Sunday, June 7, 2009


Bacopa monnieri (Linn.) Penn.

Synonym Herpestis monnieria

(Linn.) H. B. & K. Moniera

cuneifolia Michx.

Family Scrophulariaceae.

Habitat Throughout the plains of

India in damp marshy areas.

English Thyme-leaved Gratiola.

Ayurvedic Braahmi, Aindri, Nirbraahmi,

Kapotavankaa, Bhaarati,

Darduradalaa, Matsyaakshaka,

Shaaluraparni, Mandukaparni (also

equated with Centella asiatica Linn.,

synonym Hydrocotyle asiatica Linn.

Umbelliferae, Apiaceae).

Unani Brahmi.

Siddha/Tamil Piramivazhukkai,


Folk Jalaneem, Safed-Chammi.

Action Adaptogenic, astringent,

diuretic, sedative, potent nervine

tonic, anti-anxiety agent (improves

mental functions, used in insanity,

epilepsy), antispasmodic (used in

bronchitis, asthma and diarrhoea).

Key application In psychic disorders

and as a brain tonic. (The Ayurvedic

Pharmacopoeia of India; Indian

Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)

B.monnieri has 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.

Dosage Whole plant—– g

powder. (API Vol. II.)

Balanites aegyptiaca

(Linn.) Delile,

Synonym B. roxburghii Planch.

Family Simaroubaceae; Balanitaceae.

Habitat Drier parts of India,

particularly in Rajasthan, Gujarat,

Madhya Pradesh and Deccan.

English Desert Date.


78 Balanophora involucrata Hook. f.

Ayurvedic Ingudi, Angaar Vrksha,

Taapasadrum, Taapasa vrksha,


Unani Hingan, Hanguul.

Siddha/Tamil Nanjunda.

Folk Hingol, Hingota, Hingothaa.

Action Seed—expectorant, bechic.

Oil—antibacterial, antifungal.

Fruit—used in whooping cough;

also in leucoderma and other skin

diseases. Bark—spasmolytic.

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

was concentration-related.

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.

Dosage Leaf, seed, bark, fruit—

– ml decoction. (CCRAS.)

Balanophora involucrata

Hook. f.

Family Balanophoraceae.

Habitat The Himalayas from

Kashmir to Sikkim and Darjeeling

at altitudes of ,–, m

Ayurvedic Chavya (tentative


Action Astringent. 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

an antiasthmatic.

Baliospermum montanum

(Willd.) Muell.-Arg.

Synonym B. axillare Bl.

B. polyandrum Wt.

Croton polyandrus Roxb.

Family Euphorbiaceae.

Habitat The Himalayas, Assam,

Khasi Hills, Bengal, Madhya

Pradesh, Bihar and Peninsular

India, ascending to , m.

Ayurvedic Danti, Nikumbha,

Udumbarparni, Erandphalaa,

Shighraa, Pratyak-shreni, Vishaalya.

Baliospermum calycinum Muell-

Arg. is considered as Naagadanti.

Siddha/Tamil Neeradimuthu, Danti.

Folk Jangli Jamaalgotaa.

Action Seed—purgative. Leaves—

purgative (also used in dropsy),

antiasthmatic (decoction is given in

asthma). Latex—used for body ache

and pain of joints. Root and seed

oil—cathartic, antidropsical.


Balsamodendron myrrha Nees. 79

Along with other therapeutic applications,

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia

of India indicated 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 showed in vivo

activity in P- lymphocytic leukaemia.

Dosage Root— g powder. (API

Vol. III.)

Balsamodendron mukul

Hook. ex Stocks

Synonym Commiphora mukul

(Hook. ex Stocks) Engl.

C. wightii (Arn.) Bhandari.

Family Burseraceae.

Habitat Rajasthan, Madhya

Pradesh, Assam, Andhra Pradesh,


English Indian Bdellium, Gum


Ayurvedic Guggul, Devadhoop,

Kaushika, Pur, Mahishaaksha,

Palankash, Kumbha, Uluukhala.

Unani Muqallal yahood, Muql,


Siddha/Tamil Erumaikan


Action Oleo-gum-resin—used for

reducing obesity and in rheumatoid

arthritis, osteoarthritis, sciatica.

Key application In 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 distinguish C. mukul

from other Commiphore sp.

Guggul resin increases catecholamine

biosynthesis and activity in cholesterol-

fed rabbits, inhibits platelet aggregation,

exhibits anti-inflammatory

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 of Balsamodendron

caudatum is also equated with Guggul

in Siddha medicine.

Dosage Oleo-gum-resin—– g

(API Vol. I.)  mg to  g (CCRAS.)

Balsamodendron myrrha Nees.

Synonym Commiphora molmol


C. abyssinica (Berg.) Engl.

Family Burseraceae.

Habitat Arabia, Somaliland.

Ayurvedic Bola, Hiraabola, Surasa,

Barbara, Gandharasa.


80 Balsamodendron opobalsamum Kunth.

Unani Murmakki, Bol.

Siddha/Tamil Vellaibolam.

Action Oleo-gum-resin—emmenagogue

(used for irregular

menstruation and painful periods),

anti-inflammatory (on pharyngitis

and gingivitis), antiseptic, bacteriostatic,

antiviral, astringent,

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 application In 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,

eugenol, furanosequiterpenes

and monoterpenes.

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 (), –


Dosage Gum-resin—– g



opobalsamum Kunth.

