Bacopa monnieri (Linn.) Penn.
(Linn.) H. B. & K.Moniera
HabitatThroughout the plains of
India in damp marshy areas.
AyurvedicBraahmi, Aindri, Nirbraahmi,
Shaaluraparni, Mandukaparni (also
equated withCentella asiatica Linn.,
synonymHydrocotyle asiatica Linn.
diuretic, sedative, potent nervine
tonic, anti-anxiety agent (improves
mental functions, used in insanity,
epilepsy), antispasmodic (used in
bronchitis, asthma and diarrhoea).
Key applicationIn psychic disorders
and as a brain tonic. (The Ayurvedic
Pharmacopoeia of India; Indian
B.monnierihas been shown to cause
prolonged elevated level of cerebral
glutamic acid and a transient increase
in GABA level. It is assumed that endogenous
increase in brain glutamine
may be helpful in the process of learning.
The herb contains the alkaloids
brahmine, herpestine, and a mixture
of three bases. Brahmine is highly toxic;
in therapeutic doses it resembles
strychnine. The herb also contains
the saponins, monnierin, hersaponin,
bacosides A and B. Bacosides A and
B possess haemolytic activity. Hersaponin
is reported to possess cardiotonic
and sedative properties. It
was found, as in case of reserpene,
to deplete nor-adrenaline and -HT
content of the rat brain.
An alcoholic extract of the plant in
a dose of mg/kg produced tranquilizing
effect on albino rats and dogs,
but the action was weaker than that
produced by chlorpromazine.
DosageWhole plant—– g
powder. (API Vol. II.)
SynonymB. roxburghii Planch.
HabitatDrier parts of India,
particularly in Rajasthan, Gujarat,
Madhya Pradesh and Deccan.
78Balanophora involucrata Hook. f.
AyurvedicIngudi, Angaar Vrksha,
Taapasadrum, Taapasa vrksha,
FolkHingol, Hingota, Hingothaa.
Fruit—used in whooping cough;
also in leucoderma and other skin
The plant is reported to be a potential
source of diosgenin (used in
oral contraceptives). The fruit pulp
contains steroidal saponins. The diosgenin
content of the fruit varies from
. to .%. Aqueous extract of fruits
showed spermicidal activity without
local vaginal irritation in human up to
%; sperms became sluggish on contact
with the plant extract and then
became immobile within s; the effect
Protracted administration of the
fruit pulp extract produced hyperglycaemia-
induced testicular dysfunction
in dogs. An aqueous extract of mesocarp
exhibited antidiabetic activity in
streptozotocin-induced diabetes in
The seed contains balanitins, which
exhibit cytostatic activity.
DosageLeaf, seed, bark, fruit—
– ml decoction. (CCRAS.)
HabitatThe Himalayas from
Kashmir to Sikkim and Darjeeling
at altitudes of ,–, m
ActionAstringent. Used in piles,
also in rheumatism.
Arelated species,B. polyandra Griff.,
found in Nagaland, Manipur, West
Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh
at , m, gave a phenolic glycoside,
coniferin. The plant is used as
SynonymB. axillare Bl.
HabitatThe Himalayas, Assam,
Khasi Hills, Bengal, Madhya
Pradesh, Bihar and Peninsular
India, ascending to , m.
Shighraa, Pratyak-shreni, Vishaalya.
Arg. is considered as Naagadanti.
purgative (also used in dropsy),
antiasthmatic (decoction is given in
asthma). Latex—used for body ache
and pain of joints. Root and seed
Balsamodendron myrrhaNees. 79
Along with other therapeutic applications,
The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia
of Indiaindicated the use of dried
root in jaundice, abdominal lump and
The presence of steroids, terpenoids
and flavonoids is reported in the leaves.
The root contains phorbol derivatives.
EtOH extract of roots showedin vivo
activity in P- lymphocytic leukaemia.
DosageRoot— g powder. (API
Hook. ex Stocks
(Hook. ex Stocks) Engl.
C. wightii(Arn.) Bhandari.
Pradesh, Assam, Andhra Pradesh,
EnglishIndian Bdellium, Gum
Kaushika, Pur, Mahishaaksha,
Palankash, Kumbha, Uluukhala.
UnaniMuqallal yahood, Muql,
reducing obesity and in rheumatoid
arthritis, osteoarthritis, sciatica.
Key applicationIn the treatment
of hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolaemia
and obesity. (WHO.)
Guggulipid is hypocholesteremic.
Guggul resin contains steroids—gugglsterones
Z and E, guggulsterols I–
V, diterpenoids; volatile oil, including
other constituents, contains a terpene
hydrocarbon cembrene A. E- and Zguggulsterones
are characteristic constituents,
which distinguishC. mukul
from otherCommiphore sp.
Guggul resin increases catecholamine
biosynthesis and activity in cholesterol-
fed rabbits, inhibits platelet aggregation,
activity and appears to activate the
thyroid gland in rats and chicken. Zguggulsterone
may increase uptake of
iodine by thyroid gland and increase
oxygen uptake in liver and bicep tissues.
(PlantaMed , , –.)
The gum is also used in hemiplegia
and atherosclerotic disorders; as a gargle
in pyrrhoea aveolaris, chronic tonsilitis
and pharyngitis. Fumes are recommended
in hay fever, chronic bronchitis
and nasal catarrh.
Oleo-gum resin ofBalsamodendron
caudatumis also equated with Guggul
in Siddha medicine.
(API Vol. I.) mg to g (CCRAS.)
C. abyssinica(Berg.) Engl.
AyurvedicBola, Hiraabola, Surasa,
80Balsamodendron opobalsamum Kunth.
(used for irregular
menstruation and painful periods),
anti-inflammatory (on pharyngitis
and gingivitis), antiseptic, bacteriostatic,
stimulant, expectorant, stomachic,
carminative (in dyspepsia), a leucocytogenic
agent (increases number
of white cells in the blood). Used
externally for treating acne, boils
and pressure sores, internally as
a blood purifier.
Key applicationIn topical treatment
of mild inflammations of the oral
and pharyngeal mucosa. (German
Commission E.) As a gargle or
mouth rinse for the treatment
of aphthous ulcers, tonsillitis,
common cold and gingivitis. (The
British Herbal Pharmacopoeia,
The gum (–%) contains acidic
polysaccharides, volatile oil (–%)
including other constituents, heerabolene,
Myrrh is taken as a powder or a tincture,
rather than as an infusion; used
generally externally or as a gargle.
Aqueous suspension of the gum
resin decreased ethanol-induced and
indomethacin-induced ulcer in rats.
(J Ethnopharmacol, , Jan (), –
HabitatFound in countries on
both sides of Red Sea.
EnglishBalsam tree, Balsam of
Mecca, Balsam of Gilead.
(oil), Hab-e-Balsaan (fruit). Ood-e-
ActionUsed in diseases of the
urinary tract. Balsams are diuretic
and stimulate mucous tissues in
small doses (nauseatic and purgative
in large doses).
