • Kannada: Holitupare

Botanical name: Diospyros malabarica    Family: Ebenaceae (ebony family)

Synonyms: Garcinia malabarica, Diospyros peregrina

Gab is an evergreen tree with a spreading crown. It can grow up to 37 m tall, with a trunk girth of 2 m. The bark is black, smooth, and the inner bark turns bluish on exposure to sunlight. Leaves are oblong and glossy. The male flowers are formed in 3-5 flowered cymes in leaf axils. Female flowers are solitary, 4-parted, with 4 styles, and an 8-celled ovary. Fruits are round, up to 3.5 cm in diameter, and seated on a persistent sepal structure. The fruit is green, tinted red.

Medicinal uses:  Gab is the Tinduka of Sanskrit writers; its bark is described in the Nighantas as a good application to boils and tumours, and the juice of the fresh bark as useful in bilious fever. The fruit when unripe is said to be cold. light, and astringent, and when ripe beneficial in blood diseases, gonorrhoea and leprosy.

JAMAICA CHERRY

Common name: Jamaica Cherry, Panama Cherry, Singapore Cherry, Strawberry tree, Jam tree, Cotton Candy berry, Calabura • Marathi: Paanchara पांचारा • Tamil: தேன் பழம் ten pazham • Telugu: Nakkaraegu • Kannada: Gasagase hannina mara

Botanical name: Muntingia calabura    Family: Elaeocarpaceae (Rudraksh family)

Jamaica Cherry is a very fast-growing tree of slender proportions, reaching 25 to 40 ft in height, with spreading, nearly horizontal branches. The leaves are evergreen, alternate, lanceolate or ovate, long-pointed at the apex, oblique at the base. The flowers with 5 green sepals and 5 white petals and many prominent yellow stamens last only one day, the petals falling in the afternoon. Flowers resemble strawberry bloom, hence the common name, Strawberry tree. The abundant fruits are round, 1-1.25 cm wide, with red or sometimes yellow, smooth, thin, tender skin and light-brown, soft, juicy pulp, with very sweet, musky, somewhat fig-like flavor, filled with exceedingly minute, yellowish seeds, too fine to be noticed in eating. The tree has the reputation of thriving with no care in poor soils. It is drought-resistant but not salt-tolerant. Wherever it grows, fruits are borne nearly all year. The leaf infusion is drunk as a tea-like beverage. Fruits contain hundreds of tiny seeds.

Medicinal uses:  The flowers are said to possess antiseptic properties. An infusion of the flowers is valued as an antispasmodic. It is taken to relieve headache and the first symptoms of a cold.

DWARF RHODODENDRON

Common name: Dwarf Rhododendron, Talis (Hindi), Talisri (Hindi)

Botanical name: Rhododendron anthopogon    Family: Ericaceae (Rhododendron family)

This is probably one of the smallest of rhododendrons. Grows to no more that 2-3 ft high. The white or yellow flowers, tinged with pink, grow in small compact clusters of 4-6 and each flower is 2 cm across. The dark green oval leaves are strongly aromatic and densely scaly underneath. The leaves are mixed with Juniper and used as incense in Buddhist monastries as well as in Hindu religious ceremonies.

Medicinal uses:  In Nepal, Dwarf Rhododendron is used in making an essential oil. Anthopogon oil, as it is usually referred to in Nepal, is obtained by steam distillation of the aerial part of this shrub. It is a fluid liquid of pale yellow colour and sweet-herbal, faintly balsamic aroma. Rhododendron can be used in gouty rheumatic conditions. The essential oil is a stimulant and affects fibrous tissue, bones and nervous system.

PINK SCALY RHODODENDRON

Common name: Pink Scaly Rhododendron • Hindi: Atarasu, Sumral, Simris, Talshi •Nepali: भाले सुनपाति Bhaale Sunpati

Botanical name:  Rhododendron lepidotum    Family: Ericaceae (Rhododendron family)

Pink Scaly Rhododendron is a low shrublet, growing to about a meter tall. Narrow lanceshaped leaves, 2.5-4 cm long, are densely covered with fleshy scales. Flowers are pink or purple, borne in clusters of 2 to 4, on slender stalks. Flowers are about 2-2.5 cm across, broadly tubular with 5 spreading rounded petals, scaly and glandular outside. Eight stamens protrude out of the flowers with red filaments which are hairy on the lower side. Fruit is a capsule, densely scaly, covered with persisting sepals. Flowering: June-July.

Medicinal uses:  The people of Manang district, central Nepals, take the juice of the plant, believing it purifies the blood. Pounded leaves are boiled in water and spread on cots, beds, and mats to kill bugs.