Synonym Commiphora opobalsamum

(L.) Engl.

Family Burseraceae.

Habitat Found in countries on

both sides of Red Sea.

English Balsam tree, Balsam of

Mecca, Balsam of Gilead.

Unani Balsaan, Roghan-e-Balsaan

(oil), Hab-e-Balsaan (fruit). Ood-e-

Balsaan (wood).

Action Used 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

revitalizing properties.

Bambusa bambos (L.) Voss.

Synonym B. arundinaceae (Retz.)


Arundo bambos L.

Family Gramineae; Poaceae.

Habitat Wild throughout India,

especially in the hill forests of

Western and Southern India.

English Spiny orThorny Bamboo.


Barleria buxifolia Linn. 81

Ayurvedic Vansha, Venu, Kichaka,

Trinadhwaj, Shatparvaa, Yavphala.

Vanshalochana, Vansharochanaa,

Shubhaa, tugaa, Tugaakshiri, Tvakkshiri

(Bamboo-manna). Starch

of Curcuma angustifolia Roxb.,

Zingiberaceae, was recommended

a substitute for Vanshalochana

(Ayurvedic Formularly of India, Part

I, First edn).

Unani Qasab, Tabaashir (Bamboomanna).

Siddha/Tamil Moongil; Moongiluppu,


Action Leaf bud and young

shoots—used in dysmenorrhoea;

externally in ulcerations. Leaf—emmenagogue,

antileprotic, febrifuge,

bechic; used in haemoptysis. Stem

and leaf—blood purifier (used

in leucoderma and inflammatory

conditions). Root—poisonous.

Burnt root is applied to ringworm,

bleeding gums, painful joints.

Bark—used for eruptions. Leaf

and Bamboo-manna—emmenagogue.


expectorant, carminative, cooling,

aphrodisiac, tonic (used in debilitating

diseases, urinary infections,

chest diseases, cough, asthma).

The plant gave cyanogenic glucoside—

taxiphyllin. Bamboo-manna

contains silicious crystalline substances.

The starch obtained from Maranta

arundinacea Linn., Marantaceae, is

also used as Bamboo-manna (known

as Koovai Kizhangu, Kookaineer and

Araroottu Kizangu in Siddha medicine).

Dosage Manna—– g (CCRAS.)

Barbarea vulgaris R. Br.

Family Brassicaceae, Cruciferae.

Habitat Subalpine and temperate

Himalayas, at altitudes of ,–

, m.

English Bitter Cress, Hedge

Mustard, Yellow Rocket, Winter


Folk Cress.

Action Diuretic, anthelmintic,

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,

and myrosin.

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).

Barleria buxifolia Linn.

Family Acanthaceae.

Habitat Peninsular India from

Maharashtra southwards up to an

altitude of , m. An ornamental

hedge plant in gardens.

Ayurvedic Sahachara (purple, blue,

rose or white-flowered var.)

Folk Jhinti.


82 Barleria cristata Linn.

Action Roots and leaves are used

in cough, bronchitis, inflammations

(applied to swellings).

Barleria cristata Linn.

Family Acanthaceae.

Habitat Subtropical Himalaya,

Sikkim, Khasi Hills, Central and

Southern India at , m.

Ayurvedic Sahachara, Shveta-

Rakta-pushpa Saireyaka (whiteand

red-flowered var.).

Siddha/Tamil Ottamulli.

Folk Katsaraiyaa. Raktajhinti.

Action Extract 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.

Barleria prionitis Linn.

Family Acanthaceae.

Habitat Throughout the hotter

parts of India. Also, commonly

grown as a hedge plant in gardens.

English Common Yellow Nail Dye


Ayurvedic Sahachara, Baana,

Kurantaka, Kuranta, Koranda,

Korandaka, Shairiya, Pita-saireyaka

(yellow-flowered var.). Also equated

with Vajradanti.

Unani Piyaabaansaa.

Siddha/Tamil Chemmulli.

Folk Piyaabaasaa, Jhinti, Katsaraiyaa.

Action Leaf—juicegiven instomach

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

(Vajradanti)—antidontalgic, used

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,

scutellarein--neohesperidoside. The

presence of beta-sitosterol is reported

in the plant.

In the south, Nila Sahachara is

equatedwith EcboliumlinneanunKurz.

(known asNilaambari), and Shveta Sahachara

with Justica betonica Linn.

Ecboliumlinneanun plant is used for

gout and dysuria; the root is prescribed

for jaundice.


Basella alba Linn. var. rubra Stewart. 83

Dosage Whole plant—– g for

decoction. (API Vol. III.)

Barleria strigosa Willd.

Family Acanthaceae.

Habitat The Himalayas from Uttar

Pradesh to West Bengal, up to an

altitude of , m.

Ayurvedic Sahachara (blueflowered


Siddha/Tamil Nili.

Folk Koilekhaa.

Action Mild antiseptic, expectorant

(given in spasmodic cough); also

used as an antianaemic.

The plant gave beta-and gammasitosterol.

Barringtonia acutangula

(Linn.) Gaertn.

Synonym Eugenia acutangula L.

Family Lecythidaceae; Barringtoniaceae.

Habitat Sub-Himalayan tracts from

the Ganges eastwards to Assam and

Madhya Pradesh.

English Indian Oak. (Oak is

equated with Quercus robur L.)