In Unani medicine, the fruit is used
as an expectorant and emmenagogue,
also for neurological affections. The
wood is also used as an ingredient
in compounds for epilepsy and other
nervine disorders. The oil is used externally
for its anti-inflammatory and
Bambusa bambos(L.) Voss.
SynonymB. arundinaceae (Retz.)
HabitatWild throughout India,
especially in the hill forests of
Western and Southern India.
EnglishSpiny orThorny Bamboo.
Barleria buxifoliaLinn. 81
AyurvedicVansha, Venu, Kichaka,
Trinadhwaj, Shatparvaa, Yavphala.
Shubhaa, tugaa, Tugaakshiri, Tvakkshiri
ofCurcuma angustifolia Roxb.,
a substitute for Vanshalochana
(Ayurvedic Formularly of India, Part
I, First edn).
UnaniQasab, Tabaashir (Bamboomanna).
ActionLeaf bud and young
shoots—used in dysmenorrhoea;
externally in ulcerations. Leaf—emmenagogue,
bechic; used in haemoptysis. Stem
and leaf—blood purifier (used
in leucoderma and inflammatory
Burnt root is applied to ringworm,
bleeding gums, painful joints.
Bark—used for eruptions. Leaf
expectorant, carminative, cooling,
aphrodisiac, tonic (used in debilitating
diseases, urinary infections,
chest diseases, cough, asthma).
The plant gave cyanogenic glucoside—
contains silicious crystalline substances.
The starch obtained fromMaranta
arundinaceaLinn., Marantaceae, is
also used as Bamboo-manna (known
as Koovai Kizhangu, Kookaineer and
Araroottu Kizangu in Siddha medicine).
DosageManna—– g (CCRAS.)
Barbarea vulgarisR. Br.
HabitatSubalpine and temperate
Himalayas, at altitudes of ,–
EnglishBitter Cress, Hedge
Mustard, Yellow Rocket, Winter
stomachic, antiscorbutic, (leaves are
rich in vitamin C mg/ g).
Pulverised herb is used as an agent
for stimulating spermatogenesis.
The roots contain sinigrin; seeds
contain a glucoside, glucobarbarin,
The protein and phosphorus contents
of the plant decrease with the
maturity, whereas the calcium contents
increase (tender stems are eaten
as a salad). The leaves and buds are
a rich source of provitamin A (betacarotene).
HabitatPeninsular India from
Maharashtra southwards up to an
altitude of , m. An ornamental
hedge plant in gardens.
AyurvedicSahachara (purple, blue,
rose or white-flowered var.)
82Barleria cristata Linn.
ActionRoots and leaves are used
in cough, bronchitis, inflammations
(applied to swellings).
Sikkim, Khasi Hills, Central and
Southern India at , m.
Rakta-pushpa Saireyaka (whiteand
ActionExtract of the plant—
sasmogenic and hypoglycaemic.
Root extract—given in anaemia.
The leaves are chewed in toothache.
Roots and leaves are applied to
swellings. An infusion is given in
The roots contain anthraquinones;
flowers gave apigenin, naringenin,
quercetin and malvindin.
HabitatThroughout the hotter
parts of India. Also, commonly
grown as a hedge plant in gardens.
EnglishCommon Yellow Nail Dye
Kurantaka, Kuranta, Koranda,
Korandaka, Shairiya, Pita-saireyaka
(yellow-flowered var.). Also equated
FolkPiyaabaasaa, Jhinti, Katsaraiyaa.
disorders, urinary affections; mixed
with honey and given to children
with fever and catarrh; leaf juice
is applied to lacerated soles of feet
in the rainy season, mixed with
coconut oil for pimples. Leaves
and flowering tops—diuretic.
Bark—diaphoretic and expectorant.
Roots—paste is applied over boils
and glandular swellings. Plant
for bleeding gums in Indian
medicine. Ash, obtained from the
whole plant, mixed with honey, is
given in bronchial asthma.
The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India
recommends oil extract of the plant
for arresting greying of hair.
The leaves and flowering tops are
diuretic, rich in potassiumsalts. Leaves
and stems showed presence of iridoid
glucosides, barlerin and acetylbarlerin.
Flowers gave the flavonoid glycoside,
presence of beta-sitosterol is reported
in the plant.
In the south, Nila Sahachara is
(known asNilaambari), and Shveta Sahachara
withJustica betonica Linn.
Ecboliumlinneanunplant is used for
gout and dysuria; the root is prescribed
Basella albaLinn. var. rubra Stewart. 83
DosageWhole plant—– g for
decoction. (API Vol. III.)
HabitatThe Himalayas from Uttar
Pradesh to West Bengal, up to an
altitude of , m.
ActionMild antiseptic, expectorant
(given in spasmodic cough); also
used as an antianaemic.
The plant gave beta-and gammasitosterol.
SynonymEugenia acutangula L.
HabitatSub-Himalayan tracts from
the Ganges eastwards to Assam and
EnglishIndian Oak. (Oak is
equated withQuercus robur L.)
AyurvedicNichula, Hijjala, Ijjala,
Vidula, Ambuj. (Central Council for
Research in Ayurveda & Siddhahas
wrongly equated Hijjala, Nichula
and Vidula with Argyreia nervosa,
is also equated with
Rhus parvifloraRoxb. in National
Formulary of Unani Medicine.)
ActionLeaf juice—given in
diarrhoea. Fruit—bitter, acrid,
anthelmintic, haemolytic, vulnerary;
prescribed in gingivitis as an
expectorant. Powdered seeds—
emetic and expectorant. Bark—
astringent, used in diarrhoea and
blennorrhoea. Febrifuge. Wood—
haemostatic (in metrorrhagia).
Along with other therapeutic applications,
The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia
of Indiaindicated the use of the fruit in
goitre; also in psychological disorders.
The bark contains tannins (%), also
The fruits contain triterpenoid sapogenins.
Saponins possess haemolytic
A related sp.B. racemosa (L.) Roxb.,
found in Assam, eastern and western
coasts of India and the Andaman
Islands, is also equated with Samudraphala
European Oak (Quercus robur) contains
–% tannins, consisting of
phlobatannin, ellagitannins and gallic
acid. The bark is used as astringent,
antiseptic and haemostatic.
DosageFruit—– g (API Vol. III.)
Basella albaLinn. var.
SynonymB. rubra Linn.
84Bassia longifolia Koen.
HabitatGrown as a pot herb in
almost every part of India, except
laxative (a good substitute for
spinach and purslane). Used as
a cooling medicine in digestive
disorders. Leaf juice is used in
balanitis and catarrhal affections.
Externally applied in urticaria,
burns, scalds. Root—decoction is
given to stop bilious vomiting and
in intestinal complaints. Used as
poultice to reduce local swellings;
sap is used in acne.
Used for checking malnutrition in
The essential amino acids are arginine,
leucine, isoleucine, lysine, threonine
and tryptophan. The plant contains
several vitamins and minerals, is
rich in calcium and iron compounds
and contains a low percentage of soluble
oxalates. The leaves also contain
carotenoids, organic acids and watersoluble
and vitamin K.