WILLOW-LEAVED RHODODENDRON

Common name: Willow-Leaved Rhododendron, Yellow Scaly Rhododendron • Hindi: Atarasu, Sumral, Simris, Talshi • Nepali: भाले सुनपाति Bhaale Sunpati

Botanical name: Rhododendron lepidotum ssp. salignum    Family: Ericaceae(Rhododendron family)

Synonyms: Rhododendron salignum

Willow-Leaved Rhododendron is a low shrublet, growing to about a meter tall. Narrow lanceshaped leaves, 2.5-4 cm long, are densely covered with fleshy scales. Flowers are pale yellow, borne in clusters of 2 to 4, on slender stalks. Flowers are about 2-2.5 cm across, broadly tubular with 5 spreading rounded petals, scaly and glandular outside. Eight stamens protrude out of the flowers with filaments which are hairy on the lower side. Fruit is a capsule, densely scaly, covered with persisting sepals. It is closely related to the Pink Scaly Rhododendron, but has longer leaves. Flowering: June-July.

Medicinal uses:  The people of Manang district, central Nepals, take the juice of the plant, believing it purifies the blood. Pounded leaves are boiled in water and spread on cots, beds, and mats to kill bugs.

RED PHYSIC NUT

Common name: Red Physic Nut, wild castor, wild croton, wild sultan seed • Hindi: दन्ती danti • Marathi: दंती danti, कातरी katari • Tamil: பேயாமணக்கு pey-amanakku •Malayalam: ചെറിയദന്തി ceriyadanthi, നാഗദന്തി naagadanthi • Telugu: అడవి ఆముదము adavi amudamu, కొండ ఆముదము kond amudamu, నేల జీడి nela jidi, నేపాళము nepalamu • Kannada: ದಮ್ತಿ damti, ಕಾಡು ಹರಳು kaadu haralu, ನಾಗದಮ್ತಿ naagadamti •Bengali: দন্তী danti, দন্তিগাছ dantigaacha • Oriya: ଏକ ପ୍ରକାରର ଔଷଧ •Konkani: baktumbo • Sanskrit: दन्ती danti, दन्तिका dantika, दीर्घ dirgha, एरण्डपत्रिका erandhapatrika, एरण्डफला erandhaphala, मकूलकः makulakah, नागदन्ती nagadanti, नागविन्ना nagavinna, निकुम्भः nikumbha, प्रत्यक्श्रेणी pratyaksreni, रेचनी rechani, रूक्षा ruksha, शीघ्रा shigra, विशल्य vishalya, उडुम्बरपर्णी udumbaraparni • Nepali: अजय पाल Ajaya pal, दुधे झार Dudhe Jhaar

Botanical name: Baliospermum montanum    Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)

Synonyms: Baliospermum axillare, Baliospermum solanifolium, Jatropha montana

Red Physic Nut is a stout undershrub, 10 cm to 8 m in height with herbaceous branches from the roots. Leaves are simple, toothed with undulations. Upper leaves are small, lower ones large, sometimes palmately 3-5 lobed, 3-30 cm long, 1.5-15 cm broad. Male and female flowers are separated, seen in the same flowering branch, minute, about 3 mm across, greenish yellow, arranged in axillary and terminal racemes, spikes or fascicles. Capsules are distinctly 3-lobed, obovoid, stony, 8-13 mm across, minutely densely pubescent. Seeds are egg-shaped.

Medicinal uses:  Roots, seeds, leaves and seed oil are used to treat jaundice, constipation, piles, anemia, conjuctivitis. The roots are purgative, anthelmintic, carminative, rubefacient and anodyne. Used in abdominal pain, constipation, calculus, general anasarca, piles, helminthic infestation, scabies and skin disorders. Root paste is applied to painful swellings and piles. The leaves relieve asthma and seeds are used to cure snakebites.

GRACEFUL SANDMAT

Common name: Graceful Sandmat, Graceful spurge, large spotted spurge, milk purslane

Botanical name: Chamaesyce hypericifolia    Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)

Synonyms: Chamaesyce glomerifera, Euphorbia glomerifera, Euphorbia hypericifolia

Graceful Sandmat is an annual herb with milky sap. Stems are hairless, erect, often red. Oppositely arranged leaves are oblong-elliptic, 1 – 2.5 cm long, 4 – 8 mm wide, margin slightly toothed. The species name hypericifolia means, having leaves like Hypericum, that is, St. John’s Wort. Indeed, the leaves do bear a strong resemblance to St Johns Wort’s leaves. Flowers are minute, clustered into cup-like cyathia (A cythium is a flower-like object which is not the actual flower). Cyathia borne solitary in the leaf axil and in dense, nearly leafless glomerules constituting lateral branches. Cyathial appendages are petal-like, 4, white to pink, each with a minute gland at the base. Capsules are smooth, generally widest below the middle. Flowering: July-December.

Medicinal uses:  All parts of the plant are used as medicine for inducing lactation

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