Ayurvedic Nichula, Hijjala, Ijjala,

Vidula, Ambuj. (Central Council for

Research in Ayurveda & Siddha has

wrongly equated Hijjala, Nichula

and Vidula with Argyreia nervosa,

Elephant Creeper.)

Unani Samandarphal. (Samandarphal

is also equated with

Rhus parviflora Roxb. in National

Formulary of Unani Medicine.)

Siddha/Tamil Kadappai, Samudraphullarni.

Action Leaf 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 India indicated the use of the fruit in

goitre; also in psychological disorders.

The bark contains tannins (%), also

ellagic acid.

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

and Hijjala.

European Oak (Quercus robur) contains

–% tannins, consisting of

phlobatannin, ellagitannins and gallic

acid. The bark is used as astringent,

antiseptic and haemostatic.

Dosage Fruit—– g (API Vol. III.)

Basella alba Linn. var.

rubra Stewart.

Synonym B. rubra Linn.

Family Basellaceae.


84 Bassia longifolia Koen.

Habitat Grown as a pot herb in

almost every part of India, except


English Indian Spinach.

Ayurvedic Upodikaa, Potaki,

Maalvaa, Amritvallari.

Siddha/Tamil Vaslakkirai.

Folk Poi.

Action Demulcent, diuretic,

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

polysaccharides, bioflavonoids

and vitamin K.

Dosage Whole plant—– ml

juice. (CCRAS.)

Bassia longifolia Koen.

Synonym Madhuca longifolia

(Linn.) Macbride.

Family Sapotaceae.

Habitat South India; common in

the monsoon forests of Western


English Mowra Butter tree, South

Indian Mahua.

Siddha/Tamil Illupei, Elupa, Naatu,

Iluppei, Iruppei.

Action Flowers—laxative, bechic

(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 racemosa Lamk 85

Bauhinia acuminata Linn.

Family Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat Central India.

English Dwarf White Bauhinia.

Ayurvedic Kaanchnaara, Kovidaara

(white-flowered var.)

Unani Kachnaal.

Siddha/Tamil Vellaimandarai.

Action Bark and leaves—a

decoction is given in biliousness,

stone in bladder, venereal diseases,

leprosy and asthma. Root—boiled

with oil is applied to burns.

Bauhinia malabarica Roxb.

Family Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat South India, Assam and


English Malabar Mountain Ebony.

Ayurvedic Ashmantaka var.,

Kaanchanaara var. (in the South).

Siddha/Tamil Malaiyatti.

Folk Aapataa (Maharashtra), Amli,


Action Antidysenteric.

The plant contains flavonoid glycosides—

quercitroside, iso-quercitroside,

rutoside, taxifoline rhamnoside,

kaempferol glycosides and quercetol


Bauhinia purpurea Linn.

Family Caesalpiniaceae

Habitat The Himalayas, and

distributed in Northern India,

Assam, Khasi Hills. Also cultivated

in gardens.

English Camel's Foot tree, Pink

Bauhinia, Butterfly tree, Geramium

tree, Orchid tree.

Ayurvedic Kovidaara, Rakta


Unani/Siddha Sivappu mandaarai.

Siddha Mandarai.

Folk Koilaara, Khairwaal, Kaliaar,

Rakta Kanchan.

Action Bark—astringent, antidiarrhoeal.

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.

Bauhinia racemosa Lamk

Family Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat Sub-Himalayan tracts

from Ravi eastwards, ascending

to , m. in the Uttar Pradesh,

West Bengal and Central and South


Ayurvedic Ashmantaka, Kanchini.

Unani Kachnaar.

Siddha/Tamil Kokku mandarai.


86 Bauhinia retusa Roxb.

Folk Aapataa (Maharashtra),


Action Bark—highly astringent,

anti-inflammatory (used

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

anticancer activity.

Bauhinia retusa Roxb.

Synonym B. semla Wunderlin.

Family Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat Northwestern Himalayas

up to  m, also in Orissa,Madhya

Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

Siddha Nirpa (Telugu).

Folk Semalaa, Kathmahuli. Gum—


Action Gum—emmenagogue,

diuretic. (Gum resembles Gum arabic;

used as an external application

for sores). Protein isolated from

seeds—hypoglycaemic, hypocholesterolaemic

in young, normal

as well as alloxan-induced diabetic

albino rats.

The bark contains quercetin--Obeta-

D-glucoside and rutin.

Bauhinia tomentosa Linn.

Family Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat Southern India, Assam

and Bihar.

English Yellow Bauhinia, St.

Thomas tree, Bell Bauhinia.

Ayurvedic Pita Kovidaara (yellowflowered

var.), Pita Kanchana.

Siddha/Tamil Kokkumandarai,

Tiruvaatti, Kanjani.

Folk Kachnaar.

Action Antidysenteric. Fruit—

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


Bauhinia variegata Linn.

Synonym B. candida Roxb.

Family Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat Punjab, Western Peninsula

and Assam. Also cultivated in


English Mountain Ebony, Buddhist


Ayurvedic Kaanchanaara, Kaanchanaaraka,

Kanchanak, Kaanchana,

Gandhaari, Sonapushpaka,


Siddha/Tamil Sivappumanchori.

Action Buds—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).

Bark—astringent, anthelmintic;

used externally in scrofula and skin

diseases. Seeds—possess human

blood agglutinating activity. Leaf—


Along with other therapeutic applications,

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia

of India indicated the use of the stem

bark in lymphadenitis and goitre. (Kaanchnaar

Guggulu is 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.