DosageWhole plant—– ml
HabitatSouth India; common in
the monsoon forests of Western
EnglishMowra Butter tree, South
Siddha/TamilIllupei, Elupa, Naatu,
(used in coughs, colds and bronchitis),
stimulant and nervine
tonic. Seed oil—galactogenic,
anticephalalgic, laxative in cases
of habitual constipation and piles;
used externally in rheumatism and
skin affections. Bark, seed oil and
The herb contains % tannins and
is used for bleeding and spongy gums,
tonsillitis, ulcers, rheumatism and diabetes
mellitus. Roots are applied to
Seed kernel gave protobassic acid (a
sapogenol) and two major saponins—
Mi-saponins A and B. Mi-saponins
(bisdesmosides of protobassic acid)
exhibit anti-inflammatory activity in
The carollas are a rich source of sugars
and contain an appreciable amount
of vitamins and calcium (total sugars
.%, calcium mg/ g). Sugars
are identified as sucrose, maltose,
glucose, fructose, arabinose and rhamnose.
Flowers are largely used in the
preparation of distilled liquors. They
constitute themost important raw material
for fermentative production of
Bauhinia racemosaLamk 85
EnglishDwarf White Bauhinia.
ActionBark and leaves—a
decoction is given in biliousness,
stone in bladder, venereal diseases,
leprosy and asthma. Root—boiled
with oil is applied to burns.
HabitatSouth India, Assam and
EnglishMalabar Mountain Ebony.
Kaanchanaara var. (in the South).
FolkAapataa (Maharashtra), Amli,
The plant contains flavonoid glycosides—
rutoside, taxifoline rhamnoside,
kaempferol glycosides and quercetol
HabitatThe Himalayas, and
distributed in Northern India,
Assam, Khasi Hills. Also cultivated
EnglishCamel's Foot tree, Pink
Bauhinia, Butterfly tree, Geramium
tree, Orchid tree.
FolkKoilaara, Khairwaal, Kaliaar,
Flower buds and flowers,
fried in purified butter, are given to
patients suffering from dysentery.
Extract of stems are used internally
and externally for fractured
bones. Plant is used in goitre. It
exhibited antithyroid-like activity
in experimental animals.
The flowers contain astragalin, isoquercitrin
and quercetin, also anthocyanins.
Seeds contain chalcone glycosides.
from Ravi eastwards, ascending
to , m. in the Uttar Pradesh,
West Bengal and Central and South
86Bauhinia retusa Roxb.
in glandular inflammations, skin
diseases, ulcers), cholagogue.
Leaves—anthelmintic; with onion
for diarrhoea. Flowers—used in
haemorrhages, piles; also in cough.
Octacosane, beta-amyrin and betasitosterol
have been isolated from the
bark. EtOH (%) extract of seeds exhibited
SynonymB. semla Wunderlin.
up to m, also in Orissa,Madhya
Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
FolkSemalaa, Kathmahuli. Gum—
diuretic. (Gum resembles Gum arabic;
used as an external application
for sores). Protein isolated from
in young, normal
as well as alloxan-induced diabetic
The bark contains quercetin--Obeta-
D-glucoside and rutin.
HabitatSouthern India, Assam
EnglishYellow Bauhinia, St.
Thomas tree, Bell Bauhinia.
AyurvedicPita Kovidaara (yellowflowered
var.), Pita Kanchana.
diuretic. Bark—astringent. Root
bark—vermifuge. A decoction of
the root bark is prescribed for liver
diseases. Seed—used for wound
Seeds yield a fatty oil called ebony
oil, a water soluble mucilage and saponins.
Flowers gave isoquercitrin (%),
rutin (.%) and quercetin (small
SynonymB. candida Roxb.
HabitatPunjab, Western Peninsula
and Assam. Also cultivated in
EnglishMountain Ebony, Buddhist
ActionBuds—a decoction is given
in piles (also used against tumours),
haematuria, menorrhagia. Dried
Belamcanda chinensis(L.) DC. 87
buds are used in diarrhoea,
dysentery, worm infestation,
piles and tumours. Root—
carminative, used in dyspepsia
and flatulence (a decoction is
reported to prevent obesity).
used externally in scrofula and skin
diseases. Seeds—possess human
blood agglutinating activity. Leaf—
Along with other therapeutic applications,
The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia
of Indiaindicated the use of the stem
bark in lymphadenitis and goitre. (Kaanchnaar
Gugguluis prescribed for
glandular swellings and goitre.)
Water-soluble portion of alcoholic
extract of the plant showed preventive
effect against goitre in rats.
Flowers gave flavonoids, kaempferol-
-galactoside and kaempferol--
rhamnoglucoside. The stem bark
yields hentriacontane, octacosanol and
stigmasterol. Stem contains beta-sitosterol,
lupeol and a flavanone glycoside.
DosageStem bark—– g for
decoction. (API Vol. I.)
Begonia laciniataRoxb. var.
HabitatTropical and sub-tropical
regions, especially in America.
Found in Sikkim, Arunachal
Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya,
Nagaland and Manipur, ascending
to an altitude to , m.
FolkHooirjo (West Bengal), Teisu
ActionA decoction of the root is
given for liver diseases and fever.
The extract from succulent stalks is
used for venereal diseases in folk
medicine. Fresh shoots are chewed
for tooth troubles. Aqueous extracts
of the leaves and flowers ofBegonia
sp. are active against Gram-positive
and Gram-negative bacteria.
Hooirjo and Teisu are also equated
withB. palmata D. Don var. gamblei
Hara, found in northeastern regions of
Belamcanda chinensis(L.) DC.
HabitatIntroduced from China;
cultivated all over India, up to an
altitude of , m.
FolkSurajkaanti (Assam), Dasbaha,
deobstruent, resolvent, used in
tonsillitis, chest and liver complaints
(antiviral against pneumonia).
Presence of alkaloids is reported
from the plant, glucoside, belamcandin
from the roots. The leaves and
flowers contain a glycoflavone. The
seeds tested positive for leucoanthocyanins.
88Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn.
SynonymB. cerifera Savi.
HabitatCultivated largely in Uttar
Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and
EnglishAsh Gourd, White Gourd,
Wax Gourd, White Pumpkin.
UnaniPethaa, Mahdabaa, Kaddue-
rubbed on bruises. Fruit decoction—
laxative, diuretic, nutritious,
styptic (given for internal haemorrhages
and diseases of the
respiratory tract.) Juice of fruit—
used for treating epilepsy, insanity
and other nervous diseases. The ash
of fruit rind—applied on painful
Thefruits contain lupeol, beta-sitosterol,
their acetates and several amino
acids. The fruit juice produces tranquilizing
activity and mild CNS depressant
effect in mice.
The roots of mature plant contain
a pentacyclic triterpene, which exhibits
antiallergic activity against both
homologous passive cutaneous anaphylaxis
and delayed hypersensitivity
in mice. The fruit beverage contains
Isomultiflorenol acetate, a pentacyclic
triterpene, has been isolated as
the major constituent of wax coating
DosageDried pieces of the fruit—
– g (API Vol. IV.) Fruit juice—
– m (CCRAS.)
Sub sp.B. asiatica Roxb. ex DC.
Substi.B. lycium Royle & other
Nilgiris, Kulu and Kumaon.
Daarvi, Daarunishaa, Daarurajani,
Sthirphala. Pushpaphala, Somakaa,
Parjanyaa, Parjani, Kantkateri,
Taarthya, Pachampachaa. Kaaliyaka
is now equated with Pita Chandana
(Coscinium fenestratum (Gaertn.)
UnaniDaarhald. Rasaut (extract).
antidiarrhoeal, stomachic, laxative,
antiseptic. Used externally in
sores, swollen gums. Root bark—
Berberis vulgarisLinn. 89
hypotensive, antiamoebic, anticoagulant,
used in liver complaints, diarrhoea,
dysentery, cholera, gastric disorders,
enlargement of spleen and for
regulating metabolism. Berries—
Berberine hydrochloride and sulphate
help in the diagnosis of latent
malaria by releasing the parasites into
the blood stream.
Alkaloid berberine possesses antibacterial
and anti-inflammatory activities.
It is used as an intestinal antiseptic
and bitter stomachic. It also
exhibits antineoplastic properties. (Its
synthetic derivative dihydroberberine
is used in brain tumour.)
Berberine has been found to inhibit
the activity of enzymes trypsin (%)
and chymotrypsin (%)in in-vitro
B. asiaticaRoxb.ex Dc. is found in
the Himalaya at –, m, Assam
DosageExtract—– g (CCRAS.);
dried stem—– ml decoction.
(API Vol. II.)
SynonymB. aristata auct.
Hook. f. &Thoms.
HabitatThe Himalayas from
Kashmir to Nepal, at altitudes of
FolkTotaro, Kintodaa (Garhwal).
ActionSame as that of Berberis
The root and stem bark contain alkaloids
( and .%respectively, calculated
Thealcoholic extract of the rootswas
found to be better antimicrobial agent
than the aqueous extract. The alkaloid
palmitine hydroxide possesses antispermatogenic
SeeB. aristata and B. vulgaris.
Berberis ulicinaHook, known as
Khicharmaa in Tibet, is also equated
HabitatDistributed in Northwestern
EnglishCommon Barberry, True
ActionRoot and bark—used
for ailments of gastrointestinal
tract, liver, gallbladder, kidney and
urinary tract, respiratory tract, also
as a febrifuge and blood purifier.
Key applicationListed by German
Commission Eamong unapproved
An extract with % berberine and
additional alkaloids stimulated the bile
secretion of rats by %. (PDR.) As
cholagogue. (The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)
The main alkaloid is berberine (well
tolerated up to . g). Berries are safe.
90Bergenia ligulata (Wall.) Engl.
Bererine in small doses stimulates
the respiratory system; poisonings
have been observed from overdoses.
Poisonings from the total herb have
not been reported. (German Commission
Berberine is bactericidal, amoebicidal
and trypanocidal. Berberine is antidiarrhoeal,
as it enters intothecytosol
or binds to the cell membrane and inhibits
the catalytic unit of andenylate
cyclase. It is activein vitro and in animals
Berberine stimulates bile secretion
and shows sedative, hypotensive, anticonvulsant
and uterine stimulant activity
in animals. Alkaloid bermarine is
also strongly antibacterial. It has been
shown to increase white blood cell and
platelet counts in animals with iatrogenic
Berberine, berbamine and jatrorrhizine
are hypotensive and sedative.
Many of the alkaloids are antineoplastic.
The alkaloid berbamine ( mg
three times daily for – weeks) helped
reverse leukopaenia induced by benzene,
cancer chemotherapy or radiotherapy
in a clinical study. (Francis
Berberine, when combined with
pyrimethamine, was more effective
than combinations with other antibiotics
in treating chloroquine-resistant
malaria. (Sharon M. Herr.)
Bergenia ligulata(Wall.) Engl.
SynonymB. ciliata Sternb.
from Kashmir to Bhutan, between
altitudes of and , m.
Ashmghna, Shilaabhit, Shilaabheda.
(These synonyms are also equated
withAerva lanata Juss.)
ActionLeaf and root—antiscorbutic,
antidiarrhoeal. Used in dysuria,
spleen enlargement, pulmonary
affections as a cough remedy,
menorrhagia, urinary tract infections.
Alcoholic extract of roots—
antilithic. Acetone extract of rootbark—
cardiotoxic, CNS depressant
and anti-inflammatory; in mild
doses diuretic but antidiuretic in
higher doses. Anti-inflammatory
activity decreases with increasing
Due to its depressant action on the
central nervous system, the drug
is used against vertigo, dizziness
and headache in moderate or low
Key applicationIn lithiasis,
dysuria, polyuria. (The Ayurvedic
Pharmacopoeia of India; Indian
Therhizome contains an active principle
bergenin (.%), gallic acid, glucose
(.%), tannins (.–.%),
mucilage and wax; a C-glycoside and
Bergenin prevented stress-induced
erosions in rats and lowered gastric
Betula utilisD. Don. 91
(Paashaanabheda indicates that the
plant grows between rocks appearing
to break them; it does not necessarily
mean that it possesses lithotriptic
DosageRhizome—– g for
decoction. (API Vol. I)
Beta vulgarisLinn. subsp. cicla
SynonymB. vulgaris auct. non L.
HabitatNative to Mediterranean
region; cultivated in North India,
Maharashtra and South India.
EnglishBeet Root, Garden Beet,
ActionLeaf—used in burns
and bruises, also for diseases of
spleen and liver. Tuber and seed—
expectorant. Leaf and seed—
diuretic. Leaf, tuber and seed—
anti-inflammatory. Seed oil—
Beet roots are eaten raw as salad or
cooked. The leaves are nutritionally
superior to roots and are a good source
of vitamins and minerals.
Theplant contains alkaloids ofwhich
betaine is a mild diuretic and emmenagogue.
In research, using rats, chard increased
regeneration of beta cells in
pancreas. Maximum reduction of
blood glucose was after days of
administration. (J Ethnopharmacol,
, : –.)
Beets are used orally as a supportive
therapy in the treatment of liver diseases
and fatty liver (possibly due to
betaine). Ingestion of large quantities
might worsen kidney disease. (NaturalMedicines
Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don.
SynonymB. acuminata Wall.
HabitatThe temperate and
subtropical Himalayas, Khasi Hills
EnglishIndian Birch, Naga Birch.
ActionUsed in supportive therapy
of rheumatic ailments.
Methyl salicylate (.%) has been
reported from the essential oil of the
bark (of the plant growing in northeastern
region of India).
Betula utilisD. Don.
SynonymB. bhojpattra Wall.
HabitatTemperate Himalaya from
Kashmir to Bhutan.
EnglishHimalayan Silver Birch,
Indian Paper tree.