Dosage Stem bark—– g for

decoction. (API Vol. I.)

Begonia laciniata Roxb. var.

nepalensis A. DC.

Family Begoniaceae.

Habitat Tropical and sub-tropical

regions, especially in America.

Found in Sikkim, Arunachal

Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya,

Nagaland and Manipur, ascending

to an altitude to , m.

English Beefsteak Geraniums,

Elephant's Ear.

Folk Hooirjo (West Bengal), Teisu


Action A 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 of Begonia

sp. are active against Gram-positive

and Gram-negative bacteria.

Hooirjo and Teisu are also equated

with B. palmata D. Don var. gamblei

Hara, found in northeastern regions of


Belamcanda chinensis (L.) DC.

Family Iridaceae.

Habitat Introduced from China;

cultivated all over India, up to an

altitude of , m.

Folk Surajkaanti (Assam), Dasbaha,

Dasbichandi (Bengal).

Action Rhizomes—expectorant,

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.


88 Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn.

Benincasa hispida

(Thunb.) Cogn.

Synonym B. cerifera Savi.

Cucurbita hispada Thunb.

Family Cucurbitaceae.

Habitat Cultivated largely in Uttar

Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and


English Ash Gourd, White Gourd,

Wax Gourd, White Pumpkin.

Ayurvedic Kuushmaanda, Kuushmaandaka,


Unani Pethaa, Mahdabaa, Kaddue-


Siddha/Tamil Ven-poosani,


Action Leaves—cooling, juice

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

swellings. Seeds—anthelmintic.

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

pyrazine compounds.

Isomultiflorenol acetate, a pentacyclic

triterpene, has been isolated as

the major constituent of wax coating

of fruits.

Dosage Dried pieces of the fruit—

– g (API Vol. IV.) Fruit juice—

– m (CCRAS.)

Berberis aristata DC.

Sub sp. B. asiatica Roxb. ex DC.

Substi. B. lycium Royle & other


Family Berberidaceae.

Habitat Northwestern Himalayas,

Nilgiris, Kulu and Kumaon.

English Indian Barberry.

Ayurvedic Daaruharidraa, Daaru,

Daarvi, Daarunishaa, Daarurajani,

Vrahitaphala, Valliphala,

Sthirphala. Pushpaphala, Somakaa,

Parjanyaa, Parjani, Kantkateri,

Taarthya, Pachampachaa. Kaaliyaka

is now equated with Pita Chandana

(Coscinium fenestratum (Gaertn.)

Colebr., Menispermaceae). Extract—


Unani Daarhald. Rasaut (extract).

Zarishk (fruit).

Siddha/Tamil Marmanjal.

Action Rasaut, Rasasranjana

(extract)—bitter, cholagogue,

antidiarrhoeal, stomachic, laxative,

diaphoretic, antipyretic,

antiseptic. Used externally in

opthalmia,conjunctivitis, ulcers,

sores, swollen gums. Root bark—

anti-inflammatory, hypoglycaemic


Berberis vulgaris Linn. 89

hypotensive, antiamoebic, anticoagulant,

antibacterial. Bark—

used in liver complaints, diarrhoea,

dysentery, cholera, gastric disorders,

enlargement of spleen and for

regulating metabolism. Berries—

antiscorbutic, laxative.

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. asiatica Roxb.ex Dc. is found in

the Himalaya at –, m, Assam

and Bihar.

See B. vulgaris.

Dosage Extract—– g (CCRAS.);

dried stem—– ml decoction.

(API Vol. II.)

Berberis chitria Lindl.

Synonym B. aristata auct.

Hook. f. &Thoms.

Family Berberidaceae.

Habitat The Himalayas from

Kashmir to Nepal, at altitudes of

,–, m.

Ayurvedic Daaruharidraa (var.).

Folk Totaro, Kintodaa (Garhwal).

Action Same as that of Berberis


The root and stem bark contain alkaloids

( and .%respectively, calculated

as berberine.)

Thealcoholic extract of the rootswas

found to be better antimicrobial agent

than the aqueous extract. The alkaloid

palmitine hydroxide possesses antispermatogenic


See B. aristata and B. vulgaris.

Berberis ulicina Hook, known as

Khicharmaa in Tibet, is also equated

with Daaruharidraa.

Berberis vulgaris Linn.

Family Berberidaceae.

Habitat Distributed in Northwestern


English Common Barberry, True


Ayurvedic Daruharidraa (var.).

Folk Chatrod, Kashmal.

Action Root and bark—used

for ailments of gastrointestinal

tract, liver, gallbladder, kidney and

urinary tract, respiratory tract, also

as a febrifuge and blood purifier.

Key application Listed by German

Commission E among 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.


90 Bergenia 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 active in vitro and in animals

against cholera.

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.

Synonym B. ciliata Sternb.

Saxifraga ligulata Wall.

Family Saxifragaceae.

Habitat Temperate Himalaya

from Kashmir to Bhutan, between

altitudes of  and , m.

Ayurvedic Paashaanabheda,

Ashmaribhedikaa, Ashmaribhit,

Ashmghna, Shilaabhit, Shilaabheda.

(These synonyms are also equated

with Aerva lanata Juss.)

Siddha/Tamil Padanbethi.