Bahuputa, Lekhyapatraka, Charmi,
92Bidens pilosa Linn.
diuretic; used in the formof infusion
in gout, rheumatism, dropsy, and as
a solvent of stones in the kidneys;
used in skin affections, especially
eczema. Bark—used in convulsions.
Key application(B. pendula) In
irrigation therapy for bacterial
and inflammatory diseases of the
urinary tract and for kidney gravel;
supportive therapy for rheumatic
ailment. (German Commission E,
European Silver Birch is equated
withBetula alba L., synonym B. pendula
Roth. Astringent, diuretic, antiinflammatory,
bitter, cholagogue; contains
salicylates. Used for kidney and
bladder complaints, sluggish kidney
functions, rheumatism and gout.
Methyl salicylate is obtained by distillation
of the twigs. In an Indian sp.,B.
acuminata,methyl salicylate (.%)
has been reported in the essential oil
of the bark.B. utilis is also a close
relative ofB. pendula.
DosageBark—– g powder;
decoction—– ml (CCRAS.)
HabitatThroughout India in
gardens, waste places and tea
FolkPhutium (Gujarat), Kuri
applied to ulcers and swollen glands.
Theplant contains a number of polyacetylenes
which are toxic to bacteria,
fungi and human fibroblast cells.
Phenylheptatriyne is the major constituent
of the leaves and stems.
B. pilosaLinn. var. minor (Blume)
Sherff, synonymB. pilosa Linn. var. bipinnata
Hook. f. in part, gave phytosterin-
B, which like insulin, showed hypoglycaemic
activity both in normal
and diabetic rats.B. pilosa auct. non
Linn., synonymB. chinensis Willd., is
used for leprosy, fistulae, pustules, tumours.
SynonymOxalis sensitiva Linn.
HabitatThroughout tropical India.
AyurvedicLajjaalu (var.) Vipareet
Lajjaalu (non-classical), Alambushaa
(Hindi commentators have
equated it with Gorakh Mundi,
FolkLajoni, Jhalai, Lakajana.
ActionPlant—used in insomnia,
tumours, chronic skin diseases.
Ash—in stomachache. Leaves—
diuretic, astringent, antiseptic.
Paste is applied to burns, contusions
Blepharis edulisPers. 93
and wounds. Decoction is given
in strangury, asthma and phthisis.
Roots—decoction is given in lithiasis.
Mature leaves are recommended
in diabetes; contain an insulin-like
Asaline extract of leaves showed hypoglycaemic
activity in rabbits.
HabitatNative to Central America,
often cultivated in Madhya Pradesh
and South India.
antiemetic, blood purifier.
Leaves—infusion is given in jaundice,
also in dysentery. Externally,
scar-preventive. Root bark—
febrifuge, antiperiodic. Seed pulp—
haemostatic, antidysenteric, diuretic,
An antimicrobial constituent, maslinic
acid, alongwith gallic acid and
pyrogallol, has been isolated from the
leaves. Alcoholic extract of the leaves
completely inhibitedMicrococcus pyogenes,
but was inactive againstE. coli.
The aqueous extract, however, showed
partial inhibition againstE. coli. The
aqueous extract also showed potent inhibitory
activity towards lens aldose reductase,
which plays an important role
in the management of diabetic complications.
The activity is attributed to
a flavonoid, isoscutelarein.
Bixin, the main constituent of seed
coat, shows cytostatic effect on the
growth of human lymphoma cells. Bixin
also has a hyperglycaemic effect and
may disturb blood glucose control.
SynonymB. persica (Burm.f.)
HabitatPunjab and western
Chatushpatri, Ucchataa (equated
withScirpus or Cyperus sp. during
the classical period; with Shveta
Gunjaa,Abrus sp. during the
for urinary discharges and dysmenorrhoea.
resolvent, diuretic (used in strangury
and sexual debility). Powdered
plant is applied locally on infections
of the genitals and on burns.
Key applicationSeed in dysuria
and impotency. (The Ayurvedic
Pharmacopoeia of India.)
A benzoxazine glucoside, blepharin,
has been isolated from seeds, and
a saponin, which on hydrolysis gave
DosageDried seed—– g powder.
(API Vol. IV.)
94Blepharis linariaefolia Pers.
SynonymB. sindica T. Anders.
FolkUtangana (Sindh). Asad.
ActionSeeds, boiled in milk, are
taken as an invigorating tonic.
Blepharis molluginifoliaPers., used
for urinary discharges, is also equated
HabitatMadhya Pradesh, Maharashtra,
AyurvedicUsed as a substitute for
Raasnaa in Madhya Pradesh.
internally and externally for
SynonymB. densiflora Hook. f. in
Nepal, Sikkim, Assam and Khasi
Hills at –, m.
ActionTranquilizer (used in
excitement and insomnia), expectorant,
sudorific. Given in intestinal
diseases, colic, diarrhoea. Essential
oil from leaves—hypotensive.
The plant is a source of Ngai or
Blumea Camphor. Camphor occurs in
all parts of the plant, but is generally extracted
from leaves. Ngai Camphor oil
consists almost entirely ofl-borneol. It
is redistilled to obtain the refined camphor
for use in medicine.
The dried leaves contain sesquiterpene
lactones. These lactones exhibit
antitumour activity against Yoshida
sacoma cells in tissue culture.
Theplant exhibitsmoderate antibacterial
activity againstE. coli.
Nepal, Sikkim, Assam and Khasia
ActionJuice of fresh leaves—
insecticidal, mosquito repellant.
The plant yields an essential oil
which yields camphor.
Aerial part contains sesquiterpene
lactones, tagitinin A, tirolundin ethyl
ether and iso-alantolactone derivatives.
HabitatUttar Pradesh, Maharashtra,
Karnataka, Tamil Nadu,
ActionJuice of the herb—
carminative. A warm infusion
of leaves is given as a sudorific,
while a cold infusion is considered
diuretic and emmenagogue. The oil
possesses significant antibacterial
and antifungal properties. The oil
also shows insecticidal activity.
The essential oil contains % ketones,
the chief constituent ofwhich are
d-carvotanacetone and l-tetrahydrocarvone
and an alcohol.
The plant contains a flavonol, crianthin
(isolated from the flowers). It
is identical to artemetin, isolated from
Blumea fastulosa(Roxb.) Kurz.
SynonymB. glomerata DC.
HabitatTropical Himalayas, and
throughout the plains of Assam and
The steam non-volatile fraction of
plant extract contained a mixture of
HabitatThroughout the plains of
India, ascending to m.
astringent, febrifuge, diuretic,
deobstruent, anthelmintic (particularly
in case of thread worm).
Root—anticholerin. Essential oil—
Theleaves on steamdistillation yield
.%essential oil fromwhich camphor
The oil contains cineol ,d-fenchone
and citral about %. The
plant gave a diester of coniferyl alcohol,
acetylenic compounds, a thiophene
derivative; aerial parts gave campesterol,
alpha-amyrin and its acetate, lupeol
and its acetate and beta-sitosterol.
The alcoholic extract of the plant
showed marked anti-inflammatory activity
in carrageenin and bradykinininduced
inflammation in rats.
DosageRoot—– g paste.
96Boerhavia diffusa Linn.
SynonymB. repens Linn.
HabitatThroughout India as
Punarnavaa, Katthilla, Shophaghni,
Shothaghni. Varshaabhu (also
equated withTrianthema portulacastrum
Linn., which exhibits
anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and
antiarthritic, spasmolytic, antibacterial
(used for inflammatory renal
diseases, nephrotic syndrome, in
cases of ascites resulting from
early cirrhosis of liver and chronic
peritonitis, dropsy associated with
chronic Bright's diseases, for serum
uric acid levels). Root—anticonvulsant,
CNS depressant, laxative, diuretic,
Key applicationAs diuretic,
hepatoprotective. (Indian Herbal
B. repanda,synonym B. chinensis
Linn., roots exhibited antihepatotoxic
activity against carbon tetrachloride
intoxication in rats. Powdered
root gave encouraging results in spermatorrhoea
The chloroform and methanolic extracts
of the roots and aerial parts of
B. diffusaalso exhibited antihepatotoxic
activity against carbon tetrachlorideinduced
intoxication in rats.
Punarnavaa is official in IP as a diuretic.
The diuretic action of the drug is
attributed to the presence of xanthone,
beta-ecdysone. Flavonoid, arbinofuranoside,
present in the drug, was found
to lower serumuric acid in experimental
animals, as also in humans.
Punarnavaa has been reported to
increase serum protein level and reduce
urinary protein extraction in clinical
trials in patients suffering with
nephrotic syndrome. The activity is
attributed to the presence of rotenoids
in various parts of the plant.
An antifibrinolytic agent, punarnavoside,
has been found to stop
IUCD-induced bleeding in monkeys.
The drug contains quinolizidine alkaloids.
DosageWhole plant—– g for
decoction (API Vol. I); root—– g
powder; – ml fresh juice. (API
HabitatThroughout plains of
Vrshchiva, Vrshchiraka. (Vrishchira
is also equated withTrianthema sp.)
B. erecta,synonym B. punarnava
Saha and Krishnamurthy, is also
equated with the white-flowered
species of Boerhavia.
ActionSee B. diffusa.
Borassus flabelliferLinn. 97
HabitatThe Mediteranean region,
Europe and Asia.
EnglishBorage, Cow's Tongue
bracteatumWall. has also been
equated with Gaozabaan).
ActionFresh herb (compounded
with water)—refreshing, restorative
and nervine tonic. Leaves
and flowers—diuretic, febrifuge,
expectorant, demulcent, emollient;
promote the activity of kidneys;
alleviate pulmonary affections.
Thedrug strengthens adrenal glands
and is given for stress, mental exhausion
and depression; provides support
to stomach and intestines in cases of
infection and toxicity. Used as a tonic
to counteract the lingering effects of
steroid therapy. Seeds relieve irritable
bowel syndrome and regulatemenstruation.
The leaves contain lycopsamine and
supindine viridiflorate as the predominant
unsaturated pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
Due to low concentration of
these alkaloids Borage is not toxic.
The drug contains potassium and
calcium, combined withmineral acids.
The fresh juice affords %, the dried
herb % of nitrate of potash. The
stems and leaves supply much saline
mucilage. These saline qualities are
mainly responsible for the wholesome
invigorating properties of Borage.
Borage imparts pleasant flavour and
cooling effect to beverages. In India,
squashes and syrups, sold during summer,
contain Borage extract.
Borage contains ascorbic acid
( mg/ g). Flowers contain cholin,
glucose, fructose, amino acids, tannin
(about %). Seeds contain protein
(.%) and an oil (.%). The seed
oil is one of the important sources of
gamma-linoleic acid and linoleic acid.
Borage oil, combined with Evening
Primrose oil, is used in hypercholesterolaemia.
Borage seed oil is used for rheumatoid
arthritis, atopic eczema, infantile
seborrhoeic dermatitis, neurodermatitis,
also for PMS and for preventing
heart disease and stroke. Only UPA
(unsaturated pyrrolizidine alkaloids)
free oil is given internally.
Listed byGerman Commission E
among unapproved herbs.
It has been suggested that borage not
be used with drugs known to lower the
seizure threshold such as tricyclic antidepressants
and phenothiazines due
to GLA content (only borage seed oil
contains significant amounts of GLA).
HabitatCoastal areas of Bengal,
Bihar and Western and Eastern
EnglishPalmyra Palm, Brab tree.
98Borreria articularis (Linn. f.) F. N.Williams.
AyurvedicTaala, Taada, Trinraj,
ActionFresh sap—diuretic, cooling,
antiphlegmatic, laxative, antiinflammatory.
juice is given in diabetes. Palmjaggery—
used as an energy food
for convalscents. Ash of dry
spadix—antacid, antibilious (used
in heartburn). Young root, terminal
buds, leaf-stalks—used in gastritis
The sap is given as a tonic to asthmatic
and anaemic patients. Jaggery is
given for anaemia, for diseases characterized
by a marked loss of potassium.
Palm candy is used in coughs and pulmonary
affections and as a laxative for
The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India
recommends dried male inflorescence
Jaggery solution may be used in hypertension
and oedema due to heart
and liver diseases, also as a food for
The sap is an excellent source of biologically
Aqueous MeOH extract of young
shoots contains heat-stable toxin; edible
part of young shoot, neurotoxic to
rats, but not hepatotoxic.
– g (API Vol. III.)
(Linn. f.) F. N.Williams.
SynonymB. hispada (L.) K. Sch.
HabitatThroughout India, as
a weed in cultivated and sallow
lands and pastures.
EnglishShaggy Button Weed.
ActionHerb—used in the treatment
of headache. Root—prescribed as
a mouthwash in toothache. Leaf—
juice is given as an astringent
in haemorrhoids. Seeds—used
as demulcent in diarrhoea and
The weed contains beta-sitosterol,
ursolic acid and D-mannitol. It is rich
in calcium and phosphorus. Isorhamnetin,
a flavonoid, is reported in the
HabitatThe drier parts of
Gajabhakshyaa, Salai. Gum—
Brassica campestrisLinn. var. rapa (L.) Hartm. 99
sedative, hypotensive. Also used
in obesity, diarrhoea, dysentery,
piles, urinary disorders, scrofulous
affections. Oil—used topically in
chronic ulcers, ringworm.
Nonphenolic fraction of gum-resin
exhibited marked sedative and analgesic
effect in rats. It produced a
marked and long-lasting hypotension
in anaesthetized dogs.
Many derivatives of -keto-methylbeta-
boswellic ester, isolated from the
gum-resin., have been prepared; a pyrazoline
derivative exhibited maximum
(Gum-resin is used in osteoarthritis,
juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, soft
tissue fibrositis and spondylitis, also
for cough, bronchitis, asthma, mouth
Essential oil from gum-resin—antifungal.
Gum-resin contains triterpenes of
oleanane, ursane and euphane series.
Stem and fruit—hypoglycaemic.