Action Leaf and root—antiscorbutic,

astringent, spasmolytic,

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 application In lithiasis,

dysuria, polyuria. (The Ayurvedic

Pharmacopoeia of India; Indian

Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)

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 utilis D. Don. 91

(Paashaanabheda indicates that the

plant grows between rocks appearing

to break them; it does not necessarily

mean that it possesses lithotriptic


Dosage Rhizome—– g for

decoction. (API Vol. I)

Beta vulgaris Linn. subsp. cicla

(L.) Moq.

Synonym B. vulgaris auct. non L.

Family Chenopodiacae.

Habitat Native to Mediterranean

region; cultivated in North India,

Maharashtra and South India.

English Beet Root, Garden Beet,


Ayurvedic Palanki.

Folk Chukandar.

Action Leaf—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



Betula alnoides

Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don.

Synonym B. acuminata Wall.

Family Betulaceae.

Habitat The temperate and

subtropical Himalayas, Khasi Hills

and Manipur.

English Indian Birch, Naga Birch.

Ayurvedic Bhojapatra (var.).

Action Used 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 utilis D. Don.

Synonym B. bhojpattra Wall.

Family Betulaceae.

Habitat Temperate Himalaya from

Kashmir to Bhutan.

English Himalayan Silver Birch,

Indian Paper tree.

Ayurvedic Bhuurja, Bahulvalkala,

Bahuputa, Lekhyapatraka, Charmi,

Chitrapatra, Bhutahaa.


92 Bidens pilosa Linn.

Folk Bhojapatra.

Siddha/Tamil Boorjapattram


Action Resin—laxative. Leaves—

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.

Oil—astringent, antiseptic.

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

with Betula 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 of B. pendula.

Dosage Bark—– g powder;

decoction—– ml (CCRAS.)

Bidens pilosa Linn.

Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Throughout India in

gardens, waste places and tea


Folk Phutium (Gujarat), Kuri


Action Plant—cytotoxic. Leaf—

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. pilosa Linn. var. minor (Blume)

Sherff, synonym B. 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., synonym B. chinensis Willd., is

used for leprosy, fistulae, pustules, tumours.

Biophytum sensitivum

(Linn.) DC.

Synonym Oxalis sensitiva Linn.

Family Oxalidaceae.

Habitat Throughout tropical India.

Ayurvedic Lajjaalu (var.) Vipareet

Lajjaalu (non-classical), Alambushaa

(Hindi commentators have

equated it with Gorakh Mundi,

Sphaeranthus indicus Linn.,


Folk Lajoni, Jhalai, Lakajana.

Action Plant—used in insomnia,

convulsions, cramps,

chest-complaints, inflammations,

tumours, chronic skin diseases.

Ash—in stomachache. Leaves—

diuretic, astringent, antiseptic.

Paste is applied to burns, contusions


Blepharis edulis Pers. 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.

Bixa orellana Linn.

Family Bixaceae.

Habitat Native to Central America,

often cultivated in Madhya Pradesh

and South India.

English Annatto.

Ayurvedic Sinduri, Sinduriyaa.

Siddha/Tamil Jabara, Manjitti.

Action Plant—astringent, antibilious,

antiemetic, blood purifier.

Leaves—infusion is given in jaundice,

also in dysentery. Externally,

scar-preventive. Root bark—

febrifuge, antiperiodic. Seed pulp—

haemostatic, antidysenteric, diuretic,

laxative. Fruit—antidysenteric.

An antimicrobial constituent, maslinic

acid, alongwith gallic acid and

pyrogallol, has been isolated from the

leaves. Alcoholic extract of the leaves

completely inhibited Micrococcus pyogenes,

but was inactive against E. coli.

The aqueous extract, however, showed

partial inhibition against E. 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.

Blepharis edulis Pers.

Synonym B. persica (Burm.f.)


Family Acanthaceae.

Habitat Punjab and western


English Acanthus.

Ayurvedic Utangana, Kaamavridhi,

Chatushpatri, Ucchataa (equated

with Scirpus or Cyperus sp. during

the classical period; with Shveta

Gunjaa, Abrus sp. during the

medieval period.)

Unani Utangan.

Folk Karadu (Maharashtra).

Action Roots—diuretic. Used

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 application Seed 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


Dosage Dried seed—– g powder.

(API Vol. IV.)


94 Blepharis linariaefolia Pers.

Blepharis linariaefolia Pers.

Synonym B. sindica T. Anders.

Family Acanthaceae.

Habitat Punjab,Haryana,Rajasthan

and Gujarat.

Ayurvedic Ushtrakaandi, Utangan


Folk Utangana (Sindh). Asad.

Action Seeds, boiled in milk, are

taken as an invigorating tonic.

Blepharis molluginifolia Pers., used

for urinary discharges, is also equated

with Utangana.

Blepharispermum subsessile


Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra,


Ayurvedic Used as a substitute for

Raasnaa in Madhya Pradesh.

Action Anti-inflammatory (used

internally and externally for

rheumatic affections).

Blumea balsamifera DC.

Synonym B. densiflora Hook. f. in


Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Subtropical Himalayas,

Nepal, Sikkim, Assam and Khasi

Hills at –, m.

English Ngai Camphor.

Ayurvedic Kukundara, Gangaapatri.

Unani Kakarondaa.

Action Tranquilizer (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 of l-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 against E. coli.

Blumea densiflora DC.

Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Sub-tropical Himalayas,

Nepal, Sikkim, Assam and Khasia


English Ngai Camphor.

Ayurvedic Kukundara (var.).

Action Juice 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.


Blumea lacera. 95

Blumea eriantha DC.

Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra,

Karnataka, Tamil Nadu,


Ayurvedic Kukundara (var.).

Unani Kakarondaa.

Folk Nirmudi (Maharashtra).

Action Juice 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

Artemisia absinthium.

Blumea fastulosa (Roxb.) Kurz.

Synonym B. glomerata DC.

Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Tropical Himalayas, and

throughout the plains of Assam and

Penninsular India.

Ayurvedic Kukundara (var.).

Unani Kakarondaa.

Action Plant—diuretic. Essential

oil—CNS depressant.

The steam non-volatile fraction of

plant extract contained a mixture of


Blumea lacera.

Family Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat Throughout the plains of

India, ascending to  m.

Ayurvedic Kukundara, Kukuradru,


Unani Kakarondaa.

Siddha/Tamil Narakkarandai, Kaatu


Folk Kakranda.

Action Plant—antipyretic. Leaf—

astringent, febrifuge, diuretic,

deobstruent, anthelmintic (particularly

in case of thread worm).

Root—anticholerin. Essential oil—

antibacterial, antifungal.

Theleaves on steamdistillation yield

.%essential oil fromwhich camphor

is isolated.

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,

hentriacontane, hentriacontanol,

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.

Dosage Root—– g paste.



96 Boerhavia diffusa Linn.

Boerhavia diffusa Linn.

Synonym B. repens Linn.

B. procumbens Roxb.

Family Nyctaginaceae.

Habitat Throughout India as

a weed.

English Horse-purslane, Hogweed.

Ayurvedic Rakta-punarnavaa,

Punarnavaa, Katthilla, Shophaghni,

Shothaghni. Varshaabhu (also

equated with Trianthema portulacastrum

Linn., which exhibits

anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and

analgesic activity).

Unani Itsit, Bishkhaparaa.

Siddha/Tamil Mookkirattai.

Folk Gadaha-purnaa.

Action Diuretic, anti-inflammatory,

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,

analgesic, expectorant,

CNS depressant, laxative, diuretic,


Key application As diuretic,

hepatoprotective. (Indian Herbal


B. repanda, synonym B. chinensis

Linn., roots exhibited antihepatotoxic

activity against carbon tetrachloride

galactosamine-and paracetamolinduced

intoxication in rats. Powdered

root gave encouraging results in spermatorrhoea

and leucorrhoea.

The chloroform and methanolic extracts

of the roots and aerial parts of

B. diffusa also 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.

Dosage Whole plant—– g for

decoction (API Vol. I); root—– g

powder; – ml fresh juice. (API

Vol. III.)

Boerhavia verticillata Poir.

Family Nyctaginaceae.

Habitat Throughout plains of


Ayurvedic Shveta Punarnavaa,

Vrshchiva, Vrshchiraka. (Vrishchira

is also equated with Trianthema sp.)

B. erecta, synonym B. punarnava

Saha and Krishnamurthy, is also

equated with the white-flowered

species of Boerhavia.

Action See B. diffusa.


Borassus flabellifer Linn. 97

Bombax ceiba Linn.

See Salmaliamalabarica Schott&Endl.

Borago officinalis Linn.

Family Boraginaceae.

Habitat The Mediteranean region,

Europe and Asia.

English Borage, Cow's Tongue


Unani Gaozabaan (Onosma

bracteatum Wall. has also been

equated with Gaozabaan).

Action Fresh 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 by German 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).

(Francis Brinker.)

Borassus flabellifer Linn.

Family Palmae; Arecaceae.

Habitat Coastal areas of Bengal,

Bihar and Western and Eastern


English Palmyra Palm, Brab tree.


98 Borreria articularis (Linn. f.) F. N.Williams.

Ayurvedic Taala, Taada, Trinraj,

Mahonnata, Lekhyapatra.

Siddha/Tamil Panai, Panaimaram.

Action Fresh sap—diuretic, cooling,

antiphlegmatic, laxative, antiinflammatory.

Slightly fermented

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

and hiccups.

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

in dysuria.

Jaggery solution may be used in hypertension

and oedema due to heart

and liver diseases, also as a food for

typhoid patients.

The sap is an excellent source of biologically

available riboflavin.

Aqueous MeOH extract of young

shoots contains heat-stable toxin; edible

part of young shoot, neurotoxic to

rats, but not hepatotoxic.

Dosage Driedmale inflorescence—

– g (API Vol. III.)

Borreria articularis

(Linn. f.) F. N.Williams.

Synonym B. hispada (L.) K. Sch.

Spermacoce hispida Linn.

Family Rubiaceae.

Habitat Throughout India, as

a weed in cultivated and sallow

lands and pastures.

English Shaggy Button Weed.

Ayurvedic Madana-ghanti.

Siddha/Tamil Nathaichoori.

Folk Ghanti-chi-bhaaji (Maharashtra),

Gatbhanjan, Satgathiyaa.

Action Herb—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


Boswellia serrata Roxb.

Family Burseraceae.

Habitat The drier parts of

Peninsular India.

English Indian Frankincense,

Indian Olibanum.

Ayurvedic Shallaki, Susravaa,

Gajabhakshyaa, Salai. Gum—


Unani Kundur (gum).