DosageGum-resin—– g (API
Brassica alba(L.) Boiss.
SynonymSinapis alba L.
HabitatNative of Europe andWest
Asia. Cultivated in North India as
ActionStimulant to gastricmucosa,
increases pancreatic secretions;
emetic (used in narcotic poisoning),
diaphoretic, rubefacient. (As
a counter-irritant it increases
flow of blood to a specific area.)
Used externally as a poultice in
bronchitis, pleurisy, intercostal
Seeds contain glucosinolates.
Sinalbin inB. alba and sinigrin in B.
junejaoil are toxic constituents. The
oil with toxic constituents should be
avoided in gastrointestinal ulcers and
kidney disorders. When moistened,
sinigrin in the seeds is degraded to
allyl isothiocyanate, a potent irritant
volatile oil. (Francis Brinker.)
Glucosinolates are goitrogenic. Excessive
consumption ofBrassica sp.
vegetables may alter absorption of thyroid
hormone in G tract. (Sharon M.
Brassica campestrisLinn. var.
HabitatCultivated as an oil-yielding
EnglishField Mustard, Turnip
100Brassica juncea (Linn.) Czern. & Coss.
ActionStimulant, diuretic, emetic,
rubefacient, counter-irritant. Used
externally for bronchitis and
rheumatic pains (increases flow of
blood to a specific area). Powdered
seeds are used as a tea for colds,
influenza and fever.
The seeds contain glycosinolates
(the derivatives are responsible for toxicity).
The concentration of the major
glucosinolate, gluco-napin, varies from
. to .% in the oil-free meal of
Indian brassicas. The glucosinolates
in rapeseed meal split upon enzymatic
hydrolysis to produce glucose, potassium,
hydrogen sulphate and a sulphurcontaining
compound which undergoes
intramolecular rearrangement to
give rise to the antinutritional factors,
isothiocyanates or thiocyanates.
The volatile oil of mustard is given
internally in colic; in overdoses it is
highly poisonous and produces gastroenteric
inflammations. It is employed
externally as a liniment for rheumatic
Adulteration of mustard oil with
argemone oil (Argemone mexicana is
frequently found growing in brassica
fields), by accident or by design, has led
to the widespread epidemics of dropsy
and glaucoma due to an alkaloid
Black mustard contains sinigrin,
which on hydrolysis by enzyme myrosin,
produces allyisothiocynate; the
whitemustard contains sinalbin,which
Mucilage contains sinapine.
DosageSeed— mg to g paste.
(API Vol. III.)
(Linn.) Czern. & Coss.
HabitatCultivated in Punjab, West
Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.
EnglishChinese Mustard, Brown
AyurvedicRaajikaa, Aasuri Raai,
ActionRaai is a substitute for
Mustard. Antidysenteric, stomachic,
Increases pancreatic secretions.
A decoction of seeds is given in
indigestion, cough. Used externally
as a counter-irritant in several
complaints of nervous systems.
HabitatCultivated in Punjab,
Bengal and Bihar.
EnglishMustard, Indian Rape.
Raajakshavaka, Kattaka, Katusneha,
Rakshogna. (White variety of
Sarshapa is also equated with
Siddhaartha. Asita and Rakta seed
varieties are reddish; Gaur and
Siddhaartha are whitish.)
Bridelia montanaWilld. 101
Theoil gave brassino steroid—brasinolide.
Seeds gave a antithyroid compound,
thioglucosides and thioglucosinolates.
The seed oil is said to dissolves gallstone.
Brassica nigra(Linn.) Koch.
HabitatCultivated in Punjab, Uttar
Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
AyurvedicBanarasi Raai, Raajika
ActionSeeds are used for treating
coryza with thin excoriating discharge
with lacrimation, sneezing
and hacking cough, nostril blockage
and dry and hot feeling of
The seeds contain glucosinolate sinigrin,
which produces allyl isothiocyanate
when mixed with warm water.
Allyl isothiocynate acts as a counterirritant
when diluted (:).
(Bruce) J. F. Gmelin.
HabitatIndigenous to north-east
Africa. Imported into Mumbai.
in the form of an infusion
for the expulsion of tapeworm
(ineffective against hookworm,
roundworm, whipworm). Irritant
to mucous membrane; produces
nausea, vomiting and colic in large
Breynia retusa(Dennst.) Alston.
SynonymB. patens Benth.
HabitatThe tropical Himalayas
and Deccan peninsula.
FolkKaali Kamboi (Gujarat).
ActionUsed as a galactagogue (as
a supporting drug in herbal compound
HabitatThe sub-Himalayan tract
from Kashmir eastwards to Assam,
and in Bihar, Orissa and Andhra
FolkGondni, Asaanaa (Maharashtra).
ActionBark and Root—astringent,
anthelmintic. Used in the treatment
of bone fracture.
102Bridelia retusa (Linn.) Spreng.
The root contains .% tannins.
The leaves contain beta-sitosterol,
its beta-D-glucoside and a triterpenoid.
Fructose, glucose and sucrose
were identified as the components of
Bridelia retusa(Linn.) Spreng.
HabitatThroughout India up to an
altitude of , m, except in very
(Asana is equated withPterocarpus
marsupiumRoxb., the Indian Kino
FolkGondani, Gondui, Khaajaa.
in the form of a liniment in
rheumatism. Paste of the stem bark
is applied to wounds.
The bark contains –% tannin.
Presence of a triterpene ketone in the
bark is reported. The bark exhibited
hypotensive properties in pharmacological
trials. The extract of the bark
significantly increased the mean survival
time of mice infected intracerebrally
with vaccinia virus. Ripe fruit
pulp contains beta-sitosterol and gallic
and ellagic acids.
National Formulary of UnaniMedicine,
Part I, equated Jirjeer with Brucea sativa
Mill. or Nasturtium officinale R. Br.
Nasturtium officinale, found in Europe,
is known as watercress. Indian
cress is cultivated in gardens as a creeper.
Brucea is a totally different species
(Simaroubaceae). Taraamirra of Unani
medicine should be equated with Eruca
sativa and not with Brucea sativa.
used in Unani medicine as a spermatic
tonic (powder of seeds is
administered with a half-fried egg),
also as a blood purifier, diuretic,
emmenagogue and deobstruent.
Leaf juice—used as a lotion for
blotches, spots and blemishes.
Antiscorbutic and stimulant. A rich
source of vitamins A and E, also of
ascorbic acid. Seeds contain gluconcasturtin.
Used for metabolic disorders,
anaemia, strangury, kidney and
bladder disorders and catarrh of the
Eruca sativaMill.: Cultivated in
North India; known as Taraamiraa,
Siddhaartha, Bhutaghna. Seeds are
used like mustard. Seeds—antibacterial.
Crude juice of the plant inhibited
E. coli, S. typhiand B. subtlis. Seeds
(glucoerucin) as K and tetra-Me-N
salts. A composition is used in induration
Bercht. & Presl.
SynonymDatura suaveolens Humb.
& Bonpl. ex Willd.
Bryophyllum pinnatum(Lam.) Kurz. 103
HabitatNative to Mexico; grown
in Indian gardens.
ActionLeaf and flower—used
to treat asthma; to induce hallucinations.
Can cause severe
All parts of the plant contain tropane
alkaloids (concentration highest in
the foliage and seeds), particularly
atropine, hyoscyamine and hyoscine
SynonymPrunella vulgaris Linn.
HabitatThe Himalayas from
Kashmir to Bhutan at altitudes of
,–, m, in Khasi Hills and
hills of South India.
(Lavandula stoechas Linn.)
ActionWound healing, expectorant,
haemostatic, antispasmodic. Leaf—
used in piles; and as a cooling herb
The herb contains vitamins A, B, C
and K; flavonoids; rutin. Flower spikes
are liver-restorative, hypotensive, antioxidant.
Lupeol, stigmasterol and beta-sitosterol
are obtained from the unsaponifiable
fraction from the leaves, the
saponifiable fraction gave lauric,
stearic, palmitic, myristic, oleic and
SynonymBryonia laciniosa Linn.
spasmolytic. Used for vaginal
dysfunctions, as a fertility promoting
drug. Powdered seeds, also
roots, are given to help conception
in women. Plant is also used in
SynonymB. calycinum Salisb.
HabitatThroughout the warm
and moist parts of India, especially
abundant in West Bengal.
(Also known as Paashaanabheda.)
(used for boils, insect bites,
swellings, burns, wounds).
104Buchanania axillaris (Desr.) Ramam.
Leaves, mixed with those ofAegle
marmelos,are given in blood and
amoebic dysentery. Leaves are also
eaten to control diabetes.
Leaves yield glycosides of quercetin
and kaempferol, and fumaric acid.
DosageLeaf—– ml juice.
SynonymB. angustifolia Roxb.
HabitatDry deciduous forests in
ActionKernel of seeds are
considered best amongBuchanania
sp. Uses similar to those ofB.
An ethanolic extract (%) of the
aerial part showedCNS-depressant activity
SynonymB. latifolia Roxb.
HabitatDrier parts of India.
EnglishAlmondette tree, Cheronjee,
Kharskandha, Bahulvalkala, Taapaseshtha,
SiddhaMudaima, Morala (Tamil).
An ointment made out of the
kernels is used to cure itch of
the skin and to remove blemishes
from the face. Oil from kernels—
substitute for almond oil. Applied
to glandular swellings of the neck.
The oil is a promising source of
palmitic and oleic acids.
Kernel lipids (.%), comprised
mainly of neutral lipids (.%), consist
mostly of triacylglycerol (.%),
free fatty acids (.%)andsmall amount
of diacylglycerols, monoacylglycerols
Thekernels are used in Indianmedicine
as a brain tonic. The leaves are
valued as a cardiotonic.
The leaves contain .% tannins
(.% gallo-tannins). The presence
of triterpenoids, saponins, flavonoids
and reducing sugars are also reported.
Powdered or crushed leaves are applied
The bark contains .% tannins.
Thepresence of alkaloids, saponins and
reducing sugars is also reported.
Gum (stem exudate) is antidiarrhoeal.
Used internally in rheumatism.
DosageStem bark—– g (API
Butea monosperma(Lam.) Taub. 105
HabitatThe Himalayas from
Kashmir to Bhutan and the Khasi
Hills, at ,–, m.
FolkShingu (Himachal Pradesh),
Sipil (Punjab), Thaanyo (Garhwal).
haemolytic, antipyretic. Used in
inflammations, muscle stiffness,
neurosis, pain and pyrexia. Roots
resolve inflammations of costal
margin and diaphragm.
Key applicationExtracts have
been used for the treatment
of chronic hepatitis, nephrotic
syndrome and auto-immune
Therapeutic properties are attributed
to saikoside or saikosaponins (yield
from roots .–.%), a complex
mixture of triterpenic saponins. Saponin
content varies with age. Saikosaponins
are analgesic, antipyretic as
well as antitussive; anti-inflammatory
on oral administration. In Japan and
China, roots have been used traditionally
in auto-immune diseases. Saikosaponins
form an ingredient of antitumour
pharmaceuticals. A watersoluble
crude polysaccharide fraction,
prepared fromthe root, was reported to
prevent HCl/ethanol-induced ulcerogenesis
in mice significantly. Saikosaponin-
d,at a concentration of more
than μm, inactivated measles virus
and herpes simplex virus at room temperature.
Several sterols, possessing metabolic
activities and plasma cholesterollowering
activity, have also been isolated
from the root.
Butea monosperma(Lam.) Taub.
SynonymB. frondosa Koenig ex
HabitatThroughout India, up to
, m except in very arid regions.
EnglishFlame of the Forest, Butea
Gum, Bengal Kino.
UnaniDhaak, Samagh Dhaak,
(prescribed in bleeding piles,
ulcers, haemorrhages, menstrual
disorders), anthelmintic. Flowers—
astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue
(also given for leucorrhoea).
A decoction of flowers is given in
diarrhoea and haematuria, also to
puerperal women. Seeds—clinical
use of seeds as an anthelmintic drug
is not considered safe in humans.
Leaves—antibacterial. Stem bark—
An aqueous extract of flowers has
shownhepatoprotective activity against
CCl-induced liver injury in albino
106Butea superba Roxb.
Extracts of flowers have exhibited
significant anti-oestrogenic activity in
mice. The seed suspension, on oral
administration to albino rats ( and
mg/kg body weight), showed .
and .% cases, respectively, where
pregnancy was not interrupted but foetus
Alcoholic extract of the whole plant
produced persistent vasodepression in
The plant contains flavonoids and
glucosides—butin, butrin, isobutrin
and palastrin. Flowers contain butrin,
coreopsin, monospermoside and their
derivatives and sulphurein; also chalcones.
DosageStem bark—– g powder
(API Vol. II); flower—– g powder;
seed— g powder; gum—.–. g
(API Vol. IV.)
HabitatCentral and Southern
or orange scarlet-flowered var.).
anthelmintic; decoction emollient
and used topically for piles. Seed
oil—anthelmintic and hypotensive.
Seeds exhibit haemagglutinating
activity against human ABO red
cells. Roots—hypotensive. Watery
sap from stems is used for drinking
purposes. Bark is used in tonics and
White-flowered var. is equated with
SynonymB. sempervirens Linn.
HabitatThe Western and Central
Himalayas and Punjab.
EnglishHimalayan Boxwood tree.
FolkChikri, Shamshaad. Paapari
diaphoretic; used in rheumatism.
Poisonous. Not a safe drug for
"purifying blood". Symptoms of
poisoning are severe—abdominal
pain, vomiting, convulsions and
The mixture of alkaloids is referred
to as buxine. Buxenine-G is cytotoxic.
There is preliminary evidence that
a specific Boxwood leaf extract (SVP
) might delay disease progression in
HIV-infected patients. The extract is
available through internet sources or
AIDS Buyers' Clubs. (Natural Medicines