Siddha/Tamil Parangisambirani,


Folk Salai Guggul.


Brassica campestris Linn. var. rapa (L.) Hartm. 99

Action Gum-resin—antiseptic,

anti-inflammatory, antiatherosclerotic,

emmenagogue, analgesic,

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

anti-inflammatory activity.

(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.

Dosage Gum-resin—– g (API

Vol. IV.)

Brassica alba (L.) Boiss.

Synonym Sinapis alba L.

Family Cruciferae; Brassicaceae.

Habitat Native of Europe andWest

Asia. Cultivated in North India as

a crop.

English White Mustard.

Ayurvedic Siddhaartha, Shveta

Sarshapa, Sarshapa-Gaura.

Unani Khardal Safed.

Siddha/Tamil Venkadugu.

Folk Safed Raai.

Action Stimulant 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

neuralgia, chilbains.

Seeds contain glucosinolates.

Sinalbin in B. alba and sinigrin in B.

juneja oil 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 of Brassica sp.

vegetables may alter absorption of thyroid

hormone in G tract. (Sharon M.


Brassica campestris Linn. var.

rapa (L.) Hartm.

Family Cruciferae; Brassicaceae.

Habitat Cultivated as an oil-yielding


English Field Mustard, Turnip


Ayurvedic Sarshapa, Siddhaartha.

Unani Sarson.


100 Brassica juncea (Linn.) Czern. & Coss.

Siddha/Tamil Kadugu.

Action Stimulant, 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

produces p-hydroxybenzyl isothiocynate.

Mucilage contains sinapine.

Dosage Seed— mg to  g paste.

(API Vol. III.)

Brassica juncea

(Linn.) Czern. & Coss.

Family Cruciferae; Brassicaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in Punjab, West

Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.

English Chinese Mustard, Brown


Ayurvedic Raajikaa, Aasuri Raai,


Siddha/Tamil Kadugu.

Folk Raai

Action Raai is a substitute for

Mustard. Antidysenteric, stomachic,

diaphoretic, anthelmintic.

Increases pancreatic secretions.

A decoction of seeds is given in

indigestion, cough. Used externally

as a counter-irritant in several

complaints of nervous systems.

Brassica napus Linn.

Family Cruciferae; Brassicaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in Punjab,

Bengal and Bihar.

English Mustard, Indian Rape.

Ayurvedic Krishna-Sarshapa,

Raajakshavaka, Kattaka, Katusneha,

Tantubha, Siddhaartha,

Siddhaarthaka, Siddhaartha-sita,

Rakshogna. (White variety of

Sarshapa is also equated with

Siddhaartha. Asita and Rakta seed

varieties are reddish; Gaur and

Siddhaartha are whitish.)

Unani Kaali Sarson.

Action Emollient, diuretic,



Bridelia montana Willd. 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.

Family Cruciferae; Brassicaceae.

Habitat Cultivated in Punjab, Uttar

Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

English Black Mustard.

Ayurvedic Banarasi Raai, Raajika


Unani Khardal Siyah.

Siddha/Tamil Kadugu.

Folk Raai.

Action Seeds 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 (:).

Brayera anthelmintica Kunth.

Synonym Hagenia abyssinica

(Bruce) J. F. Gmelin.

Family Rosaceae.

Habitat Indigenous to north-east

Africa. Imported into Mumbai.

English Cusso, Brayera.

Folk Kusso.

Action Anthelmintic. Administered

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.

Synonym B. patens Benth.

Family Euphorbiaceae.

Habitat The tropical Himalayas

and Deccan peninsula.

Ayurvedic Bahuprajaa, Kaamboji

(doubtful synonym).

Folk Kaali Kamboi (Gujarat).

Action Used as a galactagogue (as

a supporting drug in herbal compound

formulations). Spasmogenic.

Bridelia montana Willd.

Family Euphorbiaceae.

Habitat The sub-Himalayan tract

from Kashmir eastwards to Assam,

and in Bihar, Orissa and Andhra


Ayurvedic Ekaviraa.

Siddha/Tamil Venge-maram.

Folk Gondni, Asaanaa (Maharashtra).

Action Bark and Root—astringent,

anthelmintic. Used in the treatment

of bone fracture.


102 Bridelia 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

the glycoside.

Bridelia retusa (Linn.) Spreng.

Family Euphorbiaceae.

Habitat Throughout India up to an

altitude of , m, except in very

dry regions.

Ayurvedic Mahaaviraa, Asana

(Asana is equated with Pterocarpus

marsupium Roxb., the Indian Kino


Siddha/Tamil Mulluvengai.

Folk Gondani, Gondui, Khaajaa.

Action Bark—astringent, used

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.

Brucea sativa

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.

Action Taraamiraa (Jirjeer)—

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.

Nasturtium officinale (Brassicaceae):

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

respiratory tract.

Eruca sativa Mill.: 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. typhi and B. subtlis. Seeds

contain (-Me-thio)-Bu-glucosinolate

(glucoerucin) as K and tetra-Me-N

salts. A composition is used in induration

of liver.

Brugmansia suaveolens

Bercht. & Presl.

Synonym Datura suaveolens Humb.

& Bonpl. ex Willd.

Family Solanaceae.


Bryophyllum pinnatum (Lam.) Kurz. 103

Habitat Native to Mexico; grown

in Indian gardens.

English Angel's Trumpet.

Action Leaf 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


Brunella vulgaris Linn.

Synonym Prunella vulgaris Linn.

Family Labiatae; Lamiaceae.

Habitat The Himalayas from

Kashmir to Bhutan at altitudes of

,–, m, in Khasi Hills and

hills of South India.

English Self-heal.

Unani Substitute forUstukhudduus.

(Lavandula stoechas Linn.)

Folk Dhaaru.

Action Wound healing, expectorant,

antiseptic, astringent,

haemostatic, antispasmodic. Leaf—

used in piles; and as a cooling herb

for fevers.

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

linoleic acids.

Bryonopsis laciniosa

(Linn.) Naud.

Synonym Bryonia laciniosa Linn.

Diplocyclos palmatus Jeff.

Family Cucurbitaceae.

Habitat Throughout India.

English Bryony.

Ayurvedic Lingini, Shivalingi,


Siddha/Tamil Iyaveli, Iyaviraali.

Folk Lingadonda (Telugu).

Action Seeds—anti-inflammatory,

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

venereal diseases.

Bryophyllum pinnatum

(Lam.) Kurz.

Synonym B. calycinum Salisb.

Kalanchoe pinnata Pers.

Family Crassulaceae.

Habitat Throughout the warm

and moist parts of India, especially

abundant in West Bengal.

Ayurvedic Parnabija, Airaavati.

(Also known as Paashaanabheda.)

Unani Zakhm-e-Hayaat.

Action Leaf—disinfectant, antibacterial

(used for boils, insect bites,

swellings, burns, wounds).


104 Buchanania axillaris (Desr.) Ramam.

Leaves, mixed with those of Aegle

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.

Plant extracts—antifungal.

Dosage Leaf—– ml juice.


Buchanania axillaris

(Desr.) Ramam.

Synonym B. angustifolia Roxb.

Family Anacardiaceae.

Habitat Dry deciduous forests in

peninsular India.

English Buchanan's Mango,

Cuddapah Almond.

Ayurvedic Priyaal (var.).

Unani Habb-us-Simanaa.

Siddha/Tamil Mudaima, Saaraapparuppu.

Action Kernel of seeds are

considered best among Buchanania

sp. Uses similar to those of B.


An ethanolic extract (%) of the

aerial part showedCNS-depressant activity

in mice.

Buchanania lanzan Spreng.

Synonym B. latifolia Roxb.

Family Anacardiaceae.

Habitat Drier parts of India.

English Almondette tree, Cheronjee,

Buchanan's Mango.

Ayurvedic Priyaala, Piyaala,

Kharskandha, Bahulvalkala, Taapaseshtha,

Sannakadru Dhanushpat,


Unani/Tamil Saaraapparuppu.

Siddha Mudaima, Morala (Tamil).

Action Kernel—laxative, febrifuge.

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

and sterols.

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

to wounds.

The bark contains .% tannins.

Thepresence of alkaloids, saponins and

reducing sugars is also reported.

Gum (stem exudate) is antidiarrhoeal.

Used internally in rheumatism.

Dosage Stem bark—– g (API

Vol. IV.)


Butea monosperma (Lam.) Taub. 105

Bupleurum flacutum Linn.

Family Umbelliferae; Apiaceae.

Habitat The Himalayas from

Kashmir to Bhutan and the Khasi

Hills, at ,–, m.

English Hare's Ear.

Folk Shingu (Himachal Pradesh),

Sipil (Punjab), Thaanyo (Garhwal).

Action Roots—anti-inflammatory,

haemolytic, antipyretic. Used in

inflammations, muscle stiffness,

neurosis, pain and pyrexia. Roots

resolve inflammations of costal

margin and diaphragm.

Key application Extracts have

been used for the treatment

of chronic hepatitis, nephrotic

syndrome and auto-immune

diseases (WHO.).

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.

Synonym B. frondosa Koenig ex


Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Throughout India, up to

, m except in very arid regions.

English Flame of the Forest, Butea

Gum, Bengal Kino.

Ayurvedic Paalasha, Kimshuka,

Raktapushpaka, Kshaarshreshtha,

Brahmavriksha, Samidvar.

Unani Dhaak, Samagh Dhaak,


Siddha/Tamil Palasam, Purasus.

Folk Tesu.

Action Bark—astringent, styptic

(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



106 Butea 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

was malformed.

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.

Dosage Stem bark—– g powder

(API Vol. II); flower—– g powder;

seed— g powder; gum—.–. g

(API Vol. IV.)

Butea superba Roxb.

Family Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat Central and Southern


Ayurvedic Lataa-Palaash (orange

or orange scarlet-flowered var.).

Action Seeds—sedative and

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

Butea parviflora Roxb.

Buxus wallichiana Baill.

Synonym B. sempervirens Linn.

Family Buxaceae.

Habitat The Western and Central

Himalayas and Punjab.

English Himalayan Boxwood tree.

Folk Chikri, Shamshaad. Paapari


Action Wood—diaphoretic. Bark—

febrifuge. Leaves—purgative,

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

Comprehensive Database, .)

1 comment:

  1. Saikosaponin I, extracted from the root of Bupleurum chinense DC, is a Saikosaponins standard to help analyse and resolve the activities of herbal medicines such as Sho-saiko-to. Sho-saiko-to is a herbal medicine which has been orally administered to patients with chronic liver disease in Japan and has been found to inhibit the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. Saikosaponin I